Crack Intro (C64)

It’s been noted on a few occasions previously that I’m not particularly fond of the “festive season”, so here I am on the day itself applying WordPress updates and releasing another intro for the CSDb Intro Creation Competition. This one is rather literally called Crack Intro and was inspired by a couple of ICC-related releases with the same name from nomiStake. They all rely on the same “pun” – the idea that it’s an intro with some kind of crack on the screen – so the only real distinction is that mine actually fits within the competition’s rules, although I had to check beforehand that using a copyright symbol counted as a Cosine logo.

Writing the scrolling message for this one was pretty uncomfortable; the trick being used for the scroller relies on there being eight possible versions of each character so they can arbitrarily roll around within their own eight pixel wide cell, but that means there can only be thirty two characters. That means I get a space, 26 letters and five punctuation marks which are full stop, comma, question mark, exclamation mark and an asterisk so I could highlight phrases in a similar way to the C64’s power up message. This rolling font is generated when the code starts up, using the ROM character set to save a little space even though I have more than enough room left for some bespoke characters.

For anyone wondering, the copyright symbol is built from sprites and uses five in total and recycles the top row of three for the bottom whilst the middle two are being displayed. The cracks are built from characters apart from where they have to overlap the scrolling message; that’s where the spare sprites take over and the fractured parts of the power up message are using sprites for the text. The music is by Sean Connolly and a cover of the tune from Star Trooper by Melbourne House, and originally composed in 1984 by Clifford Ramshaw; it has a lovely, slightly manic quality that I felt blended well with what was happening on screen.

F15 D’Gamma Clone (Apple II)

There was a new C64CD release last Thursday called F15 D’Gamma Clone, it’s a crack intro style single screen affair for the Apple II (based on two intros by Black Bag and The Six Pack) and is my second released production for said machine. Of course it didn’t bloody work in the initial release because the way I was reading the vertical blank isn’t a constant, but Atari Age user cybernesto helpfully forked and fixed the source code (and I’m reasonably sure the changes were merged back into the main branch… but don’t quote me on that) to at least get it working on the Apple IIc and I’ve since received some very helpful pointers on the topic along with some great feedback!

Another AA forumite called Newsdee very kindly recorded video of the code running on his Apple IIe as well and I’m surprised at how well things came out there considering my clunky and painfully user unfriendly graphics converter!

I’ve had quite a bit of fun prodding at the Apple II with this and Septic, although the emulators aren’t anywhere near as accurate as they could be for testing code. I do have more ideas to play with, though…