Tuesday, 2 November 2010

We've pushed SEUCK to it's limits! - Nyaaaah!


2nd November 2010

I have left this blog alone for a while, but production is going quite well with Nyaaaah! - 15th Anniversary Edition. After successfully importing the game project's work file into the SEUCK Redux source code, I managed to fit in some power ups, to enhance game play, additional in game enhancements and even a brand new front end. Things for me to do before the game is finished, is add a high score detection, a GET READY and GAME OVER sequence and END SEQUENCE. And of course adding the new score/status into the bottom border inside the game.

Implementing the new front end into the game's source was a bit of a bugger, due to the original title screen IRQ used in it. Thankfully I had a solution to this problem, which was to program my own IRQ inside the title screen code. Well, I wanted the Nyaaaah! logo to swing left and right, and I also wanted a scroll text with music. All seems to look good so far. There's still some work to put into the game, itself but hopefully in a couple of weeks time or so, I should be ready to release this game into the Public Domain.

Below is a mock up of the status bar, I plan for inside the game - to make it look less SEUCK. :)

Friday, 15 October 2010

Nyaaaah! 15th Anniversary is coming SOON!

Friday 15th October 2010

Things have gone pretty quiet with my blog, but I have been busy with this project and another Psytronik project. After sucessfully finishing off the main game, attack waves, etc. I imported the work file into the SEUCK Redux source, added a bit of programming, played around with the player's parameters and wrote some tunes to insert into the source. The colour schemes worked a treat. Especially after I set up the level parameters to change the colour scheme and behavior of the game, itself.

All I will need to do now is put in the power ups, and then a new front end + high score table. Then the job is done!

November should hopefully be the release date of this.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Taking a short cut


3rd October 2010
I have been working on level 3 and also the final stage of Nyaaaah! 15th anniversary. This time, level 3's the castle underground. After Snodge successfully escaped the water stage. He finds himself in a deadly underground of the evil biblet ruler's castle. Poor Snodge has to fight his way through the hardest part of the castle. Where wall climbing biblets and lava biblets roam and make things hard for poor snodge. Then he has to face the death saw challenge.



When I was designing the level's graphics scheme, it was very tricky to work on at first. It actually took me over an hour to have the correct pixels for each block for this level. Plus level 3 is sort of inspired from Imaginator. The idea of this stage was that Snodge has to persue up and down ladders and platforms to fight the evil biblets, etc before meeting his next challenge - The death saw challenge. Well, this was probably one of the most easiest boss stages I came up with for such a hard stage. Snodge has to face a giant circular saw, in which he's to avoid contact with. After this stage has finished, Snodge goes to the final stage, where he has to meet the evil biblet ruler. Sadly I have only 2 valid objects left for this stage, so I decided to reuse level 1's boss and add a crown and different behaviour to it. That solved my problem.

Now that I have (I think) finished the main game, itself. I can import the work into the SEUCK redux source engine and test the game in action with infinite lives ... Stay tuned!!!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

I'm forever blowing bubbles!


2nd October 2010

Yet another productive day with Sideways SEUCK. This time it's level 2 of Nyaaaah! 15th Anniversary edition. I know that Saturday last week I worked on the background graphics for level 2, but I wasn't really all that happy with those. So today I decided to spend some time making some much nicer graphics for level 2. Since I didn't want to use the same colours scheme as the first level - as the second level would look ugly with this scheme. I altered the multicolour colours to make the underwater graphics look nice. I used black, blue, light blue and purple - to make it look as if every thing's under water. I wanted to add some pipework to the levels, but I didn't want the game to look like Mario, so I pixelled my pipes, made some spikes then put things in place.
Well, it seems that all this hard work with level 2's graphics paid off and the level looks quite nice.

Now that the stage was designed. It was time for me to set up the attack waves. Before I did, I wanted to make some new enemies for this stage. I don't want to have biblets all of the time in this stage. So I created some fish, water snails and even a mean green boss fish, which the player has to defeat. Then I inserted the wodge load of enemies for this stage I also altered player 2's settings for testing the level. It seems to me that level 2 was just too chaotic. I had to alter the enemy firing rate, as it looked too silly and was way too difficult to play for this level. Much easier, although this stage is still quite hard to play. Maybe I shall work on level 3's graphics (the cave) tomorrow after work. CIAO for now!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

My Digital C2N experience!


25th September 2010

Although we are very close (or probably already are) in the digital revolution, where technology expands their horizons. There are still Commodore 64 hobbyists and techbuffs, creating new pieces of hardware for this beloved machine. You would probably ask to yourself "Why are people are still making hardware, software and games for this obsolete machine?". You should never judge a book by its cover. We don't that's for sure.

Anyway in early parts of 2010, I was recommended to try getting myself a DC2N for my C64 tapes. I sent a PM to a member of Lemon 64, to ask about what they thought of DC2N, and the person responded that he had the prototype of the DC2N and that it was remarkably great. So I read a lot of information about the DC2N site and decided to pre-order one. Within 6 months, the device was ready and shipped over to me (after I paid £90.00 for it of course).

Okay, so who remembers the old days where you are loading in programs from tape on your Commodore 64, left the room to eat something, make a cup of tea (or go to the toi..... okay, I better not mention that one)? Then you come back to your room to find either a program has loaded, or a blue screen or load error has occurred? Well most of us TAPE users had to suffer this problem. The datasette can be a problem at times, as it required a steady hand and good head alignment and major cleaning around the capstans, etc. Thankfully for the Commodore 64 fanatics, you can clearly watch your C64 tape deck face the digital revolution. As the DC2N is born.

So then, can you insert tapes into a DC2N to remove those bad loading woes? No, not really. The DC2N does not have abilities to insert a real tape into. Besides that would have been plain silly. You can't exactly read a tape without mechanics, and DC2N is digital. However, you don't really need this. All you would have required was a 5 volt PSU with a correct plug size (No higher voltage as it could cause serious damage to your device), a Commodore C2N datasette, or clone (Fully aligned and cleaned) and a 2gb SD Card for dumping. Oh and the most important of them all (Boo, hiss) a fully functional PC, and a SD card reader (Most PCs have internal SD card drives, like mine does) - and a Dumping utility which converts dump files into TAP files. You will also need - A COMMODORE 64. If you don't find one, I'm sure you can find cheap working ones on EBAY. :o)

So then, how did the dumping of my tapes work on a DC2N? Well, first of all, I plugged in the 5V adapter, and plugged it into the back of the device, I also plugged in an SD Card to the SD card slot of the device (as my SD card was formatted to FAT16) and then I plugged the datasette into the back of the device. After switching everything on, I got the welcome message "F. syst. mounted". This represented that the DC2N was ready for beginning either the dumping process or load .tap files through to your Commodore 64 computer.

The device has six buttons, which are set up the same way as the Commodore C2N tape deck. Because I wanted to make a dump of one of my tapes. (I started with my Sub Hunter tape, to try it out) I rewound the tape to the start (plugged into the DC2N) and then pushed the record button on the DC2N. After pressing record, I pushed the Play button on the DC2N, then the tape deck. Dumping of the tape was then in session. During the dumping process, I could see that the DC2N's light was flashing merrily, showing that the data pulses from the datasette was being read to the DC2N. Once the tape reached the end on the C2N tape deck, the DC2N read the STOP. However, to ensure that I had to keep the correct dump stored on to the SD card I had to press the STOP and EJECT buttons on the DC2N - otherwise I would have a blank .tap image with nothing readable on it (after conversion).

After the Dumping process was finished, I booted up the PC, logged into my user profile on my desktop and then downloaded a program called DC2Nconv. This was a Windows based utility (once installed on to the PC) which can convert a DC2N tape dump file (DMP) into a executable .TAP file that can be stored to the DC2N or loaded from WinVice, CCS64, or Hoxs64 C64 emulators.

Now for the fun bit ... Loading a program from the DC2N to the Commodore 64. I had to switch off the DC2N device from the mains and unplug everything, then plug the device on to my Commodore 64. I stored the .tap file from the SD card into the DC2N and then put it on to the Yes, that's right - it goes into the C64's tape port :). I also selected from the SD card, "SUBHNTR.TAP" (As the DC2N reads files in MSDOS form, so I made it 8 chars so that the filename was easy to find. Then I loaded the device the same way as a Commodore 64 did and everything loaded wonderfully great.

I do remember dumping some other classic C64 tapes, including the Off the Hook compilation, into digital TAP form. One of the games which I always had problems with loading was Black Thunder, due to the unsteady or unstable loader which was used for the game. After dumping and splitting the tapes, in digital form I found out that although this game loaded fine in WinVice, CCS64 with the loader, but when stored on to the DC2N it didn't work. I scanned the loader using FinaTAP and discovered it was PAVLODA pulses - and that to me general opinion was one of the most annoying loaders in C64's history. Well I did have loads of problems loading Tony Crowther's classic fun game on most C2N tape decks. Perhaps either the tape was faulty or the awful loader system was bugged completely. Thankfully to replace this version, I used a version from my old Zzap 64 cover tape - using a more stable loader. :)

Dumping TAPs is indeed hard work. As I have said earlier on, using a C2N with full alignment makes dumping a dream. But if you failed to do this, or tried dumping faulty tapes. Then unfortunately this will not work very well. As there were too many tapes to dump (which would have took too much time). I chosen an alternative option, but I will not go any further than this. I dumped tapes to .tap form, according to the ones that required dumping.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

15th Anniversary for Nyaaaah!

5th September 2010

I've been a bit burned out with game programming, since Bionik Granny Returns got released a few weeks back. So I fancied a little change this weekend, so I started on working on a new game. Because near to the end of September (or beginning of October 2010) is the 15th Anniversary of Nyaaaah! (A well know PD SEUCK game, which was released back in those days). I decided to make a final Nyaaaah! game, to mark the celebration of the 15 years of (putting up with) Snodge the Biblet, and his crazy antics.

This time round, I gone for Sideways Scrolling SEUCK, as I thought this could be an ideal engine for a new Nyaaaah! game. Hence that using the editor for Nyaaaah! 11 and also some of the game's existing graphics for the first level. Well, it wouldn't be Nyaaaah! without those. However, I created some new blocks to make a sort of village huts for level 1 of the game. Yes, you have guess it. It's called Biblet Village. I was bored with using plain background with trees all of the time, so it was time for something sort of different.

When it come to adding enemies into the game, I used the angry and bad biblets for the first level. There are no other enemies for this level. Just two types of bad biblets.

I had some clever ideas for the end of level 1's boss stage. I created frames of the same background graphics for the boss stage and set up the level settings to wait a second before some magical effect occurs. This starts with a blue mad biblet (tapping his foot) saying "Hello there little one. So you wish to enter the hole? You got to get past me first!". The blue biblet disappears then a barrier appears to block the hole, and further to the right of the screen, the ground begins to crumble. Then the blue biblet comes back - as a big boss.

The plan

I don't want to make this a standard SEUCK creation, but add additional programming/hacks to the game production. One plan is to use the potion bottles in the game as power ups. Where some are strong power ups. Meanwhile the red bottles will lose Snodge's primary weapon and he has no other choice but to lick the baddies to their doom. Snodge will collect a Snorkel at the end of level 1 for the underwater stage (level 2) - after the level 1 boss stage of course.

Other plans I have for the game is to use different background colour schemes, depending on which level Snodge is likely to be on. For example, level 1 uses the standard colours that I set up for the first stage (The biblet village). The second level uses a blue background and some nicer colours for the underwater stage. And I might use some nicer colours for level 3's platform/ladders stage.

I also have plans to add a new front end to this game, add a high score table, options screen and some music. Hopefully around about October 2010, this game should be finished and available on my web site!

Anyway, here's a Youtube video of the very first level of the game - in action!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Sea Software's Rocket Man Blog

19th May 2010

Not my blog this time, but something quite interesting for SEUCK gamers out there. It's still related to the Sideways SEUCK competition. Enjoy!

At first the game should have been some kind of a "Super Bruno" Remake (Pictured below) (Super Bruno was one of the main characters from Sea Software in the early nineties), but many things made me change my mind; first of all, the skin should have been pink, while the cloak should have been red, but I thought I couldn't manage such a weird colour scheme! So I gave up, deleted the big nose, painted the character grey and put a helmet on his head: The Rocket Man was born! But... Why "The Rocket Man"?

In
January 2010 I received a Christmas gift from my brother, a box with 2 DVDs and 5 CDs by the french band "Rockets": "The Rocket Man" was their first, rare single (issued in 1974), and one of those CDs contained the instrumental version (the original version, the A-side I mean, was on the first box, that my brother gave me the year before!); this title came to my mind when I was designing the game, and I decided to name it after that song. In general, the
game was made with Rockets' music in mind; I would have liked to make a SID cover of one of their songs for the title screen, but I gave up, mainly because of the copyright issue, but also because I thought I wasn't able to do it :)

Moreover, if you have never heard about this band, they used to dress up like alien robots (they also used to paint their body in grey), so the character of the game can also be considered as a homage to their strange and funny make up :)


When I read that there would have been some enhancements for the winner, I had the idea to put two different "power ups" in the game: the "P" was meant as a power up for the weapon (if you check the sprites you'll notice I made three different kind of weapon - I picked up the third at the end because it was bigger and more precise), while the "B" was meant to be a bomb: looking at the
game, the B's are put in strategic locations :)

Note: Sadly this game did not make it to first place as Pour Le Merite had an overwhelming number of votes, which made the game a winner. Thankfully this game made 2nd place, which still won a new front end. :)

Ok, that's all...

Friday, 14 May 2010

Some SEUCKcessive Moments - Sideways SEUCK Compo 2010

14th May 2010

Okay, slightly late than usual with this blog. I have been busy, and the last two days were quite disastrous. Anyway, I am happy to blog about The Sideways SEUCK competition 2010. First of all I launched the competition back in January 2010 and gave the Sideways SEUCK'ers just over 2 months to design and create their own game using the Sideways Scrolling Shoot Em Up Construction Kit - Downloaded from the official SEUCK Sideways web site. I originally expected about one or two entries, but after the submissions were finally over, I received 8 entries. 7 of them looked really nice, and one looked pretty rushed.

When I checked out the entries, I was really amazed with the quality on the graphics front of MOST of the SEUCK games.

Barney - The Cow Fish

Starting with Barney by WEC/Cosine. It isn't really a shoot 'em up, but a collect 'em up adventure, with some wonderful background graphics. Something that I have never seen done with SEUCK before. The game concept was very simple, but rather than frantic game play. WEC made this game into a relaxing title. The sound effects were very atmospheric, and ocean like. The game is slow and quite easy and overall it is very relaxing. I was asked if I could do the music for the game, which was a C64 conversion of a classic video game. The game was very short, but was relaxing to play. A few weeks later, I received a bitmap picture to use as the tape loader picture for Barney, and also I did a special version of the same game (Which is available from CSDB, although I could have uploaded it on to the friends/contributors page on my web site.

Tau Zeta

No SEUCK compo can be without an Alf Yngve SEUCK game. I love his SEUCK games, such as Twin Tigers, COPS, Holiday Cops, Tau Zero, Tau Omega and a couple of games that appeared on magazine cover tapes (First Strike , Cyforce 1 and 3D Spacewar). Alf made many classic SEUCK games in the past, and it sure was a privilege to include Tau Zeta as an entry. This game is based in the future. It's an interstellar war against an enemy empire. The game has some clever tricks with background graphics and the sprite objects. Usually when you have a player in a SEUCK game. You usually control one space craft, soldier, alien, etc. However with Tau Zeta - The player controls 5 allied ships. There are some clever parallax effects later on during this game. Alf also made (What I thought would have been impossible with SEUCK) very possible. For the main space background, he used hi-res colours to plot the star field. Looks awesome. The game itself, despite the faulty collision in the original Sideways SEUCK - When inserted into the SEUCK redux - game play is excellent. Alf has created another masterpiece, but there's an even better game in the pipeline. I won't say any more. :o)

The Rocket Man

I know this was a famous Elton John song, but was this game based on the song? Absolutely not. The Rocket Man is a nice and funny sideways SEUCK game by Gaetano of Sea Software. The player controlled a superhero, who calls himself The Rocket Man, and has been held captive by some of the evil dragon's guards. The rocket man manages to escape from prison and sets off to find the dragon, and of course defeat it. To be able to do this, The Rocket Man starts from the Factory.He has to fly through and defeat the deadly guards, and reach the end where he will meet a robot. Then the rocket man, has to fly through 2 other zones. Where one is through the ruins and past volcanoes. And secondly through the dark damp cave, where the dragon dwells. This game was very imaginative and good fun to play. It's a really colourful title as well. Very pleasing and hilarious at times. Gaetano did a great job with the graphics and game play. There weren't many SEUCK slow down faults during the game either, which was a good thing. :o)

Pour le Merite

Bamse showed off his SEUCK talent with Pour le Merite? What the heck's that supposed to mean? Well, using a translation web site, it came out as For Merit. I know I did a bit of French as school, but sadly as several, several years have passed. I can only know basic French words (And one or two naughty words as well, as someone from my previous work place taught me those. LOL). Anyway, the game itself looks very movie like (I thought the film style background looked appealing, as if it was an action movie based game). The game was based on the year 1917, where Europe was at War. The player is a keen pilot, who wants to achieve the Pour Le Merite. To do this, the player must battle through the enemy front in their Red Fokker (I beg your pardon?) and also take part in a series of Dogfights against a skilled enemy pilot. Graphics wise, this game feels as if you're back in the mid-late 1980's, where those kind of games ruled. This game was an excellent attempt at making something purely nostalgic and fun. The author sort of based this on Blue Max, by U.S. Gold. Sadly parts of the game had to be left out. This was originally going to be a Silkworm style of game, but the jeep part did not work out very well in the Sideways SEUCK. This game was very playable indeed. If a C64 magazine played this, back in the days. They would have loved it and submitted it on to one of their cover tapes.



God Slayer

I wasn't too sure whether or not this game should have been entered for the 2010 SEUCK compo. However, as I was a bit worried about the theme for the game. Thankfully, it was a fictitious storyline with fictitious and quite funny characters. You played a God Slayer, who has been assigned by the Alfather, to go around and slay down all the fictitious but evil gods, that dwell around three different zones. This game looked sort of Zelda (esque), and is graphically nice. To gain bonus points, you could collect sacred stones, which spin. The game itself could have been improved slightly, for example - traps to avoid, etc, more powerful bosses. but he game itself is pretty good. Very nice graphics as well.

The Earth Superforce

Mad Scientist productions came up with The Earth Superforce. Well, quite a fun game with a hilarious story line. :o). The game itself looks very rushed, but I had good fun playing this game, however there are parts which are bad in the game. One of the major flaws are the positions of some of the aliens that are shooting. You cannot shoot at them, because your player ship cannot reach that position, due to the max-position boundaries set as player limitations. Some of the aliens are quite hard to see, and where the player's flying through the tunnel. What does that look like? A black hole maybe? :o). Despite those bad flaws, it was Joonas' first ever attempt at making something with the Sideways SEUCK, but we praise and thank him for his effort, at making an entry for this competition. :o)
Sylphwyrm

When I first read the title of this game, Sylphwyrm. Straight away I thought to myself. This is going to be a spin off to Silkworm. How wrong I was here. Sylphwyrm by Anthony Burns, was based after Legion of the Damned. There is a long story to this game, but I'll cut it short for you. The villagers of Hameria cut down trees of the forest, to keep the fires burning. After Queen Stryxia was defeated, her sister, Lamia takes reign and seeks revenge after for her sister was defeated by a warrior from Hameria. This game is set out in the dark depths, where you could control one of the two players. The game has a Ghouls and Ghosts feel to it, and was all monochrome. The idea of this game was to fly through 3 different zones, and fight against all evil that comes near by. You could collect crosses to gain bonus points. Anthony made some clever features in this game. One of which he made the portcullis doors, using enemy bullets constantly. The second of which there were balls that explode after a while. There are also clever tricks with the end part of the game. It is good that you can choose which player to use (by pressing the fire button on a joystick) as the game is for 1 or 2 players.

Verde

This was the last entry, which was submitted just in time for the deadline. It was a cute little game by Aldo from Sea Software. You played Verde, a cute little green creature, who has to save his kind, The Rosa Tribe from the evil guards. You had to fly through 3 different levels. There's strange creatures, which makes me laugh, some of which are bear type of creatures that throw off their heads and grow new ones LOL. The game itself is quite clever. The graphics are nicely presentable. Especially, when Verde enters level 3. Level 3's a still stage, where each screen flips but there are plenty of baddies to defeat in this stage. A couple of SEUCK slowdown faults in level 3, but apart from that, the game is marvellous and good fun.
















The SEUCK Compo Results

The SEUCK compo final standings ended up like this:

1. WINNER - Pour Le Merite
2. RUNNER UP - The Rocket Man
3. RUNNER UP - Sylphwyrm
4. Barney
5. Tau Zeta
6. Verde
7. God Slayer
8. Earth Super Force

The Sideway SEUCK compo page and releases are available from HERE.

Richard - YOU PLONKER! - 2 Broken Datasettes?

14th May 2010

Well, a bit of bad news yesterday. I have been trying to align the tape heads of the two C2N tape decks, but unfortunately had an accident with both of them. The mechanics on both of those messed up when I tried to align the tape heads. When I pushed play, the tape made a horrible clicking noise. I opened the unit and noticed a rubber band came loose. I tried to put it back, but that unfortunately snapped and the same for the other one. I also realised, what happened was that I used the wrong type of screw driver, and pushed too hard on the screw, for the sake of aligning the heads. A very stupid mistake - which I will never forget. -Remember folks, If your C64 C2N tape deck needs the tape heads aligned. Use an azimuth screw driver, or a screw driver that will fit perfectly into the screw. Don't do what I did - it certainly does damage to the C2N, and unfortunately it happened to me. RICHARD - YOU PLONKER!

I had one problem where one of my tapes, that I was trying to load snapped up due to one of the spindles not moving correctly. I'm not too sure whether or not that Zzap Megatape 26 is repairable. Probably not, although I was VERY lucky to find a spare (yep, you guessed it) Zzap Megatape 26. So hopefully when I get another C2N tape deck (I will make sure I look after this one, and when it needs aligning, use the correct equipment - which (fingers crossed) will take a very long time. I'd need another C2N anyway, as I pre-ordered a DC2N a few weeks ago. - Which would be more handy. (That spoils the fun of screaming about load errors, don't you think? Nope. I thought not).

Thankfully, I have just bought a C2N deck for £10.00 on Ebay (Inc. P+P costs of course) so hopefully in a few days time, I can play Alleykat on my Commodore 64 again. :o)

Monday, 3 May 2010

Granny's the Terminator

3rd May 2010

I had a terrible day most of yesterday. I needed cheering up. So I booted up my PC to check out my email and Kenz emailed to me a tape inlay cover preview for Bionik Granny Returns. After I saw this, I was laughing hysterically. This was really funny stuff, which I just can't resist showing you. Maybe after Bionik Granny Returns has finished production, I'll include a tape master and tape inlay for you to print off and have a laugh with - as soon as it is done :)

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Granny gets some real action now.

28th February 2010

Today I have been working on the tweaking of the IRQ routine. Seems that I was using one that runs on the BASIC kernal, so I decided to switch that off and use the standard non-Kernal interrupt vectors $FFFE & $FFFF and also switch to NMI Lock using $FFFA & $FFFB. Works fine, now what I want to do is get those enemies stopping at a certain Y position, then move an X position, then walk the rest of the way downwards off screen. To get this working, I need to create some loops and some data tables. I will also need to create some triggers to make the characters stop moving Y if they are moving X. Also depending on which X direction each character should move, I should create a table with switches to show whether the characters have to go left or right. In theory this method should hopefully work.

I tested the movement for the first character with the random stopping position movements for just one character and it worked a dream. Next I implemented the same routine to all of the characters (except for the store assistant) to get them moving. This wasn't working properly at first, but after a few tweaks or rewriting of the code, I got all the characters moving through a random basis, to make game play slightly more interesting.

Now was the time to work on the sprite to sprite collision. I used the same collision method as usual as it makes programming much easier for me. I know I have used this collision routine time and time again, but it is something that could be remembered really well, without having to do so much research. I created separate routines corresponding to each character and linked all of the collision routines to the player's fire button press routine. Unfortunately there seems to be a silly error in the code, in which all but one character stops if Granny hits that character with her cane. I found where the problem lies. It seems that I RTS the movement command which causes all enemies to stop. So I made some multiple JMP to next routine commands to make things work correctly. Well, it seems to work now. I also got the coin routines to work nicely as well.

After all the collision routines worked correctly, I worked on some sub routines that will show the death animation sequences for the player, and also for the enemies that have been hit as well. Seems to be working fine. Now to add the scoring and lives counter, then I shall call it a day for today and do some other time.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Granny waits outside the Supermarket

Monday 22nd February 2010 On Saturday I got Bionik Granny to move around and worked on the whacking animation. Today, I did some more programming on this comical game. First of all, before I get the main characters on screen. I decided to program an animation routine, and test each animation on one sprite. Unfortunately the animation never worked. I wonder what went wrong? I did create timers and pointers for the animation and increment those the way I usually do. Apparently there was some strange bug inside the animation routine, which did not allow to cycle. So I decided to reprogram the animation sub routine and was lucky this time round. Unfortunately the animation for each character was a bit of a mess. It seems that I made a few typing errors in the byte tables that represents the animation frame for each character. After correcting those (by testing sprite frames one by one) , I got a better result. Animation's fine.

Now the animation has been updated and the correct animation has been added to each sprite. I programmed some subroutines that will give the bad charac
ter some bad behaviour. The supermarket assistant, that hangs around outside doesn't like Granny hanging outside Tezco, so he moves around left and right and throws a supermarket trolley at a random place. I made the supermarket trolleys move downwards. I also got all the other characters to move downwards, but next time I program on this game. I will make random X/Y stopping positions for each shopper character, so that we get more variety and unpredictable X/Y positions for the shoppers. Making it more enjoyable compared to the original Bionic Granny. :o)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Granny is on the loose

20th February 2010

I done some more work on Bionik Granny Returns today. First of all, I drew some more sprites for this game. I created some shoppers, store man, trolley, ghetto blaster, etc. I shall not tell you everything as that would spoil the surprise.

After dealing with the sprites, I went back to do some more game code. I created some data/byte tables to represent frames and colours of the characters, which Bionik Granny will want to whack during her day out. Also I created some frames for the various hazards that hang around during the game. As soon as I got the byte tables sorted out, I programmed routines to initialise all the sprites, positions.

After the initialising of the character sprites I got started working on the game loop, which will expand the sprite position limitations and also I got the player moving, and animating. Now it is time for me to prepare some logic to this game, so that granny is using her cane to whack anything that comes along. Well, after a bit of logic I successfully got granny's cane moving. Whenever the player presses the fire button. She can use her cane. Now my next task will be to get some characters come into the game, but I'll work on this probably some time tomorrow or Monday afternoon. I do also have the Up in the Air project to work on as well. So I might do UITA tomorrow instead.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Bionic Granny travels to the future


19th February 2010

Bionic Granny
. Either you would have loved this game, or you would have hated it. Well, I played this Mastertronic classic yesterday for a laugh and decided to create a remix of the original Bionic Granny tune using DMC V4.0. I even did a rubbish SEUCK game based on Granny's antics yesterday as well. Am I terrible or what?

How did I come up with this silly SEUCK made after 1 - 2 hours? Well, basically, I was on an Instant Messenger client and mentioned that BMX NINJA was one of worse games to ever have hit the Commodore 64. But, little did I realise was that there were C64 games worse than that. That was of course Bionic Granny by Mastertonic in 1984. I tested the original Bionic Granny game for myself. It was complete and utter pants. It was one of those games you would have seen made with the Games Creator or Creations game maker tools. (The best game I ever saw made with this probably was Golden Head, an Indiana Jones style game).

As I was discussing with a friend on MSN messenger, I came to a very daft decision to bring back the infamous granny and create a tribute game. That's right fans, Bionic Granny is going to have the Crapcade Games makeover.

For any of you who wants to know what Crapcade Games is: Crapcade Games is a fun label where we give existing game titles a makeover just for fun. And try to make them better, unlike their crap counterparts.

However, although this game is going to be taking a makeover. The concept of the game will be simple, but more fun. For example, we will want some real action involved with this silly game, so the player shall have the opportunity to move Granny left/right (like in the original), but instead of running into the people she wants to whack with her cane. Pressing fire will activate the cane. There will also be a hidden quota. As soon as enough people have been hit by the cantankerous old lady, a coin will move downwards. If the player collects enough coins (by whacking enough people with the cane), they will move on to the next level. Also the speed for each character will depend on the level which you are on. Also planned is a front end with a different piece of music, with flip pages. First showing the credits, then the game instructions, then the high score table.

Anyway, today I got started on working on some in game graphics for this game. I used the Multi Screen Construction Kit utility to design my own screens for the game. It took a while for me to design those screens as I wanted to add some quite nice detail to the actual game's graphics. The result for outside the Mini Mart turned out quite nicely (See pic below).

Other level screens I designed using MSCK were the Park, School and Public Toilets. (I might do a boating port or pub if I get round to designing some more screens. It depends how well the first 4 levels will turn out. There could also be a possibility of some more screens later on if I can think of any more levels for the game. (Huge grin). Then I used the WinVice Monitor to capture all colour and screen data of this game and stored it to the .d64 using:

s "name of file" 8 (source add) (destination add) and that worked out well.

My next step was to make the game sprites. So I dug out the Sprite Editor V1.0 by demo group Faces and drew the characters (sprites) for the game, starting with the Bionic Granny frames (Look much better than the original Bionic Granny), then I drew the kids and lollipop lady and the spinning lollipops. The sprites part is still unfinished, but this will be ongoing for a short period of time. Finally after that, I decided to improve slightly with the Bionic Granny remix, by adding a touch of extra melodies. As soon as the piece of music was finished, I decided to work on the game code. As well as the school stage, I am hoping to add some other characters like, dogs, angry shoppers, drunks, ghetto blasters (blaring notes at you) and some other interesting things.

Unfortunately not much time was spent on the game code for this game, as it was time for tea. So I only programmed in the game screen, IRQ player, etc. But hopefully I should work on the actual game and have something in action some time soon.

As soon as the game is finished and has been tested. It will be released on my web site as a free download and I'll make an authentic tape loader based on the Mastertronic Visiload loader (blue screen and flashing multicolour border) but of course, with loading music.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Oh no ... The aliens are back to invade your loading screen

3rd February 2010

Do any of you remember back in the late 1980's or early 1990's, you inserted a tape and loaded it up to be presented with a little game like Micro Painter, Invade-A-Load, and Load 'N Play. Well, Interceptor Software and Mastertronic may have done this back in the days, but a new kid is in town. Moo-tilation (also known a Moo-tiload) :)

I came up with this little game idea after someone contacted me to ask me if I am able to implement a game into Martin Piper's IRQ Turbo Tape loader source (available from http://codebase64.org) that I always have used to master tapes for Psytronik Software and for my personal collection for the TND web site. After finishing Mutilator on Saturday last week. I originally drew a silly loading picture for the tape loader of this game, but it was complete and utter pants. Well after all I am no artist :o). I thought to myself. Why should I present this game with a duff and stupid loading picture when there could be a possibility of adding something slightly better? So, let's mutilate some cows :)

1st February 2010

I decided that I should give making a loader game a try and also attempt to link it through to the IRQ Turbo Tape loader. So I got designing (using the Multi Screen Construction Kit) to get the game background design. As soon as I was very happy with the final screen design, I captured the screen data, colour data and char set data by using the WinVice Monitor and also Action Replay cartridge. I saved each part separately and then composed some music for the game, using Music Assembler V1.1. I fancied composing something in a sort of Italo disco remix style and ended up with a pretty neat, which the main beat reminds me of the introduction bass line to Around the Planet by Laserdance although the tune isn't like the original cover. I know that FCS of Finnish Gold did a really good C64 remix of the tune using Future Composer. Because I really liked the tune that I composed. I used Goat Tracker V2.26 to do a remix of the same tune I did, but because the instruments were example instruments. I decided to stick to the version which I used.

After finishing the music, it was time for me to head off to the programming stage. So I got started with the main code. Unlike how I normally program games (by SYNCing outside of the IRQ interrupt) I had a simple theory in which is to put the main game subroutines inside the interrupt of a tape loader (Where music usually plays). Because I wasn't that ready for importing this work into the tape loader. I programmed the usual IRQ raster interrupt routine. You know which one I mean? The JMP $EA31 type of thing? :) Yes that's right.

The first thing I did to programming the game was to get the graphics to display, and then get those enemies moving around the screen. My first idea was to have the player as a cross hair, but sadly it did not work out. So the player became a tank instead. Now although the main part of the game was finished, I had some problems, which I will have to resolve tomorrow, as it is getting late now. Night, night.

2nd February 2010

Man, what a blasted annoying morning I had. I was pestered too much by the family dog, and I have been rather poorly as well. Still I was able to continue with this loader game project. The main body of the game was finished, I just had a problem - The Mutilation. It took me a few hours to work out and correct, as what I wanted was an alien to charge down and mutilate a cow. So I programmed a routine which will use a timer to pick an alien (from the mutilation table ) to charge down and mutilate a cow. Well, that sort of worked, but my major problem was collision. When a sprite was moving down and it was shot. The sprite still moves downwards or upwards during the explosion process. I managed to fix this problem, by comparing whether or not the alien was hit during movement. Well, seems that the alien stops when dying, so that worked fine. Now the final part of programming the game. To check if both cows on the ground have been mutilated. If so, then bring back the credits text.

Finalising the data was quite a challenge. Well, it wasn't much of one. I created a routine to initialise the the game data, so that the background, etc is shown. Then afterwards removed the standard JMP $EA31 irq routine, and used the game loop as a JSR play routine. I estimated the initialise and play addresses of the game data and then linked it to the loader source. Oh dear, too many blocks to count (50 something odd blocks of data, included wasted memory). After I linked this and altered the IRQ tape source, it sort of worked, but the long loading time would not be worth it for a loader game. So I decided to try and use Exomizer's level packing method and then link the decruncher at the end of the packed data. Then I put the packed data into the IRQ turbo tape source. Altered the INIT/PLAY routine again and I successfully got a loading game. Bloomin' fantastic, 21 blocks instead :) Time to show this loader off to some of my contacts, who might be interested to see it running.

3rd Februrary 2010

I had some emails back from my contacts/friends about the loader. They thought it was pretty cool. I'm very happy with the overall result, however I really could do with updating the source, so that the loader looks more professional. So I decided to remove the annoying loading noise, alter the colour bars to make them a black border with thin lines. After each block counted, the loader cycles backwards through the colours of the thin lines. You might have also noticed that when I use the Turbo tape routine. And below, specially for you is the Moo-tilation video. Expect to see this loader game appear some time in the near future on C64 productions by The New Dimension :)



Mootilation (Moo-tiload final version of loader, tested on Mutilator)

At the moment, the loader will not yet be available from the TND web site, until after the release of Mutilator (Which will be shortly after Digital Talk #90 has been released). There may be a chance that I might create a little tool which will master Moo-tilation on to a tape along with your game in the near future.

Tips on making a tape loading game:


If you are a C64 programmer and feel like tape mastering your own games, demos or other work and you are unsure how you could make a loading game? Well, there's a simple theory to it. If you take a look at the IRQ Tape loader source by Martin Piper (published in www.codebase64.com) then you will notice that an IRQ tape loader uses INIT and PLAY addresses for music. What you need to do is set up the correct raster positions (as we don't want bugged sprites during a loader game do we?) and also change INIT and PLAY address to initialise the game (not music) and then play the game (not music). The whole of your in game routines MUST be inside the PLAY address inside the IRQ's interrupt of the tape loader. Both INIT and PLAY must use RTS as the end/loop for your game. That's how it worked for me. :)

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Let the Invasion Commence


Saturday 30th January 2010

I felt like playing around with the Sideways Shoot Em Up Construction Kit as I had this rather funny idea for a a new C64 for diskmag Digital Talk. Well, after 4 days or so, this 'ickle project is finally finished, but will not be released on my web site until a week after Digital Talk #90 has been released with the game and could this game be going to the 2010 Retro Computing event in Oxford? Well, just have to wait and see, despite that I will not be down there.

27th January 2010

Okay, so what was the idea behind this game? Imagine this, you are an alien that wants to take over another planet so that you can make it your own home. Well, Mutilator was born. But why is the name Mutilator used? Well, just to make things pretty funny in the game, you are able to mutilate cows during your travelling across planet Earth, as well as fighting the army forces. What a cruel thing 1 alien vs loads of armed forces :)

I did an earlier unfinished SEUCK game called Kick Ass. Unfortunately Kick Ass did not turn out very well, so I decided to use the background from Kick Ass and import it into Mutilator, as the background looked better compared to an earlier version I did. All I had to do was create some additional designs.

After getting the background finished, I worked on the main sprites for the game. Quite unusual ideas came to my head. I wanted to create a suitable looking alien ship. Well, I drew one. It sort was based on the player in Mastertronic's Erebus, but the sprite in my game was my own work. I also created a few frames to make the player's smooth animation. Looked much cooler. Now it was time for me to draw various enemies and other objects and insert those into the game's map. Then redesign the front end and charset. :)

28th January 2010

Phase 1 complete. Phase 2 was to write the music for the game. Done :) Phase 3 was to import everything into the SEUCK Redux source. No problem, but there was still a lot of work to be done as I did not want this creation to be a typical SEUCK game. I wanted to add some to the game. One of which was extras. One of which was that if you mutilate a cow, you will be given a smart bomb. Also if you do not lose a life and you mutilate more cows (before activating a smart bomb) it gets more powerful. Quite an interesting idea.

29th January 2010

It wasn't until today where I had some more interesting ideas. For a start off the front end. It still looked very SEUCK ish like as all text was using a silver colour bar scroll effect. So I decided to add some more flashing colours to the front end. It looked much better. Now the next bit, was background animation. I programmed some character scrolling routine for the flowing water background. It looked much nicer. I came across another idea. The LEVEL stages. Would be nice to add some effect to the intermission to each level. So I went back to the Sideways SEUCK and created a brand new block and made 7 frames in the character set. Saved everything again, and imported the new work into the redux source. I added a subroutine to animate the laser beam character sets. Looks great. Now the game is finished .... I thought!

Whoops there was still something wrong. The smart bomb effect never worked very well as the wrong sprite was detected to activate it. So I corrected this problem. I thought the game score looked pretty naff, I had to do something with it, so I centred the score panel and expanded both x and y values of it and repositioned all those sprites that formed it. The score panel looked much better. There was still something I wanted to do to it. So I linked the flashing colour routine from the title screen, to the score sprites. It looked much nicer. Now I'm ready to send to Digital Talk!

30th January 2010 (Today)

Ah, no. I should not have sent that version. There was still some tweaking to be done and additional ideas came in place to improve the game. So I updated the in game music, added a game over jingle. I also thought that the game would look cool if when the player is temporarily invulnerable, it will flash one of the colours from the front end. Well, that looked much better. I had to make a tweak in Sideways SEUCK to alter the front end raster bar colour. I also had to tidy up the level settings and delete a few enemies. As I wanted to use the last of the unused enemy sprites. A giant gun boat. I imported all of the SEUCK data into the redux source and finally, a Sideways scrolling SEUCK game that looks commercial :)

Lumme, this is cool. I wanna play this game. Can I get it yet?

The game was produced for Digital Talk #90 disk mag, and will not be released on the TND web site until a week after release of the diskmag. Hopefully some time in February. You should be in for a treat. However, I have donated an earlier (un redux'd) version of this game and the unfinished (and scrapped) Kick Ass game to The SEUCK Vault and should be released hopefully soon. :)

Friday, 15 January 2010

Enter the Master! (Get it taped)





15th January 2009

Well, well, well. Been a little while since I last wrote something in this blog. Finally (although it is getting rather late) I can blog something. Well, once again I have been very creative. Last week I wrote a Koala Paint 2 Frame Picture Animator V1.0, but this week I worked on something better. The Tape Master Pro V1.0.

I'll give out a story and explain about this program. Over the past year or so, I went on to Codebase 64 and read about the Auto boot tape turbo loader source, by Martin Piper. I thought that I should give this open source a try and modified some of it to make my own loader routines. The scroll text routine was written from scratch and also I added routines that can display a loading picture. Although my knowledge of loaders, etc is limited. I started talking to Martin via email, about his IRQ loader. Gave him some ideas, which included Marty Load, a tribute to the Cyber Load loader. I was also given kind permission to use this source whichever way I like.

I used the same auto boot type of loading source for a couple of Psytronik Software releases (As I was a very kind person) and prepared the auto booting tape masters for The Last Amazon Trilogy and also The Wild Bunch. Now I decided earlier on this month to write a program that allows people to master their own files from a disk and write it to tape with an auto boot turbo loader (Also by Martin Piper) which will play loading music and the loader can also draw a koala paint picture during loading (Just like the Ocean Loader back in the 1980's). The user can also choose whether or not they want flashing sprites or loading noise during loading.

This program is nothing like any ordinary disk/tape transfer tool. As this is probably somewhat more special. Have you ever saw a disk/tape transfer that allows you to choose the type of flashing border you like before mastering to tape? Well, have you? I thought not. Hahaha. Anyway, the overall result was great.

I was very pleased with this tool, and I showed an early version of it to Martin. I think he also liked what he saw. Here are some example loader experiments I have been doing:

1. Sharkz II loading with the Cyber Load style colour bars and a flashing tape sprite at the bottom left corner of the screen.















2. Snacks 4 Snakes (Protovision friends/contributors entry) with a black border and thin light grey stripes.















3. Finally, Hyper Duel, with the classic multicoloured border :)
















Where's the tool? How much does it cost? I wanna try it! (Drool, grovel, glaaargh!)

Like with my other C64 programs, the Tape Master Pro V1.0 program has been distributed as freeware for anybody to use it. So if you wanted to, you could create your own master disks and send them to or a retro software that releases new games or upload on to your web site, but it would be nice if on the loading scroll text you credit Martin for the tape turbo, and Richard/TND for the loader's additional programming.

I have uploaded this tool on the tools page of the usual TND web site address http://tnd64.unikat.sk

The source for the original autoboot tape turbo loader + explanation about it by Martin Piper can be found here on Codebase64