Originally Posted by ReadOnlyCat
Gameplay design and level design are more important parts than the engine. Even with the best of all engines a bad design will produce a bad game.Even with a bad engine, great game play and level design can still produce a good game.
An engine is an enabler for design, it defines the limits within which game design operates. This is certainly an essential task but it is not the most important one.
I perfectly agree. The engine in Blaze is certainly nothing out of this world. The game uses a 32 colour (5-bitplane) palette for the foreground (water reflection simply reverses memory fetching and applies a bluish tint to the palette using the copper). The moon and background are actually made up of 3-colour hardware sprites (plus transparent) and a copper list, as somebody above mentioned already. This means they come almost for free, performance-wise.
The screen is re-drawn every frame, from 32x32 pixel blocks; there is no actual scrolling. This allows fully animated blocks without additional penalty and also means that blitter objects (Bobs?) need not save and restore the background. Per-cell flags determine whether a block is drawn behind the player character (without the use of a mask), or in front of it, in which case a mask is applied to scissor the tile. The collectibles are actual map tiles, not 'sprites'.
Many Amiga platform games seemed to shun complex surfaces with steep inclines (>45 degrees), the reason probably being that the vertical position of a player when 'in a tile' was a function of horizontal offset from the origin of the tile, which doesn't work well for steeper inclines. At least that was my conjecture. At the time, I thought the greatest challenge was getting the feel - as in dynamics - of Sonic the Hedgehog right. The game was basically written during the school summer holidays (I was still in 4th or 5th form, I believe), and a lot of the learning I did as I went along. I have made the source (the bulk of it, anyway) available as a pastebin here
, (blog post
) just before my A1200 gave up the ghost. The tools I used to design the level maps are unfortunately still on floppies, as are the assets and graphics of other levels I had drawn but never included with the demo.
Thanks everyone for the lovely comments; enjoy the game!