Thursday, August 22, 2013

Doriath on ColecoVision, Mockup. (IV)

In my previous article, I manage to re-size screens according to the Coleco Vision specification. However, each tile or character shown was the original tile from the Commodore 64. On the Commodore 64, tiles can be either 8 x 8 pixels using 2 colors or 4 x 8 pixels (larger pixel size) using 4 colors among the 16 colors available.

The game on Coleco Vision will be using Graphic Mode I. This graphic mode allows up to 256 tiles. Each tile is 8 x 8 pixels and is limited to a 2 colors pattern among the 15 colors available. The 2 colors of the tiles are specified for each 8 consecutive tiles among the 256, which give a total of 32 entries ( 256 tiles in total / 8 tiles ).

The screen during the game is divided into 2 parts: information (upper part) and action (lower part). In order to keep the same number of lines for the action part, the information is limited to 4 lines (instead of 5). The 5th line in the original game is use to display the content of the chest box for few seconds when the player open one. This information can be display on line 4 for few seconds and switch back to display the position of the player. The information section (shown above) will need 4 sprites to enhance the icons.

I decided to add the scroll fragment and I am not sure if the wisdom display in the original game is relevant. From my understanding the wisdom give an idea about the completion of the game. But, amulets and scroll fragments seem a better indicator. In case I need to add wisdom, I plan to add the percentage above the scroll fragment number (similar to what I did for the Stamina Potion & Stamina).

The keypad on the Coleco Vision controller will be use to activate items:

  1. Stamina Potion
  2. Portcullis Key
  3. Trapdoor Key
  4. Fungata Potion
  5. Cloronar Potion
  6. Scroll Fragment
  #. Option Screen (To Be Define...)

A plastic with the proper graphic would be design once these options are confirm.

In order to validate the look of the game, I decided to work on the tiles and use the original sprites (but with the Coleco Vision colors).

I have redraw the larges tiles using the restriction mentioned above. I try to maintain the original look and feel while doing some small improvement.

I took 7 screenshots of the original games which has different characteristics.

This screen offer a mix of different color elements. A mix of cave & brick tiles and include various elements like: fire, ladder, rope, portcullis and a drop of water. I decided to keep the ladder near the brown color, but use 2 greens for the rope.

This screen is to verify how it look when most of the elements are red. The brown on Coleco Vision being mostly red. 

This screen is to verify the yellow use for the cave patterns versus the King's enemy.

This screen is to verify how the mushroom will look like (enhanced with 1 sprite).

This screen is to verify how the purple used for Mingos's enemies look like next to the red used for the bricks.

This screen is to verify how the cave pattern look like. I work mostly on these tiles trying different patterns of pixels and colors. I was thinking to enhance it with some tiles of dark yellow and white colors, but the look on one screen make me think that the spread of white mark may look like a bug.

This screen is to see how the water look like.

It may not be final, but so far I am quite please with this look. In order to keep record of each tile (character), I created a template where I add the tiles the game need.

The first two columns are reserved for my own usage (the Coleco Vision palette and the colors I pick for the 8 tiles on this line).

I add a red layer over the tiles which are needed to display the information above the action screen. A green layer is over the tiles which will cause collision detection between sprites and background.

The charset will be at least use in 2 copies in the Video RAM. One where all tiles will be copied, and the 2nd one where the last 8 lines will be missing. These 8 lines give a total of 64 tiles reserved to display a Draconis or Krakoli.

Some characters will be updated to produce an animation: 1 tile for fire torch,  9 tiles for water and 16 tiles for water spray. Since these animation are running below refresh rate, these animated background objects will be schedule to happen at different frame. This will reduce the amount of work that need to be done to render a single frame.

Please leave your comments below. ^_^

And as always, Thanks for reading...


  1. For Graphic Mode I, there's only 32 groups of 8 tiles of 2 colors. If you open up ICVGM214 and play around with it, then you'll understand what I mean.

    ld b,0
    ld c,000010
    ld b,1
    ld c,%11000010
    ld b,2
    ld c,$06;name 1800
    ld b,3
    ld c,$9f;color table 2000
    ld b,4
    ld c,$3;pattern generator 0000
    ld b,5
    ld c,$36;1b00
    ld b,6
    ld c,$07;sprites
    ld b,7
    ld c,$F2

    This code above will set it to the "undocument" Screen mode 2 which you can assign 2 color per 8 pixel. You have to load tileset to bank 0x0800 and 0x1000 since masked mode affect the sprites 9-31. In this mode will make the game a bit more colorful.


    1. Wow.. thanks Kiwi! I would have to read more about it and do some test. :)

  2. You wrote, "I am not sure if the wisdom display in the original game is relevant. From my understanding the wisdom give an idea about the completion of the game."

    As I understand, you need to have 100% wisdom to "win" the game. I put "win" in quotes, because you win the game by running full bore into the ice dragon, destroying the dragon, and then you get permanently locked in the cave after opening the chest. This wisdom requirement is alluded to in the text provided by the scroll fragments (note the second line):



    Also, it seems that most people miss the obvious reason for the lack of a Quasilin amulet in the game: the quasilin monsters were placed to block off unused areas of the maze. There are places where you can get by one of the quasilin monsters (usually by jumping over it), and all that exists back there are stamina potions and a dragon or two.

    Here's a map that I made of Doriath years back:
    In my map, the unused areas are greyed out to give you an instant visual of the unused section. Any treasure chests without an icon over them contain a stamina potion.

    1. Thanks for the comment & the map!

      In a way, this missing amulet, even if not required forced us (me and my brother) to create a map too (back in the late '80 or early '90), as we though.. maybe we are missing something?

      I would like to know: how you feel with that kind of "ending" + missing amulet? Do you feel it make this game richer in term of thoughts, that the ending might have been cut short to complete the project faster or something else?