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).