Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Discussion of development of software for any "obsolete" computer or video game system.
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RushJet1
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Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by RushJet1 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:20 am

I was the composer for an upcoming Atari 7800 / Windows game if you're interested. Below is the original post from Atari Age.

***The game has been released on Steam!

***Get the soundtrack here!

---------------
Image
An unexpected visit from the Misery Dragon has left Rikki & Vikki with two less children and significantly more inconvenience. Only by mastering a multitude of problematic puzzles can they reach the core of Misery's secret base and rescue the kinder.

Rikki & Vikki is a new puzzle action hybrid available for Microsoft Windows on December 26, 2018 and the Atari 7800 ProSystem on January 14, 2019. You can learn more on the Official Website and I'll keep this first post updated. Or, why not just watch the trailer - right here!

Enjoy the music? It's by RushJet1. All game footage above was captured live from a real Atari 7800 ProSystem. We'll have photos and more details on the complete package after the Microsoft Windows version's release.

Speaking of which, check it out on Image!
If you're interested, make sure to take advantage of our 8-BITS FOR 8-BUCKS launch discount!

If you want more info, check out the Atari Age thread.
Last edited by RushJet1 on Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PypeBros
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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by PypeBros » Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:39 am

Nice. I love that "monster move blocks" mechanics.
Image - may the source be with you.

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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by Memblers » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:20 am

A RushJet1 soundtrack on what's possibly the most musically neglected console? Hells yeah.

That's the first I've heard of BupBoop, that's cool. Do you have access to the TIA audio channels, or is it all with the synth?

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RushJet1
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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by RushJet1 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:42 pm

I don't have access to the TIA, so the music is all the synth. TIA handles all sound effects, with a couple special exceptions.

This project made me more interested in composing TIA music though, so I made some tracks:

TIATune

Mega Man II (GB) Title

Kraid's Lair

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rainwarrior
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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by rainwarrior » Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:30 pm

That looks really nice.

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RushJet1
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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by RushJet1 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:33 pm


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nesrocks
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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by nesrocks » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:45 pm

This is amazing.
https://twitter.com/bitinkstudios <- Follow me on twitter! Thanks!

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TailChao
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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by TailChao » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:16 am

Woof! Woof!

(I'm an account-dog being possessed by the spirit of the game designer ... (RUFF!) Thanks for the interest! We're launching in a week, so I'm a little busy, but if you have any questions I'd be happy to answer them. I thought you'd like to know. Now it's time to become a regular lurker again...)

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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by nesrocks » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:21 am

I have one question, that is how does the MARIA chip work, I mean, what are the practical graphics limitations of the 7800? I ask that because this game seems to utilize the chip to its fullest. I tried searching for it, and I got to this page but I came out of it very confused. Does it treat everything as a sprite with no limits per scanline?
https://twitter.com/bitinkstudios <- Follow me on twitter! Thanks!

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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by tokumaru » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:33 am

Wow, this looks great!

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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by TmEE » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:27 am

If you make one line full of GFX the CPU will be frozen on that line pretty much, the more GFX there is the less CPU time you got. I'm not sure if there's any overdraw capability, I imagine there's just enough cycles to fill the line once.

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TailChao
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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by TailChao » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:30 am

nesrocks wrote:I have one question, that is how does the MARIA chip work, I mean, what are the practical graphics limitations of the 7800?
Sure, and to be fair I don't think that documentation does a good job describing how Maria actually does her thing.

Much of the available literature describes Maria in terms of "sprites," but her architecture more closely resembles a traditional framebuffer drawing system… just without the framebuffer. You divide the screen into regions which can range from 1 - 16 scanlines in length and each of these regions is assigned a draw list. Each scanline Maria kicks Sally (6502) off the bus, picks up the draw list for the current region, and tries to parse and process as much of it as she can before the scanline ends. If she runs out of time you'll get draw tearing.

The result of this is optimizing for Maria is completely different than the PPU in the NES or VDP in the SMS, everything is about keeping the fillrate up on each scanline. In particular, minimizing the amount of unique draw commands and merging smaller draws into larger ones. So just by having an elaborate background you'll lose a good chunk of your fillrate and available CPU time. But this setup also lends itself well to drawing lots of large moving objects.

For example, Rikki & Vikki are both 32x32x2bpp sprites and are double-layered. So if the two of them are standing next to each other, that's 128 pixels. Not bad for 1984.

Overall I would not describe it as "better" or "worse" than the contemporaries, but rather different.

nesrocks wrote:I ask that because this game seems to utilize the chip to its fullest.
While I sincerely appreciate this, I would not word it so generously. In that, we don't have the equivalent of an MMC5 on the cartridge and there are a few little hardware assists that would nudge Maria further.

There seems to be a good amount of interest in how the game actually works, so I may do a multi-part writeup some time after release.


EDIT : Regarding overdraw, this depends both upon the particular drawing mode and (again) how optimized the draw list is. It takes Maria 3 cycles to fetch one byte of graphic data and she runs at 7.16MHz, so it's quite feasible to fill an entire line even in the high resolution modes. But you'll lose 8 - 10 cycles per draw command parse which can add up quickly.

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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by lidnariq » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:55 am

nesrocks wrote:Does it treat everything as a sprite with no limits per scanline?
Last time I said this, which is just a different way of phrasing what TailChao said.
TmEE wrote:If you make one line full of GFX the CPU will be frozen on that line pretty much, the more GFX there is the less CPU time you got. I'm not sure if there's any overdraw capability, I imagine there's just enough cycles to fill the line once.
A full scanline of blitter (stealing all CPU time) yields 285% overdraw... but you lose some of that overdraw for each distinct object you blit from memory to the linebuffer.

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RushJet1
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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by RushJet1 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:55 am

The game has been released on Steam!

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Re: Rikki & Vikki (Atari 7800)

Post by psycopathicteen » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:06 am

lidnariq wrote:
nesrocks wrote:Does it treat everything as a sprite with no limits per scanline?
Last time I said this, which is just a different way of phrasing what TailChao said.
TmEE wrote:If you make one line full of GFX the CPU will be frozen on that line pretty much, the more GFX there is the less CPU time you got. I'm not sure if there's any overdraw capability, I imagine there's just enough cycles to fill the line once.
A full scanline of blitter (stealing all CPU time) yields 285% overdraw... but you lose some of that overdraw for each distinct object you blit from memory to the linebuffer.
So, it's one byte accessed per NTSC color cycle?

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