Workprint – August 2019

Since I completely forgot about posting it last month, here’s the extended workprint for August 2019 and… erm, not much is actually happening right now. Well okay that’s misleading, things are actually going on and projects are being worked on, but the majority of it is still behind closed doors.

After the rush to get Death Weapon over the line for the RGCD competition I’m also a little “burnt out” on game code so it’s demo time and one thing I can at least mention is getting a request via Twitter to code a second Gamerz Xtreme intro which is nearly complete, full of raster bars and just waiting on a few final tweaks to the music from aNdy and little extra functionality to allow for tweaking since it’s meant for use on a Twitch channel. As with the first intro that’s done by editing a “script” (actually a block of source code that sets some constants and provides things like scroll text) and then assembling the code around those modifiers.

After that, there’s some graphics on the go for Kreator of Commodore Master Soft – I forgot to shamelessly plug my small, logo-drawing involvement in his previous intro Second – and some doodling of ideas for the hopefully upcoming next instalment of the Intro Creation Competition over at the CSDb because that’s always fun. I possibly have some thoughts about longer form demo projects as well, but as usual those are kept hidden away at this early stage.

Unused Shmup Tunes (C64) released

Here’s a surprise release under the Cosine flag, Unused Shmup Tunes is a harrowing morality tale about the evils of capitalism and the long term, far reaching effects they have on society as a whole… no? Okay, it’s actually a music collection which contains four pieces that aNdy composed for a shoot ’em up some idiot with a blog was meant to code…

aNdy also wrote the code driving the collection and drew the rather lovely PETSCII logo using his nearly complete screen editor for good measure! For those with inquisitive minds, all of the source code and a swathe of work files have been bundled up with the C64 executable in the archive that can be blagged from the Cosine website or at the CSDb.

So yeah… as I hinted above the tunes are actually for a scrolling shoot ’em up I was talking about doing as part of the rewrite of my C64 coding tutorials but, since I have the attention span of half a dozen ferrets in a particularly interesting museum, that’s been pushed onto the back burner for the foreseeable and it would’ve been a waste to let the music sit around gathering metaphorical dust.

Death Weapon (C64) released

So how about some arena-based blasting on the C64 for a quiet but annoyingly warm Sunday evening then? Well, there’s always Death Weapon from… erm, yours truly on the C64CD label that popped up as a last minute entry into RGCD’s 16K cartridge competition. So why not grab a joystick and blast those nasty little aliens into oblivion!

The gameplay was originally based on Jeff J Gosden’s Death Dealer from 1989 but had elements from other titles grafted into it and one thing to look out for in particular is the control scheme; moving the joystick guides the Death Weapon around the screen but it fires backwards unless the fire button is held down. That’s a combination of what Death Dealer does and the Hallucin-O-Bomblets sub game of Jeff Minter’s Batalyx, which was also the inspiration for the enemies materialising into the playfield rather than emerging fully formed from the borders. Another title that had ideas unceremoniously robbed from it was Intensity by Andrew Braybrook, more specifically it influenced the background graphics and the pretty parallax starfield behind them.

There’s a couple of graphical tricks going on to make elements of the game appear to be using colours not in the regular C64 palette as well, parts of the background use PAL blending – when two colours of the same luminance are placed next to each other on odd and even scanlines – to get what appear to be new colours and some of the enemy sprites are utilising a similar trick, alternating between two colours every frame so they appear to blend together. This is best experienced with a good old CRT display, as are the player’s bullets which are generated from one sprite which flickers back and forth between the two jobs at 50 frames a second.

None of this is new of course, but there’s some reasonably well commented source code over at Github for anyone fancying a prod around.