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Messages - HughSpectrum
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Pixel Art / Re: Atari 2600 RPG mockup
« on: March 11, 2012, 08:05:06 pm »
Good timing, I've already been working on the readability of the lizardman some more.

However you're already so trim with your rendering use you could probably use a mid-line color change within the middle 16 pixels of the Playfield and preserve most of background on the sides and use any of the movable object sprites to fill in the remainder of your background clipping losses.
Preparing in advance for if I need to use sprites and whatnot to convey information needed elsewhere.  Plus I'm not that concerned about the background.

How are high scores rendered anyway?

As far as the colors being off its the same old story of NTSC or Never The Same Color, most posts on AtariAge tend to vary between emulator results and changes needed when running on actual hardware plus NTSC and PAL differences. Manual tweaking at actual run time isn't so bad since we're not using that many colors to begin with.
It's actually more of an issue of my laptop's colors being off compared to other displays, which causes me to require changing the colors later after working with it (such as brightening a couple of colors on the lizard).

General Discussion / Re: Official Off-Topic Thread
« on: March 11, 2012, 07:34:41 pm »
KittenMaster: In the newest version of Promotion there is a neat thing where you can toggle a mode which tiles your image and you can make a pattern in realtime without shoving the canvas around. You can even set it to have horizontal or vertical offset.
Sounds good, but the only reason I haven't stuck with ProMotion is because the trial period ran out and I don't have the money for the full version.

General Discussion / Re: Official Off-Topic Thread
« on: March 11, 2012, 04:30:55 pm »
I found that using the scroll feature (image -> scroll) is amazing for tiles because it allows me to make them seamless without having to tile them first.  It's a feature I would use even if there was proper tilemap support.

Pixel Art / Atari 2600 RPG mockup
« on: March 11, 2012, 05:00:27 am »
Inspired by BladeJunker's thread, I decided I wanted to try and make a mockup within Atari 2600 restrictions.  If this isn't considered true pixel art (and I can see why it wouldn't be) go ahead and move it to Low-spec or something.

The mockup is inspired by Strategic Simulations' AD&D games where map navigation is on a first person view, and baddies walk up to you before you go into combat (which is a separate screen which I haven't tried to draw yet).

I'm hoping to make sure the restrictions work out so hopefully BladeJunker will comment here.

Designed this so that the sky color can change and still look alright on daytime sky colors (also I just realized that I didn't adjust the colors on my desktop computer so the colors will most likely change).

This was fun to do.  I'll probably have to make improvements in readability for the armor.

Not sure what I want to do about the HUD at the bottom.  Not even sure what I want to put there to begin with since imitating the full statistical gameplay is out of the question.


General Discussion / Re: Atari 2600 pixel art?
« on: March 09, 2012, 08:27:44 pm »
Okay so, you just mean that each lane has sprite copies within them, but the sprite changes when you go to the next row?

General Discussion / Re: Atari 2600 pixel art?
« on: March 09, 2012, 05:51:29 pm »
Single tall sprite, no that is not the case in Frogger. Everything on the 2600 is being rendered in real time so it literally changes from one "bitmap"(Player0 or 1) to another bitmap over and over again as it draws the screen top to bottom. The 2600 doesn't have a frame buffer so it constantly has to manually refresh the pixels just to keep them lit. While this is a hectic process always "racing the beam" it makes the data highly modular thus using the same address or object across multiple sprites rather than one sprite per sprite like on other platforms. I know it sounds crazy the first time you hear it but that's the way it works.
I know that the 2600 is different from other consoles and that it's on a per-scanline basis instead of a per-screen one, but I'm still failing to grasp what is actually going on in your example.  Are you telling the 2600 to draw the player sprite's line again with different data and then on the next scanline starting from the leftmost sprite again, or are you changing the data of the player sprite when going to the next instance of a copied sprite?

I am thinking of just making a note in my summary about things changing within scanlines.

General Discussion / Re: Atari 2600 pixel art?
« on: March 09, 2012, 04:30:16 pm »
I know it seems confusing when compared to how scanline to sprite limits work on other platforms with block based sprites but it is different. Remember what I said about the 2 Player objects being capable of being any height resolution you choose, well the height of the sprite defines the amount of scanline height and its limitations for said Player object. Where ever the sprite is within the vertical field defines the zone at which only 3 copies can be rendered per Player object, and that's per object as Player0 & Player1 do not effect each others rendering limits.
I still am not sure what you're trying to say.

Based on the Frogger example, is it just that you're using a single very tall sprite to draw several images, and delaying the drawing during different scanlines to change their positions?

Believe me I sympathize with what you say about no programmer backing as it can put you in a position of much doubt but that's where I'm everyday since starting this quest. I'm afraid there isn't much of anything done on the 2600 that isn't restricted or defined by its unique hardware, as far as breaking the restrictions we're talking hand and glove here since its more like if you want to do X then this is the particular setup you'll need. This is kind of why I described this guide being in terms of sprite contexts(Portraits/HUDs/Text/Sprites/Level Tiles) and or game Genres(Shooter/Platformer/Fighter/Etc.), a lot of my proposals on AtariAge are setups or structural templates for achieving the 2600 equivalent of things done on stronger gaming platforms.
I can see where you're going with that, I just think it'd be easier to know the sprite limitations and quirks before getting into how to work around them and apply them in certain scenarios.

General Discussion / Re: Atari 2600 pixel art?
« on: March 09, 2012, 01:22:35 pm »
I edited my previous post based on your corrections.  When you said that a game might not use the entirety of the 320 horizontal resolution I thought you meant games like Pitfall which hid the part of the screen that would have had black lines.

Okay pixel sizes look accurate to what I described. However up to two unique sprites on screen isn't exactly true since you can vary the Player sprite vertically based on a set height resolution. Let's say you use a Player sprite that is 24 pixels tall, based on 192 lines of vertical resolution you could vary that one sprite 8 times. A good example of this feature is Frogger where the type of sprite switches from different car styles up to logs and turtles which all use the same Player objects but are isolated into vertical bands.
This will be featured as part of my scanline isolation post jsyk.
So...  Two unique sprites per horizontal scanline as long as sprites are not occupying the scanlines?  Or are you talking about a very specific programming trick.

I'm going to be honest, learning about Atari 2600 hardware restrictions becomes that much more difficult for the purpose of doing mockups (that have no programming backing) and pixel art when one also has to learn about every specific programming trick in very specific games that have broken the restrictions.  I'm hoping to mostly get a summary of the hardware itself with some minor exceptions that can be made.


I did want to ask, is it possible to feasably alter a chunk of the playing field (such as the middle two columns) without affecting the rest of the playfield?  I'm thinking about doing an Atari 2600 mockup of a first person view AD&D style game and I'd like the view of a first person area to change to that of a detailed creature.

General Discussion / Re: Atari 2600 pixel art?
« on: March 08, 2012, 06:22:47 am »
How correct is this summary I'm working on so far?

Technical Resolutions: 320x192, 320x96 (double tall pixels), 320x64 (triple tall pixels), or 320x48 (quadruple tall pixels)

Playfield: 8x1, 8x2, 8x3, or 8x4 pixels (depending on resolution) of foreground & background color, foreground color can change within the scanlines on an 8x-width pixel by pixel basis.
Hardware demands the playfield to be symmetrical, but coding can overcome hardware to be asymmetrical.  [See BladeJunker's guide on how collumn splitting works]

Player sprites: Up to two unique sprites, 2x1, 2x2, 2x3, or 2x4 size pixels, must be 8 2x pixels wide, can be as tall as desired.  Can be copied*.

Missile 1 & 2 sprites: Single pixel that is 2x, 4x, 8x, or 16x wide, can be any height.  Corresponds to relative player sprites.  Can be copied*.

Ball sprite: Single pixel that is 2x, 4x, 8x, or 16x wide, can be any height.  Cannot be copied.

* Whenever you copy a sprite, it shares the same x origin of the original sprite for movement, and must be offset by 32, 64, or 128 pixels and + width pixels.

General Discussion / Re: Atari 2600 pixel art?
« on: March 08, 2012, 03:52:49 am »
Okay so...  The missiles cannot intrude on another player copy's personal space just as another player object cannot? 

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