Author Topic: Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)  (Read 660 times)

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Offline Widukind

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Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)
« on: 23:17, 17 June 18 »
Hallo CPC friends,

30 years ago I programmed my first little CPC game in assembler named Alpha-Jet, a hobby project inspired by Ultimate's (later Rare) great Jetman on ZX Spectrum. The German CPC Schneider/Amstrad International magazine published it in 1988 on their accompanying monthly disc.

I don't remember in which issue it got published, so I never found a copy of the disc on the Internet. Since over the decades and some relocations I forfeited my CPC and discs (sadly!), I never found Alpha-Jet on any CPC website, since there's a French commercial game with the same name overlaying mine.

Now on the large MAME collection on the Internet-archive I finally found my Alpha-Jet, after 30 years, so to say. It was just a young beginner's game or more of a sprite-demo, with no fine tuned game-play and with unwise coding decisions (*), but I'm still glad to have rediscovered it.
And so I would like to share it with you collectors of all CPC things. Please note that due to my green monitor only, the colours weren't fine-tuned either.


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(*) For example I had observed that many commercial CPC games used to use an offset software video buffer with simpler line-below-line raster format. After being drawn to, this buffer gets transferred line-by-line to the hardware video screen in order to avoid flickering. I did that, too, but the copying costs many extra Z80 cycles. With my second CPC game Airballs I used two hardware screens which are being flipped by the video-chip. It's a bit more complicated to draw to, but much faster.

Thanks to all you administrators, moderators and contributors for keeping the good old CPC alive! It's a pleasure to see all this.


Offline Widukind

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And for the record: Airballs (1989)
« Reply #1 on: 23:18, 17 June 18 »
A year later in 1989 the same German CPC Schneider/Amstrad International magazine published my second game Airballs inspired by the Arcade game Joust.
It avoided the slow offset software video buffer and uses two hardware screens flipped by the video-chip. Technically and gameplay-wise I'm a bit more happy with this second one in contrast to the first game, but both are real greenhorn games.

Now I dream of doing another game for the CPC one day, this time with actual game-play and smarter programming. Maybe one day... :-)

P.S. Airballs (and probably Alpha-Jet, to) has got a cheat mode, by pressing some keys in the title-screen. Unfortunately I forgot the keys...

Offline GUNHED

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Re: Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)
« Reply #2 on: 00:20, 19 June 18 »
Very nice! Any chance to find the German version of Gunship from Microprose?


Offline Arnaud

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Re: And for the record: Airballs (1989)
« Reply #3 on: 19:39, 19 June 18 »
Now I dream of doing another game for the CPC one day, this time with actual game-play and smarter programming. Maybe one day... :-)
You should take a look to cpctelera https://github.com/lronaldo/cpctelera

Offline mr_lou

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Re: Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)
« Reply #4 on: 08:01, 20 June 18 »
Looks awesome! I especially like the loading screen of Alpha-Jet. Very CPC-retro. But I've always had a thing for those MODE 1 screens.  :)

Sounds like you have a lot of interesting stories you could tell from back in the day. *Cough* 8-bit Memoirs;)

I actually tried Airballs a few years back, while downloading a lot of CPC games just to try them out. I remember Airballs because it stood out - and because I like those MODE 1 games. Very nicely done.

As for creating a CPC game nowadays, I'd also strongly recommend taking a look at CPCtelera.

Offline Widukind

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Re: Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)
« Reply #5 on: 10:12, 21 June 18 »
Thank you.
 
I'm glad you too like MODE 1 screens, because not only as a formerly green-monitor CPC user I liked it, but I still like it because its high resolution (high concerning 8 bit computers) with four colours per pixel and square pixels allow for aesthetically beautiful and crystal-clear images. Like for example Spindizzy or Head over Heels proved very well.
 
CPCtelera looks very promising. By just browsing its well-assorted documentation I think Spanish Mr. Ronaldo did a great job.

Offline SuTeKH/Epyteor

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Re: Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)
« Reply #6 on: 14:48, 21 June 18 »
Alpha Jet on CPC-Power!

Offline Widukind

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Re: Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)
« Reply #7 on: 21:24, 22 June 18 »
Very CPC-retro. But I've always had a thing for those MODE 1 screens.

Well, I've to admit that reading (and writing) here on this great CPC-Wiki website including its very active forum is one delightful walking down memory lane.

As was (is) painting MODE 1 pictures. I still have strong memories of painting several such MODE 1 pictures for a German demo, after my little Airballs game. Oh yes, MODE 1 is it for me, too. Those were the days! Let's keep them alive.
« Last Edit: 12:33, 02 July 18 by Widukind »

Offline villain

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Re: Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)
« Reply #8 on: 23:34, 22 June 18 »
As was (is) painting MODE 1 pictures. I still have strong memories of painting several such MODE 1 pictures for a German Megademo (see attached picture please), after my little Airballs game. Oh yes, MODE 1 is it for me, too. Those were the days! Let's keep them alive.
Bescht demo from Oberschwaben ever. Odr so! 😁

Offline mr_lou

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Re: Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)
« Reply #9 on: 07:27, 23 June 18 »
Oh yes, MODE 1 is it for me, too. Those were the days! Let's keep them alive.
That's what we're doing here.  :)

You're one of the few who seems to have managed to create games back in the day. A lot of us had the urge to create games, but never managed. So we create games now to fulfill that childhood dream.  ;)
My girlfriend and I created this (MODE 1) game:
www.cpc-power.com/index.php?page=detail&num=12497
www.cpc-power.com/index.php?page=detail&num=12497
 :)

I'd love to make another game, but we have the same problem as everyone else: Not enough time. Family and job takes too much of it.
So it's the usual "lots of ideas - but no time" situation. It's already been 6 years since I posted about a MODE 1 game idea I had:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/general-discussion/mockups-for-mode-1-minimalistic-graphics-platformer
We haven't even started looking into that yet. (But I'm often thinking about it!)


Offline Widukind

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Re: Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)
« Reply #10 on: 12:50, 23 June 18 »
A lot of us had the urge to create games, but never managed. So we create games now to fulfill that childhood dream.
It's a good motivation, and I too have childhood dream retro-games on my "mind shelve".

Quote
My girlfriend and I created this (MODE 1) game:
A nice one. I always liked thruster games. You even got a nice title tune! Congratulations. I never managed to do this.

Quote
I'd love to make another game, but we have the same problem as everyone else: Not enough time. Family and job takes too much of it.
So it's the usual "lots of ideas - but no time" situation.
Very well put. And indeed it's such a pity.

This "not enough time" problem is one reason why today we retro hobbyists should focus on highly efficient development tools, like CPCtelera is probably. So that we can concentrate our little time on the actual game.

Quote
It's already been 6 years since I posted about a MODE 1 game idea I had:
We haven't even started looking into that yet. (But I'm often thinking about it!)
What tends to hinder us often, is that we plan to realise too many ideas when time is always short.

Recently I examined the fat GIMP and noticed we can tell it to use X colours only in indexed picture mode, and define those colours with the RGB values of the CPC hardware colours. (You and others surely knew this already, but I'm new to modern bitmap applications like GIMP.)  So maybe it could be used as a CPC sprite editor?
« Last Edit: 12:52, 23 June 18 by Widukind »

Offline mr_lou

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Re: Lost game found: Alpha Jet (1988)
« Reply #11 on: 07:49, 24 June 18 »
A nice one. I always liked thruster games. You even got a nice title tune! Congratulations. I never managed to do this.
You gotta team up with other forum members.  :)
We all do that. I can do music (when I have the time), and some C code, but I suck at graphics and assembler code, so I always need help with those.

What tends to hinder us often, is that we plan to realise too many ideas when time is always short.
Very true. We tend to make the projects too big. Then lose interest because lack of time makes it impossible to ever reach the goal. I try to make my projects small, although it's not always possible. My recent project "8-bit Memoirs" ended up taking 5 years - but I just insisted on completing it. Not sure I'll have that kind of persistence next time though.  :)
Recently I examined the fat GIMP and noticed we can tell it to use X colours only in indexed picture mode, and define those colours with the RGB values of the CPC hardware colours. (You and others surely knew this already, but I'm new to modern bitmap applications like GIMP.)  So maybe it could be used as a CPC sprite editor?
GiMP is great. I've used it for many years. But what I'm after in this context, is something that'll let me play around with CPC graphics and level-designs while on-the-go. E.g. when I'm sitting on the bus and have nothing else to do anyway. Or in a waiting room, etc etc.
So that's why I'm pondering about looking into a Java-based sprite-editor for CPC graphics. Being Java based lets me run it on my phone and my pocket computer. But let's see if I manage to find the time.