One thing that must be said, is how much I appreciate all the help I've gotten from kind people in retro computing forums and communities. I've been met with patience and kindness everywhere, although I'm not exactly the sharpest programmer out there. I've learned so much about how these old lovely things work in just a couple of years.
BIG HUGE thanks to all the kind people who's helped me gather tons of knowledge on this adventure / journey over at:
- AtariAge Atari Lynx Forum
- Datorernas folkvagn and Lemon64 Commodore 64 Forums
- AtariAge Atari 7800 Forum
- Vic-20 Denial Forums
- ZX Spectrum Computing Forums
- AtariAge Atari 2600 Forum
- Plus/4 World Forums
- CPCWiki Forums
- AtariAge Atari 8-bit computers Forum
- Sinclair ZX80/ZX81 Forums
- TRSE Turbo Rascal Syntax Error FB-group
- MSX, Amiga and Atari ST FB-groups, Atari-Forum (Atari ST).
"Lovejoy" was/is supposed to be a long term game project for many old systems. So far it's been mostly an adventure into learning about graphics modes, technical details, tools and development for a whole bunch of old computers and consoles.
Getting the game to the point where the Vic-20, Atari 7800, Commodore 64 and C16/Plus4 version are now, is the fun part, learning about graphic modes, sprite movement, sprite animation, platform collission, collectable collision, sfx & music. After that comes a lot of the more (for me at least) boring stuff. Game states, bank switching, pal/ntsc compatibility, creating content i.e. level design etc. so it's really easy hitting an inspiration wall at that point.
Of course I would want to finish the game(s), because I'm really fascinated by all of these old systems, but in reality it takes a lot of energy, time and commitment to finish even one single very small game alone (with a day job, kids, I'm all over the place, including drawing, music making and other retro-dev projects too), so let's see if I can manage to pull of one version for starters (at some point) or if I was completely megalomanic when conceiving the idea. Perhaps I should join up with other retro-developers (too), to join some projects that are more sane.
Anyhow, I've realized that with limited spare time it's important to do exactly whatever you want to do at that specific moment - to stay sane, so I'm not going to stress it (anymore).
Here's a small video of the latest version I've experimented with. I thought the main character sprite became pretty funny. I want the graphics to be really clear, cartoony and cute, but also a bit of "80s euro-clumsy" and very "digital" (few animation frames etc. as opposed to "analog" / "realistic"). Please note I only have collission in the feet yet, that's why I have to jump high to get the coins in the video. The Atari 7800 is really a surprisingly interesting 8-bit system that has way more potential than its official game library would show.