Sunday 11 November 2018

Vertical border knockout for Wizball

The logic for what feature or bug we work on next on the MEGA65 varies quite a lot.  Today, the motivation was my kids have discovered the joy of Wizball, and in particular, playing it as a two-player cooperative team.  The trouble is that the MEGA65 didn't support vertical border knockout in a way that was compatible with existing C64 software.  

It turns out to be a real pain playing Wizball without vertical border knockout working, because you can see neither the power up section at the top, nor the colour buckets at the bottom.  I don't think I had realised until today that those were all fully placed in the vertical borders, but they are.

This bug/feature turned out to be really quite easy to fix. All I had to do was make the vertical border enable/disable logic in the VIC-IV be edge triggered like on the VIC-II (and I presume, the VIC-III), so that if you moved the border position so that the VIC-IV never sees the start of the vertical borders, then the vertical borders never appear.  

After a quick synthesis run, this was the result (with the border colour changed to blue to make it easier to see what is going on):

Yay! We can now see the missing sections of the screen.  

There is however some detritis in the lower border, which I need to deal with.  This is not entirely simple, because it is actually the 26th and further rows of the screen being drawn, because the VIC-IV isn't limited to 25 rows like the VIC-II or VIC-III.  I'll have to have a think about how I deal with that.   While there is little software for the MEGA65 at the moment, it might just be easiest to have a register that sets the number of lines of text to draw, and just have it default to the usual 25.

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