Saturday, 29 September 2012

Into the Amazon

29th September 2012

Finally the scroll engine has been updated a couple of weeks ago, with thanks to Achim's technical support. Now I have been working on the game's animation engine. Last week I got round to preparing the animation tables, but didn't get round to implementing them into a routine. So today I did exactly that. I animated the player so that it looks as if it is running.

I also added a routine in which the player shoots bullets. For some odd reason, the bullet sprite looked out of place. The player was shooting the bullet out of its head :) With a quick adjustment with Sprite Pad, I got the player to shoot the bullet at the correct height.

More work will be done on it later on this week or possibly some time next week - where I start adding the enemies in to the game.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

On today's menu - Trance Sector

15th September 2012

After sending BETA V3 to the BETA testers, no problems seemed to have occurred. So now BETA testing has passed. It's time for me to add the final touches to the disk version, while Daniel Kahlin's working on the finishing touches for the tape version.

During this week I have been working on a TS music demo, which goes with the Trance Sector game, and today I have been working on the disk menu system, and final linking to the intro. The menu is really colourful and quite attractive. The worst part to programming the menu was the raster timing. When I created the colour bars they were all over the place. After playing around with the raster bar timing tables the overall result showed perfect looking raster colour bars. I was pleased with the final result.

Once the disk menu was finished, I implemented Martin Piper's IRQ loader system (and the TS loading picture) to the menu, and set disk drive initialise at the correct point so there wasn't a pause during the IRQ loader part - and so that the music will continue playing as well. I used the tape loader tune for the disk menu system / disk loader, as I thought it would be really cool for it.

I put all the files together on to the disk, altered the load addresses of each PRG file (So that the loader can load the game to a specific address). Now the disk version of Trance Sector is finally ready for release to Psytronik Software.

All I have to do now is get the raw versions of Trance Sector and Challenger's Edition for Daniel Kahlin, and finally I shall release both DISK and TAPE versions to Psytronik Software.

Monday, 10 September 2012

A bit of polish and a few balls as well.

9th-10th September 2012

The BETA Testing of Trance Sector took place over the weekend. The game felt really good, but sadly the game required polishing. The good news is that not much work is required for the game. In fact, only a tiny bit of work was required - I actually got started on the polishing of the game this morning, two hours before I set off to work 12pm-8pm. So what were the problems that were pointed out:

First of all, one job was done yesterday. My beta testers spotted a minor bug with the high score name entry routine. The first problem was that after pressing fire on the game over screen a letter 'A' was already stored on the name for the first character. This was because of the Game Over routine forgetting to 'refresh' the fire button routine. Using fire button detection without refreshing the values to zero can make the control very sensitive. Secondly was the name entry itself. I forgot to reset the last character with the first character and vice-versa, depending on which character was detected. I quickly fixed both of those routines and tested it to ensure it worked right.

More improvements were being made today. Both BETA testers pointed out that the game can be off putting to the audience. If on each level the player lost a life, they would have to start the game all over again. I was quite reluctant to not have the player start all over again. Considering last week when I was testing the levels in cheat mode - I was really frustrated trying to complete some of the levels, although found it to be possible at the end. Since both Frank and Vinny pointed out the same issue, I updated the code to make sure the game screen didn't reset after a life was lost. It didn't require much code one bit. A simple reposition and re-spawn of all sprites per life lost. I also had to update levels 7,9 and 24 - repacked them all and - success.

I wanted to improve something else in the code, which I just had time to do. So I dug out the game character set in Cuniform and I drew 5 1x2 ball characters, with EXTRA inside each ball. Then I stripped the charset size and imported it into the game source. Then I altered the EXTRA routine so that the balls were dark blue (rather than green), but they are still white after one of the letters get picked up from the bonus ball object.

Now it was time to go to work - and maybe work on polishing the explosion sprite positions for the ending screen. Then hopefully final BETA testing this coming weekend.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Enter the Sector

1st-6th September 2012

Over this week I have been working on preparing and building the 32 levels for Trance Sector - fixing some additional bugs, building improvements for the game and programming the intro presentation for it. Now finally, the hard work is nearly done, it is on with the BETA test phase, which I hope will get great feedback.

I tested the new levels myself, and I'm not that good a gamer to be honest. I struggled on some of the levels in Trance Sector in cheat mode, but found that every single level in the game is most definitely possible to complete. I feel that this could be a real addictive game as well. If there's no major issues in the game for the beta testers, I can send the final masterpiece to Daniel Kahlin for tape mastering (As he's been doing a mega cool high speed tape loader system exclusively for Trance Sector. I shall be keeping my fingers crossed. :)

My next C64 project WILL be Amazon Tales, a co-op production by Alf Yngve for RGCD's 16KB cartridge game competition - and it won't be a SEUCK game this time round ;)