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Andrew Davie

Boulder Dash™ 2 - a new engine in development

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Posted (edited)

Looking to the future, I'm interested in writing Boulder Dash™ 2 ... n

 

Ten years after the original Boulder Dash™, we now have new technologies and understanding of the machine, and I thought rather than continue to use the original engine, I'd have a go at developing a new one for future versions of Boulder Dash™. The IP owners BBG Entertainment have kindly allowed me to demonstrate videos of the engine as it's being developed.

 

Just to be clear; this is not a rewrite of the original version, and we will not be revisiting those original caves with this engine. This new engine is targeted for possible  future versions of the game. And we all know how I lose interest in stuff at about 85% complete. So, don't hold your breath. Very experimental at this stage.

 

For those who are inevitably going to ask about the promised re-release of Boulder Dash™ #1; that is still in the pipeline. We're just moving extremely slowly on this and still lining up all the... things that need to be lined up. That project is not dead, in other words.  But that project is not this project. To be super-dooper clear; this new engine is totally unrelated to the original, and in any case it's not going to be ready for yonks. If ever.

 

So, keeping in mind that this is new technology, and experimental only... here is where I'll be posting update videos to demonstrate little bits of stuff as I develop. I'm going to try and tackle some of the shortcomings of the original that have bothered me over the years.

 

So, first-up is the diamonds. It's practically impossible to get a diamond shape in just 4 pixels and we've tried many different things to improve them. Jiggling them up and down was the final solution chosen in BD1.  But now I've found a new way that I think looks pretty ace. One of the issues with flashing or pulsing diamonds is that they all flash/pulse at the same time (as per the original). This can lead to an epilepsy-inducing screen when it's full of diamonds.  The trick is to find a way to make diamonds look "sparkly" without costing extra memory, and yet not have the whole screen overwhelm you with that sparkling effect. And, do it in 4-pixels-wide!

 

 

The colours in BD1 were constrained and designed to match the C64 version closely. I'm not feeling bound to that colour choice at the moment, so I'm just choosing random colour triplets at the end of the video just to give me some idea of the range/combinations that are possible.  I don't have any sprites working in this engine yet, so Rockford is represented by the big R :).  I scroll around a bit - you can see that the scroll resolution is single-pixel, so it's super-smooth-ish.  You can see that the logic for diamonds/boulders falling is mostly functional already.

 

Edited by Andrew Davie
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Very cool to see a new Boulder Dash engine. :D

 

Even as WIP, it is super smooth already. R for Rockford is fitting at the moment.  ;) Even so early a lot is going on. :D I look forward to staying tuned.

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29 minutes ago, Andrew Davie said:

So, first-up is the diamonds. It's practically impossible to get a diamond shape in just 4 pixels and we've tried many different things to improve them. Jiggling them up and down was the final solution chosen in BD1.  But now I've found a new way that I think looks pretty ace. One of the issues with flashing or pulsing diamonds is that they all flash/pulse at the same time (as per the original). This can lead to an epilepsy-inducing screen when it's full of diamonds.  The trick is to find a way to make diamonds look "sparkly" without costing extra memory, and yet not have the whole screen overwhelm you with that sparkling effect. And, do it in 4-pixels-wide!

 

Ooooh!

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Posted (edited)

Here area few more of the in-progress features/capabilities.

I've created a "kitchen sink" level which I will be using to test/demo stuff.

 

 

 

1) The screen reveal... the screen is uncovered as the scroll positions to the player. This was absent from BD1 - I recall that it was too hard, Thomas recalls that we ran out of space. In any case, I found an "elegant" solution to this that only required one bit per cell, and was easy to implement.

2) Butterfly (fireflies are "done" too). They wall-hug correctly but there aren't any explosions/killing yet.

3) Boulders animate when rolling/falling. I need to work on the graphics, but they do "spin" if you look closely.

4) There's a magic wall in there. Just visuals at the moment

5) Animation of objects is no longer on/off/on/off two-frame stuff. An animation can be a sequence of frames. The butterfly does this subtly with a 3-frame animation. I need to work on the colours though.

6) There's an amoeba there; ugly graphics. I'm going to make each cell asynchronous in a similar way to the diamond sparkle. Will be interesting to see how that looks.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Andrew Davie
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Looks good so far! Is BD2 going to be native 6502 or ARM-enhanced?

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3 minutes ago, Karl G said:

Looks good so far! Is BD2 going to be native 6502 or ARM-enhanced?

Well, this is ARM-based but I have not idea if it will result in a BD2/n release.  Just having fun learning the way things are done.

 

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Nothing I can add or help with but "Obligatory post to show I think it's cool and am supportive of your work" ;)

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Very nice smooth scrolling! 

And good to know that Boulder Dash #1 re-release is still in the pipeline 🙂

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52 minutes ago, Dionoid said:

Very nice smooth scrolling! 

And good to know that Boulder Dash #1 re-release is still in the pipeline 🙂

TY. I'm having fun learning CDFJ. It completely changes things.

Anyone wanting a BD fix should definitely buy the re-release ASAP when/while it's available. I'm known to be somewhat temperamental, so best you buy it before I do something... temperamental. There are aspects of BD which I have zero interest in programming (sound, for example), so the chances of a "new engine BD" anytime soon are as close to zero as 0.9 recurring is to 1.0.

 

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I know with Boulder Dash there's royalties and stuff with the people who currently own the ip. Have we ever considered a copycat scenario like Champ using Galagon instead of the real name, would that help make things easier on you at all with less restrictions, permissions, etc etc?

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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3 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

Well, I think the idea with the amoeba kind of worked.  Here is the first attempt...

definitely looks gloopy/bubbly.  Nice!

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23 minutes ago, Prizrak said:

I know with Boulder Dash there's royalties and stuff with the people who currently own the ip. Have we ever considered a copycat scenario like Champ using Galagon instead of the real name, would that help make things easier on you at all with less restrictions, permissions, etc etc?

Remember Princess Rescue? Doesn't work.

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2 hours ago, Prizrak said:

I know with Boulder Dash there's royalties and stuff with the people who currently own the ip. Have we ever considered a copycat scenario like Champ using Galagon instead of the real name, would that help make things easier on you at all with less restrictions, permissions, etc etc?
 

How does one go about making an absolute copycat of Galaga and then simply change the name to Galagon and avoid all copyright issues?  Is that really a legit thing?

 

 

 

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Good stuff Andrew - enjoy your learnings 👌

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Amazing already, Andrew!

 

Love the smoother scrolling and extra frames of animation on the "tiles".

 

Cheers,

Ben

 

P.S. Huzzah!

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4 hours ago, Prizrak said:

I know with Boulder Dash there's royalties and stuff with the people who currently own the ip. Have we ever considered a copycat scenario like Champ using Galagon instead of the real name, would that help make things easier on you at all with less restrictions, permissions, etc etc?

Not going to happen. I respect IP.

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Just curious brother, didn't know why some folks do and others not. I can respect that.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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That scrolling looks amazing. Nice work! I really like your solution to the sparkling diamonds.

 

It'd be cool to see this engine used for a game with similar "digging with falling items physics" mechanics. Crystal Mines would probably be too ambitious and this engine would be overkill for a Dig Dug-style game. It seems like there is a new game waiting to be designed that this engine would be ripe for. Even if it's like a simple Minecraft-inspired mechanic where you harvest blocks but have to place them elsewhere so you don't max out your inventory. Maybe you can turn the blocks into different types of other blocks based on what you "harvest" so you can modify the environment to thwart enemies or get to a treasure. I don't know. I'm just throwing ideas at the wall. 🙂

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I love Bolderdash.

 

It's like Lode Runner....the game never, ever gets old.

 

Coincidentally, I was just playing the 1982 arcade game The Pit, which from what I understand was an inspiration for Bolderdash.

 

You should make the Pit while you are at it!!

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, chad5200 said:

How does one go about making an absolute copycat of Galaga and then simply change the name to Galagon and avoid all copyright issues?  Is that really a legit thing?

I'm not going to make any comments on the morality of using someone elses IP without approval in my reply, but to answer the question, it all depends on who owns the IP and how much they're willing to fight for it. For example, someone like Nintendo is very concerned of any usage of their IP outside their own and will shut it down the second they get wind of it whereas some other company may either not know of an Atari homebrew using their IP or decide that it's not worth the money to stop it.

 

</end of off topic for me>

 

That said, these videos look fantastic! Keep up the good work @Andrew Davie!

Edited by slacker

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