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"?

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)

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.


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 :)