Workprint – December 2017

Keeping with my “schedule”, it’s the first Friday of the month and time for a quick update… and yes, I’m as surprised as everybody else that this turned up on time!

Rubidius is slowly taking shape, it completed its first proper loop – going titles page to game and back with or without passing through the completion screen with the presentation stuff mostly being placeholder code – yesterday and I’ve got the score counter in and a test version of the music Andy is working on playing in the background. There’s nothing new to show right now because it doesn’t look much different to the previous screenshot, but some proper level graphics have been started and, once I get a certain writing deadline out of the way, I hope to find a few days to draw and install some actual backgrounds.

There has also been some pondering over the idea of writing a C64 game for C64CD in part as a demonstration of how easy it actually is; since scrolling shoot ’em ups are my default state it’ll almost certainly be one of those, but trying to keep things as simple as possible to the point it’ll essentially be a more primitive but tile-based version of Warflame. I have a few interesting ideas about “features” and the thought of publishing it in some form is amusing (to parody a certain person’s suggestion of Kickstarting a book based on his blog) but most of those options still need feasibility tests and bespoke code. This might also end up as the final resting place for the tiles that’ll soon be pulled from Rubidius as well.

Workprint – November 2017

I’ve decided to try a few little changes around here; for a start I want to stick to a schedule (goodness, I used the S word and it almost looked like I meant it too!) so from now onwards all workprint posts will appear on the first Friday of a month like this one is doing. That probably doesn’t sound like a major shift to most people but, as certain editors will no doubt attest, I’m a teensy bit rubbish with deadlines and even worse without! At some point over the “festive season” there’s going to be a few other changes too, but those are still in what I’m rather euphamistically referring to as “the planning stages”.

As far as programming goes, the scrolling shoot ’em up Rubidius in progress for the Hex Files rewrite is coming along slowly but surely with the most recent feature added is the subroutine that preps the engine for the start of a level; previously it was hardwired to just one map and block of attack wave data but now it deals with multiple levels correctly… although that wasn’t the case for several hours! When the new routines went in last Sunday they worked fine with the first level but would start doing bizarre things that should have been impossible during the second, including glitching entire tile rows. Remember kids, always keep a track of your “set in stone” subroutines because sometimes…

In this case the background scroller spreads the load out over eight frames and a couple of missed RTS commands (which I suspect were left out when the colour scrolling was added to previously empty “slots”) meant that, along with the update that was meant to happen on a specific frame, one of the other routines would be called out of sequence as well. I have no idea why the problem only manifested on the second level map though…

Workprint – October 2017

Things have been a bit… meh recently. I caught a cold at the end of last month and am notoriously bad at recovering from illness so didn’t sit down to do as much programming as I’d wanted to; I have done some code on a scrolling shoot ’em up which is for the Hex Files rewrite although it isn’t anywhere near finished just yet. It’s called Rubidius because even work-in-progress projects need a name and is running with some unused graphics which currently look like this…

…but there’s a distinct possibility that things will change as the project progresses. It’s deliberately a simple game internally – the attack wave driver is more primitive than the code in Edge Grinder for example – but I’m avoiding things like unrolled loops or self modifying code. Keeping things simple has, rather ironically, been a little complicated since I wanted to scroll the colour RAM but still keep things PAL and NTSC compatible.

Andy Vaisey has graciously agreed to compose the music for both Rubidius and the other game I have in mind which is a reworking of the original Hex Files sprite dodging one, although I haven’t randomly plucked a name from the periodic table and flipped a letter or two out for the title of that one yet.