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Nop90

Star Blader - Preview of a new lynx homebrew from Retroguru Team

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From now you can go on retroguru site and download the Rom.

And don't forget to leave a feedback here

 

 

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Star Blader is inspired by the classic fighting game Barbarian I and has been initially released for Atari Lynx at Revision 2021 game development competition.

 

During a diplomatic mission on Xanesh 7 to avoid a new war against rebel robots, Princess Alenia and her younger brother Elian were attacked by the robots leader, General Luger, and Princess Alenia was kidnapped. Fight against your own clones to free her.

 

Please mind the game is still in development, you can only play four fights yet! We aim to finish the game for 'Lange Nacht der Computerspiele" end of April 2021, the game will be presented by Manuel Sehrbrock.

 

https://www.retroguru.com/star-blader/

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Thanks for a fun demo/game! I've posted a short news story about it - https://atarigamer.com/news/1bnanqcgnpc

Can't wait to see more!

 

Can I suggest that the Retroguru downloads are named with their correct versions i.e. instead of v.latest have v.0.5.

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I already read some feedbacks on the forum of our french friends, I really hope some other will appear here soon.

 

Meanwhile let me tel something about the developement of this game.

 

Last autumn I was thinking what old game I could port to the lynx and the memory of Barbarian appeared in my mind. I loved that game on my C64 when I was child. Searching on internet I found the sources of the remake made by @F.L and used his images to make in about a week a POC of the game on lynx (without the opponent AI). I didn't used the sources because porting existing code is boring, I prefer to recreate a game from scratch. The most challenging thing in coding this POC was to manage a great number of sprites of such a size. The solution I used was to load the sprites from the cart (like does the Mortal Kombat demo) and to do it I hade do code some custom routines in ASM.

 

These are two screenshots of the demo rom. P2 stands still so you can hit it as you like: not so funny but useful to test the animations.

 

B1.png.e5ef84a53dbe52aa7ac24ea660429f6b.png B2.png.6bf78cc4165054e25d6b83ad0110c0f2.png

 

At that point I asked @F.L to use it's code to complete the game he answered yes, so I considered to make a clone of Barbarin close to the original, with the limits of the small screen obviously (and maybe one day I could rework that POC and complete it, what about it 😉 ).

 

Than I showed the rom to @Kojote asking him some help to fix some of the gfx and he proposed me to use it as the base for a new Retroguru game, with the condition to use only original code and graphics.

 

I agreed and he commisioned to the great Simon Butler a set of original sprites and backgrounds inspired to the Barbarian ones, but completly original and with a star wars theme. For the game music I asked @miker (that was working on the conversion of the mod tracks of Xump, Xump 2 and another RG port not yet completed) to compose an original soundtrack of the game. Now he is the official musicians for all the Retroguru Lynx games, and I'm very happy to work with him because is very talented.

 

At that point I was very busy with my job and other projects (like finishng Xump2 for the Lynx, Santa Factory for the Lynxmas, some tunings to Super Nutmeg that is close to the final release) so I could return to this project only at the end of february, when Kojote asked me to complete the game in time for Revision 2021. The available time was only a little more than one month, but only the AI for the opponent and the final fight was missing for a playable alpha version of the the game, so it wasn't impossible to do. I wasn't considering how many times kojote can change idea on a game in developement.

 

In a month I had to add more blood, flashing swords, new backgrounds (and new battles before the final boss), different font, a different menu system, and a lot of other changes.

 

One of the things most reworked was the training mode. I finished al the RAM coding the main game and adding all the small changes required by the training mode was very hard.

 

s3.png.b8437b5a2d7dfa6bee53b3183d9a799a.png

 

And to make things more difficult I wanted to have some nice animations at the game boot, so spent a lot of precious time for the title screen with the ship flying on the planet and for the intro screen with the prelude and the credits with the text in star wars style.

 

s1.png.2bbe4952cee49ba4d5de7ca565083288.png s2.png.cb7c1ccbaa36e21365307ad3fe255d03.png

 

For both I use uses the stretch and tilt parameters of the Lynx sprites (sometimes in a tricky way), and I'm very satisfied of them, but I'd like to have some feebacks about the result from the other devs of this forum.

 

At only a week from Revision we had the game almost completed and I was working on the final battle, but the strenght of the AI wasn't balanced. The CPU has some weak points that can be used to win almost all the fights, but the AI is considered by the beta testers to be too strong and the increase of difficulty at every fight not so evident. Despite this I'm satisfied of how it works and you can see it in action waiting in the menu screen for about 30 seconds, than a demo fight of CPU vs CPU will start

 

Tuning the AI s not easy, and we decided to limit the revision version to only 4 fights and to use the next month to polish everything.

 

In this time we will try to add other thing: we are considering a second control system selectable from the menu, the 2 players mode with comlynx connection is already under testing, there will be a final boss fight that will be not as easy as in the original Barbarian game, and if we have time we will add some other eye candies.

 

Let me know if there are other thing I should tune in the game in this month. I'll do my best to complete everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great mini post-mortem! I think I already said that but I'm really impressed by how much you get done in such a short time! I wish I could be as fast as you are ^^

 

Just gonna repeat what I wrote in the french forum now but I literally LOVE everything in the game apart from 2 things:

- the legs/walking animation looks quite odd. Due to the stance, and since all other animations are straight from Barbarian anyway, I would simply go with the same walking animation.

- balancing is going to be tedious I fear, but right now I could easily defeat all 4 warriors just rolling back and then doing the decapitation move. I have no suggestion here, except maybe looking a bit more at the original game?

 

On the WOW list:

- the flashing effect on the swords, need to check it out on a real console but looks cool already in handy

- the full screen animation: intro, scrolling text, and also the big boss laughing

- the dead removal animation

 

Now on the wish list:

- Would be nice to have a female warrior, and not half-naked in boob armor possibly :) (I guess adding long hairs would just do the trick)

- I need to dig a bit more into it, but the control scheme is a bit tricky. I mean especially the A+B combo. We used it too in Odynexus and, well, we reverted it since then because it felt unnatural and tricky to use on a real console. Opt1 is not great but still better imo.

- I don't get the story :) I don't need much, just to understand why I'm fighting those guys ;)

 

 

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11 hours ago, Nop90 said:

The most challenging thing in coding this POC was to manage a great number of sprites of such a size. The solution I used was to load the sprites from the cart (like does the Mortal Kombat demo) and to do it I hade do code some custom routines in ASM.

@Nop90 You have plenty room to improvements!

I've created animations from whole Lynx memory (from Handybug graphics window) for both MK and SB and It can be seen you are on-line updating very small portion of memory for sprites. MK has many more animations by just updating more. Cartridge interface if fast enough to do it between renderings.

 

JyrRVqT.gifmfyUPgD.gif

 

BTW I see plenty of free RAM below sprites there 🧐

Edited by laoo

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6 minutes ago, laoo said:

@Nop90 You have plenty room to improvements!

I've created animations from whole Lynx memory (from Handybug graphics window) for both MK and SB and It can be seen you are on-line updating very small portion of memory for sprites. MK has many more animations by just updating more. Cartridge interface if fast enough to do it between renderings.

 

JyrRVqT.gifmfyUPgD.gif

 

BTW I see plenty of free RAM below sprites there 🧐

Because in the demo I removed all the eeprom saves  stuff, the comlynx code and the final boss fight.

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13 minutes ago, Nop90 said:

Because in the demo I removed all the eeprom saves  stuff, the comlynx code and the final boss fight.

Yeah, red-eye is quite heavy...

And frankly one of up-sides of pure assembly coding is that it has (apart from speed of course) much smaller memory footprint than ca65. We were overall much less memory constrained as our engine was designed to have in memory only necessary code/data and to download it from cart on-demand (e.g. between levels etc).

 

 

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4 hours ago, LordKraken said:

I don't get the story :) I don't need much, just to understand why I'm fighting those guys

With the game there will be a short story written by a sci-fi novelist, and with the physical release also an illustrated booklet.

Edited by Nop90
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Some improvements:

 

 

The music is muted to better hear the nice 2kHz sampled SFX.

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It's definitely much much better to my eyes. I'm pretty sure it would actually be perfect if the character could move a tad faster so that the walking speed matches the legs animation thus removing the "sliding effect". But that could break gameplay I guess.

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13 minutes ago, LordKraken said:

It's definitely much much better to my eyes. I'm pretty sure it would actually be perfect if the character could move a tad faster so that the walking speed matches the legs animation thus removing the "sliding effect". But that could break gameplay I guess.

I simply halved the frames speed. I'll try to add other frames to make it better. Thank you.

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Great work @Nop90, you always amaze me with what you can do on the Lynx! I think the dead body removal animation can be faster, when I tried the demo that part of it frustrated me a little, it's a great animation but just needs to have a speed increase.

 

With regard to the Star Wars text, you might run into copyright issues there with Disney. I was never a huge fan of that text fading into the stars animation, it's just too hard to read, but on the Lynx the resolution is too small to make it very effective. Just my thoughts on it.

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1 hour ago, Igor said:

With regard to the Star Wars text, you might run into copyright issues there with Disney.

Copyright on a text scrolling shape? Don't think they can copyright it. And we never mention any copyrigted stuff of the saga (we don't show lighsabers, but plasmasabers, a completly different thing 😇), but we suggest it's a tribute in the intro.

 

 

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Fair comments. I did some more reading and seems that using the Star Wars 'scroll' is completely legal.

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19 minutes ago, jum said:

Good work! 

BTW what tools did you use to make the tunes?

 

Tunes are made by @miker
with Chipper. He has a huge collection of instruments and a lot of experience of atari music composition.

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And I will share some of them, just I need some time to put them in order.

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Can I just say, this looks fantastic.  The improved walk in is much better, before it looked a bit wierd almost 'crab like'.  

I'm not up with play in regards to what's possible memory wise, but another character would be on my wishlist.

But if there's limitation on memory etc, then what you have now is very good, and this type of game is definitely needed on the Lynx.

Also love all the extra screens, intro, boss laughing etc.  Great Work!

 

What's the plans for release?  A rom download, or full cart for purchase?

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5 hours ago, HolmesA8 said:

Can I just say, this looks fantastic.  The improved walk in is much better, before it looked a bit wierd almost 'crab like'.  

I'm not up with play in regards to what's possible memory wise, but another character would be on my wishlist.

But if there's limitation on memory etc, then what you have now is very good, and this type of game is definitely needed on the Lynx.

Also love all the extra screens, intro, boss laughing etc.  Great Work!

 

What's the plans for release?  A rom download, or full cart for purchase?

Competition Rom is already available as will be the updates when released.

 

A cart release is planned, but the producer we contacted is new to the Lynx market so he needs time to setup everything. We are considering to produce it only for the Europe and find another producer for North America, this way the shipping cost should make the final price too high, but nothing is defined yet.

 

Meanwhile I'm completing the game and adding more thing. But I'm late with my schedule, expecially for the comlynx mode that needs a lot of debugging.

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After 9 months of pause I'm back to coding for the Lynx and completing Starblader is my priority at the moment.

 

Just now I'm fixing the two players mode, while the single player mode is under test by the other members of the team.

 

Don't know if we can finish everything for 'xmas but we'll try because everything is ready to start the production of the phisical carts. 

 

PS: @Igor the old rom on Atarigamer doesn't load (gives an error) but it was working previously. Can you check why please?

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On 10/9/2021 at 1:44 AM, Nop90 said:

After 9 months of pause I'm back to coding for the Lynx and completing Starblader is my priority at the moment.

 

Just now I'm fixing the two players mode, while the single player mode is under test by the other members of the team.

 

Don't know if we can finish everything for 'xmas but we'll try because everything is ready to start the production of the phisical carts. 

 

PS: @Igor the old rom on Atarigamer doesn't load (gives an error) but it was working previously. Can you check why please?

It works, just not all the time 😅

I think the issue is the anti-leech changes I added to the code that serves ROMs. I've had an incident a couple of months ago where someone was trying to brute force download many ROMs so I added some timeouts and repeated error requests being blocked. I'll revisit that code tonight.

 

 

1240621403_ScreenShot2021-10-11at10_01_07.thumb.png.28b605d372bb3fc0744cac905dcc533a.png

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