Just a quick post to mark the new month since I’m trying to get back into the habit. The main news this time is that a new iteration of Didi/Laxity’s Intro Creation Competition started up yesterday over at the CSDb and this time it comes in two flavours; both share most of the same rules but, along with the original 16K variant comes a new 4K category where the entire intro has to run from just 4,096 bytes of memory. That does sound limiting partly because it is, but sound is optional for 4K entries to make things a little easier.
Since I like this competition a little bit of [ahem] encouragement has been sent out to a few people as regards writing an entry or two already and, so far at least, nobody has told me to naff off because of it so that’s a positive!
As for myself, I’ve already got several notes about ideas for both categories, a fair bit of prototype code running and even some nearly finished intros including a feature complete 4K entry which is just waiting on some preset data. That should materialise on the interwebs very soon, possibly even tomorrow if all goes to “plan” and the siren call of the Columbo box set that’s been borrowing a lot of my free time doesn’t start up again…
The planet Plato is in chaos, nasty little energy-based creatures called Fuzz Balls have invaded through a hole in time and need to be stomped on; only one creature can save the day in this manner, the loveable and rotund Wunda Walter needs to take out as many of the little… darlings as possible whilst avoiding the patrolling “manic depressive mutants practising body popping”. This was written in 1984 when video game scenarios were weird at the best of times and prolific Interceptor freelancer Keith “Howlin’ Mad” Harvey wrote the game so probably had a hand in the storyline as well.
Our hero starts each stage running along on a flat patch of ground but will need to take flight almost immediately to avoid death; this is done by holding the fire button down which causes Walter to inflate and float upwards with left and right on the joystick controlling his flight and releasing the button letting him drift downwards,. Since the majority of Plato’s surface will pop an unwary balloon-like creature, only the flat areas or Fuzz Balls should be considered safe to stand on and even then care must be taken since stepping halfway off a ledge will prove fatal.
The graphics are good but the VIC doesn’t have a hardware fine scroll register like later Commodore machines or the Atari 8-bit so the background shifts in character steps – one VIC character is about twice the width of those on the C64 for reference – with the software sprite movement being similarly chunky, but this doesn’t get in the way so Wunda Walter is still a playable if somewhat difficult game. Despite the emphasis in the storyline, splattering the Fuzz Balls is actually optional so merely avoiding the flight path of those body popping mutants and keeping clear of the landscape as it loops past a couple of times is enough to progress to the next level. There are four areas in total, each with their own distinct graphical elements and enemy attack pattern so learning both the lie of the land and how each nasty moves is essential for long-term survival.
I found out whilst writing this piece that Wunda Walter is considered a rare VIC 20 game these days, which is probably down to a combination of it arriving late in the VIC’s life cycle and requiring a 16K RAM expansion, both of which will have limited it ‘s potential audience. I still have my copy from the mid-1980s which I think was originally purchased from Interceptor themselves at a Commodore show in London, it’s currently tucked away in a storage box, sports the lurid green clamshell case and is apparently worth a few quid due to that aforementioned rarity… but don’t tell the wife, okay?
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!