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kiwilove

Game design thinktank - Retrogaming

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Anyone working on any game projects these days - ought to add their own twist to it - and not just deliver a standard kind of format game - that you need to add things extra to it, that is your own. Not only in graphics - but in game play and game design as well.

But to do this you need the time available - and this is where the ABBUC yearly contest falls down - that they need to bend their rules to allow for projects that are longer term - say for a special category - if need be - for games still in development which can easily take up to 3 years and more to finally complete or near-finish. You really can't expect much from one year projects - that are done only in peoples' spare time.

As we all know - people have all kinds of time committments these days - and to work on something leisurely is more fun...

 

Whoever said ABBUC contest entries could only be worked on for one year? The contest is just held every year. People can take as long as they want before entering on a given year.

Edited by MrFish

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I guess I got my wires crossed on that one. Although there are still conditions to the contest - which can exlude people from entering, I think it's about not releasing demos of it beforehand and things like that.

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Commenting on the demo scene - I'm always disappointed with what they'd done - they obviously spent a lot of time doing what they do - but they have to try outdoing the Atari Robot walking demo and such things.

You're apparently missing what demo coders are doing by quite a distance. Demos are more often than not about the code and producing something that your peers will scratch their heads over whilst wondering about how it was done; it's a bit like modern art, unless you know where to look for the nuances it can be hard to properly appreciate.

 

So as far as the scene looks at things, the Atari Robot might be nice but it really isn't complicated technically so even a novice coder can look at that demo and decide on at least one way to replicate it.

 

All that text scrolling stuff is very boring - unless they have something intelligent and thought provoking etc to say in it

Scrollers are used for a number of different reasons; in many cases they fill screen real estate or demonstrate that not all of the CPU power is used by the main effect. Or if the effect has been applied to the scroller itself it'll be there to demonstrate that the effect is realtime rather than merely a pre-calculated animation.[1]

 

So the text is secondary in those cases, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're not intelligent or thought provoking, it's just very subjective and your thought provoking as someone who doesn't code is going to be very different to mine when presented with a technical breakdown of a specific routine. And the more chatty stuff that remains is almost blog-like, grabbing a snapshot of the writer's life - i'm aware of at least one effort going on to preserve 1980s scrolltexts for that reason.

 

[1] Using pre-calculation is considered "cheating" which isn't a bad thing as such, but less impressive than doing everything on the fly. The best coders will sometimes use animations in a way that fools everyone else into believing they're not pre-calculated and that's impressive to other coders too (when they realise =-)

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You are right - I do not know what goes in the minds of the demo coder.

 

I never had any contact with anyone in the Atari 8-bit demo scene - though I did have contact with one Australian demo coder on the Amiga.

 

The Atari robot walking demo - I would rate as being the best ever - so very effective. It may appear to be somewhat simple - but I like to see others try emulating or improving upon that kind of animation - or any such animation as such...

There is a C-64 site that concentrates on showing the ending to any game that may have one - and it would be nice to see an Atari version - going through significant Atari titles. Few games would have a decent animated ending to them.

 

I deal with ideas and concepts all the time - and think such things can be used for demo text as such - though it's probably too heavy material for most? Food for thought - about what reality/truth is - or how this world is so messed up because of false ideas/concepts fostered in the general population by religious/political figures, etc. The Earth is heading towards a mass suicide - using up its resources like there is no tomorrow - etc kind of facts.

Or answering questions that religions fail at.

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You are right - I do not know what goes in the minds of the demo coder.

 

I never had any contact with anyone in the Atari 8-bit demo scene - though I did have contact with one Australian demo coder on the Amiga.

The demo scene is, pretty much, just the demo scene regardless of platform; there are format-specific parties like Sillyventure (well, it's more brand specific than format) or X but the bulk of the events like Revision, Forever, Arok or the big guns like Assembly are pretty much open to all as long as someone lugs a machine along to connect to the projector. There's a lot of cross pollination between platforms too, i "identify" as a C64 coder but accidentally won the Atari 8-bit competition at Forever this year and have released demos for the PET, 264 series, C128 and Amstrad CPC. Shadow/Noice/G*P also started on the C64 but has similarly been bouncing around between platforms like Zebedee on acid for years.

 

The Atari robot walking demo - I would rate as being the best ever - so very effective. It may appear to be somewhat simple - but I like to see others try emulating or improving upon that kind of animation - or any such animation as such...

It doesn't just appear to be simple from a technical viewpoint, it is simple. The actual graphics are secondary in that context because it's more about the process of updating the animation that demo coders will look at. i've been vaguely bouncing around ideas for porting it to the C64 for years but it wouldn't be technically impressive there either despite having a few more hoops to jump through.

 

There is a C-64 site that concentrates on showing the ending to any game that may have one - and it would be nice to see an Atari version - going through significant Atari titles. Few games would have a decent animated ending to them.

There's an endings feature on Plus/4 World too. But for classic games there's a good reason why they don't have an animated ending on most platforms - there probably wasn't enough room. The same goes for my stuff, i always aim for single load 48K or if need be 64K (the same as a commercial cassette release in the 1980s would have had) so there isn't much space left over after the game itself for cosmetic details, especially in the case of action games which require a certain degree of unrolling to hammer video registers.

 

i know we don't have to stick to those restrictions any more of course, but for me and i assume many others there's no real challenge in throwing a meg or two of RAM/ROM at a job or multi-loading everything from disk.

 

I deal with ideas and concepts all the time - and think such things can be used for demo text as such - though it's probably too heavy material for most? Food for thought - about what reality/truth is - or how this world is so messed up because of false ideas/concepts fostered in the general population by religious/political figures, etc. The Earth is heading towards a mass suicide - using up its resources like there is no tomorrow - etc kind of facts.

Or answering questions that religions fail at.

[shrugs] That probably wouldn't interest me personally but i can't speak for anyone else; some scene folks are thinkers, others are artists in the traditional sense, a few are activists in some form and most of the rest usually at least have opinions on such matters.

 

But there's also language barriers to consider (scrolltexts are written by and for an international audience, much of which doesn't read or write English as a first language), a lot of demos are released at parties and meant to be shown on a projector to a group of half rat arsed people, the memory restrictions (unrolled code for effects take up space which eats into how much text can be included) and trying to get an involved point across in something like a double sinus DYCP would be bloody tricky...!

Edited by TMR

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The Atari Robot ported to the C64 - of course, would not look as good. It is bit-mapped animation using GTIA10 - so you won't be able to get the shades needed from a C64 palette. A passable version could be done - taking into account what strengths there are, to take advantage of - but it'll only show how good the Atari version is.

 

Text dealing with ideas and concepts, etc - need not be verbose at all, nor use long words etc. Talking about truth/reality is using plain English - but one cannot directly say it plainly - so that you don't have an assassination hit-squad coming after you - but rather have to say it obscurely - the subject matter can be headlined such as:

What is truth/reality/consciousness/the human condition - then cite what everyone goes through - the human experience. List the ten things what religions teach you (everyone) - or rather don't teach you at all. Or be frank about all religions (they are all equal in this regard - non genuine). Address issues that affect all of us - what will happen within the next 50 years - what we are doing now, that cause problems decades later.

People don't realise that a lot is not said openly in the media - and that the media actually leads astray the public - by not taking to task things that need addressing/commenting on/ discussion on. Like how to move from a violent society (which we are) to a non-violent one - through education, through the media - that our preferred stories have to change - which teaches the lesson about violence (ie. killing/murder/etc). The only way to stop violence is to acknowledge it is wrong - and should never be accepted as a proper course of action. Meaning all wars were wrong to begin with, and you can never win any war. etc etc.

Most current stories condom violence - using violence to end violence never works, it only perpetuates it. Education is always the answer to every problem we have.

Capitalism is never a system that works for everyone - and encourages the wrong values to begin with. etc etc.

 

Everyone should be interested in the above material - especially people who use their minds/brains and are forward (also backward) thinkers. It is only non-free thinkers who will find it not their cup of tea. People of closed minds who favour an unfair system of thinking.

 

Of course -putting in a decent game ending is about impossible for someone writing a 16k game or less.

But rather than just putting up a plain text screen - saying you're won, etc - you can re-use the game graphics and do some kind of animation with them? But this requires some thought and inventiveness - time and effort, but the challenge is there to solve.

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The Atari Robot ported to the C64 - of course, would not look as good. It is bit-mapped animation using GTIA10 - so you won't be able to get the shades needed from a C64 palette. A passable version could be done - taking into account what strengths there are, to take advantage of - but it'll only show how good the Atari version is.

The robot itself is six luminances and the C64 has eight so, as i said, the colours wouldn't be the same but the graphics and animation should match up pretty closely. But as projects go it's all donkey work so not particularly interesting to actually do... and that's coming from someone who unrolls DYCPs by hand for giggles!

 

Text dealing with ideas and concepts, etc - need not be verbose at all, nor use long words etc. Talking about truth/reality is using plain English - but one cannot directly say it plainly - so that you don't have an assassination hit-squad coming after you - but rather have to say it obscurely

Most of the time a text writer'll be told "you've got 2K" or similar and the message has to be delivered in thirty two character chunks with each letter at a different height or the entire scroll flexing horizontally, flipping, interacting with other on screen elements or all of the above simultaneously.

 

i'm sort of tempted to give it a go though, perhaps wade through my prototypes to see if there's something which can be repurposed... how do you feel about DYCPs, i seem to have a lot of those? =-) We could enter it into Revision next weekend if someone fancies taking it along, see how a thought provoking scrolltext fares in the competition.

 

Everyone should be interested in the above material - especially people who use their minds/brains and are forward (also backward) thinkers. It is only non-free thinkers who will find it not their cup of tea. People of closed minds who favour an unfair system of thinking.

[shrugs again] i wouldn't find it interesting, but i doubt i'd describe myself as a free thinker... that really doesn't bother me in the slightest though. =-)

 

 

 

 

Of course -putting in a decent game ending is about impossible for someone writing a 16k game or less.

But rather than just putting up a plain text screen - saying you're won, etc - you can re-use the game graphics and do some kind of animation with them?

And then you've got to find the data for the screen layouts (which will be bigger than the text screen unless it's just a case of recycling something already used elsewhere in the game), further data for the animation, bespoke code to drive it all, probably custom DLIs and display lists as well or at the very least caveats grafted onto the existing in-game code... that all adds up to far more than it seems if you don't code.

Edited by TMR

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I guess I don't mind having a go at writing some scrolling text as such.

I'm not a fan of extra large fonts - that with 'food for thought' content - it would help if the text was as small as possible - or towards that end of the spectrum.

For a demo kind of scene audience - I don't think the topic of anti-violence would go down well - but a blend of science possibilities/science fiction could...

A 'food for thought' - comment about the early history of our solar system - how did we evolve? And about Earth's missing history.... Our connection with ETs - being the missing link... etc... Just need to know the screen width in characters - and size available - that if I create a standard text file in Wordpad, and saving it as a txt file - will this be close to an atascii file in bytes?

 

Instead of the serious topic of this mad, mad, mad, mad world we live in - and what we need to do/know to get out of this mess... etc.

 

I don't know what DYCP stands for - but I guess it's the scrolling text lines?

 

The demo scene has not really clicked on to the use of visual illusions - and it's probably the first area that should have occurred to them to make use of. Very simple tricks can be done - as well as very sophisicated methods.

But even the simple theme of time and motion done with all kinds of cues/clues/graphics can lull the viewer into that frame of mind - for going on that kind of journey.

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Just need to know the screen width in characters - and size available - that if I create a standard text file in Wordpad, and saving it as a txt file - will this be close to an atascii file in bytes?

You just need to send the text file, i'll tag it up for the assembler and it'll do the ATASCII conversion. There's no need to worry about layout as well, just remember that only about forty characters of your text will be visible at any time.

 

I don't know what DYCP stands for - but I guess it's the scrolling text lines?

DYCP is Different Y Character Positioning, a very oldschool demo effect where each character in the scroller can be at an arbitrary height height governed by a sine (or in my case cosine) curve. It looks a bit like this...

 

radiant_title.gif

 

...except the curve radius will have to be smaller on the Atari (the characters are all rendered to a single font and the Commodore 8-bits get twice as many characters in a font so can do larger areas vertically).

 

The demo scene has not really clicked on to the use of visual illusions - and it's probably the first area that should have occurred to them to make use of. Very simple tricks can be done - as well as very sophisicated methods.

Again, it's more about the technical side of things than anything else for demo coders; i tend to just knob around with effects i like more than planning any kind of journey so we're probably looking at something with vertical raster splits and a DYCP since i've played with both quite a bit recently - these aren't impressive routines since the C64 side of the demo scene did them in the 1980s and kept one upping, but in this case the effects are meant to be secondary to the text so that's okay.

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I can work on some text over Easter and see how it may end up - if that timeline is alright. I need to word it very carefully since it is scrolling text.

 

When someone presents visual effects very powerfully - I can imagine others wanting to follow suite and experiment with it themselves - adding their own technical aspect to it - because it is something new to play around with. Art is art, creativity is creativity whatever the medium or media, etc etc.

 

PS. Oh, I forgot that maybe you'll want something for over Easter? No problem - can have it ready in a day or two...

Edited by kiwilove

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When someone presents visual effects very powerfully - I can imagine others wanting to follow suite and experiment with it themselves - adding their own technical aspect to it - because it is something new to play around with. Art is art, creativity is creativity whatever the medium or media, etc etc.

The demo scene is a bit different though, it's far more directly competitive than most artforms or creativity.

 

PS. Oh, I forgot that maybe you'll want something for over Easter? No problem - can have it ready in a day or two...

i only mentioned Revision initially since it starts on Friday and i believe Heaven's going so presumably an Atari 8-bit has been lined up for the projector, the odds of making that deadline now are pretty low really. i'm still extremely doubtful that more than one or two people will be interested in what you're wanting to do to be honest, but i'm willing to run the experiment by providing a delivery mechanism and releasing it into "the wild" as it were, it's just a matter of finding another party with an Atari 8-bit really...

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Yeah I can imagine at any large or whatever audience - you'll get a lot of WTFIT kind of comments. And people who think they're open minded - are not that way really.

No one really wants to re-evaluate what they were taught, or thought was true, to change to something else. That my kind of text would only at most say, get 10% positive or favourable comment, and maybe 20% are neutral towards it? The rest will probably react negatively towards it? Maybe my anti-religion rant would be better received, over anti-violence and anti-war. That even in an anti-establishment group - they might initially think it's a political message I'm writing - but it's really anti-political.

I'll take my time with some text - in which you can do whatever you want with it, whenever.. it'll be in sections which can or cannot be used, etc

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Well, it depends what we call "realistic"! I imagined a game in graphics mode 8, with plenty of variance in the blocks used for each screen. In my vision of the game, it has inside scenes with walls, windows, doors and a bed. And outside I imagined roads, pavements, grass, trees and building frontages. Maybe something a little like "The Great Escape" on the Spectrum.

Excellent idea for a game! Lack of violence would be refreshing.

 

Great Escape is good example of "real life" isometric graphics on 8bits... Another one I like is Last Ninja 2 on C64:

post-14652-0-75739400-1398624977_thumb.jpg

For "in the house" example: "Inside outing"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTIIg1dnbt8

Spectrum version:

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This is exactly what I was thinking of. I like the C64 version there as it seems to be a bit smoother with the movement.

 

Yes, there wouldn't be any violence. It'd just be nice to have a game that is very much like real life.

 

I have the same taste in films. I like to see a film where the storyline seems real. And I like films that reflect my cultural background or other backgrounds that I am acquainted with.

 

I think that with a "realistic" game, I could imagine myself in that situation which then makes me "connect" more with the character. I guess with 8-bits that the power is limited, therefore it is easier to have aliens and things in them because we have no reference point with them in real life, that way they don't have to be realistic. However, with the 3D isometric games, you can get something which looks quite real (though not photo-realistic!).

 

I think that the power of the GTA games is that they have a relatively realistic environment and therefore you can choose whether you want to just walk around doing normal things - or if you want to, you can do a lot of things which you'd never consider in real life. Unfortunately we don't have that much computing power to use.

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I think that the power of the GTA games is that they have a relatively realistic environment and therefore you can choose whether you want to just walk around doing normal things...

There are people doing normal things in GTA ?! ;)

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OH... I totally missed the demo coder discussion... ;)

 

as being now again in demo coding mindset (sometimes I am in game mode and TMR told me that these are 2 different modes ;))

 

e.g. look at my latest production

 

http://youtu.be/wAKW9woAJjw

 

from technical point of view... to be honest... not much what other coders would appreciate... but what makes it imho different is the story, the artwork and the soundtrack. it took 4 months to code and put together in a presentable way. and the most advanced technique is what? the last part with radial realtime fire...

 

but what do people remember most? the part2 with the surface (reminding Star Raiders 2 and Axelay on SNES) and the Battleship...

 

Btw. the planet surface screen combines all Atari features... many colors on screen, depths with different layers etc... this could be turned in a nice game ;)

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as being now again in demo coding mindset (sometimes I am in game mode and TMR told me that these are 2 different modes ;))

Yup, i know very few people who can do both properly at the same time...

 

but what do people remember most? the part2 with the surface (reminding Star Raiders 2 and Axelay on SNES) and the Battleship...

And you had to nick one of those ideas from me [evil grin =-]

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TMR... little bit... but mainly playing Axelay on Raspberry Pi ;) and then I remembered your demo on u-tube. ;) and then fired off Star Raiders 2 and Rescue on Fractalus while watching Star Trek: Voyager Season 7 :D

 

btw. as you see... TMR and Cosine are in the grtx ;)

 

 

ps. your Axelay demo still rocks btw. ;)

Edited by Heaven/TQA

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Going back to my Pac-Man in Spindizzy idea, I remember having a dream about that once, this is where I thought up the idea.

 

It was like Pac-Man, but was in a massive 3D world. Sometimes you would flip from screen to screen and sometimes the screen would scroll. Some screens were slim and some were wide - a bit like there are different screen shapes in Head over Heels.

 

You could even drop yourself into a pipe which would then have you sliding through the pipe and coming out in another world, a bit like the pipe in Marble Madness.

 

The aim was to collect all of the pills like in Pac-Man, but not every square was covered. The screens/levels were all very moody with their own colour schemes. Now that would be a special game.

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The screens/levels were all very moody with their own colour schemes.

Taking some of those pills yourself, hah ? ;)

 

'Pacman in head over heels like world'... I like that... Could start simple just to get all the isometric engine kinks out, than add features as time and reality allow.

Guess it should be in multicolor mode... Larger pixels than HoH, but could look better than Airball:

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I have an imagination lets say! Strangely enough I'm not artistic at all, but I come up with creative ideas easily.

 

You're right, you could start off simple and then just see what you could keep on adding, if memory allows. Maybe every game design should commence with a list of wanted features. The features are listed in order of preference and you see what you can cram into the memory available.

 

I think a lot of games would be so much better if there were some extra features in them. When I see a game that is 5K in size and probably uses maybe 10K of memory overall, I think to myself that they've just wasted the rest of the memory. That is why time limitations mean that games do not achieve their full potential.

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...

One game design/type that has been overlooked is the Bust-A-Move 2 game, which has you shooting bubbles. It's one of those simple but playable games - I don't know if this has appeared on any 8-bit system?

 

Harvey

BALZ!!! There was one on the last abbuc disk but one (#115) - don't know why it hasn't got a mention anywhere else (maybe I missed it?)

Balz is very impressive sound, graphics, and more importantly controls - joystick and keyboard. It's very hard to clear them all out to complete a level so you end up playing for ages without getting anywhere - this negates the scoring too as you get more points for just continually playing. :)

post-19705-0-29293800-1399309579_thumb.jpgpost-19705-0-14963300-1399309581_thumb.jpg

 

p.s. this looks an interesting thread - I'd better start reading :thumbsup:

I also found this on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZH782k3-IE

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There are Bust A Move 2 style games on a couple of other 8-bits as well; Monsterbuster on the C64 was released as part of the RGCD 16K competition last year and the Spectrum got Cannon Bubble in 2007.

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It's very hard to clear them all out to complete a level so you end up playing for ages without getting anywhere - this negates the scoring too as you get more points for just continually playing. :)

 

The rule to avoid continue playing forever is very easy to implement. When you remove a color from the playfield, it is not generated again in your queue (and it is removed from your queue if is already there), this is what most Bust A Move games do (and also others like Zuma).

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One game design/type that has been overlooked is the Bust-A-Move 2 game, which has you shooting bubbles. It's one of those simple but playable games - I don't know if this has appeared on any 8-bit system?

 

Another good puzzle game that hasn't been done yet is Tetris Attack. Maybe MaPa might be interested to adapt this to his GPRIOR Tetris engine... (hint... hint...)

Edited by MrFish

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