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The last few weeks in gamedev

Uh, what happened? I haven’t posted here for a few weeks. Long story short, the CPC cartridges turned out to be a very deep rabbit hole.

It basically allows you to have a lot of ROM –and memory is always scarce in 8-bit systems!–, so I went back to try an old idea that I discarded –and instead, I made the Dawn of Kernel, which is not a bad thing!–. I haven’t told too much about it publicly, and the main reason is that I don’t know what I’m doing, so the chances of failing are higher than usual. In fact, I have failed already –I’m on a second rewrite of the thing–.

In reality there shouldn’t be any problem with showing what are you working on, isn’t it? Sometimes things don’t work out as expected, and projects get cancelled. That’s OK, but then there is the Internet and people getting excited, and you may end with projects on your name that don’t exist and never will! For example: Moonstone for the MSX was abandoned and kind of became Night Knight –again: not a bad thing!–.

So over my short career as reto-gamedev, I have learnt to wait and see until I’m reasonably confident that I can –and I will– finish a project before getting people excited.

And that explains, partially, my lack of updates here: I’ve been having fun with this secret project –something may have leaked on Twitter, but it is still secret–, but I haven’t reached that point where I know I can finish a game.

Other than that, I have ported most of the unnamed CRPG game –it needs a name!– to use cartridge. This has been a very good exercise, for several reasons. Fist of all, I’m cleaning the code that was starting to look bad, and secondly I’m finding that not all is magic and rainbows using cartridges. I have a couple of solutions for the main issue, but it is definitely a risk factor. It doesn’t help either that SDCC doesn’t seem to have proper bank support for Z80.

As part of those changes, I have researched –and properly understood– screen splits on the Amstrad CPC, because it was bothering me a lot how hacky my wall of messages was. Now the bottom on the screen is fixed to a memory address and I have to write to it only once, independently of what memory address I’m using for the main area of the game –and this helped to push me further down the rabbit hole and the secret project–.

Finally, the progress on “Outpost” for the ZX Spectrum 48K is good, and you should know that because I released more videos of its development. These videos are fun to make, but I need to be in the right state of mind with a planned feature to implement, and I some quiet at home so I can record. Not easy!

I got to the conclusion that these work better as actual streaming, and when a session is specially inspired, that video could be preserved on YouTube. My current approach is probably the opposite, because I try to make the videos so they are good to share. In any case, the response of these videos is quite mild, so I’m not too excited to make more, considering that they require a lot of effort and slow me down in the making games part.

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