Posts Tagged ‘Retro’

  • Welcome to the DarkForge – An archive of all my old DarkBASIC code

    darkforge-ad

    Back in 1999 I started using a language called DarkBASIC. As its name implies it was a version of the BASIC language sitting on top of DirectX and pimped out with lots of great 2D and 3D features. Coding in DarkBASIC looked something like this:

    As you can see, it’s easy to read and understand. And honestly, it was great fun! I was utterly hooked.

    At the time nothing much really existed on the PC for easy game making. Sure, there were some “click and drag” style tools. But if you wanted to code in anything other than C++ your options were limited to say the least. And if you wanted to use a language that was specifically for making games, your options were even smaller.

    The big two of the day were DarkBASIC, created by Dark Basic Software (who later renamed to The Game Creators), and Blitz Basic, created by Blitz Research. Both companies are still going today, but back then the competition between them and their users was fierce! To be fair, Blitz had the upper hand both in the elegance of its language and performance, having been born from the equally powerful Blitz Basic on the Amiga. Where as DarkBASIC was more like AMOS from the Amiga, both in its syntax, ease of use and style of marketing. This was no mistake as the founders of Dark Basic Software worked at Europress and were instrumental in the publishing of AMOS. As a result, DarkBASIC utterly thrived.

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  • Pixel Perfect scaling a Phaser game

    gameboy25

    With GBJam3 just started today I tend to get asked this a lot on twitter: “How do I scale my game and keep it crisp?

    This is a perfectly valid question and is essential for games that rely on pixel art. And the answer is that there is no 100% fully cross-browser compatible solution. There are various CSS hacks and vendor prefixes you can try, but they won’t work on everything.

    However, if that was my final answer there would be no point in this blog post, right? When we created our lowrez jam game, which was a game running at a 32×32 resolution, we came up with the following approach that works much more reliably than any CSS hack. Here’s how to get it working:

    For this example I’ll assume you are making a GBJam game, so you’ve a restriction of 160 x 144 pixels. The same as the original Gameboy resolution. First create your Phaser game object:

    The important things to note here are:

    1. Use the un-scaled resolution
    2. Always use Phaser.CANVAS as the render method
    3. Give an empty string as the DOM parent (the 4th parameter)

    Once the game object is created we use a new object to hold our scaled canvas:

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  • Assembloids is in stores!

    assem_tape_bigRemember Quartet, our flash game from 2010? Remember the Commodore64 port called Assembloids from late last year? After being an unexpected hit in the RGCD C64 Cartridge Challenge it is now available to buy on a C64 cartridge in both regular and deluxe editions from RGCD and also as a cassette tape from Psytronik.

    I was excited to receive my deluxe copy in the mail today, and just as back in the golden days, the box comes full of goodies. Apart from the radioactive-green cartridge itself, there’s a neat little instruction booklet, a code-sheet for keeping track of your best scores, a sticker and a themed business card.

    The game itself is further improved from the competition version, and features a multitude of neat little details.

    Developing a game for C=64 has been immensely fun, in no small part thanks to having a great team of people. Enthusi (Dr. Martin Wendt) was constantly finding ways to squeeze even more stuff onto the cart and had endless patience for my (and others) requests and nagging.

    It was a rare honour to have Conrad (Owen Crowley) employ his mastery of the legendary SID sound chip to provide a better-than-original rendition of my original Quartet MODs. Last but by no means least, Heavy Stylus (James Monkman) conceived and organised the whole effort and basically fathered the project.

    Furthermore mad props to Jazzcat the trusty playtester and consultant who saved us from eternal shame on many an occasion. For me it’s always a blast making graphics on the C=64 as working around its limitations  feels like a mix of doing pixel art and playing a puzzle game. Having to program a game from scratch meant re-balancing everything and the result is perhaps even more fine tuned to wreck your nerves just enough to still leave you wanting to have another go.

    Here are some shots of the box contents (click for the high res version):

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  • Retro Fusion Issue 3

    Retro Fusion is a 72 page full colour magazine dedicated to retro and homebrew gaming. The first two issues were published years ago but it has recently enjoyed a revival via a successful IndieGoGo project that we were happy to support. My printed issue arrived today and it’s a great read. Some of the features include:

    • Jon Hare talking about the ‘Over Use of Sci Fi’ in games
    • A detailed look back on the Alien films and the games associated with each episode
    • The Top 10 SCI FI Robots and Cyborgs within Film
    • The best of the SCI FI related games
    • From Screen to Toybox – a look at the most popular toys that have been spawned by movies
    • Plok – a look back at a forgotten Pickford Brother’s classis – includes interview with Ste Pickford
    • A brand new SCI FI game by Jonathan Cauldfield written especially for the issue with a background ‘epic’ story – the game is called Encyclopaedia Galactica.

    We also took out a rather fetching half-page advert, so if you buy a copy look out for that :)

    http://www.retrofusion.me.uk/

  • Our new 8-bit inspired HTML5 game: Droplets

    The problem with working so hard on a framework and client projects, is that you have precious little time left for your own games. I felt the need to correct this. So I spent a day converting one of our Flash games to HTML5:

    Droplets is a simple little game based on the range of vinyl toys created by Jam Factory. Just get the 5 droplets home, collect as many hearts as you can on the way, and avoid contact with pretty much everything else! The mobile version differs from the Flash one in that you slide left/right and have a lot of bounce – if you aren’t too careful you can end up ricocheting around the place like a pinball. Get home to the factory at the end to complete the level.

    Simple, but still quite fun :) And I’m very happy with the way it resizes intelligently on most devices. I’ve tested it on a variety of phones and tablets, from an iPhone 3 up to a Nexus 7, and it ran ok on most of them. Some (like the Samsung Galaxy S3) don’t cope with the canvas scaling too well and thus the frame rate suffers, but on the whole it’s about all that the ImpactJS engine can handle.

    Point your mobile browser at http://gametest.mobi/droplets/ to play. And if by some fluke you’re a portal looking to license it, drop me a line.