Sunday, 29 June 2014

Quick Sunday night update

Nothing too exciting to report. Still working on the C version; working on it in blocks of 15 or 30 minutes when I get the chance. Just finished the guards moving around, which only leaves a bit more of the guard mechanics - getting trapped and re-spawning - before tackling the AI. That then just leaves the sundry bells and whistles to round out the finished product!

In the back of my mind I've been thinking of how to implement this on a tilemap/sprite system, and I think I've got a pretty good idea now. It should be a simple matter of passing through a sprite index - player or guard number - to the generic sprite render routines. Bitmap-only systems can ignore that index, whereas sprite-based systems will use it to update the appropriate hardware sprite. It definitely helps to write the logic in a (slightly) higher-level language to see things a little more clearly.

This all has me wondering now about the best approach for future ports. Early on in the 6809 port process the only option I'd considered was repeating the whole hand-translation exercise for the 68K. A colleague then suggested an automated static translation which piqued my interest. Now I'm wondering whether a direct C translation would do more to assist even in subsequent assembler ports?

Anyway, it remains to be seen how easily the C port can be adapted to, and how well it performs on, systems like the Neo Geo and/or the Amiga. I consider these more academic exercises than anything else; I'm not sure there's much interest in Lode Runner on either platform these days. What's more important for me is that I learn something from the process.

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