Alternatively we can try to disassemble the X68000 version.
This is how the X68k version looks like - and yes, it looks like the original arcade version:
So if we have to convert any other graphics to 16 colors we should use the original data. Ok, I am not sure why they shrinked the Amiga ghosts in size but I guess they probably had problems with the speed.
However, the X68000 version is totally different to the other ports and converting an X68000 game is not that easy also. But I still think porting Pac-Mania to the Atari STE is possible. An Atari Falcon version would be nice also (of course with original graphics).
X68000 programs have a big advantage for disassembling because they are commonly not protected (hello Rob Northen). Also the sprite hardware is a fixed implementation so you have an interface for the sprite "emulation". Almost every game uses the hardware sprite engine and there's no trickery for displaying a sprite like the well known preshifting on the Atari ST.
So what needs to be done for this? At first there are some nice tools for the X68000:
An X68000 emulator with some nice debugging features (disassembler display, sprite graphics display, background graphics display, etc.): XM6 Pro-68k X68000 emulator
An Human68k toolchain (GCC cross compiling tools for the X68000): Cross-Human68k toolchain
Steps to be done:
- A good disassembled source for the Pac-Mania program to be reassembled with the toolchain so that it would run on the X68000 again (like you already did with the Atari sources).
- Commenting the source.
- Converting the graphics using 16 colors can be done in parallel.
- Replace X68000 hardware addresses within the code with equivalent memory spaces in the bss area.
- Use Atari interrupts for emulating the X68000 timer/vbl/joystick/keyboard functions.
- Make a "dry run" of the resulting program on an Atari without any graphics and sound (at least the attract mode should run virtually).
- Implement Atari STE sprite, sound and background routines step by step.
As you can see I am interested in porting games to the Atari as well. Especially X68000 games.
What do you think?