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Cave Raider (A new 64k SuperChip game)


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Cave Raider is a platform adventure game, originally conceived over a decade ago as a sequel to my Cave In game.  I never finished the original, and the game I did post back then was a complete mess on real hardware.   I’ve spent a very long time now polishing it up and completing it.  I expanded it to a 64k SuperChip game to accommodate all of the new additions and changes, and I’m using almost every bit of the extra RAM and ROM space.  It now features over 60 unique rooms to explore, over 120 treasures to collect, and some secrets to discover. 

 

Most of the game is written in batariBasic, but there’s a fair amount of assembly in there now too.  It uses the platform sample code that batari posted (I think) in 2009 that he used for Gingerbread Man.  I grabbed the AA splash screen code from the forums, thanks to (I think it was) Thomas J, Andrew D, and Karl G for sharing that.  Also thank you to kisrael for the Atari background builder tool, to RevEng for answering my questions about expanding to 64k, to Karl G again for the text kernel, to Random Terrain for maintaining his awesome online bB and 7800basic documentation, and I think it was batari or SeaGtGruff that shared the 5+1 split score/lives kernel years ago.  I couldn’t have done this without all of the community support.  Thank you all!

 

While the game is complete, I’m guessing there will be minor changes in the future if any bugs are found or if any gameplay tweaking is needed.  I tested recent versions using a Harmony Encore, and the game itself runs rock solid on real hardware.  In emulation Stella 6.7 shows a consistent 262 scanlines during normal gameplay.  There are a few short (and hopefully) almost insignificant scanline jumps in-between the intro splash screens that I can’t seem to fix as of yet, but that doesn't happen during the game.  I haven’t been able to test for a few weeks as my harmony cart stopped working, I ordered a new one a few days ago.  Note that because this is a 64k game it will not run on the original Harmony cart, it must be the Encore version.

 

I'm attaching the current binary, some basic instructions for the game, a full map of the game with hints and spoilers, and a short gameplay video that shows me playing the beginning of the game.  The video does not contain any spoilers.  I didn't notice until after I recorded it that there's no audio, I'll try and make a better video in the near future.

 

I’d love to hear what you all think!

 

DO NOT DOWNLOAD AND VIEW THE MAP IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE SPOILERS!

 

v1.02:  Addresses a minor bug that I introduced when testing, I just noticed it.  Re-entering the first room would incorrectly display a sprite.  That's been fixed.

v1.03:  Based on Karl G's suggestion, I changed it so that when you use all your lives and reset the game with the fire button, you restart in the first room rather than the reset causing a hard restart of the game.

v1.05:  This version includes a practice mode.  If you hold down the game select switch while pressing the fire button to start from the title screen, you will be granted unlimited lives.  The lives counter will always be at 9.  If you choose this mode, you cannot "win" the game.   The cave gate to exit the game will remain locked even if you've found the key, however every room in the game is accessible

v1.06:  This is a bugfix release.  The scanline count is now a steady 262 for all the splash screen transitions and at the start of the game.

v1.07:  This is another bugfix release.  I noticed an issue with the SaveKey detection at the beginning of the game, it's been fixed.

 

Just a note to those that are curious:  Cave Raider writes to an unused portion of the SaveKey/AtariVox allocation space I was given for Gate Racer II years ago.  No need to waste space on the SaveKey by reserving another block, right? :)

 

Instructions:

Spoiler

Another cave to explore!  This time, you’re on a mission for fame, fortune, and untold riches.  You’ve heard rumors that this ancient cave has over 100 treasures ripe for the taking, but it’s a dangerous path that must be taken in order to find them all.  An ancient map has charted about half of the cave, and previous explorers have named the rooms, but none have tried to escape with the treasures. There are falling rocks, bats, traps, dangerous platforms, and numerous obstacles in your way.  Are you up for the challenge?

 

Gameplay:

 

  • You start the game with five lives.
  • You drop in at the entrance to the cave, ready to start your adventure.  Use the joystick to navigate the cave, press the fire button to jump to new platforms, and push down on the joystick to duck under obstacles.
  • Some platforms might appear to be unreachable, however if you jump up to the side you may grab on and pull yourself up.  Be careful not to fall below the bottom cave platforms, as it will result in death.  Fall distance is not important, as long as you land on a platform you will be safe. 
  • Some platforms disappear and reappear, time your jumps! 
  • Some treasures are placed in a way that requires backtracking to previous rooms, or creative methods of falling or jumping between platforms to get them. 
  • If you travel far enough you will come across the exit to the cave.  In order to exit you will have to find the key to the locked gate that blocks the entrance.  You can exit the cave once you've found the key, but leaving early without finding all the treasure will result in a lower rank.

 

Enemies and Obstacles:

 

Enemies and obstacles in this game will follow predictable paths.  Pay attention to the movement patterns to safely get past them. 

 

Water:  Falling in the water is deadly in almost every part of the map.  There are a few places where it might be ok. 😊

Falling Rocks:  Some rooms have rocks that will fall from the ceiling.

Moving boulders and barriers:  There are different types of blockades, some smaller blockades move back and forth and other larger blockades cover a perimeter of the screen.  Both have the same effect – they will push your player to the right whether on a platform or in the air.

Bats & Spiders:  You will lose a life if a bat comes into contact with you.

Poison Arrows:  You will lose a life if an arrow comes into contact with you.

Spikes and Falling Spikes: You will lose a life if you come into contact with spikes.

 

Items and Powerups:

 

Lantern.  Some hidden areas of the cave are dark and difficult to navigate.  If you’re lucky, you’ll come across the lantern which will light up darkened rooms without the need for your flashlight.  Your basic flashlight only shows a short distance around you, the lantern shows all!  The lantern will appear after you’ve picked up 18 treasures, and will appear in the same place in the game every time.

First Aid Packs:  There are six possible first aid packs that will appear in one of the caves at certain points in your adventure.  Picking one up will grant you an extra life.

Treasures:  The reason you’re in the cave!  Collect treasures by jumping in to them.

Key:  You will have to search long and hard for the key to exit the cave.  It will unlock the exit gate.

The Gold Chalice:  The chalice is broken into two pieces and hidden in the caves.

 

Scoring:

 

There are 62 rooms in the cave and 124 treasures in the game, and you will score 150 points for each one you pick up.  Each piece of the golden chalice is worth 1,000 points. At the end of the game, after exiting the cave, you are ranked based on the number of treasures you collected. Can you achieve the rank of Grand Master and complete a perfect game, collecting all 124 treasures and both pieces of the chalice? 

Rankings are based on the number of treasures collected and whether or not you have recovered the chalice:  Novice, Scout, Hero, Master, and Grand Master.

 

Ending the Game:

 

The game ends when you exit the cave in the “escape route” exit room. If you have the key, walk into the middle of the cave exit door and you will automatically exit the cave.  The only requirement for exiting the cave is finding the key to the cave gate.  Once you’ve found the key you can exit the cave and end the game at any time and receive your ranking. Once you’ve exited you cannot return and your game is over.

For the true adventurer, you’ll want to continue to explore the caves until you’ve recovered all of the lost treasure and both pieces of the ancient golden chalice.  Only then will you achieve the coveted rank of Grand Master.

 

High Score Saving:

 

Your high score will be written to the AtariVox or the Save Key automatically.  When the game first loads, it will scan and detect if you have a Save Key plugged in, and give you the opportunity to clear the high score if you so choose (Hold the joystick down when you see the message).

 

 

 

Room_10.png

Cave_Raider_Map_Final.zip

 

Cave_Raider_1.06.binCave_Raider_64k_1.07.bin

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Thanks guys! 

 

I just did a quick playthrough and realized I forgot to make one final change.  If you use up all of your lives and die in the game and then press fire to restart, you'll see a "thank you" screen from me before it resets.  I intended for that screen to show only after you've exited the cave and then press fire to reset, not after every time you use up all of your lives and press fire to reset.  I'm attaching the update here (Edited: and the first post) that corrects it to how I intended that to be.

 

I'm sure there will be other minor things like this that will need to be updated after the game is played a bit more, especially by people that aren't me. :)

 

Edit:  Attachment removed.  Please see the first post in this thread for the latest version.

 

 

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I fired this up for a few minutes, looks really cool!  That first screen had a few different things going on, like the disappearing stairs that force you to hurriedly jump on each step!  I like that the screens are directly connected and you can go back and forth between them.  The death animation looks really good, look forward to spending some more time with it.  :) 

 

Regarding the new version you posted, I'd also update the first post with any new versions you post, or people may just grab the initial version if they don't bother to scroll through the thread.

 

 ..Al

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8 minutes ago, Albert said:

I fired this up for a few minutes, looks really cool!  That first screen had a few different things going on, like the disappearing stairs that force you to hurriedly jump on each step!  I like that the screens are directly connected and you can go back and forth between them.  The death animation looks really good, look forward to spending some more time with it.  :) 

 

Regarding the new version you posted, I'd also update the first post with any new versions you post, or people may just grab the initial version if they don't bother to scroll through the thread.

 

 ..Al

Thanks Al!  Some of the rooms connect to each other in ways that require backtracking or jumping in certain places across room boundaries in order to grab treasure.  I tried to be as creative as I could in creating some unique challenges in the game given the playfield limitations.  The sprite and part of the death animation are almost the same as they were in Cave In.  There's a little bit of continuity there.  I considered calling this "Cave In II: Cave Raider", but decided that was too much of a mouthful. :)

 

Good point on updating the first post.  I'll post future revisions there rather than in any future individual replies or posts.

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7 hours ago, digifilmguy said:

This looks amazing!!! Can't wait to try it this weekend. I stopped watching the video so I don't spoil it. How many different screens are there?

Thanks!  There are 64 unique rooms in total.

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13 minutes ago, Atarius Maximus said:

Thanks!  There are 64 unique rooms in total.

Thank you! Hope to make some time this weekend to try it out. Btw, do you expect to release this on cart? My copy of Cave In is getting lonely.

IMG_2957.jpg

IMG_2958.jpg

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53 minutes ago, sramirez2008 said:

Thank you! Hope to make some time this weekend to try it out. Btw, do you expect to release this on cart? My copy of Cave In is getting lonely.

Nice!  I love the art that David Exton created for that game.  There are no immediate plans for a cart release, but I would like to do that in the future.   

 

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Okay; this is pretty amazing. The controls feel good, and the variety of rooms and challenges is great. It will take me a long time to beat it I'm sure.

 

Incredible game! Thank you for sharing it.

 

One request from someone who has done a lot of dying in this game: I'd much prefer if it booted you back to the title screen once the game is over instead of going through all of the splash screens again.

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16 minutes ago, Karl G said:

Okay; this is pretty amazing. The controls feel good, and the variety of rooms and challenges is great. It will take me a long time to beat it I'm sure.

 

Incredible game! Thank you for sharing it.

 

One request from someone who has done a lot of dying in this game: I'd much prefer if it booted you back to the title screen once the game is over instead of going through all of the splash screens again.

Thanks Karl!

 

I always struggle with getting the difficulty "just right".  I decided to bump up the starting lives count to 5 from 3 based on my own play testing.  It is possible to grab up to six extra lives during the game although you can't have more than 9 lives at once.  Grabbing a first aid pack when you already have nine lives simply wastes it.  Where to find them and how/when they appear is a secret, at least for now. 

 

I've completed the game myself of course, but I've yet to try and do a complete run and get every single treasure in the game along with both chalice pieces.  You can end the game at any time once you find the key and exit through the cave gate (you'll get a rank based on your score), but part of the fun is trying to complete it, right?  

 

Good point on the reset.  I was being lazy there and just threw in a "reboot", the right way to do it would be to reset all of the relevant variables and start at the title screen.  I'll make that a future change, I fully expect there will be other little things that need to be updated after the game is played a bit more.

 

Thanks again for sharing the text kernel.  It was fun to include that in this game.  I did have to mess around a little with the bB std_kernel.asm file to get it to work how I wanted it to with the custom 5+1 score kernel, but it worked and was worth the effort. :)

 

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ZeroPage Homebrew is playing Cave Raider on tomorrow's ZPH stream LIVE on Twitch! Hope you can join us in the chat!

 

Games:

 

 

 

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I updated the first post with a minor bug fix.  When I was testing with v1.01, I forgot to remove some code during that test that caused a sprite to incorrectly display when re-entering the first room in the game.  It's been fixed.

 

 

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Sorry for posting another minor update so quickly after the first, but I'm trying to only make one change at once at this point just in case I need to revert to a prior version.  Version 1.03 changes how the game is reset after you use up all of your lives.  Now when resetting the game with the fire button, you will restart in the first room rather than it causing a hard reset of the game.  It was added to the first post.

 

The 1.02 and 1.03 changes are of course not fully play-tested, but they shouldn't cause any issues.

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On 1/4/2024 at 3:24 PM, ZeroPage Homebrew said:

ZeroPage Homebrew is playing Cave Raider on tomorrow's ZPH stream LIVE on Twitch! Hope you can join us in the chat!

 

Games:

Thanks for playing Cave Raider last night, James!

 

Based on the poll regarding a practice mode and watching the game being played on real hardware, I made a few changes.

 

This version includes a practice mode.  If you hold down the game select switch while pressing the fire button to start from the title screen, you will be granted unlimited lives.  The lives counter will always be at 9.  If you choose this mode, you cannot "win" the game.   The cave gate to exit the game will remain locked even if you've found the key, however every room in the game is accessible.

 

Also, based on what I saw, there were a few screen jumps in the first room of the game.  This particular room has additional code in it as compared to other rooms, so to ensure a stable screen I removed the disappearing platforms from that room.  It was designed to be a pretty easy room either way, so it doesn't really take much away from the game and ensures that room will not roll on a real TV.

 

The splash screens still have a scanline count issue when switching between them, and I still don't quite know how to fix that as of yet, so that issue remains.  I'll continue to play and will address any other issues I find.  I'll update the first post in a few minutes with this update.  Thanks for playing!

 

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This is a bugfix release (1.06).  The scanline count is now a steady 262 for all the splash screen transitions and at the start of the game.  Many thanks to RevEng and Karl G for helping me get that fixed.  The first post was updated with the latest binary.

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13 hours ago, ZeroPage Homebrew said:

 

You're very welcome Steve! I'm looking forward to playing again it on an upcoming After Dark to see how far I can get in the game, maybe to the end? 🙂

 

- James

I still haven't attempted to play through the entire game and collect all of the treasures without cheating.  Completing it with only 5 lives will probably be challenging, but it is possible to grab up to six extra lives during the game. I haven't shared under what conditions they appear or where they appear, but I happen to know. ;)  Once you know where it is, the first one is pretty easy as it's always there at the start of the game.

 

My replacement Harmony Encore is supposed to be in my mailbox today, so I'll be able to start playing (and testing) on real hardware again.  

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