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Microprocessor-controlled videogames

Euromicro Newsletter
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0303-1268(78)90035-4
  • Computer Science


Abstract The videogame market is very young and shows an explosive growth, which is greatly stimulated by the use of microprocessors in videogames. Two system approaches for videogames are discussed. The RAM-mapped approach is based on the use of a screenbuffer (RAM) for speed adaptation between microprocessor and TV-set. The buffercontent is completely composed by the microprocessor. The video data are extracted from the buffer via a DMA channel, synchronously with the timing signals for the TV set. All game-effects must be realised by the software which can pose a heavy burden on the microprocessor and the programmer. The object-oriented approach used dedicated hardware where small RAM blocks contain the object descriptions. Each object-RAM has its own coordinate registers with which the position on the TV screen is controlled. The microprocessor “plays a game” by transferring the object pattern into the RAM-blocks and sending the corresponding location codes to the coordinate registers. Status information is presented to the microprocessor concerning e.g. collisions between objects and background and indication of field completion Because more functions are performed by the special hardware, compared with the first described approach, the programming is simplified and the microprocessor speed is no more a limiting factor. Furthermore the cost will be lower due to the limited amount of required RAM. However the RAM approach is far better adapted for future TV-concepts including features like Teletext and Viewdata.

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