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.