Return from Replay 2011

Good grief… this time last week I was in Blackpool in the process of getting set up for Replay 2011!

I was there under the Oldschool Gaming flag and had a C64 with a 1541 Ultimate running Jason Tinkler’s Out-Space, a VIC 20 (which was loading from the C64’s 1541U) which usually either had The Keep or my unreleased 16K version of Lunar Blitz (which i really must get around to cleaning up and releasing) on the go, a Spectrum +2 with a painfully wobbly DivIDE that just about loaded Dingo or Reaxion if you spoke to it nicely, an Atari 800XL equipped with an SIO2SD that spent most of day one running Space Harrier from cartridge and day two showing off my sadly still work-in-progress shooter Callisto with a burst of Mighty Jill Off here and there. And at the end was my partially converted C64GS, running cartridges of Edge Grinder and Blok Copy for pretty much the entire event.

Those were joined by Antiriad’s Oric Atmos which spent some time showing off the nearly complete conversion of Skool Daze, Kenz’s Specadore 64 which had an Easyflash and Prince of Persia for some of the event and Mark Ball’s Atari 7800, which had what was one of only two XM expansion modules connected and was running quite a few games that utilised the shiny new hardware!

OSG was set up in the entrance hall before the doors to the event itself and in the long run that worked out pretty well; the main hall was, as with last year, reminiscent of 1980s gaming events, in other words a cacophony of excited chatter, 8- and 16-bit sounds with PA announcements overlaid. Had we been in there or even the second hall where we were originally pencilled in to be, the odds are I’d not have been able to talk to anybody… and I did a quite frankly scary amount of talking! During the course of the weekend I chatted to all manner of people including James Monkman, Frank Gasking, Sean Connolly, Jason Tinkler, Colin Davies, Jason “Kenz” Mackenzie, Dan Gillgrass, Mark R. Jones, Soren “Sokurah” Borgquist, Jens Schönfeld, Darran Jones, Andrew Fisher, Gasman… the list continues well past the capacity of my memory and I’m surprised my voice didn’t give out completely!

I’d just like to thank the organisers Dave, Gordon and Matt for putting in so much effort to get this event off the ground again, all the volunteers who put time, effort and hardware into making those grand plans possible, everybody who wandered past the Oldschool Gaming stand and stopped to play or chat and Spencer Guest for driving me and the computers there and back. Finally, I didn’t take many pictures because my eyesight was a bit crap during the weekend but here’s the entire Replay 2011 gallery along with all the preamble images from posts prior to the event:

Run-up to Replay – part 2

As I noted previously, Replay is getting inexorably closer and, of course, I’m not entirely ready for it… as in Callisto (the Atari 8-bit game i’m writing for release at the event) only contains two and a bit levels so far, lacks a title logo and still has a couple of minor hiccups in the code that need ironing out! But I might as well post a quick screenshot grabbed at the start of the second level anyway:

There can be up to six enemies in play at once with three allowed on the same scanline (along with the player’s ship) and all seven hardware-generated sprite objects are 10 by 18 pixels in size with colour splits every other line. Getting this lot going has been… different!

On the hardware front, everything is almost ready to go, although the Oldschool Gaming Atari 800XL with its SIO2SD connected (and what appears to be a Zipstik farm, there are five in total although one needs a quick service) are currently set up for testing the game’s code and the C64GS is sat there patiently waiting for one of the final pieces of hardware to arrive. And if it’s okay with everybody else, I plan to start seriously panicking around Wednesday, give or take…

Run-up to Replay

Replay is on its way and I’m all excited… and slightly panicky since I’ve got about ten days to get the game I’m planning to release finished and “organise” myself. In fact I probably shouldn’t be wasting time with a blog post at this point! The game is coming along fairly nicely and the code is pretty much complete barring a couple of cosmetic details and one last minute feature I need to bolt in, but the mad rush is going to be designing and wedging all the level data in – fortunately I’ve got this week off work, so I’ll be drinking tea in industrial quantities and running Doctor Who DVDs in the background with the volume cranked up until it’s (hopefully) done.

I’ve already put a couple of days into getting everything ready for the event (including testing the newly-arrived DivIDE with the Oldschool Gaming Spectrum +2) although I did take last Friday off because that nice Harold Camping said the end of the world was coming… again. He’s such a joker isn’t he! The irony is that his own staff didn’t get the day off for the rapture and subsequent destruction of the world whilst I did! That’s a win for me even if I’m not entirely sure at what level.