June 22nd 2017 – The start 2

14 days later

… we haven’t really done anything yet – but that is ok. I am a bit Vectrex tired – and I guess VTK and Jacek have enough to do on their own.

A few emails were exchanged and random thoughts were thrown around.

Here my last “letter”:

Just a short (ok – seems not quite so short after all…) reply –
I’ll be more or less out of touch the next two weeks.

I am all in for smooth and nice animations!


For the Vectrex it is not a problem, whether you have 3 animation steps or 10 doesn’t make a difference performance wise.
The same restrictions as usual apply – each list shouldn’t be much longer than 20 vectors.
For the main character – if needed – we can make an exception, then we would need to draw the character in two lists.


I still think that our main character is “fixed” in the middle of the vectrex screen and everything else “moves/scrolls” in accordance to the movements.
I am whacking my brains for the last couple of weeks to think of an efficient data structure – I am sure I’ll come up with a solution – but I am not there yet.


I think we shouldn’t run into memory problems, since I guess we should aim from the start for a 64KB program. That way we do not have to set restrictions on sound and or graphics.


Technically we should aim to make a game with a couple of (different arbitrary sized) levels.
(in opposite to 1 or two really BIG levels).
The vectrex has only so much RAM, that can not be circumvented. The larger a level is – the more RAM it will need for “changable things”.
(animations, collectables, monsters, doors, …) Huge levels require “huge” RAM – which we don’t have.

I will try to do several prototype “level” engines and look what seems to work out best:
– level as large as the screen – than the screen edges supply a “natural” smooth scrolling border
– level edges clipped (needs much calculation power – but would look really good)
– using an “overlay” to achieve “clipping”, than the edged would suddenly “break off” (like in Karl Quappe, the single lanes)


Level Editor
Also I am pretty sure, that the final vectrex efficient level structure will be not human compatible.
Therefor I am also pretty sure we need some kind of level editor / translator.
I would write that as a “private” section for us in Vide.


From my experience writing “larger” games (or  NOT). I am all in for what Jacek suggested in one of his earlier letters:


Let us determine what we want for the game to be and write it down – and keep to it!


Otherwise I am sure that we keep adding ideas and stuff while we are at it and the danger is we won’t find an end – and give up at some stage.
Once Our goal is reached – we still might refine one or two things. But let us set a goal and go for that.


So I propose we make some kind of design document (after we finish our brainstorming-phase).


To have some sort of time table, following suggestion:
– throw arround ideas – brainstorming till: 30th June 2017
– write a design document – till: 31st July 2017
– review change/add notes – till: 31st August 2017
– than write another timetable for the execution of the design


Meanwhile I will tryout some prototype engines… or a “tilemap vectrex editor” or something :-).


In the brainstroming phase – we don’t have to neatly write everything down in an email – you can also use a piece of paper to sketch or do a mindmap or whatever – just take a picture of it – and throw it in :-).


I could also do a “private” blog kind of thing on my pages and give you two admin rights – so we have everything in one place (I could also provide FTP space to upload something (video, ppt, documents, sounds … whatever).



Now – again two weeks later – none of us has done anything. This surely is slow going. Not a single new brainstorm idea has arrived. And also I keep asking myself – am I ready for another Vectrex “Session”. But as said before its a hobby and we do not need to pressure ourselves.


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