Posts Tagged ‘atari’

Alamagordo: Post-mortem

Posted by (twitter: @csanyk)
Monday, April 28th, 2014 6:04 pm

I almost didn’t submit a game this time around. For some reason, I couldn’t get my creativity going. I thought that Beneath the Surface was such an excellent theme, too, with great potential. When they announced it, I started trying to think of a game that would happen underground, or under water. But all I could think of was the setting, not what you’d do there. My brain was being an enemy to me.

So I stayed up until about 6 AM Saturday morning, and still hadn’t thought of any good ideas. My best idea of the night came to me when the Neil Young song, “The Needle and the Damage Done” popped into my head, and I briefly considered making a game about heroin use and damaging the skin beneath the surface. If I wanted to do that right, I needed to make a chiptune cover of the song, and I still can’t do music properly. One day…

So, I put that idea aside, and then nothing else came to me. I slept in until around 11:30, and spent most of the afternoon sitting around, waiting for inspiration to hit me, but nothing happened. I dicked around on the internet, reading stuff, and started reading all these articles about the New Mexico landfill dig, where they were trying to determine if the legends of massive amounts of unsold Atari merchandise being buried in the desert were really true. Turns out, they were true! I found the story fascinating, because why would people still care  that much that they’d dig around in a land fill trying to find that stuff. It’s not as though E.T. was a rare and valuable game. To me, the story wasn’t fascinating, it was people’s fascination with the story that was fascinating.  It seemed to be getting a lot of coverage in the media.

I still didn’t have any ideas for what would be a good game, and by around 5 or 6, I had given up and resigned myself to not producing anything this time around, and felt pretty down about my failure to come up with any good ideas. I had a relaxing Saturday evening, went to bed, had a pretty normal Sunday, and then, around 7pm it occurred to me that the land fill dig was happening beneath the surface of New Mexico.  Beneath the surface…

Beneath the surface…
Beneath the surface…
Beneath the surface…
neath the surface…
the surface…

And I got this visual in my head of the pits in the E.T. video game, and connected that to the landfill, and immediately realized that there was a potential game in there.  Digging in the Alamagordo, New Mexico landfill, in a pit from the E.T. video game, searching for the secret stash of E.T. videogames. I knew exactly what I wanted it to be, not really a challenging game, just an idle time waster that paid homage to the legend and the events of the weekend. I had less than 2 hours before Compo deadline, and knew I’d never make it, but this would need to be a Jam entry anyway, as I wanted to use graphics and audio sampled from the E.T. video game.

Unfortunately I was already on my way to spend the evening with friends, and I didn’t get home until close to 11pm.  By 11:30, I had just gotten started, and I worked through the night until 6:30am, and which I had most of the level laid out and working.  Movement and collisions were very buggy, but the game was basically playable by this point.

I took a power nap, worked Monday, and then cranked out bugfixes until I got everything working right.  All told, the game took about 10 hours to build.

I used that time rather well, struggling only a little bit with the bug fixes, and all I really needed to fix those bugs was to step away from the project and return to it fresh — once I did that, it was fairly easy to redesign the code that handled movement and fix the problems I’d been having in the wee hours of the morning earlier in the day.  Throughout the project there was very little re-work, almost nothing thrown away, and everything that I built was done in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a mess.  The project code is actually pretty decent. Almost every LD48 that I’ve done so far, I’ve struggled with some stupid error in a feature that should be very basic and easy to do, and ends up sucking a lot of my time away from the project, but this time, I worked effectively from start to end.  Only, I had just about 10 hours of work put into the project over the entire weekend.

The game itself, well there’s nothing much to it, but it does feel somewhat like one of those terrible shovelware titles that caused the Great Crash of ’83.

So, there it is, an homage to terrible games.  Since that’s what it is, it somewhat excuses it from itself being a fairly terrible game.  At least the programming is fairly decent, …beneath the surface.

Well, play it and see what you think.


Better late than never

Posted by (twitter: @csanyk)
Monday, April 28th, 2014 4:37 am

I didn’t have any good ideas happening this weekend, and had resigned myself to bowing out of LD29, but around 7pm Sunday inspiration struck, and I decided to make a game about the New Mexico landfill where the E.T. cartridges were buried, and unearthed this weekend.

My game was made in a little over 6 hours.


I’ll do a proper post-mortem after I’ve had a chance to catch up on sleep.

There’s still a lot of movement/collision bugs in it, and I hope to have a lot of them squashed by the Jam deadline tonight.  But there’s a playable version of it up right now.

Ping – Game Complete!

Posted by
Sunday, April 28th, 2013 1:05 pm


PlaySourceAtariAge – Game Page
Note: Requires an emulator like Stella to play on computers.


For a small bat like Ping, the world is a big, dangerous place. Will little Ping make it in her new home?


Move using joystick (arrow keys or mouse with Stella), ping using echolocation with joystick fire (spacebar or left mouse click in Stella).

Pinging costs 25 points. You gain points by making progress to the right and by eating bugs. Try to ping as few times as possible to maximize your score.

Avoid owls and walls, eat bugs, and get as far as you can!


Supports AtariVox high score saving. Requires an AtariVox/SaveKey module to be plugged in to controller port 2 (or emulated in Stella).

Clear your AtariVox high score for Ping with select + joystick fire while in game.

Mute the pinging sound by setting Color/BW to BW (F4 in Stella).

Have fun!


Posted by
Friday, April 26th, 2013 9:58 pm

At first, I was going to try making a game in Gamemaker. I set it up to create different shapes of random colors, but I abandoned the idea I had been going for since I don’t know Gamemaker well enough to confidently spend time building a full game in it yet.


I’ve instead decided to do a game for the Atari 2600, since that is where my experience lies.

The theme is “minimalism,” so I was thinking of what would be fitting. I decided on a game where the player is a bat and needs to navigate invisible tunnels using echolocation.

I have a couple ideas for how echolocation could work. Either the playfield pulses a visible color for a split second or the player shoots out a missile in whatever direction (s)he is facing, the missile bouncing and growing darker with each bounce until it vanishes, like a sound pulse.

Though, as I ponder it more, I think that I may do a combination of the two. An attempt at paper prototyping proved that I have a very poor memory and I don’t want it to be too difficult to be fun.

Hitting the trigger will release the pulse. Each pulse will reduce the player’s points by a certain amount, while moving towards the randomly-generated cave to the right will score constant points. So the idea is to balance pulses against blind movement to create an overall point surplus. Balancing may be difficult. There will likely eventually be enemies that move around and must be avoided. Hitting the walls or enemies will lose a point of health out of three. There may be some way to regain a point of health after a certain number of points or for some kind of pick-up (that can only be seen with the echolocation pulse).

Programming progess is nil for the time being. Since I’m already three hours in, I need to get crackin’. Here’s the bat sprite against a blank playfield:


Introducing “Carl the Crack Head”

Posted by
Friday, December 14th, 2012 11:51 pm

so yea, I am doing an Atari VCS/2600 game, though I have to work this weekend …


You are Carl, you are a crackhead, its 10 days before Christmas, and the only gift you can think of is a gigantic rock that will “send you to the moon” . Of course no one in their right mind will give that to you, so you make your own holiday spirit … by stealing enough crap to buy the boulder via breaking and entering.

At first it seems too easy, as the decent folk of the city are out shopping, or at plays n whatnot … but since you live in a small town you quickly run out of new targets, and the owners of the houses you already hit get wise… and more defensive of their property, nothing will stop you but a number of bullets into your drug tweaked body.

Items finished:

  • Multicolor Title Screen
  • City Map
  • Play-field Collision
  • Carl’s sprite (non animated atm … depends on time)
  • Controls
  • Atari Missile collision with Carl, fired from enemy
  • Enemy collision with Carl
  • Java port of “Stella” emulator setup on my personal site so people dont have to find a emulator to check it out

My two screenshots ATM:


carl city

I’m back! :)

Posted by (twitter: @RawBits)
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 9:58 am

Hi there!

I promised you I’ll finish this game and will inform you on the developement like before so here are the new features.

The algorithm that calculates the player position is finally implemented. Given the angle to it it claculates the vector from the center point to the player so it can move in a circular curve.

I was finally able to grab a video of what’s going on so I can show you that. You will see the 4 enemies moving along a temporal curve I’ve made only for this demonstration. They not coming randomly yet. After that I show you player movement along a circular curve and a crazy variation just to show you how powerful and reusable algorithm this is.

Here is the short video.

Tomorrow I try to make use of the pseudo-random number generator I have done durig the compo for starting the enemies randomly. Next I implement the player controls. Finally integrate the whole thing into the game. I hope I’ll have time to do all that… wish me luck! :)

giving up

Posted by (twitter: @RawBits)
Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 12:36 pm

I spent half a day debugging things that are considered relatively easy to make so I don’t have time to finish the game. Don’t want to send it to the jam neither. I could have use premade stuff in that case instead of writing everything from scratch so it deserves better.

I’ll continue the developement to make all the features I was originally planned. Maybe it will be complited before the next weekend. I’ll share anything here like until now. Stay tuned! :)

Btw I made some optimalizations in the code and got rid of the bugs. It’s working and pretty now… until I make some changes.

animation will not be made

Posted by (twitter: @RawBits)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 6:35 pm

The 4 enemies are moving like they should along a curved line. (With a lot of simplification… sadly.) The selection of which enemy will be deployed is continuous and not random – i implemented the pseudo-random number generator though. (This will be the next task.)

4 Enemy moving

I need 2 hours of regeneration now. I started to do silly mistakes and these are just keeping me up… After I’ll continue with the implementation of the defender (player) because I don’t want to ru out of time with a pile of crap code that doesn’t do anything. Last I make the shooting and hit testing and that is really the bare bones of the action.

If this 2 thing is finished then I’ll start to add the droped out features one by one.

– lifes

– score

– mothership

– bombs from mothership

– title screen

– sfx

– better gfx


Anyway CamStudio keeps crashing so I’ll not make any animation. Maybe if someone make a detailed tutorial on how to do this properly.

progress report

Posted by (twitter: @RawBits)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 10:02 am

I can have up to 4 enemies now. Now on to positioning and moving…

No need to post a screenshot now because it’s not very impressive, but after the moveing is done I’ll show you some animation with all 4 of them in play!

I’m so slow… :(

Posted by (twitter: @RawBits)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 7:26 am

Enemy spotted!

Good morning… (Oh, afternoon…) :D

Posted by (twitter: @RawBits)
Saturday, April 21st, 2012 5:18 am

I’m up, dog has been walked. :) Ready for breakfast. Bon appetite!

Work station...

I’ll post anything as soon it has been made…

Planning done… Now some rest!

Posted by (twitter: @RawBits)
Friday, April 20th, 2012 9:15 pm

OK! I drank the first beer. The plan has been made. I’ll take a 2 hour nap after this 24 hours up time with physical activities. I’m tired…

The thing is a score attack game. Aliens try to blow up your tiny world. It is a little planet which you have to defend. There are evil space ships and mother ships with deadly bombs everywhere around you. You will have a hard time! 😉


Technical details are planned, algorithms are done except 1 that I have never did before. This will be challengeing to code becouse of the complexity level of the screen. So I take 2 hours nap then I walk my dog and say hello in my pub, drink coffee there and come back and I’ll be awake until all the coding is done. I plan graphics, sfx and balancing for tomorrow…


I’ll release everything that has been made as I go. Stay tuned! :)

Sleepy, but in!

Posted by (twitter: @RawBits)
Friday, April 20th, 2012 4:21 pm

Finally… The first LD I can do from start to finish! No girlfriend, no work, no moving… yay!


I’ll make a really minimalist game though. I want to catch the idea what makes something a good game. So for this project I’ve chosen the Atari 2600 (VCS or Stella) platform. Minimalist graphics and sfx with no music. Just the bare bones… At least I try to aim for this until gameplay is working right.


For the developement I’ll use:

Stella (emulation and run-time debug)

– Notepad (editor)

dasm (compiler) with vcs.h and macro.h

PlayfieldPal and PlayerPal (graphics)


This game will be playable in the Stella emulator perfectly. For developemant I’ll not use any illegal opcodes or nasty bank switching and that kind of stuff for simplicity – maybe after LD I pimp it up a bit. 😉 I’ll work according to the Stella Programmer’s Guide and the 6502 Reference while keeping the 4k boundary so there is no reason it will not work on the real thing! :)

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