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Source Code of Several Atari 7800 Games Released

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the good-way-to-start-an-education dept.

Programming 153

jadoon88 writes to share a series of old Atari 7800 games that have been unofficially open sourced. "Remember Dig Dug or Centipede or Robotron? They used to be favorites when Atari's 7800 series was still around. Since the era of those consoles is over, and a different world of interactive reality gaming has taken over, Atari has unofficially released source code of over 15 games for the coders and enthusiasts to admire the state-of-the-art (because this is what it was back then). During those times, nobody would have imagined in their wildest dreams the games that Atari's developers floated into the gaming thirsty market and instantly swept across continental boundaries. But things changed soon after that and a company once regarded as one of the most successful gaming console manufacturers and developers faded away in the pages of our technology's hall-of-fame."

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Great! (2, Insightful)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575721)

Well this is really great and I thank them for finally releasing code from like 40 years ago but what does 'unofficially released source code' mean exactly???

Re:Great! (4, Interesting)

Acapulco (1289274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575831)

My thoughts too. What does "unofficially released source code means" exactly?

After some thinking I came to the conclusion that it means you can download the code, but without an open source license applied to it, such that if someone tries to buy the code from them (or the company), they can just stop giving away the files, state that it's still propietary and then still have the ability to sue someone who develops something based on those files. That's the only logical explanation I can come up with.

Like saying "here, I'll give you my car as a gift" but not transfering the ownership via legal papers. If at some point someone wanted to buy my car I can just tell you "hey, that car I gave you for free....it's no longer yours, it's mine to sell now" and you would have (I presume...IANAL) no legal way of claiming otherwise.

No?

Re:Great! (3, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575931)

Shaking head in disbelief... Still trying to get someone to pay for Dig Dug after all these years....

Re:Great! (1)

radimvice (762083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28578003)

Yeah, they must be crazy [namcogames.com] or something...

Re:Great! (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576259)

It's just like most everything else people put up on the Web. They're just saying you can download a copy and look at it but you can't distribute any copies or create any derivatives. I suppose some people might find it mildly amusing. Nothing to do with Open Source, at any rate.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28577037)

Obviously you're not familiar with piracy.

Re:Great! (1)

hldn (1085833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576293)

Like saying "here, I'll give you my car as a gift" but not transfering the ownership via legal papers. If at some point someone wanted to buy my car I can just tell you "hey, that car I gave you for free....it's no longer yours, it's mine to sell now" and you would have (I presume...IANAL) no legal way of claiming otherwise

i seem to recall something along these lines whereby if the person who was gifted the car by these terms could prove that they had sole possession of the car for a sufficient amount of time they were able to have it legally transfered to their name.. im also not a lawyer and my memory is hazy on this -- i dont even remember where i recall this from -- so maybe someone with some expertise can clarify.

Re:Great! (2, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576389)

    That would depend on where you live.

    Where I live, a vehicle can be considered a gift or abandon. If it's abandon and you can show that it's been on your property for such a period, you can petition the courts to title it to you. If it's a gift, you'd need to demonstrate that it was a gift. If the legal owner contests an action, then you'd be in a messy court battle. For example, they could say "I loaned him that car for a few weeks. He never returned it, and I couldn't find him or my car. I never reported it stolen, because I believed him to be a friend. Now he's trying to take ownership of the car." What was a simple gift now has put you on the bad end of a grand theft auto charge.

    The same wouldn't apply to software source code that was mysterious and unofficially released. This sounds like someone who had access to the source code leaked it, although way too late to be useful.

Re:Great! (4, Informative)

Mekabyte (678689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575945)

It's unofficial because it wasn't released by Atari, as the post suggests, but by the Atari Historical Society [atarimuseum.com] , copied from source disks recovered from Atari's trash.

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

Acapulco (1289274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576107)

Then shouldn't it be "illegal" instead of "unofficial"?

If Atari still has the copyright on some of those games, then it would be illegal to do so, isn't it? Even when they probably won't sue or anything, how can I "unofficially" release the source code to, say, MS-DOS without MS suing (suEing? sp?) me?

Re:Great! (2, Interesting)

armanox (826486) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576117)

SCOTUS ruled that what you throw out is public property...

Re:Great! (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576133)

Does that even apply? It's not the physical copy to which Atari has legal rights, they have the copyright to the code on the disks. And that's a huge difference, if that weren't the case then people would be perfectly free to copy disks as much as they liked, provided they could find one that had been tossed in the garbage bin.

Somehow I don't think that theory would hold up in court, well either theory.

Re:Great! (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576455)

However, did they ever register the copyright for the source code?
If not, then any damage awards for this "publication" won't amount to a hill of beans.
Furthermore, who really owns the copyright on that source? The original Atari has been bankrupted and merged and reverse-merged a number of times to the point where the current "Atari" is really nothing more than a company that bought the trademark 2nd or 3rd hand.
Without a clear owner to file a copyright infringement case, this simple free distribution isn't likely to get anyone in trouble.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28578119)

You don't need to register anything. Copyright is automatic. When you create something it belongs to you. You may choose whatever license you want, you can even release as Public Domain and then it will not belong to you anymore, but by default your works are protected by the (C) laws.

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576153)

SCOTUS ruled that what you throw out is public property...

Right, but that just means the discs are public property (assuming the data was on disc). If I throw away a book, someone can grab that book out of the trash and claim it for themselves. However, the author does not lose the copyright (even if it was the author who threw away the book).

Re:Great! (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576189)

Isn't it more like if someone threw away the printing press used to make the book, rather than the book itself?

If they had thrown away the binaries, I would agree with your analogy.

Re:Great! (2, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576311)

Isn't it more like if someone threw away the printing press used to make the book, rather than the book itself?

Um, no. The equivalent to throwing away the printing press would be throwing away the disk drive.

If they had thrown away the binaries, I would agree with your analogy.

Let's refrain from using analogies then and stick to the facts. If you throw away a piece of media, that piece of media becomes available to whoever wants to fish it out of the trash. However, copyright for any intellectual property on said media is unaffected. This is the actual legal fact, and it makes no difference whether we're talking about a novel printed on the pages of a book or source code recorded on a floppy disk. You own the book or the disk, but the author retains the copyright of the novel or program. Neither situation is an analogy for the other, both are specific instances of the legal rule.

And it goes well beyond fishing out of the trash. I can explicitly give you the source code for a program on a disk, and I still retain copyright. Unless I also give you a licensing agreement, I can sue your ass off if you publish what's on the disk I gave you.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28577937)

SCOTUS ruled that what you throw out is public property...

Does that mean that, since you can be virtually certain someone at some point put source files from the Windows XP source code in the Recycle Bin, those are public property now, too?

Re:Great! (1)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576969)

Yup, which makes this !opensource, unlike the incorrect statement in the summary that further dilutes the meaning.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576057)

Surely Atari have release the source of every 7800 game ever written? All 7800 & 2600 games were written in assembly. Just disassemble the ROMs.

Re:Great! (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576205)

Just disassemble the ROMs.

can't do that... violation of the DMCA!

Alas Dig Dug, i knew him well...

Re:Great! (1)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576299)

Those are completely without comments and most importantly, variable names.

MOV HEALTH, AX

is more understandable than

MOV BYTE 0xFF43, AX

Re:Great! (2, Funny)

keeboo (724305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577403)

MOV HEALTH, AX

I don't think the Atari 7800 used a x86 processor...

Emulators? (1)

bezking (1274298) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575727)

Is there a point to this besides just ooh-and-aahing over it? It looks like there are several 7800 emulators out there; could these projects build off the code and use it to design their own games? That would be a really cool model for other manufacturers to follow (ahem, Nintendo)...

Re:Emulators? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576405)

> ...could these projects build off the code and use it to design their own games?

Not legally.

Re:Emulators? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28577917)

laughing elf man.jpg

Is there a cross assembler? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575729)

Whatever the ATARI used for a processor, I don't recognize this ....

main:
;
; initialize hardware
;
        lda #$7 ;lock in 7800 mode
        sta PTCTRL

        sei ;block interrupts
        cld ;clear decimal mode

        lda #0
        sta OFFSET ;future expansion
        sta PTCTRL ;avoid joystick freeze

        ldx #$FF ;init stack
          txs
;
; init high score
;
        jsr initscore ;clear score to zero
        jsr newhiscore ;clear hi sc

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575783)

Looks like 6502.

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (3, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576195)

Looks like 6502.

Actually, it would have to be 65C02 or better. You couldn't do "ldx #$FF" on a 6502, you had to do "lda #$FF" and then "tax" (transfer A to X). The ability to load immediate into the X or Y registers was added on the 65C02. And, don't quote my on this, but I think the 7800 predated the 65816, so I suspect 65C02 is the right answer...

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (2, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576257)

Okay, curse my failing memory, I believe I just "misremembered" that factoid. On the 6502, you couldn't push or pull X or Y from the stack, necessitating the cumbersome txa, push or pull, tax instead of simply pullings into the desired register. I don't recall now if loading immediate into X or Y worked on the 6502.

The scary thing is that I remember ANY of this shit over 25 years later...

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577439)

Loading immediate worked, otherwise indirect addressing with the accumulator would have been a giant pain in the ass. (assumption: INY and DEY would not be present if the silicon lacked direct load)

LDY #$FF
:label
LDA buffer,Y
STA newBuffer,Y
DEY
BEQ label

was a fairly common idiom, IIRC. Maybe a CPY #0 before the BEQ, I forget if DEY set the zero flag. I'm about 90% sure it did, though.
I'm certain you're thinking of PLA and PLP.

> The scary thing is that I remember ANY of this shit over 25 years later...

I hear ya there, brother.

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576319)

Looks like 6502.

Actually, it would have to be 65C02 or better. You couldn't do "ldx #$FF" on a 6502, you had to do "lda #$FF" and then "tax" (transfer A to X). The ability to load immediate into the X or Y registers was added on the 65C02. And, don't quote my on this, but I think the 7800 predated the 65816, so I suspect 65C02 is the right answer...

I like compilers.

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576475)

Looks like 6502.

Actually, it would have to be 65C02 or better. You couldn't do "ldx #$FF" on a 6502, you had to do "lda #$FF" and then "tax" (transfer A to X). The ability to load immediate into the X or Y registers was added on the 65C02. And, don't quote my on this, but I think the 7800 predated the 65816, so I suspect 65C02 is the right answer...

I like compilers.

I like cake.

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576505)

I like compilers.

I like cake.

Mmmm... chocolate compilers...

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576379)

6502c, actually. It's a custom version of the 6502 that was integrated with various other system hardware and could dynamically adjust its clock depending on which memory address was being accessed. (That was how Atari gained 2600 compatibility, which was a custom 6507 chip.)

It sounded all well and good on paper, but the actual implementation of the processor was a serious PITA. If you weren't careful, you'd accidentally drop the speed to 1.19MHz and throw all your timings off. Even more annoying was that many functions required you to access hardware that dropped the clock speed. The worst offender was the TIA sound hardware because Atari was too cheap to install a POKEY chip.

Worse yet, the normal 1.79MHz was underpowered for the complex sprite hardware they'd paired it with. The sprite hardware basically processed lists of lists of sprites, requiring sophisiticated data structures to get good performance out of complex, fast moving scenes. And if that wasn't painful enough, you were wise to find a way to keep as much of the structure in ROM as possible so that you wouldn't blow through the mere 4K of RAM.

The 7800 was an interesting and potentially even useful design, but it simply wasn't practical for most developers. (Many of whom were not computer scientists.)

Tell us another story! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576571)

Seriously, that was a pretty great comment.

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (1)

Cprossu (736997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577251)

lda #$7 ;lock in 7800 mode
Was gonna say, there's a few codes listed in the dev kit that if given will "lock in" either 2600 mode or 7800 mode, pretty cool stuff...

Some of this code is pretty staggering, I can't even imagine the thought that went into the code of ms. pacman though, all machine language o_o

I'll go through all the games eventually just to see what was all done, some of it is elegant, some of it is trashy, and some I can't even figure out how it's supposed to work! old time hacks and bugs for the win I suppose!

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (1)

Xebikr (591462) | more than 5 years ago | (#28578029)

Wow. I feel so inadequate after reading that. Where do I turn in my geek card?

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (1)

VanessaE (970834) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577053)

Incorrect - both X and Y registers support immediate mode loads, same as the accumulator.

GP is mixing up loads vs. stack instructions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28577159)

instructions for pushing and popping the X/Y registers are what were missing from the original NMOS 6502 and added to the 65C02 (among other things). LDX #$FF was allowed from the beginning. The Atari 7800 used a 6502C which was not the same as a 65C02 (and had none of the bug fixes or new opcodes) but rather, was a 6502 that incorporated what had previously been some external glue logic used for halting the CPU when other chips needed to DMA.

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28578173)

The 7800 uses a 6502C, which is basically a standard 6502 with a HALT line attached to it so that the 7800's graphics processor (MARIA) can suspend the cpu temporarily while it looks for graphics info each scanline.

And ldx is a valid opcode on the 6502C. Hell, even the Atari 2600 could do that with it's 6507 - which is a crippled 6502 chip.

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576275)

Is there some particular reason you feel the need to trumpet your own ignorance on Slashdot?

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (1)

drfreak (303147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576707)

I just downloaded all the stuff. It looks like their development platform was the Atari ST, which has good emulators out there. They not only included the games, they included the development tools for the ST, as well as NTSC and PAL 7800 OS ROMs!

Re:Is there a cross assembler? (1)

Cprossu (736997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577273)

I personally like how it tells you straight up that you have to modify and hack up a stock 7800 though, especially the bit of 'and put it back together, if it's even possible' =D

Crystal Castles (1)

Berzelius (558040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575731)

For people that played these games it must be pretty sentimental. I didn't play these games, but the hours I spent playing Crystal Castle on my Atari 520ST are still very alive. Thanks to whoever wrote it and please consider open sourcing this game. It has been away way too long.

Phone numbers? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575747)

Un-redacted phone numbers for the programmers in readme.doc files? They probably don't want to be getting calls about these games 21 years later from the internet at large.

-Lee

Re:Phone numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575863)

"The 80's called. They want their [insert clever bit here] back."

Re:Phone numbers? (1)

Frnknstn (663642) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576225)

"The 80s called. They want their non-parallel sprite sub-processors back."
"The 80s called. They want their battery-backed high score storage back."
"The 80's called. They want their idiotic misused apostrophe back."

Re:Phone numbers? (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576435)

That would be the '80s. Unless you're talking about the actual 80s. Good years, those. Man, was opening night at the Colosseum fun.

Re:Phone numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575977)

After 21 years, how many of them do you think are still alive, let alone living at the same house with the same phone number?

Re:Phone numbers? (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576037)

After 21 years, how many of them do you think are still alive...

No kidding. That would make them like 50 or 60! Quit being so ridiculous...

Re:Phone numbers? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576445)

They live at the same house with the same phone number? -- Is there a dead sprite in the back yard?

hmmm (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575751)

Anyone else read this something like.

1) Successful gaming console manfacturer posting record profit
2) . . .
3) Bankruptcy!

Do it the hard way! (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575803)

Wheee! Poorly commented 6502 assembly with no other docs.
Mildy interesting in a retro way, but I don't see any great insight being taken from this. Most of these classic games are just ports anyhow. How about Joust source for the original Williams platform?

Re:Do it the hard way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575841)

Some stud will write a 6502 to x86 cross assembler, post it, and be known as THE Stud and beautiful women ripping their clothes off for him because of his brilliance!

"Oh baby! You're the one that wrote that cross assembler 6502 to i86 for Linux! Take me, I'm yours!"

Re:Do it the hard way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28577123)

Ballmer is that you?

Re:Do it the hard way! (4, Informative)

butlerm (3112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575927)

You can be sure that the original arcade versions were written in assembly language not that different from what you see here. As a rule, nobody wrote video games in C until the mid 1980s. Assembly language was king.

I worked at a game software developer in the late 1980s, and all of the 2600 games, all of the 7800 games, all of the C-64 games, all of the Atari 800 games we developed or ported during the period were written in native assembly language. Only the Amiga, Atari ST, Macintosh, and the later PC games were written in C. NES and SuperNES games were written in assembly as well.

Re:Do it the hard way! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576457)

I can't speak for all SNES games, but as a (former) member of the Earthbound [wikipedia.org] hacking community, I can attest that Earthbound contains compiled code. I do not have it at my fingertips at the moment, but the ROM contains an ASCII (I think...) text string with the name of the compiler. Also, significant portions of the assembly code look like something no human would have ever written.

Re:Do it the hard way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576695)

That's really not a surprise since that came out fairly late in the SNES's life.

Re:Do it the hard way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28577143)

Not all of the C=64 games were in assembly, Sid Meier's Pirates! was in BASIC (a lot of it)..

Re:Do it the hard way! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28578151)

I would say 99% of Amiga games were 100% assembler and only later they began using C for multiplatform titles (Lucas adventures and whatnot). You cannot get the most out of the Amiga hardware with C. Most games didn't even use the OS at all but banged the hardware directly, so using C would have been moot anyway.

Re:Do it the hard way! (1)

willoughby (1367773) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576031)

Wheee! Poorly commented 6502 assembly with no other docs.

Hey! That's just like I used to write (with a little help from Lance Leventhal).

Re:Do it the hard way! (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576351)

Looked decently documented to me. Assuming you are familiar with the op codes.

Re:Do it the hard way! (1)

inotocracy (762166) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576717)

The MsPacMan source is actually pretty well documented, buddy.

Unofficial? (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575825)

What does unofficially open sourced mean? Sounds like an official release, since it came with an accompanying press release..

Anyway, source code is a bit of a misnomer here. All of these games were written in assembly, not any high level language. They are very well commented though, and it's more readable that most Python code I've seen...

Re:Unofficial? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575885)

It probably means you get no rights to it use it in any way you choose and that they won't support it for when some noob wants help turn enemies into penis shaped creatures and wants someone to tell him what to copy & paste and how to get it to run on his emulator.

Re:Unofficial? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576871)

What does unofficially open sourced mean?

Means somebody found the source code while dumpster diving.

Anyone notice... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575855)

Anyone else notice "ENCRYPTION CRAPOLA -- GO INTO MARIA" comment in main loop of centipede. Love it!

Re:Anyone notice... (2, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576157)

Well, if my knowledge of history by way of Hollywood is any help, that's the portion of the game that if accidentally accessed by a kid renders him in control of our nuclear arsenal.

Great news! (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575857)

This is great news! I've almost finished building my MAME cabinet. I wonder how this will allow the Roms of those games to be released freely.

Kudos to Atari license holders for releasing this.

15 minutes later ... (4, Funny)

Knowbuddy (21314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575861)

... we see our first CERT advisory for a buffer overflow exploit in Dig Dug, leading to a remote execution vulnerability in your 'net-enabled MAME console.

I can get the source code for JOUST!! WOOHOO!!! (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575879)

As a video-addicted teen, so many years ago, with too much time on his hands, I never imagined I would ever be able
to get my hands on this

The Year of the Linux Gaming Platform? (3, Funny)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575895)

This unofficial open source release signals that this will finally be the year of the cutting edge linux gaming platform.

Re:The Year of the Linux Gaming Platform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575967)

Yes, only 20 or so years until the NES and then... THE WORLD!

The year was actually 2005 (1)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576785)

My hardcore gaming rig runs Lincade [pc2jamma.org] . We are talking serious commercial grade stuff here, HAPPS controls, Tornado spinners, and a 30" Wells/Gardner [happcontrols.com] monitor in a SlickStik cabinet. If you are setting an arcade cabinet, make sure you get Lincade. There is no better gaming experience!

WOHOO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575903)

So like in only 40 years from now linux will become a gaming platform!

Correct link for Sphinx (4, Informative)

haruchai (17472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575909)

Should end in SPHINX.zip not Sphinx.zip. Beware the 404

Re:Correct link for Sphinx (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576019)

There are two broken links. It can be easier to just browse the directory and grab the files. http://www.programmerfish.com/Attari7800/ [programmerfish.com]

Re:Correct link for Sphinx (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576151)

I didn't catch the second one , PAL7800 because I had Down Them All masking only on archives and the link didn't have the ZIP extension.

Thanks.

Some fun stuff... (5, Interesting)

Sprite_tm (1094071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576011)

* From the devkit readmes:

2600/7800 DEVELOPMENT KIT<br>
CARE AND FEEDING INSTRUCTIONS<br>
[...]
Feel free to telephone John Feagans at Atari (U.S.) at area  code
(408)  745-xxxx  any  time you have a question  about  using  the
software.   He  wrote the download program and the  transfer  rom
code.   He's the one who did not write any support  documentation
to go with his software.

* From the base sw:
CPX     #1               ;HACK: WE STOP AT 1
BEQ     SELRTS
INX                     ;BIGGER HACK: PUSH X INTO RANGE.
LDA     ZHACKMOD+2,X     ;BIGGEST HACK: TABLE LOOKUP NEXT MODE.

* Ofcourse, we have explicit words:
CMP     #$FF                   ;SEE IF ANY INPUT
BEQ     FUCKYOU
JMP     GOTOSEL                ;GO TO SELECT MODE
FUCKYOU   BIT     INPT4                  ;LOOK AT FIRE BUTTON INPUT
BMI     ATIT4

LDA     #0                     ;ENOUGH TIME HAS ELAPSED TO ALLOW CAPS
STA     $1                     ;TO DISCHARGE SO CONTINUE FUCKING WITH
LDA     #$14                   ;IO HARDWARE

STA     AUDC0,X         ;GO POUND SAND IN YOUR ASS

* Citizen Kane anyone?
LDA     INPT0,Y                ;THESE FOUR LINES MUST BE INCLUDED IN
                                         ;THE FINAL VERSION
AND     INPT1,Y                ;REMEMBER
BMI     FUCKBAR                ;REMEMBER,. . ., ROSEBUD

* In Galaga, at 'a boss hit':
JSR    ABOSSHIT               ; HOW YOU PRONOUNCE IT IS YOUR OWN
       ;BUSINESS

* Liek wtf?
* GROUND TARGET SECRET CODES (SSHHHH!)
*         0       regular dome           logram
*         1       regular pyramid        barra
*         2       detector dome          zolbak (and your mama, too)

*And finally, an original comment which couldn't be more to the point in 2009:
*PROGRAMMERS BEWARE: THIS CODE IS OLD AND VERY UGLY! TAMPER AT YOUR OWN RISK

It looks like Hattrick is written mostly in Forth btw. I personally didn't know they wrote games in that language!

Re:Some fun stuff... (2, Informative)

Spit (23158) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576269)

John Feagans, he was part of the original Vic20 software team. He must have jumped ship to Atari with the rest of the talent when Tramiel left Commodore.

Re:Some fun stuff... (1)

Adm.Wiggin (759767) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577063)

...over 15 games...

Is it really that hard to just say 17?

Re:Some fun stuff... (1)

wakingrufus (904726) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577547)

i liked this from galaga (GDAC1.S):

LDA BULLSHT SEE IF IN BULLSHIT MODE

what is bullshit mode? apparently all these caps trigger the lameness filter

Re:Some fun stuff... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577693)

It looks like Hattrick is written mostly in Forth btw. I personally didn't know they wrote games in that language!

There aren't many, but the poster children are Starflight and Starflight II [geocities.com] -- great games, btw.

Let's give credit where credit is due (5, Informative)

silverspell (1556765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576093)

Apparently Curt Vendel and Atarimuseum.com [atarimuseum.com] deserve the real credit [atariage.com] for this release.

This is great (5, Funny)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576139)

Seeing how it was done old-school is always refreshing. No C++, Java, C#, just hardcore assembly.

As an anecdote, I have a friend who used to work at MECC and worked on games for the Apple II like Oregon Trail and Odell Lake (find yourself a Way-Back Machine if you aren't familiar with those games). If memory serves me right, before leaving MECC, he wrote something akin to the following in one of those two programs:

[code]
; Important. Do NOT remove this. -- username
nop
nop
nop
; Proceed
[/code]

Years later it was apparently still in the code and he'd met up with an old colleague who asked, "What was up with the three nops? We didn't remove them because we didn't know what would happen". The response being, "Nothing, I just thought it would be funny to have this conversation a few years later".

Re:This is great (2, Interesting)

RaymondKurzweil (1506023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576449)

MECC

Well their logo was quite prominent. The Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium, IIRC. Almost anyone my age in the US remembers things like Number Munchers. Unfortunately "carpet munchers hack" doesn't show up on google.

Re:This is great (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576555)

Heh, reminds me when I used to break into the built-in monitor while a disk program was loading on the Apple II (which also uses a 6502 processor) and always saw a bunch of $EA bytes. I thought it was because it was an Electronic Arts game, that they used that hex value as some kind of signature. Only later did I learn that was the opcode for NOP. It's odd as on most other 8-bit processors $00 is NOP.

Re:This is great (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577661)

I never thought about it. I think $00 is BRK on the 6502 -- that part seemed logical enough to me. Dunno why NOP would be such an odd value. Anyone?

Hmmm... (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576155)

CMP #$FF ;SEE IF ANY INPUT
BEQ FUCKYOU
JMP GOTOSEL ;GO TO SELECT MODE
FUCKYOU BIT INPT4 ;LOOK AT FIRE BUTTON INPUT
BMI ATIT4
JMP GOTORES
ATIT4 LDA #0
STA FLAP ;PREVENT FLAPPING IN LOADER
JMP TITLOOP

Hmmm...

Ms. PacMan (5, Interesting)

thygate (1590197) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576209)

look, it's Ms Pacman

          ;MS RIGHT, HALF OPEN
          DB      $08,$00,$0A,$50,$A5,$54,$25,$D5,$17,$55,$15,$50
          DB      $15,$00,$15,$50,$15,$55,$05,$54,$01,$50,$00,$00

All the pixelfonts are in there too offcourse. If you're into remaking arcade classics, there's a lot of picture and sound data there just waiting to be recycled.

Re:Ms. PacMan (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576425)

Spoiling slashdot with Pacman porn again, are we?

More in the well of Atari nostalgia (5, Interesting)

alnicodon (685283) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576419)

I quite like the way this blog [dadhacker.com] by an old time Atari employee recalls the when and how of Atari developement. Something (Donkey Kong port [dadhacker.com] on Atari consoles) that read

I should explain how Atari's Arcade conversions group worked. Basically, Atari's marketing folks would negotiate a license to ship GameCorp's "Foobar Blaster" on a cartridge for the Atari Home Computer System. That was it. That was the entirety of the deal.

made it clearer with :

We got ZERO help from the original developers of the games. No listings, no talking to the engineers, no design documents, nothing.

but, wait... there was even less:

In fact, we had to buy our own copy of the arcade machine and simply get good at the game (which was why I was playing it at the hotel our copy of the game hadn't even been delivered yet).

was for me a sure way to a plentiful of nostalgiaholic reading.

Al.

Re:More in the well of Atari nostalgia (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577739)

Hell, anyone who has played Pac-Man on an Atari 2600 could have told you this much.

All 15 games+devkit in a single rar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576511)

for those who where getting 404s
all code for 15 games plus the devkit (needs Atari ST/STE/STFM or Stella emulator for developing)

http://www.zshare.net/download/621984116ad0266d/ [zshare.net]

Why The 7800? (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576531)

Didn't this console flop b/c nobody made new games for it? Who hasn't played all these titles on their MAME? I'd like to see some release code/remakes of the games that had some depth, how about Star Raiders or Countermeasure? Starflight for the Genesis was pretty wicked fun until you lost your map of the universe.

On that note, I'm off to find the magic dot and slay some dragons.

Just source code for proprietary software. (3, Insightful)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577475)

jadoon88 writes to share a series of old Atari 7800 games that have been unofficially open sourced.

No, but whomever wrote that headline is making a common mistake. The use of the term "open source" tells us that "open source" is apparently no more clear to people than what that movement tried to supplant—free software. While "free software" has an ambiguity problem, that problem is easily resolved by saying the "free" refers to freedoms to run, share, and modify the software, not a reference to price. "Open source" is also widely misunderstood [gnu.org] :

The official definition of "open source software," as published by the Open Source Initiative, is very close to our definition of free software; however, it is a little looser in some respects, and they have accepted a few licenses that we consider unacceptably restrictive of the users. However, the obvious meaning for the expression "open source software" is "You can look at the source code." This is a much weaker criterion than free software; it includes free software, but also includes semi-free programs such as Xv, and even some proprietary programs, including Qt under its original license (before the QPL).

That obvious meaning for "open source" is not the meaning that its advocates intend. The result is that most people misunderstand what those advocates are advocating.

but not easily cleared up. As that essay points out, "the explanation for "free software" is simple--a person who has grasped the idea of "free speech, not free beer" will not get it wrong again. There is no such succinct way to explain the official meaning of "open source" and show clearly why the natural definition is the wrong one.".

From what I can tell, there's no permission given to share any of these programs, no permission to modify any of these programs, and no permission to distribute these programs commercially.

The blog poster claims "In an official release, Atari has quoted that the purpose of the release is to give potential developers insight into the Atari's gaming platform so they may possibly build upon the 7800 series." but there is no link to the official release from the copyright holder. Therefore the provenance of this source code is unclear. I would consider these programs to be neither open source nor free software. This looks like an offer to download source code for proprietary software then make the mistake of distributing unauthorized derivative works based on these programs. It might be fun to program new Atari 7800 games, but copyright lasts a very long time and there's too little information to verify what the blogger claims.

Re:Just source code for proprietary software. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28578135)

Wrong. Saying that software is "free as in speech" has the obvious meaning that you can do virtually whatever you want with it, which is only true if discussing BSD licenses. If you are using "free" the way that GNU intends everyone to, it makes no more intuitive sense than "open". Thus, the correct comparison here is that "open" requires explanation, whereas "free" first requires disambiguation, and then explanation.

Go ahead, take a layman off the street and give him a source code disc. Tell him it's "free as in speech". I guarantee you that he will not infer copyleft.

The problem with "free" is not just the ambiguity, but the fact that the ambiguity is directly misleading. If it were for a less noble cause, people would easily call it propaganda. If you can't do anything you want with it, then it's not free as in freedom.

score tables (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577933)

Robotron is one of my favorite games, so I've been looking at the source to it. One odd thing I've seen is the table of points scored for each enemy. They stored the 150 value for (for example) an Enforcer as:

DB $01, $50

.

For those who aren't aware, the '$' prefix denoted a hex number in Motorola assembly. It's strange that the score values are stored in this weird BCD-ish way. Maybe it was more efficient to do BCD math than to convert the binary to decimal every time the score changed (which meant a screen update).

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