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HeliCommander. Arcade like Choplifter coming soon to the Atari 8-bit


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#1 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:47 PM

 

 

HeliCommander

A New Arcade Game for Atari XL/XE Computers

 

 

  • An Arcade Action Game in the style of Chopper Command and Choplifter
     
  • Game Cartridge requires an Atari Computer with 16K of RAM and 1 Joystick
     
  • Parallax Scrolling creating a great 3D effect and colorful scrolling objects and background
     
  • Enemies - Choppers, Tanks, Bombers, Trucks, Bunkers, to challenge you.
     
  • Many Challenging Levels to play.
     
  • Great sound effects.
     
  • This game was extensively beta tested to assure quality
     
  • We are aiming for a Febraury or March release of this game to take advantage of US tax return season.
     
  • See video for more

Attached Thumbnails

  • HeliCommander_Screen_01.jpg
  • HeliCommander_Screen_02.jpg
  • HeliCommander_Screen_03.jpg


#2 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:43 PM

Now that looks like a winner.



#3 Jinroh OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:19 PM

Wow! That looks super fun. Also those colours and that parallax! <3 It's making love to my eyes.



#4 Lord Thag OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 1, 2018 2:07 PM

This looks great. I'll be ordering one



#5 Stormtrooper of Death OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 1, 2018 2:32 PM

I like it.



#6 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 1, 2018 3:12 PM

Something makes me sad, when I see this....

The Background is really marvelous. But the moving objects fit to the background like fish to the dessert . Yeah, the PMg is a weak spot on the Atari, but does that mean to have it looking like from a ten years older computer ?

If only some more smooth movement had been added. Or, some brightness changes , to add some optical goodies...

Really... this time, the background and the moving objects fit together like they were added by some video mixing device from two different sources.

.... just for the thoughts ...

#7 Mr Robot OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 1, 2018 3:49 PM

The scrolling needs inertia too, it looks really clunky when it just stops dead like that, it shoudl carry on for a few frames, slowing to a stop.  



#8 _The Doctor__ ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 2, 2018 3:26 AM

A number of choices perhaps some gradients to the chopper to make it fit in, start with some intensity dither or color?



#9 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 2, 2018 4:06 AM

I apologize that when the video was uploaded to YouTube that some things got distorted from the compression. I cannot say how the game looks on real hardware with all the different displays. I tried to make everything a different gradient to stand out from the background. Some enemies have camouflage painting to make them appear to blend with the surroundings. 



#10 _The Doctor__ ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 2, 2018 4:18 AM

That's okay, I think they want the chopper(our rescue copter we're flying) to have mixed intensity so it doesn't look like a plain white chopper vs everything else, they are liking all the other graphics pretty well


Edited by _The Doctor__, Fri Feb 2, 2018 4:20 AM.


#11 Goochman OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 2, 2018 8:12 AM

That's okay, I think they want the chopper(our rescue copter we're flying) to have mixed intensity so it doesn't look like a plain white chopper vs everything else, they are liking all the other graphics pretty well

Agree - the enemies and such are dope looking, but unfort the hero appears to have just come out of bed in their tighty whities.  Anyway to spruce up the chopper?



#12 Heaven/TQA OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 2, 2018 9:33 AM

just my 2 cents... (but don't know if its intended though).

 

first things I did not like:

 

- damned mono heli sprite ;) (i mean...player looks most of time to it...so can we not spice that up to be at least 2 colors :D) it makes the game looking cheap. 

- am I the only one who don't like the background gfx in front? it looks like PC gfx converted with random dither to A8... it does not look like "crafted by Hand".

 

Aahhh... when looking at the screenshots more closer I see that the chopper has more colors.

 

as it seems not much action going on... can the sprites be colored by scanline like in 2600 games?  (--> River Raid e.g.)



#13 Heaven/TQA OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 2, 2018 9:34 AM

@Pete

 

but spend more time on that game than on your 16k "Surround" or "mini-Golf" games pls. ;)



#14 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 2, 2018 10:21 AM

Yes. On the screenshots, there seem to show different colors.
Seems, the blue on the blue sky messes up optically.
For that, wouldn't it be nicer to use gray tones with more difference in brightness? The darker parts get more visuable in brighter ranges and brighter parts would show better in darker ranges then.

#15 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 2, 2018 5:58 PM

just my 2 cents... (but don't know if its intended though).

 

first things I did not like:

 

- damned mono heli sprite ;) (i mean...player looks most of time to it...so can we not spice that up to be at least 2 colors :D) it makes the game looking cheap. 

- am I the only one who don't like the background gfx in front? it looks like PC gfx converted with random dither to A8... it does not look like "crafted by Hand".

 

Aahhh... when looking at the screenshots more closer I see that the chopper has more colors.

 

as it seems not much action going on... can the sprites be colored by scanline like in 2600 games?  (--> River Raid e.g.)

 HeliCommander is using multi-colored player/missile graphics, not sure how visible that is in the YouTube video.

 

@Pete

 

but spend more time on that game than on your 16k "Surround" or "mini-Golf" games pls. ;)

I was doing these 16K games by copy-and-paste code between them to speed up the development process, eventually I got a template. Every 3 months one game was picked to focus on.  Some games took longer than others. But these were intended to use a 16K non-bank switching cartridge and fit into the first 16K RAM area, so they will run on a 400 or 600XL unmodified. This was also done purposely so we can do 5200 ports of the games. Bigger demand for cartridges on the 5200 and 7800 forums, and increases our chances to sale these titles more. 

 

I can adjust the colors before Video61 releases the cartridge to make them stand out better. However, the beta testers so far stated they had no problem seeing what is going on while playing the game. The sprites were also positioned so majority of the time, only 2 are on the same scan line to reduce flicker. 

 

The technique for parallax scrolling is also used for Laser Blast X. It uses DLIs to adjust the HSCROLL and LMS every few Antic lines. I have given though about using the programming to do a horizontal space battle game above a planets surface.  I thought maybe it can be used for field sports game like Football (American), Soccer, Rugby, etc. Does anyone know how TouchDown football was done. Looks great, but the frame rate slow. If it was using DLIs to adjust HSCROLL + LMS with an Antic 4 screen, it probably run much smother. 


Edited by peteym5, Fri Feb 2, 2018 6:10 PM.


#16 _The Doctor__ ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 2, 2018 7:15 PM

I'm thinking it looks great, I may well be a brightness issue of pictures or youtube conversion, camera rarely ever captures screen well, (half frame and vblank)

I'd try again to get pictures with all the stabilizing features of Altira turned on and then grab some corrected screen shots.

 

I really like this, just that copter comes off as white or nearly white in all the shot and videos.

 

If it isn't that awesome.



#17 LoTonah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 3, 2018 4:14 AM

The parallax looks really good here.  Kudos for that.  Gotta agree with the helicopter looking monochromatic, even if it isn't.  

 

Three other things:

 

1). In the video, the helicopter just seems to slide into some of the hostages on the ground.  Are you planning on having that count as an accidental kill?  If this were Choplifter, or real life, they'd be a smear-stain on the ground.

 

2). Any plans for music, or additional sound effects like the helicopter blades?

 

3). You have an opportunity to make this even better than Choplifter by making more variety.  Water rescues?  Mountain rescues, etc.  Different types of enemies, like say RM-70 missile launchers?

 

I comment because I care  :)



#18 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 4, 2018 2:36 PM

Looks very nice.  I like the suggestion by LoTonah about having various terrains for rescue.  That would be fantastic!



#19 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 4, 2018 3:39 PM

Since Helicommander is geared to fit onto a 16K cartridge to keep the final cost down to $40, make it compatible with computers with 16K RAM and 5200 memory area. I need to optimize code down or compress more sections each time I have to add more features. I can easily change colors or shapes of sprites because those just replace same memory. I am working on altering the helicopter sprite to make it stand out more against the background and working on a modification so you need to be landed before collecting people on the ground. 

 

If you watched the video, you will see different color schemes are used in different levels. There are 12 different type of enemies that you need to battle. 

 

When I put together these 16K ROM cartridge game series, I expected some games will sell better than others and I know not everybody likes all types of games. I was concerned about Megaoids because there are a ton of Asteroids games already done, not many been sold so far. Tile Smashers being unique been sold more in the first month than what some other games sold in over a year. So I am offering Putt 18 Miniature Golf for those that like that sort of game. From the feedback so far for Helicommander, I am expecting this game to do well


Edited by peteym5, Sun Feb 4, 2018 4:04 PM.


#20 ZylonBane OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 4, 2018 6:08 PM

This looks great.

 

No, it doesn't. The original Choplifter looks great. Chopper Command looks great. Fort Apocalypse looks great. This looks like a first-generation APX title. It has a teeny tiny simplistically-animated helicopter sprite, a ground texture that looks like random noise, "clouds" that look like alien blobs, and colors that seem to have been assigned by a random number generator. The player and enemies bounce and zig-zag around the screen with no inertia at all. There's no background music or even engine sound for the helicopter... just complete silence when you're not firing or being shot at.

 

Yes, the parallax scrolling is nice, but everything else is alpha quality at best. If this game sells in its current state, it will no doubt be primarily to the "buys literally everything that's new" crowd.



#21 _The Doctor__ ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 4, 2018 7:59 PM

I still don't get the whole to keep it under 40 dollars, and 16k statements... these are new old stock shells and pcb's last stories we were told, bought on the cheap or even as part of a buyout or grab... How can they be so expensive? I'm sorry but my long term memory is fine, my short term not so much. There is no national add buys here, no magazine campaigns no tv commercials. You can certainly take as long as you like or as short a time as you like, there are no hard fast deadlines, no teams of coders paid big buck to meet a deadline. Please, if this is a charitable situation show all the disabled persons working, earning a living etc. and start labeling it a provable and indeed charitable registered entity (as that been something hinted at and pointed to previously).  If it's just one or to people who have issues trying to make their way just say so. I wish this to be a success but I don't want the tainted or odd statements over time to pile up because it all starts to sound like b.s.     Honesty is the best policy.

 

I like the game, please don't start making this about all those other excuses, fitting it, a cart, helping disabled, piracy, whatever. Let's stick to the game. I've been a bit pr emptive, but this is the arc we've come to expect.

 

Your not out of space, it's okay. People are just letting you know what they are looking at, and are in their minds trying to help. How that comes off to others may be due to style or text or even how a person feels that day. Please take it all as Constructive Criticism, with a grain or two of salt. It's all going to be good in the end.


Edited by _The Doctor__, Sun Feb 4, 2018 8:01 PM.


#22 VladR OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 4, 2018 11:23 PM

Looks like I'm the only one who loves the visuals the way they are - especially the Perlin Noise texture. The video certainly delivered a WoW factor for me. Probably because of my obsession with graphics coding and engines, but still :)

 

Took me quite a while to figure out how in the hell the parallax manages to give the impression of the transparent layers. I swear I never saw this simple trick before, so maybe it was used in past, but to me it's a totally new way how to fool the eyes (courtesy of brain interpolation) :)

 

 

This must look incredible on actual CRT, where the pixels will be nicely smoothed.

 

And for 16 KB, man - this is pushing the boundaries quite a lot. If I had this back in '80s...

 

In terms of gameplay features and complexity, let's not forget gamers bitched about Oblivion's depth, and that game's dev cycle is measured in man-centuries (let alone man-years), so...

 

And what the hell is APX?

 

 

 

As an FYI, and I don't want to start this topic (as I know where Video61 stands on this), this is the second game of Pete's, where I had the itch to pay $10 for digital download...



#23 _The Doctor__ ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 5, 2018 12:16 AM

It's good, only getting better. All bs aside, be honest everbody chime in over the next few months that will pay 10.00 directly to the author for a digital download. Do any sites hold escrow and if a things happens the person gets the money, if it doesn't they get it back? It might prove a point?

It's just an exercise I'm sure but think about it...


Edited by _The Doctor__, Mon Feb 5, 2018 12:17 AM.


#24 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 5, 2018 7:06 AM

I am keeping the visuals just about where they are in those screenshots. I made the helicopter sprite a pixel taller, mixed in a few different colored pixels to help it stand out against the sky. The game is using 3 colored mode that combines 2 players together and where the pixels overlayed the 3rd color is the "OR" value of the 2 color registers. The 4 missiles are used for bullets in the game. Therefore I only have 8 pixels to work with and limited the size. I have some objects using double or quad width. I know I could had used softsprites or meta player+missile options, but those would not had worked with this parallax 3d scrolling thing. I am considering a VBXE version of the game.

 

When I started the 16K ROM for 16K RAM Atari computer games back in 2014, I was informed Video61 has hundreds of empty PCB boards that take 2 8K EEPROM sockets. I was originally trying to get Venture to fit without compression. But it was KJMANN12 that insisted that I used his RMT music plus used the player+missile 10 pixel wide sprites that originally forced the game beyond the 16K limit. Video61 also has hundreds of the Williams 64K PCB boards + shells, but not sure if they had been populated with components, 2 32K EEPROM sockets. Larger new EEPROMS may cost slightly more depending on the source. They take longer to burn and need that bank switching control chip. Takes more time to program and plan around the bank switching. So I hope you can see how larger games starts costing more to put together. Limited to 16K RAM was to keep the door open for making 5200 ports. HeliCommander already has been ported and tested.  



#25 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 5, 2018 7:46 AM

 

No, it doesn't. The original Choplifter looks great. Chopper Command looks great. Fort Apocalypse looks great. This looks like a first-generation APX title. It has a teeny tiny simplistically-animated helicopter sprite, a ground texture that looks like random noise, "clouds" that look like alien blobs, and colors that seem to have been assigned by a random number generator. The player and enemies bounce and zig-zag around the screen with no inertia at all. There's no background music or even engine sound for the helicopter... just complete silence when you're not firing or being shot at.

 

Yes, the parallax scrolling is nice, but everything else is alpha quality at best. If this game sells in its current state, it will no doubt be primarily to the "buys literally everything that's new" crowd.

 

Although I may not have worded it as such I agree with this and was thinking exactly the same, its not a dig at Pete, its just true. My other thought was that why try to do a choplifter game, its a big ask.

 

This one's not for me but its horses for courses..

 

Paul..






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