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Old 06 October 2015, 15:05   #1
AdamB
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Porting the Amiga game Roketz

Hi,

I've started porting the classic Amiga game 'Roketz' to Unity such that I can add new features to it and what not. It should also be able to run on just about any modern machine with a CPU in it; PC, Mac, Linux, All the consoles, iOS, Android, Web Browsers. I doubt that unless I can find the original devs that I could do a proper release of it, but it's fun to mess with anyhow...

I've had quite a lot of help so far from people on this forum so I'd like to make a sort of devlog here of what I'm doing for people to follow.

Anyone remember this game fondly?

Latest news:
I've got the go-ahead to do an official release from the original developers of the game, so I'm stopping providing builds for the moment to concentrate on getting this thing done!

Last edited by AdamB; 29 February 2016 at 18:01. Reason: Latest build
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Old 06 October 2015, 15:19   #2
hooverphonique
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that's pretty cool, mate..
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Old 06 October 2015, 15:31   #3
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40 MB, that's quite a lot of UAE installations.
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Old 06 October 2015, 15:41   #4
AdamB
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Originally Posted by idrougge View Post
40 MB, that's quite a lot of UAE installations.
There's no compression on assets yet, that'll be done last. No point optimising it now whilst there's code to be written!
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Old 06 October 2015, 17:07   #5
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My favourite gravity game was TurboRaketti2 what I played with a friend (around two decade ago). Roketz has nice graphics but something (can`t remember what) wasn`t fun playing. Maybe to much wall crashes because of difficult ship moving? Some weapons where pointless if I remember right. The pro was that is has AI as enemy but that is boring after some time playing. Two or multiplayer seems to be the strength of such a gravity game.

What I liked on TurboRaketti2 was that you can chose how much fuel/weapon you want to load and possibility to change that during game/battle. Only one kind of ship what makes balancing easier. The highscore/rating system is good.

Overall, "playbility"/moving and balancing is the most important part if you want to improve Roketz.
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Old 06 October 2015, 17:24   #6
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I agree there with the balancing - Roketz was not as good gameplay-wise as some of the other thrust-a-like games. I want to tweak a lot of the design so that it plays better - some weapons/equipment were overpowered or just not fun to use. I always thought the cloaking device was a bit lame, for example. Roketz for me just had a certain style or atmosphere or something that really attracted me to it, which is why I want to rebuild it and 'fix' certain design flaws and introduce new features.

I actually thought about implementing google analytics so that I can get detailed feedback from people as they play - though the effectiveness would depend on how many people I could get to test it! That way I can see if any weapon/ship/equipment is over-powered compared to others, etc, using detailed statistics on how people actually play the game - and make adjustments accordingly.

I will be implementing AI - I actually wrote a Roketz-like game (which I'm reusing code from) but I couldn't find an artist to work with (hence I decided to work with the original games assets instead). I already spent a vast amount of time working on an AI for that game which I will be bringing over to this project. However, I agree that multiplayer is the key.

Ideally I'd find the original devs and come to some agreement with them over licensing and get this out on Steam so that I can use Steam as a platform for match-making multiplayer games, but I think realistically that's probably a pipe dream. Not least of all because I don't think the existing maps are well designed for a modern multiplayer game.

But, hopefully someone will get a kick out of this!

Edit: Also - destructible terrain was something missing from Roketz. I wonder if that would interest people? I already wrote a system that does something similar you can look at over here:Into Deep game info stuff

Last edited by AdamB; 06 October 2015 at 17:26. Reason: more stuff
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Old 07 October 2015, 16:06   #7
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I guess with "destructible terrain" you mean something like Gravity Force 2 has. Could be interesting. Similar to activate switches or some other feature that open/close gates or whatever (e.g. special weapon/mode, transporter, gravity malfunction, darth vader mode, ...).
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Old 07 October 2015, 20:02   #8
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I remember this well - nice choice of project!
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Old 08 October 2015, 08:49   #9
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Quote:
I remember this well - nice choice of project!
Cheers!

Quote:
I guess with "destructible terrain" you mean something like Gravity Force 2 has. Could be interesting. Similar to activate switches or some other feature that open/close gates or whatever (e.g. special weapon/mode, transporter, gravity malfunction, darth vader mode, ...).
Yea like GF2. The other stuff - more environmental dangers with switches and gates and such - would probably need more art assets. I'm currently trying to build the game purely around what I can rip from the old games. I have thought about using some of the assets from the DOS version to get more weapons and equipment - depending on if a) I can rip those assets and b) if they play nice with the Amiga assets - they might be in a different scale or simply look out of place if the palette/style was changed too much. The DOS version had more (and much bigger) levels, which would be a nice addition.

But other than that I can't add anything that requires art content, as this whole thing started because I couldn't locate an artist willing to collaborate on the project!

-Adam
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Old 08 October 2015, 14:37   #10
daxb
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The graphic are all raytraced, right? If so you need someone with raytracing skills. When you (almost) finished your port it shouldn`t be a problem to find one that is willing to do some raytraced graphics. Alternative you could use some simple placeholder graphic and hope an artist replace these later.
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Old 08 October 2015, 17:18   #11
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Possibly I could use this as a demo for getting an artist on-board, but I'm not holding out any hope for that. Though if I did manage to attract an artist I could replace all the assets - create new ships and levels etc. New levels would be great as the old ones are small and aren't best designed for more than 2 players at a time.

There's a new build available:
Roketz WebGL Alpha_08_10_2015

Sporting the beginnings of a front end. You have to select 'multiplayer', I'm building that section of the game first so for now singleplayer does nothing. The only levels currently working are Wasteland, Refinery and Airduct. The other levels can't be selected yet.

Next on the list of things to do is the other levels and ship selection. I imagine I'll re-use the ship selection screen from Roketz but split the screen into quadrants, a quarter for each of the possible 4 human players. Then I'll draw each players ship setup in their quarter.
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Old 12 October 2015, 09:39   #12
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New build:
Roketz WebGL Alpha 11_10_2015

What's new:
Now all levels are working. I've also added the various environmental dangers such as auto-guns, air vents, repellent fields and radiation.

Spent a bit of time tweaking the physics, I think the ships feel roughly similar to the original game now - they obviously need tweaking further to allow for different engines/equipment etc. but as a basic starting point I think it's not too bad.
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Old 13 October 2015, 18:15   #13
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Nice. I do remember the game and I still have this on my A1200, all the way back from 1996.
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Old 14 October 2015, 12:01   #14
AdamB
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Nice. I do remember the game and I still have this on my A1200, all the way back from 1996.
That's cool.

I never really played the Amiga version before a couple years ago - I had a DOS pc which I played the DOS version on when I was a kid. The DOS version is really different. When I got the internet years later and looked the game up that was the first time I even knew of the Amiga versions existence.

I now prefer the look of the Amiga game - something about the more colourful ships or the scale or something sits better with me.
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Old 15 October 2015, 08:55   #15
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Another new build:
Roketz WebGL Alpha 14_10_2015

Now there's the beginnings of ship selection and controller assignment. Game-pads work (Even in the browser! It should support 4 game pads and 2 keyboard controls).

The controllers are assigned on the ship select screen in the order that you press 'start'.

Note: 'start' on keyboards is Return for player 1 and E for player two. Back for player 1 is backspace, and is Q for player 2. On the newer XBox One controllers for some reason it has start mapped as Right Trigger, though on the XBox 360 controllers it's the start button as you'd expect. I'll fix that!

You should be able to start games with 4 players now, if you have that many people available!
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Old 26 October 2015, 07:06   #16
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New build;
Roketz WebGL Alpha 25_10_2015

Now includes a first-pass on the audio, equipment/weapon select (though only *some* of the weapons are set-up correctly and none of the equipment actually does anything yet).
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Old 27 October 2015, 13:38   #17
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Haha, yea the WebGL build for Unity is still very experimental. I figured it was an easy way to release a steady stream of latest builds for people on here to try out. Plus it's very safe - you don't have to download executable code or whatever.

From what I can tell the latest version of Firefox is 41.0.2, maybe try updating your browser?

Actually executing native code in a browser is kind of ridiculous to start with; it's sort of a miracle it works at all. In order to get the performance of a native build you have to implement an LLVM virtual machine in javascript and run the code on that; I believe currently they use emscripten to achieve this. But yea, all very experimental so it's going to have issues some of the time.

If I can find the original Roketz devs and get a license to do so then I'll release a proper standalone build for PC/Mac/Linux at least. I think I found one of them on LinkedIn so once it's a bit further along I'll shoot them a message and see what they reckon to it. Like I've said before I'd love to get networked multi-player in and host it on steam or a similar platform. Not sure there'd be enough people wanting to see that happen, though, as I think you have to go through a public 'greenlight' thing where people vote to see your game on steam now. Sucks.

Currently I'm an ID@Xbox dev with access to a XBone dev kit, it did cross my mind to get it running on that for a laugh.

-Adam
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Old 27 October 2015, 17:13   #18
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I've also just noticed that the pitch of the music changes with the pitch of the ship engine - I'm reasonably sure this is a bug in Unity's WebAudio implementation, and I can assure you it doesn't happen in standalone builds!
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Old 29 October 2015, 20:33   #19
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Turns out the music issue is a bug in Unity - they've recently released a new version with a fix for this issue so I'm going to put out an update tomorrow. I've also finished all the secondary weapon implementation and most of the equipment. Everything still needs balancing; firing rates, damage rates, engine speeds etc. but it's basically working!

Next big thing to concentrate on is some AI I think.
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Old 30 October 2015, 18:00   #20
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OK new build is up:
Roketz WebGL Alpha

Now with fixed music, secondary weapon and equipment implementations. Everything is still in need of balancing and tweaking, it's way off at the moment. In the middle of moving my AI code over at the moment, and thinking about how to handle the HUD for each ship (neither the Amiga or DOS version did a good job of this I reckon, so I'm looking at knocking something new together).
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