[rfk-dev] Find kitten on old computers lurking in your closet!

jeremypenner@shaw.ca jeremypenner@shaw.ca
Thu, 22 Aug 2002 13:21:56 -0500

> So then, Leonard Richardson <
leonardr@gogol.humnet.ucla.edu> is all 
> like:
> > 	Also a good idea. I just gzipped the original list of 200 NKIs to
> > 4775 bytes, which might be enough to put RFK on an 8k Atari 
> cartridge (not
> > that I know anything about Atari programming, but I'm sure 
> have to
> > define the character set yourself, so you could pick a four-bit 
> > covering " .,'- and the capital letters).
> ITYM five-bit.  A four-bit character set would only have 16 
> characters.And don't forget about the EON (End-Of-NKI) 
Also don't forget that you'd have to somehow port libz to the Atari 
2600, which would certainly be a nontrivial task with 128 bytes of 
RAM.  (Surely you haven't forgotten the 128 bytes of RAM!)  
Meaning that you can't merely decompress the NKI into RAM.  Not 
even video RAM.  There is no video RAM.  You have to count clock 
cycles to know when to send the next scanline to the video chip.  
This is one of the big reasons why Atari 2600 programming is so 
frightening, and why the Atari 2600 is actually a fairly difficult beast 
to emulate.

Leonard's idea of creating a new set of mini-NKIs is probably the 
most practical, and would indeed make it resemble an old 2600 
game (instead of all those new ones you see these days, what 
with the overabundance of programmers insane enough to hack 
on that hardware).  The trick, of course, is in coming up with one- 
or two-word NKIs that still have the same sense of NKI-ness.

Other ideas for tha oldschool flava:
- The sound effects should mimic the 2600's version of Donkey 
Kong, simply because every television show in the 80s that ever 
depicted anything relating to video games would include those 
sound effects.  Thus, when robot moves, the plodding noise of 
Mario walking would play (pip pip pip pip pip pip).  When robot hits 
an NKI, perhaps Mario's jumping noise (sproing!).  When kitten is 
found, the victory music, or the music played when Mario would 
successfully jump over a barrel.

- Perhaps instead of actually going through the headache of 
embedding words into the game, merely design non-sensical 
sprites (possibly just drawing random chunks of program code) 
which correspond to NKIs in a provided printable manual.  If I 
recall correctly, this is what Raiders of the Lost Ark did, except I 
think all the screen layouts and puzzles were also based on 
random chunks of program code.  In fact, the entire ROM was 
probably randomly generated, much like they did with E.T. after 
designing the title screen graphic.

- robot should be represented by a large, yellow square.

-- Jeremy
NKI: "It's got pixels the size of your head!"