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Speed and difficulty of older games

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by MV10, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. MV10

    MV10

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    It has probably been discussed to death, but last night we were in a bar with one of those "60 games in one" arcade setups and they were all 80s games, which is what I grew up on. My wife grew up in a small town so they didn't see much beyond Pac Man and Donkey Kong, so we sat there watching the intro screens go by and I expressed probably-too-much excitement when favorites came up. (And now I realize about 75% of my favorites were vector graphics... which is probably what I should work on next.)

    The arcade setup didn't have Robotron 2084, but she wasn't familiar with it (!) so I pulled up a youtube video, and it struck me anew just how much more difficult, unforgiving, and plain fast the original arcade games were. I mean this thing was practically a graphical representation of a grand mal siezure:



    Even though I loved these games, I guess I didn't quite enjoy the extreme difficulty level. (Yes, I know the arcade could set the difficulty levels; in the 90s I owned a Space Duel machine until it became impossible to find parts for the vector graphics CRT -- I still regret selling it, these days I know enough I could have fixed it myself.)

    And sure, today there are plenty of games with crap flying everywhere, but I have the feeling that generally it's SFX eye candy. And I know there are exceptions like SuperMeatBoy that are pretty difficult, but as a rule I feel games have become significantly slower and easier. Is it about making games accessible to a wider audience?

    It's a good thing our current project is so far along, otherwise I'd probably be spending my weekend brainstorming some sort of new vector graphics game... :)
     
  2. JoeStrout

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    There are probably several factors at play here. One is the different monetization model. Arcade games relied on getting players to put in a quarter, and then getting them off the game as quickly as possible so they (or someone else) could put in the next quarter. The industry very quickly zeroed in on the difficulty curve that would do this effectively. And that meant hard in most cases — I can't remember how many times I put in a quarter and was out of lives within 30 seconds.

    With the advent of consoles, the proposition became very different. Here customers were expected to pay a large sum of money up front, and they wanted to get their money's worth of play. So the games suddenly became much, much longer. Comparing Donkey Kong to Super Mario Bros, I think this is the main difference in game design. The games still weren't exactly easy, but they weren't designed to get relentlessly harder so as to kill you off and let the next person play — there was suddenly no harm in letting the same player go for hours.

    Modern casual games have a different situation yet. Here users aren't paying anything for the game, but they also have an incredibly short attention span. So, we need to engage the player and keep them coming back, and engaging with our ads. Usually this means not punishing the user with a difficult challenge right off the bat.

    However, it doesn't always mean that... I've noticed a cohort of games which are every bit as difficult as arcade games, if not more. I'm thinking of things like Flappy Bird for example. You're expected to last a few seconds, but to have that "one more try, I know I can do better!" feeling to keep you coming back. (I'm wrapping up a game of this sort myself right now.)
     
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  3. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    if arcades were still a thing these days they'd be riddled with analytics and traffic patterns like if there's only a couple of people in the arcade, the machines they play are more forgiving so that the arcade has a sense of fullness to attract other people and so on...

    lithium arcade.
     
  4. RockoDyne

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    Are they any good though? Sure they are difficult, and therefore quick, but is there any depth to them?
     
  5. Master-Frog

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    The kind of people who made this all those years ago are the kind of people making modern FPS games, pushing boundaries, riveting up the action, trying to cram as much stuff on screen as possible without lagging the frame rate.

    Arcade games were set with difficulty to what, in most games today, would be the Extreme or Hardcore or Insanity difficulty setting. They were made to eat quarters.

    It has since been revealed that people generally don't like those fast twitch, impossible kinds of games. Any more than most people like having their knuckles cracked with a ruler for sitting with bad posture. Sure, it used to be common place... but given a choice, very few would choose a game you can barely play over a game you can enjoy at a challenging, but fair difficulty.

    Being "unbeatable" is not a credit to a game. It's one step away from "unplayable"... and for a lot of these fast paces old arcade games, I think you'll find that's the popular opinion.
     
  6. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Dark souls is very, very far from twitch. It clearly warns you with tells what will happen, and you will generally die because you were not able to control your impulse to attack, and took too many risks you didn't need to (or are just plain not patient).

    So difficulty can come from many places, not just pixel perfect fly-like reaction times that suit 14 year olds with pent up hormones, with nowhere to go.

    People buying AAA games don't want difficult games in general. They want pure entertainment. People buying indie games want a bit of challenge... however I think we've all moved on from being needlessly punished like frog says.
     
  7. GarBenjamin

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    It depends on what the difficulty is coming from although I wouldn't say everyone hates it these days.

    Devil Daggers sold about 60,000 copies on Steam and the game is basically focused on just the fast arcade action aspect period. It seems to be patterned after the old arcade style games at its core. Even down to what people often describe as a cheap shot in the old games of enemies spawning behind you. It's just facing overwhelming odds and seeing how long you can survive.


    There is fun in such things just because it's fun to blow things up (it's great feedback... an instant feeling of accomplishment) and dance with the enemies. And it's satisfying to improve. The first time you played an old arcade game you probably didn't survive very long. But you learned, your skills and timing improved a bit, your ability to anticipate enemy behavior and even the behavior of the game world model as a whole improved a bit. You tried again and made it a little further. And that's the driving force behind games like Devil Daggers too I think.

    Although like @hippocoder said it's definitely more a niche thing. Still it exists. This group of people who want very simple rules and a very difficult challenge. It's a great recipe for short intense game sessions.

    I never cared much for the pixel perfect jumps and insane difficulty of many of the older games. I also don't care for the modern floaty jumps and such. Something in the middle is just right. And taking those core gameplay loops and adding a little more depth is something that I am focusing on. Needs to be balanced though.

    It's interesting that Robotron actually seems to have more of a story and more depth (in the enemy design) than Devil Daggers does.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  8. Master-Frog

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    There will probably always be a niche market, and within that niche, faster and harder is better.

    Just want to point out that it is a niche, and although you can create a good vs. evil paradigm in:

    Old games were hard and fast and therefore "good" vs. new games are slow and easy and therefore "bad".

    And argue such, old video games weren't all hard and new video games aren't all or even mostly easy, and in fact I believe some of the most challenging games are being made these days, specifically competitive pvp games... you can literally compete against people who will roflstomp you like you're not even trying. And it's 100% fair, unlike a.i. can be at times.

    So, no... I don't think the argument holds any water. I think the problem is that the newer fast-paced games are not so discoverable in today's huge market place, and since they are niche you will be lucky if something bubbles up and gets some notoriety. It just seems like nobody makes this stuff any more and everything has changed completely.

    Plus nostalgia goggles, zey blind uz to ze troof.
     
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  9. GarBenjamin

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    Oh yeah I am not suggesting old games are "good" and new games are "bad".

    That's why I listed Devil Daggers. It has the same kind of design as the older games. Actually even more simplistic in some ways. It's that part I am thinking about. There are people who only want to play deep games and there are people who enjoy just some quick blasting fun. Games where they can just drop in and play with simple rules, very straightforward.

    I don't see any games as being right or wrong / good or bad in a general all encompassing sense. If someone is enjoying a game then it is the right game for them. For someone else it might be the wrong game. It's like many of the puzzle games or "find the hidden things" games. They are not bad games or dumb games or anything like that. They're just not my thing. But there are certainly people who spend hours & hours playing them. They are the right games for those folks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  10. LMan

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    Arcade games were long on skill and short on content for the most part. Mastery of a level was a requirement to get the most out of the content. After all, it just wouldn't do to beat an arcade game in the span of a few visits.

    As a result, successful players developed to a very very skilled level, and had something they wanted to show off to friends, which I imagine was a fantastic demonstraton of the game and encouraged new players.
     
  11. longroadhwy

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    With regards to vector graphics I always believed Atari had the best variety (BattleZone, Gravitar, Space Dual, Asteroids, Black Widow, Red Barron, Major Havoc, Tempest, Quantum, Lunar Lander, etc.) of vector graphics games available. Cinematronics Armor Attack was one one of the nicer vector graphics two player co-op style game.

    Do you have unity asset Vectrosity already? It includes a nice battlezone type of clone called tankzone as a demo. Great place to start on your vector graphics game design weekend. :)

    I always thought Williams had some of the hardest ones when it came to difficulty like Robotron 2084 and Defender. I always thought Defender had the most complex input controls to learn of any game available.

    Have you seen Eugene Jarvis's Classic Game Postmortem: Robotron: 2084?

     
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  12. AcidArrow

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    I think games are a big enough market that can sustain a lot kind of games (at least if you don't need to sell 4million copies to break even).

    And that includes "old school difficulty". Case in point : VVVVVV (which AFAIK has sold well over a million). I'd argue difficulty wise, it's as tough as a lot of the old school games. The only (pretty major) difference, is that it has checkpoints very often, while a "true" old school game would start you from all the way to the start of a level if you died.
     
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  13. MV10

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    Hadn't seen that postmortem but it's pretty great, thanks. I was thinking about faking the vector effect with a edge-highlighting shader on real 3D objects to mimic Space Duel's hidden line removal...

    Edit: After watching that GDC talk... I need to jump on ebay and find a working Defender sound board. In the 90s I had one wired up as my doorbell. :) Change which of the 8 pins went high and you'd kick off one of about 120 sound effects (though probably only 20 or so made good doorbell sounds, some were super quiet, some never ended without a second "shutdown" input, etc.)

    1.png
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
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  14. GarBenjamin

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    Yes I agree. The game market really is huge. Everything we're (or at least everything I am) doing is niche. There are people who want to play very difficult games. It's no different than people who want to play Horror games or anything else really. Think of all of the people who love "jump scare" horror games.

    A lot of people here may not be able to understand why anyone would want to play such games just walking around and &^@&^$@$$!!&^ in your face. Many devs might think it is stupid. Many gamers might think it is stupid. But that part is irrelevant. You don't make games for people who aren't your target market.

    It's like my most recent game released on GameJolt. It was released 5 days ago and here are the stats from about 15 minutes ago when I took the screenshot:


    Most people who aren't interested in a game will simply not bother to play or or rate it or leave a comment. But then there are exceptions who will of course.

    I'm not sure how other folks around here look at such things but for me I only care about the top 60% of these ratings. The Terrible ratings I completely ignore. Why? Because there is no reason for someone to rate it Terrible unless this kind of game is just not something they enjoy playing (they aren't my target audience) or they are just being an ass. The reason I have this view is obviously it is not a terrible game when the majority of people have rated it Great and Perfect.

    Even if the majority of players hadn't rated it Great or Perfect still I would only look at the first 3 ratings. The people who rated it Good or higher are my target market. I can work with the Good folks and possibly make the game so those people have a Great experience instead of a Good experience playing the game. And maybe in the process that will allow some who had a Meh experience to now have a Good experience. Maybe. But I wouldn't waste time thinking about it.

    Anyway... I thought maybe some firsthand stats on an old school sort of game that is pretty challenging may be of interest. This game definitely isn't ridiculously hard but it is challenging. It's probably similar to something like Robotron except I think it starts out at a little more gradual pace and I made sure to handle collisions in favor of the player and allow a decent amount of leeway. Just because I think it is important when the player dies they know absolutely it was their own fault not the game being ridiculously hard for no reason. Still it is challenging.

    Basically if you threw something out like Robotron today you'd see similar stats just like any game. Any game you release will have people rating it Terrible, Meh or Good. The way you know if you have something workable is to see if you have any Great or Perfect ratings. Because that means it is connecting with your target market out there. And Robotron today I think would find a market as well. I am sure there are already such games out there. Some 8-bit style twin stick shooter.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
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  15. longroadhwy

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    Wow. That is a great idea for a door bell. I wish you had it on video the reactions of the people after they rang it.

     
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  16. MV10

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    Back then video would have involved lugging a pretty bulky VHS camcorder around, lol.

    (Though I did work for a "multimedia" company so we had the stuff to transcode to AVI or even, gasp, burn to CD on our $4000 burners... DVDs didn't exist yet.)
     
  17. longroadhwy

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    That days of 1x CD burning. :)

    So what were your favorite vector arcade games?
     
  18. MV10

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    1x burning and a blank CD cost about $7 and had a 50/50 chance of failing (we called them "coasters").

    Vector favorites... Space Duel obviously, since I owned one of them when I was 18. My two roommates and I would compete for high score at the end of the month, and the highest scorer didn't have to contribute to rent. You always knew when somebody was short on funds, they'd be up all night banging away at the game. We wired it up to a larger amp and 15" subs and that thing could shake the house.

    Definitely Red Baron, 3D flight-sim combat was mind-blowing in 1980. I always loved Tempest but I flat-out sucked at it. Star Castle wasn't a well-known or well-liked game but I liked it a lot. Omega Race was also apparently not well-known but I liked it (unique-at-the-time rotary control and the first sit-down arcade game I saw). And rounding off the vector favorites list is Gravitar -- basically Lunar Lander on stereoids.

    I want to add Defender to the list but I was so bad at it that it isn't fair to say it was a favorite. Of course, nobody else I ever met was any good at it either.







     
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  19. MV10

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    Ha, there it is... moving it into my new apartment in '91 (hence all the beer scattered about).
    Pro-tip: you do NOT want to move a full-sized arcade cabinet up two flights of stairs.

    1.jpg
     
  20. imaginaryhuman

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    I never played many games actually IN an arcade but I was more into the home computing era of Atari/Amiga and played a lot of action arcade games on there. Looking back I see how almost all games on those platforms were very male-oriented. There was a lot of skill-testing, adrenalin pumping, difficult challenging games, where you actually had to have "the skills" to be able to get good at it. It wasn't enough to sit back and sip some tea and wonder about what you'll do a few minutes from now. It was all about being in the moment, intense action, immediate threats, and whether you could react fast enough. It was an adrenalin-pumping thrillride which was quite capable of destroying the buttons on a joystick before long. And it was FUN as hell.

    After a while though, as games proceeded, markets opened up, new genres appeared, new 3d hardware came along, and that not only created numerous new genres but also overshadowed the old mostly-2d hardcore "man games" a lot. Genres like shootemups, and platformers... partly they sort of suffered because there WERE so many of them, and so many ideas had been tried and done, and done well, and it seemed like there wasn't a whole lot new to experience. So it sort of got a bit old as people kept looking for new exciting cutting-edge games, getting all bleary eyed over the dazzle of 3D and all that it offered. I mean seriously, back in the day there were so many platform games and shooting space games, it was really done to the death. Things evolved and most people followed the 'new and cutting-edge' because there was no longer much 'new' or unseen happening in the older genres.

    Then along came new audiences, new types of games, games that actually appealed more to women, casual gaming, turn-based games, more puzzle and strategy games, realtime strategies, tower defense etc.. all pretty new genres appealing to new audiences. And then also along came MOBILE, which now appealed to a whole different gaming scenario - shorter attention spans, completely S***e touch-based controls which make it really far from ideal to control any kind of intense skill game like a platformer or shootemup, having to resort to like 1-button Rayman affairs and such. Okay games in their own right, but compromises to try to suit the control interface. And then of course all the massive influence of mobile games and new genres there etc... trying to please lots of people with as much ease and simplicity and the whole soft-sell low-barrier-to-entry movement towards free-to-play etc with everyone trying to clammer for appealing to as many gamers as possible and to never turn anyone off. So that means dumb tutorials and friendly little screens and very forgiveable gameplay and all that. So now everyone is just sort of coasting along with less intense gameplay and far less test of skills, I think largely due to the touch interface which really lends itself more to casual interaction.

    Then you have consoles which have expanded greatly and still have intensity-supporting controllers, but with so many buttons and so much 3D popularity it's really overshadowed some of these arcade type of games. And even some of these games have tried to appeal more to wider audiences so are dumbed down and over-explained and less intuitive. There is a certain 'art' to making a game intuitive so that you learn it automatically as you discover things, and that's something of a lost art. The whole business model influence is pretty major as described in above posts, everyone trying to get as many customers as possible basically means people pleasing and softening and trying to be too big and too generalized. That doesn't mean niches aren't there or aren't important or viable, just that they are smaller and they might not fare quite as well in terms of 'business sense'. If its all about making money, then it's not really all about staying true to the art of good gameplay.

    Also we have the situation where developers really sort of ran out of ideas in terms of the 2d games because they did have such a prolific time of things back in the day and not much happened in terms of making use of new 3d hardware etc. So now there is a bit of a resurgence of these `old genres` where people are finding ways to make better use of the new hardware. There are some really gorgeous 2d games coming out including platformers and shootemups. There's not a lot of them but they're coming, and they're starting to explore some new possibilities. Obviously some of those are the hideous notion of 'lets do everything in 3d/2.5D with physics' which I find to be very lame, but it depends if it produces good gameplay or not. There's also a lot of 2d games on mobile where developers are trying to tap into some of these old genres like shootemups etc but usually I think these are made by newcomers who weren't really around in the good old days of the intense skill-testing difficulties, plus the control scheme doesn't lend itself well to intense action, so most of these games are pretty basic and not very exciting. I think desktop or consoles offer a better outlet for big-screen modern 2d games.

    Actually this is where my focus is at the moment... making a 2d arcade action game with increasingly intense difficulty and a tremendous test of reflexes, you know, just like the old arcade-style 'hardcore' 2d games. I've decided not to care about whether there is a big audience or trying to please everyone. In fact I've become much clearer by learning about other genres and audiences and in particular what games women tend to play, exactly what my game will NOT include because they are not my audience. I'm making a 'man game', lol. Just good old old-school blasting action FUN and intensity and great gameplay, using some of the hardware bells and whistles but also exploring some new avenues which just weren't possible technically back when. For me some of these old genres are the best when they're done well and a lot has been 'lost' as a result of all this other expansion of gaming audiences and flashy hardware visuals and all that. It's time for a bit of a resurrection I think.

    Overall I notice like on mobile that the drive to make money has really sent everything downhill into this very 'friendly' no-entry-barrier kind of mindset, where everyone is trying to scrape up whatever desperate scraps they can from the massive amounts of other people who are doing the same. There's a sort of scarcity in a sense, not enough paying customers or customers not paying enough, and this whole focus on monetization and stuff. I think it's really driven the heart and soul out of a lot of games and has just turned them into business devices. My strategy is to do exactly NOT THAT and to instead focus on making a great, fun game that stays as consistently true to the spirit of playing and having fun rather than watering things down for the sake of trying to get more people to play it. I don't know if it'll mean any kind of business/financial success but I DO know that once it's made it'll be a game that I will really really enjoy and that some small niche of people will also really really enjoy.

    I guess it begs the question whether truly great gameplay games can make money or whether you have to sell your soul in order to do that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
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  21. GarBenjamin

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    @imaginaryhuman you and I seem to be operating on the same wavelength. Which you may find to be a good or scary thing. Not sure. Anyway, I agree with you and am doing the same thing for the same reasons. Sure we gained some stuff over the decades following all 2D games but we also lost something. And most people making 2D games these days seem to not be true retro gamers. Sometimes they do well and other times they just miss the mark.

    Some comments and messages I've got on GameJolt for my Atlantic Crisis game are focused on it being too easy for a real retro gamer. They like it a lot and feel that it is more authentic than the majority of so called retro games but want the first round to start out about as hard as round 4 does so they actually have some challenge out of the gate.

    So yeah make them challenging. I intentionally tried to make it start out easier so more folks could enjoy the game. But that was because my mind was still messed up from hanging around here (lol) and past experience of every game prototype receiving comments about being too hard. I've got to unlearn some bad stuff I picked up from presenting retro-inspired games to a non retrogaming audience. As you said anyone playing retro games is used to a challenge from the start. It is what they enjoy and expect.

    Anyway if you read the description on my Atlantic Crisis game at GameJolt it is incredibly close to what you just wrote above.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
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  22. Ryiah

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    I remember coasters from the late 90s. Buffer errors were stupid common on HP Pavilions.
     
  23. longroadhwy

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    Space Duel was great game and I think they did a great job on that game. My friends really loved that game. Red Barron and the infamous "enemy behind you" ... and there was no escape. I loved that. One of my friend's like playing Star Castle but I never played it just watched it. Gravitar was good game and very hard but I think it was well done. I do not recall seeing Omega Race at all. I had one friend who loved Tempest he would go for an hour so on one quarter. There was "bug/feature" that would give you 40 free credits in Tempest that everyone seemed to know about.

    Space Wars (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Wars) was another very popular arcade game but it only seemed to be available at amusement parks. But it was really nice two player vector game.

    I am still interested in how you got space duel up two flights of stairs. :):):)

    Really amazing engineering went into those machines back then. Super Missile Attack (which was modified Atari missile command) was another game that just thrashed the player.

    super missile attack background history as well as Asteroids speed up kit

     
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  24. hippocoder

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    Well if you went to arcades where I lived you'd see plenty of girls too. Guess what? girls get excited and have adrenaline too. I know, it's surprising.

    Back in the 80s I knew a girl called Gina, she was ahead of me and a better gamer to boot. Don't get caught up in any kind of feminist craze. Girls and women know what they like, and it's not what men tell them they like or attempt to market to them. It's what they choose to like.

    Plenty I knew back then liked games of all difficulties so I guess we have different experiences.
     
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  25. GarBenjamin

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    That's true. There were a few gaming girls in my little social circle back in school days and one was very skilled. Pac-Man probably pulled more of them in although this girl enjoyed blowing stuff up.
     
  26. hippocoder

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    Yeah fast forward to 2016 where people are (regardless of internet politics and gender) are enjoying things like bayonetta, world of warcraft, overwatch and dark souls.

    It's short sighted to say: "oh! you appear to lack a dangly one, therefore you can only play politically correct woman's games."

    That's jaw droppingly stupid.
     
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  27. MV10

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    I didn't realize Space Wars was ever an arcade game. I only saw it on Unix machines back in the 80s (the earliest boxes I got my hands on that had graphics of any kind). Since the code was available for free there used to be implementations on just about every platform. Somebody wanna port this to Unity? :D

    https://gist.github.com/JonnieCache/4258114

    An arcade cabinet like that weighed in around 350 lbs, mostly due to the CRT and 3/4" MDF construction. A hand-truck, a friend, and a case of beer did the trick. The hard parts were the turns in the staircase...
     
  28. longroadhwy

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    A Unity version would be fantastic ... and I believe you are doing the porting. :)

    I first saw it at Disneyland and I enjoyed playing it. Cinematronics was the company that released it in the Arcade.

     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
  29. MV10

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    Ha, not that masochistic! Though I guess if I'm doing a vector game anyway, it doesn't get any simpler than Space War as a starting point. However, looking through the comments in that PDP assembly it seems there were more modes and opponents and features than I remember.
     
  30. longroadhwy

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    That is assembly code is fascinating how much work it took to make such a game back then. Glad someone saved it so we can all take a look at it today.

    Do you use a specific vector graphics package for Unity or did you create your own?

    A 4-player version Space War would be a fun game to make. Space Duel would be nice if you could have 4 players too.
     
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  31. MV10

    MV10

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    I haven't done anything towards actually starting a project except run my mouth, so far. I have to finish my current giant complex monster of a project first, lol. Too far along in that to just drop it (finally).

    I own Fast Line Renderer and MK Glow, which I thought about using, but there's a pretty good chance I'll write my own shader. I'm pretty new to shaders but have done some elaborate stuff on the fragment side, so this might be a fun way to do something novel with a 3D shader (to "simulate" flat vector graphics rendering of 3D objects as Space Duel does).

    I just remembered the other weird part in Space Duel... the linked ships. That mode always got chaotic fast:

     
  32. longroadhwy

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    Thanks for the info. I will have to check out those two unity assets.

    Linked ship mode. Nothing brings out team spirit better than linked ship mode.:) The thrill of spinning out of control. In many ways Space Duel seems like it would be a much better sequel to Asteroids than Asteroids Deluxe.

    They really had some good multiple player games back then and Atari always had some of the more interesting ones. Atari Indy 800 was a great 8 player car racing game. Some of the Atari four player games that were always fun ... Atari Warlords, Gauntlet I and II, and the rare Atari Football. The Atari Football was really great introduction to the large Atari trackball. You really had to work to play football and the trackball was the perfect controller for it.

    Atari football 4 player



    Atari Warlords would make a nice Unity port too.

     
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  33. MV10

    MV10

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    We played Warlords after school almost every day for awhile there.

    The other line/vector asset which is probably more popular is Vectrosity. I don't remember why I chose Fast Line Renderer over that one but both seem to be very well supported. I'll probably end up buying Vectrosity as well.
     
  34. longroadhwy

    longroadhwy

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  35. MV10

    MV10

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    My thinking is it might be easier to simulate Space Duel's look (and certainly more interesting to me) to write a vertex shader to do edge highlighting and use real (basic) unlit 3D objects moving in a flat plane but rotating around their centerpoints, rather than doing all the calcs needed to draw, clip, and hide the edge lines using 2D line drawing. (Obviously the Space Duel elements which aren't spinning in a 3D fashion can just be simple textured quads.)

    Actually, though, since the shapes are so basic and have few faces, it probably makes the most sense to just texture each face in black with colored edges and let a regular shader (or maybe the glow shader) do the rest. But that's no fun!
     
  36. longroadhwy

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    That would be interesting to write a vertex shader. Texture each face sounds like an easier option and probably less changes with each Unity upgrade cycle.

    I did notice there is an asteroids clone in Unity. It has a classic mode and and "slightly enhanced mode" which gives it options for a star field, asteroids can collide and and an optional field. I built with Unity 5.3.x without issue.

    http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/asteroids-clone.282022/

    The final 1.0.0 code can be downloaded from here.

    http://twiik.net/projects/asteroids

    Since you like space duel you might find this interesting from the one of the original developers.

    http://www.atarimuseum.com/orubin/spaceduel.html

    It is also an interesting comment about the volcano in BattleZone.

    http://www.atarimuseum.com/orubin/battlezone.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
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  37. MV10

    MV10

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    Oh sweet...

    Interesting that Twiik found Vectrosity difficult to work with. Fast Line Renderer is kind of fiddly (though doesn't seem especially buggy) so that was one reason I was thinking about trying Vectrosity. Of course, it has been almost two years, too.

    And as a bonus that Space Duel page links to a font, completely absolving me of any need for artistic talent! Right up my alley. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  38. longroadhwy

    longroadhwy

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  39. MV10

    MV10

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    Huh, I went to siggraph in '98... though I wouldn't have recognized his name. Oh well.
     
  40. longroadhwy

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    Since you were talking earlier about your Space Duel vector graphics CRT going out ... I thought this part of the article on hardware issues (in The Close of the Vector Era section) was especially interesting ...

    >>>>>>
    We discovered a problem a bit too late which caused the displays to blow out. It seemed, to correctly draw vectors with proper clipping, you needed to be able to draw a distance off the actual screen. This allowed scrolling and lines to disappear gracefully without the need for expensive clipping hardware. Unfortunately, if you drew too far off the screen, you could blow out the deflection amps in the monitor. Effectively, you were trying to draw on the back of the cabinet, and the hardware would let you try! We thought we had some hardware checks to prevent this, but they didn't always work.
    <<<<<<
     
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  41. MV10

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    Yeah I noticed that too. At the time a friend of mine was an electrical engineer (who'd spent several years servicing arcade games) and told me they basically needed the caps replaced, but that bit did make me wonder about the intermittent failures on my own machine.

    I did a lot of assembly back in the late 70s and early 80s and it's kind of funny to think about how close to the hardware the programming was compared to current dev. I read an article recently that compared using javascript to coding in assembly ... completely ridiculous. Not even close.
     
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  42. GarBenjamin

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    Javascript = Assembly... LOL! One thing that is sad about the Internet is any moron can get a website up and write articles on things they have absolutely no clue about yet some people will read that and not knowing any better actually believe it... and then start parroting it.

    Thanks for the laugh! :)
     
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  43. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Every roguelike is too hard I think, except tower of guns which i almost beat. Dark souls, every SHMUP ever etc.
     
  44. MV10

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    Worse, apparently it was Scott Hanselman who started it, and he really ought to know better.
     
  45. longroadhwy

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    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  46. GarBenjamin

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    I see now. He is talking about the process of making it. Comparing that to the process of creating a .Net assembly and from there I guess comparing it to the process of how an Assembler takes the assembly code and produces machine code from it.

    But it really needs to be presented differently to clarify those things.

    Lots of folks write javascript and even use various libs to make all kinds of things including games but it is a very different thing from sitting down and writing purely in assembly language mainly dealing with the hardware registers directly. Anyway, I will get out of here now. Just wanted to drop in because I had a heck of a laugh when I first read that.
     
  47. longroadhwy

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    What processors were writing assembly for?

    Vectrosity is actively supported based on the forum thread. I was not sure what context he was having issues. It might be because he already had everything working and it would be a pain to switch everything out to a new asset that works a bit differently that what you have set up.

    http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/vectrosity-fast-and-easy-line-drawing.270846/page-35
     
  48. Ryiah

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    Have you tried Brogue?
     
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  49. MV10

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    I started on Z80, then 6502, 6809, and finally the early x86-family. Even wrote a few assembly programs targeting the first Windows NT (ambulance run-timers). A lot of inline assembly in larger C programs in that timeframe, too, but by then it was clear there wasn't much good reason to write assembly on a regular basis any more. Memory segmentation took all the fun out of it. I also had a short stint programming cash registers -- not only was it assembly but you only had the number and "action" keys (like No Sale) to enter the program, and the little single-line 8-segment LED display to list and debug. That was seriously tedious but I wowed them by drawing little graphics on the register tape at the end of each receipt and similar tricks.

    Sweet, I was a big nethack player years ago, hadn't heard of this one.
     
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  50. longroadhwy

    longroadhwy

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    That is interesting about cash registers. It easy to forgot how much work to get some of the devices to do everything. How much time did testing/validation take?

    I noticed in other articles that at Atari (arcade game division) they had create a cross compiler using Dec macro11 (on the PDP-11) to 6502 and the other processors they were supporting.