So tonight I split some time between writing code for a couple of new items in Robo-Ninja (the laser gun, and the "wall slip", where you can cling to and slowly slide down a wall), and working on trying to jam pack everything into my Atari "kernel" (the name they call the core display loop on atari games).
The contrast between the two was hilarious. I'm going slightly over my cycle count on my Atari kernel -- once I added code for displaying missiles and background, I'm taking too much time per scanline. But I don't really want to cut any functionality out, so I've been tweaking and optimizing, trying to pare down an instruction here, an instruction there. My brain is now tired. I managed to squeeze it down to ALMOST small enough. Squeezing the rest is going to be pretty difficult.
Then back to Robo-Ninja. Writing in Java (instead of 6502 assembly!), not really worrying about performance unless I do something stupid. I can waste lines like crazy, and it doesn't really matter at all.