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Cosmic Prison Commando - Demo 1.1


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#1 Carnivac

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 12:13 AM

Ok this still needs lots of finetuning, bug fixing and other bits (and obviously the bosses and later levels) but I figured it's alright to post it here since I've never ever posted a topic in Game Creations or WIP despite using GM since Feb 2002.

If you're put off by the blocky wide-pixel 16 color graphics well then this ain't for you so get the hell outta my topic. This is 1980s retro and yeah despite the system being made in 1984 they still attempted to make the sprites actually look like proper things rather than squares. This game is inspired by the classic platform shooter series Turrican so if you like those games ya might like this. This game isn't innovative and it's not clever. What it is though is action featuring a angry muscley dude with a big gun who likes to shoot the baddies dead and ya know what, sometimes that's all a gamer needs.

Game starts off in Windowed mode. Press F3 or Alt and Return for a proper resolution change to nice and sharp 640x480. Scanlines are on by default. Check the readme (pasted below too) for config details if you want to turn them off or make them transparent. I have them on by default as that's how my old Amstrad monitor looks and I loves the scanlines. Pressing F4 makes the game fullscreen by stretching to your current desktop resolution but it really kills the look and blurs the heck out of everything in a really nasty way.

Here's some old (but not that out of date) screenshots. Ignore the bottom two as those are from later levels not in this demo.

Posted Image

Here's some more info I lazily copy/pasted from the Readme.txt file I wrote earlier. It contains controls and config settings and all that.

This is the latest demo of a game originally written for a Retro Remakes contest where the category was 'We Like It Retro' which meant making a brand new game in the style of machines of the past. In this case it's my first computer the 1984 machine, Amstrad CPC 464. It uses the same 16 colors on screen chosen initially from the 27 color palette of the machine and uses the wide pixel resolution like the CPC's Mode 0. This demo contains all of level 1 except it's boss. The amount of secret areas found and Amstrad CPC 464 icon's are temporarily on the Pause screen. These will likely appear at the end of a level in the full version where bonus points will be awarded for finding all of them. A lot of the bugs of the previous demo have been fixed though there are probably some others now. And yes I know there is still no proper death sequence. I'll do it later.

All graphics and majority of code created by me, Carnivac
Sound effects are temporary and were created in SFXR
Music used in the demo are Switchblade - Title Theme by Ben Daglish and Glider Rider - Bike Theme by David Whittaker

Full credits on the title screen


Keyboard controls:
cursor keys to move
S to shoot
D to jump
Return to Pause and go to menu
Press crouch then jump to drop through thin platforms
Press crouch (when not firing) on restart panels to activate them

F3 (or Alt and Return) switches to 640x480 fullscreen resolution (recommended)
F4 stretches to fill current resolution
F10 ends game instantly

Settings
--------

For now the Options menu is disabled 'til I fix it. In the meantime the following options can be changed by altering the config.ini file. More options will be in later updates.

[Control]
Set Joypad to 0 for keyboard control
Set Joypad Selected to 0 for the first joypad or 1 for the second
Set Joypad Config to 1 for PS2, 2 for PS3, 3 for PC pads with a POV d-pad, 4 for regular PC pads (untested) and 5 for Xbox360
0 for joypad 1, 1 for joypad 2

[Audio]
Music Volume can be set to any number between 0 and 255

[Video]
Scanlines can be altered by any decimal point between 0 and 1. For example 0.5 will set them at half transparency and 0 will appear to turn them off.


Please report any major bugs to http://carnivacgames...o-11-topic.html

Anyone who has a regular PC joypad (not POV) and can test it with this game please let me how it goes because I cannot test it myself. I'm not sure it'll work as it is but if someone can report the correct values if it doesn't then I can fix it.

Please let me know if the game doesn't run at all for you. I know it happens with some machines. If so then I'll need your system specs and I'll work on a fix.


If for some reason you'd like to have a go then here be the link for the demo which is 1.84MB in size so it ain't much at all, eh?
Cosmic Prison Commando - Demo 1.1

If it's not working (or the screenshots or my sig images) it's because the host is temporarily down again (has happened a couple times lately). Just come back a couple hours later and it should be fine.

Ok then. Good. Right. Nice.... Holy crap I posted an actual gamey thing!

Edited by Carnivac, 25 July 2009 - 10:19 AM.

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#2 ChevyRay

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 12:20 AM

Lookin' awesome, man. Cheers!
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#3 3DMethods

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 12:41 AM

Wow, this game feels as though it could have easily been released back in the day. Great work on achieving that retro feel.
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#4 Carnivac

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 09:36 AM

I wish I had been a game developer 'back in the day'. I was just a little too young though to be employed. Also I was crap at everything.

I know this game ain't fancy or anything but I just make what I enjoy playing, and I actually enjoy playing this... more so than making the darn thing. I do not have a programmers brain. Used to, when I was a teenager, but then it got smacked out of there by a metal pipe. Ah, excessively violent schoolyard fights how I miss those.
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#5 histvan89

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 10:25 AM

Really nice work, the game truly has the retro style. It remembers me on Sega. :P
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#6 dadio

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 12:17 PM

Very tasty retro style. Very tasty.
Like the scanlines!... like the chip music too.

Would love to see a massive game made in this style in the future. :P
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#7 AuthenticKaizen

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 05:30 PM

wow... awesome carnivac! finally a updated demo :P

really good work with the graphics and all the details!
(i think a bit more energy would be nice...but it could also be that i played a bit sloppy with not paying too much attention to the actual bullets and enemies...)

moreover:
the hero - celestial force transformation animation looks fantastic!
(a demo would be much appreciated...! really looking forward to this one)
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#8 Carnivac

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 07:09 AM

Would love to see a massive game made in this style in the future. :)


Massive? This one's getting big enough. About six levels and they're pretty large. Large enough that they're a total pain in the butt to make with Game Maker's crappy room editor anyways.

(i think a bit more energy would be nice...but it could also be that i played a bit sloppy with not paying too much attention to the actual bullets and enemies...)


Yeah I think you just weren't playing properly. I've finished the demo with just one life before and there are several extra lives to obtain.

moreover:
the hero - celestial force transformation animation looks fantastic!
(a demo would be much appreciated...! really looking forward to this one)


Everytime I feel like I might release a demo for that I then end up just wanting to get a lot more stuff done on it before anyone sees it. Right now I'm working on the main characters spaceship which is the hub of the whole game but it's needing lots of work and may or may not make it into the demo.
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#9 dadio

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 04:56 PM

I notice on these forums that the only way to really get a decent amount of replies/feedback is to update your topic often.. so I'd say as soon as you add new things, update! :)
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#10 Carnivac

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 06:12 PM

I'm not that bothered to be honest. I enjoy playing it (too much actually since I keep running it to test something and end up playing right to the end of the level a lot) and it's me who I make games for primarily since I'm an aging nostalgic fool who misses a lot about the 8/16 bit era. If I wanted more replies or whatever I'd chuck in mouse aiming or mmo capabilities or just replace the graphics with sprite rips from nintendo, sonic or mega man games. But then (apart from the fact the first couple things ain't remotely retro) I hate all that in a GM game so I won't.

Main reason I made a topic was that I thought after seven and a half years of being a GM user it would be nice to actually post something playable on the GMC forum for the first time.
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#11 Zccc

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 06:26 PM

I just got surprised when I saw your name for the creator of this topic, because your pixel art is amazing and I know your site.

I remember those mockups from pixeljoint, so I just had to play this quick, and I must say it's a very good game, you programmed it well, too.
Do I notice some resembles from Universal Soldier?

Ok, the graphics are simply amazing, you know that xD. But the gameplay was too difficult, I couldn't dodge most of the enemy's bullets in small places, and the player seemed too slipery. I couldn't get to the end of the level, but I will try it again.

Keep creating games like this, congratulations!
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#12 Carnivac

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 06:33 PM

Do I notice some resembles from Universal Soldier?


Shh...Don't mention that game. It was a hackjob of the classic Turrican II with a tacked on movie license.

But the gameplay was too difficult, I couldn't dodge most of the enemy's bullets in small places, and the player seemed too slipery.


Slippery? That sounds odd. He hardly has any inertia. Certainly nowhere near as much as say, Super Mario.

And the demo really is very easy. Reckon anyone who played the classic platform shooters on the 8 and 16 bit machines can finish it within their first couple of goes.
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#13 x-death

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 02:51 PM

finally you release a demo!

and i can say it was worth the amazingly long wait. was hoping for hero - cf but. stilll good game. a little hard but still really nice game. my only complaint is those bloody flying things if you jump its hard to shoot them and you can't aim up to kill them so it makes it hard and long amounts of time to kill just a small number of them.

i would say an aiming system like the old metroid games would be a nice addition to this game. even if it is only up and down which gets added. but i agree with your previous comment about the whole making games for you and not really aring about the replies. personally i would say it doesn't matter a whoole lot what most say about the game, because fellow pixeljointers will know the peice for this game. and fellow gamers will know this is a great game.

but yeah if it had that better aiming in this i would say this is perfect game.

Edited by x-death, 25 July 2009 - 02:59 PM.

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#14 Carnivac

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 03:48 PM

Reasons why you can only shoot left and right:

This is intended to actually be put on a real Amstrad CPC eventually and as it is it's already pushing the memory limitations (particularly with the multitude of tiling and the parallax scrolling which are doable but tricky). Adding new sprites (difficult to draw accurately too since you can't just rotate the gun as the pixels are wide) for the main character and his bullets would be too much and referring to the reasons below I just didn't think was necessary especially since not enough attacks you from directly above anyways and the rare cases it might happen just get out of the way and leap up. If the droid is too high at first just wait and dodge the shots til it comes closer (only the pinkish droid is in this demo and it's firing rate is very slow. The later ones fire much faster) or jump on and off a nearby 'chickybot' (the walking ones) to superjump.

In the actual CPC version there wouldn't be enough controls to do it succesfully. They only have one button joysticks as standard. Even as it is in this version I've given you two action buttons. On the real machine up is jump. Holding fire down locks the direction depending on which way you were facing.

It's actually really, really easy to hit the flying droids. Crouching, jumping, moving about holding fire down to lock direction. I've been able to go through the game shooting them as soon as I get near them without taking a single hit. I've started to think the game is too easy but then it just the first level.

What about Mega Man? He can only shoot left and right, with a lot less rapid shooting and the little idiot still can't duck.

Also, just get the darn multiple shot power up. It gives you extra angles...

If I wanted more aiming possibilites I would have done it from the start but it's just not needed.

Anyways if that still bothers you, don't play it. Hero - CF actually uses 8 way firing since it's more crucial in it's gameplay (you're mostly flying about and being shot a lot from all directions). Best played on a joypad though. D-Pad to move, and the four fire buttons on the right of the pad to shoot in 8 directions in the same way. Based on the set up to Robotron the best arcade game ever made in my opinion. Works ok-ish on a keyboard but I don't focus my games on the keyboard as I strongly dislike using it for anything other than typing. If I could I'd just be a console game developer.

Next update will be coming soon. Main changes include offering a no-surface-mode for better compatibility on Geforce cards that GM doesn't seem to like. And also the control configuration is getting an overhaul to deal with the vast differences between the many types of joypads and I'll be using these scripts in my other projects too.

Edited by Carnivac, 25 July 2009 - 03:49 PM.

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#15 Revel

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 04:28 PM

Awesome! You made all the graphics yourself?

I generally don't like 16 color graphics, however the non-square pixels made it look a lot better. The game kept me going for a little while until I died great game!
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#16 photocopier

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 04:35 PM

Been waiting for this game since I saw it on pixeljoint, for someone so self-depreciating you aren't a half-bad programmer
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gah

#17 ChaosKnighT

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 05:08 PM

Hey, this was pretty fun! I noticed that getting the multiple shots powerup, then upgrading your gun makes your gun the normal one again. Was this intended?
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#18 Carnivac

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 07:46 AM

Eh?
Not sure what you mean.

Getting a blaster power up switches your gun to blaster and ups the level by 1. Getting multiple shot changes it to that and ups the level by 1 (obviously not past the max which is one less in this demo than in the full game, yeah the blaster gets even bigger). Getting killed decreases the level by one. The bottom level for all guns (including the ones not present in the demo) is the regular small blaster that you begin with.

And I swear if I get one more comment about not being able to shoot other directions like I been getting on my blog and email I'll go nuts (though those are outnumbered by people actually liking this game). Left and right is enough for any decent gamer. Don't see why I should change the gore gameplay just to suit someone else's preferences. Ain't like I'm being paid for this. It's my personal 'love letter' to my old 8 bit gaming days. Ah, how I miss those times.
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#19 x-death

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 06:51 AM

i admit i thought it would be funner having the directions but giving the game more thought allowed me to fingure out better ways of beating the level which didn't require them.

made it alot more fun, i still can't beat the game no matter how much i play it. how annoying...and i consider myself a gmaer, a pretty bloody good game at that.
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#20 Deadheat

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 10:30 AM

I passed it with about 1 or 2 lives left on my first try. I found a secret or two which I was annoyed at when the demo ended abruptly, as I couldn't go back and check them out! Heh. I glad your not putting in upwards aiming either btw, good to see you know how you want your game to be. Looking forward to seeing what the first boss is going to be like. I'd say just pop out a demo when you feel like it as I'm sure you will, otherwise I'll be playing it in bits and pieces haha. :lol:
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#21 dubdesign

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 01:27 PM

I'm experiencing issues running the game... I was really looking forward to playing my first Carnivac game :[


When I run the .exe a black screen appears with the music playing.
I tried to switch to fullscreen but that didn't help. The only notable thing is that when I do toggle fullscreen mode I see the game for a split second...
The game is running in the background as I can hear the menus and actually get in-game (by the sounds of it).

I tried fiddling with the config.ini switching off the scanlines for eg. but no results there.

Windows XP SP3, Processor Q6600, GFX 8800 GTX running in 16:10 @ 1680x1050

[edit]
Got it to run by re-starting my PC. I think that it messes up once I try and mess with fullscreen mode.
Once I do that I have to then re-start my PC for me to be able to play again.

As for the game itself it's great!
Lovely sprite work (to be expected) and the music is very nice too.
The game it most reminds me of at this point is Turrican in terms of CPC's level design and power-ups and I love that it's not overly linear and allows for a little exploration.
Very glad I finally got this little gem to run.

Edited by dubdesign, 01 August 2009 - 01:57 PM.

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#22 XeroxZ

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 12:45 AM

Great that you finally uploaded a demo. Though, I could not beat it. Be it the fact that it's 2:30am or I'm just a crappy gamer. It is all very interesting. finally a game that is actually hard for once! Can't say that I loved the controls, though. Good luck with it. Now we want a demo of Hero. :-)
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#23 Sulfuric

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 04:19 AM

I liked it. I beat it on my first go, although I finished with one life left. I like the difficulty, but I think that med kits could appear just a tiny bit more, along with the med kits giving just a tiny bit more health. Right now, they only regenerate about 2 bullets worth of damage it seems.

I hope you have a good slew of different enemy types. I like the ones now, but there's basically 2. I want things like... melee guys and stuff. I like how you could jump on their heads though. That's a nice touch.

By the way, it would be pretty sweet if you could somehow make this into a GBA game.

Edited by Sulfuric, 28 August 2009 - 04:22 AM.

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#24 Carnivac

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 12:36 PM

Could people who've played this please list their PC specs whether the game works or not? I'm trying to figure out why it's working for some people and not for others. Right now I seem to get reports of it not running on Windows 7 yet other GM7 games do. I know various Geforce cards have problems likely with the surface usage too. I just need PC spec details. Thanks.
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#25 dadio

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 02:40 PM

Worked ok here.
I liked it! :mellow:

I think 2 general pieces of good advice for max compatibility across the board are:

1. Never use surfaces for anything
2. No single image/tile/background over 1024

I'd be fairly sure that surfaces are your problem.

Goodluck!
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#26 Carnivac

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 03:08 PM

1. Never use surfaces for anything


But I have to, as there is no other way of scaling up x2 cleanly without blur and without weird glitching in the graphics (the viewport method does that and it annoys me, having various graphic problems on both ATI and Nvidia cards though tend to be different issues) and I can't have the optional scanlines then and I aaalways use the scanlines when I play cos I find PC monitors too 'clean' for gaming.

I've tried using a code that should have disabled the surface if it failed and gone with the crappy viewport scaling but it didn't seem to actually detect the surface failure on those Geforce cards properly. Might have to make it an option that begins before anything else then saves to the ini file so it doesn't have to ask again. Or I could just have a big label at the beginning that says that the game will only likely run on ATI cards though that seems like a bit cheap. It's difficult to try fix something for hardware you don't have, when the game works absolutely perfectly on the hardware you do have.

Also it's kinda pathetic that I have to do even use surfaces to something as simple as scale up cleanly at all. I just don't understand who the hell designed recent video cards to blur stuff when scaling and thought it would be a good idea. My old ATI Rage card never did this even on GM6 and 7. Crisp pixels all the way.

Edited by Carnivac, 12 September 2009 - 03:13 PM.

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#27 dadio

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 03:29 PM

Huh?
But you don't have to use surfaces for crisp scaling!

I upscale from 256x192 4X to 1024x768, in one of my recent games... no blur at all.

Just never use the default scaling options & set your view xy to 256,192 & set the port on screen to 1024,768 for example - problem solved.

EDIT: Also make sure Global settings interpolate pixels *off*
& start in full screen mode with keep aspect ratio

Enjoy! :mellow:

Edited by dadio, 12 September 2009 - 03:34 PM.

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#28 Carnivac

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 03:34 PM

Just never use the default scaling options & set your view xy to 256,192 & set the port on screen to 1024,768 for example - problem solved.



I've already said viewport scaling is glitchy too. On every PC I've tried it on it's led to pixels misaligned unless you round the x and y co-ords for every single thing which can lead to it's own problems especially when using hspeed and vspeed. And on my friends Geforce cards the tiled backdrop ended up with gaps of 1 pixel between every tile. Even on my PC I noticed the entire backdrop of tiles was all offset by 1 pixel each way.

Also viewport scaling can't do rotation of sprites properly. Instead of the rotated sprite being properly chunky pixels, it seems to rotate on the higher resolution causing those scaled up pixels to rotate using the higher res pixels and it just looks wrong.

Edited by Carnivac, 12 September 2009 - 03:35 PM.

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#29 dadio

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 03:55 PM

Ok.
Worth fiddling with the exact settings tho.
I've found that if I set the view to 255x191 (lose a pixel top & side) & 1024x768 out, it works perfectly.
(Or 256x192 & 1023x767 not sure which, something like that... try them).
Perfect (apart from 1 pixel loss on screen edges).

Rotations shouldn't interpolate so long as interpolation is set to off.

No problems for me here with this set-up across 3 PCs (1GeForce, 1 Intel onboard, 1 ATI).

(Scanline stuff could be done with just BG set to overlay as well I think, in case that's using surfaces as well).

Best of luck!
Hope you find a solution that works 100%!
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#30 Carnivac

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 04:13 PM

Ok.
Worth fiddling with the exact settings tho.
I've found that if I set the view to 255x191 (lose a pixel top & side) & 1024x768 out, it works perfectly.
(Or 256x192 & 1023x767 not sure which, something like that... try them).
Perfect (apart from 1 pixel loss on screen edges).


I've tried all that in the past many, many times, believe me. It doesn't work to a satisfactory level. I want all the lines usable and sprites do get misaligned and background tiles messed up on various cards. I've seen this occur in many GM games that use viewport scaling including Deadheat's Mission Extreme and Pug Fugly's Destructivator.

Rotations shouldn't interpolate so long as interpolation is set to off.


I don't think that's anything to do with interpolation as I never have that turned on anyways. It's not blurring the rotation, it's sharp but using the higher resolution, not the chunkier scaled up 'fake resolution'.

Scanline stuff could be done with just BG set to overlay as well I think, in case that's using surfaces as well).


If that had been possible I would have been using scanlines way before GM6. I had tried to find a solution but nothing came along that worked til surfaces.

Surfaces stay, at least for decent video cards. Viewport scaling is intended to be the back up method for those crappy cards that can't handle surfaces. The trick is just figuring out a way to make that detect that the surface failed and get it using the back up.

Thanks for trying to help though.
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#31 dadio

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 04:47 PM

Gotchya, gotchya & gotchya.
Yeah I got the distortions myself -
until I nailed the exact combo of weird view size & weird output size after eons of fiddling...
can't be 100% sure it works on all cards, cos haven't tested it enough but also I don't use BG tiling (just objects/sprites) so def can't be sure about your gap problem at least.

(Even on my setup it is a pain to lose those pixels off top & side, but it just seemed like the best solution I could come up with.)

Ah yep (rotations) I getchya. Yeah it does look wrong alright. What I actually do there myself is not use code rotations - just rotate the image in Photoshop or whatever (8 frames timed right is usually enough).

Scanline effect (somethig like it) can be achieved with BG set to overlay tho... just needs to be a semi transparent BG.
(Impossible to get any bloom or stuff with it tho, if that's what you're at.)

Anyway, yeah, sorry I couldn't help.
Goodluck with finding a perfect solution.

(For what it's worth, my biggest personal pet peev on the limitations/problems of GM is that damn "screen tearing" on quite a few set-ups - your game being a good example of where the quality is tragically dropped through the floor with all the tearing on my PC here :mellow:...
hopefully Mark gets around to rewriting the graphics GM someday & resolving all these annoying issues.)
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#32 Carnivac

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 05:02 PM

Scanline effect (somethig like it) can be achieved with BG set to overlay tho... just needs to be a semi transparent BG.
(Impossible to get any bloom or stuff with it tho, if that's what you're at.)


How without the scanline itself being scaled up? This is why the surfaces have to be used since they copy the image to the surface then scale it up and the scanlines (which are not applied to the surface) are pasted over the whole thing in the higher resolution afterwards. With a background and viewport scaling I found the scanlines got scaled up too giving the totally wrong effect.

(For what it's worth, my biggest personal pet peev on the limitations/problems of GM is that damn "screen tearing" on quite a few set-ups - your game being a good example of where the quality is tragically dropped through the floor with all the tearing on my PC here :mellow:...
hopefully Mark gets around to rewriting the graphics GM someday & resolving all these annoying issues.)


Really? I assumed that got fixed ages ago. I can't say I've noticed much screen tearing if any at all since I got my current PC about 3 years ago. Used to have it happen a lot on my GM4 and 5 games even in the old exclusive mode on my old PC but since that blew up and I got another it's not been an issue at all except in Flash and a couple games made in Multimedia Fusion. Certainly haven't noticed it in GM games and even those that do it's so subtle enough to ignore it.
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#33 dadio

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 05:14 PM

If ya haven't noticed it or if it's "not bad" then you have a PC set-up/graphics card/drivers combo that doesn't have the problem, it's a weird one caused by how Mark has implemented double buffering in Direct3D - that only effects*some* people -
but that effects *all* GM games - no matter what settings are used.

Trust me...
lots of people out there do have this issue still (even recently people brought it up to Mark & his reply was it's a known issue & he can't do anything about it)...
if you hav eth problem, you'd know -
it's bad...
& destroys any GM games that "scroll" in any way.

There are a few buds of hope in some projects that some people are working on at the moment (that work as OpenGL renderers bypassing Direct3D) - assuming any of these see the light of day, they should permanently solve this (really annoying) issue.

Scanline thing: 2 or 3 or 4 different scanline images for 2 or 3 or 4 different resolutions? Don't know the specifics in your case, but there's usually some kind of (admittedly lame-ish) "workaround" trick like that that can be done.

Anyway, I've jabbered on enough, better get back to my own games!
Goodluck!
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#34 Carnivac

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 05:22 PM

If ya haven't noticed it or if it's "not bad" then you have a PC set-up/graphics card/drivers combo that doesn't have the problem, it's a weird one caused by how Mark has implemented double buffering in Direct3D - that only effects*some* people -
but that effects *all* GM games - no matter what settings are used.

Trust me...
lots of people out there do have this issue still (even recently people brought it up to Mark & his reply was it's a known issue & he can't do anything about it)...
if you hav eth problem, you'd know -
it's bad...
& destroys any GM games that "scroll" in any way.


Great. Basically another thing to worry about that I don't see on my own PC but happens to loads of other people who would play my games. Nnngh... I think I wanna go code for a system where everyone who owns one has pretty much the same exact hardware. Hell, if I was smart enough to learn to code my PSP I'd be doing that. I use the lil machine every day as it is and Sony do have that interesting PSP Mini's thing starting up that seems to trying to be encouraging indie devs to get making small little games for it and putting them on the PS Store. Well, once ya buy the dev kit anyways...

Anyway, I've jabbered on enough, better get back to my own games!
Goodluck!


You too.
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#35 saulc12

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:37 AM

Scanline effect (somethig like it) can be achieved with BG set to overlay tho... just needs to be a semi transparent BG.
(Impossible to get any bloom or stuff with it tho, if that's what you're at.)


How without the scanline itself being scaled up? This is why the surfaces have to be used since they copy the image to the surface then scale it up and the scanlines (which are not applied to the surface) are pasted over the whole thing in the higher resolution afterwards. With a background and viewport scaling I found the scanlines got scaled up too giving the totally wrong effect.

(For what it's worth, my biggest personal pet peev on the limitations/problems of GM is that damn "screen tearing" on quite a few set-ups - your game being a good example of where the quality is tragically dropped through the floor with all the tearing on my PC here :skull:...
hopefully Mark gets around to rewriting the graphics GM someday & resolving all these annoying issues.)


Really? I assumed that got fixed ages ago. I can't say I've noticed much screen tearing if any at all since I got my current PC about 3 years ago. Used to have it happen a lot on my GM4 and 5 games even in the old exclusive mode on my old PC but since that blew up and I got another it's not been an issue at all except in Flash and a couple games made in Multimedia Fusion. Certainly haven't noticed it in GM games and even those that do it's so subtle enough to ignore it.


I get around this scaling problem by drawing all the graphics double size in the first place (i.e. make a 24 by 21 pixel sprite image then scale this in the sprite editor with quality set to poor), so that I don't need to use any kind of scaling (if you look at the bepuzzled redux and rocky redux demos I posted on retro-remakes you can see the effect) I then place my scanline image which includes a little random noise over the top and I randomly jump this around every frame to give the impression of RF noise to make the scanline effect look a little more lifelike.

I have tried using surfaces to apply a little blurring to the underlying image which would make for a near perfect PAL emulation but have found them to be so unreliable that I just gave up because the results differ wildly between my nvidia based machine and any other.

Edited by saulc12, 20 October 2009 - 10:38 AM.

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#36 ZZ man

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 12:15 PM

This looks awsome i got to say you are a talented spriter...
Well you know all the retro games are freaking hard so maybe make it harder?
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#37 Carnivac

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 11:54 AM

I get around this scaling problem by drawing all the graphics double size in the first place (i.e. make a 24 by 21 pixel sprite image then scale this in the sprite editor with quality set to poor), so that I don't need to use any kind of scaling (if you look at the bepuzzled redux and rocky redux demos I posted on retro-remakes you can see the effect) I then place my scanline image which includes a little random noise over the top and I randomly jump this around every frame to give the impression of RF noise to make the scanline effect look a little more lifelike.

I have tried using surfaces to apply a little blurring to the underlying image which would make for a near perfect PAL emulation but have found them to be so unreliable that I just gave up because the results differ wildly between my nvidia based machine and any other.


Tried the double size graphics thing before but it was just far more of a headache having to think of all my values times 2 and make sure all the graphics would stay on the 2x2 'grid'. Plus I didn't like that the filesize jumped up too. Nah, I hated it.

I don't like RF noise at all. Maybe it's because I played all my 8 bit computer games on a crisp monitor and not a blurry crap TV.

Well you know all the retro games are freaking hard so maybe make it harder?


Already had some people complain that it's too hard. Maybe I should try work some difficulty option in there.
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#38 ev149

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 06:30 PM

Awesome game, loving the graphics! I can't wait to see a full game made from this.
Reminds me of playing on my NES. Those were the days. :P
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#39 lasttea999

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 06:09 AM

Simply epic. I found it a bit difficult!
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#40 scream681

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 12:56 AM

This is really a great job, you got the feeling right. The graphics are awesome,especially with the color and resolution limitations. But I wouldn't expect anything less from you.

There were only a couple of things that bugged me.

Those tiny flying balls, shouldnt really hurt you when you touch them, I mean, you are a bad ass guy why would a small flying ball hurt you if you touch it. It just doesnt feel right.

Also the enemies fire as soon as their first pixel is visible on screen, or even before that, dunno bout the others but I almost always got hit once by an enemy if it was facing me before I kill it. You should give the player a bit more time to react to an enemy, especially when you are in a narrow place so you cannot jump to evade an attack. Or make the enemies drop healthkits once in a while. Its not that I lost all my lives, I just found it really annoying to have to respawn and find my way back to where I was.

Keep up the great work man!
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#41 Carnivac

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 10:30 AM

Those tiny flying balls, shouldnt really hurt you when you touch them, I mean, you are a bad ass guy why would a small flying ball hurt you if you touch it. It just doesnt feel right.


I'd forgotten about that. One color of them was supposed to be safe to touch and another color was supposed to electro-zap you if you touched them which would explain why it hurts. I even already pixelled the blue electric 'shield' sprite of theirs done that was supposed to overlay on them when it happens. I'll add that to the list of things to fix.

Also the enemies fire as soon as their first pixel is visible on screen, or even before that, dunno bout the others but I almost always got hit once by an enemy if it was facing me before I kill it. You should give the player a bit more time to react to an enemy, especially when you are in a narrow place so you cannot jump to evade an attack. Or make the enemies drop healthkits once in a while. Its not that I lost all my lives, I just found it really annoying to have to respawn and find my way back to where I was.


Yeah I was gonna tweak the enemies distance thing for their firing. I'll add that to list too. Are you using the manual restart points though? I spaced them enough so it doesn't take too long to get back where you were. I'll make it so occasionally the enemies drop a minor medikit.

Keep up the great work man!


Thanks. Been a while since I've worked on this one as my other project has been taking up the tiny bits of freetime I tend to have where I feel competent enough to code stuff. I need more brainpower. Though playing the demo just now has got me wanting to do more to it as I really enjoy playing it (of course you should enjoy your own games else why would you make them I suppose). I do have level 2 partially created. I did have huge issues with GM7's room editor and transparent tiles (I just mean the background removal color not alpha) as it would slow down immensely and make level design even more of a chore than it is in the GM room editor. GM8 though has no such problems with the speed at all. Much nicer to use.

Edited by Carnivac, 09 August 2010 - 10:34 AM.

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#42 SpriterX

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 07:05 PM

Great pixel art/music, and the game is quiet enjoyable at its current state. One thing with the text though,
is that is kinda difficult to read with the scan line effect over it. Other then that, keep it up and hope to
see a full release soon. 8)
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#43 Carnivac

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 08:41 PM

One thing with the text though,
is that is kinda difficult to read with the scan line effect over it.


Can't be changed. And I don't want it to.
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#44 superjoebob

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 06:30 PM

Fantastic game so far Carnivac, It's like I'm living in the late 80's.

During a time where everyone's constantly trying to be unique, throwing together terrible games with vector graphics and "original" gameplay mechanics that are entertaining for all of 10 minutes, this is a refreshing change. Pixel art is something that absolutely nothing can replace, it's something that can drive a game if it's done properly. It's beautiful in the sense that every game looks different, no 2 pixel artists draw the same.

I don't understand why, but retro games like this will always have a place in my life, I'll take a game like this over Call of Duty or World of Goo any day. Good job on this game, I never really looked at any of you're work before, but after seeing this you can be sure that's going to change. Can't wait to see what else you come up with, keep pushing to keep this style of game alive.
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#45 Carnivac

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 12:24 PM

Thanks. Yeah, I don't set out to be original or unique or anything like that. I just like making new games that feel very much like they came out at the time I was most into games and that people don't often make in the same way anymore. Not out to be popular or groundbreaking. Just happy making the kind of old style games that I enjoy playing and wish there were more of. There are plenty better pixel artists around and I wish their quality of work was more present in video games indie or commercial. Even as a console download too, though that I found that recent Scott Pilgrim game very unappealing graphically and seems spending a lot of time trying to convince itself that it's retro (even overloading on all the nostalgic references which just makes me think it's got no real identity of itself), when it sure doesn't feel like it to me.

Anyways I think I need to tear this demo level apart and recreate it. Since originally making this demo I've totally redone how I deal with tiles and level creation in my other couple retro projects so I will need to sort this one out too though when that's over the other levels should actually be far, far easier and quicker to create.

Edited by Carnivac, 29 August 2010 - 12:27 PM.

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#46 DarkFalzX

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 04:30 PM

Oh, dude - I totally agree on your point about Scott Pilgrim game - such a huge disappointment! It looks like a Paul Robertson game rather than a Scott Pilgrim game. Ben2theedge's mockups (and his back-covers of the volume 5 and 6) looked a lot more like what that game should have been. It was also quite bad gameplay-wise - like they never played a beat-em-up before!

The prospect of you working on Cosmic Prison Commando some more sounds amazingly awesome! Just throw in another level or two, and a couple of ridiculous bosses/minibosses, and call it full game - remember games like AMC only did have, like 4 levels. Here are some nitpicky crits:

* Some checkpoints would be nice: )
* I am tempted to ask for a minimap, or at least a compass pointing you to the goal, but I guess getting lost is a part of the gameplay. However - re-threading the same ground, only now completely devoid of enemies can get somewhat tedious.
* Maybe add some stationary environmental hazards - like moving spikes, conveyor belts, crumbling platforms, or wall-mounted flame-throwers?
* The time limit seems unnecessary, like it's just an arbitrary way to get killed that serves no gameplay function (those always annoyed me in old games as well).
* Another point of criticism would be the enemy shot speed - especially for the little flying drones. Those shots, especially when fired at an angle are almost unavoidable. I suggest slowing them the hell down.
* Oh, and the level ends just very abruptly. No boss for us?: )

Edited by DarkFalzX, 30 August 2010 - 05:15 PM.

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#47 Carnivac

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 05:33 PM

The prospect of you working on Cosmic Prison Commando some more sounds amazingly awesome! Just throw in another level or two, and a couple of ridiculous bosses/minibosses, and call it full game - remember games like AMC only did have, like 4 levels. Here are some nitpicky crits:


It was planned to have about 5 or 6 levels and at least one of those was to be on a junky speeder bike type thing that would feel somewhat like playing as the Jeep in Silkworm but faster paced and more frantic.

* Some checkpoints would be nice: )

I didn't make those clear did I? There are manual checkpoints in the game. They're the little thin platform bits with tiny ramps on each side. Press down on one of those to store your position which changes the color of two segments of the checkpoint to let you know that's the one you've activated. I made them manual due to the slight exploration aspect as automatic checkpoints might have you put somewhere you didn't really want to be put back. Anyways the vaugueness of how those worked will be fixed when the full game has it's instruction screen displayed during a cycle of the title screen or within the intro before level 1.

* I am tempted to ask for a minimap, or at least a compass pointing you to the goal, but I guess getting lost is a part of the gameplay. However - re-threading the same ground, only now completely devoid of enemies can get somewhat tedious.

The checkpoints help that somewhat. I don't think I'd know how to do a compass because of the different routes. I don't really want to do any kind of map for this.

* Maybe add some stationary environmental hazards - like moving spikes, conveyor belts, crumbling platforms, or wall-mounted flame-throwers?

Some of those were in but removed due to time constraints when the demo was being prepared for the contest.

* The time limit seems unnecessary, like it's just an arbitrary way to get killed that serves no gameplay function (those always annoyed me in old games as well).

I dunno. I always kinda liked them and getting a bonus at the end of a level. I was also always quite fond of how in Super Mario Bros if you jumped on the flag at a certain amount of seconds (like ending 1, 3 or 6 I think) you get a lil fireworks display. I did have some ideas of making the timer more relevant to the ingame events too. I'd like to leave the timer in for nostalgic reasons if nothing else.

* Another point of criticism would be the enemy shot speed - especially for the little flying drones. Those shots, especially when fired at an angle are almost unavoidable. I suggest slowing them the hell down.

Those are fast? I found them quite slow as I'd originally done them a lot faster. I've not had any issues trying to dodge them when I play. I really hate slow bullets. For me it often takes out all the tension of getting shot at.

* Oh, and the level ends just very abruptly. No boss for us?: )

Again that was a time related thing for the contest deadline. And to be honest I've never coded a boss and still not quite sure how to go about it the best way and I really should cos I need them in my other main project too. Problem is very often the bosses (particularly in old games) are very often my absolute least favorite part of playing a game. Often you're stuck in one small area repeating the same tedious routine usually about 3 or 5 times to hit some shiny weak point. Boring. I want to do something a bit more involving and interesting but I haven't yet decided what.

Thanks for the nice comments. Means a lot coming from you being the best damn pixel artist to have so much experience in GM.

Edited by Carnivac, 30 August 2010 - 05:37 PM.

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#48 DarkFalzX

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 07:04 PM

It was planned to have about 5 or 6 levels and at least one of those was to be on a junky speeder bike type thing that would feel somewhat like playing as the Jeep in Silkworm but faster paced and more frantic.


A speederbike stage could be awesome - ala Super Turrican 2 on SNES. As much as I loved Silkworm - the Jeep gameplay was... hehehe - kinda gimped: ) Basically the helicopter did all the work, and the jeep just struggled to survive.

I didn't make those clear did I? There are manual checkpoints in the game. They're the little thin platform bits with tiny ramps on each side. Press down on one of those to store your position which changes the color of two segments of the checkpoint to let you know that's the one you've activated. I made them manual due to the slight exploration aspect as automatic checkpoints might have you put somewhere you didn't really want to be put back. Anyways the vaugueness of how those worked will be fixed when the full game has it's instruction screen displayed during a cycle of the title screen or within the intro before level 1.


Oh - I thought there might've been something to those platforms - maybe add a sort of a "glowing" (color-cycling?: ) beam rising from them to make them look extra-significant?

The checkpoints help that somewhat. I don't think I'd know how to do a compass because of the different routes. I don't really want to do any kind of map for this.


Are there multiple exit points on the level, or are those planned? If there is only one exit point - the compass could point there, and indicate the distance to it.

Some of those were in but removed due to time constraints when the demo was being prepared for the contest.


I see: ) The level did look kind of barren to me.

I dunno. I always kinda liked them and getting a bonus at the end of a level. I was also always quite fond of how in Super Mario Bros if you jumped on the flag at a certain amount of seconds (like ending 1, 3 or 6 I think) you get a lil fireworks display. I did have some ideas of making the timer more relevant to the ingame events too. I'd like to leave the timer in for nostalgic reasons if nothing else.


The time limit makes sense in straight-forward games like Mario and Sonic, also in any kind of "race to a checkpoint" game. The long-level games, like Turrican and Stormlord actually were made less playable by the time limit IMO.

Those are fast? I found them quite slow as I'd originally done them a lot faster. I've not had any issues trying to dodge them when I play. I really hate slow bullets. For me it often takes out all the tension of getting shot at.


Yeah - if I rush forward, I just keep getting shot without even seeing what is shooting at me first, and before I even try to react.

Again that was a time related thing for the contest deadline. And to be honest I've never coded a boss and still not quite sure how to go about it the best way and I really should cos I need them in my other main project too. Problem is very often the bosses (particularly in old games) are very often my absolute least favorite part of playing a game. Often you're stuck in one small area repeating the same tedious routine usually about 3 or 5 times to hit some shiny weak point. Boring. I want to do something a bit more involving and interesting but I haven't yet decided what.


Totally right about the bosses in old games - even in the classics like Turrican (and not-so-classics like AMC and Jim Power) the bosses are more of an exercise in memorization or just straight-up "keep spamming it with everything you got and hope it dies first" kinds of things. I suggest looking at the better examples of 8 and 16-bit shooter bosses for inspiration, or even straight-up "borrow" those patterns: )
Oh, and coding bosses is a giant pain. I end up using a variable "mode" which switches the behaviors of bosses. The string of IFs can get mighty long though if the boss pattern is complex, but the results can look pretty rewarding (see my latest LOI video if you haven't seen it yet - it's all about a boss fight: )
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#49 Carnivac

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 07:31 PM

A speederbike stage could be awesome - ala Super Turrican 2 on SNES. As much as I loved Silkworm - the Jeep gameplay was... hehehe - kinda gimped: ) Basically the helicopter did all the work, and the jeep just struggled to survive.

Not the way I played it. I was always the jeep and I was always saving the chopper's butt. The jeep is the reason Silkworm is an all time fave of mine.

Oh - I thought there might've been something to those platforms - maybe add a sort of a "glowing" (color-cycling?: ) beam rising from them to make them look extra-significant?

I don't want to do anymore graphics than necessary as I'm already gonna struggle to put this on a real CPC. A beam would have to be a fairly large sprite to look at all fitting and it would be very wasteful. That's also why the jump sprites for the player character are actually just frames from the run cycle.

Are there multiple exit points on the level, or are those planned? If there is only one exit point - the compass could point there, and indicate the distance to it.

No, usually the one exit. But I've always felt a compass does take a lot away from these kinds of games. I want the player to feel somewhat lost and explore for themselves. That's what I like doing in games. And real life actually. Part of the reason I'm looking forward to moving home is being in a town I've never been to before (apart from when I viewed the property). Lots of exploration potential :D

I see: ) The level did look kind of barren to me.

Barren? I'm not familiar with the word.

The time limit makes sense in straight-forward games like Mario and Sonic, also in any kind of "race to a checkpoint" game. The long-level games, like Turrican and Stormlord actually were made less playable by the time limit IMO.

Have to agree to disagree then. I'm not removing it as I like the timer even just to keep the player moving.

Yeah - if I rush forward, I just keep getting shot without even seeing what is shooting at me first, and before I even try to react.


That's weird. I changed the firing range of the enemies ages ago so that they'd only start shooting once they were in view. I don't get why that would be happening.

Totally right about the bosses in old games - even in the classics like Turrican (and not-so-classics like AMC and Jim Power) the bosses are more of an exercise in memorization or just straight-up "keep spamming it with everything you got and hope it dies first" kinds of things. I suggest looking at the better examples of 8 and 16-bit shooter bosses for inspiration, or even straight-up "borrow" those patterns: )


Hey as far as I'm concerned AMC is a classic (The Amstrad version anyways, the 16 bit versions were awful) and along with Turrican is the main inspiration for this game. I had many more hours enjoying playing that than a lot of so called 'classics' such as Contra/Gryzor (which I ALWAYS hated mainly because of the stupid somersaulting and the laying down when ducking which makes judging collision with running enemies somewhat trickier than it should be). To be honest I can't think of ANY bosses from 8 and 16 bit games I actually liked playing against. I just don't really like the concept at all and consider them the worst thing about a lot of otherwise great games. I love Castlevania - Symphony of the Night but everytime I came across a boss and got locked in the room with it I just got fed up even if it was easy and quick to kill. I just wanted to keep moving and exploring. That's the main reason it's taken me so long to think up boss ideas. Especially ones that would work on an 8 bit computer well.

Oh, and coding bosses is a giant pain. I end up using a variable "mode" which switches the behaviors of bosses. The string of IFs can get mighty long though if the boss pattern is complex, but the results can look pretty rewarding (see my latest LOI video if you haven't seen it yet - it's all about a boss fight: )


I can't watch online videos at all at present. Seem to have broken a codec or the flash player or something and I'm too stressed with other stuff to attempt trying to fix it anytime soon.

Edited by Carnivac, 30 August 2010 - 07:32 PM.

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#50 DarkFalzX

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 07:53 PM

Not the way I played it. I was always the jeep and I was always saving the chopper's butt. The jeep is the reason Silkworm is an all time fave of mine.


Heheheh - I dunno - always got bored when playing as jeep, but I guess it's possible to get really good at it: )

I don't want to do anymore graphics than necessary as I'm already gonna struggle to put this on a real CPC. A beam would have to be a fairly large sprite to look at all fitting and it would be very wasteful. That's also why the jump sprites for the player character are actually just frames from the run cycle.


It TOTALLY doesn't have to be anything large or impressive-looking. I meant something like those check-point pads in Knytt, which in your game would be something like a 16x16 sprite.

Barren? I'm not familiar with the word.


I used that as meaning "empty". Don't pay much attention to that - it's a very relative statement, as the game looks awesome: )

That's weird. I changed the firing range of the enemies ages ago so that they'd only start shooting once they were in view. I don't get why that would be happening.


Might be my fault. Perhaps I was just frustrated that every time I would try to just hop through a section, there it was - a bullet just ready to knock me down: )

Hey as far as I'm concerned AMC is a classic (The Amstrad version anyways, the 16 bit versions were awful) and along with Turrican is the main inspiration for this game. I had many more hours enjoying playing that than a lot of so called 'classics' such as Contra/Gryzor (which I ALWAYS hated mainly because of the stupid somersaulting and the laying down when ducking which makes judging collision with running enemies somewhat trickier than it should be). To be honest I can't think of ANY bosses from 8 and 16 bit games I actually liked playing against. I just don't really like the concept at all and consider them the worst thing about a lot of otherwise great games. I love Castlevania - Symphony of the Night but everytime I came across a boss and got locked in the room with it I just got fed up even if it was easy and quick to kill. I just wanted to keep moving and exploring. That's the main reason it's taken me so long to think up boss ideas. Especially ones that would work on an 8 bit computer well.


I dunno man, bosses from Gunstar Heroes and Contra Hard Corps were pretty good (I know - those are console games, but still - who said you couldn't take inspiration from those), but even in games where the boss gameplay wasn't all that impressive - they served as sort of milestones for the player - something to look forward to and something to brag about, even if the process of actually taking a boss down wasn't all that outrageously fun.
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