Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A8 :: shooty stuff

i've been thinking about writing a shoot 'em up for the Atari 8-bit for literally years now... but it's not the easiest machine to write that kind of game for. The current project started as something of a urine extraction of a particular person at Atari Age who rather ridiculously kept banging on about how more colours in a game somehow made it more beautiful. No, i couldn't see it either so i threw together something with three playfield colour splits a scanline that essentially looked like Rainbow Brite had vomited down the inside of the monitor to demonstrate:

i suspect a few people thought that was just a mock-up when i posted it (and it keeps getting complements, that's worrying...) but there's a fully functioning game engine behind that too... but the sprite engine being used isn't much more complicated than what games like Mirax Force or Humanoid already do (it has some wave sequencing behind it so there's more game logic going on, but the way it actually recycles hardware sprites is the same) so everything is on horizontal rails. It's workable, but seriously limited when it comes to what the nasties can actually do.

So i started thinking about other options and now i have a [i]second[/i] preview, this time far less busy on the playfield colour splits but changing the sprite colours every other scanline and able to recycle the three sprites assigned to nasties (the player's is dedicated) in order to give six relatively free standing objects whizzing around the play area with a more complex wave sequencing engine feeding them control data. Fantastic stuff and i can live with just one of the playfield colours being split... except to my mind the sprites simply don't look as good with one colour and splits (the splits are a scanline out on this screenshot, use your imaginations!):

So now i have something of a dilemma, do i go with this revised engine and carry on, look at the possibilities of changing it again to multiplex three colour objects (if i do, the player's ship becomes a software sprite and things are... fraught as far as available CPU grind go already) or is there a third option...

Decisions, decisions...

In the meantime, i might arse around with the scroll engine and multiplex to produce a much simpler game to see how things stand on CPU loads.

1 comment:

Merman said...

Very colourful! Suggests to me some sort of colour-matching/changing gameplay - so the background gets more colourful as you play well / shoot the right enemies.