Archive for the ‘Jason’s News’ Category

Workprint – March 2015

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Since the blog has been a bit quiet of late and because I get asked once in a while what I’m currently working on, this is hopefully going to be the first of a series of monthly project updates. But, since even on a good day I have the attention span of a bag of amphetamine-dosed squirrels, there will probably be lots of random changing of priorities and things will get forgotten so this might turn out to be futile but fingers crossed and all that.

So first off is Hammer Down for the C64, the top down, multi-directional collect ‘em up inspired by Action Biker on the C64 and Atari 8-bit along with a couple of other budget titles. As it stands the game is pretty much complete now barring some cosmetic tweaks and we’re already thinking about the cassette and disk mastering. It also stands as one of the biggest games I’ve ever written, taking over 60K of memory and using nearly all of the available processing time during play, so it’ll be going out as PAL only and I’ll be interested to see if anyone gets an NTSC fix up and running.

Once Hammer Down is out of the way the 64K version of Vallation for the C64 should get picked up again. The current state of play is that it has six of the nine levels with two out of three graphical styles pretty much done (the screenshot above features the second graphical set which will be used for levels four to six) and it also bolts in extra enemy types and graphics as well.

Blok Copy on the Plus/4 is just waiting on music and Sean is already thinking about it; since he feels that getting the tune down to two TED channels is a non-starter we’re instead aiming for a SID card-equipped, 64K machine as a minimum – the game will run without a SID present but either be quiet or perhaps have TED-powered sound effects. There was some discussion on the Plus/4 World forums about running a competition similar to the yearly RGCD or ABBUC ones which would’ve provided a nice incentive to get this out the door but the thread dried up before it properly got started.

Speaking of ABBUC, I haven’t decided on a project for it this year; I did have something in mind but it requires a lot of trial-and-error testing and may well be unworkable in the long run. There is something of a “plan B” which won’t be anywhere near as involved technically, so if the time can be found that might step up instead. The remixed version of Co-Axis which was back-burnered late last year for a couple of reasons (the most obvious being a lack of free time) should hopefully be done and dusted for the next RGCD competition. After that, there’s some other projects being prodded at but nothing solidified enough to write about.

Margate is cold in February

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

On Saturday the 21st of February we held the Cosine (UK division) annual general meeting… in other words Sean, Frank and myself made our way to Margate for GEEK (or Games Expo East Kent to its parents) for a mixture of video games, “bracing” sea air and a chance to sit down face to face and chat about projects. My Beloved came along too in order to take the minutes try not to look bored as we talked shop!

We did actually find some time to wander around the venue, soak in some atmosphere, chat with friends and occasionally even play a game or two; I had a quick go on the pretty horizontal Neo Geo blaster Last Resort since the old favourite Ghost Pilots wasn’t present this year and found an Atari 7800 running the wonderfully weird Ninja Golf where a ninja plays a round of golf whilst fighting off opponents and the local wildlife.

But there was far less in the way of retro gaming than at previous iterations; we did see some Atari 8-bit consoles and couple of Sega Master Systems, but there was no sign of any Commodore, Sinclair, Amstrad, Acorn or Atari computers. We weren’t alone in feeling there could have been more from “the olde days” either, most of the people we talked to felt the same and the sticker board put out by the organisers for feedback looked like this:

The word “landslide” springs to mind. And yes, I know the event wasn’t started as a purely retro gaming do but the previous iterations all covered that ground well so people were expecting a continuation this time around. I’ve heard that GEEK is going to be moving into Margate’s Dreamland amusement park next year which should equate to more floor space, so hopefully the organisers will listen to their visitors when planning for 2016 and bring back the retro goodness. In the meantime, here’s some photos taken on that Saturday.

GEEK 2015

Pictures taken during Games Expo East Kent (GEEK) 2015 in Margate on the 21st of February.

Looking for new Leeds

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Yesterday was the second Video Game Market here in Leeds, so my beloved and I pootled into town to meet a few friends, look at lots of cool things and grab a few items for ourselves. The previous event had been really good (I apparently forgot to add a post, but there are a few pictures) but extremely crowded, with far more turning up than had been expected and the queue to get in having to wait for others to leave to make room for them; this year was several times bigger and, despite an even better attendance, was thankfully nowhere near as crowded.

The event took over Leeds town hall and the surrounding corridors, most of which were occupied by sellers with tables laden with goodies. When we arrived it was still quite crowded in those areas but we still got a chance to see everything and purchase a couple of bits and pieces of interest and the crowd thinned out as the day went on.

In the end we left with World Of Illusion and Toki on the Megadrive, an unboxed Gameboy Advance Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Super Breakout for the Atari 2600 (there’s an Atari 7800 in the house… erm, somewhere that I’ll need to get up and running for that), three Nintendo DS titles, an untested Amiga 500 power supply… oh, and a Toshiba HX-10 MSX which cost me just £25 and looks like this:

We’re looking forward to visiting the next one (hopefully there’ll be another this year, although the poor organisers are probably still recovering) but our next outing is going to be the Saturday of GEEK 2015 in Margate!

Leeds Video Game Market 2015

Pictures taken during the Leeds Video Game Market in Leeds (unsurprisingly) on the 7th February 2015.