Hiya. I’m Ryan Carson and this is a lil transcript for my video about “I Shall Be Queen” for the Gameboy and Gameboy colour, made in 1 week for the 2016 Bit Bit Jam. This is the first game jam I’ve entered which is entirely dedicated to retro console development and Has been lots of fun to take part in.
The chosen theme this time around was “Red Hot Princess Carnage” and resulted in quite a variety of games being made for systems dating as far back as 1976 / 7.
A you can see I ended up making a double-dragon style beat-em-up where you play a princess character, out to steal control of the kingdom by yoinking the queens crown.
The game takes place over a total of 3 stages with enemies getting tougher as the game progresses, starting off with basic slimes, moving onto snakes, floating eyeballs and arrows being shot through the stage at you.As has been mentioned a few times to me now, hitting the enemies is considerably tougher than it should be, mainly down to the height of the enemies being less than your primary punch attack.
With a bit of skill, you can manipulate them to wander down into the punches and there’s always the simpler jumping kick and mana consuming ranged fireball you can throw with the select button.I started off with a simple base code consisting mainly of collision detection and fader for the monochrome gameboy and the rest of the code was written during the week.
I was really proud with the pixel work I could put into play with this game, particularly for the main character, although, using such a large sprite for her in-game meant I had to dedicate 18 tiles per animation frame. Not good when I need to consider enemies, power ups, etc.
I could have a maximum of 14 unique frames but ended up with a total of 10, comprising of:
1 Standing Frame
3 Walking Frames
2 Punching Frames
1 Jumping Frame
1 Kicking Frame
aaand 1 Death Frame
That’s still the majority of the 256 total available to me, leaving me with only 76 tiles to put enemies into!
I wanted to have some variety to the enemies with at least some animation so opted to make the enemies fit into 4 tiles per animation frame, with a maximum of 4 animation frames per enemy.
There’s 4 different enemies in-game, so that’s adding another 64 tiles, leaving only 12 (well..okay, 16, one enemy had just 3 frames to save on space)
The remaining tiles were dedicated to power ups, shadows, visible punches and kicks leaving a paltry 8 spare tiles at the end, I was really pushing the limits to what I could use here and many other scenes went the same way, it was tough trying to cram it all in!
Somehow it managed to fit in though and with a few sneaky tricks to reduce cpu usage, not checking for certain hit detections on every frame, etc, etc. Further code reductions to allow the main game code to fit inside one 16kb bank, the game squeezed into it’s available space.
I was hoping to add a boss fight with the queen towards the end of the jam but, despite having prepared some sprites, simply ran out of time and ROM space come Monday to add this so, had to replace it with some rather odd dialogue scenes.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with the way this game turned out. I’m tempted to round out the remaining bugs and add that boss fight at a later date but yeah, a few flaws but, it plays pretty well and looks better than I thought it would!
Heck, I even managed to add some requested scenes from a guy at work’s request, but you’ll probably need to view the code to figure it out 😉
Well, it’s been around a month since I’ve posted on here about the updates to Formula Racing and there’s a lot more going on with the game now! Read on to find out about what’s done and what’s still to go.
There’s now 10 tracks designed for Formula racing, including my new personal favourite USSR – 1! I’m going to be re-visiting the track designs for previous levels shortly, in order to spruce them up a tad.
More Track Details!
I foolishly forgot that I had a spare 128 tiles to use for either sprites of background tiles.. So, I’ve been making use of the new tiles to add more definition to the track layouts. Mainly USSR-1!
Just racing the opponents wasn’t enough for me after a while. So I’ve added more obstacle tiles that will blow your car off track should you run onto them. You will run onto them!
Because, every racing game needs boost tiles of course! So far, only on USSR-1 but that’s fine. Revisiting older tracks, yeah!
Track Intros, last lap warnings, Variable Lap counts Per Track , an actual finish AAAND that vital feature. Pausing.
So, yeah, that’s a fair amount of stuff added to the game which has had a couple of important effects.
The games plays better and is getting closer to being an actual game now.
I’m seriously running out of spare ROM space for my main game loop – 270 bytes at last count tonight. I have sfx to add and music!
Yes, that’s right, MUSIC! I’ve been chatting to the fantastic gameboy chiptune composer NordLoef about in-game tracks and he’s agreed to help make some music, which is really great news, I can’t music for toffee, cake, biscuits, even the promise of coffee and a peanut butter wrap.
So, yeah, he’s going to be in the game credits and, hopefully getting a physical cartridge at some point! I’m really looking forward to importing the tracks into the game, that’ll really make it a more complete gameboy game and hopefully some people out there will enjoy it also?
So I’ve just finished one of the most hectic weeks at work porting 10-13 year old code over to PHP7 and I decided to chill out with some Undertale pacifist mode playing about when my goddamned coders brain thinks to it’s self…
“Damn, I love Undertale and having a good time… but. I reckon this game could run on a Gameboy, which would be pretty cool, yeah, yeah?”
That’s not to slight the game, I love it, I doubt I’ll have the heart to do a genocide playthrough mind. But, looking at it objectively, could it be possible to port over to it? I mean, undoubtedly compromises would need to be made in terms of sprite sizes, and music downsampling but from the outset, you have a load / save system, background scrolling and fight sequences with conversation pop up boxes. Of course, there’s the over arching story with it’s many branches which would no-doubt push memory to it’s limits I’m sure and, whilst I doubt I’d attempt to port the game myself to GB, I think it could be done.
That and I had to see if the Undertale GUI would fit in the Gameboy’s tiny resolution, looks like it could. Apologies for my poor scaling of Napstablook btw 🙂
Okay, it’s been a while but, yes life, is a thing and it isn’t always coding of course 🙂
Having said that over the weekend just gone I’ve managed to get more of the game ready, including part of the opening sequence which just needs some palette work for the gameboy colour so that’s all in motion.
I’ve set-up the ability to have multiple levels in the game and I reckon I can easily fit a decent number in there, possibly with each one having it’s own variants in both colours and some other elements to break things up a bit.
I’m tempted to learn how to add a border for the super gameboy also, although I’d need to learn some more ASM first in order to figure this out.
Sadly, it looks like I won’t be finished for the February #1gam but, that’s okay, I’ve got more of a workable engine to use across the year for any future gameboy games and that’s pretty neat.
Speaking of engines… Damage is now a factor with your race car. Taking damage impacts acceleration and once the limit is reached, you will explode, lose three places, then respawn. Crashing into the back of another car or off track obstacles is particularly painful!
Cars get tougher to pass the further up the rankings you go and I’m still enjoying playing and making the game so, that’s all good for the moment I think! Now, back to figuring this Super Gameboy out a bit perhaps….
 I shouldn’t have made this border, now it’s a mission! [/edit]
So, I’ve established some form of racing A.I. which will at least, keep them on the track a lot better and they still perform some homing in on the player, making them particularly tough to pass easily on the test track at least.
Lap counters, speedometers and damage counters are in place and ALL THE BASICS ARE THERE! Which is really nice, but. I’m pretty much maxing out the CPU on the Classic Gameboy, which means there’s not much more I can fit in before things get janky and framerate-y.
Essentially, I’m now really limited to what else I can add to the game without breaking the Gameboy version (the Gameboy colour version is a-okay though, faster CPU (~8MHz) so more time per frame)
Hopefully some power-ups are possible. I’m thinking either boost pads or boost fuel drops in odd places on the track would be pretty cool to force the player off-line.
I **could** drop the game down to 30fps instead of 60 but I don’t really wanna do that. That smells of just giving up on performance, there’s got to be another way around it.
I need to add some toughness to handling the cars also, make the controls a biut more analogue in the steering. That should make things a bit more interesting regarding mastery of the game.
The Lap count is currently going up from 0 and taking up to much window space so It’s going to be changed over to a countdown instead with “L:XX”. With XX being the number of laps remaining.
There’s only a few days left until the end of the month now and #1gam is looming, I’m still hoping to add a few game modes in there though, including a championship mode, time attack, not to mention intro screens, car selector and results summary. Oh and a password system.