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Dragonwood - little game for the Atari 8 bitters


Steril707
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I am currently doing little a one week game jam for the Atari 8 bitters to get away a bit from my current big project, creating a SHMUP called "Hyperblaster - Inviyya2" for the AGA Amigas and the Neo Geo.

 

Goal is learning the system, and creating a very short game while doing so.

 

Actually I already failed, since that would have gone since yesterday and it's not finished, but the week was a bit crowded with other things I had to turn my attention to.

Anyway, it's only a few things missing right now to be playable, so I guess it will get finished at least this week..

 

Here's two screen shots of the game...

747e3420-f59e-48af-a6a9-03a0eeb2f625.thumb.jpg.dd7407220f2050e830b12bbe74184c6a.jpg aac5789e-45e2-42f2-be8b-69c406505139.thumb.jpg.279f52a37ae930867345ac30bb792a37.jpg

Game's name will be "Dragonwood". It's really just a very short little action game, though.

Just get from left to right in the screens without getting killed. That's all there is to it at the moment. Might get a bit bigger when I finished my big Amiga/NeoGeo-Project. 

 

Will keep you guys updated and post the XEX file this week then.

 

Edited by Steril707
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So, I got my basic framework stuff in place right now, and can define animated objects in my screens.

 

As much as I love the Atari 8 bitters chipset, as difficult was it for me to adapt back to the 6502 CPU after several years of being spoiled with coding on  M68Ks. Especially indirect adressing stuff. yuck.

 

giphy.gif?cid=790b761196ed3f3be6901429a7

 

Anyway, I am making good progress. Just takes me a bit longer than the week I hoped for, lol. Still, I think it's a good result so far for one and a half weeks of learning a platform and coding/designing something for it...

Edited by Steril707
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8 minutes ago, Beeblebrox said:

Looks great.  Just out of interest will the dragon be further animated? 

Also not knowing the nature of gameplay I assume the slow pace of the main character is part of the gameplay? 

Yep, the Dragon will be animated a bit when he shots the flame..

And yes, the slowness is intentional... ;)

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@Steril707 Thanks. What is great to see is the use of (presumably) DLIs to bring in loads of different colours horizontally. So many games of this genre or similar in the 90s were unfortunately largely monochromatic. Keep up the good work. Can't wait to see the gameplay mechanics as well as the sound fx/music. I see you are using Vinscool's RMT so looking very promising.😃

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17 hours ago, tjlazer said:

Nice work!  I am a fan of your game on the Amiga, nice to see you coding for the Atari 8-bits as well!  Perhaps an Atari port of Inviyya?  ;)

I remember your name as well, mate... :) Aren't you on EAB as well?

 

I have actually thought about how such a game could look like on the A8. 
But to be honest, I'd be happier to do something completely different there... :D

 

Will put a pause on this at the moment, though. Need to get the Amiga version of Hyperblaster/Inviyya2 further along for the Amiga37 meeting next month.

 

Will definitely come back. Always searched for an 8-Bitter to have fun with, and somehow my relationship with the C64 soured a bit over the last few years. But the Ataris are really really nice, and I just love how you can squeeze that extra bit of looks out of a game when combining chipset features with pixel design... Just like on the Amiga.

Edited by Steril707
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@Steril707 it is great to have new interest in the Atari 8 bit and especially enthusiasm from coders for it's unique and often under-exploited architecture. The key is seeing what you can do to play to the A8's strengths - which is why we will soon have a Doom engine (courtesy of the talented Swiety)  running on 64k and 128k A8s!!! 

 

As far as side scrolling shoot em ups go we have had a few that come close to containing the core elements that IMHO make up a challenging and engaging shooter,  most notably as demonstrated in the side scrolling level elements of Atariblast! and also Zybex to name a few. 

Vertical shooters like the recent and excellent The Last Squadron,  with some elements of weapon upgrades  and levelling up are fantastic and hopefully is indicitive of what is to come for any future shooters. 

 

When I was younger and gaming on the A8 in the 90s what I've felt always lacked - which for me really make a shooter -  were weapons upgrades and any variety of weapons.  A lot of shooters back in the day just had a single pea shooter type weapon and no upgrades. You very often lose interest in shooters if it is just point and shoot at repetitive waves of enemies with a single weopon and if you are lucky a bomb.  

 

A8 hardware limitations aside I really wish to see a shooter which has a variety of distinct weapons which can level up,  as well as bombs.  Just take the classic Amiga title Battle Squadron.  Something like 6 different weapons which can all level up and then there is the excellent cluster bomb. 

OK so again replicating some of the effects on an A8 with the graphics mode/pmg and cpu cycle limitations wouldn't be fully possible but then again look what Atariblast! and Last Squadron have achieved.  Both games are very fast,  action packed and loads on screen. 

 

Games like R-type and even the 16bit Xenon 2: Megablast I am sure could be mimicked to a degree and run off 8M-bit (1MB)carts as Atariblast! can do to allow much more content and levels. It would be amazing to see. 

 

I know the C64 can allow for more onscreen which allows shooters to have more elaborate weapon effects (missiles,  satellite bots,  particle lasers,  etc etc),  but I bet you in the right hands a coder could exploite A8 modes,  use sprite multiplexing and many other tricks to achieve similar. 

 

Bottom line - less single pea shooter weapon based shooters and more variety and effects,  levelling up,  etc would be fantastic. 

 

Now to go have a play on the last Squadron and Atariblast! 

 

 

 

Edited by Beeblebrox
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1 hour ago, Steril707 said:

I remember your name as well, mate... :) Aren't you on EAB as well?

There's a number of us on here that inhabit Lemon, EAB etc I'm a massive WinUAE fan and got myself an A500 mini (bit of a mistake to be honest) and own or have owned multiple Commodore machines as well as Atari's..

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30 minutes ago, Beeblebrox said:

@Steril707 it is great to have new interest in the Atari 8 bit and especially enthusiasm from coders for it's unique and often under-exploited architecture. The key is seeing what you can do to play to the A8's strengths - which is why we will soon have a Doom engine (courtesy of the talented Swiety)  running on 64k and 128k A8s!!! 

 

As far as side scrolling shoot em ups go we have had a few that come close to containing the core elements that IMHO make up a challenging and engaging shooter,  most notably as demonstrated in the side scrolling level elements of Atariblast! and also Zybex to name a few. 

Vertical shooters like the recent and excellent The Last Squadron,  with some elements of weapon upgrades  and levelling up are fantastic and hopefully is indicitive of what is to come for any future shooters. 

 

When I was younger and gaming on the A8 in the 90s what I've felt always lacked - which for me really make a shooter -  are weapons upgrades and a variety of weapons.  A lot of shooters back in the day just had a single pea shooter type weapon and no upgrades. You very often lose interest in shooters if it is just point and shoot and repetitive waves of enemies with a single weopon and if you are lucky a bomb.  

 

A8 hardware limitations aside I really wish to see a shooter which has a variety of distinct weapons which can level up,  as well as bombs.  Just take the classic Amiga title Battle Squadron.  Something like 6 different weapons which can all level up and then there is the excellent cluster bomb. 

OK so again replicating some of the effects on an A8 with the graphics mode/pmg and cpu cycle limitations wouldn't be fully possible but then again look what Atariblast! and Last Squadron have achieved.  Both games are very fast,  action packed and loads on screen. 

 

Games like R-type and even the 16bit Xenon 2: Megablast I am sure could be mimicked to a degree and run off 8M-bit (1MB)carts as Atariblast! can do to allow much more content and levels. It would be amazing to see. 

 

I know the C64 can allow for more onscreen which allows shooters to have more elaborate weapon effects (missiles,  satellite bots,  particle lasers,  etc etc),  but I bet you in the right hands a coder could exploite A8 modes,  use sprite multiplexing and many other tricks to achieve similar. 

 

Bottom line - less single pea shooter weapon based shooters and more variety and effects,  levelling up,  etc would be fantastic. 

 

Now to go have a play on the last Squadron and Atariblast! 

 

 

 

Yep, they did a good job with Atari Blast and Last Squadron.

Definitely not easy to get something going here with the small amount of Sprites/Missiles.

 

That said, would love to try out what I could create SHMUP wise on the A8.

But my "engine" would need to get a lot more robust than it is right now to be able to achieve what I have in mind.

 

5 minutes ago, Mclaneinc said:

There's a number of us on here that inhabit Lemon, EAB etc I'm a massive WinUAE fan and got myself an A500 mini (bit of a mistake to be honest) and own or have owned multiple Commodore machines as well as Atari's..

Ah nice... We are all people of the Jay, aren't we? :)

 

jayminer.jpeg.2866224ea73e2c698084994b1825df6f.jpeg

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9 minutes ago, Steril707 said:

Yep, they did a good job with Atari Blast and Last Squadron.

Definitely not easy to get something going here with the small amount of Sprites/Missiles.

 

That said, would love to try out what I could create SHMUP wise on the A8.

But my "engine" would need to get a lot more robust than it is right now to be able to achieve what I have in mind.

 

Absolutely.  I would welcome any attempt at anything close to shootemups with the weapons variety and upgrades you might see in Xenon 2 or Battle Squadron in an A8 shooter. 

 

Coders like Rensoup,  (Prince of Persia),  Swiety,  (Doom),  Paul Lay, (Atariblast!),  Globe,  (Final Assault) and Shanti, (The Last Squadron; Gacek; Bloody Planet), are incredibly talented and really push the A8 in this respect. And the coder of Albert,  (Kaz?) is a genius to get such a fast paced and gorgeous platformer running on the A8. 

 

Although my preference as an Atarian is always seeing what can be achieved with the original Gtia/Antic/Sally chipset, remember also we have the excellent VBXE which opens up the possibilities further for something closer to Battle Squadron /Xenon,  etc. 

 

Beauty is you don't even have to own an A8 with a VBXE installed.  Phaeron's excellent emulator Altirra can mimic the VBXE hardware for free!! 

 

Good luck with Dragonwood and your non A8 game coding and I hope to see more of your creations on A8 in months and years to come and thanks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 9/3/2022 at 3:25 PM, Beeblebrox said:

@Steril707

 

Games like R-type and even the 16bit Xenon 2: Megablast I am sure could be mimicked to a degree and run off 8M-bit (1MB)carts as Atariblast! can do to allow much more content and levels. It would be amazing to see. 

 

I know the C64 can allow for more onscreen which allows shooters to have more elaborate weapon effects (missiles,  satellite bots,  particle lasers,  etc etc),  but I bet you in the right hands a coder could exploite A8 modes,  use sprite multiplexing and many other tricks to achieve similar. 

Hmm, not sure about that mate.

 

With these Jay Miner designs (and the Amiga is also no exception there), you really have to play a bit to the HW's strengths if you want to create something great for it.

Means, if you port something, it will only works out good if you have what I usually call "verticality" in the game you want to port.

Means, if your graphical elements are nicely spread out over the screen so you can switch over palette entries and multiplex sprites over the screen's vertical height, you are good to go.

 

If not, it's basically 4 (5 with restrictions) color town on the A8, and you are stuck with what you can achieve with that.

 

That said, if I were to create a horizontal SHMUP for the A8, I'd try to create my own design that works with the hardware and gets the most out of it aesthetically, and would definitely not try to port an existing one. That would only lead to disappointment.

 

But at the moment I am really MILES away from that, engine wise. It's baby steps right now. Let's see where this might lead to, but at the moment I am happy to get a few objects moving without crazy shit happening on the screen. lol.

 

tl;dr: Yep, I concur, would be nice to see some fun ports, but I think it would be better to see some original games working with the platform's strengths.

Edited by Steril707
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1 hour ago, Steril707 said:

Hmm, not sure about that mate.

 

With these Jay Miner designs (and the Amiga is also no exception there), you really have to play a bit to the HW's strengths if you want to create something great for it.

Means, if you port something, it will only works out good if you have what I usually call "verticality" in the game you want to port.

Means, if your graphical elements are nicely spread out over the screen so you can switch over palette entries and multiplex sprites over the screen's vertical height, you are good to go.

 

If not, it's basically 4 (5 with restrictions) color town on the A8, and you are stuck with what you can achieve with that.

 

That said, if I were to create a horizontal SHMUP for the A8, I'd try to create my own design that works with the hardware and gets the most out of it aesthetically, and would definitely not try to port an existing one. That would only lead to disappointment.

 

But at the moment I am really MILES away from that, engine wise. It's baby steps right now. Let's see where this might lead to, but at the moment I am happy to get a few objects moving without crazy shit happening on the screen. lol.

 

tl;dr: Yep, I concur, would be nice to see some fun ports, but I think it would be better to see some original games working with the platform's strengths.

@Steril707  Sorry, when I say port I don't always mean mean take existing code. By port I meant it in a loose sense as a version. So make an Atari version from scratch playing to Atari's strengths, (which of course in itself as you say is a massive challenge).  But the aforementioned coders are able to squeeze some amazing things out of the A8. I think vertical shooters are easier in some respects than horizontal yes.

 

EDIT: I believe I have seen modern A8 coders get between 10-20+ colours on a scanline but that is mainly single screen and not horizontally scrolling games, and it take a lot of trickery and CPU cycles, interrupts, etc.

 

From Atarionline.pl 22+ colours per line discussion: https://atarionline.pl/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=5613&page=1#Item_0

 

and Bubbleshooter:

Barbarian demo from post 2K:

 

image.thumb.png.3af71ecb24c1cb0e9949a48c38f2ac17.png

 

Edited by Beeblebrox
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@Steril707  BTW this is quite an interesting read:  https://atarionline.pl/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=5613&page=2

 

Which links to this:

https://atarionline.pl/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=6646&page=1#Item_2

 

and see here:

image.png.419b67538a67b3f70a2ee6944910eabe.png

As per the link's discussion PMGs are used up but still - pretty cool.

Sin23.xex Sin23nobg.obx

Edited by Beeblebrox
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