Friday, November 30, 2012

Game Update 4: A New Mapping Solution?

Mappy Fail
Mappy Fail?
I have spent many long hours staring at the code I've written for my Ultima Style cRPG. As I mentioned back in my last up date I'd run into a few snags. One was a crashing problem where I was trying to de-allocate memory for an object I created twice. That fix came pretty quickly once I looked at what I was doing.  The next problem has not been so easy to fix.

The problem I'm having (and I'll see if I can explain it) is I have a tile based map (using Mappy) and I have a little animated guy running around the map. Now, every time the little guy moves he moves an arbitrary amount of pixels. This represents his speed and needs to remain constant through out the game. Since the map is bigger than the window that contains it the map needs to scroll. The part of the map that is shown while scrolling is represented by a rectangle and it has a coordinate system that is an offset from the coordinates of the little guy.  The problem is when I'm on the upper and left side of the map the guy moves the correct amount of pixels and the offset moves the correct amount of pixels. But when the little guy hits a certain point going left or going down he begins to double the amount of pixels he moves each time but the offset moves the correct amount of pixels. Eventually the little guy outruns the offset and goes off screen. I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes to make the little guy suddenly double his movement amount but not the offset. Arrgh!

I hope anyone reading understands.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Resurrecting A Macintosh Quadra 605

Quadra 605
Quadra 605
A while back I inherited an old Macintosh Quadra 605 from my uncle. He was in the process of moving so he needed to get rid of it and another old Mac. More on the other Mac in another post. I was a little leery of taking it as it was sitting on the floor, upside down in his closet when his basement flooded some earlier time. Looking at the machine you could see a bit of water damage so I thought the thing was shot and almost passed on it. I'm glad I didn't.

The Macintosh Quadra 605 is a damn cool machine in my opinion. First off it has the stylish "pizza box" design that I liked back in the early 90s. It is a cool form factor and I really, really wish it had never gone away. Unfortunately the desktop paradigm went the way of the dodo and the massive tower became the norm. I really never got that. The CPU in the Quadra 605 is the Motorola 68LC040 and it's clocked at 25MHz. The 68LC040 is a "l"ow "c"ost version of the 68040. What makes it low cost is the fact that it doesn't have a Floating Point Unit (FPU). It comes with 4MB of RAM but is expandable up to 36MB officially. It is possible to expand it up to 132MB. Video memory was 512kB but was expandable up to 1MB. All in all it's a nice little computer.

Monday, November 19, 2012

I Loved My Amiga 1000...Still Miss It

Amiga 1000
Amiga 1000
While I'm still trying to figure out what is wrong with my Ultima style game which is using Mappy to create and display the maps I thought I'd take a quick back in time. Well, computing time that is.

Back in the ancient days of micro-computers (the 80s) I broke down and bought my 3rd computer. The year was the beginning of 1987 and the computer was the Amiga 1000. I got my A1000 just before they discontinued them and released the Amigas 500 and 2000. I wasn't too worried about that though as I thought this computer was one of the coolest that I'd ever seen.

What had sold me on the Amiga computer was, aside from Commodore made them (as far as I was concerned they could do no evil back then), going into the game store at the mall. They always had computer hooked up showing demo modes to games. They had the DOS ones, some Macs a few 8-bit micro-computers and, of course, the A1000 and it seems like the had BattleHawks or some other LucasArts game. (They were known as LucasFilm Games back then.)

I blew a cool grand on the computer and, though my dad wasn't too happy about that as he'd rather I bought a car, I was estatic and couldn't wait to try it out. A few paydays later I was able to buy my first couple of games. Defender of the Crown and The Bard's Tale. Soon after that I did get the Amiga version of Silent Service and within the next year Bard's Tale II, Bard's Tale III, Loom, The Secret of Monkey Island and more.

I had friends who played games too but most of them were either still on the 8-bit micros the ones who upgraded usually went with a DOS machine and one or two had the black and white Macs. When I would invite them over to play they were amazed by two things. One, especially for the ones still using 8-bit machines, was the amazing array of colors in the games and the higher resolutions. Two, and this was among several of my DOS using friends, was the fact that I didn't have to make a specialized Autoexec.bat or config.sys file to load up the games. Usually it was double click and icon or boot directly from the game disk.

Unfortunately VGA games started becoming more common so the color and resolution advantage started falling behind. With the advent of Soundblaster cards the music part started falling behind too. And then finally Commodore went bankrupt and the once awesome Amiga was destined to be left in the past. This is unfortunate because the place where Amiga really could have shined was the multimedia driven 90s when it was Windows and Mac and, pretty much, nothing else.

So, for a while there I had the coolest computer ever and all my friends loved to come and check it out and play games. Too bad computers got boring after that.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Game Update 3: Tiny Little Dude - UPDATED

Ultima Style RPG
Never mind the programmer's art!
So, finally after wracking my head around seemingly simple problems, surviving Halloween and surviving the Elections I'm back with an update. Of course it's a good news, bad news update. But, with projects like these, it seems to be the norm.

The Good News
The good news is that I have my sprite class pretty much working. If you look at the picture above you'll see a little white knight among the tiled background. What the picture doesn't show you is that the little fellow is animated. There are four frames of animation and it seems to work pretty well.  In a way it's starting to feel like an Ultima style game.