Author Topic: Vectrex Animation Programs  (Read 405 times)

gliptitude

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Vectrex Animation Programs
« on: August 31, 2016, 03:59:02 PM »
I've played around with Art Master and Animaction quite a bit and had a lot of fun making some pretty cool animations. I love these programs and they are serviceable, but they are also both extremely limiting and tedious to use. .. So I'm just throwing the idea out there for a new Vectrex animation "game", if there is anyone else maybe interested in this and qualified to program such software.

This isn't necessarily Vectrex32 exclusive, but I suppose this new hardware might open up some possibilities and perhaps this type of program would be easier to get off the ground than a game, (no AI, no level design, few creative choices, less burden to fine tune mechanics and difficulty etc.).

I'm prepared to break down and list what is useful and what is lacking in ArtMaster/Animaction, the differences between the two etc, in great detail. But unless (until?) there is more interest, I will summarize only the most glaring shortcomings:

- Both games rely entirely on lightpen input for all drawing tasks. This is EXCRUCIATING for detailed work. It would be very very useful to be able to manually plot coordinates. .. Even if there was just a way to increase/decrease x and y postions one unit at a time using button presses on the controller, this would be a great upgrade.

- The two games use two different methods of animation, but both of them require that every frame of the movie contains all of the vectors/sprites. This means that neither game can do traditional frame by frame animation, (in which the illusion of motion is created by a series of unique static drawings). .. Traditional frame by frame character animation IS relevant to Vectrex and it is how many of the most animation intensive games are drawn, (War of the Worlds, I,Cyborg..).

- The length of movies is pretty limited, especially with maximum vectors on Art Master.

- Inability to save in either game.

xxxxxx

I'm not sure many gamers share my interest in consumer animation "edu-games", or if there would be much audience for this  :-\

.. It might be cool instead, (more practical, maybe even useful) to have a PC software that enabled animation made on the computer to then be output to Vectrex, (without the user having to actually learn a programming language). But I suppose that would eliminate the option of also using the lightpen.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 04:23:09 PM by gliptitude »

Vectronic

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Re: Vectrex Animation Programs
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2016, 05:10:25 AM »
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the LOGO limited release for the Vectrex which seemingly does this. (Or LOGO Lite from Madtronix). Check those out. Maybe a bit hard to obtain now, but sounds like exactly what you are looking for.  It would be nice to do something similar via Vectrex32, but it sounds like it would have to be designed from the ground up - and still would not be able to save to memory.

gliptitude

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Re: Vectrex Animation Programs
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2016, 03:04:02 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion Vectronic. I actually do have a copy of Vectrex LOGO, (I guess it is "Lite" if it is a green slim cart?). I had thought of that and recently searched images and videos of LOGO drawings. I haven't ever actually messed around with this LOGO cart and only vaguely remember taking a LOGO class when I was a child. But as I remember, the drawings tend to be overtly geometric and typically symetrical and I don't remember making animations. .. Of course LOGO uses the paradigm of a turtle for a good reason. I think it is more intended to teach programing in a visual way rather than actually designing graphics?

.. I was thinking more about this recently, making graphics and animations on Vectrex with Vextrex32. I guess a "game" or program for casual users is unlikely to ever happen. I think the ones that already exist hardly get used and I am in the minority even being interested in them.

But something kind of inbetween - minimal code to execute graphics display, in which the graphics information (coordinates of drawing vertices, number and sequence of frames..) may be edited in the program on the PC, and executed on Vectrex - this might be practical.

There was something similar, (but not animated) made by Vectorzoa, I think called VecDraw. It was an assembly template with a sample drawing, packaged with the files necessary to compile a playable Vectrex BIN. He gave instruction for making your own vector object, by drawing it on graph paper and then translating it into a series of coordinates oriented and identified the way Vectrex expects them. Then you could edit the drawing coordinates in the assembly template and recompile the BIN. Now you see your own graphics on Vectrex! .. I messed around with this VecDraw tool in the past and it was pretty sweet.