Showing posts from 2022

Nodes of Yesod : ZX Spectrum Next : Update #4

A Big Change Of Plans! Astro Charlie has a close encounter If you have read my previous updates, you'll know that Nodes of Yesod for the Speccy Next is based on a C codebase. I've discussed details of my progress in that direction in previous posts, tool selection, and various other considerations. I have to share with you that I've had a rethink and there's a big change of plans! As I intend to make this version of Nodes freely available, and since it follows that there's no direct benefit to me financially, building the game has to be a fun and enjoyable endeavor. While I've enjoyed certain aspects of getting a C codebase to compile and run on the Next, I've had a few nagging doubts. C was always going to be a 'heavy' way to do things on an 8-bit Z80 (even with a faster clock), and paging code in and out of 8K or 16K banks does not make things less complicated; however, more than that, I need to personally get something out of this, it needs to be

Wide Ranging Interview with the Retro Hour Podcast

Manic Miner to Command & Conquer with Steve Wetherill - The Retro Hour EP322 Check out the link below for a wide-ranging interview I did with Dan and Ravi at the Retro Hour podcast!  Here are some examples of topics covered: On Matthew Smith and the "Megatree" game "Matthew also, toward the end of my time at Software Projects, he and Marc Wilding and Stoo Fotheringham were teamed up to build the "Megatree" game, which was supposed to be Matthew's next thing. So those guys were actually working out of the house that was owned by Software Projects that I was living in, so I would sort of pass them in the morning as I left to commute to the office, because I was working out of the Software Projects office, and then I would see them in the evenings when I got back." On the Atari ST "I just like the fact that it was basically, you know, there's a 68000 chip, a bunch of memory, and a screen buffer that lives at a certain address in memory, and t

Eldritch The Cat Mk I : 1988 - 1989

Steve Wetherill and Marc Wilding, the Eldritch Cats Eldritch The Cat Mark I After Odin , Marc Wilding contracted with Ocean to create the Amiga & Atari ST versions of the Army Moves game. Next, he successfully pitched Hewson Consultants with an original game of his design called Astaroth for the 16-bit platforms. It was while Marc was completing Astaroth and after I had left Denton Designs that he and I decided to set out together and form the Eldritch The Cat dev studio. Initially, we worked out of my house on Crompton Drive in Croxteth Park, Liverpool 12 , with graphics work contracted out. Marc brought Astaroth in under the Eldritch umbrella, and the next task was to find a project for me. Projectyle Projectyle During that initial period at Eldritch, I used the experience gained while creating the scrolling tech on Sidewize and Crosswize, coupled with the experience gained at Denton's building the Gargantuan prototypes, to create a demo showing smooth, multidirectional scr

Nodes of Yesod : ZX Spectrum Next : Update #3

In this third developer diary update for Nodes of Yesod: ZX Spectrum Next, I'll talk about progress on the coding and tools side, and give a preview of progress on the art side. Coding Update In previous posts, I have mentioned the sprite exporter tool that I'm working on and that once I had "something on-screen", progress would 'spiral out' from there. Let's get spiraling! Here's a snapshot of Astro Charlie captured on the CSpect ZX Spectrum Next emulator. This image is composed of 6 x 16x16 hardware sprites (Astro Charlie needs 6 sprites because his animations are over 32 pixels tall and up to 32 pixels wide, needing 2 x 3 hardware sprites.  Astro Charlie, rendered on CSPect as 6 hardware sprites My plan is to cache his sprite animations in the 16KB of dedicated sprite VRAM and then dynamically update the cache on-demand. I am sharing this image in its raw form, which looks off because I am using the default sprite palette which is limited to 4 dis

Denton Designs : 1988

"Colin, let's take a day off from Denton Designs, get the train from Liverpool to London and clear up this Crosswize situation with Telecomsoft, face to face." Crosswize was late. It was supposed to be completed in time for a Christmas 1987 release, but here we were in January 1988, and it wasn't finished. Not quite. It needed to be finished. For one thing, I needed the final payment from Telecomsoft. I was running on fumes, financially. For another, I had, with Colin Grunes, started work at Denton Designs in January and was working double time trying to wrap Crosswize at night and be present for my new job at Denton's during the day. I had poured everything into Crosswize, I tried to make something special. The systems I had developed to deliver the smooth graphics and fast action were technically the best thing I had ever done. This came at a price though, and the ridiculous number of hours I had spent at the keyboard, eking out incrementally more and more per

Firebird : 1987

Cockneys Die!!! After Odin's demise, I was left with decisions to make. After months of running on financial fumes to complete Sidewize, I had no significant monetary reserves; not to put too fine a point on it, I was skint. I did have an idea for a follow-up to Sidewize however, and I didn't feel inclined to go into a full-time employed position again. There were a couple of local options. Gary Bracey @ Ocean pitched Colin and me on the Platoon movie license, but we declined because they wanted us to move to Manchester. I didn't drive, commuting was out of the question, we couldn't consider this option on the terms offered. We talked to Elite in Birmingham, who immediately offered us a deal when they saw the Sidewize demo, but like Ocean, they wanted to do licensed titles, and that didn't appeal at the time (the schedules for licensed titles tend to have zero leeway, which is bad enough if you're *not* being paid on milestones). A local company, Reptile Industr