Making an Atari game – Day 7

About a week ago I ordered the Harmony Cartridge from AtariAge so I can test my game out on actual hardware as I develop it. This is important because Atari emulation software is great but will be very forgiving to your code and tends to run your game a lot more smoothly than the actual system itself. So If I want to make an actual cartridge of this game, the Harmony Cartridge is a necessity for testing. However I did order the wrong one by accident :/ I purchased the original when I think I probably should have got the Harmony Encore.. I haven’t tested the original yet (because the Atari 2600 that I purchased on eBay hasn’t arrived) but I think since I am developing this game with the DPC+ kernel, I need the extra capabilities of the Encore cartridge for it to work correctly. (Update: I was wrong, you don’t need Encore for DPC+) So I went ahead and ordered that one as well just in case. I really want to be able to test this game as I go during my vacation. I don’t want to go too deep in code and realize later that I have to rewrite a bunch of it.

I successfully added a four directional sword in the game, much akin to the original Legend of Zelda for the NES. The Battle system will work the same way, where you can “fire” your sword ahead of you either up, down, left, or right. But not diagonally. However I also coded what I’ll call a Spear for now. This fires out of the player almost across the screen or until it hits a wall. This weapon can fire in all 8 Directions, so it is much better than the Sword that the player will start out with.

First weapon code, spear being thrown
First weapon code, spear being thrown

I’m not sure what I am going to do with the Spear in the game.. I might make it a separate item that you have to find and pick up along the way or just make you shoot your weapon when you have full health. Kind of like the Master Sword in Zelda. I’m not really sure yet. We’ll see when I start adding monsters.

As for the monsters, I think they are my next step. I just managed to shrink a bit more code in my Random Dungeon Generator bank, which gave me just enough room to add some random monster placement routines. So far, zero monsters will show up since I haven’t coded any, but at least now the Atari is setting placements in the dungeon for them. It understand where I want them.