[rfk-dev] Atari 2600 question resurrected

jeremypenner@shaw.ca jeremypenner@shaw.ca
Fri, 10 Jan 2003 15:54:46 -0600

Speaking of ports and such..

Now's as good a time as ever to tell people that I've become masochistic enough to attempt to "port" (or at least do an interpretation of) rfk to the Atari 2600.   The main issue (besides inexperience with the system) is ROM space for storing NKIs, which I have decided can be managed with an 8kb bankswitched cart.  Considering someone actually did a text adventure, (http://www.atariage.com/software_page.html?SoftwareID=2256),
rfk should be entirely feasable.

I have not done much work on the game proper so far; mostly I've been getting comfortable with cycle-counting and 6502 assembly and such.  I have decided to produce the "found kitten" screen first, as it is very good "teach yourself VCS" material.  You can find a screenshot at http://www.astranetwork.com/~jeremy/rfk2600.png .  Robot and kitten don't yet move towards each other, but thankfully relative horizontal movement is one of the few things that the VCS hardware makes simple.  (I'm thinking that the "YAY" at the bottom (a distilled and conveniently symmetrical version of "Way to go, robot!") should only appear once robot and kitten meet, and it should perhaps flash funky rainbow colours.)

So, here's my proposition to you, the robotfindskitten consortium.  Say you have roughly 3 or 4kb of NKI text to play with.  Compression is entirely out of the question (I don't care how fast the algorithm supposedly is, when 3 pixels are drawn in the time it takes for 1 CPU cycle, it's not fast enough).  Assume the word "robotfindskitten" is about as long as a line of text can possibly get (chances are it's about 6 letters too long, actually), and you have at most 6 lines of text on a screen.  There would probably be a limit of 256 NKIs, total, as well.  (I will be more specific with the exact specifications once the actual text engine is completed.)  Can we produce a list of interesting NKIs that follow that constraint?

Anyway, it's still in its very early stages, but I'm excited about it and it promises to be a lot of fun to develop.  Figured I might as well let the RFK community know.

(By the way, any idea when all the cool RFK shwag that's come out in the past couple of years is going to get posted to the website?  Can I volunteer to make an update? =])

-- Jeremy Penner