Windows DragStar: Atari 2600 Type Drag Racing Game (Volume 1 Update)

Heyoo, here's the game I've been talking about for a few days.

Here's the DragStar, Windows adaptation/interpolation of a very old console game called Kee Games Drag Race (dates back to 1977), with objective of posting best time instead of beating the opponent. You get five "heats" to try your skills, with a sixth one appears if you're too good to post a time above 6 seconds.

Like the original Drag Race, car starts to slide on the road after a while. So you'll have to tilt the car in the lane or you'll touch the rails and lose speed. And eventually lots of miliseconds (or even seconds).
I call this game "DragStar Volume 1", as I'm also planning to interpolate Activision Dragster (1980), which is an "unauthorized adaptation" of Drag Race and also published on Atari 2600 platform.
Here's the link:
Volume 1
And here's the full gameplay teaser:

I hope y'all like it. I'll be happy to get feedbacks too, since I'm planning to publish an update of Volume 1 too.
 
People who downloaded DragStar; did you like the game? What are flaws, what are greats? I'll be happy to get a feedback there.
 

M. Idrees

Member
Hey, I Tried To Play The Game But It Doesn't Accelerate When I Press The Space Button ? Don't Know Maybe I Am Playing In A Wrong Way.
Text Move Little Quick Before I Read It.
And It Say's Start On The Forth Light Where, There Are Three Lights That Shows Up. So I Don't Know, Start On 3rd Light Or ?
And What If You Replace [ left and right ] keys with [ up and down ] keys ? It Will Be Easy To Control With Up & Down Keys.
 
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Hey, I Tried To Play The Game But It Doesn't Accelerate When I Press The Space Button ? Don't Know Maybe I Am Playing In A Wrong Way.
Text Move Little Quick Before I Read It.
And It Say's Start On The Forth Light Where, There Are Three Lights That Shows Up. So I Don't Know, Start On 3rd Light Or ?
And What If You Replace [ left and right ] keys with [ up and down ] keys ? It Will Be Easy To Control With Up & Down Keys.
At launch you have to shift the gear. I used "UP" and "DOWN" arrows for shifting gears. At start, it might seem hard, but as you don't have to win any race be cool and calm while trying.👍
The light is a little bit problematic due to a code. As I'm alreadily planning an update, I'll fix it. For now, to be more precise, launch the car when all lights are gone.
I'll think about switching turning controls. Then shifting gears will be done with SHIFT and CTRL or something.
And thanks for all feedback.🙌
 

Toque

Member
Never played or heard of the arcade version. Interesting game.

looks fairly accurate to original. The original had colour.

I think red yellow green for light colours would help.

adding characters “squealing Sam” to racers would make it more engaging. But obviously change your game from original.
 
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Japster

Member
Looks good! - Maybe having a visible finish line appear might help more easily know when you've crossed it, as you'll see it (very quickly, I'm guessing!) fly past, or even set distance markers? (Which might also allow you to have the screen split as 2 x viewports, so at all times, you can see how the computer is doing/crashing too? :D )

....It's not authentic I know, but maybe an acceptable optional QOL enhancement? :)

Yet to try it out, as I'm working (day job) today, but I will... :)
 
Never played or heard of the arcade version. Interesting game.

looks fairly accurate to original. The original had colour.

I think red yellow green for light colours would help.

adding characters “squealing Sam” to racers would make it more engaging. But obviously change your game from original.
I know about that version and this is a part of my "Volume 1 Update" plan, along with a few missing things (wheelspin animation, "winner/loser" prints etc). Original version was monochrome, so I dd it with monochrome graphics.
Looks good! - Maybe having a visible finish line appear might help more easily know when you've crossed it, as you'll see it (very quickly, I'm guessing!) fly past, or even set distance markers? (Which might also allow you to have the screen split as 2 x viewports, so at all times, you can see how the computer is doing/crashing too? :D )

....It's not authentic I know, but maybe an acceptable optional QOL enhancement? :)

Yet to try it out, as I'm working (day job) today, but I will... :)
Original game doesn't have a finish line and distance marker😝 And computer never crashes, like original game, it's just you changing lanes and eventualy crashing.
About QOL, I don't know what it is. Can you tell me in either this thread or in conversations?
 

Toque

Member
Yeah starting line and finishing line would bE nice.

yeah it’s begging for the checker flag in some way


yeah when other leaves the view you lose a bit of the racing feel. Not sure what might work there. Maybe a mini map between to show start line. Finish line and two racers.

are you trying to duplicate the original or go forward with your own stuff?
 
Yeah starting line and finishing line would bE nice.

yeah it’s begging for the checker flag in some way


yeah when other leaves the view you lose a bit of the racing feel. Not sure what might work there. Maybe a mini map between to show start line. Finish line and two racers.

are you trying to duplicate the original or go forward with your own stuff?
Yes, the opponent is too easy to beat. Leaving one and half second gap between you and it is not that hard. I'm planning a harder opponent here, since otherwise I would have to reconstruct the whole game. Even in original game it can post 6.4 and 8.1, that's a 1.7 second gap. In this game, it only gives 7.05, 7.15 and 7.52. That's all. That might be because only objective of the game is posting great times, instead of beating opponents. But anyways it was exciting making a such game.

In "either duplicating or making your own thing", I actually thought of a fully playable PC port first, then realized it was ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to do that. All I can say for DragStar is "heavily insipred". Even number of "heat"s was a big difference than the original game. But, to be honest, urrently the game gives me almost same feeling as Kee Games Drag Race itself:D.

After bumping some Activision Dragster, I'll make the "Volume 2", which will drive similar graphics and gameplay as Dragster, but you'll realize that game is a bit different. For example, Activision Dragster doesn't have the "heat" system like Kee Games Drag Race, but DragStar Volume 2 will have 6+1 heats (as I plan), which goes progressively harder. Like Dragster, DragStar Volume 2 will have "offline multiplayer", which I don't plan for Volume 1 update at this moment.

I also plan a "Volume 3", which goes even further. But I'm keeping it secret for now.

So, yes; I'm going forward, but taking my roots from originators. Which isn't a bad thing I think.
 

Toque

Member
I played this on my 1st console (Atari 2600) way back when dinosaurs still existed. It was cool. As is this. :)

I really missed that one. Its the first game David Crane made with Activision ( could be wrong). From one who walked amounts the dinosaurs.....
 

Japster

Member
I know about that version and this is a part of my "Volume 1 Update" plan, along with a few missing things (wheelspin animation, "winner/loser" prints etc). Original version was monochrome, so I dd it with monochrome graphics.

Original game doesn't have a finish line and distance marker😝 And computer never crashes, like original game, it's just you changing lanes and eventualy crashing.
About QOL, I don't know what it is. Can you tell me in either this thread or in conversations?
Sorry, I should have not used abbreviations - it's 'quality of life' improvements... probably wrong phrase for this... :) I understand it's an authentic take on it, but I just meant it's hard to see when you've hit the line... :D

As regarding the computer player, I couldn't tell, as he's always off-screen so quickly, ha ha!... :)

No worries, I always look at stuff thinking "How can I make this more intuitive / better?", but of course this is a like for like version of the original, I get it... ;)
 
I really missed that one. Its the first game David Crane made with Activision ( could be wrong). From one who walked amounts the dinosaurs.....
That's also the first game of Activision ever made. I have an A2600 emulator with Dragster rom in it. I can send it if you want.
Sorry, I should have not used abbreviations - it's 'quality of life' improvements... probably wrong phrase for this... :) I understand it's an authentic take on it, but I just meant it's hard to see when you've hit the line... :D

As regarding the computer player, I couldn't tell, as he's always off-screen so quickly, ha ha!... :)

No worries, I always look at stuff thinking "How can I make this more intuitive / better?", but of course this is a like for like version of the original, I get it... ;)
That mindset in bold made me watch videos talking about beta stuff of GTA and Need For Speed lately. Saw what they used to include and now miss and short support leaved them largely intact. Espicially San Andreas and Carbon make me sad, angry towards developers and all kind of it. That gives me motivation to include that features & contents in my own future projects. But, for now, I think it's a bit early to do that; otherwise I would busy like a bee to employ them.

And yes, it's an adaptation, that waits for a good update. Which I'll spend my weekend to.🙌
 
I couldn't cope with my gamemaking urges anymore so I started developing DragStar Volume 2 (a.k.a. Activision Dragster Windows Adaptation).
Here's the first image. Only did player side and time calculating. I've also learned having multiple backgrounds in a single room, so no "suddenly gone opponents" from now. Which was what Volume 1 missing.
Graphics are much similar; backgrounds, car (even the turning wheel), rev-o-meter and fonts all true to origins. Other numbers are just for debugging purposes (a.k.a. indicators).
Room is actually 192x144, but resolution was set at 320x240. This image is (as you can see) muuch larger, because it is again a fullscreen game.
dragstar2_1.png
 
VOLUME 2 DEVLOG
Well, I realized that Activison Dragster was more well equipped than I think... had black/white and colorful graphic switch and good ol' "instable car" mode. So, I've integrated both to DragStar Volume 2 instead. So now, there are four different game modes; two as PvCP and two as offline PvP, one of either two having "instable car" mode you saw on Volume 1. PvCP mode has 5 different opponent behaviours, each differing slightly. All it needs is a splash screen and DONE!
Game is opened as windowed, it can be toggled with F3 (fullscreen) and F4 (windowed) buttons. I don't plan a widescreen support, though.
 

Toque

Member
VOLUME 2 DEVLOG
Well, I realized that Activison Dragster was more well equipped than I think... had black/white and colorful graphic switch and good ol' "instable car" mode. So, I've integrated both to DragStar Volume 2 instead. So now, there are four different game modes; two as PvCP and two as offline PvP, one of either two having "instable car" mode you saw on Volume 1. PvCP mode has 5 different opponent behaviours, each differing slightly. All it needs is a splash screen and DONE!
Game is opened as windowed, it can be toggled with F3 (fullscreen) and F4 (windowed) buttons. I don't plan a widescreen support, though.
david crane was no fool. Sounds like your acing it.
 
david crane was no fool. Sounds like your acing it.
Looks like he didn't make a PvCP mode, but that's me adding my previous knowledge to it :D
I finished the intial game yesterday. Today I made an icon and build executable. I also updated Volume 1, which now has that red/yellow colors and they match in order!
A such project was really fun and teaching. I knew what was I doing, but I didn't knew what would be the result. And it was something better than original game itself; a bit easier, has PvCP modes and is directly playable from any computer that has Windows XP or above. That does only proves the legendary status of the original game, though.
I'll release both V1U and V2 in near time, but V2 comes later. Then I'll give the series a short rest to concentrate on some programming. I already have two DOS games to represent the series' near future.
 
VOLUME 1 UPDATE

Updated version of Volume 1 was released on itch.io right now! You can download it here.

Volume 2 will be released within a week.
 
FUTURE PLANS - VOLUME 3, A POTENTIAL UPDATE TO VOLUME 1

When I've planned the short to mid term roadmap to DragStar, I assumed that there would be 3 "volume"s. So, just after releasing Volume 2, I'll instantly start working on third volume. If I need to give any information about V3 at that point, it will basically answer "What if Activision did release a sequel to Dragster?". Of course it's not a happy thing that there are only one Dragster while Pitfall! (another said "masterpiece" of David Crane in Activision in early 1980s) eventually spawned a sequel inside Activision and lots more. I think Dragster did deserve a sequel too, given to its legendary status (of course that's my opinion, which formed after seeing comments of people that ACTUALLY played Dragster back in time). So, I'll add something more to Volume 2, might even merge both Volume 1 and Volume 2 in some aspects, who knows?

And Volume 1 can get another update as well, a largely cosmetic one. Because I did really suck at drawing a dragster there and I'll try to fix it. Maybe fix of a few little bugs as well will join it.

That's all for this entry. Hope y'all do well.
 
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