2nd January 2022
This blog highlights my C64 activity in 2021. It has been a fun year on the C64 games development side. Let's take a look at the highlights of what happened in 2021 on the TND Games front. - This time it is more C64 focussed!
A fatal PC accident and the death of Cruiser-X 79?
In January 2021 my old PC which I was using to develop C64 and Unity games on had been slowing down too much. I did a backup of all of my necessary work, projects, etc onto cloud drives. Then I did a re-installation of Win 10, hoping my files are still on the HDD and hoping to boost the speed of the computer.
It took several hours to re-install Win 10 on my old computer (Which I had in 2009 with no hardware upgrades, as I felt I did not need those for C64 programming and game development). After Windows was installed, shock horror. My files had gone missing. The disk was completely formatted. I also tried to re-install my files the next day from cloud drives. Sadly only the folders and document files existed. Game binary and source code, etc had completely gone. Everything had gone ... but did it all go? No, thankfully some of my game projects, tape mastering tools and other bits were actually stored on my Ultimate 64 or the TND web site "Assemble It" section. I did however have to restart Cruiser-X 79, but I managed to make a better version of the preview, with better attack waves. I ended up with a new system for development two days later.
The Official C64 SEUCK Compo 2021
The Official C64 SEUCK Competition was launched in 2021, and once more the competition has been quite successful for the C64 community. 2020 mostly saw space shooters, but 2021 had a lot more variety. The idea as usual for the competition was to create and develop a decent shoot 'em up (or whatever you could) with the SEUCK. Enhancements were also allowed in the competition if you wanted to enhance the games. The prizes were enhancements for the top three winners of the compo. I created a special SEUCK game called Ray Fish, which later got enhanced in December 2021 and had a full release. Out of all of the 9 submissions, the winner of the competition was Droid Rumble, by the SEUCK master and book writer, Alf Yngve. A fantastic futuristic beat 'em up, created using the sideways scrolling SEUCK where you are a SWAT agent, who has to shut down a factory being operated by malfunctioned robots. In second place was RoboformX-2 by Pinov Vox, a push scrolling cybernetic adventure, where you had to control a droid, in search of a deadly computer virus, and fight against the enemy droids. Ironically the 3rd place winner was Space Eggs, a game in which you play a mercenary soldier who has been transported on board a space ship and must save birds from the evil space eggs. I originally made Space Eggs as a little joke, but funnily enough it did really well.
The CSDB Fun Compo 2021
I hosted the CSDB Lockdown fun compo in 2020, where the C64 community got to write games, demos or intros, which was themed to lockdown, or not themed. The competition was a success, and a new CSDB fun compo had taken place in 2021. This time it wasn't a lockdown compo. People could submit what they liked: games, intros, demos, music. There was a category for each. Although I hosted the competition. I also participated in the competition, teamed up with Ax!s and we created a winner Gyro Run. It made first place in the competition.
theC64 Programming Challenge
In April 2021, I decided to set myself a fun programming challenge, which was mostly done on Retro Games' theC64 full size computer. I picked out some of my favourite tools for the project and worked on Para Lander DX. A fun parachuting challenge for the C64. The game was mostly programmed in Turbo Macro Pro. Things did not go too well on theC64, due to some small bugs I made, that crashed theC64 where memory was concerned. Luckily plan B came along. I transferred all of the files I saved, and exported them to 64TASS and finished the project off on my PC. Then I turned them back into C64 assembly source and re-aligned the code so it would assemble in Turbo Macro Pro. The game project was then put together, complete and released.
Shock Raid - What a shocker !!!
Shock Raid was first being written on theC64 but sadly it wasn't shaping up well. So I decided to just work on the project in C64Studio. This was perhaps one of most favourite titles in 2021, as I always wanted to make a full vertical scrolling shoot 'em up, without SEUCK. This made my dream come true. With Ax!s on my side doing the graphics, we managed to come up with a really stunning shoot 'em up. What was the shocker about Shock Raid? ... The game was made for several months, and it was pitched for issue 14 of Reset's Mix-I-Disk. Sadly the free magazine was delayed for several months and I was given the OK to release the game.
Star Hawx gets Zzapped
Another highlight (and nearly to the end of this chapter) was Star Hawx. I was writing this game over the summer. I was a fan of the classic arcade games like Space Invaders, Galaxians, Galaga, Gaplus, etc. I was thinking, wouldn't it be fun to make something pretty similar just for fun. Star Hawx was one of those type of gems, which I didn't only have fun programming in C64 Studio, but I also had loads of fun playing this game and trying to beat my own score. Being a bad gamer, I never managed to complete the game, but Star Hawx was great fun to play on theC64. After the game was finished, it got submitted to the new Zzap 64 Micro Action covermount and then released 2 weeks later as a free download. (TND is non-commercial!!!). There have been some great reactions about the game. People seemed to have loved it.
Rocket Away 2
Outside TND, I did a co-op production with demo group, Blazon. I remember in 2020 I did a game for the Cassette 50 Charity competition, Rocket Away, and I wanted to make a sequel with better graphics and smoother game play. I teamed up with Baracuda/Blazon and a few of his friends from other C64 groups, and we worked on a brand new party game called Rocket Away 2. I did the programming, map design and sprites, while Firelord/Excess did the main graphics and tape loading picture. Logiker/Vintage Computing Carinthia did the directory art, while the rest of the team did the testing and feedback. Things went pretty well with Rocket Away 2
We all played our part in producing and developing a quality game production as a team. People seemed to have enjoyed this game also. I had loads of fun and sure would love to do that again with Blazon. - Actually we have been doing something over the Christmas holiday. You'll see :)
Ray Fish DX and Cosmic Combat DX
TND closed 2021 much earlier with a deluxe release of Ray Fish DX. I put a lot of effort into making the game earlier in 2021 for the Official C64 SEUCK Compo 2021. Sadly it never made it into the top 3 position. However Alf Yngve and I teamed up for the very last time to make a special edition of this game. I pushed Ray Fish to its own limits, where design was concerned. Alf focused on the game play. I worked on the remixes of the original music and imported those into the game. Ax!s also got involved with this project, and developed a lovely front end logo and also a brilliant piece of art for the tape loader. The overall production was more polished than previously. We also released Cosmic Combat DX.
SEUCK Title Screen Maker
I always wanted to make a handy little utility for the fans of the Shoot Em Up Construction Kit. I spent a few weeks working on a possible solution to help gamers be able to enhance SEUCK games with aid of no programming knowledge. The SEUCK Title Screen maker had features that allowed the gamers import a bitmap logo, custom character set, and music, (yes that is right) music into their own game creations. I worked hard on making it possible to add front end animation, scroll text and hi score table. There were also some options to select whether or not the SEUCK user's game is 1 or 2 player game. A manual was also written to help the user put a new front end onto the game. Included were example SEUCK games, enhanced with front ends.
Well, 2021 was quite an active year for me on the C64 front, however later on in 2022. Things could possibly become more quieter on the TND C64 production front. We will just have to wait and see.
My main focus is to get Cruiser-X 79 finished in time for later on this year. There are bound to be projects in between. I have been waiting ages for missing assets for the game, but sadly there has been no time for them. Fingers crossed, that this year could be the year of the full game. Although I cannot promise that :).
All of the projects I have mentioned on this page are available on my itch.io to download in VICE, theC64, Ultimate 64, etc or even play online at:
The New Dimension