Jump to content

Grizzards — turn-based RPG (completed)

Recommended Posts

I tried the NoSave NTSC version in my 7800 using a PlusCart and a CRT TV set connected with RF cable, and found the following:


- The first scan line of the tittle screen starts in black and then, after some cycles, changes to cyan.


- The bottom of the green area in the tittle screen jitters too much. It does not seem to be related to the animation or the music. Is that the waterfront scene? If so, it's too "random", and it could be better to go up and down one scan line at a time.


- The pause button does not work as intended for the 7800: it does not toggle pause mode, I need to keep it pressed to pause the game.


- Leaving the initial screen to the left requires a double exit... I mean that when you are going to leave, the character returns a bit to the right and then you will be able to exit to the zone at the left. Immediately returning to the first screen, the same happens in that screen while walking to the right: it jumps back a little to the left. This behavior repeats when leaving the second screen to the left.


- When in combat with some Wicked Slime, changing from Splish Splash to Raise Hope makes the upper row of slimes to move down 1 scanline at the time when the cursor block disappears. It also happens when the cursor moves from the first row to the second one.


- During a combat, I can select a move, but it seems that it for the first enemy... then it automaticaly continues fighting with any other (unselected) move, might be the default one, until I die. I couldn't change any of the texts that appeared during the process.


I couldn't go so far... ?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, vitoco said:

Is that the waterfront scene? If so, it's too "random", and it could be better to go up and down one scan line at a time

Yeah, I think the "waves" need a bit of work. That was the intention, though, you're right.


41 minutes ago, vitoco said:

- The first scan line of the tittle screen starts in black and then, after some cycles, changes to cyan.

That was an easy fix, thankfully. Today's daily build should have that corrected now.

38 minutes ago, vitoco said:

The pause button does not work as intended for the 7800: it does not toggle pause mode, I need to keep it pressed to pause the game.

That's unfortunate, it must not be detecting the 7800 system. I wonder if the PlusCart maybe does not restore the zero page memory that we check after leaving its menu? I seem to understand that there's specific code in the Harmony to restore those "magic numbers". I'll open a ticket but I don't know that I'll be able to correct that particular issue. (Among other things I have neither a 7800 nor a PlusCart … although excuses to get both are plentiful …)

39 minutes ago, vitoco said:

Leaving the initial screen to the left requires a double exit

I saw this too (with certain screens, the exits were doing a "rubber band" effect), I believe that today's dailies should have corrected it. (direct link: NoSave/NTSC for today)


40 minutes ago, vitoco said:

When in combat with some Wicked Slime, changing from Splish Splash to Raise Hope makes the upper row of slimes to move down 1 scanline at the time when the cursor block disappears. It also happens when the cursor moves from the first row to the second one

Noted … I guess it's aligning a little differently when the target cursor is present/absent.

45 minutes ago, vitoco said:

During a combat, I can select a move, but it seems that it for the first enemy...

Is that perhaps the enemies fighting back that you're seeing?  e.g. “Wicked Slime 1 [uses move] splish splash [on] Aquax” or the like?



Thanks for the detailed feedback! It's extremely helpful. I've added these things to my “to do list” on GitHub.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, vitoco said:

- The pause button does not work as intended for the 7800: it does not toggle pause mode, I need to keep it pressed to pause the game.

While I haven't really researched this yet — it occurs to me that you can press the Game Select switch (or C button on a Genesis controller) to bring up the Stats display and effectively pause the game as well, as a work-around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another Demo alpha release. Still have plenty holding back from calling it a Beta, but there's some progress.

Daily builds continue to be posted on the web site as well.

As ever, I appreciate any feedback, particularly bug reports.

  • Bug fix: Loading a saved game after dying tried to restart you in the room where you died.
  • Bug fix: Attempting to enter the Lost Mine caused a total hang (crash)
  • Bug fix: Door to the Lost Mine wandered the screen (full game only)
  • Enhancement: More challenging monsters on the Western Road
  • Enhancement: Changed Depot color for better contrast
  • Enhancement: Increased attack power of Vorpal Bunnies
  • Enhancement: Increased likelihood of Learning a Move
  • Bug fix: Scan line counts when starting a new game (during blank screen before game starts)
  • Enhancement: Final theme music
  • Enhancement: Full game SaveKey memory slots registered with AtariAge. Demo still uses Scratchpad space.
  • Bug fix: AtariAge text (full game)
  • Enhancement: Doors between provinces (memory banks) now work (full game only)
  • Enhancement: Added frames to monster and NPC animations on Map
  • Enhancement: Level Up audio should mention if you level up multiple stats at once
  • Enhancement: Improved waves on Aquax title screen's water line
  • Enhancement: Title screen first scan line is regular
  • Enhancement: Monsters can have random spawn locations
  • Bug fix: Scan line count going in to Combat Intro Screen (red screen with “COMBAT” text)
  • Enhancement: “alarm” system internally uses half-seconds now.
  • Bug fix: Line counts on Grizzard Depot and Stats screens (PAL/SECAM only)
  • Bug fix: Scan line count when walking through door (one frame in between screens)
  • Enhancement: Monsters spawn with a “puff of smoke” animation

Known, outstanding bugs are posted on GitHub, as are planned enhancements.


I've found several cases in which there are intermittent scanline errors “between” screens (during transitions) which may explain the dropouts that ZPH noticed, and am going through every possible transition frame-by-frame to search for them, which is naturally taking quite a bit of time.

Grizzards.NoSave.5.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.5.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.5.PAL.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.5.PAL.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.5.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.5.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Demo.5.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.Demo.5.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.Demo.5.PAL.pdf Grizzards.Demo.5.PAL.a26 Grizzards.Demo.5.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.Demo.5.NTSC.a26

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And we're up to Demo Alpha 6. As always, any feedback is highly desirable, and dailies continue to be posted to the web site most every day.


Whoever has been kindly uploading these files to the PlusCart library, I've included a PlusCart-formatted mini-manual that will probably be more useful for that purpose (Grizzards.Manual.txt here). For everyone else, the PDF manuals here or on the web site are the way to go. If you actually print them out, check the web site for the “signature” formatted ones that you can fold and staple into a booklet easily.


An upcoming change will be adding the ability to catch several Grizzards within the Demo area. There had been several bugs surrounding this code which seem to have been cleared up, but I want to test a little more before “turning on” a relatively major feature. Note that this will not be possible in the NoSave demo, because your Grizzards collection only exists on the SaveKey when they are not your companion (and there's literally no RAM at all that could be used to fake it).


Known, outstanding bugs are posted on GitHub, as are planned enhancements.


Changes from Demo Alpha 5: almost all are bug fixes:

  • The PDF manuals for the Demo (and NoSave) are now formatted for folded 8½"×11" paper (NTSC) or A4 paper (PAL & SECAM) to make them more conveniently printable. The full game manual is refined to 7" × 5" for now and has been prepared for prepress. (There will still be additional art and text editing to the manual yet to come, however, including a much nicer map.)
  • Doors between provinces (i.e. between memory banks) would sometimes misfire and either crash the game with ERROR 04F0F8 or so, or land you in room 0 of whichever memory bank you were leaving instead. (Not in demo)
  • Scan line counts were off by ± 1 line in some situations when changing between screens. For example, when moving through a door there were 261 scan lines for 1 frame. These 1-frame errors were too fast to detect by eye, but setting up some breakIfs in Stella helped comb them out.  All of these that I've been able to find have been eliminated in NTSC mode, and most of them in PAL/SECAM mode except a nasty one when the cursor is on the bottom row of monsters. This includes errors when starting a new game, when pressing RESET while playing, when returning to the player's turn after monsters moves in combat, when returning from Stats to Combat screen, when entering the Level Up screen, &c.
  • The draft label has been designed, although it's basically identical to the graphic for the manual cover.
  • Reading aloud the Grue blockade came out as UFO sounds on the AtariVox (not in demo)
  • New Grizzards came with the wrong Moves known (not yet in demo)
  • When catching a new Grizzard, you now get an “announcement” screen to tell you which one it is.
  • Starting a new game did not completely start from scratch if you began a new game after a Game Over under some circumstances. One obvious indicator was the absence of the NPC in Treble Village who says he's running away (if you'd spoken to him on the previous game).
  • The “end of demo” speech was read aloud when you completed the same quest in the full game.
  • “Cave Bat” was read aloud as just “monster” on the AtariVox
  • The entrance to the tunnel complex had a crazy “screenquake” when you had not opened the tunnels yet (not in demo)
  • The “Level up” screen would falsely display “LEVEL UP … MAX HP” whether or not you had actually done so — but the AtariVox speech was correct.
  • Refined the pronunciation of “blob,” “bite,” and “blind” and added some other words to the dictionary as needed.
  • Moves Known were all wrong after switching Grizzards at Depot (not yet in the demo)
  • ERROR 04F0F2 when screwing around in the first room, when using the Grizzard Depot.
  • Enhancement: The colors of Moves have been changed: Black is still “not known,” but now “RUN AWAY” is red and other moves are turquoise (the reverse of previous builds).
  • Enhancement: When the targeting cursor first appears on the monsters (because it's your turn and you have an “offensive” move selected), if Monster #1 has been killed, the first still-living monster will be targeted by default.
  • When moving between Provinces, the ProvinceFlags (game progress) is swapped to the SaveKey. (not in Demo)
  • An enhancement was made to simplify the most common “if flag set” conditional for NPC interactions to conserve ROM space and code complexity.
  • When a monster is killed, the AtariVox announcement will no longer tell you about status effects that were imparted at the same time, e.g. “The monster is killed and defend is lowered.”
  • Rooms' floor colors were displayed incorrectly in rooms where the Ball is being used as a wall.
  • A crash when speaking to the NPC in the Spiral Woods area was corrected (but probably would not have happened in the demo).


Grizzards.NoSave.6.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.6.PAL.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.6.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Demo.6.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Demo.6.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.Demo.6.PAL.a26 Grizzards.Manual.txt Grizzards.NoSave.6.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.6.PAL.pdf Grizzards.Demo.6.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.6.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.Demo.6.PAL.pdf Grizzards.Demo.6.NTSC.pdf

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried Grizzards.NoSave.6.NTSC.a26 with the PlusCart and got ERROR 00F49D when I touched the upper icon. This does not happen after a reboot, but it did it when I moved the joystick after the AQUAX selection screen appeared. ?


I couldn't do more, but I like the improved waves in the intro.


  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info: Pressing Up or Down on the Depot screen does indeed reliably throw ERROR 00F49D right now.


It seems that I didn't completely disable trying to switch Grizzards in the NoSave code …!


Here are fixed binaries that should disable the up/down actions on that screen for the NoSave build.

Grizzards.NoSave.6a.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.6a.PAL.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.6a.NTSC.a26

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cripes. I'm working on enabling that in the Demo code, but it's not ready yet. Aside from “don't do that,” here are some other binaries that have that completely disabled. Fortunately, if you got that in the regular Demo, your game was successfully saved right before, so you should be able to resume with no problem.


Sorry about that oversight.

Grizzards.Demo.6a.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Demo.6a.PAL.a26 Grizzards.Demo.6a.SECAM.a26

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

After a longer delay than usual, here is demo alpha version 7. As usual, there are a full range of ROM images and manuals attached or available on the web site, and GitHub has the work in progress and outstanding bugs.


The main change is: You can now catch wild Grizzards in the Demo.


Other Changes since 6(a):

  • Bug fix: "Caught" Grizzards no longer re-appear on map
  • Bug fix: Scanline counts around catching a new Grizzard
  • Enhancement: Verbal announcement when catching a new Grizzard
  • Enhancement: Made Vorpal Bunnies more powerful

also, for the full game,

  • Bug fix: Lost mine is now possible to navigate (not easy, but possible!)
  • Enhancement: Stella (and most multi-carts) should now correctly recognize bank switching for full game
  • Bug fix: When the joystick was held left or right, province doors would teleport you to somewhat random screeens
  • Enhancement: Increased level of difficulty of Grues
  • added some more quest content in Southern Fields, Lost Mine, and Port Lion areas.

Grizzards.NoSave.7.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.7.PAL.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.7.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.Demo.7.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.Demo.7.PAL.pdf Grizzards.Demo.7.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.7.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.7.PAL.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.7.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Demo.7.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.Demo.7.PAL.a26 Grizzards.Demo.7.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Manual.txt

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Just a little progress report …


It's not dead! :)


The demo is basically ready for a Beta release, which I'll do shortly (over the weekend?). As far as I know, there are no remaining run-time bugs, but I do need to shave a few bytes off one memory bank for the PAL version to build (and maybe SECAM? TBH I don't test SECAM as regularly as NTSC and PAL). The demo covers roughly 1/6 of the full game, as far as screens accessible, although there's really only the one "role playing" sort of "puzzle" in the demo (acquiring the two artifacts so that the route forward can be opened). You can see hints of where other areas are linked … the docks with no ship at them, the closed mine entrance, the closed-off woods …


Some improved manual art (including a much-improved map) are in the works as well.


The full game is now roughly 2/3 mapped into the game itself – ie. screen art entered and screens linked. About 1/3 of the combat scenarios are entered and about 1/4 of the "role playing" parts have been coded. Many or most of the Grizzards and monsters still need to have their selection of combat moves tweaked.


So, things are coming along. The Day Job has been extraordinarily busy over the past few months but the long holiday week-ends have given me a little time to play catch-up.


Thanks for your patience, everyone.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well … it did not happen over the long week-end, but here it is.


The official beta version of the demo is now available!



This is a 32kiB F4 banked ROM with a small portion of the overall game, demonstrating most of the features of the game and presenting one small “puzzle” to solve in addition to the core combat challenges. The end of the puzzle will literally tell you that you've reached the end of the demo. RTFM is recommended.


If you're just joining us: The files named Demo require a MemCard, SaveKey, or AtariVox device in the right joystick port. The files named NoSave do not, but as the name suggests, you cannot save your game. (You can continue immediately after dying from your last save point, however.) The PDF files are, unsurprisingly, the manual, and the txt file is meant for the PlusStore only (“profoundly abridged”). (Cloud saves on the PlusCart are not implemented.) The game also makes quite extensive use of the AtariVox for narration purposes.


Bugs and Stuff


First off, bug reports of any kind are dearly appreciated. There are some “sanity checks” in the game which, if they fail, you'll get a “sad face” screen, in which case it's super helpful if you let me know what you were doing, which version you were playing, as well as the six (hex) digit code on the screen.


Caveats/known bugs:

  • When using a PlusCart (or probably UnoCart) with an Atari 7800, the auto-detection of the system is probably not possible, so the Pause button will only work while it is held down. You can in stead press Game Select (or C button on a Genesis game pad) to go to the Stats screen, which will also pause the game. This should work on Harmony and Encore cartridges, however, as they restore certain RAM addresses to expected values.
  • On the Combat screen, the split between rows shifts by one line based on the selection cursor. I imagine this is possible to fix, but I have spent a lot of time trying and only made things worse so far.
  • There's an annoying "wiggle" about 1/3 of the way into the map screen (from the left) which I have not pursued correcting yet.
  • Under some circumstances, choosing to Run Away can cause an extra scan line to display, which might give a screen “roll” or similar. I'm working on that.

By the way, the following Stella .script fragment helped eliminate an unfortunate number of missed scanline counts, particularly in the PAL & SECAM versions (with appropriate scan line numbers, of course):

breakIf { _scanEnd < #262 && _scan == 0 && _fCount > 1 }
breakIf { _scan > #262 }

The full bug/TODO list is at https://github.com/brpocock/grizzards/issues


Overall Progress


The demo covers about 1⁄6 of the game's mapped areas. The flow of the game is designed to first present combat, then give you multiple Grizzards to manage, then introduce some “role playing” puzzle-type elements, and finally add some more complex geographical challenges about 2⁄3 of the way in.


The manual is nearly complete. I'll be doing some additional work on the descriptions of monsters and moves, perhaps, although they'll likely be far briefer and perhaps in a smaller typeface. The map is “almost ready” and my artist/partner (Zephyr Salz) has allowed me to take a draft version for this build because even as a draft it's miles beyond what I was working with previously. It should come as no surprise that the map is not at all to scale. There is also another illustration forthcoming in future.


The maps (for the full game) are now fairly complete, although the “bitmaps” for a few screens need work still. The combat scenarios, Grizzards, and NPCs for a number of areas are still being added-in.


The Moves known, attack/defend/HP stats, and so forth for both the monsters and Grizzards are mostly just “placeholder” values, although those that you encounter in the demo area should be pretty comprehensive and make a certain amount of sense.


The web site at https://star-hope.org/games/Grizzards/ has “daily” (or whenever I have time to work on the game) builds.

Grizzards.Manual.txt Grizzards.Unerase.beta1.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta1.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta1.PAL.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta1.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta1.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta1.PAL.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta1.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta1.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta1.PAL.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta1.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta1.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta1.PAL.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta1.NTSC.a26

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Beta 2 Ready


A lot of changes, but relatively few impact the demo. The most obvious are some PAL/SECAM scanline count fixes and some additions/improvements to the manual.


In regards to the full game, there are 3 “provinces” in different ROM banks, and all the maps except the final boss fight “arena” have been populated. Province 2 (Port Lion) maps still need a bit of work in that the background borders don't align from one screen to the next in many places. Province 0 (where all the demo action takes place) is about 100% complete in the final game, although I may “back port” a couple of dialogue items from the full game into the demo because there's a little space left. Provinces 1 & 2 are lacking in monster encounters and need a little more work on the NPC interactions in and around Port Lion. Province 2 also needs the be “colorized,” all the maps are the same color.


I'm toying with splitting up Province 0 to make it larger in the final game (yielding: province 3), and have a little more breathing room for both Treble and Anchor, and possibly the Spiral Woods. This largely depends on how much ROM is available; right now I have about 8k free, but dialogue takes up a lot of space. For reference, each 4kiB ROM bank can only hold around 20 screens of dialogue.


ChangeLog: (not all apply to demo)

  • Various edits to the manual
  • The man in Port Lion who trains your Grizzard their last move was causing a partial frame drop
  • Select Slot scanline count was off for PAL/SECAM
  • The ship to Port Lion dropped half a frame
  • An extra scan line occurred after making any choice in dialogue
  • Added sound “chirps” when toggling dialogue replies
  • The word “lot” sounded like “lutt”
  • The move “Run Away” could cause a scanline error
  • Use 12-char text routine for © notice and hidden “credit” screen with build datestamp
  • Switch Signpost mode to use a shared routine for drawing text. (Free up about 7kiB in final game.) Rearrange ROM layouts of dialogue to take advantage. (Thanks to Albert for saying something in Discord that made this obvious)
  • Fix color of AtariAge logo to be blue on SECAM
  • Add space under DEPOT title while in a Grizzard Depot
  • Remove black flicker / partial black frame when switching Grizzards at Depot
  • Game flags were not being swapped when you traveled between provinces by ship (Treble/Port Lion)
  • (Several bugs caused by the game flags getting out of whack)
  • © screen had “downwards drift” on right side. (Looked like it had a stroke)
  • Toggline back-and-forth between dialogue and replies caused a stack overflow crash
  • Fisherman questions needed a pause between sentences
  • Both visual and voice announcement said “1” after the name of a boss monster
  • “Boss” sounded like “bus” or “bows”; “Apologize” sounded wrong
  • Alignment of monsters in a group drifted to the right when you killed monsters to the left
  • Grizzards you'd already caught could still appear in the room if there were multiple Grizzards in one room
  • Airex title screen tree trunk was “off”
  • Monsters would change positions after materializing from their puffs of smoke.

Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.PAL.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta2.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta2.PAL.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta2.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.PAL.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta2.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta2.PAL.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta2.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Manual.txt

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm kinda pleased at working in a new feature that's visible in the demo, so I'm pushing out a “point release” to demonstrate it. This is just a “point release” because there are probably still some minor bugs adjacent to the new code that I haven't worked out yet.

  • New Feature: When you start a new game (SaveKey/AtariVox demo) you can enter a 6-character “file name.” Use left & right to position the cursor, up & down to select a character. Move right to last column and press Fire to begin game.
    • Caveat: Old save game files will have no name, so you'll see “RESUME” followed by six garbage symbols then “SLOT n” on the SELECT SLOT screen. Unfortunately there's no way to rename them.
    • Reminder, to delete a game set Difficulty Switches both to A, then pull Down, hold Fire, and press Up.

Other improvements (not all in demo version):

  • Fixed a long-standing annoyance where the background showed a one-pixel “wiggle” about ⅓ of the way into the screen.
  • Improve appearance of Airex title screen's foliage
  • “Win” condition tests are in place for defeating the final boss, but the “reward” sequence is not yet.
  • “Underground” areas now have reversed color scheme with light walls and dark floors.
  • Dragons' lairs match their colorations
  • When a Move has a short name, suppress the blank line in Combat Announcement screen.
  • Ensure that the Attract “story” screen doesn't use boss-sized monsters
  • Adjusted volume of music, footsteps, bump sounds.
  • New jingle plays on entering the Grizzard Depot. (“game saved” jingle)
  • Correct monster will be seen for higher-numbered combat scenarios
  • Fixed frame scanline count when pressing Game Reset from within combat
  • Special “cut scene” introduces the final boss
  • Improved dialogue around sailing between Treble and Port Lion and back
  • Fixed a door that warped the player into a wall on the way to a dragon's lair
  • Lady at tunnels no longer hands out infinity points in full game

A third “real” beta will follow but for now, this version mostly exists to show off the name entry screen (and that damned “wiggle” that only took a few minutes to eradicate once I finally got ’round to it).

Grizzards.Demo.beta2.1.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta2.1.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta2.1.PAL.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta2.1.PAL.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta2.1.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta2.1.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.Manual.txt Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.1.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.1.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.1.PAL.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.1.PAL.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.1.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta2.1.SECAM.pdf

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beta 3 is now available.


Changes of particular note since beta 2:

  • “file name” support (beta 2.1)
  • critical hits
  • Grizzards can become a different Grizzard

Changes since beta 2.1:

  • Screen line count errors introduced in Beta 2.1
    • going to ENTER YOUR NAME (all systems)
    • on loading a game, or when boarding a ship (PAL, SECAM)
    • when selecting a move that acts upon yourself (ie, buffing or healing moves) in combat (PAL only)
    • entering Grizzard Depots (NTSC)
    • catching a wild Grizzard (NTSC)
  • Critical Hits are now possible. These deal double damage and bypass defend scores. (Described in the manual now as well.)
  • Defend scores have generally less “power,” making it a bit easier for a lower-level Attack to hit
  • Added sound effect for sailing on a ship
  • Added a full screen for Treble docks. (Removed a screen in the caves/tunnel complex to make room)
  • When you kill a monster, don't verbally announce status effects (eg: “The monster is killed and defend is lowered”)
  • Province 0 monsters and NPCs are finished. There's actually 6 bytes left, just enough to add one more encounter if needed.
  • Finished Southern Fields and Anchor village NPC dialog
  • Plays a different sound for Healing than for damage in combat
  • Fixed lots of backgrounds around Port Lion / Province 2 that were not aligning at the edges properly.
  • Added proper colors for all of Province 2
  • Fixed a bug whereby you could press “up” before RUN AWAY and access “garbage” moves.
  • Various updates to the manual.
  • Added House graphics in Anchor village.
  • Fixed several bugs affecting the SLEEP and MUDDLE status effects, both upon the player and monsters.
  • Grizzards can become a different Grizzard after a certain time has passed / certain actions have been taken.
    • That this does not work in the No-Save demo, where you can only have the one Grizzard (ever).
    • In the Demo, there isn't room in the ROM for the “reveal” screen, so you'll see a (somewhat misleading) screen saying that you “caught” the new Grizzard during the end of a battle. If you've just defeated the last monster in a combat scenario and suddenly see “CAUGHT” some Grizzard, it's actually your Grizzard changing forms.
    • In the full game, there's a green/yellow screen that will say “so-and-so BECAME so-and-so” in full.
  • Fixed a bug whereby monsters could “teleport” after materializing on the map screen.
  • Fixed a bug whereby sprites at the right margin of the screen would ”wrap around” to the left side
  • Fixed monsters' ability to use healing Moves properly
  • Fixed dialogue after saving Peter.
  • Monster alignment on the combat screen was sometimes “wonky”
  • Monster “puffs” were not resolving into monster graphics until they hit a wall (which was related to the teleport issue)
  • The selection cursor in Combat mode is now wider than the monster graphics, and the colors are inverted so an active selected monster has a black background — making it easier to tell what the monster graphics look like
  • partially fixed the display of the final end boss (not in the demo)
  • possibly fixed: the names of the three dragons should be read aloud properly — rather than just being announced as “monster” — but I haven't actually tested this on hardware for all three of them.
  • a special Easter Egg, but it's a secret

Highlights of work in progress:

  • A new combat illustration for the manual
  • The final map graphic for the manual … in particular, Port Lion needs to be updated
  • Monster encounters in province 2 (Port Lion and the rest of its island) and province 1 (the underground areas) and the areas leading up to the major boss fights
  • new background music for Provinces 1 & 2.

Grizzards.Demo.beta3.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta3.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta3.PAL.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta3.PAL.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta3.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta3.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.Manual.txt Grizzards.NoSave.beta3.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta3.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta3.PAL.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta3.PAL.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta3.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta3.SECAM.pdf

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As some of y'all might have noticed, there's a bug in the boss fights (e.g. the Rodent Of Unusual Size just east of Treble Village) that prevents you from winning, and you can't run away, so it's just an endless cycle until you eventually get killed yourself. I've only just noticed that bug slipped through into the binaries I posted Monday.


The only work-around is to avoid boss fights (the human-like green figures) until I post the next update ☹


Sorry, I didn't do a full playtest on beta3 and it got past me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Due to the embarrassing “you can't kill bosses” bug in Monday's build, I'm putting up a new build even though not much else has changed.


Changes since Beta 3:

  • Bug Fix: Boss fights were just plain broken in every way. If you hit the boss, it didn't deduct hit points, but it might randomly report that they were killed (but not); if you applied a status effect to them, they would start attacking with double moves each turn, ignoring the status effect … just horrible. (The index that should have been x=1 to indicate the boss was instead x=0, causing the ExecuteCombatMove routine to operate on the wrong memory locations altogether. Really dumb, basic, “do we count from 0 or 1 here” kind of error.)
  • Changed the sound when you select a move from a “chirp” to a “blip”
  • Changed the “weighting” of stats so there are more chances for a low-level character to do damage, and so that the random variation in the effects of damage or healing will be greater.
  • Bug Fix: The dividing line between the monster group and the player no longer moves when you switch between attack moves and reflexive (buff, heal, run away) moves. This also fixed a couple of PAL and SECAM line-count errors such as when going to the stats screen while on the enemy's turn, &c.
  • The combat screen now is half gray to better indicate whose turn it is — player's or monsters'
  • The collision logic for moving sprites (monsters, people, Grizzards) against the walls was totally cleaned up to be much more reliable
  • Bug Fix: The Ball no longer appears a line or two above the room on the map view (e.g. at the end of the docks in Treble, &c)
  • The collision logic for the player was cleaned up to avoid “rubber banding” — when you ran into something (eg, a wall or other sprite) while still pulsing in the “cooldown” after an encounter, you would be “rubber banded” back to an earlier position
  • Full game only: Monsters in combat now experience a simple two-frame animation cycle. (Not in demo)
  • Full game only: Various monster encounters added
  • SECAM colors for monsters were changed to be a little closer to their NTSC & PAL cousins

Grizzards.Demo.beta4.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta4.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta4.PAL.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta4.PAL.pdf Grizzards.Demo.beta4.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.Demo.beta4.SECAM.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta4.NTSC.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta4.NTSC.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta4.PAL.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta4.PAL.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.beta4.SECAM.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.beta4.SECAM.pdf

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to Arceus coming out, I was able to spend most of the day with unfettered access to the living-room, and test on hardware extensively … particularly for the AtariVox speech output. (I have a flashed Stelladaptor, but I have not been using it much…)


Here it is, Beta 5. The full game is nearing a beta release, and many of the latest changes are not directly found in the Demo.



Update: This build introduced two bugs in the demo: a corrected build is found below in this thread.



Someone (@zeropagehomebrew) asked why there are so many different manual variants — that's because they're all different! Download the manual and ROM for your system (Demo if you have a SaveKey/MemCard/AtariVox, NoSave if you don't) and the manual that matches, and you'll see that it's customized to describe your configuration. Sorry, though — they all use U.S. spelling!


By the numbers:

  • The demo has around 600 bytes free (of 32kiB) in various ROM banks; the full game has about 3½k free (of 64k). I'll find something to do with that space ☺
  • 199 map rooms (screens)
  • 29 non-player characters
  • 30 Grizzards
  • 86 kinds of monsters:
    • 41 common (small) monster types, with 8×8 art,
    • 41 larger (mini-boss) types, with 16×16 art,
    • 3 large (boss), also 16×16, and
    • 1 giant (final boss), with 48×42 art
    • … all animated to some degree
  • 64 combat moves for Grizzards or monsters to use
  • 4 songs in the works — 2 in place, 2 have placeholders
  • Support for all 3 regions (NTSC, PAL, and a separate SECAM build)
  • 12 executable binaries (demo, no-save demo, full game, and official AtariAge builds for each region)
  • 12 manual variants

Changes from Beta 4:

  • Major new feature: You can now collect potions and use them to heal your Grizzards (not in demo)
  • New feature: Boss creatures now have 16×16px art (not in demo, there, they still use 8×8px upscaled art)
  • New feature: Choose your starting Grizzard from Aquax, Dirtex, or Airex (not in demo)
  • Improvement: The Attract sequence will alternate showing the three starter Grizzards (not in demo)
  • Improvement: The build chain is somewhat simpler now
  • Improvement: If you power off before starting a game (eg while entering your name) it will be less likely to create a bogus game slot entry.
  • Improvement: Map animations pause when the game is paused.
  • Improvement: Animations for all basic monsters are in place (not in demo)
  • Improvement: (demo only) monsters do a side-by-side animation instead
  • Bug fix: Final boss graphics display correctly
  • New feature: The “you won” screen is in place somewhat (not in demo)
  • New feature: Confirm starting a new game, verify your name and starting Grizzard (not in demo)
  • Improvement: The voice pitch on all questions should be nicer.
  • Improvements: Updates to the manual.
  • Bug fix: top row of monsters alignment was sometimes “off”
  • Bug fix: “MEMORY DEVICE NEEDED” error was not always appearing when it should.
  • Bug fix: Speech in bank $e was producing the wrong phrases, e.g. Game Over was coming up saying the name of a Grizzard instead of “game over.” (Fixing this actually freed up 699 bytes of ROM space that was mostly unnecessarily duplicated data.)
  • New feature: The UNERASE utility program is no longer needed; you can unerase a saved game slot in exactly the same way as erasing it: Difficulty switches both in “A,” pull down, hold fire, and press up. (not in demo)
  • New feature: The SELECT SLOT screen will idle back to the attract sequence after 2 minutes.
  • Bug fix: Cured scanline errors around starting a new game.
  • Bug fix: glitches in the Attract “story” screen, general clean-up of that screen, nicer (bright) backgrounds on NTSC & PAL.
  • Bug fix: Cursor placement on the name entry screen.
  • Improvements: Changes to spoken (AtariVox) dialogue around combat
  • Improvements: Fine-tuning pronunciations of words (AtariVox)
  • Improvements: Fine-tuning of combat balancing/formula
  • Improvement: Made it easier to locate a certain miniboss in the tunnel systems (just after the end of the demo)

Grizzards.Demo.NTSC.beta5.a26 Grizzards.Demo.NTSC.beta5.pdf Grizzards.Demo.PAL.beta5.a26 Grizzards.Demo.PAL.beta5.pdf Grizzards.Demo.SECAM.beta5.a26 Grizzards.Demo.SECAM.beta5.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.NTSC.beta5.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.NTSC.beta5.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.PAL.beta5.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.PAL.beta5.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.SECAM.beta5.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.SECAM.beta5.pdf

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

also, when I cycle down thorugh my attacks early in the game, it looks like I have 4 attacks available, and after it goes to Run Away it loops back to Kick dirt.


However when I cycle up through my attackes I suddenly get an access to Great Mojo, Burnt Edges, Double Flares, Stomp Down, Sure Splash etc. I'm only on my third combat, so i'm sure i didnt aquire these yet?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, mika said:

sorry, in the nosave demo that i downloaded I play with Dirtex, but the manual gives me descriptions of attacks for Aquax.


Am I missing something?

Actually, that's unintentional … I had meant for the demo to still use Aquax, but obviously I slipped up somewhere and it changed. It should nominally not matter, but …


44 minutes ago, mika said:

However when I cycle up through my attackes I suddenly get an access to Great Mojo, Burnt Edges, Double Flares, Stomp Down, Sure Splash etc. I'm only on my third combat, so i'm sure i didnt aquire these yet?

That's a much more serious bug ☹ I'll have a patch for that momentarily.

When you do learn a new move, it'll always be from the list of moves in black ­— i.e. the ones that you could see, but not pick, before. That's a straight-up bounds-checking issue.


Patch forthcoming shortly.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is Beta 5.1


Changes from Beta 5:

  • Bug fix: The starting Grizzard for the demos is Aquax, to agree with the manual.
  • Bug fix: When pressing “up” to rotate “before” your first move (RUN AWAY, normally, except in boss fights) you were getting a semi-random list of moves — and the ability to choose them. So, if you want to breeze through the demo combats, you could use high-level moves like LIFE RETURN and STOMP DOWN immediately, which is pretty game-breaking.

Thanks to @mika for catching these.



Grizzards.Demo.NTSC.beta5.1.a26 Grizzards.Demo.NTSC.beta5.1.pdf Grizzards.Demo.PAL.beta5.1.a26 Grizzards.Demo.PAL.beta5.1.pdf Grizzards.Demo.SECAM.beta5.1.a26 Grizzards.Demo.SECAM.beta5.1.pdf Grizzards.Manual.txt Grizzards.NTSC.beta5.1.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.NTSC.beta5.1.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.NTSC.beta5.1.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.PAL.beta5.1.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.PAL.beta5.1.pdf Grizzards.NoSave.SECAM.beta5.1.a26 Grizzards.NoSave.SECAM.beta5.1.pdf

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

also, and I don't know if it's just the demo - I have basically beat all the wicked slime and horrid slime on the map, beat R.O.U.S. with my Wetnas (whose stats in the meantime went up to ATT4 DEF6, but HP MAX stayed at 10.


when i then caught the fire Grizzard (sorry, forgot it's name), its stats went back to standard ATT4, DEF4. Any time i try to fight the doggos and pandas i just get beaten pretty much first turn.


I can't see how I could build up to have a standing chance against doggos and pandas?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, mika said:

also, and I don't know if it's just the demo - I have basically beat all the wicked slime and horrid slime on the map, beat R.O.U.S. with my Wetnas (whose stats in the meantime went up to ATT4 DEF6, but HP MAX stayed at 10.


when i then caught the fire Grizzard (sorry, forgot it's name), its stats went back to standard ATT4, DEF4. Any time i try to fight the doggos and pandas i just get beaten pretty much first turn.


I can't see how I could build up to have a standing chance against doggos and pandas?

Hmm. They're definitely more difficult than some of the other monsters.


I've been working a lot on trying to make the difficulty curve appropriate, so maybe it's just not “fair” enough yet, particularly since in the No-save demo you can't switch back to a previous Grizzard. (There just literally isn't enough memory on the '2600 to store a second Grizzard's stats, much less several…)


I'm redoing the combat core today to try to make things feel more fair, based on playtest feedback from yesterday and yourself just now.


It should be possible to complete the demo quest without killing every monster, but they should not be one-hitting you quite so easily.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...