Workprint – April 2016

I’m getting a bit behind on the “how it works” posts again, aren’t I…? Anyway, here comes a quick update from Chez Roundabout regarding ongoing code, although you’ll have to excuse the lack of screenshots because, whilst some bits are done or at least close to working, it isn’t quite the right time to be showing them publicly!

Hammer Down now has cover artwork from Trevor Storey and a loading picture by Steve Day, both are in the style of Mastertronic’s classic Action Biker which was one of the main inspirations for the game in the first place along with The Last V8 and Code Masters’ Red Max, not what I was expecting and utterly, fantastically right for the game. At some point during this coming week the current Cosine greetings list will need inserting and then I can roll out a build for tape and disk mastering for Kenz at Psytronik, hopefully dealing with that particular albatross once and for all. And I know that sounds unusually negative, but the last month or two of that project left me not wanting to write game code over a year ago and nothing has changed since.

As far as demos go, the next C64CD project is in the design phase (in other words I’m searching through 1980s releases for elements to “borrow”) and is going to target a platform I haven’t previously released for on that side of things, but no specifics yet in case I change my mind! MD201605 on the other hand is another C64 release and probably about 75% done at this point; along with showcasing a great piece of music from aNdy, will also be making good on my previous promise to produce a simple, heavily documented DYCP routine. Don’t worry, it won’t just be a regular DYCP because I’m throwing in a couple of other classic routines at no extra charge!

There’s another demo project in the wings as well, a multi-loading affair if all goes to “plan” which is destined for release at Sundown in mid July with Andy doing the music and Sean providing a little code. I’m nowhere near certain as to if I can make the party itself since I don’t drive and Budleigh Salterton is a serious trek even when I’m only taking a laptop, C64, Turbo Chameleon and a small TFT display, but this is the last instalment and I didn’t get to any of the others so perhaps it’s time…?

Standard Clone (C64)

Just a quick post; Standard Clone is a small release based on various classic “bog standard” demos from the Compunet era which was released on Thursday; it might be simple but there’s still a few tricks going on like the sprite recycling on the lower border scroller and some colour splits to give nine colours on the sprites in the upper border.

And yes, this means that I’ve released two similarly styled demos in under two weeks but no, that wasn’t deliberate because I rarely plan that far ahead!

MD201604 (C64)

This blog was offline for just over a week since the server decided to conk out when I was halfway to Kent on a coach, but MD201604 was released last Monday after a small Cosine meeting in a Starbucks the day before! Present were myself, Sean, Frank and Darren (T.M.R, Odie, Enigma and Kryten of Cosine respectively) and, along with a brand new tune produced by Sean for this release – a conversion of The End Of The World by the Pet Shop Boys that uses the special, compact version of his music driver developed for Hammer Down – it’s also got a quickly converted digitised picture.

That’s an FLI image (the multicolour equivalent of what MD201512 uses and pretty much the same routine) but the scroller is using a trick originally demonstrated by Crossbow of Crest in Krestage 3 that relies on a quirk in the way sprite data is fetched; the result is 200 multicolour pixels of scroller where it would normally only be possible to display 192 (eight sprites at 24 pixels wide each) which I’ll explain more fully in the “how it works” post.

There’s also a change of sprite colours for each row of the scroller – the colours also switch depending on who is “talking” at the time – and background colour splits for good measure because there were a few cycles left on each line! The original picture meant for this demo which was taken when all four of us were present is below, but was fatally wounded when I tried pushing it through FLI conversion so the second image was taken of just Sean and Frank.

The “plan” was to release MD201604 on at least the CSDb through Starbucks’ wi-fi but there wasn’t any bandwidth… and when I got to a decent connection on Sunday evening we found a bug which meant the music didn’t work correctly so that needed to be fixed before the demo was finally released on Monday! Things didn’t entirely go as we’d hoped and next time I’ll try to be slightly less ambitious and posibly even more organised, hopefully having the entire demo ready to go on the day so we can just bang scrolltext in!