Sunday, 26 June 2011

16KB Cartridge Game compo - Ideas. Now which should I choose?

26th June 2011
While I feel to have the urge to finish of Super Tau Zeta for Psytronik Software this week (If I finish from work at 4pm on an 8am - 4pm shift). Another game idea has come to my mind. It is also something for the 16KB cart game competition. I attempted a few things when it came to Commodore 64 assembly programming. It all started with moving sprites around and having to dodge them. The crappy "Target-X" series (I actually did do a Target-X 3 in 2001, but it never came to the light - the disk had died on me at the time), the Gravity series, and in 2004-2008, a pure milestone of a shoot 'em up with varied challenges called "Sub Hunter". I also did a couple of psychedelic games, like Sheepoid and Camels in Space, created in the Jeff Minter style mode (Except for the graphics, which used my own sprites and multicoloured all the way through).

There was however one type of game, which I never actually produced, and it is something retro gamers mainly loved in the 8-bit world. We have seen many of those, but this genre does not die out whatsoever. "What is this retro geek, called Richard/TND talking about then?" you may ask. Well, it is the "PLATFORMER". The question is what type of platform game could I write, and how would I come around it?

Well, I could I suppose, do a single screen which uses the Lode Runner style of mode, in which you're a player having to grab dots. Well, this could be quite appealing. Or perhaps I should do a platform game which uses the horizontal scrolling map. Come to thinking about it, I can only scroll 256 chars. Block/Map scrolling is very tricky. Thankfully I can refer to a framework source which was used for the Ultimate Stunt Boat Challenge source code. Or perhaps I could do a simple single screen platform game. Well, I have a few ideas, but I would need to think about what I could implement for the C64 16KB competition. Here are some simple ideas I have come up with - theoretically.

The Death Saw Challenge
An evil scientist has created several rooms, which consist of moving circular saws, which move along the walls, horizontally, vertically or possibly diagonally. Your player must move around the platform maze, climbing up and down ladders having to flick the switches to disable all of the saws. The only problem is that if you flick one particular switch, a saw may stop, but other saws may keep on moving. This would be quite a gory idea, but sounds quite appealing. Later levels could have faster moving saws, and also some trick switches, that will trigger traps.

Sheepoid II - Wooly Jumper
A psychedelic platform game with a slight twist. You are a Sheep which has to get across several levels. The platforms will move at a constant pace, while your sheep is happily bouncing up and down. The player must avoid falling off the edge. Also to make things more interesting, alien ships can fly across the screen in both directions, sapping the player's energy. The sheep can collect laser pods to fight back the aliens.

Put the Kettle On
I remember a classic VIC20 game called "Wacky Waiters" by Imagine software. Now, I'd love to do a C64 conversion, but I had something completely different in mind. It's a funny game idea in the mode of Wacky Waiters, but instead, you are going to one of the kitchens, and then try and serve cups of tea to the customers who are waiting. The only problem is that you have to carefully enter the lifts which are moving up or down. There could be various objects appearing in the background to slow you down, such as banana skins, bottles, etc.

However, I think Wooly Jumper could be the game I may possibly create for this competition. It sounds like a good laugh and ... but you will have to wait and see what gets released near to November time for the RGCD 16kb cart compo :)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Building pipes

7th June 2011
I originally started to do some graphics for the "Pressure Pipe" game yesterday, but for some reason after saving the VICE snapshot in V2.23, I ended up with VICE crashing. So today it was back to the drawn board - Literally :) Okay, don't laugh. We do make mistakes I must however admit. Anyway, today while I was listening to some C64 media on the "Armalyte" CD, and, I have decided to work on the in game graphics and character sets. I had second thoughts about designing everything on Multi Screen Construction Kit, as it would take me longer. Also I had feeling that VICE may have a popup which could shut everything down.

I loaded up the cross-platform tool, "Cuneiform" and worked on the charset and graphics data. Then saved everything and exported the stuff in PRG format. Once I exported the .PRG file and imported into the .D64, I loaded up Jon Well's Multi-Screen Construction Kit and then loaded up the D64 with the graphics charset. It was then time for me to design and save the objects data, which I did. I had to play around with some of the graphics, as they didn't quite look like how I would have wanted those. So after a few alterations, I succeeded with it. Now all I had to do was for the screen, put everything together. Well, yet again, I succeeded with that. A screen's built and stored, and here's my result for the first level. Maybe I could do some more level designs later on in the project. The programming of the game will be more important now I have a graphics mockup ready for the game. I just need to paint some balls in a Sprite Editor (Might do this tomorrow) and then start programming the game.

Here comes Mario :)

5th June 2011
It's official. Mario is coming to the Commodore 64. Okay, I fibbed there. I bet that caught you attention huh? Well, I guess so, who else would be reading this? So then, I have a week off work this week (as I have to use up ALL my annual leave before 30th June 2011). I decided to work on a brand new game project, which should hopefully be a free download from my web site once finished and tested.

This time round it's a new genre puzzle game (or probably not new) for the good old Commodore 64 called "Pipe Pressure" (Probably would sound a lot better if it was called "Pressure Pipe". You decide for yourself :o)). The concept is a very simple concept, which could probably become an addictive puzzler if all goes to plan. The idea I come up is a very simple concept and was sort of an inspiration from those PC flash games you tend to get on line.

Anyway, the concept is pretty much straight forward. (Yawn). When you start the game, a series of four balls of a different colour will appear on to the screen for a few seconds. You must then memorize what colour balls should go into which pipe (indicated with arrows). Then you get to play the game. You have to race against the clock to get 40 correct coloured balls into the pipes within a certain time limit. To increase the confusion. There will be additionally different coloured balls appearing. If none of those match the ones which you had to memorize. The user would have to throw those into the disposal chute at the bottom (simply by pressing the fire button). To make the game idea more confusing if a wrong ball ends up in the disposal chute, or a wrong ball enters the pipe. A life will be lost. At the moment, it is planned to have 10 levels, but if I find that 10's not enough, then levels can increase later on in the game. Tomorrow, I shall work on the game's graphics. Then maybe later on, I shall program the game.