Things from the past, things in the future.

I recieved a mail the other day, alerting me to the fact that one of my games couldn’t be downloaded. This usually happens when the plugin that tracks downloads fails and deletes the ID file that contains the real links. I do have a procedure in place that checks daily and alerts me when this happens, but this only happens if the size of the ID file is “quite small”. Well, in this case, for whatever reason, only the last 10 or so entried had been deleted from the ID file, so the ID file was still bigger than the threshold I’d defined and therefore I hadn’t been alerted. Ahh, just another way computers find a way to screw with us, lol.

Luckily, since it’s been quite a while since I released something, so the file hadn’t been updated for a long time and I could just replace it with a backup and now things are working again.

So that was the past things (now in order), but I can also report that after a 2.5 year break from coding I’m finally back to coding and working on a new game. It will be released for the Spectrum Next and the Taito L System arcade platform (like Sqij & Speccies 2 also were). It’s pretty early in the process so far – I’m only 1.5 week into the project, so I’m not saying more until I have more to show … but it does feel good to be developing again 🙂

Update 2020 #1: I’m still alive :-)

Wow, today it’s precisely two years since my last update. Not much new to report, though – I haven’t been terribly active lately … hence the absence of updates. In those two years I’ve started coding 3 games for the Spectrum Next … and abandoned all of them again. It appears I’m lacking the motivation to code at the moment. Oh well. I guess I just need a bit of time away from it, so unfortunately I’m not writing about a new game, but rather updates on a few older projects.

The 48K version of Vallation came out in 2016 and the 128K version about 1.5 year later. The 128K version was intended to be exclusive to the physical release of the game by Psytronic, but I always wanted to make it a free download too, after a while. Well, that’s now. I’ve added a download link to its page, here. Get the physical version on tape anyway, if you don’t have it 😉

More good news: My webhost was sold a while back (a year ago, perhaps two?) and changed name in the process. That also meant that the servernames changed, which resulted in the online scoring in my games broke. It took me a while to look into, but luckily I had coded the highscore functions rather cleverly, so all I had to do was change the server scripts. Which I’ve done now and the online scoring should work again.

However, there is also some bad news. I’m usually a Windows user, but I bought a MacBookPro in 2011 to be able to port some of my games to OSX. However, some time later Apple updated OSX and dropped legacy support, which means that my OSX games doesn’t work on newer versions of OSX. The language I coded the games in hasn’t been updated, so unfortunately it’s not possible to recompile them anymore. I will leave the games online, but be aware that they won’t work on the current versions of OSX.

Alright, that was it for my 2020 update. Let’s hope I find a project to work on, so it doesn’t take two years before the next update 😉

Homemade RIP OFF cocktail table arcade machine.

Sometimes people surprise you – and this happened to me recently. Earlier this year, Stephan D from Germany, wrote to me to tell me that he loved my remake of Rip Off and asked if he could build a Rip Off cocktail arcade cabinet and use my game and logo for it? Naturally I said yes.

I have always loved vector games and back in 2007 I decided to remake Rip Off (which was one of my favorites) for the PC. It was enormously fun to make and I’m especially proud of the state-machine behind the enemies that decide their behaviour. And nothing beats my sigh of relief when I had to optimise my code at the end of the project – because it slowed to a crawl when there were many enemies on screen at the same time … and it worked. But I digress.

 

Back to Stephan now.

 

Two months passed and he sent me a new mail; “the cabinet was done” and attached 5 pictures. The one at the top with a “Tardis Remakes” logo instead of the Cinematronics logo (the rest are below). And not only that – the cabinet is also made to allow two players playing at the same time. Awesome! It’s only one of two games I’ve made that has a two-player mode, but this was never intended to be placed in a cabinet – especially not a cocktail one, so there is no option for flipping or rorating the screen … but I guess that if Stephan is okay with that, so should I be 🙂

It’s pretty great to know that my game is running in an arcade machine out there. Someone even remade it, LOL, but the best moment was without doubt back in 2009 when I received a nice mail from Tim Skelly (the coder of the original arcade game) calling it a “good job” and taking time out to write a bit more to me than I could have hoped for

 

Here’s the rest of the pictures of Stephans cocktail cabinet. If you click them, a window with open a bigger version of the pictures.

 

 

 

 

Cool, right? 🙂

Project overview – what am I working on?

Argh, things always take longer than you expect. I’m still hoping I can manage to release 4 games before the end of the year, but don’t hold me to it. However, it means that I’m still working on “stuff” and that many of my current projects are in pretty advanced stages of development.

Now, what exactly are my current projects, I hear you ask?

  • First there’s my Doctor Who graphical adventure game (I won’t post any more pictures here until it’s finished, so you’ll have to search my Twitter-feed to see pictures of it). The game is 2/3 finished and hasn’t run into problems or anything, we’re just trying to come up with some good puzzles for the last third of the game (but haven’t really given them much thought lately).
  • Then there’s a vector version of Berzerk. That is also almost finished. The big problem here is coming up with some good animations for the maincharacter. Not a big deal…but of course one has to actually sit down and make them.
  • I’m also working on a game for the ZX Spectrum. It’s a Cybernoid clone and code is basically finished and I could polish it off and release it in a week or so. The holdup here is the graphics which are all temporary. There is an artist attached but he has taken on lots of paid graphics work which means his focus is on other things. I can’t expect a project that doesn’t pay to be prioritized over something that does, so I have to wait until his schedule allows him to finish the graphics for the game. I’m sure it’ll look good in the end though.
  • One exciting thing (for me anyway) is that I’m also working on an arcade game. This game is Speccies 2 but intended to run on real JAMMA arcade hardware. And it does. The game itself is actually finished and has been tested on the real hardware, but there’s a problem with inconsistent soundeffects volumes and I need to figure out what causes that before I release it. To run this game you can either burn the ROM to chips and plop them into a suitable arcade PCB, but it will run happily in MAME as well. I made this game – which is nice and simple – to learn how to code for the hardware, but once I’ve finished these 4 games I have plans for bigger, better and faster arcade games. One thing at the time though. There’s a screenshot of the menu below.

Speccies 2 arcade menu.

On top of these 4 projects I have several other games that I also hope I can finish soon, but we’ll just have to see when me and the people I work with can find the time to finish off the last bits of these games.

I’ll write more when I have more to tell. 🙂