this is not from one of my students, the game was programmed by me
It started out as a tiny experiment, not Pac-Man related at all. There was something I always wanted to try on the Vectrex in the context of procedural content generation techniques. I decided to use automatic maze generation as my test run example. Later on I added the Vec-Man character to my experiment just for fun. Then at some point the whole thing got a bit out of hand and started to grow into a game of its own.
I used parts of the code as teaching examples in my class, but it was still not a complete game. Fortunately, whenever I exchanged emails with Malban, he kept nagging me about finishing my everlasting project "The Count". I took that as a motivation to finally complete – well, not "The Count" – but this Pac-Man clone, which then (naturally) got the name "Vec-Man".
It might also be of interest that the C code exclusively uses the original bios routines for all the graphics stuff and all the sound stuff. Also for collision detection. It is possible to write improved low level vector routines in C, but such techniques are not used here.
The game runs at 50Hz almost all of the time, and yes, I have tested on a real Vectrex right from the beginning. I tried to fit as many elements as possible into each level while still remaining at 50Hz. It might be that there are some levels in which the 50Hz are slightly exceeded at the very beginning of the level, noticeable by the infamous vector wobbling on a real Vectrex, but this can easily be fixed by removing elements again. If anyone experiences such things while testing or playing, it would be great to let me know about this, so that I can modify the level setup.
And oh, now that I mentioned testing and playing, I will upload a beta test binary later tonight. I did some last minute fixes, and there is one more test run that I want to do on a real Vectrex. I will let you know once the binary is online.
Thank you for providing a first beta version, Peer. I've just tried out Vec-Man on ParaJVE for a few minutes and I'm impressed by Vec-Man: Generic maze, decent speed, and good to play with a skill level which ramps up nicely. Graphic effects are really great (zooming of ghosts, player when dying) and fit very well to the Vectrex. You did very well!
Only two minor "issues" that I noticed so far: - The super pills look like normal pellets so you cannot really see them (I guess that's a problem of ParaJVE). - There could be a bit more sound (in the original there's a permanent sound which gets a bit enerving but the silence in Vec-Man is a bit strange, too).
I'll do more testing in the coming 2-3 days and will post, again.
Hi Helmut, many thanks for testing and for your feedback
Sorry, I should have mentioned this. The first issue is indeed related to ParaJVE and does neither occur on a real Vectrex nor in Vide.
The reason is that ParaJVE does a "digital" emulation of vector scaling. In essence, a "scale factor * n" results in a perfectly linear scaling of vectors in ParaJVE's emulation. In addition to that, this linear scaling is also a bit askew, and extremely small scale factors result in vectors showing up just as dots. However, on a real Vectrex, the scaling is not truly linear due to analog effects. Thus, in ParaJVE, the power pills in certain levels show up just as dots, and also the placement of the normal pills should be a bit off.
I have created a special ParaJVE version, which is now also available on the Vec-Man web site.
This version is slightly less performant, but most of the time you won't notice when playing in ParaJVE. So, everyone, if ParaJVE is your only means of playing a Vectrex game, then please use this version.
And to everyone else who tries out this game, it would be great to read some feedback here
Thanks for sharing the bin file, i just played the first 10 levels on real hardware via a VecFever; will test some more levels later today.
Really nicely done game, lots of variations and progression and really solid drawing on real hardware. I love the Pacland ditty on boot up, the zooming out ghosts and VecMan are really nice touches.
As mentioned some sound all the time would be nice, a quieter beep for non eating movement perhaps... and a sound effect to go along with the enlarged size when you are powered up.
Occasionally the level intro music would play really high pitched... maybe like a channel was missing too... worth checking all sound channels are clear before starting new levels... happened once after losing a life but think it happened another time too.
Not a big thing, but as I ate the dots from a given horizontal line of dots, the remaining dots would shift over 1 "pixel" to the right... started happening, I think, when 3 or 4 left in that row.
Would be good if the ghosts ran away when you were powered up... maybe they do on later levels...