Sunday, 22 November 2009

Celestial Force update

New screenshots. Click on them for full view.

So yeah still working on it.
And yeah I still ain't quite got the troopers firing at ya yet. They're a lil complicated but hopefully worth the hassle. They are what I'm focusing on coding/animating now. They (and other elements of the graphics) have been improved since the last screenshots though what you can't see in still shots are the smooth animations.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Killed me with a sword...

Haven't done a lot of project stuff in the past week since buying Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the PlayStation 3 (I won't bore you with just how much I freakin' love that game as I could go on for ages on all the things about it I admire and adore. Has easily become my new favorite game of all time) but I have done a few things like fixing up the tileset for the 'Aldria Mines' which is level 1 (well, the first proper level anyways) of 'Hero - Celestial Force' as various aspects of the tiling had started to bother me. The main generic trooper enemy too has had a bit of a redesign featuring in my opinion a cleaner and bolder look though it means I now have to redo his animations but that's fine. It's worth it. I've also done a few new sprites for 'Cosmic Prison Commando' but not animated or coded the objects that use them yet.

As for non-project related pixelling I did a lil piece for the Hexquisite Corpse Collab II at Pixelation. I found the palette quite difficult (lack of purples or magentas which apparently I seem to rely on :P ) and it was a bit of a departure for me having to come up with a somewhat strange image but I'm glad I got involved even if I just did the one tile. The full finished collaboration will be revealed when all the tiles have been filled. I hope mine doesn't suck too much. I can't even explain why I pixelled what I did.

Been considering taking down the main website since I just feel no desire to update it and find it too much of a hassle. I think I started it's last update over a year ago and still haven't got around to finishing it. I'm not sure it really even serves a purpose anymore. I might feel a bit different once I got the demo of 'Hero - CF' ready. I don't know.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Iji v2

Did a fansprite of Iji a lil while ago which can be seen here
Wasn't truly happy with it so I updated it and redid the gun and some other details and tweaked the palette a bit. So here ya go.

Been updating some of the Hero - CF graphics too. Mainly the level 1 tileset and various enemies. It's looking better than before. I've been practising drawing again cos I seem to not be as good as I used to be so am learning to draw even half decently again, which I'll be needing for the various cutscenes and other larger imagery in the game.

Saturday, 19 September 2009


Coding menu systems is very tedious but I've sorted it now and made me a good and easy to add to system for it. Hero - CF's main menu/options are nearly all done and I can copy/paste that script and inset it into C.P.C. with only minor modifications needed (for the graphics mostly and the wide pixel res). Seems to be one of those things I put off for ages but once I've got it done it seems I never have to do it again. I like those. In the next C.P.C. demo that options menu will be 'un-grayed' and actually usable. Working on the redefine controls bit now.

Here's the Video section of the menus for 'Hero - Celestial Force' just as an example. Click on it to see it properly.

Friday, 11 September 2009

C.P.C. technical issues.

Seems most of the people who've had problems running the C.P.C. demo use certain types of Nvidia's Geforce cards and I think it's causing issues with the surface technique used in the game to get clean non-blurry pixels in fullscreen. Until I can fix this and get it confirmed (difficult when you don't actually have access to the hardware mentioned). I've got a couple people now on my MSN who have these video cards and when I've got a clear head I'll try some work-arounds.

It also seems there is an issue with running the game on Windows 7 RC. Perhaps the Geforce workaround will work for that too. I don't know. I'm gonna need to think of something since all my projects use the same technique.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Tribute post to a great pixel artist

I've had a couple emails in recent times from people who like my work and seem to think I'm among or even actually the best pixeller using Game Maker. I assume these people have never seen DarkfalzX's work. I think he focuses more on GBA and DS coding now rather than GM but he's a better pixel artist than I could ever hope to be. Certainly professional commercial quality. His character spriting and animation is generally superb as are his background and tiling work too. You guys really should take a look at his gallery at Pixel Joint to see what I mean. Honestly despite my differing preference in style (I'm not so keen on cutesy fantasy stuff) I wish I had even half the talent of this guy.

Check out some of his work at DarkfalzX's PJ Gallery

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Getting older ain't too bad...

Turning 30 two weeks from today. Looking forward to it. My twenties weren't great at all and were filled with various major problems but I'm fairly hopeful about this next decade of my life. Feel like I've learnt a lot and am ready to settle down and have a life that's actually substantial and full of purpose. Also soon I get to see my girlfriend again as she's coming to stay the week of my birthday. Due to the job she had, we haven't been able to see each other in over 3 months but still chat everyday on the phone and MSN. Miss her like crazy so it'll be great to spend some time with her again. We plan to move in together but up in her town as she has family there including a daughter from a past relationship but the right place just hasn't become available yet. When it does though it'll be good as hopefully I'll be able to sleep better there and be a lot less stressed and can finally get back to fulltime employment too and start really saving for our future. Got me plenty of ambitions. Would be nice to actually fulfil some of them.

Yeah none of this is really game related but what the heck, it's my blog and I can write what I like, right? Just nice to get thoughts out onto the screen once in a while.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

C.P.C. Demo 1.1 Topic

Will be releasing a new demo of C.P.C. which is mainly a bug fix to the previous one which I found kinda embarrasing. This'll be the first time I host my own game files on my site too. This topic is also where any bug reports for this demo should be reported.
Ok read the GMC topic here

Download the demo direct here


Saturday, 11 July 2009

C.P.C. Update 11th July

Ok took me some doing but have fixed a lot of problems with the previous demo. These include:

- Losing all lives now sends you back to title screen.
- Ingame tune no longer ends after 5 minutes. (couldn't get it to play forever but now it plays for just over 2 hours which should be way longer than anyone can spend on a level).
- Resolution switching from windowed mode to fullscreen can now be done anytime by pressing Alt and Return together or just F3. Pressing F4 does fullscreen/windowed switching without changing the resolution meaning it looks a bit distorted and crappy but that's for those people who just refuse to have their resolution change even though the game looks better when it does.
- No more surface doesn't exist problems when switching resolutions. Now the game always checks to see if the surface has been destroyed and creates a new one if it has.
- Jack no longer gets stuck at the start point if restarting there after dying.
- Flying bot's bombs now actually hurt the player when they explode as they should have done in the first place.
- Sponsor screen for the Retro Remakes contest has been taken out as it's no longer necessary.

There are some other little improvements here and there. I'm gonna fix up the missing tiles near the end of the level. Add some info about your level status when you pause the game. Fix some more code. Some values of gun power and scores need to alter a bit. And I might be adding the level 1 boss before I release the new demo. I've never actually coded a boss before so this'll be interesting I guess.

Friday, 10 July 2009

C.P.C. Update

Reckon I'm gonna spend the weekend fixing up 'Cosmic Prison Commando' and get it so that at least the demo won't have those crucial bugs anymore and likely work some more on the later levels and enemies. What I've just done now is change some of the control code to match that of 'Hero - Celestial Force' which I've improved recently. What this means for the player is that as well as supporting PC and PlayStation 1 & 2 gamepads like it already did, 'Cosmic Prison Commando' now supports gamepads for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Main purpose of the demo bugfix is just to have it satisfactory enough to have up for download on my webspace officially. I might change the sound effects too as to be honest I hate them. They were created in SFXR at the last minute and I didn't have to time to really test them. I might try making them more authentic this time by creating them in an Amstrad CPC emulator and recording them.

Music-wise I'm still not sure what I'm gonna do. The Switchblade theme and Glider Rider bike them does suit the game as it is but I want it to have it's own identifiable soundtrack. And I'm still likely to actually remake Switchblade at some point (coding wise it's easy for me now, it's just I want to be absolutely sure I can do the graphics to the level I've imagined all these years) and it'll be needing a new version of that tune itself.

Anyways gonna have some dinner, watch the final part of the Torchwood - Children of Earth mini-series and then get some more coding done.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Iji Fansprite

Wanted a bit of practice doing a larger sprite again so I did a fansprite of Iji, the main character in the same-titled video game by Daniel Remar who also made 'Hero' which is the main inspiration for my own 'Hero - Celestial Force'. Tried to keep the design similar and it's the same height pixelwise, but I just did it in my own style and level of detail. Was good practice and reminds me how difficult I find pixelling female characters at this size. Iji is a great game and my favorite on the PC including all commercial and indie games. If you haven't yet tried it go download it at Daniel's site

Friday, 3 July 2009

Small Hero - CF related update

Here's a new 88x31 pixel button to add to your websites if you want. Link it to please. Yeah it's a bit more specific this time, only showing images from Hero - Celestial Force as that is my main project.

And here's a lil extra. The transformation animation of Chase into her 'suit'.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Amstrad CPC Mode 0 Resolution pixels

A friend on MSN suggested I put together some of the Amstrad Mode 0 16 color stuff I've done over the last few years just for easy reference so here they be. If anyone wonders why I've done this many pieces based on the resolution and palette of a 1984 home computer it could be just a nostalgic thing trying to recapture what I found appealing about my childhood gaming in the 80's playing on my CPC 464 (which also got me into spriting in the first place) but it's also that I've always found a 'limited' palette and low resolutions more interesting to create pixel art with. In a higher resolution with millions of colors I find it too easy to make things look 'realistic' whereas I feel these supposed 'limitations' encourage experimentation with sprite design and color usage. I sorta miss the time where the same game on various different formats would have it's own unique look and feel.

Originally started by doing a Mode 0 mockup of how R-Type might have looked if the CPC version hadn't just been a lazy cheap looking (but still very playable) Spectrum port. The level floor ended up having to be gray/light blue as the original's sorta beige colors don't really have a decent equivalent in the CPC palette.

Next up was the Mode 0 version of my favorite 8 bit game Switchblade. It looked fine in the low color Mode 1 anyways but I wanted to see how it might have looked in the blockier but more colorful Mode 0. Even with the extra color I tried to keep it fairly dark and atmospheric.

Last revamp mock up I did was for Bubble Bobble. This was more of a quick edit that complete redraw though the Bub and Bob sprites were redrawn, the level tiles were corrected with the stripes going the correct way and colors in general were made more accurate to the arcade original. The graphics on the original CPC port really made no sense to me at all. The loading screen was fine though.

After that I took part in a Pixelation fad to create an avatar along the same general design specs as everyone but I chose to do it in a funky CPC style. It's supposed to animate but for some reason refuses to do so posted in this blog. If anyone knows why please let me know.

A while later I decided to create an original mock up. Felt the wide pixels and the bright bold colors suited a horizontal shooter and created one deliberately trying to avoid any similarity to the R-Type mock I'd done before.

For the Retro Remakes 2008 contest I went with the 'We Like It Retro' category and created a CPC-style playable game called Cosmic Prison Commando. It's still unfinished and the demo out is a bit buggy but playable and in my opinion pretty fun.

And for Mode 0 completion sake here's the Blasterine shot again. Will replace with a new one during this week most likely.

I would add Hotel of Hell here but it's a Mode 1 resolution and doesn't really fit in this category despite being intended for the Amstrad CPC. For a quick direct link to the post about it though click on this.

Monday, 22 June 2009


Yeah another CPC game project and yeah another platform shooter (I've near enough perfected my platform shooter engine so why not milk it to get some fun games out?). Guess I'm allowed a comfort zone for now. This is actually a fairly simple project intended as a test between me and my CPC coder buddy to sorta gauge how the 'porting' process is going to work before attempting the bigger games. This is also a way for me to use some old graphics from abandoned projects, restyled into the CPC's Mode 0. Was worried at first my style and using Mode 0 again would make it look too much like Cosmic Prison Commando but, as I hope you'll agree, it looks quite different. It's more cutesy traditional platformer type as opposed to the Turrican-esque C.P.C. It's supposed to feel a bit like a budget game you'd have bought on cassette tape for about £2.99 back in the day. Anyways the 'limitations' should mean I don't have any technical issues getting the PC version done which will be used to help build the real CPC version.

Various sprites and tiles were redone based on my old PC Blasterines project I'll probably never turn into a real game. The trees are actually modified from my 4 color black and white Robin Hood project. Since this game is pretty quick to do it should be finished fairly soon. Bear in mind though this is the test shot I did to see how the various elements will look together. It's not a real screenshot. I'll take some of those when I feel the time is right. The real screenshots will include the status bar I'm still trying to decide on it's design (hence why the one in the image isn't really anything)

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Hero - Celestial Force

And here's my main 'large' project 'Hero - Celestial Force' which is a fangame of sorts to 'Hero' by Daniel Remar (check his site on my links list). Graphic style is somewhere between NES and SNES and it has an original NSF soundtrack by my music buddy Technomancer. The gameplay is sort of a mix of Metroid and Robotron I guess.

Here's a new screenshot of the current build in action.

Cosmic Prison Commando

Figured may as well have a pic of my other Amstrad CPC style game here. This uses the blockier but more colorful Mode 0 resolution of the CPC. There's a buggy demo (that I had to rush at the last minute for the Retro Remakes contest it was created for) on the net somewhere though I haven't made it available on my website due it's bugginess. I'll release a fixed demo at some point soon. In the meantime here's an old but not commonly seen screenshot from Level 3.

Hotel of Hell

Trying out Blogger for my updates. Should be simpler and quicker than what I was doing before. Once I get more familiar with how this all works and can get it redirected from my site I'll do that. Anyways to get this started here's a new WIP screenshot from 'Hotel of Hell' my which is a PC game I'm making in the style of the Mode 1 resolution of the Amstrad CPC computers of the 1980s. Main changes since the old version I started are the brand new status panel which suits the horror theme more and coding-wise it now uses a modified version of the engine I also use for Hero - Celestial Force and Cosmic Prison Commando. The main difference in the engine is that it uses sprite layers. A layer for each color of every object so I can control the colors independently. Each room has it's own selection of the 4 colors in the main gameplay area. The status panel has it's own seperate selection of 4-color schemes.