Racing A.I. Squeezed In how much is left?

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.

Animated A.I. Cars (click for big)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.

I think I’m going to need to cut-back a bit!

Background collisions, SFX and TURBO!

Well, today went really well, I fixed up my collision routines with the scrolling background, yup, it was using a simple offset, with a case for looping every 32 row increments, seems to work well. Possibly un-optimised but good enough so far.

There’s some rudimentary noises from both cars on screen based on their speed and distance from each other, also collision noises are in there now.

The fuel-o-meter has turned into a working turbo bar to help catch-up or overtake other racers. It’s getting there, but I’m down to 4kb of ROM remaining now and the racer A.I. needs improving on the sly. I’d like to get some BGM in there also somehow.

CPU Usage is getting pretty high now though, so I may need to inestigate into other ways to load my level up. Setting colours for each tile through a switch is probably slower than referencing another variable directly I imagine but, well, a balance needs to be struck.

Tomorrow I’ll most likely be sorting out the code into banks to save space and going from there with more advanced A.I. (Not simple homing, falling of the track A.I.) those cars need to fall foul to going off track also and that’s going to be inetresting to set-up correctly!

Screenshot tonight is from the gameboy classic mode where, yes. Identical cars. I’m not too fussed about that. I am fussed about adding some steering animation though!

Getting There

How To Get Started with Gameboy Development using GBDK

So, you’ve decided to make a Homebrew Gameboy Game using GBDK, Good for you! Let’s get you up and started with some of the vital tools that you’ll need.

  1. GBDK – GBDK Download & Install Guide
    ( I installed my copy to C:\gbdk and will refer to that location throughout this series of tutorials.)
  2. A Text Editor. Programmers Notepad is pretty nice and FREE
  3. BGB (Gameboy Emulator, again FREE and the best one out there.)

Please note that I’ve only done GBDK coding on my Windows Machine so some installation bits may vary depending on your choice of Operating System.

That’s it, that’s the bare minimum you’ll need to get started and get used to bare minimums, because the Gameboy, despite being a well-balanced machine, isn’t powerful, if you’re used to Unity or other modern development tools, this will be quite the step back. Let’s take a brief look at the specs

Yay Gameboy!CPU Speed: 4.19 MHz ( or 0.000419 GHz if you prefer)
RAM: 8kb – Expandable to 32kb depending on your ROM Carts settings

And we’re looking at ROM Sizes between 32kb to I think 1Mb. Not much space, and to start we’ll be dealing with 32kb ROM Size only.

Everything Graphical is Tile-based (8×8) and we have a screen resolution of 160 x 144 Pixels, In 4 shades of grey.

And yes, you can still make a game, running at nearly 60FPS on this, cool huh?

Tomorrow we’ll write our first program which will cover that most important thing, getting something on-screen with a few lines of code and running, it’ll be great!