Monthly Archives: May 2009

Action Biker – Intro

And so it begins…..

The very first screeny. What a clever chap I am eh?

The very first screeny. What a clever chap I am eh?

Yes, the time has, indeed, come once again to pick up mine fingers and code.

So why Action Biker? Because, as is so often the case, I want to. Yes, I’ll admit, it wasn’t the greatest game in the world. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it was a pretty dire game, possibly even terrible. Thing is, it’s only really in hindsight, and with the use of emulators, that I now realise this. Action Biker was, as it goes, one of the most played games on my little rubber keyed friend. It was up there with Elite, Spellbound and Wriggler. I used to love it.

Turns out it was badly put together tripe that was almost impossible to complete, even with pokes. And this, you see, is the reason for my return. I want Action Biker to be loved like I loved it, I want it to be remembered for the quirky fun elements that were there, not for the fact that it would more often than not put items needed to complete puzzles PAST the puzzle itself, nor the fact that in what was, at it’s very core, a game based on the principle of elapsed time, you would go and have tea at your mate’s house thus wasting hours of precious game time. Don’t even get me started about the location of the damn petrol stations!

So, anyway, I’ve started work on this in earnest this week. The origins of the remake, hovever, go waaaaaaaaay back.

Action Biker was the first game I started after the Underlord beta was released. It was just a little project while I sorted out some graphics for what should have been, but never turned out to be, an Underlord update. Underlord is still in beta, don’t expect that to change any time soon. But I started work on the Biker concept in later July ’08 with a re-write of Meditator, the map utility I’d written for Underlord. I reused code where I could but most of it was new. Once I’d got a working map editor I started ripping graphics and bulding me a map. That was when I stopped development. Around mid August I just lost interest. It happens occasionally, you know, I just couldn’t be bothered to finish the map.

Roll forward a few months, past the Wild Bunch WIP (I’ll get on with that one day), past the Cyberun WIP (ditto), past the two Xmas games I started but didn’t finish…. You get the picture, I’m sure. Mid March I stumble on the Action Biker map. How easy would that be to get scrolling? Shouldn’t take too long I’m sure……..

Mid March turned into early April and still no progress. I thought about coding a lot, I really did. I got excited about the prospect. Ultimatly I couldn’t be bothered.

Then I started working nights. Funny how it goes isn’t it, I go to work at 3 in the afternoon and come home at 10, straight to bed after tea and all of a sudden my mornings become my evenings. There’s nothing on the telly, there’s no-one around, what should I do?

Code, dear fellow, code.

So I have decided to write a code blog, for my reference more than anyone elses, but if anyone else gets anything out of it, even if it’s just a laugh at my appauling coding, then I’ll be a happy camper.

If you are really interested, I’ll also be keeping Retroremakes.com up to date with releases, screen shots and other, more useless, junk. If you do want to comment please feel free to do so either here or on my RR thread.

Wish me luck….

History Lesson 1 – SIM

So then, it’s about time I got some of my games back on’t interweb.

Using this as a ploy to kickstart my blogging habbit once more, I have decided to bung up a brief history of my games to date and also to keep a record of my current project. More of that later. First, however, a brief history of SIM.

sim

SIM is the first game I can ever really remember wanting to play over and over again. I had a VIC 20 at the time but remember joining the computer club at school just so I had access to a BBC B so I could play.

SIM is basically a collect and avoid maze game spread over 50 or so screens. It involved solving puzzles, navigating invisible mazes and outwitting alien creatures, all so you could collect the 10 Simarals to drop into a well on one of the screens.

The game was written by Joshua Portway way back in 198* or so. It was released on the BBC and Electron platforms and, though it apparently sold by the shed load, I’ve not met anyone other than my computer club buddies who has ever played it.

Around early 2007 I started frequenting a shady side of the internet known only as Retro Remakes. Being facinated with 8 bit gaming as I was (am?) I began downloading remade versions of classic Speccy and C64 games but could never find any of the games I actually wanted. SIM, obviously, was right at the top of my list. I’d managed to grab an emulated version but it wasn’t cutting the mustard, oh no siree no. What then, you may ask, was a young man to do? There was only really one option left. I remade the game myself.

I started work on SIM in Feb 2007. I decided to use Blitz Basic, a new language to me, to code the game and rip and tidy the graphics and sounds from the original game. Around May 2007, after 3 months of almost constant coding, I had myself a game.

I’m not gonna go into the technichal side of the coding, partly because, as a language, Blitz is so easy it would be insulting to those trying to learn it, partly because I shoe-horned so much bad coding in to get it working that I struggle to follow the code, but mainly because, on reviewing the code, I really don’t understand what most of it does. I coded Eric in Blitz, it took me just shy of 2 months and then abandoned the language for the everso slightly more challenging C & Allegro combination.

SIM still remains my most complete game and, though the others are playable and completeable, SIM is the only one I am satisfied with the graphics on (they were never meant to be good, just useable) and is the only one to have ANY audio.

There are a few bugs in SIM, unfortunatly I doubt these will ever get fixed, I really can’t be bothered to re-install BB, this is a shame, but there you go!

The game can be gotten from the ‘Stairway To Hell’ clones section or you can simply get it here