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Markus of Marinus


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So I started working with my Terminal Emulator II cartridge, attempting to implement speech into my 4K game... just as a curiosity. I started to realize that it would be possible (with so much headroom after cramming the entire BASIC game engine into 4K) to expand the game into a worthy release. I want a legit splash screen, integrated speech throughout, a more robust End-of-Game screen, and a few features that I couldn't quite shoe-horn into 4K.


The first thing I did was add speech to the current Title Screen... just the TE2 voice saying "Markus of Marinus" just before the music started... and MAN WAS THAT COOL!!! :) I give myself +2 geek points every time I use the TE2 cart to do speech in console BASIC.


I started fleshing out on paper what I could actually do with so much spare space, and I really think it will be possible to make a release-worthy BASIC game to go out on tape with full documentation, color J Card, and the works.


I will be using this thread to bounce ideas, show progress, and document the process. Life will be crazy for the next month, but I hope to have some stuff to show by next Monday--as I've pulled the short straw and have to cover a full weekend shift (Saturday and Sunday) at work... this means that I'll have basically 16 uninterrupted hours to work on this game (since there are only two lines running this weekend, and they basically run themselves).


Don't expect much at first... most of what I plan to implement will be structure adjustments and laying groundwork for doing the speech, but over the next month or two, I hope to be able to flesh out a nice splash title screen and start work on packaging graphics, etc.


This should be fun. :)

Edited by Opry99er
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So one of the features I had planned for the code originally was a "special" level every 3rd level. If you complete the special level without losing a life, you get a bonus life added to your total. This makes the game a bit more fair, I suppose, but I had also originally intended on having only 10 "lives" rather than 16. In fact, originally, they weren't called lives at all. Your character had the "Amulet of Resurrection" which had 10 "charges." It's all semantics at that point, but I had planned a small cutaway screen where you saw the amulet being drained each time you had to use it.


All of this will be in the final version, but I could barely fit the intro music into the game for the 4K contest, so I sort of put it all on the back burner.


Anyway, back to the "special level." It is no different than the other levels, except on the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th levels, the screen was white instead of purple, and if you beat the level without losing an amulet charge, you got one back.



A suggestion that Sinphaltimus gave me was to track your path through every level and then briefly display where you walked through the level and also display the monsters at the same time. This would take place at the end of the level, once you enter the door. The reveal would be only a couple of seconds, but it would show you how close you came to losing another life, basically.


I liked the idea, and it would be fairly easy to implement, but I wondered if displaying the location of all the monsters on every level would decrease the difficulty too much...


Anyway, just a thought. I'm making many many notes right now, preparing myself for a good coding session, and I am trying to clarify what my goals are. Just because I have another ~8K available to me doesn't mean I need to use it frivolously. I need to prioritize. :)

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Alright... here is a test piece. I haven't worked with the splash screens or anything yet... This is strictly a Speech update.


Plug in your Terminal Emulator 2 cartridge and load this game via TI BASIC. I haven't changed pitches or slopes yet because I'm basically just testing functionality at this point.


Seems to function as expected in Classic99, but with the speech systhesis being somewhat imperfect, I don't want to start changing values now until I can test it out on the real machinery (which I have not done yet).


Let me know what you think. Thanks!


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Very good


I reached level 11 . That's the 1st time I've gone past level ten on anything. :)


I love the speech, and your music is great too. A bloody good ti basic game.

There was only two occasions where I had traps on both entrances to the exit with no means of retaining a life but this happened after level 8.

I like how the traps light up when you hit them.

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Thank you sir!!! I have yet to hear the speech on the real console. :D. Since I entered the game into the 4K contest, its been all emulation (for multiple reasons). Hopefully Ill get some time to play it on hardware soon.


There are 3 levels (exactly 3) where you HAVE to lose a lifeas in, there is no way to get the key without getting killt.... as you said, Level 8 is one of them. :)


Very glad you like the game, and if anyone would like to post a video of the game on a real TI (so I can hear the speech) I would appreciate it!! :)


Once I get the functionality all wrapped up, Ill start working on fine tuning the pitches and slopes of the speech to fit what I want.


Thanks again. :)

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Feeling pretty good about this most recent release... I think I can add an End-Game screen and adjust the speech a little bit... I have one or two more tweaks to make to the game code, but for the most part, I think you're seeing what it is going to be...


If anyone finds any bugs, please let me know... my kids are my primary play-testers, and they're having fun with it--so I think I'm in pretty good shape. :)


My son always gets excited when he finds a bug... Yesterday morning he ran down the stairs after he and his sister Daisy had been playing it for a while. "Dad, dad, dad!!! I found a bug! When you die, then start back over, your score stays the same!"


Damned if he wasn't right. :) I changed that code before this most recent release.



Anyway, there will be a surprise or two in the final game, and the speech will change some... but the code won't change much, unless someone finds a bug. :)

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Just about wrapped up on coding. Next step is to order blank cassettes and start focusing on packaging again. :)


Im hoping to have the fully packaged tapes and diskettes done by mid-May. Making packaging for cassettes is somewhat miserable and expensive, but I think itll be worth it when the finished product is complete.

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  • 1 year later...

This isn't the distribution version.  I made several tweaks and changes to the code before releasing it on tape.  Unfortunately there is a runaway condition that seems to blow up the memory when loaded from disk, so I have been unable to run the final version from disk, either in emulation or on the real TI.  


If someone would like to help me troubleshoot, I'm sure I could get someone to upload their tape version here so we could all have a looksee. I sold my last tape copy and now I don't even have the full program version here in any form!!  :D 



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To anyone who purchased one of the finished packages (red/gold or blue/silver):


Could you please upload the game here (loaded directly from tape)?  I don't have a copy of the final speech version anymore, and I would very much like to do some testing to try to figure out what is crashing the game when it is loaded from disk.



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I loaded Markus of Marinus on a 4A with CF7+. The real cassette loaded on a vintage TI recorder, with some tweaks like Tone=9 Vol=8.


Here is a classic99 DSK image.



I made 2 wav files with Audacity, but I could not get either one to load into a real 4A.

Get WAV files here, maybe you'll have better luck loading them.


First try. About -5dB signal. No clipping.



Second try, more volume. About -3dB signal. No clipping.



Hope this helps!


P.S. this is the TE2 version. I didn't realize there was a second side to it, without speech.


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