The Star Fire homebrew looks a LOT (just from that one screen shot, lol) like that old vector Star Wars game where you blow up the Death Star. Anyone remember that?
When I see the level of talent applied to homebrew games today, it makes me lament that Atari developers were given such short time frames back in the day. I mean clearly a lot more was possible than most of what we saw from the console back then, and development time seems to be the only disparate factor.
[QUOTE=The Video Game Critic]I think another factor may be memory size. The new homebrew games are much larger than their ancient counterparts, making it easier to do high resolution graphics (hey, it's all relative) and diverse stages.[/QUOTE]
You are right. In fact, I remember reading interviews from the old developers at Atari, and almost universally their complaints were short development times, limited memory, and not much thanks for their job (no credits, etc.)
Wow, I can't believe that Medival Mayhem game is running on an Atari 2600! It's quite amazing how the limits of the system can get pushed 'beyond' its limits. Then again, if developers weren't so rushed all the time we would have seen many more high quality games like this.
The biggest difference between then and now isn't so much the time as it is the amount of ROM that we can toss at the games today. It took me 9 months to write Medieval Mayhem, but that wasn't 9 months at a full time job. If it was a full time job it would have been about 1 1/2 to 2 months of work, but writing Atari games today doesn't pay the bills. And I did have a deadline as I wanted to give my nephews a copy of it for Christmas
ROM was expensive back then, the original Warlords was a 4K game. Nowadays ROM is cheap and for Medieval Mayhem I was able to utilize 32K.
1K stores the music
2K stores the fireball movement data(32 directions at 8 speeds)
4K stores the dragon graphics, shift data, animation playback sequences
6K is used to store the main menu(graphics and code)
8K is the Kernel - unlike modern systems, the 2600 has no video RAM. Instead the CPU draws the screen in real time by updating registers in the video chip. This part of the program is known as the Kernel.
The rest of the ROM is used for the game logic, AI, easter eggs and so on.
Another big difference is the help from the community - common routines are freely shared which seriously cuts down the development time. Also feedback from the community during the game development was a major factor in the polish of the finished game. As an example, the knight and the castle textures were a couple of last-minute suggestions that I would not have come up with on my own.
Also the emulator Stella has a built in debugger which really helps out a lot when it's time to track down bugs in the code.
If you'd like more info on the game feel free to visit my [URL=http://www.spiceware.org/atari_medieval_mayhem.html]Medieval Mayhem page[/URL]. There's videos of the game in action, ROMs you can download to play via an emulator(though the mouse makes a poor substitute for a paddle) and you can even play it online via JStella(note - JStella may not perform well on older systems).
Second: What's wrong with the Star Fire music? It sounds great on my cart? Maybe yours is buggy?
Last, definitely not least: Congratulations Darrell!