[This older blog entry was updated on 2/14/2020].
2001-2002 -- Alan and I begin the game and design 75% of what it will be like. Raccoon joins as the artist.
2002-2005 -- Raccoon Lad & I discuss 5200 limits, we design and create screens, and program the game.
2005-2006 -- mostly just me finishing and debugging the program and trying to accomplish my own vision within dwindling memory space.
Jan - March 2007 -- Since I have to wait for the game to be manufactured, I do add a few things like the Dragon Trap, then test some more.
May 2007 -- 5200 version of Adventure II is published by AtariAge!
Sept and Oct 2010 - Perry Thuente (PJT) ported the code to 8bit format, including both XEGS and Atarimax Bank-switching formats, and other mods involving OS, keyboard code. Added Bryan's AA splash screen. I now have a lot more memory to work with overall, but need to shift things around some more.
2011 - overhaul of Random Item hiding logic, creature behavior, and overhauled hiding of the 3 Bat Eggs/Dots. Distribute code and data to different banks to leverage out available total memory. Use one bank for a character set to get prettier text on title screen.
2012 - address bugs with collision and troll sprite 'remnants'. Changes to map paths, create new EXITS on hedge screens so Hedge Maze is the hub between Ice and Dark kingdoms, not the Green Castle itself like in 5200 version.
Oct 2012 - first PRGE demo.
2013 - experiment with new sounds; add more wood plank bridge building (you can build bridges on both islands screens now, not just 1); Added end-game statistics. Implement one-button control scheme which was suggested on the forums. More gameplay tweaks and bug fixes. Timing seems different running on A8? New box artwork is done by David but we do not reveal it. Release first demo in AA Homebrew forum, with resulting feedback. PJT fixes PORTB problem. My homebrewing desktop computer has a problem at end of year, lost some data and felt burned out. Quit for a while.
2014 - project on hiatus. Too much real-world stuff going on such as home repair.
2015 - I got a new Lenovo i7 laptop, so I restored and reorganized my AdvII folders and files, and started working on it again. Added content and tweaks, fixed new bugs that got introduced, continued to get frustrating trying to add new content into the original hard-coded engine!
2016 - project on hiatus. Just can't get to it. I can't really remember why! Too busy living life I guess. There is an up-to-date PRGE demo in October.
Jan and Feb 2017 - with a real "Git'R Dun" determination, completed engine optimizations. Fixed DLI screen color errors that had been plaguing me. Give Alt Icons special abilities. Add 14 new rankings and overhauled rankings determination logic. Opened up Sword collision so it will harm a dragon even if you are not carrying it (I know that is how 2600 Adventure worked, but if you play 5200 AdvII, a dragon will glide THROUGH an uncarried sword unharmed. Not any more!)
Sept and Oct 2017 - Fix rankings bugs. Revised Title screen so that options are selectable via joystick. Continue to add content and work on years-old list of items. Purchased Atarimax USB programmer, to test on real hardware. Another PRGE demo October 2019, showing new Title Screen and options like Dark Mode. New artwork is revealed in a banner at PRGE show.
October 2017 - December 2019
1. After experimenting with different sounds and tunes, I decided to keep most of the original 5200 sounds, which now to me are iconic of the game. Even the dragon barks. I reduced the repetition of the main tune, and added a couple new sound cues. To save ROM space, the 5200 version sounds/music were hardcoded into small static tables which used an index to find the right piece, and compressed/decompressed into RAM to boot. Thus it was difficult to really do much modification of those. It was easier to make new sounds than to change the old ones. I moved all sound logic and sound/music data tables to their own 4k bank which I didn't even fill up! I really feel the game's overall silence is important so I didn't want to put a repetitive and looping pokey tune in there playing all the time.
2. Play testing, using Altirra and its nice debug, but also using the Atarimax USB programmer and 8 mbit cart with my XEGS and Atari 800XL consoles. I have not seen any differences of game behavior between Altirra and real hardware, other the colors / brightness of a laptop screen vs Plasma HDTV. With the 5200 version, I played and tested that game endlessly, looking for crashes or bad game-ruining bugs. I did that with this version too especially in the end. My son helped because he really QA tests the game, trying to break it. Because of his testing, I noticed one glitch that was reported before - changing screens if you kept spamming the rotate-carried-item button, it can mess up the X coordinate and the item will be far away from you but still 'carried'. I thought this bug was an unavoidable VBI timing issue, but it is "user-caused" ! I fixed it.
3. Demo released on 2/5/2020 to the Homebrew / Adventure II XE demo and testing thread. So far it looks like 70-80 downloads of the various different formats. Feedback comments so far were: (1) comments about Key colors. (2) comment showing a collision bug , Knight Helmet gets stuck. But other than fixes for found problems, Adventure II XE is pretty much done and final, with no new additions planned by me.
This brings up a good subject - NTSC colors. I spent quite a few hours trying to prevent 'NTSC greenish hue' syndrome on my yellow/tans, and also quite a few hours experimenting with different key colors so that it was always easy to distinguish which key you were looking at. Depending on which color of background graphics a key sits, it can be near impossible to tell the Yellow and Green keys apart, or sometimes even the red and blue keys have a similar purple/white hue on some screens. Making the keys darker helps to distinguish them, but then the keys are sometimes lost in the background graphics which isn't acceptable either. So my solution was to cycle / pulsate the colors. I still got a complaint even after adding the cycling. So, I may change the cycling colors thing again, I have to observe and think about it some more. Or maybe I'll take away the cycling key colors and make Key 1 Orange instead of yellow, maybe that will solve 75% of the indistinguishable key color situations? tbd...
In summary, I added new uses for 4 items for the XE version.
(a) Sword now interacts with Dragons even if not being carried;
(b) Chalice now grants you SPEED as long as you hold it. I think this makes the end-game less tedious and more fun, and adds the game play mechanism of keeping the found Chalice close by to re-grant yourself SPEED as you explore. Yes, you can find the Chalice before you find the sword or the Yellow/Golden Key for the Seashore castle. This was not true in the 5200 version. The Chalice will also trigger a sound cue if you carry it onto a screen hiding a Bat Egg;
(c) Blue / Ice Key will actually freeze the Minotaur in his tracks.
(d) Red Key also has a hidden function, other than opening up its Castle gate. It isn't a necessary or even particularly helpful function but you'll know it when you go to the right place with this key.
4. AA Store and Publishing ... 2020 or bust! David Exton is helping with the box/manual art and the manual layout itself, which shouldn't be too different from the 5200 AdvII manual in format. Albert had to figure out a solution to getting more A8 cart shells and as of now there is a plan that should work. There will be unique package goodies.! Many people enjoyed the high quality Box, Manual, Key, Sealed Parchment with game maps, and Dragon Fridge Magnet goodies from the 2007 5200 Adventure II release!