Saturday, 29 April 2017

Cruiser X-79 - Update #4

Saturday 29th April 2017

Here comes yet more progress made with this great Commodore 64 game project. The game is starting to work out much better. The player / enemy bullet collision finally got implemented. I did have a few issues with the sprite/charset collision subroutine, so it was time to take a look at that. There were some missing values, so those got fixed in. This took some time and I felt quite frustrated with the sprite/background collision subroutine. I decided to take a look at the source code of X-Force to see where I actually went wrong. Sometimes it is always good to have backups of older game projects, when in doubt :)

After fixing those. I decided to work on a few additional background tiles, also swapped colour attributes. This is so that on later levels, all 3 colours of the background ($d021, $d022, $d023) can be different. The additional tiles build are power up tiles. The tiles got exported into the source code. The tiles made were a shield for player's invincibility – for a temporary moment of time, rocket tile – for increasing the player's laser speed and a bomb – for a press space bar smart bomb feature (not implemented into the source yet). I tried reading the player ship to background collision, it read fine for the shield and laser. Strangely enough however when I tried to call the collision test to the bomb tiles, the code seemed to have read the wrong part of the background, which caused a wrong area disappear. This will be looked at some time next week.

You may also remember last week I added a player death subroutine. There wasn't a lives indicator. So that got implemented today. The yellow diamond characters represent the number of lives (including zero) which the player has. After the player explodes, the yellow diamond becomes red. The player has 4 lives at the start of the game, and will eventually be able to get extra lives later on in the game – Not implemented yet. A Game Over jingle was produced for the game.

I also implemented a STAGE CLEAR message at the end of the level. Before the message appears on screen, I made it so that the player moves up.

Anyway, time to backup this project and show you yet another video preview. Yet some more bugs in the code, but this is still a WIP anyhow :)

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Cruiser X-79 Update #3

22nd April 2017

It has been quite a while since I last blogged something in. This time I have no video to show you, but a few snapshots, to prove more work has been done on the project.

Anyway what has been happening this week. Well, today in fact. Some more game sprites were drawn, and another 2 alien formation tables were set up. Although no path movement tables have yet been set. This will happen occasionally. Some new space ships were created to make alien waves move downwards, and diagonal through a table. There's also another downwards formation, where circular robotic ships move in different speeds. They appear in more than just one go.

I also focused on scoring. A score subroutine was added and linked to the enemy death subroutines, so that the player scores points per alien shot.

Then came the sprite/background collision. I referred to the source in Trance Sector Ultimate, to try and get a 2x2 char sprite/background collision, and even implemented one on the 2x3 characters. I wanted to give this game a Uridium/Warhawk type of feeling, so made it possible that the player can destroy background objects to boost the score. The other sprite/background collision resembles to the player / wall collision.

After adding the collision subroutines, the player was missing something vitally important. A shield counter - to give the player chance to escape collision, when in re-spawn mode. Also an explosion animation to the player. So that every time the player hit an enemy, when the shields are out it explodes.

Now here's the latest WIP video of the work that has been done so far on this project.

Tune in next time for another project update :)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Cruiser X-79 Update #2

1st April 2017

Okay, just a quick update in the blog. Well, today was quite a hard going session. More work has been done in the game project, and seems to be going quite well. I programmed some additional 1-way alien formation patterns. Although I do intend to create path formations in the near future. Also added are some newer enemies, and also a parallax effect in some parts of the space station. I won't say any more, check out this video below :)

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Zenox Attack is now Cruiser X-79

25th March 2017

It has been a very long time since the last time I was working on this space shoot 'em up. Probably due to the long term lack in motivation to code a new game. Also due to getting sidetracked with other tasks as well. Not, to mention the organizing of the SEUCK Compo 2016/17, and getting the prizes done quickly before my holiday ended last week.

Now finally I have returned to this game project. Also I have migrated this game project over to Arthur Jordison's CBMPRGStudio V3.10.0, a great C64 programming suite on the PC. Come BASIC or assembly. :). I have renamed the game project Cruiser X-79.

A lot of changes to the code and also music has been made, although I don't really have anything specifically new to show you at the moment. The same graphics, and also the same sprites are currently used. However the game features new music, which I think works quite well with this game project so far.

So then, what things have been going on this week. Well, for a start off, after the migration of the code and data into CBMPRGSTUDIO V3.10.0 (As I promised Arthur, I create something using his C64 development suite). I created some subroutines, which perform a check when is the best time to spawn aliens. Only a small simple test has been made to test the alien spawning. Basically, check to see if any aliens are offset in the game. If so, then wait until all aliens are out of the screen (or dead). Then set the timer to wait for new aliens to spawn.

Another subroutine created, linked to enemies, are based on enemy movement. I created some checks to see which direction the last alien movement should be, and also which part of the screen should the alien exit. Should an alien leave the screen going a certain direction, the subroutine automatically kills that particular alien.

The video below shows the latest ongoing progress of this game project, which will be released at The New Dimension games division on the downloads page - for absolutely nothing. The game design isn't all that exciting at the moment. No change to graphics or sprites at the moment, but eventually it will happen. Aliens only move straight formation, but I will do better ones in the future. Enjoy the video of the preview and expect to see more progress during the times ahead :)

Saturday, 28 January 2017

And the name of the game is ... Zenox Attack

27th - 28th January 2017

My week's holiday has come to an end, and things are back to normal once again. Most of the holiday was mainly composing music, and also starting on a C64 game project, formerly known as an unnamed shoot 'em up. Well,guess what? The game now has a name. I have decided to call it Zenox Attack.

Yesterday I made a start on the new in game graphics, which gives a sort of a Denarius feeling to it. If you look at the video carefully, you'll notice how much hard work I spent on creating the very first level.

On the alien sprites front. I designed some test alien sprites, which haven't been animated. Also I programmed in some in game sound effects, which could be used when mixed with in game music through my GoatTracker tunes. The player can play sounds when firing lasers. The aliens now have a box sprite/sprite collision detection. The enemy movement isn't very exciting, and the aliens cannot fire. This will be changed next time I work on this project, sometime next week (As well as Precinct 20 - Dead Strange, a SEUCK Redux creation by Alf Yngve). For now, enjoy this second WIP video with remnants of the game in action.


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Scrolling without S.E.U.C.K

25th January 2016

 Flipping heck. This week has been a SEUCK marathon. Anyway, time for a little change. Back in 2015, I mentioned to some people in the past that I'd love to attempt to create a vertical scrolling shoot 'em up game, without the aid of SEUCK. I examined the code in Codebase64 and I managed to get a rough map scroller. However getting a soft scroll to work right was a plain in the backside. So I left the code for a couple of years or so backed up.

However last week, I attempted to continue achieve my goal. Basically by getting the soft scroll to work much better. There were a few mistakes left in the scrolling code last time. It turned out that I wasn't copying the last row, and pasting it inside a subroutine. Also the score panel at the bottom of the screen was flickering like hell. In order to solve the problem, I examined some code in an old TND Contributor's C64 game, to see how the status panel stayed static while a vertical scrolling map was scrolling down. I noticed something very interesting. A stack inside an interrupt, had a control over the VIC2 Screen vertical position, which made the status panel more still. I attempted to place a similar routine, and that trick worked. The VSP scroll worked a treat.

This week, I have been making some more alterations to the scroller framework, and started a little game project. At the moment it is an Unnamed Shoot Em Up, (which the video below will show you). However I'm feeling ambitious to make a sort of a onward scrolling Denarius/Warhawk style futuristic shoot 'em up, without the aid of SEUCK. I created some test sprites and a little test panel in order to get the player moving and blasting. The asteroids that move constantly cannot be shot, and will not be the only thing in the game. This is just the start of a fresh new C64 game project I am willing to produce this year :)


Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 - A look back into the past

31st December 2016

2016, what roller coaster of a year it has been, and the end of 2016 has come so quickly.  I'm taking a look back at some of the moments of TND's activity in the C64 Scene. Warning, this is a very long blog...


Tape Master Pro V3.0

Following on from the previous tape master pro. I wanted to make a version that could allow the user to add a presentable IRQ loader, with nice effect and also create a custom table for colour cycling. Also the program was able to create professional THIN STRIPE single colour loaders. The downside to the mastering program was that there was no OCEAN style bitmap drawing effect,  but the tape master was good overall. It supported larger files, and allowed to do a basic RUN on Exomizer compressed files. The only disadvantage I found when I mastered a couple of games, was that the tape loader crashed on some kernal keyboard input subroutines. 

I remember mastering Barnsley the Badger in the original source code and discovered that some of the loader pages interfered with the code, thus causing a fatal crash. In the end I ended up having to do an Retro Replay freeze of the program then remastered it.

Alien Formation Maker V1.0+

I wanted to make a game called XForce. In order to have done that, I created my very own alien formation tables, which controlled X+Y tables of the alien objects. Rather than kept the program for myself, I decided to be kind and release the program into the public domain. This was a very handy tool for me, and I also used it for Zap Zone. Which will be released with Scene World issue 27.


The Vortex Crystals (16KB Version)
The first proper non-SEUCK release on the TND front was a game called "The Vortex Crystals". It was produced in 2015, and was finished as a 16KB cartridge. It didn't get released until after the deadline of the RGCD compo submissions had expired (after a few extensions). This was a platform game which I wrote in co-op with Alf Yngve. The result turned out pretty good, and Alf Yngve was quite impressed with the overall result. There were some elements missing that I could not cram into that particular game. So I decided to concentrate on a newer and final version of the game. The game is not yet 100% finished yet, although I have added the missing elements in to the production.

 Blap & Bash Revisited

HeavyStylus/RGCD contacted me regarding lack of 16KB cartridge compo entries. He saw Blap 'n Bash (The first version I released in late 2015) and suggested that I should do a 16KB cartridge version of the game. Since I had a good relationship with the 16KB cartridge compo. I decided to make an enhanced version of the crazy breakout game. All the levels were redesigned, and produced the game with a brand new look. It featured the same power ups as the old Blap 'n Bash, but the game looked a whole lot more professional and smart. The disadvantage to the game was the ball control, the ball used 45 degrees bounce all the time. Good news was that people seemed to have liked the game, despite that particular issue.

Honey Bee 
The buzzy bee finally got released in the summer of 2016. This was a fun co-op production I did with Wayne / Art Ravers, and Steven Day. This is a little game in which you controlled Buzzy the clumsy bee. He has a little quest in which was to pick up pollen from plants. After pollen was picked up, he can drop the pollen from any height into the bee hive on that particular stage. Out to slow him down was the wildlife and other hazards. If he bumped into anything he would have lost a life.

Let's Invade

This was probably one of my MOST favorite projects of 2016. Let's Invade was a 40 level Space Invaders style game, with a twist. The aliens behave in a different kind of way. The game uses a sprite multiplexer, using multiple rasters. You had to shoot aliens of different colours. The darker colours the aliens were, (RGB) the weaker they were. The lighter colours the aliens were, the harder they were to be destroyed. The game took a few months to create. There were some major and minor disasters coding the project, but I managed to pick up the pieces. The game featured an original front end, and original game style. The scrolling grid was used, and flashed in sync to the in game trance music or sound effects. There were loads of great reactions with this game. Also Errazking did a nice loading picture for this game. So the game was put together in both D64 and TAP format.

Granny's Teeth

Well, I just couldn't resist making a little game for the C64 crap game compo. I did a co-op game production with SaulC to make a funny platform game. It was inspired by the Games Creator/Creations by Mastertronic/The Codies. I have the original Codies tape for my C64, and I do find it a poor game maker. Granny's Teeth is a 4K platform game, which looks a bit like one of those games creator games - although I coded THIS game, myself in C64 studio - rather than use a GAME MAKER. You play the role of Granny Hegarty, who has to climb up the stairs and pick up her teeth out of the fishbowl. Each level progresses with some new enemies appearing. Also later levels got faster, and the game got much more difficult. The funniest part of making this game was programming the music ust for fun. I used a very low pitch single sound for the music, to make it sound EXACTLY what you would have expected in a 1984 games creator game :D

Zap Zone (Not released until Scene World 27)
A tutorial game, in which you blast aliens formation, after formation over an animated screen. The game was split into 2 versions. V1 was the basic tutorial game and source code. The second part was a complete game, which you have to complete all 20 waves, and try to achieve a high score. I decided to NOT produce a screenshot for this baby :) 

SEUCK Enhancements

Hover Raider

In 2015, I did a SEUCK Redux enhancement of the incredible  Flying Cobra by Alf Yngve. This game feature a lot of explosive action, and some fast paced blasting. Now earlier on in 2016, I decided to try something completely different to Alf Yngve's classic SEUCK game (Originally from the Binary Zone PD collection) Hover Raider. I worked on adding some enemy AI into the game, so all enemies which used random firing could just aim for the player in order to try and destroy it. I created a new front end, and music for the game. The game also featured (which no SEUCK game ever had before) a custom charset status panel. The overall result looked pretty much professional.

Alf found the game to be too difficult due to the high speed smooth scroller, so I created two different versions of the same game. An easy mode, and also a hard mode. The game ended up on Reset magazine's Mix-I-Disk.

Shoot 'Em Destruction Set 4
Alf Yngve and I worked together on some brand new SEUCK and SEUCK Redux games for the next Shoot Em Up Destruction Set. Originally it was planned to be the FINAL SEUDS in the series. The final compilation gave a huge variety in game ideas. The games all feature new front ends, and in game enhancements. My highlight of the SEUDS 4, and favorite game for the compilation was:

- Zap Fight 2 - Special Edition: 
Although Zap Fight 2 did get released on the Kung Fu Maniacs trilogy. Alf and I agreed to make the final improvements and enhancements to this game. Now Zap Fight 2 is even better than its prequel. It is a SEUCK redux homage to, take a guess which arcade classic :)

The game also featured plenty of explosive action, and mean bosses. Smooth scrolling, and plenty of in game background animation. Not to mention, like with Zap Fight, this version had in game trance music.

Dark Destroyer 2117 (Not released until Scene World Issue 27)

This is a new game I wrote exclusively for Scene World magazine during September/October 2016. It did not use SEUCK Redux, but I did push the game slightly to add some optional in game enhancements. Should the user want to have selected the in game option :). Dark Destroyer 2117 was yet another SEUCK game I did alone on my C64. I submitted it to Scene World, and the group is happy to release on issue 27 of Scene World magazine. It is a vertical scrolling shoot 'em up. You enter an alien planet and you must destroy it. Maybe some time in the future I could update/enhance this game even more, with use of the SEUCK Redux framework, but that can wait until later on in the year. The game features some pumping music (not trance this time), including a familiar Amiga tune. You'll have to wait until the game has been released with Scene World 27, some time in 2017. I also managed to do a PAL/NTSC fix of this SEUCK game as well. The gamers can see the score panel on both PAL+NTSC :)

... and finally a REAL BREAKTHROUGH with SEUCK !!!

Super Silverfish

Alf Yngve had some great ideas for some of his game creations, but he could only use SEUCK / Sideways SEUCK. However with Martin/Element114  and myself at hand, we decided that it would ever so nice to end 2016 with a final SEUCK game for that year. This one ended up as a real stunner, and made the year end with a bang ... and plenty of explosive action ... Yes, Super Silverfish by Alf Yngve pushed the limitations of SEUCK to its limits even further. The game was created the Sideways Scrolling LEFT, SEUCK and was enhanced with a new status panel (Partially from Expendable army), and also with amazingly breathtaking enhancements ... The game featured a parallax scrolling screen, with a wide range of aliens, plenty of explosive action and brilliant power ups. The game also featured Matt Gray inspired tunes, which I composed in Martin's own music player routine. The result was really awesome.

Demos and intros

Not only did I do enhancements for SEUCK games, some new games. I also did a few small demos or intros. They can be found on TND (linked to some of the games I made/or enhanced with the authors). I entered the 2016 Intro Creation compo with 3 different TND intros, which looked something like this:

Time Traveller Intro

A TND intro based in time and space, scrolling across a multiplexer star field. Features a really powerful tune, inspired by some of the classic demo tunes I heard in the past. The introduction of the tune would remind you of the game Time Traveller by Marex/Mindscape games.

TND Jack Alien Style

A windowed intro, inspired by the classic 1990's intros Alpha Flight 1970 and Avantgarde intros. The TND intro started with a square sliding on to the screen, then the patterns and the whole screen appears. The result was quite pleasing, but not many people liked the 1x1 charset. Oh well. :)

TND ECM Raster Upscroller intro

The third and final entry for the ICC2016 was the ECM upscroller raster intro. I always used the horizontal scrolling text, so I wanted to do something completely different for a change. This time by the way of a vertical scrolling intro with animated charsets. I also added some nice raster effects behind the logo, which was painted by Axis/Demons, back in 2010. Result ended up quite good.

Mix Box 1 + 2

Mix Box 1 and 2 were small music demos, which feature a choice of 5 different tunes to select from. The layout of the demo was inspired by the ACP music demos, which were featured on the Zzap64 mega tape back in the late 1980's / early 1990's. There were plenty of raster rolling in this demo, and also plenty of quality tunes as well.

...and finally:

Where to get my stuff from...

Easy: Visit "THE NEW DIMENSION" web site, and download our own productions / contributors releases, etc. I'm sure you'll be looking forward to those.

That ends 2016.

have a
HAPPY NEW YEAR and see you in 2017!