March 26, 2019, 09:09:46 AM

Author Topic: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry  (Read 1223 times)

Offline Xerra

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Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« on: September 18, 2018, 11:56:06 PM »
I'm plodding along on a remake of one of my favourite Vic 20 games of all time. Rockman was obviously inspired by Boulderdash on the C64 where a very clever chap called Mark Srebalius managed to fit his own take on the game in just under 5k of memory.

This game had 20 screens - not including the custom game over and title screens.

This game had probably the worst rendition of Popcorn as background music that I've ever heard.

This game had huge, chunky graphics on a screen with a limited size anyway so the maps could be hard as hell. And sometimes impossible with the random hazard placement such as the skulls.

This game had loads of loud, grainy sound effects that had you turning the volume down pronto.

But this game was incredibly addictive for the time - and the map designs were great. I think it took me two years and probably over a thousand games before one day I finally managed to beat the thing. I think there were maybe only two or three other Vic 20 games that I played as much. Envahi was one and funnily enough I remade that one too.

Anyway, you can look up this game on YouTube and, unless you owned a Vic 20 in your youth, then you'll probably be horrified. It played a lot better than it looks now - trust me.

I'm recreating the game with 64 pixel elements, such as rocks, skulls, gems and the player character, naturally called Rocky. If I can then I might put a Roxy in there as well, and have the option to play either.

The caves will be recreated from the originals - as they worked very well. Don't know if I'll get time to put any more in but it could be cool to have a set of caves that's larger, so you technically would have to have your own map of the cave system to navigate the maze and clear all the levels. Not sure how this will go yet.

For those wondering how this fits the maze category of the competition, I did clear it with Qube in the competition thread just after it was announced. The caves all interlock and you exit each one by a different direction to clear them all, which is the maze itself. You can go back and forth between all the rooms to find ones you've missed, even after you've completed them. I'm not cruel enough to put the gems back in and make you redo it each time :)

I'm using placeholder graphics at present so no screenshots yet, but I'm quite far in now and just hadn't said anything about the game, as I've been making it work with sprites rather than a char/tile system like Boulderdash and the original Vic 20 Rockman and I wanted to get that working right before committing myself to going ahead with it.

Still undecided if I'll pay out for some proper graphics for the game yet. I've got a guy who works pretty quick so I can make that decision in a couple of weeks if I think the game is going to benefit greatly from it.

Offline Steve Elliott

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2018, 11:44:29 AM »
Quote
I think there were maybe only two or three other Vic 20 games that I played as much. Envahi was one and funnily enough I remade that one too.

It's well worth revisiting games you consider had great gameplay back then, and adding a modern face too them - with some tweaks.
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Offline Xerra

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2018, 09:10:58 PM »
Quote
I think there were maybe only two or three other Vic 20 games that I played as much. Envahi was one and funnily enough I remade that one too.

It's well worth revisiting games you consider had great gameplay back then, and adding a modern face too them - with some tweaks.

I said two or three but instantly more than that actually come to mind when I think about it. Just Vic 20 games, too. Would take all day if I was to add C64 and Amiga classics.

For Vic 20, Omega Race, Matrix, Myriad, GridRunner, Revenge of the Quadra, Arcadia, Bongo .... If I just remade Vic 20 games I liked then it would probably take me years to remake all of them.

Offline Xerra

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2018, 10:50:00 PM »
Plodding on with my game now and it's starting to feel like a game finally because a lot of the work I was doing at the start was background stuff with my very basic framework and placeholder graphics. I've given myself a deadline of this sunday to decide if I should invest in some artwork rather than scrape up free stuff that I try and work the game around now. A week for the graphics to get done - which should be enough time - and then a week to adjust the game accordingly.

All 20 of the game maps are now in and can be played through - although they can't all be completed as my code for moving the rocks around manually is too buggy at the moment.

I don't have moving enemies in the game yet but static stuff like the gems and skulls are working ok.

At the start I went for smoother movement rather then the original block jumping that Rockman and Boulderdash had. This made it a fair bit harder - and I'm still working on getting some bits right - but it was worth it as it plays a lot better like this.

I'm currently working on the switches that let the game be customizable. Rockman had none of this originally but with the new movement system it feels like the game could be played as all out arcade style by ramping up the speed and having skulls and butterflies to make things harder. But players who prefer the puzzle element of clearing the maps out carefully, without all the stress of dealing with those hazzards and a timer, will be able to shunt all that off and play it at their own pace instead. As the maps are laid out like the original, there are some which you need to be very careful in certain points or you could block yourself, or an exit, off completely.

No sound in the game at present - just some freebie music that i quite like but will probably irritate after a while. You can turn it off, I promise.

I've named all 20 of the caves after animals either myself or the missus have owned so far in our lifetimes. We were both shocked that we had shared our lives with enough to christen all of them :-)

A lot of presentation stuff like title screen, end-game screen, credits and stuff like that has all been worked out but still to be coded.

I'd put myself around 60% done realistically with just over two weeks to go, which is on course for making the deadline, so no panicking here at present. That will come on Saturday 13th if I'm not done by then.

Offline Xerra

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2018, 10:44:47 PM »
Finally reached a milestone with Rockman today where the game is playable from start to completion without any cheat keys or other temporary fixes.

As good as that sounds, it doesn't actually mean i can just post it and relax for the next 10 days because there's stuff to add like win-screen, game over screen, title screen, configuration options, sound effects and having bad guys moving and fixing some bugs in the rocks movement.

It's still a nice feeling to know you're getting close to finishing a game, however :)

No screenshots yet because I finally took the plunge and got an artist involved to do some sprite work for me. If I posted pictures now it would probably make the game look bad and put people off trying it because it's all place holder stuff.

I'm going to be doing some intensive testing to play the whole thing through once I have the graphics redone so might video that to put on youtube so it can be seen properly then.

I've done no blogging for this game or done any kind of work logging for hours spent like I did last time mainly because it's a much tighter deadline and I get a bit distracted doing all that when i could be adding to the actual game. I'll disect it a bit once it's complete and out there, in case anyone is actually interested.

Offline Matty

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2018, 03:32:20 AM »
It's good to see you are making progress.  Curious to see it in action.  I looked up rockman on you tube and all i got were megaman videos.

Offline Xerra

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2018, 05:57:18 PM »
It's good to see you are making progress.  Curious to see it in action.  I looked up rockman on you tube and all i got were megaman videos.

Here's the original in action:-


I promise I've changed everything bad about it apart from the 20 level layouts.

Offline Matty

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2018, 07:13:28 PM »
Agghh my ears and eyes! Ha ha ha. Good find.  Yours I'm sure eill be better.

Offline Xerra

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2018, 10:36:38 PM »
I'd show you but at the moment my rocks look like oreo's and the main char only looks to the right so he kind of reverses around the cave most of the time, lol.

Offline Xerra

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2018, 10:20:02 PM »
About time I showed something off as there's two days left now. I'm down to 3 milestones - one of which is the graphics, which are mostly done now - just waiting on the character animation and a couple of other sprites. There's a lot of debug stuff running in the game at the moment so no video but here's the title screen as I'm pretty much done with that now. All of the caves in the game to play through (20 in total) cycle in the background to give the player a rough idea of what's to come.

Still undecided on the enemies as they make the game either too hard with the play space if they're there but switching them off kind of could make it a bit easy so may just make them a lot slower so the game is a bit more balanced. Or may just rip them out completely if I haven't got enough time to do something good with them.

I'm thinking I still need to put an instructions overlay, even though the game is pretty obvious to play. Stuff like the maze map being visible when you pause the game is something the player should be aware of, along with the other keys.

As for the game itself the difficulty level only changes the timer speed at present (if that is activated, of course) but I'll be speeding up the player movement and rocks once i'm completely happy with how they work so it could affect game speed too.

Everything else is self-explanatory really. You have to clear each cave of gems to unlock the exits and all 20 need to be cleared to win the game. Every cave only has certain exits leading into other caves and you will have to back track to find the ones you still need to clear. The map is essential for this.

Presently the game plays almost like a relaxing puzzle game if you switch off the hazards and the timer and some of the maps are challenging enough even just playing that way so I'm hoping that's a trump card in appealing to a bigger demographic of players.

Can't wait to show off the final game in a couple of days. Just need a few more solid hours getting things just right :)

Offline Xerra

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2018, 10:20:32 PM »
Erm, yeah. That screenshot...

Offline Steve Elliott

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2018, 10:22:43 PM »
Some very nice graphics, looking forward to playing.
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Offline STEVIE G

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2018, 10:42:38 PM »
Excellent  ;D

Offline Matty

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2018, 12:54:54 AM »
Screenshot looks excellent

Offline Xerra

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Re: Rockman - September to October Maze game competition entry
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2018, 12:46:58 AM »
Finally got all the graphics for the game which I've been working on putting in this evening.

I've done three complete play-throughs all the way to end-game just to make sure every screen can be completed at least on the mode with no enemies or skulls lying around.

The enemies are butterflies (ferocious creatures that they are) and run on a dumbed down AI system that won't let them get stuck in an area but does make them not switch directions unless something is blocking their path. They take a priority in turning left when that happens but there is a random element in place to hopefully prevent a situation where they get stuck going round in a box. I didn't want them too smart because difficulty level 3 has two of them flying about and there's not a huge amount of screen area to avoid anything that actively seeks the player.

I've got both the male and female character animations in place now - just need to do some more tweaking to make them work a bit less juddery. They're pretty cute for 64 * 64 pixels so I've commisioned the graphics guy I use to make bigger, more detailed versions of both of them to use on the itch page and my website etc. The original Roxy character was a redhead but the missus wanted it to be more like her so I had to get the hair changed to black. I did get a pigtail added just to wind her up a bit, however :-)

I've been on a massive bug hunt today which resulted in several issues being fixed that could have caused a crash. That's the last thing I really need as I'm going to be pretty close to deadline putting this game up, I think. No time for repairing game-breaking bugs before the deadline expires.

The only other parts that now need to be addressed is rocks destroying the butterflies correctly - almost done but there's some fine tuning needed. Also I'm still not happy with how the rocks are dropping - which is the core element of the game - so I have to put more time into that. Finally some tweaking of the sound effects, I think.

Other changes made today were to redo the menu to remove the option of disabling skulls and butterflies. Skill level 1 has none of these and levels 2 and 3 have one and two respectively. The game would be way too hard otherwise.

Oh, and there's also a 5 second countdown entering each cave for you to press F1 if you don't like the layout to get it redrawn, just in case the skulls and butterflies might prevent you clearing the screen. You can actually reset the cave any time you want with F1 but it's going to cost you a life if you don't do it within the entry time.