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!
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.
We’ve reached the end game for 2018’s Intro Creation Competition so there’s been an inrush of new releases over the last couple of days including one last contribution from yours truly with the ever patient Andy Vaisey on music. It went through a few names but Level One was the final choice simply because it looks somewhat like a game.
The scrolling area takes up the entire regular screen – 39 visible characters across by 25 down – and is being moved using a double buffered scroll routine similar to the ones employed by games which in turn leans on some Run-Length Encoded background data. It also uses the C64’s Extended Colour Mode so, although there are only 64 characters available in the font, it can have four possible background colours for each character so I don’t have to scroll the colour RAM.
Something a little trickier is happening in the black bands above and below the scrolling; these are ten pixels high and sat in the borders, but containing a seven character wide Cosine logo and nineteen characters of either static text or scrolling message. To get twenty six characters into that space the code has to abuse the ghostbyte, splitting it at five points on each scanline to produce the extra two characters (they’re at the far left and right of the screen on both lines) and mask off the raster bars for the areas between the sprites.
I suspect a few people will be asking themselves if a game with similar graphics would be possible and the answer is a sort-of-yes, although drawing decent backgrounds when restricted to just 64 characters is bloody tricky!