Watching Starion Intro Remake (C64)

Since it’s the weekend of X’2018, I wanted to take a quick look at something from a previous instalment of that now venerable demo party; Starion Intro Remake by Booze Design is, in a plot twist that should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, a reworking of a Starion intro. The original, which most people seem to remember from Starion’s scrolltext editor – a remarkably useful tool back in ye olde days when we used the painfully clunky approach of typing our scrollers onto the power-up screen before transferring them into memory with a monkitor – was released in the 1980s and features a nicely drawn green logo which swings back and forth whilst being expertly spread out over some raster bars by an FLD routine – it looks suspiciously like this:

Zooming forwards about thirteen years to 2001 and one of the entries into the wild competition at X that year was a remix of the very same intro, this time from HCL of Booze. His version takes the original logo and Laxity’s wonderful music but starts completely from scratch with the code; the FLD has been replaced with something much finer – instead of stretching the character lines apart it can now work on every pixel line – and everything can move through the side borders including the scrolling message and a solitary sprite which now bounces happily around the screen over the logo and raster bars.

The original is for my money at least a classic, not as well known or thought of as the most iconic intros from Triad or Fairlight but still a well executed piece of code with great audio and visuals, so seeing that revamped into the borders and going completely mad with the main effect was fantastic, especially since it begins by copying the movement of Starion’s original before starting to make the strips of logo finer with each pass. It came second in the competition to Padua’s Trilight – another intro remake, this time revamping both of the aforementioned Triad and Fairlight intros and evolving those changes as part of an ongoing narrative – but, whilst that’s a funny demo and has some very solid coding, the Starion Intro Remake has always been the one I go back to from that competition for the logo movement and Laxity’s music.

Here’s a terrible thought though; this remake is now seventeen years old so the distance between its release at X’2001 and now is actually bigger than the gap between it and the original code that it was based on… and if that has you feeling a little old, said original intro turned thirty this year!

An odd start to the day

My demo project has been put on hold because I’m not really well enough to continue working on it right now; the decision was made for a couple of reasons yesterday morning and since then I’ve slept far too much and gained a rather persistent headache that’d make the Queen swear like a sailor so it seems it was a good call even if I didn’t realise at the time. Next Tuesday is the regular workprint post, so I’ll go into a little more detail about where things stand during that in the usual, vague manner.

I was feeling pretty down after making that call yesterday, but today I awoke to find a pending comment on yesterday’s post which just contained a link to the GameFaqs forums; each game in their database also gets a dedicated message board area and, for some reason I may never get my head around, the one for my C64 shoot ’em up Warflame seems to have become a general purpose discussion area with over 3,300 threads at the time of writing, some of which date back to 2012. Topics just on the first page right now include a couple of long-running threads about American animation and Anime along with gaming-related discussions on Dead By Daylight, Overwatch and the recent Spiderman game, but it seems that absolutely anything goes and, apparently, has done for over half a decade now.

So yes, that’s a thing… and part of me is absolutely delighted that such chaos is being perpetrated in my name – or at least the name I made up – without my even being aware of it, but I’m not sure about accepting the invitation to stick my head around the virtual door because they’ll either worship me as their god or more likely organise a lynching and I’m not massively keen on either option! Still, thanks to the commenter who gave me the link and hello if you got here from the “I found the creator of Warflame” thread.

This isn’t a blog post

Well… okay it is a blog post but not the “scheduled programming” as it were, in part because I’ve actually been doing some programming; next weekend is the X party and, as mentioned previously, I’m sort of aiming to get something completed for release there. My original plans have been put on the back burner in part due to illness – it’s “traditional” for me to have at least a cold around this time of year and the current one is somehow a couple of weeks old already – and the linking for that project being rather involved, but other things have taken up my free time of late as well. Fingers crossed my “plan B” will properly take shape in the week off I have coming up and leave me a little time to spare before it needs to be sent over to the competition.

The ongoing coding also goes some way towards explaining why there’s half a dozen C64s in the front room – the two C64GS consoles are, coincidentally, there for testing something else entirely – because, although I’m not going to be doing anything technically groundbreaking, there are some timing-specific routines that I want to be absolutely sure run on real hardware. That includes the one which started out as me thinking about the largely mistaken ideas I had as a fevered youth in the 1980s for doing raster bars and pondering if said method could be “persuaded” to work properly… it can with only a few caveats which quite frankly surprised the hell out of me, so I want to include it even if nobody’ll notice what’s happening unless I make a point of explaining!