As you may already have seen from the Zeropage homebrew channel Exclusive, John Champeau, from Champ Games, the creator of Lady Bug,Conquest of Mars, Scramble, Super Cobra, and more recently Mappy, has been secretly workingon his next release for the Atari 2600, a port of the massively popular arcade game,Galaga, and let me tell you, it is AMAZING… Actually, this game is not a direct port ofthe arcade game, but rather, as John put it, it’s a port of his 1997 PC release of Galagon,which was itself, an arcade port of Galaga. John said he did not reference arcade Galagaat all during the Atari games creation. I’ve been in contact with John for the purposesof creating this preview video that I hope you will enjoy. At the time this game was announced on theZero page homebrew channel, it was already 90% completed in near final form. I’ve been handed a slightly more recent buildwith a few bug fixes. This is a preview video of a nearly finishedbut in-complete game. Some details are subject to change,.. As you power on your console, you are presentedwith the games menu, the title of the game displays which currently reads, “Galaga”. There was some discussion on the Atariageforums regarding the naming of the game. At the time of this recording, they are stickingwith “Galaga” as the games name, but that is subject to change. From the title screen you can chose to playsingle player or two player, taking turns. You can chose the games difficulty, Novice,Standard, Advanced or the special, “Challenge Mode”. The game cycles through the score displayand credits screens, until a selection is made. I asked John for an explanation of the variousgame modes which I’ll read here: • NOVICE: Player starts with double-ship,3 reserves. Difficulty ramp up is slower • STANDARD: Most like the arcade.
• STANDARD: Most like the arcade. Player starts with a single ship, 3 reserves • ADVANCED: More difficult than STANDARD. Player starts with 1 ship and 2 in reserve. Enemies move faster, enemy missiles are faster,enemies take off more frequently, extra ships are added during the fly-in sequences, etc. In these three modes, you are awarded a freeship at 20k points and every 50k points thereafter. • CHALLENGE Mode : This is a special modewhere you just compete with the challenge stages (all 8!). The rules during CHALLENGE mode are:1. You start the game with 1 ship active and3 in reserve 2. If you successfully destroy all 40 enemiesduring the challenge stage, you will either double up your ship (if not already), or,if all ready doubled up, earn a reserve ship 3. If you do not successfully destroy all 40enemies during the challenge stage, your ship explodes and you lose a life. Once all ships are destroyed, the game ends. 4. There are no bonus ships awarded for achievinga particular score (ie.20K for non-challenge mode games). One mode not listed here is two player co-opmode. John mentioned that mode is currently beingplay tested by some of his family members. The rules and details of this mode are stillbeing ironed out. Pressing up and down on the joystick fromthe menus, switches screens between the title screen, scoring tables and credit screens. Pressing left and right on the title screenswitches the game modes.
Pressing left and right on the title screenswitches the game modes. The left and right difficulty switches toggleauto firing. In position A you must release the buttonto fire again, while position B enables auto fire mode. The Black/White switch pauses the game. Game Select switches between single playerand two player modes. Game reset starts the game. The games supports save key and atarivox forgame saves. It will run on the Retron 77 with the latestcommunity build. Although John did the programming on thisgame, I wanted to point out he had help in a few key areas: Team members: John W. Champeau – Coding and designNathan Strum – art and graphics, plus game design and testingRoss Keenum – music and sound fx, plus the sound driver The game really does play and feels just likethe Arcade version. I have been having a blast testing it outto prepare this video. I wanted to point out this game was designedusing a new software / bank switching technique that has not yet been implemented in the latestversion of the Atari Stella emulator. The driver is called “CDFJ” , the “J” standsfor “John” which is a minor extension of the CDF driver that was used for other games suchas Draconian and Champ Games’ own Mappy and Super Cobra Arcade. John was gracious enough to provide me witha pre release of Stella with this driver implemented. The game will be released on cartridge atsome point this year, hopefully soon. Part of what is so amazing to me is that hestarted development on the week of March 25th, with a proof of concept to display 8 enemiesin formation without flicker. He then reached out to Nathan Strum to seeif he was interested in doing the graphics
turbo games download games He then reached out to Nathan Strum to seeif he was interested in doing the graphics
He then reached out to Nathan Strum to seeif he was interested in doing the graphics and helping with the design and testing. On April 12th John reached out to Ross Keenum(who had previously done most of the sounds for Galaga for the 2600 back in 2013) andhe agreed to let him use his sounds and complete the missing ones. The next four weeks were spent implementingthe rest of the gameplay elements (capture/rescue sequence, double ship, title page, splashpage, scoring screen, results screen, high scores, etc) and implementing difficulty rampingfor each skill level and testing, leading up to the reveal on May 15th. How exciting and impressive is that. One of the questions I had always wonderedabout was technically how the enemy movements were programmed. Was there a table used or some sort of complicatedalgorithm for the enemy patterns? John explained, that he used a rudimentarycommand-based parser, so the patterns are a series of commands (START_X, START_Y, SET_SPEED,ROTATE_CLOCKWISE, ROTATE_COUNTER_CLOCKWISE, FLY_TO_POSITION, etc.). Incredible! Since were are being technical here for aminute, I wondered how he managed to have so many objects on the screen at the sametime while avoiding flicker. He explained: All of the enemies and objects on the screenare sprites; the playfield is not used at all during the game. The stars are rendered using the ball. The enemies in formation do not flicker becausethey are all copies of the same sprite in the same row; I’m using the Galaxian trickthat allows you to draw up to 8 (maybe more) of the same sprite in a row without flickerusing just 1 of the hardware sprites (leaving the other one free for the enemies as theyfly in, and the 1st sprite can be re-used
the other one free for the enemies as theyfly in, and the 1st sprite can be re-used on rows where there are no formation enemies). The two missile sprites are used for yourmissiles and the enemy missiles. So, there is a limit as to how much I candisplay without flicker, but the sprite engine and re-use of sprites combined with the multi-spritecopy trick reduces the flicker immensely. All 40 enemies in formation, plus the stars,plus your ship and multiple missiles can be displayed without any flicker at all. While I was in contact with John, I decided to attempted to throw in a feature request,which was an homage to the old PC DOS games he created back in the 90’s, to create a “Champ”mode version of the game like in Galagon. He responded that although the cartridge is32k he is pressed for space at the moment and mentioned that he did throw in the Challengemode. The Challenge mode by the way is a lot offun and very challenging as the name implies. Stay tuned for some gameplay footage.. There are so many examples in this game ofattention to detail. When being pulled into the tractor beam youcannot be harmed and you can shoot diagonally, for example. Also you will note the starfield simulationspeeds up just like in the arcade version. In the advanced mode, some of the enemiesdive bomb toward you during the pattern formations, just like in the arcade. There are game stats displayed after challengestages and when the game ends. You can enter your initials and the scoretables are separate for each game type. Let’s not forget the most important part,it’s just so much fun to play. The graphics are awesome, the sound effectsare on point. It feels right, controls are tight, and withfeatures like auto fire, challenge mode, and extended options in the works such as two-playerco-op mode, this is shaping up to be one of the best game releases this year. In preparation of this video, both John andI did come across a few bugs, one of which John reported, crashes the game. All you had to do was start a game and neverscore a point… One final note Galaga is a stereo game. I want to take this time to thank John Champeaufor letting me do this game preview and for graciously answering all of my questions. Having Galaga being released on the Atari2600 was an unexpected treat, and an accomplishment many people thought to be impossible. I can’t wait to get my hands on the finishedproduct. Thanks for watching…