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Sonar Prototype Found


Tempest

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Thanks to the efforts of Alvaro Arroyo we now have the rom for Brad Stewart's Sonar game.  Sonar is basically a variation of Battleship where two players have to race to bomb all the ships and score more points than their opponent.  The game is mostly complete but has a small display bug that causes the screen to roll briefly when the difficulty switch is set to A and is missing the random ship placement that would have been implemented in the final version (there's only one pattern in the prototype).  Other than this, Sonar appears to be complete.  This is an early 2K game from 1979, so don't expect too much. :)

 

You can read my write up here: http://www.atariprotos.com/2600/software/sonar/sonar.htm

 

Alvaro has graciously released the rom for everyone to enjoy.  I also want to thank @Thomas Jentzsch for helping me understand how the prototype worked. 

Sonar.bin

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The ROM has about 350 bytes free, so fixing the issues should be no problem. Maybe I will have a go for it.

 

BTW: The free bytes are occupied by Adventure prototype code and data. So the EPROM must have been created during or after Adventure development. And the Adventure data contains some graphics, which cannot be found in the final game. 

 

The walking "birds" are interesting. And the chalice looks slightly different at the top:

|    ##  |
|    ##  |
|    ##  |
|    ### |
|   ## ##|
| #######|
|##  ### |
|#       |
|######  |
|####### |
|####### |
| ###### |
| ####   |
|  #     |
| ## ### |
| #    # |
| ###### |
|        |
|# ### ##|
|###### #|
|  #     |
| #      |
|########|
| #      |
|  #     |
|        |
|   ###  |
| ### #  |
|   ###  |
|    #   |
|    #   |
|   ### #|
|   #####|
|   ###  |
|   # #  |
|   # #  |
|   # #  |
|        |
|   ###  |
| ### #  |
|   ###  |
|    #   |
|    #   |
|   ### #|
|   #####|
|   ###  |
|  #  #  |
| #    # |
|#      #|
|        |
|## ## ##|
|###### #|
|#      #|
|#      #|
|##    ##|
| ###### |
| ###### |
|  ####  |
|   ##   |
|   ##   |
| ###### |
|        |
|###  ###|
|###### #|
| #   #  |
|  # #   |
|   #    |
|  # #   |
| #   #  |
|        |

 

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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1 minute ago, SpiceWare said:

Nice!

 

Has a continuous roll when Stella's in Developer mode, so might roll on a small number of actual 2600s.

Does it do that even with the difficulty switches in the B position?

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22 minutes ago, Tempest said:

Does it do that even with the difficulty switches in the B position?

 

It always rolls with Developer Mode on regardless of the difficulty switch positions.

 

 

I would normally think it's a missing # from an immediate mode instruction, which turns it into a zero page instruction, but the screen still rolls when I uncheck Drive unused TIA pins randomly on a read/peak so I'm not sure what's up.

 

181431619_ScreenShot2023-03-23at9_38_01AM.thumb.png.bc440f32888bf625eedf1e72e4336d50.png

 

Just noticed the release build of Stella, 6.7, doesn't display the red VSYNC! message.

 

873562798_ScreenShot2023-03-23at9_42_47AM.thumb.png.6400a1324467a2bd7aae988b0b6f2180.png

 

Doh! the red VSYNC! was added in October because I brought up the issue of Invaders from Andromeda rolling on ZeroPage Homebrew despite it being stable in Developer Mode. So the issue is VSYNC was not done correctly.

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I have create a version which addresses the following issues:

- no screen rolls with difficulty = A

- randomly created ships (1x4, 2x3, 3x2, 4x1) and mines (5x1)

- different sound pitches for left and right player (no stereo required anymore)

 

Please let me know if you find any bugs. There are still about 250 bytes free.

Sonar (fixed V1.0) (NTSC).bin

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12 minutes ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

- different sound pitches for left and right player (no stereo required anymore)

When I was doing my write up I was wondering if that could have been a solution to the lack of stereo issue.  Maybe if it had been considered for release that's what they would have done?

 

BTW if anyone has Brad Stewart's email address, please send me a PM.  I'd love to pick his brain about this prototype.

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11 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

I have create a version which addresses the following issues:

- no screen rolls with difficulty = A

- randomly created ships (1x4, 2x3, 3x2, 4x1) and mines (5x1)

- different sound pitches for left and right player (no stereo required anymore)

 

Please let me know if you find any bugs. There are still about 250 bytes free.

Sonar (fixed V1.0) (NTSC).bin 2 kB · 11 downloads

This is a fun prototype. I could see ourselves playing this during our game nights. I may need a custom cart.

696D4197-9347-4E92-B9BB-F500B61768ED.jpeg

1FA70A8B-134C-48E8-A63C-246F5B878156.jpeg

 

65BB054E-B070-410F-9EA8-AF1AFC3D93D5.jpeg

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From Brad’s interview:

 

”I did toy with a version of the old game, Battleship, right after I finished Breakout, but I never went anywhere with it, and I don't have any ROMs, of course.”

 

Im almost more curious to ask Warren about the birds in adventure.

Edited by Supergun
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1 minute ago, Supergun said:

From Brad’s interview:

 

”I did toy with a version of the old game, Battleship, right after I finished Breakout, but I never went anywhere with it, and I don't have any ROMs, of course.”

Yep, that's the only mention of Sonar. 

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Thank you all for being such a great community... I was able to save this prototype and other  documentation as well. I will be sharing later. I am sad i didn't get to speak with the owner . He passed away shortly after I met his daughter. She told me they threw away a ton of floppies and I told her to get me everything and anything atari from his garage .. that i would be interested in it all. I bough a STELLA RC , a Video SYSTEM X , and bunch of pre production testers and rom chips. I pretty much saved this stuff from the landfills of the bay area. She had offered it free to the computer history museum in MTview but they weren't interested.. she said they told her over the phone they had too much stuff already.. I don't thing they understood what exactly she had... they probably assumed it was just another person trying to donate old atari retail items  not knowing her father James Snyder was an engineer at atari. 

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7 hours ago, thecomicsrack@gmail.com said:

 She had offered it free to the computer history museum in MTview but they weren't interested.. she said they told her over the phone they had too much stuff already.. I don't thing they understood what exactly she had... they probably assumed it was just another person trying to donate old atari retail items  not knowing her father James Snyder was an engineer at atari. 

I'm actually grateful that they weren't interested.  If they had taken everything then most likely we'd never have seen this lost prototype.  I love the idea of computer museums preserving all this history before it's destroyed, but in reality they seem to just sit on stuff and it never gets shared with the public (they may not even be able to due to copyright issues).  I'm actually in the process of working with someone who donated all their items to a museum who is a bit dismayed that they don't seem to be interested in doing anything with it.  He's now in the process of trying to get copies of his games so they can be shared with the community, but we're not sure how that will play out.

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When the individual made the donation to the museum, did he make a formal assignment of copyright as part of the donor agreement? (Assuming that the donor actually owned the copyright; it may belong to a former employer if it was created in the course of his employment.)

 

I worked in the heritage sector for ~10 years. Getting a formal assignment of copyright from the donor was the practice from about the 1990s onwards. The problems arose with older donations where copyright was not assigned to the institution, and the donor was either dead or unreachable. There were numerous collections (especially photographs) that were in limbo because of these rights issues. Where possible, we would deal with copyright retroactively, but that was only rarely an option. 

 

Private individuals can "take their chances" and effectively ignore copyright law, but public institutions do not have this luxury. 

 

We would provide a "reasonable" number of copies of documents and photographs to the donor if requested. I do not ever recall having received a donor's request for materials that could not be duplicated using our in-house facilities. This may be a consideration if the museum lacks the equipment or facilities to duplicate the games and so must outsource the request to a commercial service. The cost of the service must be borne by someone.   

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54 minutes ago, jhd said:

 

When the individual made the donation to the museum, did he make a formal assignment of copyright as part of the donor agreement? (Assuming that the donor actually owned the copyright; it may belong to a former employer if it was created in the course of his employment.)

Not sure if he owns the copyright or not.  He wasn't actually the programmer but rather the lead overseeing the actual programmers who were themselves overseas. 

 

I have hopes that he'll be able to get the games and release them.  I don't think anyone would care about the copyrights as they're for a dead platform that's not being actively developed for.

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33 minutes ago, 4ever2600 said:

That is so weird on the old Adventure gfx data!

Maybe the bat was originally going to be some kind of bird or something?

That was my guess.  I have a note out to Warren about it, I'll let everyone know if he answers.

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