Workprint – April 2015

Since the last one seemed to go down reasonably well, here’s another update from the Cosine Laboratories – Because You’re Worth It. The subject this time is going to be Hammer Down since that’s occupied most of my programming time since the last update. One of the pending jobs for a while was finalising the maps but, since they were originally produced in Cartograph and the newer revisions broke compatibility with the work files, that meant converting everything to a new format.

In the end I spent a weekend writing some quick and disgustingly dirty tools in BlitzMax (I have some prior in this area, the level editors for Co-Axis and Warflame were completely devoid of “user friendly” features like load and save and most of my self-built cross dev tools work with fixed filenames and Windows notifications rather than opening a GUI window!) to shovel data into and then out of Tiled‘s TMX file format. Here’s how the map looks when nestled into its new home:

This editor isn’t designed for 8-bit style tile editing like Char Pad or Tile,medo are, but it’s not too difficult to “persuade” it using a cropped screenshot of the characters produced by a small program running in VICE.

We’ve been thinking about mastering as well and now have working images with test data for both disk and tape, using the Covert BitOps and Sean’s Powerload loading systems respectively; Powerload was originally written in the 1990s and, to our knowledge at least, the first tape fastloader to open the upper and lower borders whilst working; it was supplied with an auto mastering tool with Reaxion when we sent it along to Commodore Format but they decided to freeze the game on the intro and use their own loader instead, neatly undoing a lot of work on our part… and then a few months later, a game turned up on their covermount with some remarkably familiar loading stripes and the borders open!

I’m still hesitant about calling Hammer Down as “done” just yet because the loading screen is a placeholder right now, we haven’t finished the bonus music demo for the disk version and there’s a few game elements that might need a tweak, but these will all be dealt with during April. Promise!

2 thoughts on “Workprint – April 2015

  1. Great to know that this game is finally on the way!

    Gutted that extra work has been caused because of changes to Cartograph. I’ll shout at someone!

  2. Nah, the job’s done now and I quite like Tiled so might find a few more excuses to use it so the conversion tools’ll probably get another outing. =-)

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