It is currently Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:16 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:05 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:59 pm
Posts: 1884
Two years after I finished "City Trouble" (and one and a half year after it was properly published on cartridges), I now published the ROM for free:


Website: www.denny-r-walter.de/city.html
Copyright disclaimer for downloads: www.denny-r-walter.de/city.html#downloads

ROM: www.denny-r-walter.de/city.zip
PDF manual: www.denny-r-walter.de/city.pdf
Artwork: www.denny-r-walter.de/city.png


Of course, you can still buy the game as a cartridge:
https://megacatstudios.com/products/cit ... ent-system


If anybody plays it, let me know your opinion if you want. Positive and negative feedback are both welcome.

_________________
Available now: My game "City Trouble".
Website: https://megacatstudios.com/products/city-trouble
Trailer: https://youtu.be/IYXpP59qSxA
Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Eee0yurkIW4
German Retro Gamer article: http://i67.tinypic.com/345o108.jpg


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:02 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:58 am
Posts: 943
Location: -29.794229 -55.795374
Thanks and happy new year!
I tried it on my cell phone and it looks cool.
I need to try with a real joystick to have a better feeling about it.
Good work!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:44 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:38 pm
Posts: 2303
Location: Fukuoka, Japan
It's already been 2 years.. Times goes fast.

I will give my opinion once I have a chance to try it then.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:41 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:59 pm
Posts: 1884
Fisher wrote:
I tried it on my cell phone and it looks cool.

Thanks. The graphics style was created specifically to look like a 1985 era game.

Some people on YouTube complained about this style, comparing it to Atari 2600 graphics, but our inspiration is closer to "Kung Fu" and "Tennis"/"Baseball"/"Soccer" etc.
My graphics artist is able to draw more modern sprites, but for this game, I specifically wanted the outline-less, old-fashioned art, so that the graphics match the simplicity of the game itself.

(Our new game uses more modern graphics as you can see in my avatar on the left. Although that game is going to be a top-down game, so the characters are smaller. But we have some larger bosses.)

Banshaku wrote:
It's already been 2 years.. Times goes fast.

Yeah, not exactly two years since I finished the game a few months before the actual release. Designing the manual and box took longer than I thought and then we hard some start issues.

_________________
Available now: My game "City Trouble".
Website: https://megacatstudios.com/products/city-trouble
Trailer: https://youtu.be/IYXpP59qSxA
Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Eee0yurkIW4
German Retro Gamer article: http://i67.tinypic.com/345o108.jpg


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:40 am 
Offline
Formerly WheelInventor
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Posts: 2024
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
I love the art style in this game. I honestly think the "1985" style of drawing sprites is underused and that there's still untapped potential in it. Not every game has to be batman/shatterhand, or the smb2/3 outline style. I also think it's in touch to what i believe would be the 1985 mindset of a nes game designer, mechanics-wise, which is nice.

This seems to be a nice game to be passing over the controller with a friend between game overs to see which can get the higher score.
It was pretty fun trying it solo as well, but i feel like another player to interact with is the best context for this game. It'd work well in an arcade. Maybe it's a good game for a streamed competition?

If i'd change just one thing to my personal preference, i'd let enemies de-spawn on the right edge of screen whileif turned right so they don't turn around weirdly and unfairly (imo) when they're trapped between said edge and the edge of a platform. Or if that in itself looks to quirky (though i think it'd be in line with that -85 game design style), maybe just safeguard against spawning enemies when the roof edge is too close the right screen edge.

I'd maybe also shorten the freeze time when getting hit to about half the length, not sure really. I see it primarily as a way to text the player that they are getting hurt, and think the punishment is a bit too severe when getting hit close to the left edge.

A more general observation: intentionally mismatching the movement speed between enemies (the dudes in this case) and the protagonist could help against the rare but death-assuring problem of being hurt and then not being able to shake the dude off since you're walking at the same pace and you can't switch direction because of the left edge kill. But that's of couse a bit of a change in difficulty and dynamics. The least invasive option would proably be to lower the speed of the dudes a smudge.

Graphics design wise, one thing stood out as a little bit confusing - it was unclear to me that the "J" object wasn't an obtainable but an enemy. Of course, the manual says so and i found out pretty quickly. But perhaps it could have looked a bit more dangerous, or drop the "J" (which to me implied that it was a type of obtainable, like how obtainables are marked with letters in contra/probotector and certain space shooters). I get that it's contextualized as a property of the jackal gang/Jones, but that is sort of already implied by the story.

It's definitely nintendo hard to me, which can be fun in itself. When the protagonists' buddy shows up offering a a glass of sparkling water, the encouragement is felt partly because of the difficulty. There's a sense of strong but temporary relief, and that's great.

_________________
http://www.frankengraphics.com - personal NES blog


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:57 am
Posts: 16
thanks for sharing.
I think Spartan X (Kungfu) and some early games dont use dithering effect much.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:39 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:59 pm
Posts: 1884
Thanks for the review, FrankenGraphics.

FrankenGraphics wrote:
This seems to be a nice game to be passing over the controller with a friend between game overs to see which can get the higher score.

Maybe I should have implemented a two player game then after all. But I originally decided against it because I always think that those two player modes where you simply wait for the other player to lose a life are a bit boring.
And implementing an actual two player simultaneous mode would probably have lagged. (The adventure game uses heavy optimization with inline Assembly, so I'm able to have about 10 characters on screen without lags, but I wasn't that experinced during the development of "City Trouble" yet to spend a huge amount on low level optimization.)

FrankenGraphics wrote:
If i'd change just one thing to my personal preference, i'd let enemies de-spawn on the right edge of screen

This might have looked a bit strange. Since the screen is always scrolling right, I cannot just cancel a character when he walks out of screen to the right. It would look like he just teleported away.
Alternately, I could have saved his offscreen position and let him walk along the invisible part ahead of the screen, but in this case, you wouldn't have had a new character on screen while the off-screen character walks along the invisible part. Because the game is limited to two enemies at once plus the Choppy.

FrankenGraphics wrote:
Or if that in itself looks to quirky (though i think it'd be in line with that -85 game design style), maybe just safeguard against spawning enemies when the roof edge is too close the right screen edge.

I checked again and I actually did something like that:
Code:
/* Since we can only check the current screen
   and up to one column tile,
   regular opponents only appear if the scrolling
   is aligned to one full column.
   Otherwise, it could happen that the dudes
   stand in the air.
   As it is now, he is designed in a way
   that at least one pixel of his foot
   is always on the platform.
   Also, opponents don't appear if there is a gap
   for the last three tile columns.
   Lastly, opponents only appear
   when the counter is zero or when none
   of the regular opponents is on screen anymore. */
if (ScrollingOffset == 0
 && OnScreenLevelData[OnScreenLevelDataLastIndex] != 0
 && OnScreenLevelData[OnScreenLevelDataLastIndex - 2] != 0
 && (NextOpponentCounter == 0
  || (!Chrs.IsActive[IndexOpponent1] && !Chrs.IsActive[IndexOpponent2])))

Maybe I could have changed the number 2 in OnScreenLevelData[OnScreenLevelDataLastIndex - 2] to some bigger value.

FrankenGraphics wrote:
I'd maybe also shorten the freeze time when getting hit to about half the length, not sure really. I see it primarily as a way to text the player that they are getting hurt, and think the punishment is a bit too severe when getting hit close to the left edge.

Yeah, o.k., if you're too far on the left, getting hit can be fatal.

Even though I'm not going to change the game anymore since it's final and finished, it's still always good to hear what people like and dislike about the game. Maybe some of this knowledge might help me for a future game.

FrankenGraphics wrote:
A more general observation: intentionally mismatching the movement speed between enemies (the dudes in this case) and the protagonist could help against the rare but death-assuring problem of being hurt and then not being able to shake the dude off since you're walking at the same pace and you can't switch direction because of the left edge kill.

Interesting observation. I never encountered this, but yeah, I know what you mean.

Well, as a "workaround": Amy will not die until more than half of her body is out of screen. And the Goons will never let any part of their body go out of screen unless they want to disappear completely.
So, you might be able to use the taser while you keep pressing right, so the Goon runs into the taser. Then he's not a danger anymore and you can walk forward to widen the gap between Amy and the screen border again.
Of course, if you're already half outside the screen, you're pretty much screwed.

FrankenGraphics wrote:
Graphics design wise, one thing stood out as a little bit confusing - it was unclear to me that the "J" object wasn't an obtainable but an enemy.

Yeah, letters usually stand for items, that's right. I might have used the outline of a jackal head instead, now that I think about it.

FrankenGraphics wrote:
It's definitely nintendo hard to me, which can be fun in itself. When the protagonists' buddy shows up offering a a glass of sparkling water, the encouragement is felt partly because of the difficulty. There's a sense of strong but temporary relief, and that's great.

Thanks.
I had no problems with making a hard game because it's a highscore game.

Although there is a definite story end if you defeat Jones in level 4, but the game loops infinitely. Loop 2 is faster opponents and only three energy points. And from loop 3 on, it's the same as loop 2, only with merely one energy point.
Later, I thought that maybe loop 2 should have been just the faster enemies and then loop 3 and 4 should have been three energy points and one energy point respectively.

In any case, if you think the game is hard, wait until you get to loop 2. It's brutal. Once you played through the story (i.e. loop 1) and are just out for the highscore anymore, the game tries to destroy you. I never ever beat the first level of the second loop legitimately.

If I had created a normal-sized platformer, like "Mega Man" or "Castlevania" where the primary aim isn't the highscore, but to finish it, I would have toned down the difficulty.

By the way, depending on your energy, you get other items instead of a glass of water.

Also, jumping is key in the game. Remember that your horizontal movement is in no way hindered during a jump. When you press left or right, you will always move the same horizontal distance, no matter if you're walking or jumping. With a bit experience it's possible to dance around and jump in and out of narrow gaps between opponents this way.

_________________
Available now: My game "City Trouble".
Website: https://megacatstudios.com/products/city-trouble
Trailer: https://youtu.be/IYXpP59qSxA
Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Eee0yurkIW4
German Retro Gamer article: http://i67.tinypic.com/345o108.jpg


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:09 am 
Offline
Formerly WheelInventor
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:55 am
Posts: 2024
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Quote:
Maybe I should have implemented a two player game then after all. But I originally decided against it because I always think that those two player modes where you simply wait for the other player to lose a life are a bit boring.

We had some guests over for the holidays and they played super mario bros for a while in our living room. I noted that they simply chose "1 player game" and handed over the control more freely at will, rather than let the game decide whose turn it is. I think the "smb" method might be nice for establishing rules for quarreling siblings or the like, but else just handing over the one controller seems to work more fluently. You can still try a couple of game overs each in turn to see who gets the better score/gets the farthest, or you could cooperate on the same character by taking turns between lives or by pausing and handing over. Cooperation probably feels more invested if you're both taking turns playing the same "player one character". At least in the mario/luigi scenario.


Quote:
This might have looked a bit strange.

Yeah, you sometimes see this in NES games and the like - enemies leaving and despawning, and if you go where they went they have dissapeared (or worse, reappear for one frame only to be inactivated temporarily again). It's really quirky, though i find it endearing. But... outside childhood nostalgia, it's probably not a good design.

Quote:
Even though I'm not going to change the game anymore since it's final and finished, it's still always good to hear what people like and dislike about the game.

Oh yeah, it'd make little sense to make minor balance adjustments to a game 2 years after reaching finished status and a proper cart release. I'm mostly looking at the game (or any nes game) this way to learn something about game design myself by noting things i like/don't like and wonder what it would be like if it was like this or that.

Quote:
Interesting observation. I never encountered this, but yeah, I know what you mean.

It sometimes happens in a variety of games, though i cannot remember specifically which ones, hence labeling the remark as general. The result differs from context to context. Sometimes there's a trick to shake them off, sometimes not. Sometimes you simply lose another health point, sometimes it's the end of it.
Oh, one specific related case i can remember is the knockback in dracula x/vampire's kiss. If you get knocked back by a medusa, the knockback travels at similar enough speed for belmont to be knocked again by the same medusa without any means to act from the players' side. It just happens to depend on where in the curve the medusa is and the relative altitude of belmont when he gets knocked.


Quote:
By the way, depending on your energy, you get other items instead of a glass of water.

Haha, goes to show just how bad i'm handling the difficulty. :D Looking forward to beat the whole 4 levels at least once though. 2nd pass will probably be the equivalent of a sudden game over for me.

_________________
http://www.frankengraphics.com - personal NES blog


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:13 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 2:49 pm
Posts: 7720
Location: Chexbres, VD, Switzerland
Thank you very much for the free ROM release ! I'll check this out as soon as possible.

Also, I agree I like how you limited yourself to 1985 style graphics on purpose. This is really amazing, you managed to have authentic looking graphics and not putting the NES to it's limit on purpose. I really love this concept ! And you did it really well. I can't juge the game before playnig it though, only the graphics.

EDIT : Are you supposed to kill the foes or to avoid them ? Both seems extremely difficult for me. I can't even beat the first level. Shame because I love the art style.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:07 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:59 pm
Posts: 1884
@FrankenGraphics:

Yeah, the two players in one player mode style is of course always possible.

Also, regarding the Medusa heads: That's why I always include mercy invincibility after a hit.

Bregalad wrote:
Also, I agree I like how you limited yourself to 1985 style graphics on purpose. This is really amazing, you managed to have authentic looking graphics and not putting the NES to it's limit on purpose. I really love this concept ! And you did it really well. I can't juge the game before playnig it though, only the graphics.

Thanks for the compliments. All the graphics were done by my graphics artist Katrin (with me watching and giving suggestions).

Next game will be in the style of JRPG games like "Final Fantasy" (see the avatar on the left). Her first draft was four characters without outlines as well, but I asked her to change it this time because I didn't want the old-fashioned "Zelda I"/"Dragon Warrior" style for that.

I did use one technique in "City Trouble" though that wasn't really common back then: I have a status bar and parallax scrolling, but I don't use timed code.
("Kung Fu" has to do a similar thing because their main character is part of the background and not a sprite. They use timed code. And I assume "Excitebike", which has parallax scrolling as well, does it in a timed way too.)

Instead, I use the nine sprites overflow bit for the status bar scrolling split (there are nine blank sprites hidden inside the status bar) and I use sprite 0 for the parallax scrolling.

That's also the reason why the game won't work on an AVS if you enable extended sprites per scanline: Because this AVS feature doesn't only reduce flicker, it actually alters the console's behavior: The overflow bit will then only trigger if there are actually 17 sprites on the same scanline instead of nine.

Bregalad wrote:
EDIT : Are you supposed to kill the foes or to avoid them ? Both seems extremely difficult for me. I can't even beat the first level. Shame because I love the art style.

Well, keep on trying. :mrgreen:
That's the modus-operandi of arcade-like games, isn't it? Destroying the untrained player as fast as possible.
Also, I partly designed the game this way because I wanted to have a fast game where you're always on the run, where you cannot just stop for a while without penalty (except if you actually pause the game of course).

I played thorugh the first loop on a real NES a few times now, so it's definitely possible.

You can defeat the enemies or you can evade them. Since your taser is limited and needs to reload, evading them is sometimes the only possible way, but attacking them is of course the thing that gives you points.

There is a video of me playing the second level of the game. (I chose the second one because that's the first time when Scarlett appears.)
It's not a perfect playthrough, I get hit a few times as well, but you can see a few situations where I narrowly evade dangerous situations:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eee0yurkIW4

_________________
Available now: My game "City Trouble".
Website: https://megacatstudios.com/products/city-trouble
Trailer: https://youtu.be/IYXpP59qSxA
Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Eee0yurkIW4
German Retro Gamer article: http://i67.tinypic.com/345o108.jpg


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:53 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:38 pm
Posts: 2303
Location: Fukuoka, Japan
I was able to play a little bit here and there and can now give some basic opinion about it.

Regarding the goal which was to reproduce a game from 1985 I would say that the art style, music and game match it very well: it feels like one of those arcade type game were the main goal is to make points. You did achieve your goal well on that part.

On a personal view, I'm not able to finish the first level yet but it may be because unfortunately you matched all the thing that I enjoy the least about nes games: random level, arcade style that make points. This is the period of the nes that I enjoyed the least so I'm not fond of the game play. The time that I started to really get into nes gaming and enjoy it is when games like ninja gaiden, mega man etc where introduced and I got hooked to it.

Doesn't mean the game is bad per se, it just means it not the type of game I enjoy the most. Still, I can appreciate how it was able to achieve it goal and to reproduce that era to some degree. In that angle I say you did a good job at it.

I still want to finish it since I was able to play games like kung fu but sometime the level feels long and when you restart from the beginning, it just remove the motivation to try it again. Once I have an idea "how long" is a level it may feel more enjoyable.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:08 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:59 pm
Posts: 1884
Banshaku wrote:
This is the period of the nes that I enjoyed the least so I'm not fond of the game play.

Yeah, I understand this.
I did this kind of game because I had to start somewhere. I had to test out the ground with a game that was actually doable. I didn't want to spend three years on a full-blown sidescroller like "Castlevania", so I opted for a simple game.

The next game is a "Zelda"-like action adventure with circa 500 screens on an MMC3 board. Maybe this one will be more your taste.

Banshaku wrote:
I still want to finish it since I was able to play games like kung fu but sometime the level feels long and when you restart from the beginning, it just remove the motivation to try it again. Once I have an idea "how long" is a level it may feel more enjoyable.

As far as I remember, the first level should be circa 1:30 minutes long, with every new level adding a length of 10 more seconds, so the fourth and final level is two minutes.
(In the second loop, the levels start at 1:30 again.)

Rachel, Amy's best friend, always appears circa in the middle of the level, so when you see her, you know that you're halfway through.

At the end of the level is a boss that you have to defeat to advance to the next level. But if you lose at the boss, you can continue fighting him, you don't get sent to the beginning of the level again.
Also, your energy is refilled at the boss, so you always fight him at full health, no matter how you fared in the level. However, if you still have the explosion or timed taser item, it gets reset as well.

_________________
Available now: My game "City Trouble".
Website: https://megacatstudios.com/products/city-trouble
Trailer: https://youtu.be/IYXpP59qSxA
Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Eee0yurkIW4
German Retro Gamer article: http://i67.tinypic.com/345o108.jpg


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:25 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:38 pm
Posts: 2303
Location: Fukuoka, Japan
I see.

So at the least I was able to play up to half the stage but was not able to finish it yet. With a little bit more practice and not trying to play it a at 2h in the morning like I'm doing at the moment (^^;;), I should be able to finish it soon.

Like you mentioned, if your next game has a zelda vibe and more action based, I will be looking forward to it then. I did enjoy at the time games like Crystalis and even Faria (quirky but still ok). I think what gets the most attention for me is games with a story to some degree (ninja gaiden, faxanadu, mega man) or are action based with a level design that requires to remember the pattern to some degree (shadow of the ninja). For some reason, random stages, which should give you more since the level will always be different, irks me since I like to play back a specific level if it was fun to play. Doesn't mean that I hate all random level based game since I think dead cells, even though random, as some level that comes back on each game played and the game play is enjoyable. Since I knew it was a rogue style game, I knew what to expect and did enjoy it, to some degree. But it didn't keep my attention for long.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:38 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:59 pm
Posts: 1884
Banshaku wrote:
I think what gets the most attention for me is games with a story to some degree (ninja gaiden, faxanadu, mega man)

In this case, the adventure should be the right thing for you. "Faxanadu" and "Mega Man" as well as "The Legend of Zelda" and "Final Fantasy" are nothing against our game, story-wise.
Also, the story isn't just told in cutscenes like in "Ninja Gaiden", but with the actual in-game characters and locations.
So, if you're supposed to walk to a certain tower, you will actually see that tower on the overworld. You won't just finish a level and then the cutscene will show the hero arriving at the tower.

Also the story is actually on-going as you go along. You don't get the task "Find the eight plot devices" and that's what you do for the rest of the game. Instead, the plot develops piece by piece and you don't know what comes next. (The plot is still fixed, though, so when you play it a second time, you of course do know what happens next.)

Gameplay-wise, the adventure game is a mix of the various 2D "Zelda"s: We have screen-by-screen scrolling, but diagonal movement is possible.

_________________
Available now: My game "City Trouble".
Website: https://megacatstudios.com/products/city-trouble
Trailer: https://youtu.be/IYXpP59qSxA
Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Eee0yurkIW4
German Retro Gamer article: http://i67.tinypic.com/345o108.jpg


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:25 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 2:49 pm
Posts: 7720
Location: Chexbres, VD, Switzerland
So I managed to beat Level 1, whew...

What to say ? Aside that the game is way too hard, it's pretty good. The taser takes way too long to recharge, even by avoiding most enemies I still have to use it often. Also there's several anachronies, such as that the title screen art is way too good looking to have been made in 1985, and there's dialogue with the boss, which is not a very 1985 thing either. DPCM voices were uncommon too, but there's one in Ghostbusters 1988 (but that game is so awful it looks like it dates earlier).

I am really amazed at the title screen art, she's really natural, sexy and realistic, and that is done with BG only without any overhead sprites, it's incredible. In comparison a similar art I made for my own game of comparable size is much worse (I compared them side-by-side), and it's made with sprites including two layers of sprites in some parts so I have no excuse.

The music is without a doubt the weak point of the game. It's really average.

I am looking forward for your next game(s). Is the Dragon Quest like game and the Zelda like game you mentioned a single game or two separate games ? I hope they're/it's not Dragon Quest-like grindfest though - as much as I love story-based games I don't like grinding for levels or anything like that.(*)

(*) A little of it is OK, but Dragon Quest is way too much - (including the modern games in the series). This is not difficulty, it's just a waste of time IMO.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group