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Halycon275

Dragon killer (WIP, need feedback)

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so, you are a courageous knight (bear with me) that sets off on a quest to get gold. But here's the kicker, the dragon is not actually evil, the villagers are well aware of your misdeeds (thievery, attempted rape etc) and concoct a story about a helpless woman in an old house barely bigger than a barn. The dragon is jealously protective of it's gold and will kill anyone that comes near. This is my first version so far, my goal is to take what is usually expected of the genre and subvert it.

 

for instance, instead of the dragon killing you in subsequent updates, he haggles you down to 1 gold piece or decides to sue you for trespassing.  the human courts allow it and you are sent to prison, or you are forcibly turned into a dragon in turn.

 

What do you guys think. I just need feedback, no rude comments please.

dragon killer version 0.TZX

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2 hours ago, DragonGrafx-16 said:

"forcibly turned into a dragon in turn"

 

Sounds like a good thing to me... lol

anything else?

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Ok, so this is a ZX-81 game? I tried to load it in a ZX Spectrum emulator which caused it to crash. I'm running an older version of EightyOne which doesn't support TZX so I'll have to upgrade first, but the file size 48 bytes seems suspiciously short even for being a ZX-81 program. Did you upload it properly?

 

Edit: Aha, modern versions of EightyOne supports both ZX-81, ZX Spectrum and QL. However neither model yielded any particular results with the uploaded file so not much to comment except your concept description.

 

Instead, I'll contribute a screenshot of my pièce de résistance from 2002, Sir Clive's Dragon Mission "with more colourful action than Derek Jolly's favourite magazine".

 

dragon.thumb.gif.844cbef1bc6a047030f09c4959e15f73.gif

 

 

Edited by carlsson

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that is impressive, but the idea for me is to keep it minimal. I don't want to exceed a certain limit (in this case 2k or 4k, 8k maximum). If i can avoid unnecessary bloat, then it will work well enough. i know demo's are usually discouraged but i wanted to hear some ideas that i could use, as well as possible shortcuts. I could theoretically fit the game into 1k but that would cause issues that i would rather avoid, chiefly the screen memory running out. 

 

If you want i can put the code in a text file and upload it here?

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On the contrary, most developers on this forum are publishing WIPs and getting beta testers. I don't quite understand the size limitations other than if it is for a contest of some sorts. So are you developing for the '81, the Spectrum or some other Sinclair machine? Are you working in Z80 assembly language, BASIC or some other compiled language? Avoiding bloat is fine but the primary goal should be to fit in all the gameplay you have intended.

 

Sure you can post your sources, but an executable in form of TZX or whichever format you natively would save it is would enable more people to play it.

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zx81 for now. any tips for me?

 

btw, ql does not work in eightyone? was that ever fixed?

Edited by Halycon275

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I don't have any particular tips, but you probably have checked out all Dr. Beep's productions to get inspiration about the latest in ZX-81 games development?

 

Up till now I don't really have a clue what type of gameplay you are trying to make. At first I was getting Trogdor vibes but I'm not sure.

hqdefault.jpg

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Aha. Well, a text adventure with a maximum size of 4K won't be much of a game, no matter if it is written in assembly language or BASIC. Since the ZX-81 only has 1K built-in anyway and the standard memory expansion is 16K or more, you should project for a game using up to 16K.

 

For comparison, I believe Adventure International games like Adventureland, Pirate Adventure, The Count etc usually were 24K but the VIC-20 cartridge versions were squeezed down - shoehorned even - to 16K ROM.

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but you can't ask for feedback then say 'no mean comments' please, or things of a similar nature.

 

Honest feedback can be quite brutal, but you can't learn or make good games when the feedback is 'oh well done.' and no-one is honest with you.

 

Everyone will feel differently about your game. That's life.

I'd say, forget coding a text adventure for the zx81, Switch up to a Spectrum and use the extra Ks at your disposal to write

a good text adventure.

 

You need a half decent amount of ram for the location descriptions let alone the text parser. 

I really hate the idea of playing a rapist, so I'd pass on the game from the get-go.

 

You have to remember that for a player to want to dedicate hours of his or her life to a game, you have to make the lead character at least in part likeable.

 

And one final tip, you can get quite a lot of atmosphere out of the default set of character graphics if you use them in the right way.

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21 hours ago, Halycon275 said:

text adventure

You think you can fit a whole text adventure in 1K. Not a chance.

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1 hour ago, ∞ Vince ∞ said:

Sorry to burst your bubble, but you can't ask for feedback then say 'no mean comments' please, or things of a similar nature.

 

Honest feedback can be quite brutal, but you can't learn or make good games when the feedback is 'oh well done.' and no-one is honest with you.

 

Everyone will feel differently about your game. That's life.

I'd say, forget coding a text adventure for the zx81, Switch up to a Spectrum and use the extra Ks at your disposal to write

a good text adventure.

 

You need a half decent amount of ram for the location descriptions let alone the text parser. 

I really hate the idea of playing a rapist, so I'd pass on the game from the get-go.

 

You have to remember that for a player to want to dedicate hours of his or her life to a game, you have to make the lead character at least in part likeable.

 

And one final tip, you can get quite a lot of atmosphere out of the default set of character graphics if you use them in the right way.

yeah...sorry about that. i'll change what i can. define half decent btw. i will not use a spectrum, my goal is the zx81

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Text compresses real well though..  Dunno about squeezing a decompressor AND compressed text into 1k though... Maybe if the compressor is deadpan simple, and is specifically tailored for text...  Dunno.

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5 hours ago, Halycon275 said:

define half decent btw. i will not use a spectrum, my goal is the zx81

zx81 is going to be a tough road for a text adventure. 'Half Decent' said by someone British means 'good'. You need a good amount of ram.

I'd say for a fully functioning text adventure you need a minimum of 16k. Minimum.

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Again, that's if you use unecoded, raw text.

 

Instead, write out your script and dialog on a more capable computer.  Perform a word use and word pair analysis on the resulting text. Define how many unique pairs or triplets there are.  Substitute a few bytes in your script file for each word pair or triplet.  It should then be possible to construct entire sentences with just a few bytes of space, using this fixed dictionary.

 

The issue will be the size of the dictionary.  Keep word choice simplistic, and syntax staid. This will assist in getting the most bang out of your invested ram buck. 

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16K should allow at least some 50-60 locations, depending on how verbose you are. Of course with more complex clues like dragon negotiation based on certain tasks already finished, it will eat some memory. But as noted, anything like 4K is an artificial limitation on the ZX-81 where it is 1K or 16K that matters.

 

Anyway, instead of speculating and throwing pies, let's see some WIP even if it only a two room parser so far.

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https://bobs-stuff.itch.io/

 

Bob Smith's stuff is an inspiration. For coding the xz81, he's the man. But again all his stuff is 16k. 

Wonderful wonderful games. Plus his Spectrum stuff which is also very good.

 

 

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Yes, Bob Smith and Johan Koelman (Dr. Beep) kind of dominate the ZX-81 action games scene in one end each.

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It wouldn't be cheating if you used Basic. 

Write the game you want in the language you want, the only thing someone who plays it wants is a good game everything else languages just a personal preference.

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I think it would be a huge contribution to the retro gaming world if you produce an Inform or any form of Z-machine interpreter for the ZX-81, even fully expanded. I see there is one for the ZX Spectrum +3 and Amstrad PCW8000/9000 series, not sure if you can find anything for a lesser Z80 system.

 

C cross compilers indeed exist, like SDCC or Z88DK but I don't know how well they target the '81. In any case, you would definitely look to make your game 16K if you use a compiler that will come with its own runtime overhead, compared to both using the built-in BASIC interpreter or making your custom assembly code.

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2 hours ago, carlsson said:

I think it would be a huge contribution to the retro gaming world if you produce an Inform or any form of Z-machine interpreter for the ZX-81, even fully expanded. I see there is one for the ZX Spectrum +3 and Amstrad PCW8000/9000 series, not sure if you can find anything for a lesser Z80 system.

Stupid Q, but what is 'Inform'?

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