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First release ROM of this WIP - feel free to have a play around on the first level :)

Far from perfect and lots of work to go however it is playable

 

ads.thumb.png.24aefa6eca693307c0462b08bdea0969.png

 

Latest Build: Captain Comic.bas.a78

 

 

Edited by TwentySixHundred
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Looking good!

I like the sprites animations, really smooth. The 7800 palettes are kinda tricky so maybe you should test it in different color "temperatures".

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15 hours ago, vhzc said:

Looking good!

I like the sprites animations, really smooth. The 7800 palettes are kinda tricky so maybe you should test it in different color "temperatures".

Thanks, yeah the palettes seem to be one the strangest parts to the 7800. Some animated sprites will start flickering with incorrect colours each frame and need to be corrected on the fly by switching the pallet values. It's definitely one part i really need to look into.

Edited by TwentySixHundred

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17 hours ago, TwentySixHundred said:

Thanks, yeah the palettes seem to be one the strangest parts to the 7800. Some animated sprites will start flickering with incorrect colours each frame and need to be corrected on the fly by switching the pallet values. It's definitely one part i really need to look into.

 

Depending on how you produce your images, sometimes the palette entries can vary from image to image. Instead of correcting on the fly, you can adjust it once with your import. E.g..:

 

    incgraphic taxi1.png 160A 0 1 2 3
    incgraphic taxi2.png 160A 0 1 3 2

 

In the example above, the last two palette entries have been swapped for the second frame. You may have to tinker with this a few times to get it right, but then you don't have to worry about it when displaying your image.

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To avoid having the palettes switch between frames, you can add an extra row of pixels, and ensure that all of the colors are represented in that bottom row. Then convert to indexed and output your png. After that, continue to work with the same png for the rest of the frames, modifying and exporting as needed.

 

Using that workflow with Gimp, I never have my indexes flip-flop between animation frames. The bottom row of pixels ensures that all colors will be there in each png, even if they're not present in each animation picture.

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Twentysixhundred, if you release a port of this game (or a near port) 100% I will buy it. I wanted a decent console port of this game forever and I hate the NES one, too fast and annoying renditions of the music. 

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15 hours ago, willbilly said:

Btw, I have two boxed copies of Captain Comic II that I can take pictures of for you if you need artwork references.

Thanks Will, that could really help for design and aesthetics keeping the game true to the originals. At the same time i don't want to completely rip off Michael Denio's (original game creator) work. Thanks that would really help 👍

13 hours ago, Karl G said:

 

Depending on how you produce your images, sometimes the palette entries can vary from image to image. Instead of correcting on the fly, you can adjust it once with your import. E.g..:

 

    incgraphic taxi1.png 160A 0 1 2 3
    incgraphic taxi2.png 160A 0 1 3 2

 

In the example above, the last two palette entries have been swapped for the second frame. You may have to tinker with this a few times to get it right, but then you don't have to worry about it when displaying your image.

Thanks Karl i had never thought to change the palette entries, that way it wouldn't effect other sprites that share the same pallet. Changing on the fly made that pallet utterly useless for other sprites as those would also flicker 👍

12 hours ago, RevEng said:

To avoid having the palettes switch between frames, you can add an extra row of pixels, and ensure that all of the colors are represented in that bottom row. Then convert to indexed and output your png. After that, continue to work with the same png for the rest of the frames, modifying and exporting as needed.

 

Using that workflow with Gimp, I never have my indexes flip-flop between animation frames. The bottom row of pixels ensures that all colors will be there in each png, even if they're not present in each animation picture.

Cheers Mike, yeah i am yet to understand how this works. I have noticed in the sample programs this method is used. The part i don't understand is how these row of pixels doesn't get displayed as part of the sprite?

 

So far im using the built in ADS sprite editor for sprites and Paint.NET for tilemaps. To prevent the colours from mismatching i had worked out that having 4 blanks {transperant+the three colours} (also useful for full coloured tiles) at the start of the tilemap sprite-sheet prevents missmatching ie; transparent first followed by the desired colours.

 

Just not exactly sure how this method works for sprites, however it does work for numeric and alpha. Im guessing 7800Basic is smart enough to interoperate what they are?

 

I probably should look into Gimp i have heard good things about it.

11 hours ago, Muddyfunster said:

Looking really good!

Thanks for the kind words and support mate 👍

3 hours ago, SearsRoebuck said:

Twentysixhundred, if you release a port of this game (or a near port) 100% I will buy it. I wanted a decent console port of this game forever and I hate the NES one, too fast and annoying renditions of the music. 

Thanks mate, yeah who knows where this project will lead to. One things for sure, i too prefer the MS-DOS version as it's the one i grew up with. Having said that the NES version IMO does have it's standout features but no where near as good. Guess we will see how everything goes and there is no doubt the 7800 community is very helpful. So there is no shortage of talented guidance when asking for help :)

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One thing about the NES version is that Michael Denio actually worked on it for Color Dreams, so in a way it was an 'improvement' approved by the creator.  Better versions of some of the music he put in?  Bentley Bear proves you can have good classical music renditions. It's almost tempting to ask him for input but I have no idea whats hes doing or if hes even still alive. 

Edited by SearsRoebuck
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1 hour ago, SearsRoebuck said:

One thing about the NES version is that Michael Denio actually worked on it for Color Dreams, so in a way it was an 'improvement' approved by the creator.  Better versions of some of the music he put in?  Bentley Bear proves you can have good classical music renditions. It's almost tempting to ask him for input but I have no idea whats hes doing or if hes even still alive. 

Here is a small interview with Michael, it's short and judging by the website layout im thinking it's fairly old. Yeah the NES port suffered with the out of place music renditions. Apparently he didn't work for Color Dreams and only met them at a trade show, although who exactly knows if that was a repretiable source. It's a shame because from a graphical standpoint the NES version was quite nice (besides the monochrome captain comic himself).

 

Edit: I miss interpreted what you said about Michael working on it for Color Dreams rather then working for Color Dreams themselves 👍

Edited by TwentySixHundred

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Wow.  Brings back memories of DOS gaming.  I very much remember the name, but looking at some of the graphics online have no recollection of those screens.  Very cool!

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Sooo....

You don't know this, but I'm actually a Texas Instruments fanboy, pretty much.  But not of the TI-99/4a, although I like it.  I'm a fan of the TI Professional Computer and its derivatives.  I'm also a fan of their failed computer projects, and among them is the TMS340x0 graphics processor line.  The creator (Karl Guttag) wanted it to be the GPU/CPU for a video game console, but that never happened.  A friend of the family named Raj worked at TI Bedford when it was being developed and ended up being the local guru for the architecture.  It was eventually used in some arcade machines like Hard Drivin'.

There's a little known demo from 1987 on youtube for that particular graphics processor showing a game.  It's called Captain Pixel, and it was written by Michael Denio.  I think this was the precursor to Captain Comic.

Here's a link: 

 

Edited by willbilly
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Thank you so much for sharing @willbilly , great backstory and an interesting one at that. You can see the resemblance of Captain Comic in the demo from Comics (pixels) space suit to the "bug-eyes" enemies. They even behave in a similar fashion and the spiral enemies behave like the "beach balls". Im assuming Michael had the idea back in 87 when creating this demo then went on to revamp the project for Captain Comic in 89.

 

Another feature i spotted, that was not added until Captain Comic 2, was the background wall posters. This was absent from the first game IIRC and interesting to see what id call essentially a prototype. It's almost like a look back into the early stages of development for Captain Comic.

 

Once again thanks for sharing this info, highly appreciated 👍👍

Edited by TwentySixHundred
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The 5th demo of Captain Comic showing the first 10 screens of level 1. The design of the screens were mapped out properly on graph paper and Paint.NET to help get more of a fluent level design. The plan is to atleast complete level 1 before releasing a ROM, cheers 👍

 

 

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Wow, looking really good!  My memory of Captain Comic is coming back now!  I definitely played it back in the day, just been so long that it took awhile to remember those screens!

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On 9/13/2020 at 9:43 PM, nadir said:

Wow, looking really good!  My memory of Captain Comic is coming back now!  I definitely played it back in the day, just been so long that it took awhile to remember those screens!

Thanks for the kind words mate, yeah it's not a 1 for 1 of the original but has the aesthetics. Basically will be my take on Captain Comic and there is a high chance the name of the game will change when i get further into it. There will probably be some completely new enemies and somewhat of a hybrid of both CC1 and CC2. Anyway guess we will see how it pans out :)

5 hours ago, willbilly said:

Sorry this took so long...

 

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Thanks @willbilly and no stress about the later scans. Not sure which box art i like more, out of the original or the sequel as both look great! Very helpful though, as it helps give some ideas as to what direction it could take 👍

20200904_225458_1600198383013.thumb.jpeg.e9905d74e9b57abe3d91a8ad7f2b279a.jpeg

CaptainComicBoxart.jpg

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Well i think it's time to give a playable demo now that i have level 1 complete. Rather then showing a demo video and spoiling, i thought those who are interested in the progress can have a play around.

 

The game is far from complete and i work on it in dribs and drabs when i have time. So progress is happening but obviously with 7800 things take a little longer the 2600. Anyway enemy AI needs some attention and i really should start focusing on some sound effects to add some atmosphere.

 

It's a little easy at the moment however, it's only level 1 and i will be making the game harder when it matures.

 

Im happy with the progress so far, cheers 👍

 

 

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On 9/27/2020 at 1:53 AM, Karl G said:

Could you make a .a78 version available as well?

Cheers Karl, yeah for some reason the file is 1kb larger?

 

I usually just compile and run straight from ADS so i hadn't really taken notice of the compiled files.

 

So now my findings is that i can't manually run the .bin file i posted in A7800 as it's just returning an error.

Further more i can run the .A78 however the quality looks drastically bad compared to the built in A7800 with ADS.

 

I have no idea why i can't run the files properly in the same quality as the built in emulator of ADS. Anyway here is the .A78 file 👍

 

 

 

Having said that it's showing 512kb when uploaded here... Strange lol

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24 minutes ago, TwentySixHundred said:

Cheers Karl, yeah for some reason the file is 1kb larger?

 

I usually just compile and run straight from ADS so i hadn't really taken notice of the compiled files.

 

So now my findings is that i can't manually run the .bin file i posted in A7800 as it's just returning an error.

Further more i can run the .A78 however the quality looks drastically bad compared to the built in A7800 with ADS.

 

I have no idea why i can't run the files properly in the same quality as the built in emulator of ADS. Anyway here is the .A78 file 👍

 

Captain Comic.bas.a78 512.13 kB · 2 downloads

 

Having said that it's showing 512kb when uploaded here... Strange lol

The 1KB larger is normal and expected for the *.a78 file compared to their *.bin file counterparts.  Header configuration details are placed at the beginning of the *.a78 file, which is the actual difference between the two formats.

 

The *.bin file will not run under A7800.  It needs the *.a78 file with the header detail which informs the emulator how the data is laid out.

 

What is meant by the quality looking drastically bad compared to A7800 with ADS?  Could you please elaborate?  It appears fine when I ran it.

 

Unsure why the forum shows the file size the way it does (512.13), but viewed from the hard drive the *.bin file is 512KB, and the *.a78 file is 513KB.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Trebor said:

The 1KB larger is normal and expected for the *.a78 file compared to their *.bin file counterparts.  Header configuration details are placed at the beginning of the *.a78 file, which is the actual difference between the two formats.

 

The *.bin file will not run under A7800.  It needs the *.a78 file with the header detail which informs the emulator how the data is laid out.

 

What is meant by the quality looking drastically bad compared to A7800 with ADS?  Could you please elaborate?  It appears fine when I ran it.

 

Unsure why the forum shows the file size the way it does (512.13), but viewed from the hard drive the *.bin file is 512KB, and the *.a78 file is 513KB.

 

 

Thanks for the explanation mate, yeah it's hard to explain but graphics quality seems to drop. Just looks sharper and brighter, where when running the ROM from a7800 itself it's more blurry/fuzzy and darker. Same 4.0 versions and the graphics settings all seem the same. Even the Fuji logo on boot seems to be degraded. Here is an example

 

ADS

ads.thumb.png.7797cc8f55c7ac16c1687a47970164dc.png

 

a7800

a7800.thumb.png.2bfc9181e31473082bb85da880d75cec.png

 

As you can see the a7800 image looks like it's running a filter.

 

Maybe @mksmith has made some tweaks to the built-in ADS emulator?

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Ah...I think you are referring to the bilinear video filtering.

 

From the A7800 folder, open the A7800.ini file under notepad (Or any other simple text editor).

 

Change this:

image.png.96afd609608f064e519f8ccd161d56ae.png

 

To this:

 image.png.796baffef436ab46b0f25c020b09ec7a.png

 

Basically, just flip the flag on the video filter option.

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