Gamerz Xtreme Intro 2 (C64) released

The original Gamerz Xtreme Intro was written in 2016 for the Twitch channel of the same name and, after a request on Twitter a couple of months back from the channel’s owner and a little work from myself and aNdy, there’s now a second intro which hopefully turned up just in time for a planned channel refresh and transition to Mixer. This new intro is the rather imaginatively titled Gamerz Xtreme Intro 2 and it has everything you could want from an intro; lots of moving raster bars, bouncing multicolour bitmap logos with wave effects, a sideborder ROL scroller and some great music.

As with the previous intro, this was provided to Psycho Stick in source code form including the relevant tools to build it and a configuration file. The latter is basically an assembler include containing all of the bits which can be edited to change the scrolling message text and tweak it’s colours or select one of the pre-made raster effects for the main part of the screen. Once that file has been modified and saved, a supplied batch file can be triggered which assembles the code and crunches it down ready for use.

Getting this done was a lot of fun and one piece of “overkill coding” only becomes visible when the “debug borders” option is enabled in VICE, all of the colour splits in the main effect area are lined up to the same cycle for the entire height of the screen… that took far too much effort to get right, especially considering it’s completely hidden from view and nobody would’ve even noticed either way had I not drawn attention to them!

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.