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Gridslugger - Game in progress (compiled XB)


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Have been fooling around with a game concept for a few weeks now and thought I would share. Named Gridslugger, it loosely plagiarises a little bit of Centipede, a lot of C64 Gridrunner, plus has a few original ideas thrown in....


I have got as far as sorting out the character map (used 253 of them!), worked out how the enemies will interact, have all the game rules worked out, and designed most of the screens. I am still putting the finishing touches on the variable list and starting to get a little nervous about memory but think I should be OK.


The plan is to start putting it all together over the coming weeks. While not specifically written with the F18A in mind, some of the "prettier" aspects of the graphics will probably suffer from sprite flicker without it - but nothing that should effect game play. I personally don't use real hardware so from my perspective its more about the fun and challenge of writing it rather than making it console perfect. Yes, I am an emulation fan.


I have for years wanted to write a fast paced game but could never wrap my brain around Assembly. In this instance the finished product will be compiled so I am hoping the game moves along at a good speed.





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Funny, I suggested Gridrunner as a potential port a couple of years ago.




I think Jeff Minter squeezed Gridrunner into the 3.5k on the unexpanded Vic 20. Remember thinking it would make an ideal mini memory game for the Ti-99

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I am desperately waiting for a port of Gridrunner/Matrix to the TI ... for more than 30 years. (That is, for a standard system, no F18A.)



Well.... The only sprites used during game play are for the laser which goes the full height of the game screen (requires 7 vertical sprites), the 5 gunners which run along the outside of the grid, two for the players ship, plus a total of 4 bullets (the bullets won't be in play at same time). I really don't feel any 4 of these sprites will line up in a row very often to cause any issues.... All other enemies are non-sprites. Only the slug dudes above the grid should be a cause for noticeable spite flickering, and only when they are pooping out an egg before it enters the grid. By removing the mountains I could reduce two sprites and do away with the flickering completely.


So while not completely faithful to any original, I think it should be very playable on a standard console without F18.


I had never stumbled across that wiki Challenge site. I reckon if I had I would have tried for a more authentic version. Believe it or not I wanted to write something and just couldn't come up with anything original. I started watching Youtube videos and after finding Gridrunner I got a little inspired. I don't *think* I had ever seen Gridrunner before, although I did once own a C64 so who knows what lies in the subconscious....

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I haven't played with this feature yet (but will) - thanks.


At the moment I am creating a disk file that contains all the string data for character definition, instruction screens, and some other definitions required in-game. Defining a 256 character set adds challenges that I haven't had to deal with before being an otherwise simple XB guy..... :)


Edited by Bones-69
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  • 2 weeks later...

Little progress update....


Have written the disc file which stores all the character hex data and a bunch of variables & strings in an attempt to free up as much program space as possible. I think at last count it was around 470 records (without the instruction screens which I will worry about at the end). Looks like I have about 5K of programming space left while running XB256 but I reckon I could recover another 1-2K by flicking all my REM statements which i will do as things progress.


Currently struggling with writing the routine for the "marching slugs". There are quite a lot of variables in play and I am losing track of what is going on. I feel I have probably bitten off more than I can comfortably chew. I'll get there but it is slow going with lots of errors at the moment....


I tend to program in sections and later go back and fill in the pretty detail. Here is a progress video of things to date. I haven't yet attempted to sort the timing but have written in "speed counters" that I will fine tune once things have progressed more. I am hopeful that once lots is going on at once I won't have to slow things down anyway..


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This game looks terrific!


You said,"...I have for years wanted to write a fast paced game but could never wrap my brain around Assembly. In this instance the finished product will be compiled so I am hoping the game moves along at a good speed..."


Ditto! The compiler will give you experience/confidence using many of the same tools and concepts used while programming in Assembly Language:


Modern text editors, E/A Cart tools, Assembler, Graphics Editor Magellan, Object File v Source File, TI-99/4 memory map, Fred's Module Maker, etc.


You may find many of the mysteries with Assembly become less-mysterious as you forge ahead using XB256 and Harry Wilhelm's BASIC Compiler?

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Feeling a little disheartened at the moment. Overall my program is coming along well and it is good to see some of my ideas take shape, but already I feel that even when compiled the old TI doesn't have the speed to deliver. I think perhaps I asked too much or tried to include too many "bells and whistles'. Not sure where to go from here. The following clip shows how slow things are starting to get and there is still significant processing to be added such as player movements, shooting, score updates etc etc. I had hoped to run up to 3 caterpillars on the screen at once which looks now unlikely. Really not sure what to sacrifice in order to keep the speed at a playable level.... Or if I should abandon the concept and put my time into developing some other idea.


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