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stirring

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Everything posted by stirring

  1. Have you defined a game memory map? If not, it will help if you first define your games memory map, where you will place your games code and game data given a particular memory setup. Here is an example of what a memory map looks like, https://www.c64-wiki.com/images/thumb/5/51/Memory_Map.png/500px-Memory_Map.png Section out your memory map and label each area so you can easily look at it and understand what is placed there. Label all free ram memory locations as well as where your actual game code and data will be placed. This should become something you can be proud of, hang on your wall and refer to many times throughout your development. Also creating a visual memory map will really help you figure out how the C64 works and allow you to be creative with memory usage. I have always created my memory maps the old school way, simply drawing them using ACSIII text boxes. This makes it very easy to modify them and make changes by simply copying and pasting things around, instead of requiring some fancy graphical tool. Just make such you are using a uniform text font if you want to do it this way or you will have problems aligning the ASCII boxes. Another thing about defining memory maps using ASCII is that they can be easily embedded inside source code, and I am always a fan of documentation that gets embedded along with source.
  2. They are the last 8 bytes of the video matrix (the 1000 byte Screen color ram area). The default is at $7f8-$7fff if your screen color ram starts at $400. If you set your screen color ram to $c000, then they should be located at $C3f8 - $C3ff I believe. The reason they put them there is because the screen ram always takes up only 1000 bytes, instead of a full 1k (1024). So basically there is 24 bytes extra free at the end of screen ram to use. Well if you are using sprite pointers, then you really only have 16 free bytes there, buy hey, every free byte counts in a C64 game! Good luck!
  3. Wow, you are brave attempting U6 on the C64 since they basically had to throw out so much content, including all the music, portraits, and some items. It's actually pretty amazing they were able to port most of the game to the C64, only doing because the C64 still commanded such a high market share even in the age of 16-bit systems that they would have lost money if they didn't do so. I believe the C64 was the only 8-bit system U6 was ever ported to. As I'm sure you know, they also had to remove the music for U5 on the C64 so the game would fit. The C128 version did have the music though if you booted it in C128 mode. Funny story... so many C128 users (including myself) were so used to only playing games in 64 mode (since there were like almost no C128 native games) that we totally missed out on the fact that Ultima 5 worked in C128 mode and had the music! We were so used to just booting up games in C64 mode, skipping a native C128 boot, that we totally never knew that Ultima 5 had music if you booted in C128 mode! I'm sure there was like a one liner buried somewhere in the manuals loading instructions of the game about this, but most C64 users didn't feel the need to read sections telling us we need to LOAD "*",8,1 to get the game going. We were all experienced and almost always skipped reading those sections, unless of course we couldn't get the game to boot via normal means. We actually never considered the fact that the game would actually boot in C128 mode and run! Almost no games did that back then. And certainty games that used the extra memory in C128 to make the game even better was even more rare. I actually ended up playing Ultima 5 on the Amiga instead because that version "had" music! I would have actually preferred playing it on the C128 instead. It wasn't until years later that I read about the enhanced C128 mode for Ultima 5 online and actually tested it out because I couldn't believe it (neither could all my Ultima friends that also missed it back then also. I was actually a bit sad that I missed out playing what was the first and only CRPG that actually worked in a native C128 mode for enhanced play. I actually think in addition to music, the C128 version of Ultima 5 seemed to be doing some disk caching as well using the extra memory to help maybe speed up load times and minimize some disk loads. I never verified that, but in addition to the music, the C128 version seemed to play a bit smoother. There was a similar RTFM moment that happened with Ultima III also. Years later when I was re-playing all the Ultima natively on the C64, and probably around the same time I discovered there was actually the native Ultima 5 C128 version, I also discovered a one-liner in the C64 Ultima III manual (quick ref guide I believe) that I had missed (again buried in the loading instructions) that said you can press the 'C' key during the loading to actually skip the whole frontend menu and take you right into the game instead!! What this meant is that you could have literally shaved close to 3 mins off your games loading back then if you knew this little trick on the C64! Again, I didn't feel too bad since all my C64 Ultima buds missed this one as well back then when I asked them about it. The story here is reading instructions about how to load games is rarely done for users familiar with the platform. Most of us were all experienced C64 users and figured that was a waste of time. In fact, many times just putting a new floppy game in the drive and trying to figure out how to load it was part of the fun of the C64! Most games worked with LOAD "*",8,1 but some games didn't and required you to actually load a specific names instead. I think there was one Ultima that wouldn't load if you did a LOAD "*",8,1 (even though the boot file was the first file in the directory if I remember correctly) and you needed to do a LOAD "ULT",8,1 instead.
  4. Hehe, cool. Man, I remember doing this back in the 80's when I would drag my C128 up to the family room just to play Ultima on our "huge" 32" flat tube TV while sitting on the couch. Cranking up the music and playing it on a big screen made it just so much more epic. Good stuff.
  5. The title comes from the last name of the owner I believe, Kim Lemon. Unfortunately, Kim may want to change his name because Lemon64 has become the bane of the Commodore community; overrun by elitist's and wanna-be elites that still think it's the 80's and still act like they are teenagers. There has been a silent mass exodus of decent Commodore users over there for the last 5+ years, and many have come here. The moderators at Lemon64 are in bed with the "elites" and let them break the rules and do what they want, so don't expect to play in their playground unless you are ready to kiss some serious ass. They also do a good job of covering up all the harassment and defaming of the innocent over there to protect the reputations of their buddy elites. It's always like that in small scenes, which Lemon64 has become. It's no longer a friendly community of Commodore users as it used to be, but has become overrun by the CSDB elitest. It's basically CSDB-lite. Decent users only post in the Lemon64 forums when they have something to announce or share C64 related, but they won't bother sticking around to play scene politics. Who has time for that crap? You know, being Elite in the 80's actually meant something, but trying to hold on to that now and convince everyone else that you are all that is, well, just pathetic. It's one thing to personally try and hold on to your "glory years", but an entirely different thing when you expect and demand everyone around you to do so as well!? That's just deranged. It's almost as deranged as holding on to lists of disconnected BBS numbers from the 80's as proof of how cool and elite you are. In reality, Lemon64 is giving "Elite" a bad name. I hope someday Kim Lemon can restore it back to it's glory days and create a welcoming, friendly Commodore community, because if it keeps going the way it stands now, in a few years there will be nothing left over there but a dozen old "elites" sitting around in a circle stroking their own egos. It has to start from the top down with the moderators. A forum, company, or family for that matter always reflects the leadership. The reason you won't find that crap here on Atariage is because the owners and moderators here take steps to enforce a friendly community environment of users. The moderators over at Lemon64 are in bed with the CSDB elitists and therefore want to make Lemon64 in the image of CSDB, which ironically means that either CSDB or Lemon64 is no longer needed in the end since they will really become one in the same. In a sense, they become their own enemy. And after Lemon64 is completely destroyed by the CSDB elitists, those very elitists will just smile and just go back on over to CSDB. The sad thing is that not all of the elites are actually bad guys. Some of them just want to find a community that shares their hobby without all the scene politics. Unfortunately, like most things in life, it only takes a few to ruin it for the rest and that is what has happened over at Lemon64. There is only about a dozen or so "elites" and wanna-bee elites over there that have mucked up the atmosphere for the rest. In order to save Lemon64 I would first say to Kim Lemon, get rid of ALL the current moderators he has over there. They are all equally responsible for what the environment has become by way of enabling it and not enforcing the very rules that he put in place. Then, instill moderators that actually care about the Commodore community and want to see it grow, not just for the older, but newer generations. I would recommend moderators that are actual Commodore users and have children that they also like to share their hooby with. After that, make sure the new moderators flush out all the CSDB elites and elite wanna-bees that have mucked that place up over the years and instill a zero tolerance policy towards that elitist crap. The elitist’s have CSDB to stroke their egos if they need to. If Kim does this, then and only then will there be a chance of saving the reputation of Lemon64.
  6. Like the mockup Link. It has a sort of Temple of Apshai feel to it but with better graphics. Keep up the good work!
  7. This is pretty simple. Game ideas or concepts cannot be patented. However, like all creative works, they are copyrighted. Things like game names and/or characters names and images can be trademarked, which gives them even more protection. What this means is if you want to make a Pacman clone you can. You just can't call it Pacman because I'm sure that name is trademarked. You also can't copy the exact 'levels' of the game (create your own) because those would probably hold under copyright laws. And you can't copy the graphics or images of any trademarked characters. Making the walls or the dots look the same is not a problem, as long as you draw them yourself, but don't copy the same Pacman or ghosts basically. If you want to make a Boulderdash clone go for it. Just don't use any of their level design, or copy their main character or use the name BoulderDash. Call it RockFall if you want, etc.. You can even have him collecting diamonds, although draw them yourself a bit differently. The important thing is to draw all the art yourself and don't use any Trademarked characters or names. In the early days of game IP, game company lawyers got away with way more then they should have. Things that would NEVER hold up in court today. This was because the industry was just getting started and there was a lot of frivolous patents and such getting granted. Nobody knew what to do with these things. But since then, thanks to the user interface wars, we know that computer interfaces cannot be patented. Games are basically user interfaces when you think about it. As an example, I think one of the worse rulings granted in gaming history, was awarded to Richard Garriott's company Origin (of Ultima fame). He actually won a lawsuit against another RPG game, Questron, based on the fact that they also had a game using tile graphics! Garriott's lawyers somehow were able to convince the courts that this was a legit argument and awarded damages to them. The makers of Questron had to pay licensing fees or fines to Origin. This was the equivalent of Garriott's lawyers convincing the courts that Origin was the first to use tile-based graphics and that no other games should be able to use them. Which I am sure they would have loved to patent. However, we now know this was total crap. Any decent programmer (not lawyer) could have argued that bit mapped tile-based graphics were essentially the same as bit-mapped character sets. So this would mean any previous game based on using bitmapped character sets, such as Rogue, could have sued Origin for copying them. The only legit argument would have been if Questron stole Origin’s source code and was using it in their game, which was not the case as far as I know. If Questron came up with their own code and graphics themselves, then there should have been no case. This was just some of the madness that game companies could get away with before the lawyers and courts started really understanding the field better. Bottom line these days... you can make your game function just like any other of your favorite games. If you want to make a Donkey Kong style game go for it. Just don't call it the same, or copy the likeness of the characters or their names, or the games levels. Don’t use their source code or graphics, and create everything yourself from scratch and you should be golden. Companies can not patent ideas like barrels rolling down platforms, or game characters eating dots or diamonds, etc... Companies cannot put a monkey and a plumber in their game and claim that no other game can have a monkey or plumber in it. You just can't use THEIR monkey and plumber, since they are copyright, and most likely trademarked. Sure they may try to come after you with a nasty letter, but they won’t be able to sneak one by the courts like in the old days. Heck Zynga’s entire business model is based off of copying other game mechanics and calling them their own. Is it legal? You bet. Is it shameful? I would hope any game designer with a hint of pride in their craft would think so. Anyway I hope this helps! Now go forth and create your "clones" (Disclaimer: IANAL)
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