New version of Astro Blaster (was: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster)

new games to be launched and discussed here
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davidb
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby davidb » Sat Sep 13, 2014 12:41 pm

It's looking (and sounding) great! :D I wouldn't worry about the docking sequence - it seems to be a mostly cosmetic part of the original game.

Sorry to hear you're feeling unwell. :( Get well soon.

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:55 pm

New .ssd that doesn't lockup added (and updated above).
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AstroBlast.zip
Z,X, SPACE, RETURN
(7.92 KiB) Downloaded 71 times

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richardtoohey
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby richardtoohey » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:46 pm

Decided to give this a quick go, but even though I tried a couple of versions, my Beebem (old Unix version) doesn't like it at all. I'll try on a real machine.

I get this screen:
ab1.jpg
and then after a few seconds it clears and I get aliens, player ship, bullets, etc., but just one frame of that. Several seconds later, another frame. (If frame is the right word - I mean I get a new screen, but it is static.)

With the newer versions with sound I can hear the action in "real-time" but the screen doesn't do anything (other than an update every now-and-then.) I tried an older version (AstroBlaster.zip) and get the same (but no sound because that version didn't have sound.)

I suspect just my version of Beebem, just asking if anyone else seeing the same?

Obviously not as important as your health - so take it easy!

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:19 am

You could check your image with the JavaScript BBC emulator http://bbc.godbolt.org/, it works well on Chrome for nearly all the games/demos I have tried. I don't have linux here, so have only tried "Windows B-em 2.2", "Windows BeebEm v 4.13 (jan 2011)", the JSBeeb above, one of my real Beebs - Issue 7 and BeebDroid (based on linux B-em) on my Android phone (the one with wireframe keys).
BeebDroid doesn't really like my games, I suspect that it might be the V flag bug, or just that I use most of ZeroPage. For AstroBlast, the current version works pretty well, but does have the odd bullet appearing or disappearing, may just be a rasterscan emulation bug. Phoenix has the odd zombie birds, which mean you cannot get to the next level without using level skip. Carnival is written more like a traditional beeb game, and seems to run fine.
Sorry, seem to have gone a bit off topic there ;)

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richardtoohey
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby richardtoohey » Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:14 am

Yes, it works fine with the JS emulator (I keep forgetting that is out there, and how good it is!)

I'll give it a go on a real BBC one day Real Soon Now ... and maybe if I have time (yeah, right!) figure out what I need to change in my Beebem to make it go.

Thank you!

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:47 pm

Added a loading screen and experimental joystick support.
beeb joysticks should be OK, the warp is on joystick 2's fire button.
Master should be the same as a straight beeb (untested).
Compact AFAIK only has one fire button, so I have used UP (or was it down). Anyway, I don't know how to make a Compact readable disk, so also untested!

EDIT: Sorry, Arcadian has just spotted that I have WARP and FIRE both mapped to RETURN!
Attachments
AstroBlast.zip
fixed WARP/FIRE mapping
(10.67 KiB) Downloaded 62 times
Last edited by tricky on Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PitfallJones
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby PitfallJones » Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:47 pm

Hi Tricky,

Magnificent!

The sounds really add something, and the graphics are superb.

Mode1 was really under utilized in games back in the day.
The hi-rez is great compared to Mode2 and somehow you've managed to really make it look multi-coloured - Fantastic Job!

I'm interested - how did Pacmanplus over at AtariAge help you out? (He's done some cool remakes himself).

-PJ

P.S. Please go back and add sound to Phoenix now - that was one of my favourite games back then (I used to play it on the 2600!)

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:06 pm

Sorry, Arcadian has just spotted that I have WARP and FIRE both mapped to RETURN!

PacManPlus helped by sharing his movement data, which I might never have got right without him.

I have quite a few bits to port back to Phoenix now ;) and with each game, I learn a little more about the hardware (mostly the sound chip!).

It is very tempting to be lazy and use mode 4/5, it makes things much easier to fit in to memory and if you run 256x256, the 16 bit address for a byte is 001yyyyy xxxxxyyy which makes life quite a bit easier.

Have you counted how many colours there are per scan line in my MODE 1 Phoenix?
Attachments
AstroBlast.zip
fixed WARP and FIRE mapping
(10.67 KiB) Downloaded 67 times

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richardtoohey
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby richardtoohey » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:08 pm

tricky wrote:Sorry, Arcadian has just spotted that I have WARP and FIRE both mapped to RETURN!
That must be why I kept getting low scores! :^o :^o :^o

Thank you! =D>

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:20 am

Fixed a small sound bug.
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AstroBlast.zip
(10.68 KiB) Downloaded 71 times

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oss003
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby oss003 » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:49 am

Hi Tricky,
tricky wrote:Fixed a small sound bug.
I did notice a big difference in sound when playing Astroblaster in B-em or BeebEm.
Beebem sounded correct. Is this the bug you corrected?

Greetings
Kees

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:59 pm

Yes, but it is actually BeebEm that was wrong (well, and me)!
<TECHNICAL>
I was not changing SysViaDDRA from the keyboard setting (b7=result, b6-0=key) to sound (b7-0 all data). BeebEm probably ignores the direction and just sets all bits when writing and reads all bits when reading, this would generally work for everything that would work on a real beeb and a few things that wouldn't (like my sound!). With my bug fixed, BeebEm, B-em and my beeb all sound similar, the differences are probably down to the frequency of updates in the emulators and how precise the "white noise" emulation is.
</TECHNICAL> ;)

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:31 pm

I've been playing around with my old wav2bbc code and got 4bit@8kHz and 8bit@8kHz working, the latter sounds better, but takes up too much memory.
As a demo, here is the current version of AstroBlaster with a mame sample added to the loader, no speech in game yet!
If you want to play around with it yourself, I've started a thread at RS for the programming side. http://www.retrosoftware.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=73&t=931&sid=e7d04e98e21706c42ced73ab1b47c95f
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AstroBlaster.zip
(18.17 KiB) Downloaded 61 times

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:32 pm

OK, I haven't had much time lately, family issues :(

This weekend, I got some time and finally added some speech to AstroBlaster, it isn't great and in-game currently only supports SideWaysRAM, but it should work with all forms that I know of.

It always loads start and end speech into the highest bank and warp and fuel messages into the next highest one.

I haven't added support for WatfordElectronics RAM, nor the B+ without sideways RAM (they are similar), but as I have a WE-RAM board, it is high on the list.

I haven't tried this on an actual beeb, but it should work (in theory)! I only had 3 bytes spare before adding speech and now only have 1 byte spare, so please forgive the disappearing ship and jumpy screen while playing the speech.

If you have a form of sideways ram that doesn't work, please reply here with what you have and if possible, how the banks are selected for writing (and reading if it isn't ROMSEL &FE30).

If you are using one of the homebrew mmc setups, ADD a *CARD (or whatever yours supports) AFTER the *DISC lines in LOADSWR. This is an attempt to reset the card interface after checking for Solidisk SWR, which messes with the user port.

If you don't have SWR or don't want speech and want to use this version for some reason, run it with

Code: Select all

!&7A=0
CH."LOADER"

If your emulator doesn't like it, try the excellent jsbeeb http://bbc.godbolt.org/, although Matt has changed something and now one line of pixels seems to be repeated if you do a mid-screen mode change (like I do - should really report that).
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AstroBlasterWithSwrSpeech.zip
(31.23 KiB) Downloaded 58 times

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:15 pm

Added support for Watford Electronics 32KB RAM board - not sure if it is part of their ROM board or separate.

It only loads the messages about starting game, game over and out of fuel, it skips the warp message as I need to do more work because the whole of RAM needs to be paged out to load the sample and I need to do quite a bit of fiddling to play the sample as all of my game code will be swapped out!

Doing the B+ is quite similar to the WE RAM board, but I think I will have to blank the screen while "speaking" and that requires more code again! Anyway, anything with SWR can "speak" and from the survey, that is half of us plus/including B+128, Master, Compact and WE RAM.

If anyone has any comments, I would be glad to hear them, if not I am going to take a break from AstroBlaster and maybe go back to Phoenix, Rally-X or my vertical scroller!

PS If you have SWR that isn't Solidisk and use the MMC, it might be worth removing the assembler lines that write to FE6x as the *DISCs can also be removed and it should be more reliable on those machines.

PPS Does anyone know how to organise files on a floppy to minimise seeking and optimise load times?
Attachments
AstroBlasterSWRWE.zip
Support for speech with SideWays RAM or Watford Electronics 32K RAM board
(32.42 KiB) Downloaded 52 times

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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby CMcDougall » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:40 pm

tricky wrote:Does anyone know how to organise files on a floppy to minimise seeking and optimise load times?

BITD, all I did was with a new formatted disc, put things onto the disc in loading order, something like this:
!BOOT, MENU, GAME1ldr, GAME1scr, GAME1main, GAME2ldr, GAME2scr, GAME2main, etc, until full.

Nice speech on this Tricky =D> , only tried on BeebEm414, not real beeb.... yet :cry:
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby jbnbeeb » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:19 pm

Well done Tricky =D> =D> =D> =D>
Tried it on a Datacentre Beeb. After removing *DISC and FE6* references , it worked! Very quiet but so cool :) - better than emu on DC (or MMC i guess) as you don't get the disk drive noise
I'm going to ..
ABUG North Halifax June 10-12
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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:15 pm

BITD, all I did was with a new formatted disc, put things onto the disc in loading order, something like this:
!BOOT, MENU, GAME1ldr, GAME1scr, GAME1main, GAME2ldr, GAME2scr, GAME2main, etc, until full:

I did something similar, I copied them (with beebem) on in order with a *COMPACT between each (and reverse), but there still seems to be more seeking than I would expect (going by beebem's sound effects).
I don't suppose it matters that much as it only loads once.

Jbnbeeb, I'm using all three tone channels, so I don't think I can make it any louder. I should probably turn the other effects down so that you could turn the volume up!

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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby KarateEd » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:38 am

Hi Tricky,

I tried your program on my real Beeb and it worked a treat.

Very nice job, love the speech!!! =D>

It definitely adds a nice touch and the startup screen is very nice too....

Good job....

Ed......:-)

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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:49 pm

Sorry, :( just noticed that the copy I posted has a mistake on line 60 of LOADSWR, it should be *LOAD SPLASHW, not *LOAD LOADING, I think I may have too many disc images of this now! This should only affect people with Watford Electronic RAM boards.

Here is a new .ssd with the volume of the player's shot turned down a bit, so you could turn your volume up a bit (if you're set up for it) for the speech - the player explosion is still deafening!

I tried adding the WARP message, but I can't find the right combination of *RAMON *RAMOFF *MWS (move workspace) *SLOAD and *LOAD and it looks like you would need to press break, which I'm not sure I can do without loosing the data that I have loaded, so I could reduce the sample rate and squash the four messages into &3000-&7FFF, but I think this OK.

I haven't tried to work out the B+ without sideways RAM, and am probably going to leave it unless anyone really wants it. I may upload a version that tries for non Solidisk/User Port SWR before messing up MMC, or someone who has already done it could ;) - probably easier for me, although I did post the source for the FINDSWR asm - I think in the Who has SWR thread.
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AstroBlasterSWRWE.zip
Fix for typo on WE RAM machines and quieter player shots.
(32.35 KiB) Downloaded 63 times

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davidb
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby davidb » Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:36 pm

I'm really impressed at how this has come together! It plays well, looks good and the sounds are really authentic. Well done! :D

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Sun Aug 23, 2015 3:09 pm

davidb wrote:...the sounds are really authentic...
Thanks Dave,
The new SPEECH chip support makes it feel much more like the original, see the video.
I know it is a pretty limited "market", but if you have a speech chip and sideways RAM there aren't that many uses for them ;)

http://youtu.be/4V0yIFhkXB0

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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby davidb » Sun Aug 23, 2015 3:49 pm

=D> It may help sprow sell a few more speech upgrades. :D

Wonder what it sounds like with Kenneth Kendall's voice. :-k

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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:24 pm

davidb wrote:=D> It may help sprow sell a few more speech upgrades. :D

I may be selling one of my beebs with a speech chip (no ROMs though) in a few weeks as I need to balance the books with the misses over the last batch of beebs I "rescued".
davidb wrote:Wonder what it sounds like with Kenneth Kendall's voice. :-k

LoL.
but seriously, there are a couple of problems with using the serial speech ROMs:
I believe you can only use word parts supplied, with is very limited unless you go for the speaking clock one, and want to build a speaking clock!
The serial ROMs seem to have a shorter life span than the speech chip.

The speech data takes up &1E33, &1FE of which is "Stand by for docking manouver", which I currently don't use as there isn't enough room for the gfx or code. The sampled versions are around 8KB each, but you can check on the previous disc image. I do plan on releasing the speech version, but wan't to make a few improvements first.

I was inspired by the Computer Concepts Speech ROM, the one that drives the speech chip, not "Speech!". The main speech command here is *UTTER, which lets you combine sounds (phonemes?) to make words.
There is a companion ROM called something like "Text to Speech", which is quite good (for its time) that lets you well, convert text to speech. The main command here is *SAY, but you can also use *PHONS which lists the sounds that you would need to use with *UTTER, so that you can tweak them.

If anyone has a PDF of the text to speech ROM, I would like to see what else it can do, or a copy of the sample disk for speech, that would be interesting too.

My daughter has made a spelling test program where it asks you how to spell something and then congratulates or corrects you depending on your answer. After my partner got all of here first words correct that she could understand, my daughter looked up the hardest words to spell and then used *PHONS/*UTTER to tweak the pronunciation.

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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby davidb » Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:10 pm

tricky wrote:My daughter has made a spelling test program where it asks you how to spell something and then congratulates or corrects you depending on your answer. After my partner got all of here first words correct that she could understand, my daughter looked up the hardest words to spell and then used *PHONS/*UTTER to tweak the pronunciation.

It would also be interesting to take the phonetic "interpretations" of words in foreign language phrasebooks and play them through the * commands, just to find out if they're understandable to a native speaker of that language. :)

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Pernod
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby Pernod » Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:06 pm

tricky wrote:If anyone has a PDF of the text to speech ROM, I would like to see what else it can do, or a copy of the sample disk for speech, that would be interesting too.

Attached my speech compilation disk that includes the Computer Concepts demo.
Attachments
SPEECH.zip
(289.37 KiB) Downloaded 49 times
- Nigel

BBC Model B, ATPL Sidewise, Acorn Speech, 2xWatford Floppy Drives, AMX Mouse, Viglen case, etc.

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tricky
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:35 pm

Thanks, the speech has sparked my daughter's interest and I am trying to capitalise on it.

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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:24 am

Here is an updated ssd.

The SWRAM code has been tidied up a bit and works with my 50p MMC + SPI and my original MMC.

If you have SWRAM, and a SPEECH chip, with or without speech ROM, the in-game SPEECH should work. You don't even need the board mod for series 3 (or 4?).

I haven't added WE 12 ROM board with SWRAM support yet, but I will be adding it once I am back home. It can be hacked by loading the tms5220 to &8200 manually and instead of *FINDSWR, ?&70=15:?&7F=14

I have attached a version of BeebEm with SPEECH, it is based on the one from the BeebEm web-site, but I have added some more emulation of the tms5220 and its connection to the SysVIA to allow non-ROM speech. It has only been tested on Win7 and requires BeebEm to have speech enabled in the sound menu (or .cfg). The emulation isn't great and ignores the speed setting of the emulator.
Attachments
BeebEm.zip
BeebEm with SPEECH
(277.08 KiB) Downloaded 41 times
AstroSpeech.zip
AstroBlaster with SPEECH
(41.01 KiB) Downloaded 52 times

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Pernod
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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby Pernod » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:03 pm

tricky wrote:I have attached a version of BeebEm with SPEECH, it is based on the one from the BeebEm web-site, but I have added some more emulation of the tms5220 and its connection to the SysVIA to allow non-ROM speech.

Can you post the source for this?
- Nigel

BBC Model B, ATPL Sidewise, Acorn Speech, 2xWatford Floppy Drives, AMX Mouse, Viglen case, etc.

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Re: I'm currently working on a version of AstroBlaster

Postby tricky » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:43 pm

I have attached the files that I have changed from the 403 distribution from here http://www.mkw.me.uk/beebem/BeebEm403.zip.
There are some unnecessary changes, but having made them to get around a compile issue I was having, I haven't changed them back.
There is still some debug code enabled, that isn't required.
Finally, it probably doesn't work correctly if you disable Speech!
PS I did intend to tidy up, but haven't got around to it.
Attachments
SpeechChanges.zip
Changes to support speech
(24.16 KiB) Downloaded 38 times


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