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I really want to start on something, but...


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...where do I even begin?

It seems like I always start with a genre/gameplay type (such as a platformer or a shoot-em-up), only to trip and procrastinate on even learning how to code, well, anything. It seems like the best solution for me would be taking a code snippet or template and expand on that, but I also notice that there is a lack of templates to start with.

Which genre or gameplay type should I start with? Is there even a template or code snippet for getting started on making platformers no less? Especially for the standard kernel...?

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Speaking of procrastinating, I made this page years ago:





The bB page has a general Parts of a Program section.


There is also a simplistic Bankswitching Example on the bB page.


There are so many types of games and compromises where you have to stick code where you may not want it. You run out of room in one bank, so you have to stick code in another bank and the whole thing starts looking like a rat's nest.


Templates would be nice, but let's pick platformers as an example. You can't have one template for a platformer because one person wants scrolling left/right or up/down or left/right and up/down and another person wants single screens. Another person wants animated sprites and another person wants zero animation. Another person wants data for sound effects and other person wants sound effects that don't use data. Another person thinks that the sound effect code is too complicated and wants a whole new way of doing sounds for their game. Some people want a complete game template where they can simply insert their own sprites and become a millionaire. That will definitely happen because the 50 people left on the planet who still buy Atari 2600 games will be willing to pay twenty thousand dollars for each copy. :D


When I start working on a new program, I copy and paste from the bB page or from the various example programs on the bB page since I can't remember any of it, then make whatever changes are needed. If I come up with something useful while editing the code, I'll put that on the bB page for copying and pasting in the future.

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As RT said copy and paste. I have used a lot of code I found in the forum and put it together to make small programs to learn. Once I sort of figured that out, I moved on to larger more complex programs. I think a shooting game is easier to start with vice a platformer since it could involve a lot screens and bank switching. 

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I'm also a bit stuck in two projects and I don't know which path each of these projects should follow, despite both having the same foundation in the code, the direction will be different as the code in your programming progresses.
I'm seriously thinking about asking for help so these games can get off the ground and be completed.
I don't aim for profit or anything with them, but that one day they could be part of the large library of existing games for Atari, which continues to expand today through new homebrews.

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@r_chase I can't tell you how useful I found @Random Terrain's bB resource page. Especially the examples. https://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-batari-basic-commands.html#example_programs


When I started programming my first bB game, Fly Hunter, I adopted a technique I saw other programmers using. Incremental development is the process of building your game piece by piece. It helps avoid the paralysis and procrastination that prevents you from even starting.

For example, you could start by getting your playfield to draw on the screen. Then add your player. Next, add a joystick routine to move your player sprite, and so on. Each addition slowly builds out the entire game and you're learning along the way. Next thing you know, you've got a playable game!


Just keep it simple for your first game. Use the in-depth documentation provided by RT. And when you get stuck, (as we all do) ask the community for help.


I threw together this bB boilerplate file to help get you started. It's not great, but it's better than starting from a blank screen.


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For me it starts with modifying and compiling examples.


The next stage is to test my knowledge by picking a command/function and make an extremely simple game from it.  As you rack up completed mini projects your capacity for larger projects grow.


With the 2600 you pick an interesting trick [that the hardware can do] and build a game around it.  If you want to focus on game design first then more powerful systems are ideal.

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