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10-22-2018 at 12:23 PM
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Stella! (Atari 2600)

I just DL'd Stella and already have a few questions. Please keep in mind that I'm a complete newbie to Atari anything.

Why do the TG leaderboards have NTSC, PAL and EMU combined? Does this make sense to everyone? These seem like they should be separated.

Stella specific: F2 keyboard is the default game reset so I've been using that as a start button. I'm assuming that's OK.

The "action" button seems to vary but so far has more often than not defaulted to the space bar.

I tried Dragster, can rev the engine, but the car doesn't move despite using arrow keys along with the action button. While on this topic, most games I've tried seem to default to arrow keys, just not Dragster for some reason.

I'll keep playing around, but if anyone has quick answers to any of this, please post. The Stella help files tell me everything other than what I'm looking for, either that or I'm missing the obvious (the latter is likely the case). :D

Also, anyone with quick and fast game suggestions, please also fire away. Any game that takes longer than 10-30 minutes is out! I personally stray away from any marathons of anything on any system.


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  1. Snowflake's Avatar

    First let me say, welcome aboard buddy. I'm kinda surprised as I figured most of us grew up with atari and nes, but hey better late than never.

    The "start" is often times the actino button press, but some games require you to hit the reset button every time you wish to start which is why i broke mine playing superman, it makes sense to me if atari games use different start buttons then so would the emulator

    Dragster has no left and right (unless you want to play game 2, sroka's track). Dragster you only control acceleration and gear shifting. left (ok fine it does use left) shifts you into a higher gear, action button reves the engine. if you're not moving that i'm assuming you never shifted into first gear, just tap left and you'll see.

    as for the merge, i would love a further split. however, for historical reasons it does sort of make sense. AT one point the merger was even worse. At one point ntsc/pal/and emu were all on the same track! Needless to say this led to alot of outcry and complaints from atari players so eventually TG gave in and split the tracks. We'll never be sure if the split was perfect of course as there was no column for platform, so in many cases the platform was guessed, also in many instances the original submitter was still around and was able to correct wrong guesses. Yes this required trust, but honestly, i'm not to worried about someone lying about their platform as much as i worry about lying about score but i guess its possbile. but anyway, yeah, they used to be completely merged, so even though the tracks were eventually split the platform itself is still merged. This actually isnt unusual. I dont know of any platform that breaks out pal and emu into different platforms unless you count mame.

  2. Max's Avatar

    Thanks for the reply. I'll try the specifics out.

    As for NTSC/PAL/EMU, the leaderboards seem to encourage that one must play the same game on three different platforms in order to compete. That is what strikes me as odd. I've never really paid attention to it before as I've essentially only played mame or PS4 games.

  3. nads's Avatar

    Welcome to the Big SHOW!

    You are right about placing a score on each platform to be competitive on the ESI front.

    I do like the emu tracks and have subbed a lot of the years on them, I just find them very convenient to play and record. I've just transitioned to NTSC, this where I use a benchmark to see how skill level his compared to the other guys.

    Dragster is a great start on the Stella.

    Another tip use ALT L to view the fps as most of the tracks need to be played on the NTSC ROM

    Hope you enjoy the experience!

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  4. Max's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by nads

    Another tip use ALT L to view the fps as most of the tracks need to be played on the NTSC ROM

    Thanks Nads!

    I just tried the quoted tip on whatever game I was playing on and it was 60 FPS so at least for that game I'm OK. As far as others go, I grabbed them all in large packs from the Stella DL site so I'm hoping they are all NTSC. It sounds like by your comment that I'll need to check each time for each game?

    If I find PAL roms, it sounds like we would need to add new tracks under PAL EMU and make FOUR different platforms to play on. haha.

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    Updated 10-22-2018 at 01:13 PM by Max
  5. D.B. Cooper's Avatar

    Welcome to Stella. I like that the EMU tracks are listed along with the PAL and NTSC as it makes it much easier to compare scores but I'm one who doesn't spend much time thinking about ESI. There really aren't that many submissions for either PAL or EMU so you can still do well with ESI by just playing NTSC.

    Try going to Options and then Input Settings. Just like with MAME, you can map your inputs however you want. I use my Xarcade to play as I think it plays pretty close to the original. Also, there are some paddle games (Circus Atari, Night Driver etc) where the games don't play well unless you have a paddle. Someone has made some that work with Stella so if you're thinking about playing those games, a set of paddles is probably a good investment.

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  6. timmell's Avatar

    Yes the EMU, Pal, NTSC should all be seperate platforms. I whinnying about that for years.

    If MAME and Arcade are separate then so should the consoles.

    It just doesn’t make logical sense.

    Cause the Atari Flashback is just a emulator, why not throw those tracks into the mix. And just make it a bigger mess to sort/search through.

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  7. MyOwnWorstEnemy's Avatar

    In my opinion, a nice fix would be to include an intermediate level underneath the platform (eg., Atari, Commodore 64 etc...). Today's and yesterday's perspective on region split for the older console is still the same. Its really about accessibility to the original hardware. Emulation solves the accessibility issue of original hardware. The differences between the three formats range from obvious, subtle, or perhaps even none at all. Systematically, it easier to treat all of these as games designed for this particular platform.

    By creating an intermediate ESI Leaderboard, you can track by NTSC, PAL, or EMU and at the main console level such as Atari 2600. If your interested in knowing who has the ESI on 2600 PAL original hardware, just click on the intermediate leaderboard under the Atari 2600 leaderboard. ESI losses its value the further its aggregated and used as a ranking metric, outside of an individual game. However, the intermediate platform leaderboards will at least give members a competitive target to those interested in chasing ESI by what means of playing the game is accessible to him/her.

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