If you don't want to read the wall of text here, there's really there's just one update here: PAC-MAN-RED has kindly signed on for working on the graphics for Salvo 2085. The visuals in the final version should be top notch!
I thought I'd also take this opportunity to share some behind-the-scenes stuff, for those of you that like reading about development details.
While the current Salvo 2085 graphics are a mix of modified arcade sprites and programmer graphics, I am particularly proud of the explosion effects.
When I started the game, I knew I wanted to do particle based explosions. I searched for software to do this, but I couldn't find anything that would generate simple low-res particle effects. I could have gone with full blown 3D animation software and tried to generate something that would convert down to low-res 2D, but I didn't want to put a whole lot of work into that and take the chance that the conversion results would be disappointing.
So in the end I wrote my own quick and dirty C program to simulate particle explosions. It models the initial velocity, air resistance, and gravity. The easiest way to get the particle effects into 7800basic was through its built-in PNG graphics import, so the simulation outputs each frame as a PNG image.
The nice part of having my own explosion simulation is being able to tweak parameters to suit the graphics restrictions - height, width, # animation frame - rather than sticking with real life parameters.
For the enemy explosion I dialed in the parameters to provide an energetic and wide explosion, and coded the simulation so the particles disappear when they hit the floor. I also tweaked it so the floor is a slight curve, rather than a straight line, as it looks more natural.
For the player explosion, I wanted to do something a bit different. I made it a bit less energetic to provide a fall-apart effect, and the particles also playfully bounce a few times when they hit the floor. (just what the heck is he made out of? )
I was impressed that I could get two fairly distinctive looking effects from small tweaks to the same simulation, and glad I took the time to code up my own routine.
...and Dog Food
I know how to code in assembly, and I have an M.O. of working on games that are a heavy mix of bB and assembly [1,2]. I usually do it that way so I can choose the optimum balance of rapid development and flexibility.
I'm not doing that for Salvo 2085. I am determined to code it entirely 7800basic, because it's a matter of eating my own dog food, and proving that good things can be done in the language.
That isn't to say I'll compromise game quality. If there's some feature that needs to be added to the language to make the game better, I'll do it. Already I'm seeing that I need to add an easier import for tall graphics, to help with title screen banners. (which could also be used for less efficient, but easy-to-move massive sprites.)
So while I'm diverting my time away from 7800basic development with this game project, 7800basic will be receiving dividends from the work.