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Turbo Laser Lynx

Baron Lovejoy Travels in Time (WIP)

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I've been working on and off on a flick screen platformer for the Atari Lynx, Commodore 64, Commodore Plus4/C16 (+64k ram) and VIC-20 for quite a while, it's going to be called Baron Lovejoy Travels in Time.


post-2915-0-11386100-1555194222.png


I got this megalomanic idea when I saw a developer called "Misfit" from Finland releasing his game Rodmän for several old home computers. Since then I've seen more similar multi platform projects on the web. It's too much fun getting to understand better how some of the classic systems work and how to create games for them. :love:


Some thoughts behind the game:


I've been wanting to create a platformer for ever, and I've started a few over the years but never finished one. Now with more experience on how to actually being able to finish some small games, I'm determined to finish this one! Even if it'd take me years!


The main character is a plump rascal, Klaus "Lovejoy" von Kleinschnabel, the world renown painter, astrophysicist, musician and poet extraordinaire. Even though he's a bit of a hedonist his heart is good. He's built a time machine driven by steam which he and Countess Mimi uses to help & free people in time and space. The notorious time police is after him because he is a "lazy dreamer" and his groove of freedom and love threatens those in power. To proclaim himself Baron (free man) was the last drop for the Machinerists who means to own and control every man.


I want the game to have an unapologetically cartoony style that is clear and easy to read.


I want to keep the gameplay super simple, perhaps early arcade style, kind of in an archetype platformer style. I've been reading about game design lately, and some complain about "generic platformers" now a days, but I grew up with Bruce Lee and such on the C64, I love simple platformers, so I'm gonna create the game I would want to play myself.


I can't, and I'm not trying to compete with the recent AAA titles released on many retro systems. I'm an artsy fartsy type, so I don't care that much about fps and pushing the systems to their limits (although I find it really fabulous when someone does). I care about having fun and making a colorful, appealing game, hoping that the fun will be contagious for someone else too through the lens of the game.


Looking to release the game on physical media when it's done, somewhere in the far future. Preliminary thoughts is at least c-cassette version for some of the systems and cartridge for the Atari Lynx. I recently got an Atari ST for birthday, so a ST version is also possible if I manage to get a C development environment up and running.


*Disclaimer, the whole thing can and will still take a long time to finish. I'm extremely busy as I have a family and a day job. Worst case the whole thing falls on it's face, but let's not think that.


Some screenshots of other versions for fun:


post-2915-0-38378600-1555194230.png

C64


post-2915-0-71168400-1555194243.png

Commodore Plus 4 / C16


post-2915-0-44875400-1555194251.png

VIC-20


The most amount of graphics are done for the Lynx, but no coding has been done yet on the Lynx version, so here's a small taster of the VIC-20 version just for fun, I like the sfx so far :-D


Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx
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Turbo Laser Lynx has been using my original programmer board for more than a year...

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*Oh I forgot to add the confirmed time and space locations in the game to the top post:

  • the Caribbean 1688
  • London 1888
  • Miami or California 1988

 

Very cool, very cool!

 

Thanks so much! :waving:

 

As a Vic - 20 collector and fan I have to say your game has a lot of charm! I am looking forward to seeing how it develops! Keep up the great work!

 

Thanks man! I've been enjoying working on the VIC-20 version a lot. I never knew I'd fall for the VIC-20, I had a C128 as my first computer and only saw a VIC twice back in the day, but the (relative) simplicity of the VIC makes it so much fun to develop for. I love that little computer!<3 :-D I think at first both the release of the 'Cheese & Onion' game and then 8-bit guys VIC-20 Commodore history video also inspired me, because you can tell he really loves that computer.

 

 

Looks very cool! Can't wait to play it when it's released.

You'll need to get a Lynx Cartridge Programmer Board to make those Lynx carts I think! :grin:

 

 

Turbo Laser Lynx has been using my original programmer board for more than a year...

 

 

I had to check it up for fun and it seems I've had it ever since late 2015!
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/236146-programming-the-lynx-for-a-living-blank-carts/?p=3315907

 

Actually I was thinking of getting another programmer for backup at some point, but I need to get get so much other retro hardware for testing at the moment, and my economy is not exactly great, so another one is further down the prio list. I recently got a VIC-20, yay! And my friend is trying to restore a broken Plus/4 for me.

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This is looking really nice, as usual with your games. You really have a nice touch that works very well with Lynx games.

 

*Oh I forgot to add the confirmed time and space locations in the game to the top post:

  • the Caribbean 1688
  • London 1888
  • Miami or California 1988

Nothing in 1788 ? In the french pre-revolution mind in Paris ?

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This is looking really nice, as usual with your games. You really have a nice touch that works very well with Lynx games.

 

Nothing in 1788 ? In the french pre-revolution mind in Paris ?

 

Thank you for the nice words Fadest! :waving:

 

Hahaa, I was expecting this! I was thinking if I don't add any landmarks in the background but make it generally steampunkish, it could be "Europe 1888", the exact city would be in the mind of the player.

 

Actually if I somehow have the time I would like to add Transylvania 1788, with a ghosts 'n' goblins kind of mood, but I'm not sure if I can make everything fit and free development time and sometimes energy at the end of a long day is even more an issue. But we'll see!

Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx

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Thanks man! I've been enjoying working on the VIC-20 version a lot. I never knew I'd fall for the VIC-20, I had a C128 as my first computer and only saw a VIC twice back in the day, but the (relative) simplicity of the VIC makes it so much fun to develop for. I love that little computer!<3 :-D I think at first both the release of the 'Cheese & Onion' game and then 8-bit guys VIC-20 Commodore history video also inspired me, because you can tell he really loves that computer.

 

 

 

The Vic 20 was my first computer so it holds a very special place in my heart. There is something about the Vic that seems to ooze charm. I always felt it was the "little engine that could" type of machine. The programmers that made games for it had to use so much imagination to get things to work for it and it honestly has a feel all of its own.

 

The Vic 20 is the machine I wish a lot of people would try and see, as I am sure many of them will see the charm in it as well.

 

Please feel free to share some of your experiences porting the game to the Vic, I am sure there are some unique things you may have had to do it get it to work.

Edited by imstarryeyed
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Sounds like an ambitious but fantastic project. I would have picked the Amstrad CPC (or Schneider CPC as it was known in Germany), instead of the Vic though ;)

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Is the first picture the Lynx version? It certainly looks very nice.

 

Stick with London 1888.

:grin: Yup, the first one is the Lynx version.

 

I feel like a Paris 2019 level is necessary too :P

 

;P Yeah there's so much I'd wanna do but so little time.

 

 

Looks very mario 3 esq

 

I have a lot of cartoon influences, but can't deny the everlasting impact super mario has had on platformers :)

 

 

Sounds like an ambitious but fantastic project. I would have picked the Amstrad CPC (or Schneider CPC as it was known in Germany), instead of the Vic though ;)

 

I've become interested in a lot of the 8-bit era home computers including the CPC. In fact the CPC is top spot shared with the ZX Spectrum on my list to to "Inspect closer" after the 8-bit commodores. Another reason for the systems I've chosen so far is obviously that they share the same cpu, so it's fairly easy to re-use some functions and port stuff between the systems with CC65.

 

 

 

The Vic 20 was my first computer so it holds a very special place in my heart. There is something about the Vic that seems to ooze charm. I always felt it was the "little engine that could" type of machine. The programmers that made games for it had to use so much imagination to get things to work for it and it honestly has a feel all of its own.

 

The Vic 20 is the machine I wish a lot of people would try and see, as I am sure many of them will see the charm in it as well.

 

Please feel free to share some of your experiences porting the game to the Vic, I am sure there are some unique things you may have had to do it get it to work.

 

I completely agree with you on that, it's super lovely and charming! :) I'm sure too that people would see its charm if they'd look into it! On the other hand I like the communities of some of the slightly more "obscure" systems, like for example the Lynx, Vic-20 and C16/Plus4, because for example the c64 is so popular that you can't even keep up with all the stuff happening.

 

Well since you kindly ask I will indeed write something about the Vic-20 development so far (and some more backstory). Unfortunately I don't have the time anymore tonight for that wall of text. :-D

Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx
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Long time no update:

Over the last couple of months I've been learning about different graphics modes and restrictions on a bunch of old home computers and consoles (big thanks to all the helpful people over at different forums) and doing some pixel art mockups. It's been insane amounts of fun!:D

I also wrote down my current thoughts about "Baron Lovejoy" in a blog post a while ago. I was thinking of having it as a long term "side project" so that I can work on some small games in between if I feel like it.

 

1617858900_BaronLovejoyVersions12_10_2019.thumb.png.9e6187378397360c25bcdf92ac1b0cff.png


There's bigger screenshots and mock ups of the different versions in the blog post. Looking to do an Atari 8-bit mock up next.
 

 

 

Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx
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1 hour ago, LordKraken said:

woohoo, cpc version incoming :)

Haha, let's see if I can get even one version properly of the ground and finished first! :grin: I really want to do this game (or some game) for all or most of these systems over time, including the CPC.

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Woaw, I love all these version (with a preference for the GB and Lynx ones, but that's a matter of personal taste!)

 

That is quite an ambitious and long term project, but I'm eager to see the first version coming! :)

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Your game looks great, I am currently studying 6502 Assembly and the Vic 20 right now, do you have a journal or place you have chronicled your game?  I downloaded a lot of 6502 books but the Vic 20 variety are scarce.  I have been wanting to learn how to redefine characters and assemble them into sprite like shapes.  

 

Do you have any insight or pointers you can share for those of us just learning Vic Assembly?

 

I am looking forward to seeing how your game comes out, especially on the Vic.

 

 

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Thanks man! 
 
I would be really curious about your motive in learning assembly for the Vic-20. I'm doing the "ultimate sin" here 😉 because I'm coding the game mostly in C with CC65. 
 
If you want to know the Vic-20 inside and out and/or if you want to code a groundbreaking AAA game that the world has not seen before, or an action game where there's A LOT going on on screen, then assembly is the only way to go. However if you're happy developing a game that doesn't push the limits of the system then I've seen proof time and time again that C or even compiled basic is enough. (Jeff-20 over at the Denial forum has made some fantastic Vic-20 games in basic).
 
Many great games for retro systems lately have been written mostly in C too, some examples that come to mind would be Cheese and Onion (for the Vic-20), Rescuing Orc (and other Juan Martinez games), All the games by Mojon Twins s etc.etc. I don't think the Lynx 30 years contest would have had ELEVEN games if it was not for CC65. Nibbler and Pumpkid (both excellent) was recently done with Turbo Rascal for the Vic-20, another tool/language for making things easier than with assembly.
 
I think if you happen not to be the best programmer (like me) you can probably make a better game with the easier and shorter program structure in C. I do want to learn more assembly at some point, but it might be I have to save it for my golden years, I just feel like I want to develop games (faster) and do pixel graphics right now in my little spare time.
 
Unfortunately there's a C vs Assembly thread on every retro forum, and I do understand where the 'assembly only' opinions come from. An analogy is that I personally would be annoyed when my wife would like some design/drawing that is clearly made by someone that doesn't know much about design or when a song is made by only looping long samples, then I'm hard pressed setting aside my "elitism" myself :grin: In the end though it's really only the end result and having fun that matters. I think in a field like this it happens very easily that people stare themselves blind on technical details, "power" and frames per second instead of feeling and fun.
 
I wrote some thoughts about the whole thing here too earlier:
 
Of course it's important to remember that all the more higher level stuff wouldn't even be possible without people having deep knowledge of these old systems and huge asm skills, so obviously the biggest respect and thanks to those who have made all this possible over the last decades!
 
The people over at the Denial Vic-20 forums has been very kind and helped me out a lot too.
 
'beamrider' on denial has shared a minimal template which is a nice CC65 kickstart on the VIC-20.
 
I also found this article on c64 CC65 programming which I found very helpful in general for using CC65 for Commodore computers although it's not specifically Vic-20: https://sites.google.com/site/develocity/commodore/articles/alternative-programming-languages-c-part-1
 
Then there's these nice memory maps here, I like the "compressed" one five posts down:
 
Here's a thread about graphic tools for the Vic 20, I've been using beamriders tool: http://sleepingelephant.com/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=9203
 
I don't know if you are familiar with Vic-20s multicolor character mode? It can be confusing in the beginning:
 
It all started last xmas when I finally decided I want to learn coding for the Commodores (c128 was my first computer), I did a base for a game on the c128 in Basic, and by doing that I realised how I can use my new knowledge of doing the same thing in C / CC65, so I did a C64 version of the base of my game, and after that it was fairly easy to port the stuff over to Vic-20 and Plus/4. I had a lot of fun so far on the Vic-20 and Plus/4 to try and figure out how to draw (and erase) the software "sprites". It's quite a lot more work than on the c64 or Lynx though.
 
Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx
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Thank you Turbo Laser Lynx for the great information.  I am learning 6502 with the goal of being able to program better and faster on these older systems.  I targets of development one day are:

 

6502

=-=-=-

Turbo Grafx

Vic 20

Atari 7800

 

Colecovision (Z80)

 

Modern

=-=-=--

Omni (Z80)

Phoenix

Amico

 

I have been looking at using C for most of these but I wanted a strong foundation in assembly as well.  I am very much enjoying 6502 on the Vic by learning it on the C64 at the same time.  I am looking forward to creating my first game in it as well.

 

Thank you for the insights and links I have a great primer on getting started on C for those systems when I am ready to pull that trigger.  

 

As I learn 6502 one thought does seem to always come back to me, "Wow high level languages really are a whole lot easier to program for as you have so man less details to focus on.. haha.

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On 11/9/2019 at 9:22 AM, imstarryeyed said:

I am learning 6502 with the goal of being able to program better and faster on these older systems. 

Nice, yes that is my goal too "at some point".

 

Quote

I targets of development one day are:

 

6502

=-=-=-

Turbo Grafx

Vic 20

Atari 7800

 

Colecovision (Z80)

 

Modern

=-=-=--

Omni (Z80)

Phoenix

Amico

 

Nice! I couldn't really find any info on the modern systems when I tried to google 🤔

 

Quote

I have been looking at using C for most of these but I wanted a strong foundation in assembly as well.  I am very much enjoying 6502 on the Vic by learning it on the C64 at the same time.  I am looking forward to creating my first game in it as well.

It's probably a wise way to go about learning, for a proper foundation. Let me know if you announce your game or a work in progress in some other forum. I'm always curious about "retro" projects.

 

Quote

As I learn 6502 one thought does seem to always come back to me, "Wow high level languages really are a whole lot easier to program for as you have so man less details to focus on.. haha.

Yeah I think pulling together quite small games for old systems in C is already an achievement (at least for myself it was), so hats of to anyone who can work in asm!
 

 

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