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Is this the place for this? Wrote a couple of games - one's an Atari classic, the other inspired one by bartread2017-05-08 12:22:05

bartread
Cambridge, UK

Saboteur
8 Posts
Hey,


So I don't know if people here would be interested or not, so I apologise if not, but I watched the Atari: Game Over documentary on Netflix - in fact watched it several times - and became inspired to have a crack at writing my own versions of some classic arcade/video games. Like I say one is an Atari classic, and the other inspired an Atari classic.

It started with Star Castle which, of course, provided Howard Scott Warshaw the inspiration for Yars' Revenge, which is a game I love but still find incredibly difficult. Before watching Atari: Game Over though, I'd never even heard of Star Castle, but having seen it I thought it was really cool.

I'd never seen Star Castle in an arcade, but really wanted some way to play it. I didn't think much of the low-rent Flash versions on the web - nowhere near doing the game justice - and, although there are a number of ROMs available for MAME, I've never had any luck getting one working. There is a PC/OSX version available that's quite old and, although decent, seems to crash after the game over screen on OSX. There's also a version available for iOS, which isn't too bad, but I wanted to play on a bigger screen. In the end I decided to have a crack at writing my own. The end result of quite a few months of effort fitted in around the work and the rest of life is Star Citadel, which you can play online here.

There are actually two versions. The classic version, which I'm still tweaking, is supposed to play as much like the original Star Castle as possible (so I'd love feedback from aficionados). What this means is that it's *really* difficult. What I've dubbed the "modern" variant, is supposed to appeal more to gamers who weren't necessarily exposed to the difficulty of golden era arcade games, which were really designed to extract as much money from players in as short a time as possible, so it's a bit easier to start with, and the difficulty ramps up in a (hopefully) more progressive fashion. The ship handles and fires differently as well, just because I'm a big fan of Jeff Minter-esque frenetic action.

After this I decided I wanted to have a crack at an Atari original, in this case Asteroids. Apart from the fact this was one of my favourite games in the arcades in the early 80s, and later on the 2600 Jr (as you'll see from my top 10 list), the choice here was really dictated by the fact that I could reuse a lot of the code I'd written for Star Castle/Star Citadel. The controls for Asteroids are very similar to those for Star Castle, so I could just pick up the code I'd written for flying the ship and shooting, along with a whole load of more general concerns like sound, backdrops, displaying score and lives remaining, and so on, and share it directly with my new Asteroids game. Partly this is laziness, partly I just don't have that much time. Of course, in reality, as I've polished both of the games, and made them more like finished products than demos, most of the shared code is for more general concerns than gameplay - it's really just controlling the player that's shared. Oh well.

Anyway, with all that said and done, my version of Asteroids is called Shoot The Rocks, and you can play it here.

Controls for both games are basically CURSOR KEYS to move and SPACE to fire. Asteroids/Shoot The Rocks also has H for hyperspace, S for shield, and F for flip. At some point I'm going to add the ability to redefine keys, but I'm working on hiscore tables (and a version of Space Invaders, which isn't anywhere near ready to show people) at the moment.

I'm also experimenting with mouse controls. Just move the mouse to where you want the ship to fly (you'll see the ship turn to point at the mouse cursor - you may need to click the play area first to give it mouse focus), use the left button to fire, and the right button to thrust.

There's also basic game controller support: I've tried a PS3 controller, but any game controller you can pair or attach to your computer should work. Note though that not all browsers support game controllers: Chrome and Firefox certainly do, although I think they map buttons differently.

Final thing: these both work on mobile devices. You'll need at least an iPhone 5S (I recommend a 6 or above), or something similar in power to a OnePlus Two for Android. Windows 10 Mobile and earlier variants of Windows Phone aren't yet supported; I may add Windows 10 Mobile support at some point if I can borrow or otherwise get hold of a decent device without having to pay hundreds of pounds for it.

I hope you enjoy both of these games. Whether you do or don't, I'd certainly love to know what you think, so let me know if you find any bugs or can think of any ways I can improve them.


Cheers,


Bart
 
re: Is this the place for this? Wrote a couple of games - one's an Atari classic, the other inspired one by Darryl B.2017-05-19 14:45:09

Darryl B.
Houston, TX

Bug Smasher
125 Posts
Nice works. Thought it was clever to add the 2600 Asteroids extras of flip and all. Like the whimsical way the saucer flies around and leaves a trail.

As Bart already found, I added these games to my giant vector links thread on my Vector gaming forums. They're waaaaay down at the bottom though, since the first huge batch is vector links in general, then the Vectrex and actual games you play are at the bottom (along with being at the current last page of the thread).

Hopefully I'll have another quick Shoot The Rocks surprise soon though, which I'll announce
 
re: Is this the place for this? Wrote a couple of games - one's an Atari classic, the other inspired one by bartread2017-05-19 18:51:21

bartread
Cambridge, UK

Saboteur
8 Posts
Hey Darryl, thanks again for adding them to the list on vectorgaming - really appreciate that. Will look forward to your announcement!
 
re: Is this the place for this? Wrote a couple of games - one's an Atari classic, the other inspired one by Darryl B.2017-07-26 19:11:42

Darryl B.
Houston, TX

Bug Smasher
125 Posts
Quote:
Hey Darryl, thanks again for adding them to the list on vectorgaming - really appreciate that.


You're welcome!

Quote:
Will look forward to your announcement!


Ok, the Videogame wiki article on your game can be seen at...oh, it's not done yet. Hopefully it will be soon (sorry, I meant to have it ready weeks ago). I need to know what you're to be identified at for the article. If it's just "Bartread", I can do that, or let me know if you want to be called something else.

EDIT: I've since looked at the "about me" (or whatever) section of your site and didn't realize earlier Read is your last name due to you running your names together on here and my Vector forums. So never mind there!

 



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