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Magical Fairy Force: Portland 2019 Demo

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Magical Fairy Force, my upcoming 5200 title, will be demoed at the AtariAge booth at this year's Portland Retro Gaming Expo.  This thread will track the development of this demo and also explain how this game works.  I will be in attendance at PRGE for most of the day on Saturday, so if you see me hanging around, hit me up and I can show it off in person.

 

The game is very heavily influenced by Twinkle Star Sprites, an awesome Neo-Geo game that you should go look up if you aren't familiar with it.  Twinkle Star Sprites is a competitive top-down vertical shooter featuring a cast of cutesy characters blowing each other up.  If Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and a game like Strikers 1945 had a baby, it would be very much like Twinkle Star Sprites.

 

My game has the same basic gameplay concepts as TSS, but the details are very different.  In this game, you will select one of eight characters, and attempt to defeat your opponent's character by shooting things on your half of the screen.  Each character will have a set of unique abilities that can be used against your opponent.  The last fairy still flying wins the game.

 

large.1_character_select.png.63e1f4825797ea50e31164dfc35a337d.png

 

For the Portland demo, the game will be locked into the two-player mode, so you'll see a character select screen like the one above.  The game is compatible with the trak-ball, and hopefully we'll have two working trak-balls hooked up for the demo.  The full release will include a single-player mode, hopefully with simple character endings.  I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do the single-player AI, but if I could make a 5200 beat me at curling, I'm sure I can figure something out.

 

For a more detailed look at the eight characters, check out my previous character thread.

 

For the demo, the gameplay should basically function, but a lot of details will be missing.  In particular, I'm not sure how specialized the characters will be at this point.  Currently the only difference between them is the size and shape of their character sprites.  None of the special attacks are in place yet.  At best, I might have a basic character ability set up for each character, but I wouldn't count on that happening by October.

 

I will continue to post here with more information and gameplay details as the PRGE demo evolves.  I will also be posting the demo ROM once it's ready so anyone that isn't attending the show can give it a try.  At this point, I expect the game to be completed early next year.  As is my style, the ROM and complete source code for the finished product will be freely available so people can play around with it or perhaps port it to the Atari 8-bit computers, as some kind folks did with my last two games.

 

large.sugar.png.d99d90a9e80f625a733dd8ef31c3d00c.pnglarge.zevasha.png.743b5eda0b29c6085257c05c6dd9023f.png

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2 hours ago, AverageSoftware said:

Magical Fairy Force, my upcoming 5200 title, will be demoed at the AtariAge booth at this year's Portland Retro Gaming Expo.  This thread will track the development of this demo and also explain how this game works.  I will be in attendance at PRGE for most of the day on Saturday, so if you see me hanging around, hit me up and I can show it off in person.

 

The game is very heavily influenced by Twinkle Star Sprites, an awesome Neo-Geo game that you should go look up if you aren't familiar with it.  Twinkle Star Sprites is a competitive top-down vertical shooter featuring a cast of cutesy characters blowing each other up.  If Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and a game like Strikers 1945 had a baby, it would be very much like Twinkle Star Sprites.

 

My game has the same basic gameplay concepts as TSS, but the details are very different.  In this game, you will select one of eight characters, and attempt to defeat your opponent's character by shooting things on your half of the screen.  Each character will have a set of unique abilities that can be used against your opponent.  The last fairy still flying wins the game.

 

large.1_character_select.png.63e1f4825797ea50e31164dfc35a337d.png

 

For the Portland demo, the game will be locked into the two-player mode, so you'll see a character select screen like the one above.  The game is compatible with the trak-ball, and hopefully we'll have two working trak-balls hooked up for the demo.  The full release will include a single-player mode, hopefully with simple character endings.  I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do the single-player AI, but if I could make a 5200 beat me at curling, I'm sure I can figure something out.

 

For a more detailed look at the eight characters, check out my previous character thread.

 

For the demo, the gameplay should basically function, but a lot of details will be missing.  In particular, I'm not sure how specialized the characters will be at this point.  Currently the only difference between them is the size and shape of their character sprites.  None of the special attacks are in place yet.  At best, I might have a basic character ability set up for each character, but I wouldn't count on that happening by October.

 

I will continue to post here with more information and gameplay details as the PRGE demo evolves.  I will also be posting the demo ROM once it's ready so anyone that isn't attending the show can give it a try.  At this point, I expect the game to be completed early next year.  As is my style, the ROM and complete source code for the finished product will be freely available so people can play around with it or perhaps port it to the Atari 8-bit computers, as some kind folks did with my last two games.

 

large.sugar.png.d99d90a9e80f625a733dd8ef31c3d00c.pnglarge.zevasha.png.743b5eda0b29c6085257c05c6dd9023f.png

Congrats and good luck!!

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It's time for a basic explanation of the game screen so you know what you're dealing with.  Here's a nicely labelled screenshot:

 

large.2_screen_explanation.png.dc3dc22a6bcb9d7aaa3f6aac645b9b43.png

So here's the deal:  Player 1 is on the bottom, player 2 is on the top.  You scoot around your half of the screen, hopefully with a trak-ball, shooting things and trying to stay alive.  I'll talk about the things you can shoot later, but for now let's look at the various screen elements that I've labelled.

 

Awesome portraits:  The label says it all!  Aren't they great?

 

Fairy power:  Fairy power can be accumulated by shooting certain things and your current level is displayed on this gauge.  Fairy power is used to launch character-specific attacks against your opponent.  None of these are in place yet, but I'm trying to think of them and how they will be implemented.  I'd like to have a "light" attack that consumes part of the gauge, and a "super" attack that requires a full gauge.

 

Health indicator:  These four dots represent the four hits you can take before you die.  Not everything you touch will hurt you, some objects will affect you in other ways.  Right now there is no way to regain health once you've lost it.  Perhaps one of the characters will have a way to do this, not sure yet.  If you run out of health, you lose.

 

Flight power:  These two lines represent your ability to stay in the air!  Each player's flight power will reduce over time and also in reaction to certain game objects.  Flight power can be regained, and I'll explain how later.  If your flight power runs out, you lose!  Since it is constantly dropping, you always have to be thinking about how to maintain it.

 

large.425590765_pinkbarrette.png.49516e28f57850081bcc24ba1def11bd.png          large.porkchop.png.e0db4746d2d308ee584f7624cf34a7da.png

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Now it's time to look at the various things that are currently present in the game.  The final game will almost certainly have more stuff, and I might even get some new things in place for Portland, but at the very least these things will be in the demo:

 

large.3_game_objects.png.4136f428aa34f16224c1aed791200a54.png

So here's what's going on here:

 

Clouds:  Clouds randomly drift through the fairy arena.  Contact with clouds will sap your flight power, so they should be avoided!  Clouds can be shot and destroyed, and you'll want to do this as often as you can because destroying enough clouds will generate...

 

Fairy dust:  Fairy dust appears after you've shot enough clouds.  Collecting fairy dust will restore some of your flight power, keeping you in the air.  So to sum up, blast the clouds to generate fairy dust so you replenish your flight power.  Don't touch the clouds, because you will lose flight power.  Simple!

 

Player shot:  This is the basic player shot, fired by pressing the primary trigger.  Shots are fired toward the center of the screen.  Lots of things can be shot!

 

Shooting stars:  Shooting stars appear near the center of the playfield and shoot at you!  (GET IT?!  THEY'RE "SHOOTING" STARS)  Destroying shooting stars generates fairy power that can be used to attack your opponent in some character-specific manner.

 

Star shot:  These are the projectiles fired by the shooting stars.  They will damage you, and four hits from them will kill you and cost you the game!

 

large.frooty.png.94197827c2c7b780e48cf5b7cdc7e65e.png        large.7zcbx.jpg.9df184593ed183950de827497796b7a0.jpg

 

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Progress continues, and I've gotten a number of bug fixes and tweaks in place.  The biggest thing I still want to get done for PRGE is the character attack system.  This is where the different characters will truly separate from each other.

 

large.4_fairy_power.png.a9eedc3dc33ceaeaa26143eb1760c42a.png

 

Right now I'm working on getting all the plumbing in place to support the different character attacks, and it's basically ready.  When you've accumulated enough fairy power, your gauge will turn green to indicate that an attack is available.  Pressing the second trigger button will make your attack and consume some of your fairy power.  Use these attacks to pressure your opponent into mistakes and hopefully win the game!

 

I'm trying to put the first of these attacks into place right now.  After I get one working, I expect the others will follow fairly quickly, assuming I can think of things.  I really want to have these available for Portland, although there's a good chance that whatever I come up with will change between PRGE and the game's final release.

 

I'm also playing around a bit with sound effects and maybe even some simple music.  That would be nice for PRGE, but that place is really loud so I'm not even sure you could hear anything I put in there at this point.

 

large.Xorex.png.2aaf8e347d3fe51967cd3b56dd85a5e7.pnglarge.black_cat2.png.600c7d23edd0f45932200d57a69597e9.png

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So, I got the first of the character specific effects kinda-sorta in place this weekend.  I started with Ratcatcher veteran Pork-Chop, who can use his ratcatching net to slow down the other player.

 

large.5_porkchop_net.png.cca9d978c21d5b13e2afc48882580406.png

 

There's a neat little graphical effect for this, which you can see in progress in this screenshot.  This attack will slow down the other player's movement for a few seconds, making it more difficult to dodge and generally react to things.

 

While this particular attack isn't all that special, by getting this done I've established the foundation of the attack system and written a few useful pieces of code that can applied to some of the other characters.  This first one is definitely the hardest, and they should be easier from here on out.  Will I have all of the attacks ready for PRGE?  Maybe.  Of course, anything I have ready may be changed drastically for the final product.

 

(Sorry, no more character art!)

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It turns out I'm just not going to have enough time to get special attacks in for all the characters.  I've also been doing some thinking lately and I've got some interesting new ideas for how I want to handle these.  In light of this, I've decided to cut what little I had done on these for the PRGE demo.  All is not wasted though, as I've gotten the basic framework for the character attacks in place and have written some useful support functions.

 

I'm going to spend this week addressing some bugs and doing some polish here and there.  I'm hoping to get a few primitive sound effects in there, if nothing else.

 

So, here's what you can expect from the PRGE demo:

8 selectable characters

Trak-ball support

A few things to shoot and get shot by

A fully functioning 2 player mode

Hopefully, no existing bugs

 

I plan to have the demo ROM ready by Saturday, and will post it here so anyone that isn't attending PRGE can try it out.

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Alright, this be my PRGE demo build.

 

This is a weird build, considering my original plans.  I was going to do only two characters, but with all their gameplay details completed.  Instead I ended up with the full cast of eight characters, but with basically none of their gameplay details in there.  Oh well.

 

There are two known bugs in this build.  The first is that the shots fired by the stars occasionally have a totally bizarre aiming behavior and just go off in the wrong direction.  I'm almost certainly going to rewrite this logic completely, so I'm not bothering to fix this one.

 

The other bug is purely cosmetic.  Something causes the color table for the upper player's portrait image to get screwed up.  I've seen this before, and came up with ways to fix it that made no sense to me.  This current incarnation of the bug is much more rare, and so far I haven't been able to narrow down exactly what causes it.  Since it doesn't affect gameplay at all, I'm not going to waste any more time trying to correct it for this demo.

 

For future reference, the ROM has the identifying string "PRGE 2019 demo" embedded 256 bytes from the end.

 

I'm probably going to spend the weekend away from this project, since I've been pounding away at it for the last month to get it ready for PRGE.  Once I get back to work, I have lots to do!  Still targeting an early 2020 release.

 

Enjoy the demo!

 

fairy_force.bin

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4 hours ago, davidcalgary29 said:

Looks great! I sure hope I get a chance to play this at PRGE. :)

There's really not much to play in this demo, sadly.  You can mostly just ooh and aah at the pretty pictures.

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What emus does it work with? On Altirra it just comes up with the player select screen automatically moving between characters in the upper right. None of the controls seem to respond otherwise on Altirra at least

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56 minutes ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

What emus does it work with? On Altirra it just comes up with the player select screen automatically moving between characters in the upper right. None of the controls seem to respond otherwise on Altirra at least

I use Atari++ for my development, and I've also tested extensively on real hardware.  I've never tried any other emulator.

 

What's probably happening is that you don't have controller 2 configured correctly.  The demo is strictly two-player.

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