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STRAT-O-GEMS DELUXE *FINAL BETA*


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#1 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:18 PM

** FINAL BETA **

The code is finished. Download from this following post: View Post. Let me know of any problems ASAP. In particular, if you get an error screen (six numbers stacked vertically on a white background) please write down the code and let me know.

Previous topic-start post follows:

Here's a game similar to Columns, Jewel Master, or Salu's Acid Drop. The playing field is 6x20, and the goal is to get groups of 3 or more like-colored gems in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Any time such groups are created, they will disappear and any gems above will fall down into gaps thus created. If this creates more groups of three in a row, those too will disappear in a chain reaction.

Move the controller left and right to steer the current column of gems. Press fire to rotate the gems within the column. Press down on the joystick to drop the column quickly. In this version (not in the "real" game) you may push up to move the column of gems upward. Also, if you don't like the current triplet of gems that's coming down, you may change it by pushing up on the player two controller [again, this is a playtesting feature which will not be in the real game].

The game ends whenever a set of three gems is not able to fall completely onto the screen prior to any gems disappearing. This will happen immediately if gems are piled to the top of the third column (where new gems always appear).

Getting three gems in a row is worth a "base" of one point; four in a row two, five in a row three, etc. In a chain reaction, the second batch of gems is worth double, the third batch triple, etc. One gem may scored in multiple directions. For example, suppose columns 1 and 3 contain, from bottom up, "green red green red red" and a "green green green" gem is dropped between them. This will score four points for the green gems (two diagonal and two horizontal threesomes) and then another four points for the red gems (two vertical threesomes, doubled).

The game still needs ramping difficulty levels, sound effects, and easter eggs. Some considerations:

-1- The kernel I wrote in 1994 uses six-dot-high gems with two scan lines between. Should I change that to seven, or use the screen real-estate for something else.

-2- The end-of-game rule might use a little tweaking. Perhaps I could have the top two rows not be displayed, but participate in chain reactions; any gems left in the top two rows after all reactions are complete would end the game. This might work well with increasing the gem height by a scan line.

-3- How are the colors? Is the use of brighter colors in the currently-falling gems nice or annoying? Are there any colors that are confusingly similar on anyone's television set?

-4- Should I have the gems change shape on differnet levels?

-5- How is the scoring? I like having a simple-to-understand scoring system, but scores don't get terribly high. Perhaps multiplying all scores by the current skill level might be helpful.

I'd appreciate any thoughts anyone would have to offer about this game. I wrote the gem kernel in 1994, but didn't understand enough about INTIM to come up with something playable [trying to do a game like this with WSYNC alone quickly gets insane!]. Glad I decided to dust it off.

Original bin: Attached File  col.bin   4KB   523 downloads
Latest bin of 4K game (NOT DELUXE VERSION): Attached File  sgems.bin   4KB   555 downloads

(other WIP binaries available in thread)

Edited by supercat, Sun Dec 18, 2005 11:26 PM.


#2 Zach OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:31 PM

:thumbsup: Wow. I like the flashing effect before stones dissapear. What was your reason for the brighter colors for falling pieces? The colors look different enough to me that I'm inclined to think that pieces won't match. (especially pink and red). I'd rather see the same colors on falling pieces.

Edited by Zach, Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:32 PM.


#3 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:52 PM

:thumbsup: Wow. I like the flashing effect before stones dissapear. What was your reason for the brighter colors for falling pieces? The colors look different enough to me that I'm inclined to think that pieces won't match. (especially pink and red). I'd rather see the same colors on falling pieces.

View Post


The idea was to make it easier to see which piece is falling. Maybe I should make that a difficulty-switch option.

#4 -^CrožBow^- OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:44 PM

I don't have any problems with the colors. I am able to tell them apart easily enough, and I am medically color blind so that says something.

Just add some sound, little music, and explain what the 3 great gems are for? I tried to match them up with some that were almost done, but they just dissappeared?

Also, I don't know if you have cycles for it, or if these are generated randomly, but do you plan to add a graphic for what gems are coming up next?

#5 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:13 PM

Just add some sound, little music, and explain what the 3 great gems are for? I tried to match them up with some that were almost done, but they just dissappeared?


Grey gems? Those were a bug I thought I'd fixed. They're color #8, which gets mapped to color #0 when dropped, so they just disappear. No points, no action, nothing.

Also, I don't know if you have cycles for it, or if these are generated randomly, but do you plan to add a graphic for what gems are coming up next?

View Post


I might add a 'next gems' indicator. The other games have one. Glad you like the game. Does still need some work, but I'm glad I dusted it off. Don't think I could have finished it in '94, but with what I know today it's not too bad.

#6 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:16 PM

BTW, try holding Select when you hit Reset for some cool points.

#7 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2005 12:14 AM

New version: Some sounds added, and colors adjusted. The brighter colors for the falling gems have been disabled, and all six gem colors have slightly-different luminance patterns. Let me know if any are too bright/too dark.

Scoring should now be correct even for ridiculous chain reactions (hold select while hitting reset and drop the incoming tile at the far left to get an eleven-deep chain reaction).

Attached Files

  • Attached File  col.bin   4KB   390 downloads

Edited by supercat, Mon Oct 17, 2005 12:15 AM.


#8 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:33 AM

New version: Some sounds added, and colors adjusted.  The brighter colors for the falling gems have been disabled, and all six gem colors have slightly-different luminance patterns.  Let me know if any are too bright/too dark.
Scoring should now be correct even for ridiculous chain reactions (hold select while hitting reset and drop the incoming tile at the far left to get an eleven-deep chain reaction).

View Post


This is a neat little game, and it looks like it fits into just 2K? However, I think you uploaded the wrong version here as this one is identical to the previous version?

Chris

#9 mojofltr OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2005 6:27 AM

This is excellent! As Chris mentioned, I don't hear any sound effects yet.

I tried the select+reset and enjoyed the nice show! :) I'll be watching this one!

#10 Cybergoth OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2005 8:01 AM

Hi there!

Wow!

So can you do Puyo Pop Fever (aka Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine) as well? :)

Greetings,
Manuel

#11 seemo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:48 PM

This a GREAT game, Supercat ! :)

1) I'd try, if it's not too much work : maybe one scanline more could make the gems more defined (even if they are ok as they are now) and of course allow for more creativity if you go for a different shape each level

2) I think it's good as it is, honestly I can't 'see' the 'two top rows' mechanics

3) good to know colors for falling gems won't change, it was difficult/unnatural to match colors

4) why not ? :)

5) I wait for the updated version to try some games and see how I score

Simone

#12 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:41 PM

This is a neat little game, and it looks like it fits into just 2K?  However, I think you uploaded the wrong version here as this one is identical to the previous version?

View Post


I wonder how that happened? :( Weird. Anyway, try this one.

BTW, if the game ever misses its vertical retrace timing, the score will get replaced by a number like "7892EE". The number is an address; I think I've taken care of all the vertical-retrace issues (having the addresses where they occur makes that easy!) but in case I didn't, let me know what is reported.

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  • Attached File  col.bin   4KB   368 downloads


#13 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:51 PM

So can you do Puyo Pop Fever (aka Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine) as well? :)

View Post


I know nothing about that game. The kernel and play mechanic support 16 colors of gems in a 6x20 grid. All gems must be the same shape, except that part of a gem may be made black. Each gem has two colors that are mapped onto the six rows as follows:
  color1
  color1+1
  color2
  color2+1
  color2
  color1
If I add a seventh row, its color will go immediately before the last one.

The two colors associated with any of the sixteen gem colors may be independently specified without restriction except that FF is a forbidden value. In practice, it tends to look confusing if the hues don't match, though that might not be so bad if I expand the gems to seven scan lines.

The play mechanic handles destroying gems by first setting bit 3 of the color (which turns each gem into a brighter shade of the same color), then setting the color to 15 (solid white), then to 8 (dark gray), then to 0. Bit 3 of the gem color is thus both functional and decorative (the gem explode routine hits all gems where bit 3 is set).

So does that kernel/mechanic sound like something that could do what you want?

#14 Cybergoth OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2005 9:38 PM

Hi there!

So does that kernel/mechanic sound like something that could do what you want?


Phew... I guess that was a very silly idea from me.

Your kernel would actually be perfect for the game, as it needs only 6 columns and I think 5 colors. Main difference would be another destruction logic and that there's two gems falling at once, which can also be switched from vertical to horizontal alignment while falling (kinda like Acid Drop).

What would not work though, is that Puyo Pop is a pure "vs." game. I somehow had forgotten that the "solo" mode is played against AI players, so it always requires two slots side by side at once.

Greetings,
Manuel

#15 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 17, 2005 9:50 PM

What would not work though, is that Puyo Pop is a pure "vs." game. I somehow had forgotten that the "solo" mode is played against AI players, so it always requires two slots side by side at once.

View Post


I do have a kernel I could give you which shows seven colors on a 16x16 grid. No gems, but you might be able to do something with it. The colors probably need some adjustment so they don't look "muddy".

#16 Cybergoth OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 18, 2005 3:10 AM

Hi there!

I do have a kernel I could give you which shows seven colors on a 16x16 grid.  No gems, but you might be able to do something with it.  The colors probably need some adjustment so they don't look "muddy".


Good to know! Right at the moment I better shouldn't start any more projects though :ponder: ;)

Greetings,
Manuel

#17 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 18, 2005 4:04 AM

Fun game, and has lots of potential. Though I can't think fast enough to score very well. A variation on the same theme might be like the game Bejeweled where you start with a full screen of diamonds and you swap two to try and get groups of three, and this allows you to think more slowly and stategize. Since your engine is already capable of determining where groups of three exist, it shouldn't be too hard to add (maybe as an alternate game with SELECT.)

#18 Nathan Strum ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:14 AM

Very cool! It's especially satisfying when you trigger a five-deep chain reaction.

The scoring could be a little higher. I played a pretty long game, and ended up with a meager 693 points. I think increasing the value at each difficulty level is a good idea. Maybe some music would be nice, too.

I'm definitely looking forward to watching this game develop. :thumbsup:

#19 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:46 AM

Very cool! It's especially satisfying when you trigger a five-deep chain reaction.

View Post


I'd be even more satisfying if I got a sixer (five is my record). Have to figure out what I want to do for levels and ramping difficulty. My thinking would be to have the difficulty step up every 64 triplets dropped. This would thus provide an incentive to try to make the most out of the gems that one gets. I could also provide an option to start at a higher level in exchange for a score premium (which should be slightly less than what a good player would get on the skipped levels, but not excessively so).

#20 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:48 AM

Fun game, and has lots of potential.  Though I can't think fast enough to score very well.  A variation on the same theme might be like the game

View Post


I've been thinking that it might be interesting to have a play mode where the gems stay at the top of the screen until dropped, possibly with some sort of time limit (which could be disabled for 'practice' mode). In the last version I posted, though, if the gems come too fast, you can push up on the joystick.

#21 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:45 AM

Another version. Changes:

-1- Left difficulty makes game really easy by making gems not fall automatically

-2- Much improved sound

-3- Gems are seven lines high instead of six

-4- New title and logo

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#22 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2005 1:49 AM

Another version.  Changes:
-1- Left difficulty makes game really easy by making gems not fall automatically
-2- Much improved sound
-3- Gems are seven lines high instead of six
-4- New title and logo

View Post


This is a great game - very addictive! I think the 7-line gems are better as they look more rounded, and the new sound effects add to the atmosphere. I did notice that there is a little PF glitch when gems are being removed (see arrow in image below). Not particularly important, but probably easy to fix:

z26p0000.jpg

Chris

#23 Nathan Strum ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 20, 2005 1:53 AM

Nice update! And I like the new title too. Less chance of being confused with something else. ;)

As a gameplay suggestion, how about a random "glowing" gem, that will complete any two adjacent gems of the same color that it contacts?

#24 oesii OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:49 PM

Just found this thread, great little game. I like the sound effects when you hit mutliples, can't wait for the difficulty ramp-ups. Works great on the real deal too (CC2).

#25 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:17 PM

As a gameplay suggestion, how about a random "glowing" gem, that will complete any two adjacent gems of the same color that it contacts?

View Post


Was already planned, but now works. Here's the latest and greatest. No difficulty ramping yet, but the right difficulty switch now has an interesting effect. As before, left difficulty keeps gems from falling.

By the way, the plan is to have a level advance every 64 gems that drop. You can tell by the sound when that is, though at the moment the game doesn't do anything special about it. There will be a special white gem that appears at that time which will in turn have other magical properties, but that's not yet in this version.

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