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Homebrew projects and progress

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Magical Fairy Force

Been a while since I posted here. I've been suffering a bit of a creative block lately, but I've been forcing myself to keep moving forward on this project. I've got some really cool things going on now and some of the gameplay details are starting to become clear. Here's a current screenshot: A few things going on here. First, the orange diamond looking things are obstacles that move toward the player. I achieved this by getting vertical scrolling working on both playfields. Rig

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

Magical Fairy Force

It's been slow going on this project lately. My real job's been busy and I've had the irresistible urge to play Ys VIII again. Despite this, I have made some progress, although a lot of it has been weeding out bugs in existing code. There are a few interesting new things in this screenshot: This first new bit is that the wisps now shoot at the player. You can see a few of those shots in this image, including one that's wandered to the bottom of the screen because I haven't yet clam

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

Magical Fairy Force

Got a little bit more done on this. I now have the fairy power gauges created, and they properly fill as you blast wisps. The gauges are built from all four player objects, two of them comprise the black "empty" color and the other two are the fill color. I could get fancy and play with the player size registers to get away with using fewer players, but that's more complicated than it's worth. Right now, I don't think I need the players for anything else in the status bars. so I'm go

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

Magical Fairy Force

Back with another Magical Fairy Force update. I've gotten some new things in place, and some of the gameplay elements are starting to formalize in my mind. The first thing I got working was shooting. Each player can now fire, I used a pair of missiles for each player, so the projectile is four pixels wide. Looks great so far. I also started to add the first of the gameplay elements, I call them wisps. Those little white things near the center of the screen are wisps. They span r

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

Magical Fairy Force

So, here's the first screenshot of my new 5200 project, Magical Fairy Force. Not a whole lot to see here, but there's some important stuff. First, we have one yet to be revealed character. She'll get her proper coming out party when the game is further along, but for now you get this teaser image. Note that the character graphics are done by me at this point, and I'm no artist. I plan to eventually hook up with an artist that I've worked with before to get some much better sprite

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

Magical Fairy Force

Now that RealSports Curling is "in the can" and headed for a PRGE 2018 cartridge release, it's time to move on to a new project. I've been thinking about this one for a long time, and I promised myself (and my wife!) I wouldn't start working on it until I finished RealSports Curling. First a little background: There's this wonderful Neo Geo game called Twinkle Star Sprites. Don't let the appearance fool you. Twinkle Star Sprites is a hardcore competitive shooter with tons of charm

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

Haven't posted here in quite some time, because the stuff I've been working on has just been such a pain. The most difficult part of this project so far has been the collision code, and I totally expected that to be the case. I've made three attempts at coming up with a system for this, and they all reached a state where I thought they worked, but testing revealed serious flaws. I decided I needed to solve this once and for all, and came up with yet another system. There are two problems i

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

So I have some nifty non-gameplay related things to show off. The first is my fantastic title screen: I made the logo by firing up the GIMP, finding the fanciest looking font I could, and then just typing out the word "Curling." I then scaled it down to Atari 5200 resolution. I painstakingly converted the first two letters into binary, pixel by pixel, before realizing there was a better way. It turns out that GIMP can output images as C header files, so I started dumping the indiv

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

Well, I guess it's time for the big reveal. When I started this project, there was one killer feature that I just knew I had to do. It's taken a long time, but I've finally reached the point where it can be implemented. From the beginning, I wanted to have customizable shooters. The details of the customizations have changed over the course of development, but one thing never changed because it's so important it couldn't be dropped. This is the shooter customization screen: Beho

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

I've made some great progress recently, and I reckon it's time for a new demo. I've started working on the game configuration options, which at the moment means game length selection and multiplayer support. Here's the simple menu I put together for this: Here you can see the plethora of multiplayer options in the game. The CPU options are currently X-ed out, since I haven't done up the CPU play yet. In addition to the game length, the game also now detects the end of the game and

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

After much difficulty, I've successfully implemented the free guard zone rule. This rule stipulates that each team is prohibited from removing the other team's first two rocks, provided those rocks meet the definition of a guard. For this rule, that definition is that the rock is outside of the house, and forward of the button. After each team has thrown two rocks, this restriction no longer applies and rocks can be removed normally. If the free guard zone is violated, the rocks are return

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

At long last, we have sweeping! Sweeping presented a few challenges. The first was trying to figure out some way to visually represent that sweeping was taking place. I have a serious shortage on objects to use at this point, so I had to get a little creative. In this screenshot, you can see the new sweeping gauge in the bottom-left section of the ice. Well, actually you can see the letters "Sw" down there. The actual gauge is empty right now because nobody is sweeping. Catching

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

Well, after a lot of work I may have fixed all the collision bugs. I've certainly fixed the worst of them, and my testing so far looks pretty good. The new shooting system works extremely well and I'm having a lot of fun just doing the testing. I've also gone ahead and added a few sound effects. Nothing serious, placeholders really, but they really make things more enjoyable. I have some tones that play when you select your shot mode, and an "ice roar" sound that I got by throwing values

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

I've now finished the last of the major changes to the shooting system, and the curl application phase is now much simpler and more effective. The original curl phase of the shooting process involved an ugly gauge that you used to apply curl in various degrees. This just didn't work well at all, so now it's very simple: you curl up, you curl down, or you don't curl at all. In the screenshot you can see the little red arrow indicating the selected curl direction. Simple, fast, and to

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

So, I've gone and completed the second phase of my shooting system overhaul. This time I've made some changes to the aiming system. These changes are entirely cosmetic, but make placing your shots much easier. In this shot, you can see that there is now a little scale in front of the aim arrow to give you some points of reference apart from the center line. I've also added a distant aiming line on the top display. The arrow on this line shows you approximately where you are aiming

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

After a somewhat successful "Portland build" I've been making some ambitious changes to the shooting system. Playing with the demo revealed some problems with the shooting and I'm overhauling all three phases of the shot process. The first thing I wanted to tackle was the shot weight. Until now, the weight was set by a single gauge, so every type of shot, from guards to heavy takeouts, was relying on this single mechanism. Experience has convinced me that this is not the way to go. What

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

Just realized that I've been working on this project for over a year now. Kind of scary, but then again, Ratcatcher took at least three years. Of course, Ratcatcher was my first 5200 game so there was a lot to learn. I've completed the the new physics system, as least as far as basic rock movement is concerned, The new system is much more physically accurate and just looks a whole lot better. The old approach had 16 different rock speeds (I think), this new one has 100. I've also made a

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

Made little more progress, as evidenced by this screen shot: I now have end transitions fully implemented, apart from actually checking for the end of the game. On the scoreboard you can see a few new things. First, there are a couple of team indicators on the left side. The colors are subject to change, and may even end up customizable. Second, there is now a hammer display in the scoreboard. It follows all the correct rules, which is of course nice. At this point, it is now p

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

In the last installment, I went into some detail on the scoring algorithm I had worked out. It turned out that there were a few bugs in it, but I think I have everything ironed out now. I've gone a little beyond that, and I now have the score for the end popping up on the scoreboard. I've also made the scoring rocks blink, but of course you can't see that in a screenshot. In this test end, the yellow team has scored two points. What's really great is that I'm not too far from havi

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

Well, look at that. What is it, you ask? Just a memory dump of location $600. $600 is the scratch area that I'm using for the scoring algorithm. If you don't know, curling scoring works as follows: The team with the closest rock to the center of the rings scores one point, plus one additional point for each of their rocks that is closer to the center than the other team's closest rock. Rocks that are outside of the rings don't count, so it's possible that neither team will score. What

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

Haven't posted here in quite a while, since I haven't anything worthwhile to show. My real job has been very busy lately, and I've also been devoting a lot of time to a PC game project so RealSports Curling was back-burnered for a bit. I have some interesting things put together now that should help move development along. The big thing I got going was collision detection on the rocks. This isn't perfect yet, but it's there and it seems to work. It's very simplistic at this point, right n

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

I'm releasing what I call a "shooting demo" to get some feedback. This build allows you to shoot all 16 rocks in a single end of curling. The physics are in a first draft state, they basically work but still need a lot of tweaking. Shooting is performed in three steps: First, you set the aim. In the following screenshot, the aim is the arrow on the hogline. Use the joystick to move this up and down, then press the lower trigger to lock in your aim. Next, you set the weight of t

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

No new pictures, since my recent work hasn't really produced any visual changes. I now have boundary detection in place, so rocks that hit the edge of the sheet will be removed and the game will advance to the next shot. I also enforce a foul (loss of shot) if the player doesn't release the rock before the front hogline. This is all great, but the big accomplishment is that I've put the curl in the curling game! I've got an algorithm put together that applies the spin to the rocks, allowi

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

Well, look at this: I've got the rocks slowing to a stop now, and the logic correctly proceeds to the next shot. Here you can see a yellow rock that was already thrown, with a red one coming up behind it. Of course, the yellow shot would be removed in a real game since it didn't reach the far hogline, but I don't have that working yet. The next item on my checklist is to get the curl working. This refers to the spin you put on the rock, which causes it to "curl" in an arc. This a

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

RealSports Curling

The scrolling on the lower ice sheet is now almost completely implemented. In this screenshot, the current rock has scrolled all the way to the end of the sheet and the screen has scrolled appropriately. The rocks along the top of the ice are there for reference. This was both easier and harder to pull off than I anticipated. I hadn't done anything with ANTIC scrolling in Ratcatcher, so I didn't even bother researching it at the time. Once I got the idea straight in my head, it was

Ryan Witmer

Ryan Witmer

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