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New project: The Heart of Salamanderland

I guess it is was a bit unexpected, because there are other projects I could be working on. For example, the long running –and often neglected– “Outpost” for the ZX Spectrum 48K, a few ideas for DOS –including some sweet code to support CGA and EGA–. But that’s how creativity works: when inspiration comes, it is hard to not listen.

The working title of this new project for the Amstrad CPC is “The Heart of Salamanderland”.


A room to test the engine

The name is the work of my younger son, that is helping me with the script and the framing story, which is great and also hard!

I’m targeting the Amstrad CPC, 64K in a single load, loading from cassette or disk –there will be a CPR version for the GX4000 as well–, and graphics in mode 0.

I’m building on top of one of my two main engines for this type of game. I’m not sure if it is the right one, because it is performant but uses quite a lot of memory. At least I’m sure it will allow me to pack plenty of action on each screen.

I have been investing on a new map renderer based on meta-tiles of variable size and I think we may end with a good-sized game thanks to that –I wrote about encoding schemes for map data some time ago–. I’m not too stressed about it: if the game is not too big, I can make a sequel if people like it.

This project came about because I the last couple of months I read two series of fantasy books by Brandon Mull: Fablehaven and Dragonwatch, and I loved the adventure mood. So the game is a bit inspired by those books –the main character specially, I’m tempted to call him “Patton Burgess”–.

Another big inspiration is the classic Castlevania, that is a series that I love. So I gave Patton –let’s call him that for now– a whip, and in a way it works fine with Mull’s ideas. It is just that we don’t fight Dracula and friends. The quest is different, we are trying to find an old relic: the Heart of Salamanderland. And there will be undead, wizards and demons. I may be mixing realms, but that’s OK.

It is currently a work in progress and there are still things that aren’t clear. The usual memory constraints apply, so I have to decide what gets in and what doesn’t. But at least I would expect an action platformer, with a good number of interesting enemies, a few screens to navigate, and some puzzles so solve. All in my style, that is something that can’t be changed I’m afraid.

I usually post development updates on my Mastodon account and there’s a thread on CPC Wiki.

Would you like to discuss the post? You can send me an email!