Saturday, 28 September 2013

The finishing touches.

28th September

Most of this morning, apart from having visitors. I have been working on the final touches of Invert. The new I drew sprites look much better. I also made the bomb throwing position more accurate. The very last touch was adding animated characters for the Get Ready and High Score name entry routine. Just the final testing to do all through this week, before I give the all clear :)


Friday, 27 September 2013

Let's INVERT even more

25th - 27th September 2013

Yet another busy few days and MORE progress, resulting to the project estimated at 99% completion. So then what has been happening?. Last week I discovered a problem with the hi-score name entry again. The bug appeared where the player achieved a hi score as THIRD place. I entered my name, using the joystick control. Then pushed FIRE to end the name. It stored the name in FIRST PLACE position, and the HI SCORE not on screen. That was a silly bug, which was just incomplete. I forgot to add a "BNE" or "BPL" to a label in which loops the number of characters - and just moved on to another routine. Today, this has been fixed.

Apart from that what other things have been happening? Well Wednesday and yesterday I was working on building the game levels, simply by typing in BYTE values. I used the BYTE values as 2x2 map blocks, and placed them manually like you would with bricks. The levels were then stored to a temp map, which then forms the permanent map on to the screen (by reading rows and columns from the BYTE tables). Last week I did only 12 levels, some were redesigned. I worked a couple of hours or so yesterday designing and TESTING each level bit by bit, to see the possibility of completing it. Well, later levels are most definitely hard, but if you play well, it is possible to complete every level. I was happy with the final result with the level design.

After being happy with the level designs. I worked on the ending. I loaded up the Multi Screen Construction Kit, and the game charset and created some end graphics. Then used the VICE M/C monitor to capture and store the screen data. I tried the same with the colour data - but seems I forgot to save the colour data correctly. I started programming the new routines for the end sequence. I came up with an idea, which simulates the player escaping from his Puzzle prison, enters space, and ends up back in its own world. Then a surprise end. It represents something I usually do on a Thursday evening. That'll be your guess :)

After some long hours testing yesterday. I can confirm game is now 99% finished. All I need to do is a little bit of tidying up of the game sprites (Maybe redesign them, as they do look very amateurish.). Also sort out the bomb positions, to make them much fairer. The accuracy of the moving bombs isn't correct. There are a few possibilities on how to solve this problem. The final update might be next week.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Here come the Chatters

17th-19th September 2013

I sent this game to Vinny Mainolfi to test, and come up with some more feedback. Unfortunately the main game engine needed some more things added to it. I agreed with what sort of improvements could be made to make this game more fun and playable. The general tile flipping puzzle against time idea of mine, won't really give good results for a 16KB game. The front end needed to do away with a scroll text. As I have always used that method (Logo with credits and scroll text). The changes were made to the front end. Instead of having a 1x2 scroll text, the game has a flip page. In which after a few seconds or so, the title flips from the main credits, to the high score table, then the in game characters (player, enemy, bombs). 

The main game also had some major changes added to them. The game now has enemies, called Chatters. The enemies run around the playing area lobbing bombs now and then. They don't bother aiming, as they are pretty much dumb. The player now has a different challenge. Not only has it got to flip the tiles to the correct type, but also has to watch out for the Chatters' flying bombs. The player can now protect itself from the bombs, by pressing fire to activated a limited shield. At the start of the game only 5 shields are given to the player. These have to be used wisely. There are also new tiles in which will give the player a shield if the player steps on it.

As well as the enemies and their bomb throwing. I started on redesigning the level layout, to make each level of the game look more tidy. I also programmed a high score name entry routine as well (which still isn't quite finished yet - one colour bug needs fixing). Additional things I intend to do during this project are the GET READY and END SCREEN as well as finish off designing the remaining levels. I hope to draw some new game sprites for the player and the enemies, as they are quite rough looking :) Progress is looking great so far.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Enter the Trap

29th-31st August 2013

Last time, I was working on the main game engine, hoping that everything was working. I was quite pleased with the result of the work so far. However, the colour of the tiles didn't look right on a CRT screen, so I changed the Blue+Purple tiles into Red+Purple. That looked much better. I had a great idea which was to add some kind of effect for every time the player is inverting the tiles. So I drew a sprite which creates a form of a dissolve/fade routine and added routines in the game to make this take effect. Basically, when the player hits a tile that inverts, the second sprite is used to form an animation over that particular tile. Now that I was very happy an impressed with the work done to the game so far.

I decided to move on to something else, related to the project. So I worked on a front end for the game. Unlike many of the front end title screens, where you have a static logo, credits and a scroll text. I wanted to do something completely different. I loaded in JSL's logo for the title screen. Then I converted the bitmap picture into a logo (Charset + Matrix) format. At the moment, this was just a static logo. So I decided to convert it into Swing Logo format. I downloaded Paramount's Shake It utility and converted the logo into a swinging logo format. 

Now I was happy with the swinging logo format. I exported the charset and swing matrix data into the project. Then I worked on the new front end. The 1x1 font was used to display the credits. I programmed in some multiple IRQ raster interrupts into the game's title screen code. Added the screen cuts. Top row of the screen has the first logo. The second row of the screen has the credits, which use the 1x1 charset, the third row has a 1x2 charset, which uses a smooth scrolling text message. Finally the bottom row has the second logo, which swings in reverse. I added some subroutines that would cycle the colour of the logo after a few seconds or so. This idea was inspired by common old-school C64 intros. The result turned out quite nice.

Now what about the game? So far I had 8 levels designed, so I decided to do some more tests on some of the newer obstacles. Unfortunately, for the blob, it stops at an incorrect position, causing the game to mess up. So to solve this problem, I added some simple checks and compared which direction the player was at. If the player was moving a longer distance, I had to trim the move distance slightly for a more accurate position. After I worked on the check subroutine for all 4 of those player directions (Up, Down, Left, Right), I worked on a few more levels, in which introduced the trap switches. If the player moves on to those either the trapdoors will remain closed, or they will all open. The T tile (correct direction) opens the trapdoors holes, and the T (upside down) represented the closing of the trapdoors. This trick worked, and some of the stages (up to level 12) are puzzling. As I positioned trap switches in various places to confuse the player.The result turned out great.

I also did some updates to the music. The in game music high notes part sounded pretty awful to the ears, so I changed the closing melody to the tune. The title screen instrument, which originally used sawtooth, was changed into a pulse ($41) and made the introduction of the tune sound much better. 

The assembled program is so far 10KB and it is going pretty well, and I seem to be progressing pretty quickly with this game. It may look as in the game could be ready for submission bby the end of September this year. Considering the extra free time I have been having recently :)

Friday, 23 August 2013

Here comes the Blob

17th-23rd August 2013

Last week and throughout this week, some people didn't hear from me for a while via email. Some people wondered what the heck happened to me. Well, I have been really busy on this project. As well as some classic gaming :) I also been on holiday for 2 weeks in Lydstep, Tenby as well, away from computers. There were wifi access points down there - but very limited. I wanted to get away from internet anyhow. It is too much of a distraction these days. Although the deadline isn't until 30th November to get the project finished and submitted to RGCD. I have a feeling that I will have it finished way before that particular date.

So then, what has been happening. Before I went on holiday for 2 weeks, between 27th July - 10th August. I was constructing the main game screen, using Jon Well's magnificent Multi Screen Construction Kit. This was only used to design one screen. When I checked the screen out, the size was 2 chars too small. So I expanded the grid and by adding just one more row of tiles to it. I also changed balls to blobs. The numeric counter was changed to blob symbols as well. Some different tiles were created. Those represented different obstacles, such as a normal tile, inverted tile, holes/traps, steel trapdoor, trapdoor switch, arrow pushers, and tiles that push you back to the previous tile. Then saved all of the graphics data, for just in case any adjustments or new tiles are planned. I also composed the title music for the game using Goat Tracker (See video below)

After finishing the game design grid, I captured the screen and transferred all existing screen and colour data directly to a memory location, using the T 0400 07e8 2000 (screen data), and T D800 DBE8 2400 (colour data) in VICE monitor. Then I closed down the VICE monitor and entered the Action Replay M/C monitor to save the data from $2000-$27e8 on to a .D64 image. Detatched the .D64 image and exported it to the C64 Studio project.Then I drew the sprites for the game.

The next step was to do some programming. The first thing I did was extracted all data into to the project directory, in which was called 'Invert'. I also added Exomizer to the directory as well. Compression is the key to starting a program :). I set up the main parameters inside C64 Studio to call  exomizer to compress the assembled binary, and  rename it to run via the decruncher, with no decrunch effect  (10 SYS 2061). Then I started the main programming of the level design. I based the level design on comparing which tiles are to be in place - as the level design was to be made manually by using the !byte command, using a row of 11 and a column of 10. Each number from 0 to 9 inside the table represented the object to be placed into the game area. I created a few routines in which read from the first tile character in each row, added 2 chars to place the next tile. I did separate low/high byte pointers to start from $0452, $0453, $047a, $047b, $d852, $d853, $d87a, $d87b and created a few loops which moved to the next tile character by 2 chars. Therefore with 2x2 chars, I used $0452 for the starting point of the top left tile, $0453 as starting point of the right tile, $047a as starting point of the bottom left tile, and the $047b as the starting point of the bottom right tile. I then added a few loops / subroutines to perform the action. Then it drew the correct test map on to the screen. The $D8xx + represented the colours.

My next step was to add the main player, a bluey blob in which was to be controlled by using a joystick plugged into port 2. I added some routines in which controlled the player. Basically, if the player was moving, and the joystick direction was being read at the same time. That process gets ignored, as the player is moved using a timer. After I was happy with this. I added the sprite/background collision routines, which compared which tiles the player was currently on after stopping on that particular tile. I got the effects to occur. One of which flashed the border (just for a test) if the player was on the hole tile. I was very happy with the overall result, I moved on to something else.

Now the sprite/background collision was ready, I loaded up Sprite Pad V1.8 and drew the player's animation frames. I originally had just 1 sprite for the player at first. Each frame represented the blog expanding and deflating. I liked what was done so far. So I saved the sprite data to C64 format again and inserted into the project. The next step was to program the sprite animation, where the player expanded and deflated at a certain speed. I programmed the routine in and it turned out quite nicely.

Back to programming the main levels. This time testing whether or not all tiles were correctly inverted to how they should look. After getting the routine working. I flashed the border again to say that the level was complete. I also programmed the clock routine. What a happy chap I was with this result.

Now came the nightmare, which I had for a few days. I designed 4 test levels, but after a level was finished. The tile data from the next level was out of place. I was pretty confused about how that happened. It puzzled me until yesterday. It turned out that I had forgotten to add the low and high byte values of the starting characters, which should initialise the first character and colour RAM position for each corner of the very first row of tiles. After that was solved. I programmed some messages to show LEVEL COMPLETE, LIFE LOST and GAME OVER. Then I was in the mood for doing some music.

I loaded up Goat Tracker V2.27 and worked on the in game music. Unlike the first tune which was used for the game, I wanted to do something pretty funky and quite cheerful. So I did a sort of funky cheery jazz type of tune as in game music inspired by demo scene musicians such as PRI, JCH, Drax, Syndrom, etc. Then added a game over jingle, inspired by the game over jingle from the "Artris" demo, by Scruffy Bits/Color7, which appeared in Commodore Format's cover tape #53. The result turned out pretty good. I generated a .SID file, and tested the .SID. Great, it worked. Now I transferred the music to the game project source, as .prg. I added some more routines in the game which plays the music. Awesome. It suits the game well. 

Now it was back to Sprite Pad V1.8 again, so I can add some explosions to the animation. This occur when the player loses a life, but first the blob sinks through the ground (or hole) magically. This can happen when time runs out or the player falls through a hole. I exported the new sprites to the project directory, then programmed the life lost routine, where the player gets killed. It looked quite good, but I wanted to add one more thing to the life lost routine. Shaking screen during the explosion. The pointers inside the explosion loop also read the animation table for the screen shake. Then restores the screen back afterwards. Wonderful. I love the overall result so far. So then what next? A real C64 test.

I copied the compiled .PRG to my 1541U2 and tested the game in action. Unfortunately, it looks as if I may need to adjust the correct tiles slightly as on the PAL monitor (TV) it doesn't look all that good. Still that won't really be much of a problem. Just a slight character change, and it will probably look much better. Everything else seems to be ok. More on this next week, as I am intending to get the FINAL touches done with Trance Sector Ultimate for RGCD tomorrow (Saturday) morning. Just a final bug fix for that.

I recently received an email from JSL offering me a front end logo for this game. Well, I am happy to take this, but I just hope it will be a 3 colour logo consisting of  7 or 8 chars down. There'll be no pressure either. After all, this is a hobby project - not exactly real life work :) I would like to to add one or two logo swing routines to the front end, so a 3 colour logo would ideal.For now, I shall enjoy a cup of tea. Then off to work in under an hour's time. Enjoy the game play video so far and tune in to another blog update, probably next week. Cheerio!

Friday, 26 July 2013

A new puzzle game is coming November 2013

26th July 2013

After the success of Trance Sector, and the two Sheepoid games for Psytronik Software and RGCD. I have decided to work an a 16KB game as my next main game project called "Invert". What is the game going to be all about you may wonder? First of all this gaame is going to be a 16KB cartridge game and downloadable / disk / tape format. It is not going to be commercially released - at the moment. Now what about the concept?

Invert is going to be a puzzle game in which you control a ball over the floor, in which should invert the black tiles to the correct colour tiles, consisting of 2x2 chars - but if you move over on to them again - they will invert again. Is that all the game is going to be? No, of course not. I have have some pretty interesting ideas in which will enhance the game play. There will be arrow tiles, forcing the player to move to a particular direction, also trap switches, in which will open / close traps and a couple of other surprises. The player will have to be racing against the clock to invert the tiles correctly. .

I started designing the graphics for the game earlier on this year. I did a redesign of the game area using Multi Screen construction kit, and the design looks much better. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I will be on to it in mid-late August, where all level data will be formed by using !byte tables, and those read are converted into the game tiles. I also did music for the game a couple of days ago.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A day to remember - Revival 2013

Saturday 18th May 2013

(No photos of the event unfortunately. Here's some screen shots of some stuff I was talking about)

Weekends, I am usually slaving away programming or composing music for either my amusement of having fun. On Sundays-Fridays, I just work, work, work at a high pressured order picking/packing job at a local DC. Whereas on a Thursday I chill, and drink up the local pub. As the stressful week reached its end, it was time for a little break from all that today. I got up at 6:50am in the morning. Showered and got myself ready to go off from my local home town to Birmingham New Street station. Then bought myself a ticket and caught the 9:15am train to Wolverhampton (Not far from where my uncle lives). After I got on to the train. I relaxed for 25 minutes. Well, wasn't really relaxing - I was quite nervous. Worried about getting myself lost.

I got to the train station in Wolverhampton, and I started to make my way to the venue in Gorsebrook Road. I was relieved to discover that the venue wasn't all that difficult to find. It was just down the road from the Wolverhampton city centre. I got to the venue, and queued up. There were so many colourful and cheerful characters and children looking forward to enter Revival 2013. Although there was quite a longish queue. We didn't have to wait too long for entry. After getting my hand stamped. I saw the first part of the venue. At the main entrance were 9 big TV/Monitor screens - featuring 9 different classic games. The games were from the classic consoles, such as: The NES (Mario), SEGA Megadrive (Sonic), Atari (Asteroids) and a few other colourful games.

As I entered the complex  even further, I was very amazed to see my milestone of 2008, "Sub Hunter" on one of the displays. It was the Psytronik Amstrad CPC version. I had a go at playing the game on a real Amstrad. The computer brings me memories of visiting my uncle (during my childhood, and teenage years). I always wanted to see my uncle - for the sake of playing his games he bought on the Amstrad. Unfortunately because he was footy mad, there were a load football simulators - He did have other things, such as R-Type and a few other titles.

As well as the Amstrad CPC, I spotted "Flimbo's Quest" on the screen. I thought to myself - That must be the "Commodore 64" version of the game. Can it? It was ... but not on a C64 computer, but on a C64 Game System. There was a Commodore 64C in the venue which had Endurion's arcade adventure game called "Wonderland". A pretty nice game. The stand where the C64 was monitored by Jason. Not too far from the distance was an SX 64. A portable computer, with built in screen - that ran on Commodore 64 disks. On display was the stunning RGCD 16KB Cartridge Compo 2011 game, "C64Anabalt". A very amazing remake of the classic flash game Canabalt.

There were more things to see and explore. When I entered the main hall. It was full of colourful consoles and characters. A load of classic computers were ones I never even heard of. Other machines were quite familiar. I wouldn't forget the BBC ACORN Microcomputer. Back in the eighties when I was in infant/junior school. I checked out the back end of the room. There was an old style Commodore 64 there, with a true classic gem of a game. Loaded from real tape. "Thrust" by Firebird Software. An absolutely fantastic original game.  I gave the game a go before I walked back to the entrance.

I got to the entrance to the big room where Kenz was standing and we had a friendly chat about "Cops". I also talked about one of my scrapped projects. He was happy to hear about the project being scrapped. I decided to get myself a drink. As I felt very thirsty. I got to the bar, and bought a drink. Tried to order some food, for lunch a bacon bap. Unfortunately the food I requested had ran out. Alternatively, I just had 2 packets of ready salted crisps. I am a fussy eater you know :)

After having a drink and two packets of crisps. I went back into the main hall again, to check out more of the machines. Played games - and did rubbish in them. I then visited a stall and looked at the Commodore 64 tapes that were for sale at the event. WOW, Commodore 64 tapes being sold at an expo. AWESOME. Well, not quite. As the majority of games which were on sale were games which I already had (and still have). Anyway, I bought 4 tapes for £5.00. The games of which were SDI (Hit Squad), APB (Hit Squad), Noterraqueous (Mastertronic) and Raster Runner (Mastertronic Plus). Then I went to play more fun classic games (And more Commodore 64 of course).

I went back to Kenz's stall and C64 legend, Steve Day was the (STE'86). We had discussions about loading screens and had loads of laughs about one picture in particular, which was released on CSDB. I won't reveal what the picture was, or who was responsible, but that was a barrel of laughs.Yet again I disappeared and bought myself a pint of Fosters' then watch the Ocean Experience interview. Yes, the guys formly from Ocean Software were at the event. The guys all talked about what their experience was like back in the 1980's at Ocean. How it was relaxing - compared to how people have to work in the UK today. They also mentioned about the equipment and software they programmed the games with. Also a bit about "Total Recall", "Operation Wolf" and how they didn't like movie crossovers. Although I was standing at the back of the queue for 45 minutes or so. I was desperate to have a sit down. After the seminar had finished, I walked back to the bar and bought myself a cup of tea. Paul Drury from Retro Gamer came to the venue and said "It's the C64 programmer, who still makes games today". He asked if I have brought any of my made games to the show this time?. I sad "No, not this time, sorry!".

I went back to Jason's stand, played a few games and left a few surprises. Yep, RICHARD TND was entered on the high score table of ... Woolly Jumper. I was indeed playing my own C64 game on his C64. I bet he still didn't know it was me. I went back to Kenz's stand and said. I've been leaving a few surprises on Jason's stand. We both laughed. We then started talking about future projects, and Alf Yngve and how amazing he adds new ideas into SEUCK. Then I program some of the ideas. I also mentioned that I learned this stuff by helpful SEUCK tips by Jon Wells. I also talked about the latest game, which was released on my web site about a week ago called "Bank Run". (A game of West Bank, using SEUCK).

I took a walk around the venue again and saw something funny but very amazing. It was huge screen full of LED lights. Each light formed  two objects, and one formed the ball. It was "LED PONG". I think you may have remembered the classic arcade game don't you :) No? If not, where the heck have you been? I went round the arcade machines and played on some of those. Then back to the C64 (The 1541 Ultimate was plugged in this time). It was a bigger session this time. I had some time to play 3 or 4 games, until someone wanted to play something on the machine. I played "Terra Cresta", "R-Type" and "Alleykat". Three classic games. I also noticed my old games were on the SD card, but didn't bother to load those in. Someone wanted to load in "Thrust" from the tape deck. So they did that. While the tape was loading, I talked about the tape loader which was used in the game. I watched how "Thrust" was played. The way that guy was playing "Thrust", I learned something new. To gain bonus points, constantly shoot the nuclear power station and escape before time runs out :)

I went back to Jason's stall, where Kenz and Steve Day were here. After all those little surprises. The big surprise was revealed. The real Richard Bayliss meet Jason for the first time :). We all laughed, and then the serious talking started. It was about projects. Jason showed me some WIP stuff and we all agree that incomplete projects equals lack of time or motivation. Mainly due to real life/work, etc. Steve was then discussing about one particular controversial picture that was uploaded on CSDB. We all discussed bizarre things about picture. Then afterwards talked about Art Packages on the C64. Paint Magic, OCP Art Studio (If I'm right). Then I mentioned about when I first had my C64, it came with "The Image System". I mentioned how difficult it was. We all agreed - Image System was rubbish.  There were other discussions and some very funny ones as well :) I was amused at the fact that one of my all time favourite shoot 'em up games, was technically not one of the BEST shoot 'em ups for the C64. We could have discussed more, but I decided to go for a walk round again to see if there was anything I missed.

After my walk and I went for a final drink, I walked back and saw someone else from the C64 world was with Kenz. It was one of the workers of Ocean Software. We talked and had a bit of a laugh. I mentioned about how I first got involved with the C64. The number of C64s I had, and why I always been using the C64 since 1990. It was because it was part of my inner youth. I loved the C64 from day 1 and very happy to keep using it today. Sadly my day had finished a Revival 2013. It was time for me to set off, get some tea then catch the train and bus home. Then face a daay of sheer depression - Work!

For me, Revival was a big event to have remembered. Also the best thing that happened to me so far this year. If the event occurs in Wolverhampton next year. I will most definitely come. This time for 2 days - and hopefully - bring a new game this time.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Cops Strike Back

9th May 2013

If you remember buying Commodore Force, and ZZap 64. You may have remembered Alf Yngve's Public Domain SEUCK games called Cops and Holiday Cops. Well, you'll be surprised to hear that planned over the past 2 or 3 years, was the "Ultimate Cops" series. In which was to feature enhanced versions of all of the COPS games, which Alf wrote back in time. Well, good news is that the overall project will be seeing the light of day soon with thanks to myself, Alf and Psytronik Software.

I have been very busy the past few weeks (or months) working on this compilation - which should have been produced a very long time ago. Anyway, what did I do for the games? Cops, Holiday Cops have brand new front ends and in game enhancements with music. All 3 games here will be featured on side 1 of the disk. Where as on side 2 is the last ever episode of the Cops series, "Cops the Final Chapter". The story sees Mike 'Mad Dog' McTavish, and Singh 'Big Bang' Kapoor about to be facing retirement. Bad news was that a criminal gang blew up a high security prison, and set one of the most evil criminals 'Maledict I' on the loose.  The commissioner called on Mike and Singh to recapture 'Maledict' in one of the biggest arcade adventures (Split into 3 parts). The game also features additional enhancements such as game options, in game music and also power ups, and background char animation. The overall result gives the game a commercial appeal.

A tape version for Psytronik is finished now. (I think), with a huge thank you to Mase for his awesome loading picture. I did a loading tune specially for this series. Which I feel suits the tape loader pretty nicely. Since the second part of  "Cops the Final Chapter". Although the mastering was complete. I felt that the disadvantage was that I tried to make the tape mastering system *much easier* so that after mastering one main file, it automatically loads the next file. Sadly this method failed as it interfered with the tape mastering code. So rather than just messing about with the code for the tape mastering. I created separate tape masters - which must be loaded straight after the tape mastering was complete (Sorry Kenz). A disk menu for the disk version is still under development, but should be ready in time for the end of this weekend. Mainly due to no major plans this coming weekend. So fingers crossed, the compilation should be ready. Then on to Shoot Em Up Destruction Set #3 (Another 5 new unseen Alf Yngve games compilation).

Monday, 4 February 2013

Stand by your Llamas - The Alpacalypse is coming

4th February 2013

Stand by your Llamas. Engage defences as an Alpacalypse is coming - well, near your Commodore 64 and WinVice of course. I have been very busy the past few weeks (despite problems on get graphics in place) bringing yet a sequel to the Jeff Minter tribute "Sheepoid". It's called "Sheepoid DX". It is a fun cute game inspired by the classic Laser Zone, which Jeff wrote back in the early 1980's. Compared to Laser Zone, Sheepoid DX is somehow different. Especially when on later levels, the aliens start moving diagonal directions. One sheep would have to defend the other.

Sheepoid DX consists of 24 levels, in which the world is under threat of an alien invasion - or to put it another way an Alpacalypse. Two sheep have been transported into a incoming mother ship. A funny discovery was made, that there are 24 different neon vortexes, which give a strange vision for the sheep. One sheep is placed at the bottom of the screen, and another is placed on the far right. They have to defend themselves from ongoing invaders of each zone, simply by bleating pulse waves at them - so the aliens get destroyed. The player can also rescue sheep to gain smart bombs, those get activated with the space bar. The player's sheep has to try and avoid shooting the incoming sheep. If those poor little blighters get shot, 1000 points gets deducted from your score. No matter how far you get, it can be possible to end up with a very low score if you keep shooting the sheep.

Unlike the original Sheepoid. This game is more polished, with amazing graphics by Trevor Storey. The front end presentation looks similar to the original title screen from the first Sheepoid. The game has some better features installed. I still added the scrolling void in each neon vortex, but Trevor did amazing level graphics, which I am sure you would love a lot in this version of the game. I also removed the witty captions to make way for a better effect. The lazer beams. These are to make it look as if each invader is entering the vortex.

There are still some old Yak style favourites such as the camels (They still roam level 2 of this game), the Ancipital goat type of creature, but the majority of the enemies are completely different compared to the original Sheepoid.

I had a laugh with some of the ideas I wanted to implement into Sheepoid DX. I thought it would be quite funny to add a funny phrase for engaging a hidden cheat into the game (That was yesterday). I also had some fun playing around making music and sound effects using a music editor I had never used before. SidWizard in fact. SidWizard's awesome. So if you want to be a C64 composer, I recommend that you try it.

Well, the main game of Sheepoid DX is finished (I hope) and it is just the final mastering to finish off. I'm releasing this along with Woolly Jumper, hopefully via Psytronik Software and RGCD in a month's time or possibly over that period. It will be worth the wait I can promise you.

There are

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Sheep VS Aliens

17th January 2013

I have been mighty busy today with a project for RGCD. Not much will need programming. The changes are more on a graphics front. Back in 2011 I released a game called "Sheepoid". Also I did Sheepoid 2 - Woolly Jumper. Well, since we are in the subject of sheep. I was asked if I could make a much nicer version of Sheepoid last year. Well, good news is that Sheepoid will be updated. RGCD's Woolly Jumper was originally planned for a release on cartridge, but I decided to work on Sheepoid DX as an extra for it. Of course I'll be launching Woolly Jumper (with the new jump) on disk / tape for Psytronik Software along with this game.

So then, what changes are going to be made? For a start off, all existing graphics will be replaced with brand new ones. Smila has provided me with some mockups of levels and new graphics for sprites and text charsets. This really impressed me. The major drawback during last week was that. I have been banging my head trying to build tiles out of the existing character sets converted. I never have been good with jigsaws :). Good news is that I have managed to build elements/tiles and I have started building the new level screens today. I managed to get 5 level screens built using Endurion's Element editor. A tool, which was originally created for him to build and develop elements for his game Soulless. The tool eventually got released, and can be useful for anyone wanting to design levels using additional sized tiles/elements. Basically a PC style Multi Screen Construction Kit :)

As you may know like all other projects, this project is going to be a very slow process - due to that I am always losing free time due to the 12-8 work pattern. Hopefully when Sheepoid DX is finished, it should look neat. Anyway, here's a little mockup I have made to show you what the game is intending to look like :)

This is only a mockup. No actual screen in place of source or altered code yet.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Bet you got square eyes :)

9th January 2013

Back in 2010 I wrote my first ever tape loader game for the C64 (Cool). That game was called "Moo-Tilation". It was a funny shoot 'em up game, in which you had to defend your hapless cows from being abducted by aliens. In the late 2011 I wrote yet another C64 loader game, called "Happy Blocks", inspired by one of the games I played on FB. HB was a game in which you shift your block, having to avoid getting smashed by the falling blocks. The game required a lot of action.

So then. If you remember those two games quite well. There's a new kid in town. Back in 2007 I wrote a game for a demo group, Civitas called "Square Pit 64" now it's back once again, resurrected as a tape loader game with a slightly new look and a different Euro-disco style tune. I originally planned to rip the original Square Pit 64 game source and implement it into the loader. Unfortunately, I had some problems doing exactly that, so I decided to quickly program the game from scratch, with the aid of the existing resources. I originally was going to go for a techno/trance style theme for the game. Where every time the drum kick came on screen, the screen flashed. I decided not to bother at the end, as the result turned out quite bad.

Instead, I added some pulsating flash routines on to all of the sprites, apart from the small square (Which will stay as white). I also added a fitting track into the source, and tested the game inside an IRQ interrupt. Seemed to have worked quite nicely, but there appeared to have been something wrong. I noticed the scores were placed in the wrong place after a new game was started. I soon fixed that problem. Finally the game was working. So now it was time to remove the IRQ interrupts, and link the game to the Thunderload tape loader.

The biggest mistake I noticed in 2012 was that Thunderload Series Six loader never was compressed, because I had to keep on changing the scroll text and tunes for it. Well, this time round, I decided to compress Square Pit, using Exomizer's level compression mode. Then assemble a decruncher source from the Exomizer, itself. I had to use DASM for this. After assembly and compression and linking the decruncher to the compressed source, I linked the final build to the tape loader source. I altered the LoaderGame init address to call the decruncher routine (Which I placed at $5000) and the set the play address at where the main loops in the game occurred. I altered the batch file to build the .tap using SQUAREPIT.PRG instead. I picked a program to be loaded after the loader game, as a test guinea pig, which was of course "Trance Sector". I tested the tape loader system and it worked a treat :)

Here's a video of the tape loader in action.