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3D rpg engine doable on the 2600?


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This is a picture of an "engine" for a 3D role-playing game like "Bard's Tale" , where a player has to explore a maze, create a map and fight monsters and solve riddles.


It's on the ATARI 800 and the game itself would work on the 2600, but the problem is the display engine:


The ATARI 800 uses charmode to build the graphics.It starts by displaying the walls 3 steps away, then 2 steps away and then the walls 1 step away and the walls to the left and right of the player.It automatically overwrites all invisible parts of the maze this way and uses double-buffer to avoid flickering.


This does not work on the 2600 this way.


Is it possible to create the graphics similar to the ATARI 800 ANTIC 6 used in the demo or must I use less colors?


And I don't know how to change the display engineto work with sprites,

because the "overwrite it" technique only works with charmode or bitmap graphics.


The dungeon itself is 16*16, so it takes only 32 bytes of data (256 bit) plus extra bytes for special events.This way a huge amount of dungeons

can be stored on a 16K cartridge, and bigger dungeons can be merged by teleporters, stairs, pits etc.




attachment : Screenshot of the ATARI 800 version

demo of the ATARI 800 version



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Another example of a 3D perspective on a VCS would be skeleton+. I just wonder if it would be worth the effort. The game mechanic is limited visibility. You could implement the same effect with a top down view having a cone or radius of visibility. Similar to what you see in Adventure and Haunted house. Doing a top down view leaves more CPU and RAM resources for other game aspects. Just thinking out loud...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wonder if the 2600 can do a similar resolution and a similar color-depth to the ATARI 800.


The 800 uses 5 colors + 2 players to hide the borders in the demo and the resolution is 160*200.


If you use the technique used in mindmaster, would it be possible to use the 2 players to get this color-depth effect?


Is 160*200 possible or 160*96 only?



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:) Those images are impressive. If the Atari 800 and 2600 can do all of that.  Just imagine what the 7800 can do.


The ATARI 800 can do "Eye of the Beholder" in 256 colors at 80*96 pixels or with about 20 colors at 160*200.It's only a question of RAM and storage on disk.Huge bitmap graphics is no problem for the 800, but the 2600 has no "real" background graphics.


The ATARI 7800 could do "Eye of the Beholder" or "Dungeon Master", too, with even more colors at 160*200 and there a certainly techniques to get lots of colors on screen.



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