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Update of WIP - of current project - which is AtariBLAST!




I don't think my blog is read much at all, so I'm more keen to post an update here rather than in the main forum section...


As at 20th June 2015 - AtariBLAST! has reached a new level of achievements within it - it has been a long time since the last semi-official release of a demo - which was only of the Zaxxon like horizontal scrolling level working. 2 other horizontal scrolling levels were also completed - but not shown anywhere.


Just as graphics from Hawkquest - were used and updated - so too - a little of Laser Hawk's graphics has been re-used to good effect.

But not only that - I revisit a classic coin-op that has never appeared officially on the A8 - but successful clones of it have.

And not only that - I revisit a classic Atari 400/800 game - that used diagonal scrolling successfully - showing how it should be done. Like Zaxxon - it is put askew into horizontal mode. I haven't actually done that much with it - this revisiting of it - as it is included with these other two.


And there is a completely new level as such - in which I borrow the graphic look from another system altogether - but anyone observant enough - should be able to guess where it came from? It's not immediately identifiable though - me thinks?

Overall I don't think this new level stands out? But it is there - for something completely different? maybe?


The Zaxxon like level has had a little bit of retouching done to it - and I mean a little.

These 3 so-called 'new' levels were done - mostly completed - around late last year? And were very slowly and surely being completing in the last 3 or less months.


But it's really the gaming - enemy attacks /etc etc part - that Paul has been working on - that has gone streets ahead - since what was seen working in the Zaxxon like - video. It is still not in the home straight - of final tweaking/etc etc to be done yet.

But progress has significantly moved along - such that it should again Wow those following the progress of this particular project.


That if you were Wowed by your first glimpse of this project? You should again get that same feeling of awe and surprise? maybe? when you've seen the progress done, since the last official release demo - which was in late 2014.


I personally was not that happy with all of the late 80s' and later shooters that has appeared for the A8 computers - those which were raved about - such as Warhawk, Zybex - and anything else you care to list? Sure, I liked Dropzone - and wanted to see more like it? I don't like to shoot down games that tried. Anyway I hope AB! will fill this rather large gap (in my view) that exists - and compares favourably alongside the likes of Armalyte? (C64) - showing that the A8 hardware can match or even outclass what has appeared on the C64.

Of course - many independent hardware sprites - simply do not exist on the A8 hardware - full stop. But if a game can appear to produce what was thought to be unattainable - fill the screen with mayhem of fast, smooth moving sprites etc/etc - then it should be something special?


Am I really overhyping what I am working on? I really don't think so. We all know how Centron-3D was a complete flop. I really couldn't see why people were thinking it could have been a great game? --- because looking at the Amiga version of it - which was more towards completion than it's A8 version - the basic game structure and use of sprites/etc simply did not add up to a good game format at all. I always think it's always better for a new team/partnership/whatever that is really starting on their first big project together - to simply clone an existing game - rather than work on a new design altogether.

That if they worked on a Buck Rogers or even RoadBlasters clone - even that would have been better than what Centron-3D was/is.

They probably would have even failed at that - maybe - but it still would have looked better? anyway? My guess anyway... and I'm no technie/programmer/etc.


I don't wish to turn people off games development --- but there is such a thing as experience as such. Just like in any other hobby/interest/etc etc that the more years you worked in that area - even as a hobbyist (which I truly am) - that someone with years of experience behind them - are more than capable of delivering something special. But there's always an easy way to gain experience - and that is to learn from other people - from what they have done.

That if you put in the time and effort into it - you can catch up quicker than normally. I've seen how Andrew Bradfield progressed - and while he passed away back in 2001 due to terminal illness - it might be a 50/50 guess if he would have gotten back into Atari 800 programming/games development as such. He certainly would have been busy with other stuff (like PC gaming and real life sports car driving) - and so he may not have put time into revisiting the 80s again?


I'm not such a red hot graphics designer as such - I actually prefer to rework other peoples' graphics - which I do in AB! Just as you've seen a bigger version of the Atari Robot - the so-called Atari spaceship - also makes an appearance - but I do not rework this design as much as was done with the Robot. Can't recall if the demo release included the Fractalus Mothership - but it makes an appearance too - and I only rework it's design a little likewise.

Other peoples' graphics do appear in AB! - and I hope they'll not mind at all? Because AB! is not a commercial project as such - if anything it is a revisit to some of the best demo graphics that have appeared for the Atari 400/800/etc series home computers - and is truly meant to show what this home computer can possibly do? You can say it is one big demo.... and hopefully a playable one at that.





Recommended Comments

Thank you for your nice comment - it is very much appreciated. Such comments are very helpful because of the amount of work that has gone into this particular project.


Atariblast! has received all kinds of comments - from praise to those disappointed with how it has turned out. I can understand both kinds.


It has been 4 years work - those interested, can check or recheck how it all started. There was a simple demo in the New Year Disk of 2012 - which showed the use of sprites as such. It doesn't look like much at all - but it was the very beginning of what would turn into GTIABlast! / AtariBlast! - and it was something like 9 months later - that the first public demo was released.

I have always felt that at it's very beginning - that this was one special project - it could have been even more eye opening - but actually I said no - to an enhancement, which I thought I'll not make full use of - and so it wasn't added at all. It was an extra feature to the graphics - one more tick to what is going on, within this game.

There is a lot going on in this game - if you start noting down what is being done here, there and everywhere.


I'm not to be credited for all the animation going on within the game - I didn't set this down in the initial specs for it - but I'm very grateful they were included as standard. There could have been even more animation possible? maybe? As 4 frame animation could have been used instead of 8 frame - perhaps doubling the number of animated characters?


I really cannot design graphics for what other people prefer them to be like? As I do not know what their tastes are like? Neither should I work this way. As always for artistic projects - you always have to design stuff the way you like them to be - and trust in your own instincts - tastes - etc.

Of course, I can take on board comments which are fair and valid - and should - as I can do some things not so well. There are certainly bits/levels in which I could have done better - but 4 years is a very long time, and I have redone two levels in particular over about twice - people who've seen the early demos should have noticed this.


I cannot praise the programmer enough - for working on this project - and for putting in the enormous amount of time involved.

I think we got more positive comments - over those unsatisfied with it. I'm satisfied with most of what I have done - and I wanted to pay tribute to all those games and demos - particularly to those graphics (and their artists/creators) because I wasn't up to creating 100% original graphics throughout. I did reuse previous graphics of mine - and updated most of them - wanting to show the difference between the late 80s' and now...


Note - this is a general comment to anyone who wants to read more about this project - which could have easily not happened at all. Because few will actually put in this amount of work (and time) on a special project that works on all Atari 8-bit machines. Note - you can put this game on a flashcart, and it'll run fine on an Atari 400 16K home computer. And originally it was not for the 5200 at all - but was changed early on, so that it can be.



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