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Old 07 June 2016, 03:25   #1
alpine9000
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Blocky Skies - My first Amiga game

I am getting close to finishing my first Amiga game and I thought I would post some details here for other newbies thinking of doing something similar.

TLDR - download demo from blockyskies.com. Full game/tools source code https://github.com/alpine9000/blockyskies.

@nobody came up with the idea for doing this game and he did all of the artwork. @saimon69 is the musician.

The game is 100% assembler/hardware. It is cross compiled on a mac using vasm/vlink and a handful of tools that I wrote in C to convert the graphics assets into Amiga format data.

In order to actually get something finished in a reasonable timeframe, I banned refactoring unless the frame rate fell below 50fps or the code compromised the game. This rule has resulted in some quite hard to understand routines but I did get something finished. In around 8 weeks of working a handful of hours a week a basic game was ready.

It uses quite a lot of the Amiga hardware features including:
  • Two Independently scrolling play-fields (foreground/background).
  • The copper switches screen modes mid-screen for the status/message panels.
  • The copper switches palettes many times each frame.
  • The blitter is used for all drawing (probably in some cases where it should not be ).
  • Hardware sprites are used for all of the items that appear on the board. Sprites are re-used vertically (not horizontally).
  • Three audio channels are used for the P61 music player, the other channel is used for sound effects.
  • A hardware track loader (thanks Photon) is used to load data directly from the floppy.

The build creates both a trackloaded ADF and a Workbench launch-able executable. At the moment the trackloaded version runs with 512kb of ram and the Workbench version requires about 650kb of free chip ram.

I used FS-UAE and WINUAE extensively to debug the game. This saved me a lot of time. Learning the full power of the UAE debugger would be my #1 recommendation for anyone thinking of developing a trackloaded hardware game. My hacked version of FS-UAE makes this even easier by giving me debug symbols and command line history/completion.

The other slightly different thing I did was to use a vlink linker script to keep track of ram usage, making it very easy to know when I had blown the 512kb chip ram limit.

I found coding asm on Amiga hardware to be super fun and surprisingly painless, so I can't wait to get started on the next game.
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Old 07 June 2016, 11:17   #2
hooverphonique
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Good effort and nice write-up :-)
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Old 07 June 2016, 12:28   #3
alpine9000
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Originally Posted by hooverphonique View Post
Good effort and nice write-up :-)
Thanks, I probably should have mentioned that I am close to releasing a test of the workbench launch-able version.

If that tests out OK (and we have finished the levels/music) then I will put out the final version and it will be time to start on the next game
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Old 07 June 2016, 14:41   #4
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Good effort all! Great to see more software coming along.
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Old 07 June 2016, 14:46   #5
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Nice to see a new Amiga game, and with the source code congrats!
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Old 07 June 2016, 14:49   #6
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Very good work indeed alpine9000 (and nobody + saimon69)
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Old 07 June 2016, 16:41   #7
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This looks interesting!

I have to ask though: what is the main sprite supposed to be? I can't figure it out :/

Great job!
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Old 07 June 2016, 18:00   #8
alpine9000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
This looks interesting!

I have to ask though: what is the main sprite supposed to be? I can't figure it out :/

Great job!
In the full release there is a different sprite each level.

The sprite in the video on the site (kaboom level) is a tank, and for the demo version it's a flying pig
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Old 07 June 2016, 18:30   #9
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Nicely done!
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Old 07 June 2016, 18:49   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpine9000 View Post
In the full release there is a different sprite each level.

The sprite in the video on the site (kaboom level) is a tank, and for the demo version it's a flying pig
I see, taking after crossy road and stuff.
Nice one.
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Old 07 June 2016, 19:35   #11
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Looks interesting, I'll try it for sure.
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Old 07 June 2016, 21:31   #12
Mrs Beanbag
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oh! looks nice! i love the idea... a memory game
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Old 07 June 2016, 22:34   #13
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Hi Alpine9000!
Excelent!
Thank you for the source code and the game!!!
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Old 08 June 2016, 09:30   #14
phx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpine9000 View Post
The game is 100% assembler/hardware. It is cross compiled on a mac using vasm/vlink and a handful of tools that I wrote in C to convert the graphics assets into Amiga format data.
That's the way to do it!

I see you used the free portable Tiled editor for the maps. I also plan to do that for my next game.
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Old 08 June 2016, 09:35   #15
alpine9000
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That's the way to do it!

I see you used the free portable Tiled editor for the maps. I also plan to do that for my next game.
Yes Tiled is cool. I didn't really use many features and ended up using hard coded tile addresses to determine tile properties which I might not do again if I had my time over again.
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Old 08 June 2016, 10:16   #16
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I uploaded a test release of a hard drive installable version to the website. It requires about 600kb of free chip ram.

I tested it as thoroughly as I could in UAE, but my workbench knowledge is 20 years old and only extended to 2.0....

So if anyone is brave enough to try it on real hardware I would be very grateful
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Old 08 June 2016, 12:13   #17
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Great little game mate well done!
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Old 08 June 2016, 12:20   #18
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HD version works fine on my A1200 with CF drive.




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Old 08 June 2016, 12:49   #19
alpine9000
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HD version works fine on my A1200 with CF drive.
Thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to test it

Did it quit back out to workbench OK ?
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Old 08 June 2016, 12:57   #20
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Quote:
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Thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to test it

Did it quit back out to workbench OK ?
Yes it did indeed.
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