So, I've started working on a "Trainer" version of DK.
This is essentially going to be a Donkey Kong romset that plays just like normal Donkey Kong, but will add extra information to the game's display and will also include some features and functions to help with practice and training.
I'm not finished it yet, but I figured it'd be interesting to share what I've got as I work on it. You can download the romset here:http://users.axess.com/twilight/sock/dk/dkong-trainer.zip
The file isn't a complete DK romset, you'll have to unzip it and copy these files into a folder already containing a copy of DK roms to get it to work in MAME.
Here's what you get so far... during gameplay,
On the left side of the screen:
-Your score (total)
-Your score (on this board)
-Total points that could be earned leeching kong in the time that is left (appears on rivets board only)
-High score (I'll replace this with a Pace display in the future)
On the right side of the screen:
-Game speed (currently selectable between 20% and 150%)
-Points earned from jumps (on this board)
-Points earned from hammer smashes (on this board)
-Internal difficulty indicator, plus time in seconds till the internal difficulty goes to the next level.
-Hammer time left (in seconds and milliseconds, when hammer is active)
-Time till next fireball/firefox spawn interval (seconds/milliseconds, on rivets and pies only)
-Scrolling spring I.D. display (on springs only)
-Indicator for pie spawn cycle (on pies only)
-"always 300 points" Pies are indicated by their blue color (on pies only)
And... The 1P and 2P start buttons can be used to control these features,
-quick tap sets the game speed 10% slower per tap
-slower tap sets the game speed 10% faster
-hold down (for over a second) and let go sets the speed back to normal (100%)
-quick tap resets the board. No lives lost. Your score is restored to what it was before you started the board. You can use this to retry the board as many times as you like, restart if you mess up a move, or just want to practice something over and over.
-slower tap skips the board. Whatever is on the bonus timer gets added to your score and you move to the next board as if you completed it. You can tap slow taps during the "How High" screen to keep skipping till you get to lets say 5-1.
-hold down (for at least 3 seconds) and let go. Quit back to attract mode.
The idea here is that you can play a game as if it were a normal DK game, but it allows you to retry stages if something didn't work out. Only the last play on a board will count - this would allow you to judge what your score would be if no mistakes ever happened, etc...
For practice play, the speed controls will allow you to try pixel-perfect moves at slow speed to work out the timing, then speed it up incrementally until you can do it in real-time. For reaction time training, speed the game up >100% and play and then when you go back down to regular speed it'll be easier to manage.
There are other ideas I'd like to add, but some of them are pretty complicated to implement. Hopefully I can get some of them in. Things like on-screen indicators for where you'd land after a jump, where a barrel might get to after your jump, visible indicators for fireball decision points, stuff like that...
Oh, and I removed the high score table.. this allows me to add stuff while still fitting in DK's normal ROM space. High scores are pointless in a trainer/practice version of DK anyway. I also removed the 2 player option.
Let me know what you think. Comments are welcome.