Blok Copy (A8)

Blok Copy on the Atari 8-bit is an action puzzle game that I originally wrote for the Atari 2600 but bodged the code so badly that it crashes real consoles – one of these days that’ll need sorting out – before porting the game logic to the Commodore PET and onwards to other platforms. And now there’s a new version in town, during the Christmas period the source code was pulled apart and introduced to the Atari 8-bit before some demo-like vertical colour splits were added to make it look pretty and Andy Vaisey produced a lovely rendition of the Sean Connolly tune Sporting Chance which has been the Blok Copy soundtrack since the C64DTV2 version. This new iteration was released as part of the New Years Disk 2018

The gameplay is simple enough, the playfield has five rows of seven tiles which are randomly mixed up at the start of a level and the player has to shift them around until the first column is all 1 tiles, the second has all 2 tiles and so on. A joystick in port 1 controls the on-screen cursor and holding fire whilst moving up or down will shuffle the current column accordingly with left or right moving the current row. The time limit might seem generous on the first level where only three computer-controlled moves take place, but won’t feel so as the game progresses.

The Atari 8-bit code and graphics were ported from the C64 version, but before that happened I wanted to make some tweaks; the source has been “sanitised” to make it more readable, the in-game graphics reworked so that it’s easier to tell the tiles apart – people complained about that with the previous version – and a couple of bugs squidged which were introduced when reworking the PET code. That means there’s a new version for the C64 too, so welcome to Blok Copy RX which was also released today!

Happy new year and all that gubbins… there’ll be a second post along in the near future for the other release from today!

MD201701 (Atari 8-bit)

Here comes the second release of the day (and yes, it feels extremely weird “saying” that ), this time called MD201701 and for the Atari 8-bit; raster-flavoured code and the character set are mine, with the music this time being a conversion of an old Adlib tracker song produced by Adam “Sack” Hay.

The bars are a combination of colour splits to set the base hue and sixteen possible lines of bitmap data for the luminance, so any entry in the full 256 colour GTIA palette is available on each scanline – the majority of raster bar demos only use the 128 colour CTIA colours – although I’m only using 240 in total because two sixteen shade sets of brown are so close that one might as well be skipped. There are only two bars plotted for each frame, but an “infinite rasters” routine which cycles through six buffers and rotates the palette on each pass makes things look busier than they are in reality.

Oh, the scrolling messages both have eight colour splits per scanline which was a nightmare to get timed correctly and required quite a bit of hoop jumping in the process! This release was part of the New Years Disc 2017 and organised through the Atari 8-bit section of the Atari Age forums, grab the entire package because it’s worth it!

Refix 2017 (C64)

Well, we’ve finally got through 2016 and my first bit of code for the new year is Refix 2017 on the C64, a developed from scratch, expanded remake of an intro that Cosine used on games and tools during the 1990s. The original version looked like this…

…and here’s a video of the new version with a brilliant cover of the Amiga module Macrocosm handled by Andy Vaisey, the box around the screen being pushed into the upper and lower borders, a high resolution bitmapped logo and some quite frankly bonkers colour splitting on the text…

This was my third and, for this instalment, final release for the CSDb Intro Creation Competition and, although it was initially quite painful to actually get going – the colour effect was a tricky little bugger to get timed up – and needed quite a bit of late in the day optimisation to make the music fit, this really was a blast to code!

There’ll be another post about my second piece of code this year in the extremely near future, mainly because it’s another NYD contribution for the Atari 8-bit and should turn up online a little later today!