Dreams, Delays and Dingos

Time flies and it takes long between releases because I seem to start more games than I can manage, and then put them on hold when they’re almost done. This year I’ve been working on my Circular Invaders Game but the guy who helped me fine-tune the gameplay suddenly dropped off the face of the Earth so I put that on hold temporarily.

Then I resumed work on X-Quest 2, which is basically done now but only needs new graphics, and I’d found an artist who seemed really good, but he only delivered one frame and now he’s stopped answering my mails. Not good – especially after just being mentioned in issue 93 of Retro Gamer Magazine. Oh well, it’ll get done…only with a delay.

Before them there is a string of other unfinished remakes, but I’ll get to them in time. Slowly, perhaps, but I’ll get to them. I’m especially looking forward to getting back to work on Black Widow and Psycho Pigs UXB, but I can only work effectively on one game at the time.

All these WIP’s, and the stress I’m putting myself under just by thinking about them, is probably the reason I woke up this morning – stressed over some unfinished tank game (no, I’m not working on any tank games, so who knows why :)). That’s the third morning in a row that I’ve woken up with a dream like that. Can you see why I would really like to finish all my unfinished WIP’s? 😀

Of course, all these delays frustrates me and I decided to put that frustration to good use and channel all that energy into making a new game (typical…see how easy it happens? 😉 ) so I started working on something I’ve wanted to do for almost 30 years – making a new ZX Spectrum game.

And that was the birth of Dingo – a “lost Ultimate game”. I’ve already remade this arcade game back in 2008 for Windows and in 2011 for Mac, but now I’m remaking it again in z80 assembler for the ZX Spectrum. It only took me about a month to make the game and I was lucky enough to atract the attention of Mark R. Jones – who used to work for Imagine and Ocean back in the 80’s – and he has done all the stunning new graphics for the game. The game is currently finished, playable and works as it should, and according to Mark its “stupidly addictive” so I must have done something right. 😀

That being said, the game could still use a bit of spit and polish. I’m currently working on improving the sprite routines (3rd day in a row, argh) and it also needs music and better sound effects, but the plan is to have it completely finished and presented at the retro event, Replay, in Blackpool in November.

You can read more about the development of the game here, and below is a picture of the game.

The Spectrum version of Dingo

The Spectrum version of Dingo

Sincerest form of flattery and all that…

It’s a bit funny, but just the other day I found another remake of Rip-Off and I didn’t know what to think when I saw it…it looked almost exactly like my own remake of the game.

Some dude has remade the game – but not the arcade version, he’s remade MY version. He didn’t do his own take on the game…just replicated my version very closely (although not entirely). Okay, he HAS done a different version too – Rip-Off Evolved, which is Rip-Off given the Geometry Wars treatment. I haven’t tried that one though…I just looks too busy from the screenshots and I’m probably too much of a purist to accept it.

Anyway, when I first found the YouTube video of his version I had to watch it several times to see if this really was a new game, or some sort of hacked version of my own game, or something that interpreted my code. It’s that close to my version, and considering he’s even using the same backdrop, same sounds and the music I had custom made for it, too, I think you can understand why I didn’t really know what I was watching.

Okay, let’s make a few comparisons. First of the menu then of the options screen.

This is the menu from my version.

This is the menu from my version. Click to view larger version.

This is the menu from his version.

This is the menu from his version. Click to view larger version.

Pretty close, wouldn’t you say? Now, let’s have a comparison between my options menu and his.

This is the options menu from my version.

This is the options menu from my version. Click to view larger version.

This is the options menu from his version.

This is the options menu from his version. Click to view larger version.

The funny thing – the antialias, flicker and colour options doesn’t even work in his version. LOL (from the YouTube videos I found they seem to work in the ‘Evolved’ version, though). But apart from that the biggest difference between the games, on the surface, seems to be that I used a nice bitmapped logo and he’s done the logo in vector lettering. And just to make matters even more confusing, he’s even used my logo in some of the betaversions I found on YouTube.

Although I didn’t really know what to think when I first saw it, I’ve decided that “honoured” is probably the be best term for it. Imagine that – people remaking my games. Haha. I think what I’m feeling must be pretty close to what the original authors must feel when they see our remakes – damn freaked out. 😀

It’s does say “…and we’ve tried to replicate the game to as close as possible to the reference material (found at http://tardis.dk)” on his website though, so he does link to my site…his inspiration. LOL. I wish he would’ve mailed me earlier so I wouldn’t be so…confuzzled…when I found it. 😉

So, that’s like some sort of metaremake, a rip off of a rip off of Rip Off called Rip Off too. Unchecked it could cause the universe to end (thanks Bob). 😉