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.

Workprint – June 2019

With Stercore XD released last weekend I’m sort of between projects… well okay, a hopefully final re-mastering of Hammer Down needs attention so I will have to give it a little thought at some point, but for various reasons I’ve been struggling more than a little with motivation on that one. Part of the problem is that every update to the code is a balancing act now and, even when that goes well, the changes also see me refreshing the greetings list which scrolls past on the titles page which is at best an uncomfortable process due to the data format I settled on to in a vain attempt to keep the size down.

So since I’m procrastinating there’s a chance that I’ll actually listen to the part of me which is constantly shouting “let’s make a new shoot ’em up” like a seven year old existing almost exclusively on a diet of E numbers. Right now that high-pitched, overly excited voice in my head reckons that a single screen blaster would be fun to do and I’ve got some unfinished business on that front anyway from when I started a “cover version” of a small game called Death Dealer that was intended for release on cartridge back when RGCD were limited to 16K. Perhaps it’s time to resurrect that project whilst perhaps wedging in some backgrounds or adding more complex waves to improve the longevity?

That would go some way towards bridging the gap in C64CD’s “narrative” too. My original plan was for the games to evolve over time almost like a newly-minted coder picking up skills between releases; I started out with a single screen gallery shooter – a reworking of the first assembly language game I coded as a beginner myself – and planned to build up the complexity with each game, but Stercore XD broke that sequence by leaping ahead a large distance.

With all of that said though, I’m reasonably sure that previous paragraph wasn’t just me trying to find excuses to work on another shoot ’em up.

Workprint – May 2019

Last time I talked about the new, C64-specific version of C64CD blaster Stercore and this month continues that “trend”. It’s now officially called Stercore XD and I’ve actually got the majority of it written and working somehow!

Memory is getting very tight but all of the graphics are done now including some sprite animations – one of the aliens and the explosion have been “inherited” from Super Hyperzap – and everything just about fits into the lower half of the C64’s RAM after decrunching until the code grabs around 10K more whilst unrolling the background scroller. Spacial awareness is important here because I’m planning to put the final release version of Stercore XD out as a cartridge image for the RGCD competition. To that end the build process automagically makes a working CRT image for testing.

I still have a “to do” list including tweaks to the collision detection, a rewrite of the enemy movement code to optimise it, adding explosions and bolting in the simple attack wave driver from Super Hyperzap with a couple of small tweaks but, since there’s currently only about 280 bytes of ROM left in the 16K block the game has to occupy as a cartridge, some concessions might be necessary. To give a sense of scale, this paragraph is 457 bytes…