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Best graphic mode for a vertical shoot'em up?

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Hi, I'm currently participating to a french project which consists of developing a vertical shoot'em up for some old computers, and I'm registered to develop the Atari8 version! 🥳
During the 90s I developed some games for several systems including the Sega Genesis but I've never had the opportunity to create a game for my all-time favorite computer: the Atari 8bit!
As I'm progressively remembering the Atari hardware programming, and thinking on how I will build the vertical shoot'em up, I have a big question: what is the best ANTIC graphic mode to develop this kind of game?
The project's page is here: 

Here is some screens from the Amstrad GX4000 version
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AtariBlast! by @playsoft uses various graphic modes and vertical and horizontal scrolling.

It's a 1024KB game but cartridge version runs on 64KB machines.

Nowadays many people have multicarts or memory expansions therefore you aren't limited to 64 KB.


The Last Squadron and AtariBlast! are among the best A8 scrolling shooters, I think it's not possible to do better. Therefore I would examine them to design your game.



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Antic Mode 4 probably.  Mode 5 gives chunkier pixels and less characters to deal with.

Looking at the webpage, we might be at a disadvantage seeing that Megadrive and Amstrad GX4000 seem to be the main target machines.

GX4000 has greatly enhanced graphics vs older models - it can do independent sprites over a 16 colour 160 pixel wide playfield.

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Depends what your target is... Are you going to use extra RAM or ROM? 50/60fps ?


With extra RAM/ROM you would be able to do many more optimizations. 


Mode 4/E are the only candidates with you want to maintain the original resolution. Both are 160x200 x4colors but mode4 gives you that limited 5th color at the cost of being more difficult/slower to use especially if want to mix software sprites with hardware ones which you're going to have to by the look of it.

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