Posts Tagged ‘atari st’

  • PhotonStorm Weekly Round-up

    Despite an incredibly busy time at work I have managed to progress my chameleons game by quite a considerable amount. It’s an action / puzzle platformer and I’m using Box2D for all of the platform elements. It just feels lovely bouncing off the blocks, gliding, sliding and slinking about the levels. As a side effect of this I have learnt loads about the b2PolyDef, sensors and custom contact listeners. It’s all good stuff though – you can never stop learning :)

    Fruiti Winnings

    Fruiti Blox Flash Game Friday Winner
    Since release Fruiti Blox has been going down well. Loads of plays, decent enough NG and Kong scores and it even won the Mochiland “Flash Game Friday” award (and $100 in the process), winning this is a first for me so I was really pleased about it :) Here is the review:

    This puzzle game has you matching four corners of the same color and eliminating all blocks within that space. The gameplay idea isn’t new, but the execution is definitely top notch! I like how clicking on the color highlights the selected and dims the others (makes for finding corners faster). The bubbly graphics and smooth interface make it even more fun! You can’t just buy this kind of polish in a store, folks. With leaderboards and achievements rounding out the game, it’s definitely a great experience.

    I’ve had some player feedback come through that I am going to implement in a new build that I’ll release to Candystand and BigFishGames next week.

    The 8-bit Interview

    I also finally managed to complete an interview with Jeff over at 8-bit Rocket. He sent it through to me around the start of May, and I only just got it back to him, which is incredibly slack of me. Hopefully it won’t take him as long to edit out my weirdness and get it live as it took me to finish it.

    GameJacket

    Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know how disgruntled I was with GameJacket. Their recent collapse into bankruptcy has left a lot of developers out of pocket, myself included. I’m not going to dwell on this any further, a number of good people have lost their jobs there and a really well built system is now in tatters. I understand why it happened, what I will never forgive them is offering me the $1000 advance in the first place even though they knew full-well they could never afford to pay it to me. That just stinks. I’m even more annoyed by the fact that Kyobi was all set to actually make back that advance, and then some, had it had a chance. It had already earned nearly 60% back by the time they went under. With GameJackets collapse the game dropped out of hundreds of web sites across the world, which of course also effects the amount of referrals it can send to Kongregate (my primary sponsor), so I’m almost certainly going to loose money as a result of this too.

    Still, life goes on. There’s no point even giving this any more thought. I recognised the “dying” signs of GameJacket a good month in advance of their death, and released Kyobi onto Mochi as a precaution and now I’m glad I did. Otherwise it’d be fighting for distribution against the rest of the wave of GameJacket orphans now hitting the service.

    AS3 Atari ST YM Player

    Christian Corti, the mastermind behind the AS3 Mod Player library Flod, has been working on a YM Replay library and it is sounding incredible! The YM format is a direct register dump from the YM soundchip found in computers like the Atari ST or the MSX. There are hundreds of YM tunes available (converted from classic games and demos). Although SNDH is the format of choice for chip-tune replay on real Atari hardware, getting that to replay within Flash means emulating an entire 68000 CPU, which is quite a tall order. YM replay at least means it’s “just”  having to emulate the YM chip itself.

    How useful is YM replay in Flash games today? Virtually none unless you were doing a retro remake and wanted an authentic sound (without using megs worth of mp3 files, YM tunes are typically around 4k in size).

    But how cool is the fact that FP10 is powerful enough to do this at all? Loads :)

  • Chameleons, Cupcakes & Sharks – Oh my!

    After the frenetic workload that went into my last game Kyobi, I needed a break from development. Add to this an insane pile of “real life” coding work and I was finding it really hard to motivate myself to get on with something new. Working until 3am in the morning day after day does that to me.

    So my own personal game projects bit the dust. I tried mocking-up an overhead tank shooter, but that didn’t get so far because I didn’t have a firm vision of where the game should go. I even tried doing a co-op breakout style game and failed to even finish this yet. But I’m not posting here to bitch about my lack of motivation. I’m posting to say what I’m doing about it :)

    The answer can be summed-up in the picture below:

    wip-games-2009

    Here are four very different games. Top left is Robotz – a tactical / puzzle style shooter based on an Atari ST classic. Destroy the generators, this lets you destroy the robots (which are constantly chasing shooting at you). Destroy all the robots and the exit appears. It’s very simple, but actually really fun. The graphics are currently being pixelled for this, and I should have some level mock-ups to show next week. I’ve already done the level designer, mapped out 30 levels and have the soldier running around happily shooting at generators.

    Bottom left is Shark Hunter. This was an awesome 8-bit MSX game. You had to mend your fishing nets, while fighting off the sharks and try to survive a whole year. Another nice simple game mechanic, but it has stood the test of time well, and I feel it’ll convert into Flash with ease. And hey, who doesn’t like spearing sharks? Concept graphics work for this is under-way, although no code has been written yet.

    Top right is a cup cake. I have a really nice and innovative idea for a time-management game, that I have not seen done before. So I can’t give out too many details at this stage. But I think it could be a real success. I’ve got some awesome graphics through, and I’m actually toying with the idea of doing several games using the same assets – the time management one being the core, and then some simple spin-offs like a “spot the difference” style game, or a “cup cake dress-up”. Hey, you never know :)

    Finally bottom right is a wonderful game that I loved on the ST. It was called Color Clash and was a PD game by Animal Soft. I doubt I’ll keep the same name as I don’t feel it does the game justice. You play the role of a chameleon who (as you’d expect) can change colour. Different colours have different actions. The yellow one can jump. The green one has a tail that he can flick to smash blocks / baddies. The red one inflates and floats and the blue one has a tongue that shoots out and can slide blocks around. I’m taking this core mechanic which works so well and tarting it up big-time.

    40 levels have been designed already, and I’ve got the chameleon charging around the levels happily. Jumping, falling, sliding. Still need to do the baddie logic and colour changes. I want to do the original justice, but it also needs bringing up to date, so I’ll be refining and tweaking as I go. Still trying to track down the original author for his blessing on this project. Wish me luck.

    I am working on Color Clash and Robotz at the same time. I quite like having the two projects to swap between. The other night I was stuck in getting my chameleon to jump-slide properly, and rather than admit defeat (for the night) and fire-up Left 4 Dead, I hit Robotz instead and got the shooting rebounds working smoothly. I’m also finding as they’re both similar 2D styled games, that I can share quite a bit of the code between them. Always a bonus.

    So which will come out of the gates first? Honestly not sure. Right now Color Clash is the most complete, but has a lot of graphics work to be done to it. So Robotz may head it off at the final strait. Time will tell …

  • Super Stario Land Video

    I worked on a few commercial games on the Atari ST back in the mid 1990s, one of them was Super Stario Land by Top Byte Software. This was a shameless port of a Nintendo game a few of you may have come across. The developer (Adrian Keylock) literally copied as much as he could from the NES original onto the ST, and I did the graphics.

    Today I saw someone had uploaded a video of it to YouTube. It made me smile, even if the graphics do now make me cringe. It was actually really hard work to draw because the developer enforced a strict number of bitplanes per sprite, which mean I had at most 3 colours to paint with (plus black). The graphics were shamelessly stolen from the NES original. But there were no “Sprite Rip Archives” back then! They were copied by hand from a TV screen onto graph paper. Then redrawn on the ST.

    Quite frankly if the ST hadn’t been on its last legs when this title hit, Nintendo probably would have sued our asses off. As it happens they didn’t, the game got good reviews and sold well. It even spawned a sequel.

    Interesting factoid #1 – the main character is based on Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.

    Interesting factoid #2 – I was never sent a final copy of the game. The publisher was run by a guy called James Matthews. He was a nice enough chap, but the cheeky bastard never even saw fit to send me the game – let alone any payment for my work. I did finally get a boxed copy off ebay a few years ago.

  • PixelBlitz Engine Update: AutoScroll support with demo

    Just a small update to the PixelBlitz Engine today, but a pretty cool one!

    I’m creating an intense shoot-em-up game as my water shed test of the PB engine. Each day I get to add a few more features to PB that makes the game closer to reality. Once I have reached that point I know we’ll have something truly useful on our hands :)

    Today I added in a backdrop behind my ships and thought “damn, that ought to scroll” – but I figured that PB ought to handle the scrolling for me, automatically – just set it and forget it. So that is what I’ve added to the engine tonight.

    It’s a piece of piss to use:

    [as]
    // Continuously scroll this PixelSprite to the left by 4 pixels per frame
    pixelsprite.autoScroll(PixelSprite.SCROLL_LEFT, 4);
    [/as]

    Which allowed me to create the following demo in around 20 lines of code:

    I’m quite pleased with how this is shaping up :) You can autoscroll any PixelSprite, with full transparency preserved (so they can be overlaid on-top of other PixelSprites for true glass-window scrolling effects). The PB engine takes care of making the scroll seamless for you, and you can modify the speed on-the-fly (although I’d recommend not to do it every frame if you’ve got a lot going on).

    The only issue is that scaling an auto scrolling PixelSprite will mess it up, so I’ll need to remedy that.

    It’s now the weekend, but if i get some spare time I plan on continuing my task of fixing the left over issues before cracking on with collision groups and sprite mask tests.

    Here is the source + FLA.
    You’ll need to checkout latest revision (v21) of PixelBlitz from Google Code to compile it though.

  • Behind the Square

    This is just a short post to say that the excellent new album “Behind the Square” has been released on C64 Audio.com. It’s a collection of remixed Mad Max (Jochen Hippel) tunes, put together by ACC:Xess. They are superb, spanning everything from the haunting Astaroth game over track, to some classic demo screen music. Superb value for £4.99 :) Click the album cover to visit the site and buy it!

    http://www.c64audio.com/productInfo.php?cat=STCD2