RetroChallenge 2018/04

In order to help motivate me to get some retro-computing work done, I signed up for RetroChallenge 2018/04.  If you don’t know what RetroChallenge is, well it’s an informal contest (that’s not really a contest) for doing retro-computing related projects.  Basically, it’s a way to help incentivize retro-computing enthusiasts to get off their butts and do something cool.

For my project, I have a main goal and some sub goals.  Mainly so I can feel like I accomplished something even if I don’t completely finish it in April.

Here is what I’m planning on doing for this challenge.   I’m planning on writing a game for the Apple ][ that is similar to an iPad game called CargoBot (iTunes link), which is a box sorting game that you need to program the crane to sort the boxes in the fewest amount of commands as possible.

Here are my goals as part of this project.  Mostly in order, but who knows. Feel free to keep score, if you like.

  1. Develop a build pipeline for use with the JetBrains tools (IntelliJ/CLion) similar to, and where I will borrow from, work reference by Quinn Dunki in this blog post.  As she mentions in the post, she is standing on the shoulders of (bald) giants, so I guess I will be standing on (the shoulders of giants)².  And, yes, I’m (mostly) bald, as well, so there is that.
  2. Build the core engine while comparing the tradeoffs for memory usage and performance by trying compact/verbose level formats.  Because, the geek in me wants to make it as small as possible but the gamer in me wants to to actually play it.
  3. Make the rendering of the game to modular so I can render it in any of the following modes:
    1. Text – Easiest way to vet out the engine.
    2. LoRes – Because I can.
    3. HiRes – Because I should.
    4. Double-HiRes – Because I shouldn’t, but I’m gonna anyways.

Some things you might see along the way, so don’t be frightened:

  1. Banging my head on my desk in frustration, because impact-maintenance is a real thing.
  2. Me pulling my hair out, which is a challenge in-and-of itself (see reference to being (mostly) bald above).
  3. Goofy graphics issues.  I’ve played with some HiRes stuff earlier and it’s “interesting” (Minnesota slang for “sucky”).  If you want to point and laugh early, you can look back and see the struggles I’m probably going to have to go through again.
  4. Swearing.  Well, only if you are nearby when this is all happening.  I’ll keep the blog family-friendly but I’ll make no such promises for real-life.

I encourage you to follow along.  We can laugh together (or you can laugh at me), we can cry together (as there may be tears) and hopefully we can play together (well, not together, but you know what I mean).

Let the challenge begin! (Well, tomorrow)

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