Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 - A look back into the past

31st December 2016

2016, what roller coaster of a year it has been, and the end of 2016 has come so quickly.  I'm taking a look back at some of the moments of TND's activity in the C64 Scene. Warning, this is a very long blog...

TOOLS

Tape Master Pro V3.0

Following on from the previous tape master pro. I wanted to make a version that could allow the user to add a presentable IRQ loader, with nice effect and also create a custom table for colour cycling. Also the program was able to create professional THIN STRIPE single colour loaders. The downside to the mastering program was that there was no OCEAN style bitmap drawing effect,  but the tape master was good overall. It supported larger files, and allowed to do a basic RUN on Exomizer compressed files. The only disadvantage I found when I mastered a couple of games, was that the tape loader crashed on some kernal keyboard input subroutines. 

I remember mastering Barnsley the Badger in the original source code and discovered that some of the loader pages interfered with the code, thus causing a fatal crash. In the end I ended up having to do an Retro Replay freeze of the program then remastered it.

Alien Formation Maker V1.0+
 

I wanted to make a game called XForce. In order to have done that, I created my very own alien formation tables, which controlled X+Y tables of the alien objects. Rather than kept the program for myself, I decided to be kind and release the program into the public domain. This was a very handy tool for me, and I also used it for Zap Zone. Which will be released with Scene World issue 27.


NEW C64 GAMES

The Vortex Crystals (16KB Version)
The first proper non-SEUCK release on the TND front was a game called "The Vortex Crystals". It was produced in 2015, and was finished as a 16KB cartridge. It didn't get released until after the deadline of the RGCD compo submissions had expired (after a few extensions). This was a platform game which I wrote in co-op with Alf Yngve. The result turned out pretty good, and Alf Yngve was quite impressed with the overall result. There were some elements missing that I could not cram into that particular game. So I decided to concentrate on a newer and final version of the game. The game is not yet 100% finished yet, although I have added the missing elements in to the production.














 Blap & Bash Revisited

HeavyStylus/RGCD contacted me regarding lack of 16KB cartridge compo entries. He saw Blap 'n Bash (The first version I released in late 2015) and suggested that I should do a 16KB cartridge version of the game. Since I had a good relationship with the 16KB cartridge compo. I decided to make an enhanced version of the crazy breakout game. All the levels were redesigned, and produced the game with a brand new look. It featured the same power ups as the old Blap 'n Bash, but the game looked a whole lot more professional and smart. The disadvantage to the game was the ball control, the ball used 45 degrees bounce all the time. Good news was that people seemed to have liked the game, despite that particular issue.

Honey Bee 
The buzzy bee finally got released in the summer of 2016. This was a fun co-op production I did with Wayne / Art Ravers, and Steven Day. This is a little game in which you controlled Buzzy the clumsy bee. He has a little quest in which was to pick up pollen from plants. After pollen was picked up, he can drop the pollen from any height into the bee hive on that particular stage. Out to slow him down was the wildlife and other hazards. If he bumped into anything he would have lost a life.

Let's Invade

This was probably one of my MOST favorite projects of 2016. Let's Invade was a 40 level Space Invaders style game, with a twist. The aliens behave in a different kind of way. The game uses a sprite multiplexer, using multiple rasters. You had to shoot aliens of different colours. The darker colours the aliens were, (RGB) the weaker they were. The lighter colours the aliens were, the harder they were to be destroyed. The game took a few months to create. There were some major and minor disasters coding the project, but I managed to pick up the pieces. The game featured an original front end, and original game style. The scrolling grid was used, and flashed in sync to the in game trance music or sound effects. There were loads of great reactions with this game. Also Errazking did a nice loading picture for this game. So the game was put together in both D64 and TAP format.

Granny's Teeth

Well, I just couldn't resist making a little game for the C64 crap game compo. I did a co-op game production with SaulC to make a funny platform game. It was inspired by the Games Creator/Creations by Mastertronic/The Codies. I have the original Codies tape for my C64, and I do find it a poor game maker. Granny's Teeth is a 4K platform game, which looks a bit like one of those games creator games - although I coded THIS game, myself in C64 studio - rather than use a GAME MAKER. You play the role of Granny Hegarty, who has to climb up the stairs and pick up her teeth out of the fishbowl. Each level progresses with some new enemies appearing. Also later levels got faster, and the game got much more difficult. The funniest part of making this game was programming the music ust for fun. I used a very low pitch single sound for the music, to make it sound EXACTLY what you would have expected in a 1984 games creator game :D

Zap Zone (Not released until Scene World 27)
A tutorial game, in which you blast aliens formation, after formation over an animated screen. The game was split into 2 versions. V1 was the basic tutorial game and source code. The second part was a complete game, which you have to complete all 20 waves, and try to achieve a high score. I decided to NOT produce a screenshot for this baby :) 

SEUCK Enhancements

Hover Raider

In 2015, I did a SEUCK Redux enhancement of the incredible  Flying Cobra by Alf Yngve. This game feature a lot of explosive action, and some fast paced blasting. Now earlier on in 2016, I decided to try something completely different to Alf Yngve's classic SEUCK game (Originally from the Binary Zone PD collection) Hover Raider. I worked on adding some enemy AI into the game, so all enemies which used random firing could just aim for the player in order to try and destroy it. I created a new front end, and music for the game. The game also featured (which no SEUCK game ever had before) a custom charset status panel. The overall result looked pretty much professional.

Alf found the game to be too difficult due to the high speed smooth scroller, so I created two different versions of the same game. An easy mode, and also a hard mode. The game ended up on Reset magazine's Mix-I-Disk.


Shoot 'Em Destruction Set 4
Alf Yngve and I worked together on some brand new SEUCK and SEUCK Redux games for the next Shoot Em Up Destruction Set. Originally it was planned to be the FINAL SEUDS in the series. The final compilation gave a huge variety in game ideas. The games all feature new front ends, and in game enhancements. My highlight of the SEUDS 4, and favorite game for the compilation was:

- Zap Fight 2 - Special Edition: 
Although Zap Fight 2 did get released on the Kung Fu Maniacs trilogy. Alf and I agreed to make the final improvements and enhancements to this game. Now Zap Fight 2 is even better than its prequel. It is a SEUCK redux homage to, take a guess which arcade classic :)

The game also featured plenty of explosive action, and mean bosses. Smooth scrolling, and plenty of in game background animation. Not to mention, like with Zap Fight, this version had in game trance music.

Dark Destroyer 2117 (Not released until Scene World Issue 27)


This is a new game I wrote exclusively for Scene World magazine during September/October 2016. It did not use SEUCK Redux, but I did push the game slightly to add some optional in game enhancements. Should the user want to have selected the in game option :). Dark Destroyer 2117 was yet another SEUCK game I did alone on my C64. I submitted it to Scene World, and the group is happy to release on issue 27 of Scene World magazine. It is a vertical scrolling shoot 'em up. You enter an alien planet and you must destroy it. Maybe some time in the future I could update/enhance this game even more, with use of the SEUCK Redux framework, but that can wait until later on in the year. The game features some pumping music (not trance this time), including a familiar Amiga tune. You'll have to wait until the game has been released with Scene World 27, some time in 2017. I also managed to do a PAL/NTSC fix of this SEUCK game as well. The gamers can see the score panel on both PAL+NTSC :)

... and finally a REAL BREAKTHROUGH with SEUCK !!!

Super Silverfish

Alf Yngve had some great ideas for some of his game creations, but he could only use SEUCK / Sideways SEUCK. However with Martin/Element114  and myself at hand, we decided that it would ever so nice to end 2016 with a final SEUCK game for that year. This one ended up as a real stunner, and made the year end with a bang ... and plenty of explosive action ... Yes, Super Silverfish by Alf Yngve pushed the limitations of SEUCK to its limits even further. The game was created the Sideways Scrolling LEFT, SEUCK and was enhanced with a new status panel (Partially from Expendable army), and also with amazingly breathtaking enhancements ... The game featured a parallax scrolling screen, with a wide range of aliens, plenty of explosive action and brilliant power ups. The game also featured Matt Gray inspired tunes, which I composed in Martin's own music player routine. The result was really awesome.



Demos and intros

Not only did I do enhancements for SEUCK games, some new games. I also did a few small demos or intros. They can be found on TND (linked to some of the games I made/or enhanced with the authors). I entered the 2016 Intro Creation compo with 3 different TND intros, which looked something like this:

Time Traveller Intro

A TND intro based in time and space, scrolling across a multiplexer star field. Features a really powerful tune, inspired by some of the classic demo tunes I heard in the past. The introduction of the tune would remind you of the game Time Traveller by Marex/Mindscape games.

TND Jack Alien Style

A windowed intro, inspired by the classic 1990's intros Alpha Flight 1970 and Avantgarde intros. The TND intro started with a square sliding on to the screen, then the patterns and the whole screen appears. The result was quite pleasing, but not many people liked the 1x1 charset. Oh well. :)

TND ECM Raster Upscroller intro

The third and final entry for the ICC2016 was the ECM upscroller raster intro. I always used the horizontal scrolling text, so I wanted to do something completely different for a change. This time by the way of a vertical scrolling intro with animated charsets. I also added some nice raster effects behind the logo, which was painted by Axis/Demons, back in 2010. Result ended up quite good.

Mix Box 1 + 2

Mix Box 1 and 2 were small music demos, which feature a choice of 5 different tunes to select from. The layout of the demo was inspired by the ACP music demos, which were featured on the Zzap64 mega tape back in the late 1980's / early 1990's. There were plenty of raster rolling in this demo, and also plenty of quality tunes as well.

...and finally:

Where to get my stuff from...

Easy: Visit "THE NEW DIMENSION" web site, and download our own productions / contributors releases, etc. I'm sure you'll be looking forward to those.

That ends 2016.

have a
HAPPY NEW YEAR and see you in 2017!




Friday, 23 December 2016

Christmas Treats coming 25/12/2016

Friday 23rd December 2016

Things have been quiet on the TND blog, apart from releasing 4 new intros for inside/outside the Intro Creation Compo 2016. However I can reveal that I have actually been very busy the past 2 or 3 weeks working on some C64 projects, which will be launched on Christmas Day in the morning hopefully before 12:00pm UK time. Should everything go according to plan that is. :)

First of all, there is a horizontal scrolling SEUCK Redux game by Alf Yngve. One game, which will probably knock your socks off. It will be packed full of explosive action, some awesome power ups, and no longer looks SEUCK like. Of course scrolling is from left - to the right. The game also features a loading screen, which Alf constructed himself, and also my own front end, some action packed tunes and in game music with SFX option. That will be one game to look forward to.

On the SEUCK front ... The second treat will be a SEUCK School special on the SEUCK Redux. How YOU can get involved in making a SEUCK Redux production.

Finally as the final production, will be Mix Box #2. The second in a series of mini music collections, that will consist of different tunes. There are 2 days until Christmas but sadly no other productions of mine will be made in time for the festive period. Although two small games are already done, but have been reserved for Scene World disk mag.

Friday, 28 October 2016

RUN - RUN - THE INVASION HAS STARTED

28th October 2016

It is currently my second, but last day of my holiday, and things will start to quieten down even more from next week, due to even less free time. Although C64 activities will occasionally continue. Now today, you had better run (To the TND web site) as the invasion has just started.

Yes, indeed. The New Dimension finally launches 'Let's Invade'. A souped up Space Invaders style game with a major twist of audio and psychedelic visual. If you would like to check the full game out, in VICE, CCS64, Micro64 or your own C64 with 1541Ultimate, SDIEC or whatever. The game is best played on a CRT monitor, rather than an LED TV. Although I use an LED TV to save space, and no longer use a CRT. I set my C64 to a HDMI S-Video to HDMI convertor, and set my 19" TV to PC mode. That's where the best picture comes from my TV SET.

In this game, you have been transported into a vortex, where you will encounter some of the meanest invaders. In order to save planet Earth, you have to battle over 40 different waves of alien invasion. Luckily for you, you can pick up power ups, simply by blasting the orange aliens. However, power ups are timed, unless you have picked up a speed / firepower speed power up. Those of which only get lost if a mischievous invader gives you DEFAULT or you lose a life, by hitting their bomb, or an Invade occurs.

The game consists of psychedelic void scrolling visual effects, with strobe flashing and optional thumping in game trance SID music. The strobe effects also be disabled on the red startup screen. There's also assorted level setup, where more aliens will require more than 1 hit to be destroyed. The game is based on shaded colour, where the dark coloured aliens are weaker, compared to their counterparts. The brightest aliens will require even more hits before they can be eliminated. Alien behaviour is also different. The more aliens shot, the aliens will move a different way. Making this game slightly more original.

Full documentation on the game has also been included in the zip archive.

Should you wish to save the world from alien invasion, then why not DOWNLOAD "Let's Invade" for absolutely nothing, and then install it on your Commodore 64, VICE or whatever.

Let's Invade at The New Dimension


The game is produced on disk and tape.

Sadly there is no 16KB cartridge version of the game, due to the size of the overall production exceeding it.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

The Invasion is Coming

15th September 2016

Well finally the wait is nearly over. Over the past week ahead and myself and the rest of the testers have been testing through the whole game. There were only some tiny alterations that were needed to be make. Unfortunately, due to the size of the game being slightly over, the game doesn't fit on a 16KB cartridge image. So I have decided to leave that out for the time being.
 
A digital disk (with a brand new TND intro) and tape version (minus the intro) of the game has been built, and I have also worked hard on the instructions manual, final proof reading. Now everything is ready, I have set an official date of INVASION. That will be Friday 28th October 2016.



Let's Invade is now COMPLETE....Keep an eye out for news on the game release (and free download) at http://tnd64.unikat.sk in the late morning of the official release date :)




Saturday, 8 October 2016

Let The Invasion Commence [Part 10]

1st October - 8th October

The week was really quiet on the Let's Invade, project. Apart from the weekend, where a lot of activity has been made in this game. I was pondering for some handy information on generating random bullet firing for the aliens. Well, it turned out very bad last week, where I really got stuck. This week however was a completely different kettle of fish ... for better it was too :)

I was thinking in my head that the way I did the alien bullet random position subroutine shouldn't be based on wrapping in memory the low and hi-bytes of the alien colour, position, and sprite X position. Instead, it would have been better to generate a 256 byte table of values ranging from 1 to 25. So I generated a simple BASIC listing, to place a series of random tables in memory $1000-$1100. Then saved the table and then I extracted the random generated table file to the KickAssembler project folder. Next I created a command to open C64 the file (RandTable.PRG) for assembling.

The file imported into the source okay, however I needed to generate some more code, to set a looping value of 1 to 25. So a couple of subroutines were called in. One for moving to the NEXT value read from the random pointers (RandTable.PRG). Then store to the value of the actual pointer. Then a subroutine that calls the fetch table and check for which alien the bullet should be placed on. I also created a check in which commands an alien to not drop a bullet, if it is dead. I had a better result, but for some strange reason, the bullets appeared from the upper border. I played around with the subroutine, to work out what was causing this problem. Then set up a boundary for the bullet. Basically if the bullet tries to leave the top border and enter the screen, zero position the X + Y value of it. That helped me solve the problem.

Another small bug occurred in the game. After finishing playing the first game. I tested the pause/quit function to ensure the game works as it should. Unfortunately the game didn't quit, but made a CPU JAM in vice (A crash). So I did a little bug fix to sort out the problem. The game then seems to have been working okay. It looks as if now, the game could be finished. But I'll see what the testers find, that will cause problems to the game.

While I'm was waiting for a result. I have been composing some loading music for the game's tape loader system (Thunderload). Since the theme of the game is a 'Trance' based theme. The loading music ended up with pumping speed. The drums however didn't use the filtered kick and snare. Instead I set a different waveform to use a filter. The result turned out quite nicely. I have been working on making a tape master for the game. I am hoping that the result will turn out pretty good at the end. There was a slight error with the tape mastering, where I placed the loading text in the wrong place, but everything else worked quite nicely. That bug can easily be fixed no problem. :)

I'm not ready to release the game just yet. Hopefully SOON!



Saturday, 1 October 2016

Let the Invasion Commence [Part 9]

25th September - 1st October 2016

Let's Invade was currently in the testing phase. Unfortunately not everything is quite ready yet although I do feel confident about an Autumn release of this game. Parts of the game code needed to be tweaked, the Health and Safety notice needed to be updated, and also the game char set needed a quick change. So I fixed those, however, I came across another obstacle. The alien bullet firing isn't random enough, and it seems the same alien shoots the bullet. Sadly this is still the obstacle I haven't got over with this week.  

During that obstacle, I felt slightly demotivated, and decided to code a little something else. That was of course a mini music demo called 'Mix Box 1'. Featuring 5 new unreleased tunes, and some oldschool look, despite the raster timing issues. I've never really liked timing raster bars.

Thirdly a disk menu for Reset's Craptastic was programmed, near complete, but requires raster bar timing.

Today, I got back to Let's Invade and once again, it was another frustrating session. I did some how manage to get the enemies to drop bullets randomly, by creating the wrapping round routine, but after a while, the same aliens were dropping the bullets. Yet again, I didn't manage to get over this obstacle yet. One day climb over the wall that blocks me, but it is a matter of when....


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Let the Invasion Commence [Part 8]

18th - 24th September 2016

Earlier on this week, I did an upscroll for the high score table and also the end sequence. This time I wanted to add a little more code to make a much better ending. After all, I don't want the gamers to play the game to the end and be rewarded just an upward scrolling message, saying well done. Instead I wanted a scenario for the ending. So I drew two single screens, using CharPad, and then setup the attributes.I also drew some new sprites for the ending as well.

After the 2 screens were finished, it was time to code an ending, as a reward for the player to finish the game. I programmed the first scene, and set an interval before the next scene went on to the game. After the second scene was drawn on to the screen, I worked on getting the sprites animated and leave the screen, when required to do so. Then linked the overall thing before the end scroll.

I was very happy with the result so far, but noticed that the upscroll didn't work 100% on NTSC, although it worked will with PAL. After a quick fix, the game got submitted to two of my testers who tested and helped me with Honey Bee. :) One of the testers emailed me about the in game flashing feature. He suggested I should add a health and safety notice, like I did with Sheepoid. Also add an option to the notice to be able to disable the strobe effects. The front end also had a minor adjustment, where the squares around the logo was replaced by Asterisk stars, and flash. Apart from that, the game is now being tested.

Let's Invade is planned to be released in Autumn 2016, but not until it is 100% ready. The BETA testing is now in session. :)