Author Topic: The Atari 8-bit thread  (Read 14727 times)

Offline Rogue Trooper

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2827
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2012, 09:14:00 AM »
PM sent.That'd be fantastic.

Offline onthinice

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3739
  • Karma: 38
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2012, 15:26:57 PM »
My list of Atari Comupter games leans to the arcade conversions.

1. Basketball - Four ports on the Atari 400. Two on Two. Never tried with more than 2 controllers but would have been nice back in the early 80's.
2. Donkey Kong - All four screens and super fast.
3. Jungle Hunt - Great to play this classic with the standard 2600 controller.
4. Krazy Shoot-Out - CBS Games answer to Berzerk
5. Pac-Man - Best version I ever played till I bought a 5200. Great game minus the intermissions.

I had a friend who had a 1200XL. We used to play a lot of Eastern Front, Fight Night, Nato Commander and Conflict in Vietnam.

Offline TL

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 13373
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2012, 16:18:21 PM »
I was just writing a review for this game and realised that I hadn't posted it in this thread!  :o

Crownloand for the XE/XL is by far one of the most impressive games I have seen on the machine, a real console quality platformer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRuhcpSvXdk

Offline onthinice

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3739
  • Karma: 38
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2012, 17:26:40 PM »
That is a nice looking game.

Offline TL

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 13373
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2012, 14:45:21 PM »
Here are a couple of other games I discovered recently:

Firstly Ocean Detox, which is a brilliant take on the old City Bomber games. It has lovely graphics, fantastic music and has a perfect learning curve that keeps you coming back for more:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIU8m0i2ilo

Next up is the amazingly good looking Flowers Mania, this is without doubt the best puzzle game on the 8-bit Atari computers. It is as addictive as it is colourful and has some nice little features of its own too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fvDWCBq-58

I reviewed both these games in full in the reviews guide.

Offline onthinice

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3739
  • Karma: 38
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2012, 21:39:36 PM »
Both really good looking games. The Flowers game looks like it could be my new favorite. Even surpassing Columns.

Offline TL

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 13373
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2012, 12:37:02 PM »
Oh my god I just realised I never posted Yoomp here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqmyLKG1l-4

Offline Havantgottaclue

  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 250
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2012, 13:54:03 PM »
Yoomp! is fiendishly addictive. Of all the homebrew games I've seen in recent years I think it's the one I'm most impressed by. It's a winner on so many levels - originality, technically and of course most importantly, playability. It really does play fantastically well.

RGCD's Heavy Stylus interviewed the developers here. Just scroll down to the end of the review, it's right underneath.

Offline TL

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 13373
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2012, 14:56:12 PM »
Quote from: "Havantgottaclue"
Yoomp! is fiendishly addictive. Of all the homebrew games I've seen in recent years I think it's the one I'm most impressed by. It's a winner on so many levels - originality, technically and of course most importantly, playability. It really does play fantastically well.

RGCD's Heavy Stylus interviewed the developers here. Just scroll down to the end of the review, it's right underneath.

I have read that before, good interview.

There is a fairly recent Jaguar homebrew called Tube that was no doubt inspired by Yoomp.

This is another good homebrew game - Hobgoblin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGRcw1Ek4Tc

It's a conversion of a BBC game of the same name but improves on it graphically. It is basically a clone of Capcom's Ghouls 'N' Ghosts and is also pretty tough too. I don't much like the flip screen scrolling though, I find it a little annoying. It does look very nice graphically though I think.

Offline Havantgottaclue

  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 250
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: The 8-Bit Wars: Green Beret
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2012, 15:39:29 PM »
Though I'm sure a creative coder could've made a better fist of it, I'd maintain that Green Beret is a tough ask on the Atari 8-bit because of the way colour and moving objects are handled.

The problems arise from having to use Player-Missile Graphics (PMGs) for the player and enemy graphics. These are in limited supply (4 players, 4 missiles - though the 4 missiles can be combined to create a 5th player). Players are only 8 pixels thick and have only one colour, and missiles are only 2 pixels thick and also have just the one colour, so just for your player sprite alone you're using a player graphic and an expanded missile PMG to add available player PMGs already. The enemies have to be made out of the remaining 3 players and 3 missiles, so most of them are single colour, though the 2-colour ones are made the same way as the player (1 player PMG + 1 missile PMG).

You can see when the character lies down how limited the 8-pixel width is - it looks horrendously blocky because in order for a single player PMG to be that length, it's having to be expanded to quadruple pixel width. On the C64, that problem would be solved by just using two sprites side by side - with 8 sprites, all of which can have up to 3 colours, you have a lot more flexibility (even without multiplexing - which doesn't actually work all that well in games that need all the sprites primarily in one horizontal band - see Target Renegade, for example).

One advantage that you do get with the A8 is that PMG height is the entire screen - so what you could do is paint two enemy characters on the vertical "strip" and instruct the ANTIC chip to change the horizontal position of the strip so that the enemies that are using the same PMG can move independently. I don't know that they took advantage of that with A8 Green Beret - in any case it would cause nightmares with enemies going up and down ladders.

The other option of course is to forget about using PMGs and use "software sprites", i.e. make the sprites out of character blocks. Problem with that is that even in character mode you're limited to 5 colours. By default that's a screen-wide limitation, but thankfully the Atari's ANTIC is set up to very easily allow the screen to be split horizontally so that you can have bands with a different set of 5 colours. So you can get tons of colours on screen for games like Frogger where each row can potentially have a different set of colours. But in a game like GB where you need loads of objects - both background and characters - all on the same row, if you try to create the players out of character graphics you're going to be limited to whatever is behind them horizontally - in this case, black, red, white, blue and purple. So it's a difficult limitation to work with in this case.

All in all, it's the lack of PMGs to work with that accounts for the rather barren nature of the A8 conversion. I have always thought that with games designed specifically for the Atari in mind (Yoomp!, Rainbow Walker, Crownland and Dropzone, for example) the machine comes up trumps. Try to crowbar on to it something that's not designed for it and you've got problems.

Offline Havantgottaclue

  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 250
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2012, 15:49:52 PM »
Yup, I've played Hobgoblin too. I thought those guys (GR8 software) had a conversion of Cybernoid in the pipeline - but there's nothing about that on their website any more.

Another recent homebrew release is His Dark Majesty. It looks Ultima-esque but is nothing like it really - it's a strategy game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tAraITwuwQ

Offline Havantgottaclue

  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 250
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2012, 15:55:42 PM »
Here's a slightly off-the-beaten track one for y'all: Kult by ASF. It's in the Atari's hires mode, hence the lack of colour. However, it is very responsive and therefore quite playable. There are a lot of A8 games from the late 80s produced by Polish studios - I expect Poland became a bit of a dumping ground for A8s after it was decided that it wasn't commercially viable to support them in Western Europe. Likewise, the Commodore Plus 4 appeared to enjoy a late surge of life in Hungary in the late 80s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcCcaECN5Xg

Offline Rogue Trooper

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2827
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Re: The 8-Bit Wars: Green Beret
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2012, 17:52:02 PM »
Quote from: "Havantgottaclue"
Though I'm sure a creative coder could've made a better fist of it, I'd maintain that Green Beret is a tough ask on the Atari 8-bit because of the way colour and moving objects are handled.

The problems arise from having to use Player-Missile Graphics (PMGs) for the player and enemy graphics. These are in limited supply (4 players, 4 missiles - though the 4 missiles can be combined to create a 5th player). Players are only 8 pixels thick and have only one colour, and missiles are only 2 pixels thick and also have just the one colour, so just for your player sprite alone you're using a player graphic and an expanded missile PMG to add available player PMGs already. The enemies have to be made out of the remaining 3 players and 3 missiles, so most of them are single colour, though the 2-colour ones are made the same way as the player (1 player PMG + 1 missile PMG).

You can see when the character lies down how limited the 8-pixel width is - it looks horrendously blocky because in order for a single player PMG to be that length, it's having to be expanded to quadruple pixel width. On the C64, that problem would be solved by just using two sprites side by side - with 8 sprites, all of which can have up to 3 colours, you have a lot more flexibility (even without multiplexing - which doesn't actually work all that well in games that need all the sprites primarily in one horizontal band - see Target Renegade, for example).

One advantage that you do get with the A8 is that PMG height is the entire screen - so what you could do is paint two enemy characters on the vertical "strip" and instruct the ANTIC chip to change the horizontal position of the strip so that the enemies that are using the same PMG can move independently. I don't know that they took advantage of that with A8 Green Beret - in any case it would cause nightmares with enemies going up and down ladders.

The other option of course is to forget about using PMGs and use "software sprites", i.e. make the sprites out of character blocks. Problem with that is that even in character mode you're limited to 5 colours. By default that's a screen-wide limitation, but thankfully the Atari's ANTIC is set up to very easily allow the screen to be split horizontally so that you can have bands with a different set of 5 colours. So you can get tons of colours on screen for games like Frogger where each row can potentially have a different set of colours. But in a game like GB where you need loads of objects - both background and characters - all on the same row, if you try to create the players out of character graphics you're going to be limited to whatever is behind them horizontally - in this case, black, red, white, blue and purple. So it's a difficult limitation to work with in this case.

All in all, it's the lack of PMGs to work with that accounts for the rather barren nature of the A8 conversion. I have always thought that with games designed specifically for the Atari in mind (Yoomp!, Rainbow Walker, Crownland and Dropzone, for example) the machine comes up trumps. Try to crowbar on to it something that's not designed for it and you've got problems.

I'd also mention likes of Rescue On Fractalus, Ballblazer, Koronis Rift, The Eidolon, Encounter and Elktra Glide really showed of the strengths of the A8 range as well.

As an A8 owner, it did often seem as if the best programmers seemed rather thin on the ground, recal Atari User printing a reply to a reader asking about Elite on the Atari 8 Bit range and saying Firebird wanted it to happen, just needed the right people to write it.

Guess Green Beret was always going to be tricky, but do you think likes of:Arkanoid+Gauntlet could have been done 'better'?.These were another 2 i felt dissapointed with.

(Not that C64 Gauntlet was work of art...)

Offline TL

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 13373
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2012, 22:42:15 PM »
Quote from: "Havantgottaclue"
Here's a slightly off-the-beaten track one for y'all: Kult by ASF. It's in the Atari's hires mode, hence the lack of colour. However, it is very responsive and therefore quite playable. There are a lot of A8 games from the late 80s produced by Polish studios - I expect Poland became a bit of a dumping ground for A8s after it was decided that it wasn't commercially viable to support them in Western Europe. Likewise, the Commodore Plus 4 appeared to enjoy a late surge of life in Hungary in the late 80s.

I believe that the 8-bit range did well in Poland because the Tramiels were Polish and they made a big deal of that. They even made a model specifically aimed at the Polish market.

Offline Rogue Trooper

  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2827
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: The Atari 8-bit thread
« Reply #29 on: December 25, 2012, 00:21:58 AM »
Hobgoblin looks alright, but yeah, push scrolling i'm not a huge fan of, plus, even just watching the video, my eyes kept being drawn to the HUGE Hobgoblin wording at top of the screen, assume it's there as a kinda border on playing area, but i'd find it very off-putting playing the game.

Is there a decent G 'n' G clone for the A8?.

 

SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal