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Old 23 April 2016, 02:00   #1
Tsak
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Chaos Guns : Prototype Backbone demo released!



Hi to everyone!

After a long, long period of silence, searching and (continuous) development, we're pleasad to announce some fresh news plus a new (prototype) Backbone Demo release of our Game!

You can get up to date as to what we were up to those last months/year by following this link

To make long story short, after loads of ups and downs we managed to find a new and talented Amiga coder to help us make our game a reality. Right now we are working on his new engine (called GGC and done with ASM) and the plan is to create a new demo that will use as an example for the design the layout of this Backbone prototype we are releasing now.


So, what's with the Backbone demo?
----------------------------------
I started this as an experiment a few months before we found an amiga coder willing to help us with a new -proper- engine. The bet was to see Backbone's abilities and how much of the game we could salvage using this popular amiga program. Now, after tinkering with it for several months I would say with certainty that the experiment was, well... half successful!

I think we've proven for a start that it is possible to make a nice game out of it that is interesting and entertaining, close enough to the action-rpg genre as we first envisioned it. Unfortunately Backbone's limitations and shortcomings forced us to cut a large part of what was planned, nearly in every department, starting with the gameplay and shooting/melee mechanics (which by this time was hugely upgraded from our original, first amiga demo). In addition to this and possibly the biggest let down, was no other than performance and the inability of the program to maintain a steady fps. Last but not least are the various bugs, issues and glitches that are simply impossible to correct or bypass due to the incomplete nature of Backbone itself.

So, what do all the above leaves us with? Personally I am convinced that the Backbone solution is a legit one, even to do a complete game but -unfortunately- it lacks the polish and performance a proper commercial game oughts to have. So as far as our team goes (and I'd like to make this perfectly clear), we will consider going the Backbone way for the full game ONLY if we fail to complete the new engine that is currently under development.


Why release this demo then?
---------------------------
Well, despite the shortcomings and bitter/sweet taste from our experience with Backbone, this demo is the fruit of a great effort and many hours of hard work. Under this notion and taken 'as is' it remains (and I hope you'll agree with me) a cool accomplishment for the Backbone standards that shows-off the progress we've made, gives you a small taste on the new work that is under development and underlines our commitment to the project.
More important than that, this Backbone demo was made to be as complete as it could and the final result turned out to be quite satisfying (again, despite the performance shortcomings), so it would be a shame to let this rot in our hard-drives and not let you guys have fun with it as well!


Features/What changes from our previous Amiga demo (v1.2):
---------------------------------------------------------
EVERYTHING really! It's a brand new work with new GFX, sound, controls, gameplay, story and levels!

-GFX: 95% of the game's gfx were remade from scratch and everything that remained got a fresh facelift. A new, hyper compact and efficient 32 color palette was used and the end result has now a more distinct cartoonish looks.

-Sound: The new demo features a dark score and a complete set of new sfx. The big change from the previous demo is that there is music now in-game setting the right tone

-Controls: Game controls are much simplified now compared to the old demo (which is a positive thing really). Moving and shooting works as it does in your everyday shoot'em'up and gone are the days of you not being able to shoot and move at the same time. An extra button is used to trigger the game's various interactions. The demo features 3 control configurations: Joystick/keys, WASD/mouse and CD32 joypad (I personally found the WASD/mouse combo -which is another 1st for a Backbone game- to be quite cosy).

-Gameplay: First important change here is that the new game concept is shifted from multiplayer action to strictly 1 player. In this demo we've also made a big turn towards the RPG genre (which was always our target to begin with), starting from the presentation and the various dialog/texts to the amount of content you can interact with. As a result, progressing with the game requires some extra attention to the story as well as searching the levels, finding clues and interacting with the scenery.
On the action side, shooting, gun types and enemy AI are elevated as well, compared to what we had at our first demo.
A big deal regarding what it was possible to do and what not, depended solely on Backbone's given options, so inevitably we had to adjust the desing with those restrictions in mind.

-Story/levels: the old demo (final version 1.2) featured a self concluded story. This one drops you at "Act 2" of a seemingly larger plot that is completely different and unique, unrelated to the old one.


Requirements:
--------------
minimum: A1200+030+4mb fast+HD
recommended: 040+4mb fast+HD or UAE: 020 and up with "fastest possible" option enabled (if you have a fast system, to avoid unwanted "speedups" use "JIT" disabled, "more compatible" option enabled and no FPU).


Demo versions:
---------------
3 versions were made (A, B and C). All 3 are essentially the same except for the in-game visible screen. Depending on how powerful your system is, you can choose a version with smaller screen for better performance (b.t.w. all 3 versions are playable with a 030 but the first one (A) that has the largest screen has notable frame rate issues).


Installation:
-------------
Extract the contents of the .lha archive at your hard-drive. You'll need nearly 12mb free for the whole pack (all 3 versions) or 4mb for each version individually.


Download the demo:
-------------------
Get the full pack here (all 3 versions included)

You can download individual versions here:
Version A
Version B
Version C


Q&A
----
Q: Why the need for such high specs?
A: First of all it's no big secret that Backbone isn't famous for it's perfomance output. And our demo is not an exception here. When I started experimenting with it my main focus was to make it as feature complete as I could (both graphically and gameplay wise) just to see what I could salvage from our original plan.
Additionally one of my main goals was to see the limitations of the program, so the whole design was made with a maximalistic approach in mind, just to push Backbone to it's limits.
A great deal of the lower performance is attributed to the use of 32 color palette, many frames of animation for nearly every object, projectile and effect in-game (just the character alone is over 500 frames!) extra large tileset and extensive use of events. If I had to do it all over again on Backbone, I would definitely cut much of the content starting with the palette and the frames count.

Q: So, does that release means that you are going to finish the game using Backbone?
A: NO! As mentioned, we are currently working on a brand new engine done with ASM. If all goes well, we'll use this new engine to complete the game.

Q: You said earlier that the Backbone demo is gonna be used as a basis for the new demo. Meaning?
A: It means that some basic things like the general gameplay, gfx, presentation, sound, interactions, story and the demo level layout (with a few additions and improvements) are gonna stay more or less the same. Having said that, you are warned: If you'd like a more complete experience with better performance, more features and spoiler free content (since the new demo will have the same level design and story in general) you'd better stay away from this one and wait for the real deal.

Q: So, what are the differences between this Demo and the new one that is currently worked out?
A: Well, first of all performance is much, MUCH better with the new engine while screen size is much bigger. Then you have stuff like: More in-game animation, loot, weapons, gore, switch types, screen effects (like screen shake) and a ton of gameplay improvements like a centered camera, melee mechanics and combo swordplay, ability to backstep and sidestep while shooting, ability to switch between weapons, ammo count, simple and easy load/reload functionality, better weapons realisation like multiple projectiles for shotgun, different bullet spread configurations for machinegun and shotgun, missile explosions dealing damage to multiple enemies e.t.c.
And those are only some of the stuff we've already implemented! Next to come are enemies you can push (and can push you back), improved enemy logic and attacks (including enemy melee), knockback on bullet impact, a brand new and much more complete HUD and basic inventory implementation, items pickup and management, shop functionality, ability to run and much more!

Q: What are the harware requirements for this next demo?
A: Remains to be seen. Currently it's ECS compatible and runs great on an unexpanded 1200. We have not tested this with an A500 but my bet is that it could perform ok as well (for the time being). Our target is 020 with some extra ram and HD.

Q: When you are going to release the next demo?
A: It's gonna take a lot of time actually. That's one of the reasons we are releasing this Backbone prototype now.

Q: When you are going to complete the full game?
A: One step at a time! First target is to finalise the new engine, making sure all the basics are there. Once we're ready we'll start building the final game. At the same time we will explore the possibility of adding a few remaining planned features like light conditions, more guns and enemies, open world structure and (perhaps) 2 player support. It's gonna be a long process but we'll update you from time to time


For more info & news check out our blog: http://www.chaosguns.com

Thanx for the read & have fun with the demo!
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Last edited by Tsak; 23 April 2016 at 02:06.
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Old 23 April 2016, 09:43   #2
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Cool presentation for a backbone game. Inspiration is obvious from Alien Breed 2, i believe this has better graphics than AB2. Played in A3000 setup (A3000/25 mhz true speed) with "B" version and plays ok.
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Old 23 April 2016, 09:57   #3
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Looks a bit like into the eagles nest.I played on the spectrum.There was an Amiga version too but i prefered the speccy version.
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Old 23 April 2016, 11:01   #4
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Nice to see You have back to this project
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Old 23 April 2016, 18:40   #5
Tsak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobody View Post
Cool presentation for a backbone game. Inspiration is obvious from Alien Breed 2, i believe this has better graphics than AB2.
Thanx! I think we're finally reaching the original "target render" promise


Quote:
Played in A3000 setup (A3000/25 mhz true speed) with "B" version and plays ok.
Good to hear that
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Old 24 April 2016, 03:40   #6
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Congrats on this release been playing version A in WinUAE with no restrictions (using JIT, instant blitter etc). It kicks my ass! I managed to find the gun but die soon after.
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Old 24 April 2016, 12:24   #7
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Well done with this Tsak (and everyone else involved)

Really awesome work indeed; love the effects on the title screens and the moody sounds / music

I'm also using Version A in WinUAE with the specs you mentioned and running very well.

Finally, I also slightly modified your archive file so that I just dump this straight into WinUAE and play (no HD installation needed)
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Old 24 April 2016, 12:53   #8
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Well, I die on second stage - the fire range. Did someone got better than me?
Also, I like those PG-elements, maybe not too deep and complicated but reading stuff from screens and description from other stuff add a lot of nice mood. Reminds me first stage of Alien Breed 94 and Tower Assault.
Is there a button to switch guns I pick up?
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Old 24 April 2016, 15:54   #9
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Quote:
Q: So, does that release means that you are going to finish the game using Backbone?
A: NO! As mentioned, we are currently working on a brand new engine done with ASM. If all goes well, we'll use this new engine to complete the game.
One thing I don't understand. If you have found a coder who is making a new game engine in ASM, why have you decided to release demo compiled in Backbone? Don't you think this is a bit waste of time and a sort of creation of a false impression because ASM engine and Backbone engine can be completely different thus demo might be completely out of place? Demo should encourage people to keep interest in your production a not to put them off. Limiatations of Backbone are huge when you compare it with ASM and some people might just simply lose interest because of it.
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Old 24 April 2016, 17:07   #10
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Well, I die on second stage - the fire range. Did someone got better than me?
Well I can't even make it to the 2nd stage as yet...

I can't open this door; have explored all of the level so far and pushed every switch I've come across; I also have the shotgun



I know that there's a switch close to this door; right, down, right but it doesn't seem to open anything, especially not that door

Any hints?
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Old 24 April 2016, 17:23   #11
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Don't worry; figured it out

In the process got another gun, then fought a lot of monsters + a quite large one
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Old 24 April 2016, 18:06   #12
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One the second stage now but game crashed with "out of memory"

...using configuration with CPU 68040 +2mb Chip + 8mb Fast.
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Old 24 April 2016, 18:19   #13
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One the second stage now but game crashed with "out of memory"

...using configuration with CPU 68040 +2mb Chip + 8mb Fast.

Mmm, that's strange... Never had this problem myself even with 4mb configuration.
Can anyone else verify this?
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Old 24 April 2016, 18:45   #14
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Mmm, that's strange... Never had this problem myself even with 4mb configuration.
Can anyone else verify this?
Don't worry about it; it may be the way I'm playing i.e. mounting the archive directly in WinUAE as opposed to installing to hard drive...

Not sure how WinUAE handles this but guess it must use extra RAM for the process.

Maybe Toni can explain exactly what happens when you do the above; memory / resource wise?
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Old 24 April 2016, 19:01   #15
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Originally Posted by mailman View Post
One thing I don't understand. If you have found a coder who is making a new game engine in ASM, why have you decided to release demo compiled in Backbone? Don't you think this is a bit waste of time and a sort of creation of a false impression because ASM engine and Backbone engine can be completely different thus demo might be completely out of place? Demo should encourage people to keep interest in your production a not to put them off. Limiatations of Backbone are huge when you compare it with ASM and some people might just simply lose interest because of it.
I totally get what you're saying. I even agree to some extend.
Still, I think I went into great lengths explaining the reasons behind this release and the similarities and differences between this demo and the ASM one.
From our stand point, making this was not a waste of time, since I had this on-going long before we found the coder. And of course the creation of this prototype proved to be a great helping hand, providing the outlines of the design. So, the two won't be irrelevant, the ASM demo will simply be an upgrade (albeit a huge one) compared to what you see with this prototype.

In the end, what matters is the final impression. Given the Backbone limitations and taken "as is", if your evaluation on our work on this prototype leaves you with a positive impression I can't see why you'd lose interest.

Really, have you tried the demo yet?
Alternatively you can simply wait for the real deal (as mentioned already).
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Old 24 April 2016, 20:19   #16
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One the second stage now but game crashed with "out of memory"

...using configuration with CPU 68040 +2mb Chip + 8mb Fast.
It's Backbone problem, happens sometimes. I have seen it crash when you leave the game on for a long time. Memory leak???
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Old 24 April 2016, 20:34   #17
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It's Backbone problem, happens sometimes. I have seen it crash when you leave the game on for a long time. Memory leak???
Oh I see; thanks for the information

Once I had it do this when half way through the 1st stage and last time it occurred I was on the 2nd stage...
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Old 24 April 2016, 23:34   #18
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I tried the game on real A1200 030 50MHz, ver. A works smoothly.
Looks nice. Very nice presentation. Action a bit slow for my taste,, and could not find a gun so far.

I always wondered if it's possible to readjust the screen position, mine is skewed to the bottom/right.
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Old 24 April 2016, 23:55   #19
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,, and could not find a gun so far.
The first gun is to the right of where you start; walk over to some rocks and you'll see a "twinkle". Press <space> i.e. the interact key and you go through a trapdoor so to speak
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Old 25 April 2016, 01:43   #20
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Is there a button to switch guns I pick up?
Can't be done in Backbone (unimpemented feature). But we have already added this in our new demo
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