Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Retrochallenge Wrap-up

Well, the Retrochallenge is over for this Summer.  I'm sure there is now much rejoicing!  In all seriousness, if you have an interest in retro-computing then you should consider taking part in next year's competitions.

Come And Git It

I pushed-out a git tree containing the code I used to produce the images covered earlier.  Much thanks go to my pal David Woodhouse for hosting my silly stuff!


If you don't know how to use git, then find a tutorial -- there are plenty out there that are at least good enough to walk you through the cloning process.  If you want to know more, then buy a book!

Judge For Yourself

Unfortunately for me, I can guarantee that I won't be winning the Retrochallenge this time.  That is because I have been asked to help-out with the judging!  Feel free to find my wishlist on Amazon if you want special consideration given to your project...just kiddin', of course... :-)

Moving Forward

Anyway, I think this project has turned-out alright.  I certainly never expected to see such good (YMMV!) output from an original CoCo.  I hope others are equally impressed!

Let me know where you think I should go with this.  If nothing else, I probably can produce a simple "picture compiler" that will allow for simple conversions of images to display on a CoCo in the 44-color mode.  It shouldn't be too hard to make sure that it runs on Windows as well, but I might need someone willing to send some patches to support non-Linux platforms.

Beyond that, I was thinking that a "sliding puzzle" game might be a possibility.  Perhaps this method could produce backdrop images for conversions of traditional games (i.e. checkers, backgammon, connect-four, etc) as well?  What other ideas do you have?

Also, I have a couple more ideas that might squeeze-out a few more colors.  I'm not sure when I'll get to experimenting with those ideas, but if you want to hear more about them when they happen then you'll have to stay tuned...


  1. The sliding puzzle probably couldn't "slide", though, could it? Just pop in to place? Or are there enough cycles to handle something like that between the drawing?

    Obviously, a GIF viewer comes to mind as a natural thing to attempt ;-)

  2. Good question! You are really thinking about it! :-)

    I think sliding vertically would work OK. I'll still have to have a block of code be "self modifying", but that would be required with the "pop into place" option as well. Stepping one line at a time would just take more steps.

    Sliding horizontally is a bit tougher. But, since the "space" block would be the same size as the moving picture block, I could go ahead and make the CSS selection for the "space" match the moving part of the picture. Then the pixel data could be shifted over one (or a few) pixel(s) at a time.

    There are potentially ~4000 cycles during the vertical blank for each frame, or almost double that since the hi-speed poke could be enabled during that time. I might have to only move part of a block each frame, but I imagine it can be massaged to look reasonable good. Or, I can just live with the "pop" instead. :-)