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Old 07 March 2011, 00:29   #1
DJCruicky
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Hooooo ALIEN Fish Finger, behind the game, plus updates coming SOON

HI ALL,
for those who are not in the know, or who have not seen my other posts, I am the author of ‘ALIEN Fish Finger’. A game I released late 1995 for the Amiga. It is a little platform game set on an Alien world with you in control of some hero type dude called Frank Finger on a mission to save Earth from the deadly clutch of the evil Aliens, Moo ha haa. (I never did give the Aliens a name, hmmm ).

For those that are interested, and want to hear about it’s making, please read on.
I did pretty much everything myself from the ground up, the artwork, the coding, even the tools such as the map-editor to make the levels.
I started with a basic animation of Frank Finger, and had him run round a basic mocked up screen. I had to figure out collision detection. I wanted him to be able run up hills and other ruff terrain. To do this I separated the collision to a separate 4 coloured bitmap the same size of the screen that you don’t in-fact see when playing the game. Doing it this way I was not restricted to what I could put on the main screen to what you could interact with. I’ve got collision sensors on the characters feet, waist and head that can detect these colours. The 1st colour makes him fall, 2nd colour he can stand and walk on, 3rd colour slows him down or makes him stop (good for walls and steep hills), and the 4th colour he can shoot and destroy. Screen shots below…


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The enemies turned out quite well. They are not the smartest of creatures, but they still give the player a lot of challenge and fun. They behave sometimes in a humorous way, and show a lot of character. Programming them to lose their gun when shot and then to re pick it up again was hard to programme, but glad I stuck to it and did not give up on the feature.

The map editor took awhile to program, but once finished I could start building the levels. I first drew the smaller map objects in D-Paint 4, and then used the map editor to join them all up. Because the game does not scroll I was not restricted to having to place the graphic objects in a grid type pattern, I could place them anywhere I wanted. I could even place objects on top of each other if I wanted (saucy ). The collision detection layers were also added too, along with the Enemy placements.
Enemies, I could choose whether to be on screen already when the player enters, or have them enter after a set time limit.

Very early in the development I had in place some nice real time physics on flying objects, such as throwing a grenade. Gravity, air resistance, and even terminal velocity affected them (ohh how nerdy do I sound? ). I managed to also get them to bounce off walls etc. I used the same routines on flying dead enemy bodies too (yuck).

I finally released the game as Shareware, and then later gave the game a bit of a face lift a year or 2 after in the sound FX department plus some other small stuff and fixes.
Was never really sure how well it was liked or hated. Back then I never had Internet. I never had that many people registering for the full-enhanced version. Had a few nice letters from people. It was a time when people were selling their Amigas and buying Playstation I guess. As I later found out, finding the full version on every Internet bulletin board I guess did not help with sales too .

I’m happy with how the game turned out. Took a good 14 months to make, but it was worth it. Over 15 years on I still feel proud of myself for the achievement for this and my other games .

So then, what now?
As I did with my other games, I’ve got some improvements coming. I’ve been on and off it for the last 2.5 months. I did have my PC blow up, and had many other distractions in that time, so not all that time was on it. I’ll post what I’ve done to the game so far when I have a bit of time. I need to make things clear there will be no new levels sorry to say. I think that would just be a bit too time consuming.

I plan to do something different with this game, instead of just giving it a way; I thought instead I would change it from Shareware to Charity-ware. Don’t worry, I still have plans to release it as the full version, and you are under no obligation to donate, but thought it would be a nice thing to do. When the game is finished I’ll put the download link on this charity page that I have set-up at http://www.justgiving.com/AlienFishFinger. It’s for Cancer Research. Tell me if you feel that is a good idea.

As I said above, over the next few days I’ll post below some of the nice things I’ve added or adding to the game to try make it better. So far I’m very happy with the way things are going.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment.

DJ Cruicky

Last edited by DJCruicky; 10 December 2011 at 21:36.
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Old 07 March 2011, 00:45   #2
ElectroBlaster
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Hi

The game looks smart. Not sure if I have played it or not...
I shall give it a whirl, my kids will defo like this game so I will let them know about it.

Also did you know somebody called Steve Bye? I noticed F1 Licenceware being mentioned on Hall of Light.
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Old 07 March 2011, 00:47   #3
Peter
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Fantastic thread DJC - been so looking forward to you re-releasing this game - it surely rates as one of the best Amiga Shareware games of all time - which is an incredible achievement when you consider just how many Amiga PD and Shareware games there are!

It's so great so have so much information about the game - if only more authors would get back into the Amiga scene!!

I think the idea of donating to charity is a fine idea and you have certainly picked a very worthy cause.

A Big Thank You for taking the time to share your Amiga stuff!


I have updated "Scavenge Amiga" Facebook page with details of David's Fund-Raising web page.
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/p...00001398436451

Last edited by Peter; 07 March 2011 at 01:28.
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Old 07 March 2011, 00:50   #4
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Looking forward to it Keep it up DJCruicky
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Old 07 March 2011, 01:03   #5
mr_a500
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Hi David!

Thanks very much for Alien Fish Finger. It's a nice little game. I love how when you die, another guy gets thrown to the same spot - and how the dead bodies are saved and are still there when you restart the game.

It's just a pity that the screens don't work too well on NTSC monitors (in PAL mode). Even with the v-height adjusted, the bottom of the screen is cut off a bit. If only the screens weren't so tall.
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Old 07 March 2011, 01:08   #6
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Thanks! Really nice you share the story behind this,new updated version is also really really cool !! Keep on the good work man!
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Old 07 March 2011, 08:46   #7
Graham Humphrey
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That was a great read and may just inspire me to get programming again soon

Really looking forward to seeing the new version and a fine idea to make it Charityware too.
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Old 07 March 2011, 09:54   #8
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I really love AFF, one of the greatest little games. I love all those secret passages, I enjoy the sounds of explosions and the graphic details - swapms, blinkink lights etc. My most favourite enemy is the vehicle that I nicknamed to myself as "battle trousers" - the two legs with a cannon that enemy soldiers are using against you sometimes. Tell me - how many weapon upgrades can I get?

I would like to see a sequel once - the new story with the new set of levels, in the same graphics. I know it is a sci-fi, but it is my holy wish.

Would it be possible to get registered version to my name again? I don't know the principle of charityware.
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Old 07 March 2011, 10:09   #9
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I played a couple of screens the other day on my Xbox 1, really nice game. I'm looking forward to playing it some more.

You might want to suggest that we can use Emulators to play the game too. You only state you need an Amiga on the Charity page.
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Old 07 March 2011, 10:41   #10
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Followed seuden's lead and donated 5 quid Hope that gives a little motivation to you David (and makes me feel good about supporting new Amiga games and stuff ).
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Old 07 March 2011, 10:59   #11
killergorilla
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Donation donated!

Good luck mate. Hope you find enough motivation, I know it's difficult
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Old 07 March 2011, 11:07   #12
Predseda
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So did I. Hm, anonymous, maybe I fulfilled something wrong. Doesnt matter.
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Old 07 March 2011, 20:32   #13
DJCruicky
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WOW, thank you for the donations, and all your kind words.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectroBlaster View Post
Hi

The game looks smart. Not sure if I have played it or not...
I shall give it a whirl, my kids will defo like this game so I will let them know about it.
Also did you know somebody called Steve Bye? I noticed F1 Licenceware being mentioned on Hall of Light.
thank you, no, I never knew Steve Bye, or any one else at F1 Licenceware, sorry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_a500 View Post
....It's just a pity that the screens don't work too well on NTSC monitors (in PAL mode). Even with the v-height adjusted, the bottom of the screen is cut off a bit. If only the screens weren't so tall.
hi Mr.A500, no problem, if you like I can try fix that for you if you like. How much does it get cut off the bottom. Can you still see the score board? I guess you can see more then the 200 lines that you would get with NTSC but not quiet the full 256 lines of PAL?, somewhere in between would you say?
The mission briefings at the start of each level, is that cut off too?, if so could you tell me what line of text you can read up too? thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Predseda View Post
I really love AFF, one of the greatest little games. I love all those secret passages, I enjoy the sounds of explosions and the graphic details - swapms, blinkink lights etc. My most favourite enemy is the vehicle that I nicknamed to myself as "battle trousers" - the two legs with a cannon that enemy soldiers are using against you sometimes. Tell me - how many weapon upgrades can I get?
Battle Trousers , yes, I liked them too. I forget how many guns. I too would love to have a sequel too. We can both dream. Thanks for donating + all.


Thanks again

DJC

Last edited by DJCruicky; 08 March 2011 at 04:15.
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Old 07 March 2011, 21:01   #14
mr_a500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJCruicky View Post
hi Mr.A500, no problem, if you like I can try fix that for you if you like. How much does it get cut off the bottom. Can you still see the score board? I guess you can see more then the 200 lines that you would get with NTSC but not quiet the full 283 lines of PAL?, somewhere in between would you say?
The mission briefings at the start of each level, is that cut off too?, if so could you tell me what line of text you can read up too? thanks
On my 1080 monitor with v-height adjusted, the top score list is cut off halfway through #15 - which isn't too bad, but means I don't see some of the stairways and pits - resulting in my guy occasionally falling and going "uhhh!"

With my A3000 connected to my NTSC TV (whch can only handle NTSC mode), the top score list is cut off halfway through #13. The game runs fine in NTSC mode (as far as I can tell) except the fact that the bottom is cut off. The screen doesn't start at the top, but starts about 30 pixels down. (rough estimate)

Actually, I don't think it's worth it for you to spend time fixing the game for NTSC. It's probably too much trouble with too few people benefiting. Most Amiga gamers (and people emulating) are using PAL. I can always just deal with the occasional falling death when I play in PAL mode. (...and in real life)

I appreciate the thought though.
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Old 07 March 2011, 21:40   #15
DJCruicky
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I forgot to say, the game needs 1 Meg of chip RAM, so the Minimum needed:
A500+, A600 etc.
but Recommend: A1200 or above for a few extra features.

As promised here are some of the things I've done:-

NEW: Stencil/masking. This allows player and enemies to appear behind foreground objects that I choose, such as fences and trees. This is so to created a sense of 'depth' to the maps. Itís nothing new in other games, but Alien fish finger never had it.
I re-coded my home made Map-editor for me to add this new feature to all 100+ screens of the game. I had to be thoughtful where to put foreground objects. No good the player walking through an area where he cannot see him/herself and then get shot while not being able to see the bullet coming etc.

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The white areas are the Stencils.

This took a while to do. Status: FINISHED

ADDED more sound FX (still no music sorry). UFOís now sound very nice.
NEW 2nd fire button option for jump. Option is saved to disc so never have to change it again.
NEW start from Level 4 option.
ADDED 2 extra secret hidden areas, one on Level 1, and one on Level 6. Very tricky to find.
NEW screen on Level 4.

ADDED NTSC support for Mr.A500ís big screen NTSC TV. Status: FINISHED. Just need to put option in menu to choose it.


Iíll post again with other stuff I have already finished soon. Hope you are interested.

:-DJ Cruicky
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Old 07 March 2011, 21:49   #16
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Nice..

What is this coded in?
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Old 07 March 2011, 21:53   #17
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COOOL!

Please, could you revisit the thunder sound in that level where the UFO appears and where are the adverts for Wired Chaos and Hydro Zone? Back in 90s I replaced that sound with more suitable one in my version, I think the original one is not good enough for this awesome game.
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Old 07 March 2011, 22:00   #18
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Really cool stuff !! Much respect to your work on this gem of a game !! The new gfx looks grrreat aswell !!
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Old 07 March 2011, 22:10   #19
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Fantastic stuff!
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Old 07 March 2011, 22:14   #20
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How much would be involved to make a Dos version? So I can play it on my iPhone via DOSPad.
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