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22 Luglio 2019 Postato da: saimo
Blastaway, nuovo gioco per AmigaOS 4 (?)
Ciao a tutti,

volevo informarvi che sto lavorando a un nuovo gioco che potrei rendere disponibile per AmigaOS 4 (il primo build è già disponibile pubblicamente). C'è dietro una lunghissima storia - quella che vedete sotto. Purtroppo, proprio a causa della lunghezza, non ce la faccio a tradurla: spero non vi spiaccia se ve la incollo così com'è.

***

Since the middle of May I've been working on a new game called Blastaway. It isn't finished yet, but it's playable.
Ideally, I would have loved to make it for AGA Amigas, but, instead, the target platform I chose was... Windows (!) Last week, I thought I could make it available for AmigaOS 4, too. So, I ported it and on friday I made an AmigaOS 4 build publicly available.
More about the platforms later: let's look at the game itself, first.

Blastaway will be (hopefully) a highly playable and entertaining arena shooter, gameplay-wise heavily and shamelessly inspired to Wizard of Wor and graphically somewhat inspired to The Chaos Engine.
Looking at the latest video preview will let you immediately understand what it is all about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NufbL6LDOAs
You can try the game yourself anytime by downloading the latest build from the game's page (it will redirect you to https://retream.itch.io/blastaway, as itch.io is where I'm currently keeping all of my games).

At the moment there is only 1 stage (i.e. world) with its 10 arenas (i.e. levels), but the final game is planned to have 5 stages, for a total of 50 arenas. I have a few more points in my to-do list, but the core of the game is complete.
I'm releasing new builds frequently, so, if you're interested, keep an eye on the page and/or follow the public devlog on the same page or Twitter , LinkedIn , Patreon , TIGForums , YouTube . Whenever possible, I'll provide updates also in this thread.

Now back to the target platforms. There's a long story behind, and I'm going to be totally open about it. I'll try to keep it as short as possible, but still it will unavoidably turn out lengthy. Please bear with me.

I wrote that, ideally, I'd be making Blastaway for AGA Amigas: in fact, that would be the most self-rewarding experience, as I just adore programming the oldschool systems of my childhood/youth - the Amiga and the C64 - and doing that the oldschool way (i.e. direct hardware hitting). Moreover, I've developed a lot on the Amiga, but I have released too little, so my urge to make games for it is boosted further by the motivation of making more stuff of mine available for that machine. And then, I have a number of projects/engines waiting to be used, and I'm really afraid that I'll never have time to do anything with them. Those are the reasons that, less than two years ago, pushed me to return, after years of work on PC (in a general sense) and C64 games, to the classic Amiga and make SkillGrid .
Thus, the fact that I chose to target Windows is quite surprising, isn't it? And there's also another surprising aspect: while my other games are designed to bring innovation, be unlike anything else, and be based on rich and unusual mechanics (that often require massive and detailed manuals), Blastaway is familiar and straightforward, and I'm trying hard to refrain from adding the many gameplay features that my thirst for originality and depth suggests.
The reason for such a sharp (and tormented) turn is simple: I needed to reach the widest audience possible. I've been making anti-mainstream games, some of which for niche platforms (you know which), for a long time, but now I'm in a situation where I really needed to reach lots of people. So, I decided to go more mainstream. Sure, I'd better make real mainstream games, but my heart isn't there and I can't program a single line of code without heart (which is also why I'm not a developer by trade); also, I'm good only at making oldschool games, so Blastaway just had to be retro. Of course, this automatically means reducing the potential audience, but - hey - there are limits to what I can do. Also, the same limits are what rule out mobile platforms and consoles: I just can't find the words to explain how sick I feel at having to learn other platforms/systems/languages; I'm no geek, I'm not interested in technology per se, and I just feel like going crazy when working on systems which are alien to me (especially for projects that aren't my own). It's already a miracle I managed to build my own little, isolated world on top of C and SDL back in 2004, which is what allowed me to make games for PC like BOH , Huenison , KOG - and now Blastaway.

So, why do I need to reach a wide audience?
In the middle of 2016 I quit my job and returned to Italy to offer support to my seriously ill father and my mother. Returning to such country (and, in particular, the south part of it) automatically meant one thing: being unemployed or enslaved. I've had interviews, went through job selections, worked briefly for a certain company... all indecent, unspeakable experiences. Seeing how there's one thing that, even in this place, seemed to flourish, I decided to become a professional pizza maker. I've followed an expensive course and toured around making pizzas for about a year and a half; unfortunately, even this occupation fell in the category "slavery", so I quit. I've also written a book and looked for a publisher, but since in this rotten country publishers ask you money to publish a book (they run their companies with the authors' capital... now that's a smart business model!), I could only find a very small publisher willing to publish the book without getting paid: the book was indeed published , but the fact that the publisher was so small also meant that the book remained unknown (on top of that, I didn't get support from the people who had told me they'd help me with promoting the book). Basically, for about three years my only income was the little money that comes from my games, which is just pocket money (to give you an idea, just think that the [u] all-time [/u] [u] gross [/u] revenue of [u] all [/u] my games on itch.io is a miserable $1389.84 USD). Basically, the only thing that allowed me to go on was that I was again at my parents' place: they gave me food to eat and a bed to sleep in - and, let's not forget it, the electricity to make my games.
(At least, my unemployment had the positive side of leaving me plenty of time to work on my projects: in fact, I have updated and re-released all my games, published the special physical editions of BOH and Huenison, had the heavily-expanded version of MAH published on cartridge and floppy, and even created SkillGrid from the scratch and have it published on CD and floppies.)
On May 5th a radical change happened: my father died (after years of ever-increasing physical/psychological/spiritual pain). Therefore, I could finally leave (for the third time) this devastated country and build a present and a future for myself somewhere else. Well, not really: I just couldn't leave my mother alone all of a sudden! I decided to stay a few more months so that she could deal with the loss more easily, and also to assist her with the burden of the bureaucratic matters. But then another thought came: I'd be far away just when she would need me most, that is, during the last part of her life. That will be hard for both, although she can't wait to see me begin to live again and will support any decision I'll take. I told myself: OK, for once, don't make the game you want, but the game that people want! As unlikely as it can be - who knows - maybe this time around you'll achieve a significant commercial success and be able to stay. Well aware of how nearly impossible that is, especially with an indie game of my kind, still I had a few months to give it a try: so, I (sadly) put aside my classic Amiga and C64 projects and started Blastaway. And not just that: to obtain the maximum visibility, as mentioned already, I also started keeping a frequently updated devlog, releasing pictures, videos, and builds, using the variety of channels listed above (plus Facebook, which I have recently gotten rid of due to personal data abuse). All that promotional activity requires a lot of work, which I honestly don't enjoy and I'd rather dedicate to the game itself. Finally, I never said that the game would be commercial: I haven't taken a decision yet, and actually one of the options was - and still is - that the game remains free, to really reach as many gamers as possible (in that case, what I'd earn is publicity, sales of my other games, and a chance to be noticed by some important player in the game industry).

Did I succeed? The answer is a big fat NO. In 64 days, Blastway had only 334 views and 60 downloads (and that's including multiple visits and downloads by who is somewhat interested in the game). There's only one word for this: failure.
I know it's going to be unpleasant to hear, but since I'm being 100% honest, I can't hide that such failure is the reason why the idea of making an AmigaOS 4 port came: I thought that I could get support from a small community that knows me already and that wants new software. By "support" I don't mean "sales", because, as said, the game might stay free and because the community is too small anyway, but the community might help a lot with spreading the word and attracting people outside of it, and also provide ideas regarding how to promote the game and reach others in the rest of the world.
That said, of course, giving the AmigaOS 4 community another game is an additional pleasure for me.

In conclusion: hey, I'm making a new game for AmigaOS 4, are you interested in it and would you help me let the rest of the world know about it? Please let me hear your comments and ideas, both about the game and about how to promote it, and let other people know!

Of course, you don't have to give support, nor must you necessarily like the game. If the game fails to generate enough interest in the community, I'll just acknowledge it and drop the AmigaOS 4 version.
Anyway, I'll do my best to get the game finished: it's something I personally and strongly want, even if nobody ever played it. I don't know how long it will take, and I'm afraid there will be soon major delays as I'll start looking for a job abroad at the beginning of August, but I really want to get it done (just like it happened to Huenison: I had started it when I was in Italy, then moved abroad three months later, and eventually finished and released it).

Finally, a few notes:
* I chose AmigaOS 4 because, quite simply, that's the only NG system I've ever had;
* please don't ask for ports to other systems: I can't take that burden (supporting two platforms is already demanding, and with BOH I've learned that increasing the number of supported systems beyond two is insane);
* please don't offer to make ports for other systems: also that, for several reasons, takes time and energies;
* please don't be offended if I don't answer to requests/observations about ports: I can't afford to get involved in conversations about something that isn't going to happen anyway;
* if you have a non-IT job for me in a Nordic country, please let me know!

Modificato il 22/07/2019 alle ore 11:43:38

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Commento 41 in risposta al 38 di amiwell79
saimo 14 Agosto 2019    09:05:27
@amiwell79

Citazione

@divina

mi sembra che sia in lavoraziona qualcosa del genere in questo momento, certo non al livello di chaos engine, non mi ricordo il nome del gioco, il personaggio ha un elmo da cavaliere stile medioevo, scusate l'ot

Sono sicuro che ti riferisci a Scourge of Underkind .

Commento modificato il 14/08/2019 alle ore 09:07:18

You don't scare me devil, now I play :)

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Commento 42
amiwell79 14 Agosto 2019    15:19:42
si questo grazie saimo, cmq per il tuo gioco non è detta l'ultima parola

Commento modificato il 14/08/2019 alle ore 15:23:37


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Commento 43 in risposta al 40 di saimo
divina 14 Agosto 2019    15:34:07
Citazione

ma sono stato costretto a fare quest'altra scelta (peraltro, finora, completamente fallimentare).


a livello di riscontro ? se fosse così perché non dedicarti unicamente agli amiga classici
Un Chaos Engine III AGA imho spaccherebbe di brutto, come dice qualcuno

@amiwell79
è un bel game, molto atteso; non è prevista una versione anche AGA purtroppo (come si faceva una volta per questo genere di games, proprio come nel caso di Chaos Engine), causa sviluppo iniziale pensato unicamente per macchine OCS/ECS

Commento modificato il 14/08/2019 alle ore 15:34:49


MorphOS 3.11 PowerMac G5 &&Pegasos2 G4 //AmigaOS4.1 FE - AMiGA4000T&D PPC/060 &&3000D &&2000 &&1200T&D &&600 &&500+ &&500 - Mac Intel &&PowerPc - x64 servers -


You don't scare me devil, now I play :)

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Commento 44
amiwell79 14 Agosto 2019    15:38:45
anche se non uscirà per aga hanno fatto dei miracoli mi sembra divina, cmq tanti auguri saimo, un consiglio molto meglio lavorare sul classic, sicuramente avrai più riscontri, su eab ci sono le belve affamate di nuovi giochi hihi

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Commento 45
saimo 18 Agosto 2019    01:15:20
@divina @amiwell79

Sopravvalutate la grandezza della comunità Amiga e la sua propensione a comprare software.


@tutti

A small but key change: the soldier weapon is now centered relatively to his body, so it is easier to hit wors especially when the soldier is pointing west/east. Also, the HUD should be less intrusive and more readable now.

Immagine

Immagine

Immagine

CHANGELOG
* Centered weapon with respect to the soldier body, so that it is easier to aim.
* Made HUD smaller and easier to read.
* Optimized tiles coordinates handling.

Latest build download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway

You don't scare me devil, now I play :)

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Commento 46
amiwell79 18 Agosto 2019    10:30:12
quello che so della comunità amiga è che è divisa tra diverse piattaforme, ti auguro il meglio saimo

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Commento 47 in risposta al 7 di saimo
divina 18 Agosto 2019    10:40:55
Citazione

Giusto per la cronaca... Anche se mi sto tenendo vicino alle specifiche AGA, nessuno di quegli Amiga potrebbe far girare il gioco in modo identico:
* la frequenza dei campionamenti è troppo alta;
* i canali audio sono 9 (1 per la musica di sfondo, 8 per gli effetti sonori);
* servirebbero più bitplane.

Al primo problema si può ovviare facilmente abbassando la frequenza di campionamento, ma lasciandola comunque alta in modo da ottenere una buona qualità (la RAM non è un gran problema perché il gioco, per ora, non ne usa molta);

Il secondo problema si può affrontare riducendo i canali per gli effetti a 3: dato che gli effetti sono spesso asincroni, non ci sarebbero troppe collisioni;

Il terzo problema è invece serio. Per ora uso una palette di 29 colori, comune a tutta la grafica. Però ci sono anche le ombre a 8 bit e il bonus "raggi X" (aggiunto di recente) che rende tutti gli elementi verticali (che usano una 20ina di colori) trasparenti al 25%.

Per ottenere qualcosa di simile si dovrebbe:
* ridurre le ombre a 1 bit (cosa che ho in considerazione anche per la versione attuale);
* ridisegnare gli elementi verticali con soli 7 colori;
* ridisegnare il resto della grafica a 16 colori.
In tal modo:
* le ombre prenderebbero 1 bitplane;
* gli elementi verticali prenderebbero 3 bitplane;
* il resto della grafica prenderebbe 4 bitplane;
* il tutto prenderebbe 8 bitplane.
Il lato negativo sarebbe la notevole perdita di qualità grafica.
Il lati positivi sarebbero che la trasparenza sarebbe "reale" e che la mascheratura dei bob (per farli passare dietro gli elementi verticali) sarebbe gratis (cioè, né CPU, né Blitter dovrebbero fare alcun lavoro).

Un'alternativa sarebbe:
* ridurre le ombre a 1 bit;
* mantenere tutta la grafica a 32 colori;
* ottenere l'effetto trasparenza disegnando/omettendo gli elementi verticali a frame alternati.
Il lato positivo sarebbe che la grafica resterebbe uguale (a parte le ombre a solo 1 bit, ma, di nuovo, forse le farò così comunque).
Il lati negativi sarebbero che quando gli elementi verticali sono trasparenti ci sarebbe un bel po' di flickering, e che il disegno dei bob sarebbe costoso in termini di CPU/Blitter.



non riesco al momento a provarlo in AmigaOS4 (ma lo farò prossimamente sicuramente); il gioco è veramente bello (a me piace di più di Skillgrid AGA sinceramente, che ha un belissimo audio, ma mi viene un gran mal di testa a giocarlo).
Tornando a questo tuo gioco nuovo, mi sono riletto tutto quello che hai scritto e rimango dell' opinione che se tu lo realizzassi per Amiga AGA, dopo Skillgrid AGA, sarebbe molto apprezzato dalla comunità (i problemi non mi paiono insormontabili come hai indicato).
Nell' ambito "amiga ng" (AmigaOS4.x, MorphOS...etc...) gli utenti (già pochini di loro) cercano prevalentemente games 3d o porting di games 3d (IMHO) anche perchè i linguaggi ad alto livello portano più a ciò.
Data la tua bravura (che non si discute proprio), incanalare i tuoi sforzi e divertimento in Amiga classici AGA (e perchè no, magari anche OCS/ECS in futuro) sarebbe la scelta migliore a mio parere

Commento modificato il 18/08/2019 alle ore 10:43:47


MorphOS 3.11 PowerMac G5 &&Pegasos2 G4 //AmigaOS4.1 FE - AMiGA4000T&D PPC/060 &&3000D &&2000 &&1200T&D &&600 &&500+ &&500 - Mac Intel &&PowerPc - x64 servers -


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Commento 48 in risposta al 47 di divina
saimo 18 Agosto 2019    13:56:15
@amiwell79

Grazie!


@divina

Citazione
non riesco al momento a provarlo in AmigaOS4 (ma lo farò prossimamente sicuramente); il gioco è veramente bello

Se, come mi pare di capire, l'hai provato su Windows, allora non hai bisogno di provarlo su AmigaOS 4: il gioco è identico su entrambe le piattaforme.

Citazione
(a me piace di più di Skillgrid AGA sinceramente, che ha un belissimo audio, ma mi viene un gran mal di testa a giocarlo).

Sono contento SkillGrid ti piaccia, nonostante il mal di testa!

Citazione
Tornando a questo tuo gioco nuovo, mi sono riletto tutto quello che hai scritto e rimango dell' opinione che se tu lo realizzassi per Amiga AGA, dopo Skillgrid AGA, sarebbe molto apprezzato dalla comunità (i problemi non mi paiono insormontabili come hai indicato).
Nell' ambito "amiga ng" (AmigaOS4.x, MorphOS...etc...) gli utenti (già pochini di loro) cercano prevalentemente games 3d o porting di games 3d (IMHO) anche perchè i linguaggi ad alto livello portano più a ciò.
Data la tua bravura (che non si discute proprio), incanalare i tuoi sforzi e divertimento in Amiga classici AGA (e perchè no, magari anche OCS/ECS in futuro) sarebbe la scelta migliore a mio parere

No, purtroppo non lo sarebbe proprio per quello che ho già spiegato.

Commento modificato il 18/08/2019 alle ore 22:54:31

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Commento 49
saimo 19 Agosto 2019    17:07:01
Piccolo ma importante aggiornamento...

***

Gameplay improvements: this update improves some key gameplay aspects and, in particular, fixes the bug that made beams pass through fast-moving wors without killing them (the so-called "tunneling bug").

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6SdYd0MUTo

CHANGELOG
* Fixed tunneling bug.
* Increased maximum soldiers (i.e. lives) number to 7.
* Changed a parameter in the Exxwor AI.
* Touched up some graphics.

Latest build download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway

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Commento 50
saimo 22 Agosto 2019    12:08:45
C'avevo una vaga idea sulla lista delle cose da fare da tempo immemore: finalmente m'è venuta in mente la cosa giusta da fare.

***

Wizard of Wor, the game Blastaway inspires to, has a DOUBLE SCORE bonus: if the player manages to kill the Worluk before it flees, the next dungeon will award a double score. Blastaway just had to have something similar: it has it now, and it has even a TRIPLE SCORE bonus! If the player kills the Dmewor and Exxwor with the first shot, he achieves, respectively, the DOUBLE and TRIPLE SCORE bonuses, which, as their names suggest, double or triple the current arena score.

Immagine

CHANGELOG
* Extended arena end screen report.
* Added DOUBLE and TRIPLE SCORE bonuses.
* Reduced wors speed increase.
* Added specific tune during the fight against the Dmewor.
* Added 5 arenas.
* Updated manual.

Latest build download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway

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