Digital “archaeologists” and video game historians are progressive. Finding out old Atari games and inquiring into their code for hints on how titles made granted the hardware constraints of the day. However, there is a game, Entombed, which is especially remarkable because it has confounded researchers to date.
It gets players traversing down a constant vertically-scrolling maze when attempting to dodge enemies, released on the Atari 2600 in 1982. The creator depended on a strategy that would systematically make the maze, that is developed on the fly after the original game cartridges did not have a wealth of memory to save designs of the labyrinth.
Tara Copplestone from the University of York in the UK, and Intrigued, John Aycock from the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, check it out firmly and what they discovered…well, they simply were not able to describe. BBC reports that according to Aycock, “It was a bottomless rabbit hole.”
According to the announcement, the developer had generated the maze of the game in a sequence.
The game requires to decide, because it draws each new square of the maze. Whether it should draw a wall or space for the game characters to move around in. Therefore, each square need to have a “wall” or “no wall” – “1” or “0” in computer bits. The game’s algorithm determines this automatically by analyzing a section of the maze. It uses a five-square tile that seems like a Tetris piece. This tile decides the nature of the next square in each row.
The logic that measures what the next square should be captive in a table of possible values in the game’s code. The BBC reported, “Depending on the values of the five-square tile, the table narrates the game to set either wall, no wall, or a random choice between the two.” It’s not easy for everyone to understand how the table was made.
All other possibilities, including retro-engineering the table, are run out. The researchers approached one of the game’s creators, Steve Sidley, who remembered he still bewildered by the table then. He said:
The basic maze generating standard had been partially written by a stoner who departed. I approached him to seek and figure out what the maze generating algorithm did. He said it happened when he was drunk and forgot, and coded it up in assembly overnight before he passed out. But now could not for the life of him remember how the algorithm worked.
While reviewing old video game code will prove useful for present developers. Particularly for those working on VR and others with the confined platform. Who knows how many other smart techniques and strange foibles uncovered in old games.
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