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Old 07 July 2010, 20:06   #1
Heavy Stylus
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Robotz Dx - Enhanced remake of an Atari ST classic :)

Many, many moons ago, I used to play this little game on my Atari ST:

http://www.atarilegend.com/games/gam...hp?game_id=472

I loved it's simplistic strategic 'daleks' game play, and have been waiting for years for a PC remake. Waiting so long in fact, that I gave up waiting and made one myself.



Robotz DX is an unashamedly old-school, single-screen shoot-em-up with strategic game play. Although simple in concept, it is a difficult game to beat; you will die many times before you master all 30 arenas - and even when you do conquer the game, it's randomly generated level layouts will provide a new challenge on every subsequent play-through.

On each level, the goal is to destroy all the robots within a time limit of 60 seconds. To destroy the (shielded) robots, the player has to blow up the red, pulsating shield emitters first. You'll know when you have successfully hit a target because it will flash white. There are bonuses to collect, and computer banks to use as temporary cover, or to simply blow up for extra points (and note that there is a small chance of the computers hiding an additional bonus within).

Sounds easy? Well, it isn't. The player takes one hit to kill (or contact with an enemy), and those 60 seconds run out fast.

The game was programmed in 3 weeks using Game Maker 8 Pro (using GML); a language I'd highly recommend for people who want to make simple little games and have little/no programming experience.

GAME WEB PAGE:
http://www.rgcd.co.uk/robotzdx/


VIDEO:
[ Show youtube player ]


POUET ENTRY:
http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=55240


Robotz DX is NOT a straight 1-2-1 remake of the Atari ST public domain classic. The design evolved during development to the point where only the basic dalek movement and shield-emitter-destroying game-play is faithful to the source material, so really this should be considered a tribute to Robotz, or a re-imagining.

Let's discuss the differences (in brief). In the original Robotz, the walls were deadly (not at all fun), shield emitters took about 20 shots to destroy (annoying) and the player only was allowed to fire one bullet at a time. Also, the robots had only one movement pattern, and took turns in moving one tile at a time. There were a maximum of six robots in a level, and shooting at them when shielded paused them for a second or so.

The deadly walls were removed first, but then the game became too easy, so pausing robot moves was removed and two shot kills were implemented to make it harder. Simultaneous robot movement/firing and more aggressive attitudes meant that I had to balance the game by adding more player shots. Bonuses, computers, and more enemy types were simply added to provide variety and more bombastic action.

The end result is a game that clearly resembles the original, but plays as though it has been injected with steroids. When playing, I find Robotz DX to be equally addictive and frustrating - which was exactly what I was aiming to achieve.
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Old 07 July 2010, 20:34   #2
Peter
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Great Work HS - looks excellent - the web page is great also... will give this a go for sure!
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Old 08 July 2010, 16:18   #3
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Peter - so what did you think?
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Old 09 July 2010, 13:12   #4
lilalurl
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Tried it yesterday. I did not know the original game.

Quite fun and pretty hard indeed. After several tries I could only reach level 5.


I usually lost most lives on level 3 (due to the spawner).
Not sure if you are going to make some revisions of the game but would it be possible to have the first spawner you encounter in the game spawn enemies at a slower rate? With the spawning rate increasing in the next levels?
If that is already the case I guess the game becomes very difficult after a while.
Or perhaps limiting the number of spawned enemies for the first level with a spawner?

Two times I had the spawner behind a wall, near the vertical center and therefore, as I could not attack it quickly, it had time to spawn a lot of enemies and when I tried to attack it, I could barely reach a safe distance to shoot at the enemies coming at me. Perhaps some diagonal attacks would have helped but I had not really enough time to think about it.



Oh and this game is vicious. Several times I thought I had finished a level because I had just killed the last enemy but was finally killed by the last bullet it shot .


Anyway good job overall. Highly recommended to anyone and especially for people who want to train their close quarters fighting ability in games like the Chaos Engine .
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Old 09 July 2010, 13:25   #5
Heavy Stylus
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hehe - thanks for the feedback

The game is supposed to be vicious, but regarding the spawners, they are easily dispatched of if you lock your facing direction (X) and strafe at the waves of drones and spawner. You don't *have* to duke it out hardcore style like the guy playing Robotz DX on the youtube video.

Actually, that guy really shows how the game should be played; strategically and with quick attack decisions.

From the readme:

"Always take cover after releasing a volley of shots at an enemy so that they cannot retaliate just before they are destroyed."
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Old 09 July 2010, 14:24   #6
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But but but I want to play kamikaze style .


By the way, I had two technical issues that I forgot to post:

1) I played on full screen. But each time I went back to Windows (by quitting), my already opened windows were size-reduced (to 320x240 I suppose). Can you do something about it? Not sure if this is related to the first known bugs/issues in the readme.

Also I could not Alt-Tab out of the game.

XP SP3 and Radeon 9600 card.


2) Is it possible to disable joypad support (by a command line switch or something like that)?

I have a Sega SLS gamepad and apparently the game does not like it.
Of course, I expected it not to work by default as you said only Xbox 360 pad are supported. It did not work of course the character kept going upwards.

Then I tried to use xpadder, a program similar to joy2key, with which I never had issues. With Robotz Dx however, it did not work at all and I had the same issue as if I did not use xpadder (player going upwards).
This makes me think that the joypad is detected by the game, or something like that, which ignores the keyboard emulation part.

I will probably try with joy2key tonight or this weekend and see if it solves the issue. Still it would be nice having the game working with xpadder (although as xpadder turned commercial after v5.3, perhaps it could be an opportunity for me to switch to an alternative).
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Old 09 July 2010, 14:52   #7
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Thanks for the bug report!

1). You shouldn't alt-tab out of the game from full screen, because it will screw up the way that the game draws gfx to the screen, and your desktop will be in super low-res. Sorry. You can however play from windowed mode and move to another window (which will pause the game).

The window resizing I cannot fix either. This is a bug caused by the GM interpretter.

2). I will address this joypad issue in the next update (Sunday/Monday?). The bug is caused by the dodgy 360 pad support that I shoehorned in last minute. I'll post here when it's fixed (like you say, there should really be a joypad on/off switch, ideally).

At the moment, the game always looks for keyboard and joypad input, so having a non-compatible joypad plugged in will cause this issue (movement requires a POV hat), and I guess that not even joy2key will help.

For now, the only solution will be to remove your pad and play via keys
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Old 09 July 2010, 17:13   #8
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It looks much like the game Leavin Teramis which was on the Atari ST
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Old 09 July 2010, 17:24   #9
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dude...huge congratz! that's a bloody awesome little game!

i love the tune and having very much fun with it already even if i only played it for a few minutes, I absolutely wanted to get back here to say how positive I am about it

Will let you know if anything new comes up while I play!


Only one thing I'm missing: a boss key!
I'm at work and can't alt-tab, that bloody game stays on top of all windows!
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Old 11 July 2010, 00:13   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavy Stylus View Post
Peter - so what did you think?
sorry HS - haven't had a chance over the last few days to play this yet - will get some time next week and give you a shout...
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Old 14 July 2010, 00:06   #11
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http://www.rgcd.co.uk/robotzdx/

Version 1.02:

Improved joypad support and fixed a bug that prevented joy2key and xpadder working with the game (whoops). Improved the .ini file system so that selected control config is automatically saved, and hiscore is recorded even if you quit mid-game. Also, reworked the tutorial code so that you can only not skip the intro on your very first play of the game (again this is saved in the .ini file). Fixed the windowed mode so that the game window can be hidden (previously it always stayed on top). Tweaked level 25 so that spawners don't appear in difficult to reach locations.

Control method is selected at title screen by pressing J. *Default is keys (so xpadder users, etc. can now play the game). *JOYA uses the POV hat for movement, JOYB uses x/y axis. *Fire, strafe and pause buttons can be reassigned in the ini file after loading the game for the first time.
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Old 14 July 2010, 00:12   #12
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The game looks great!
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Old 14 July 2010, 00:56   #13
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Hehe good job on the window that can be hidden now I can play it at work more easily
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Old 14 July 2010, 20:42   #14
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Not on my usual computer right now, but I confirm that I can now use directly my joypad (in JoyB mode) .

I'll see later (this week-end perhaps) how xpadder works and if there are some new issues on the computer I am using right now (Win 7 laptop vs XP for the usual one).
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Old 14 July 2010, 21:35   #15
Heavy Stylus
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That's good - Just remember, for xpadder to work you will need to revert controls back to keys FIRST
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Old 15 July 2010, 00:43   #16
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This is impressive! Great work!
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