Monday, 13 November 2017

On Yer Bike! (Or at least, My Bike)...

Since it has been over 2 weeks since the last update, I thought I'd better post something.

Whilst I have been focusing on life off the computer lately (namely an 82km fun/charity bicycle ride) I have managed to make some progress. What I haven't made any progress on, however, is the elusive 'pass right through some objects' bug.

As a first step towards compiled sprites, I computed the pre-shifted bitmaps for the asteroids. Still largely unoptimised, they at least eliminate the need for a pair of table look-ups for every byte rendered on the screen, and the associated set-up calculations required for that. The extra data also required that I start to use the lower 16KB of the cartridge ROM area.

Unfortunately I can't find the speed/profile numbers that I thought I'd recorded for the game before changing the asteroids. I could quite easily restore a copy from version control, but I'm too lazy to do that at the moment. FTR though, the start of the attract mode is now running about 33% too slow, keeping in mind that the I've only changed the asteroids, and they're still not compiled sprites.

One thing I did notice when counting cycles in my new code though was that there may be room for improvement in my Knight Lore sprite rendering routine. I had previously assumed the post-incrementing index instructions were the most efficient but depending on the situation, it may be faster to use a series of 5-bit constant offset instructions and then adjust the index register (LEA) afterwards.

Next step is to produce compiled sprites for the asteroids and see if that makes much difference. If my theories are correct though, it probably won't make as much difference as pre-shifting the data.