Author Topic: CPCRetrodev 2019 - The reviews!  (Read 654 times)

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Offline Targhan

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CPCRetrodev 2019 - The reviews!
« on: 01:32, 10 November 19 »
I always write a review of all the games of this RetroDev, so here we go again! I created a thread for people to write their own review too, so don't hesitate!

I played all the games on a real CPC 6128, without any extension. Please note that what follows are my opinions only, which may be blunt as times, so please don't get offended if I don't like your production...

Here are my reviews, from best to "worst".


MissInput
Don't let the intro page fool you, it's actually a very good game with enjoyable gameplay (even though the principle is very well known). The gfxs are simple but clear, the main character runs (and jumps) at 50hz, the level design is well done. The only real drawback is the music, which is rather terrible.

Cobra
A very interesting game, I was first really wondering what was going on. It is basically a "game of the goose" with mini-games. The boards are well drawn, the mini-games themselves being more crude, and I often understood what I had to do once I failed. Each is simple but effective, and the pace is fast, even when waiting for the computer to play. The music is also varied and suits well the game. Original, for sure!

Epimeteo
As always with CNGSoft, great code, good gfx and enjoyable music. Contrary to the two last years, CNGSoft didn't lose himself in a too complicated gameplay he didn't master well (in my opinion), this game is simple, raw, effective, and ultimately very enjoyable! Done in 48 hours?? Well done!

Ludic break the loop
Too bad the game is really not original, because the gfxs is good, the music is nice and the background chatter between the player and the AI is a really nice touch. But I've played this kind of game so many times... However, I can't deny this is a good game.

Super Tongue Dino
Not original (same gameplay as MissInput), but enjoyable anyway. The music is very simple but the melody itself is nice. Graphics are likewise.

MacPac
I like the concept of "inverted PacMan" where you are the ghost. However, the gameplay lacks a better AI, which most of the times has no clue of what is going on and wins rather on luck. I like the short music. Enjoyable game when it gets harder after a few levels. Sadly, having only one life is a bit of a deal-breaker.

Bike Master
I was afraid when the game started, the sprites were small and the scrolling jerky. However, the game is nice and even subtle at times. However, the game is too easy (the opponents can be outrun with any problem), and the game is very short. Nice music, average graphics.

League of Tanks
Original in the sense that your tank never stops rotating and you have to move and shoot when the direction is right. I enjoyed it for a few levels, then gave up, too random. Original, though. Maybe funny when playing with other people?

UFODriver
I liked the concept, but sadly this is too simple. So much more could have been done (like, having a different speed and inertia between the space man and the UFOs)! No sound, no real graphics.

Rogue
Not well done and very simple but a bit more original than the usual platformer and shooter. I enjoyed exploring a few levels before being bored (and dead). Ultra-simplistic realization.

Ratones Y Mazmorras
A veeeery simple game where you have to get keys and reach the door. Nothing fancy here, but rather cleanly done. The music gets irritating very quickly (though I liked the hardware basses!).

Happy Monty
Rather impressive for a Basic game, but the gameplay isn't very enjoyable. Too hard, the character never stopping its run, making it difficult to move accurately. Fair graphics and interesting tension in the music.

Fitzroy In The Dark
The light concept is interesting, but I wander in very empty levels with not a lot to do. Why displaying a cursor to move where arrow keys would have been enough? I couldn't find a weapon to kill the enemies, so I finally got killed without being able to defend myself... No sound either, it feels like an unfinished attempt at making a game.


Below are the games I didn't like at all...
--------------
Hey Sailor
I liked the theme, but it is an ultra simple game, with a crude gameplay. Will entertain you for one minute, but no more, I guess! I like the music. Oh... It CAN NOT BE LOADED ON A REAL CPC!!! There is a whitespace in the file name in the DSK, you have to rename it with a DSK manager first...
NOTE: How could this game reach the 7th place???

Invasion
Not great, but an original scrolling technique. An OK music.

Woods Rescue
Simplistic game, I finished it very quickly too. I liked the "forest" theme, but except mindless killing of trees, lizards and birds, there is nothing very subtle to do. I liked the music, as simple as it is.

Shinobu
Ultra simple, rather buggy, frustrating and very short. I can't say I liked it.

Area51 Raid
I liked the idea of finding some...thing and making it escape. But the gameplay is really too simple to make it work.

PPSpace Mercenary
Anything else to do besides shooting the aliens over and over again? I explored all the rooms, found nothing. Oh well...

Shadow Soul
Bad graphics, bad music, uninteresting gameplay.

Combat Tendency
I admit I kinda like the background. But the game itself... Why are the commands so awkward? Not much fun...

Jacks Bubble Island
Not much to do, too easy, not interesting.

Jackstrad
Too simple to my taste. The enemy fire can not be dodged, the character moves awkwardly.

Runninja
Is it really a game? It could have been if there had been a score, some more enemies, some strategy instead of jumping aimlessly... Taking bonuses or not doesn't change anything! Too bad, there was music and ok-ish graphics...

Dragon Egg
Ultra simple, short, no music and almost no graphics... I couldn't enjoy this one.

Capital Q
Not interesting to me, but at least you can learn stuff... Too bad the game has the technicity of a 1984 type-ins program.

Resignation Quest
Spent a few minutes going through the levels and killing office people... Neither great not interesting.

Ronin Revenge
I really wonder why it has a medieval name and music (not so bad by the way), the character looks like Popeye to me. Another platformer without any originally or interesting gameplay.

Mediaval Brawl
Is it supposed to be a 2-player game? The enemies don't move, there is nothing to do. Buggy as hell too. The first pattern of the music is nice, though.

Angry Kitten
Sorry, but this is bad.

Plant Attack
Not really a game to me.

Project Thing
Wow... That's something to behold. I especially liked the arrows that defy the law of gravity and shoot backward. I can't deny some students have a great imagination!

Retro Tennis Super Wave
Wooooow... Now we're in Psychedelia Land. I guess the coders never even *saw* a tennis court. Else they would have known a ball can not reverse its direction because it wants to.

DJD
Not a game, buggy as hell, not finished. It's a wonder the guy has added a (not so bad) music where nothing else has been done.

Disc Respect
I could NOT play this one. The file was 47kb, which could not be loaded on a real CPC. The CDT file crashed when I loaded on Winape. I checked the video and figured the game would not be worth fighting for it...



---------------------------------------------
Overall, I admit I'm a bit disappointed by the games, there hasn't been any surprise or original game. It seems all the non-student coders were too busy to participe this year. Or not interested. Maybe a consequence of having their game not judged as they deserved, mmmh? I hope not.
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Offline awergh

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Re: CPCRetrodev 2019 - The reviews!
« Reply #1 on: 08:46, 10 November 19 »
Fitzroy In The Dark
The light concept is interesting, but I wander in very empty levels with not a lot to do. Why displaying a cursor to move where arrow keys would have been enough? I couldn't find a weapon to kill the enemies, so I finally got killed without being able to defend myself... No sound either, it feels like an unfinished attempt at making a game.

I appreciate the frank and honest feedback.
The comment about empty levels is entirely fair. I never quite worked out what to do with the levels to make the game feel more alive rather than being barren.

Not finding a weapon is a problem I did not consider. What I intended was for the player to play through the nearest level to the start (keys and doors level) and you get the sword at the end of that level. However given you can play in any order except for the one in the water that obviously doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  :doh:

In answer the the cursor movement I guess I became committed to being able to do diagonals so left it as is even though it does slow the game down and can be a bit clunky.
As an alternative you can hold down the move\use key and then use the directional keys to move which is more convenient but you can't move in diagonals.
Possibly I should have reconsidered diagonals so the movement could be more streamlined. Anything to streamline the game might have made it less confusing to people.

One day I will do sound, hopefully next year.

If I had filled the levels with a lot more enemies would it have been enough to make the game feel less barren?
(I was trying to make some levels easier by putting less or no enemies in a few of them.)
Potentially focusing the game more on the enemies and the combat.
Does the the darkness make the game more barren because you can only see a small amount of the level at a time?

Ultimately I am trying to decide whether the constraints from the light source concept (only some of the screen being visible) are what made things barren or if the main problem was the level design and I just needed to figure out ways for the player to have more interesting things to do in the game.
« Last Edit: 08:49, 10 November 19 by awergh »

Offline Arnaud

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Re: CPCRetrodev 2019 - The reviews!
« Reply #2 on: 10:16, 10 November 19 »
Hey Sailor
I liked the theme, but it is an ultra simple game, with a crude gameplay. Will entertain you for one minute, but no more, I guess! I like the music. Oh... It CAN NOT BE LOADED ON A REAL CPC!!! There is a whitespace in the file name in the DSK, you have to rename it with a DSK manager first...
NOTE: How could this game reach the 7th place???
It not either start on emulator ;D (CPCE or Winape maybe it works with RVM)
I found the easy way was to use the SNA to start the game 

It seems all the non-student coders were too busy to participe this year.
However it was a good year to participate without "4 Mhz" or "Retrobytes" productions coders could have expected to win two place in ranking  :D
« Last Edit: 10:50, 10 November 19 by Arnaud »

Offline GUNHED

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Re: CPCRetrodev 2019 - The reviews!
« Reply #3 on: 13:29, 10 November 19 »
Hey Sailor
...snip...  Oh... It CAN NOT BE LOADED ON A REAL CPC!!! There is a whitespace in the file name in the DSK, you have to rename it with a DSK manager first...


You can use FutureOS to rename it to an usable name, which I did. I'm not sure if it was worth.  ;)  However, at least it will run then on real CPC too.  :)
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Offline teopl

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Re: CPCRetrodev 2019 - The reviews!
« Reply #4 on: 21:44, 11 November 19 »

Ludic break the loop
Too bad the game is really not original, because the gfxs is good, the music is nice and the background chatter between the player and the AI is a really nice touch. But I've played this kind of game so many times... However, I can't deny this is a good game.

---------------------------------------------
Overall, I admit I'm a bit disappointed by the games, there hasn't been any surprise or original game. It seems all the non-student coders were too busy to participe this year. Or not interested. Maybe a consequence of having their game not judged as they deserved, mmmh? I hope not.

Hey, thanks for commenting and liking the graphics/sound/game... About the originality, indeed the main concept of Ludic is similar to many games but it was original when I made it first time in middle school... Or I thought it was :D There are several reasons why we did not choose to do something more original, one of those is that I needed to be sure I could technically finish the game and this was the only game I have really done in my life and it's prity non demanding technically so I started with the remake. But... soon we added more things like arcade levels (which definitely need to be polished and will be!), a story, collecting qubits, ... We even added support for internet levels for M4 owners - try and type "BBBBBBB" as a password for example and you should get a test level from amazon.

Anyway my intention was to learn about the platform by making a simple game but with big help from @brando464 we made it actually (almost?) fully playable and enjoyable game! I hope in the next few months we can complete this task and do another "big box" release together with comics a webpage, maybe leveleditor...

About the quality of the games, I agree it was lower this year but I would not agree that we should have pro coders in retrodev - for example imagine Pinball Fantasies here... Or imagine Rolling Stones on Eurovision :D For me it would be ideal to have majority of "medium" and "almost pro" games in cpcretrodev :)

About the student games - I think it's fantastic that they learned assembler and coded a game in assembler but maybe that was actually too hard to also make an actually good game in such short time (was it 7 weeks if I remember).

Offline Targhan

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Re: CPCRetrodev 2019 - The reviews!
« Reply #5 on: 00:15, 12 November 19 »
Quote
About the quality of the games, I agree it was lower this year but I would not agree that we should have pro coders in retrodev - for example imagine Pinball Fantasies here...

We had some pretty good games in the latest years. Of course, experienced devs will do better technically speaking than students which know nothing of retro-gaming coding, but doing a good game has not much to do with programming skills! The 64k and one-loading limitation makes it difficult to make too big games, so I think this is a sane competition.
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Offline skylas

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Re: CPCRetrodev 2019 - The reviews!
« Reply #6 on: 04:30, 21 November 19 »
Capital Q
Not interesting to me, but at least you can learn stuff... Too bad the game has the technicity of a 1984 type-ins program.
I agree with you that my program has a very old technicity. I have almost no knowledge in programming, so, for me the goal is only to manage to create a simple but completed and playable game and just participate.

Now, as for the games:

For  me , EPIMETEO is a game that seems to have the better quality. It needed maybe more enemies or stages, but it is very good game, and sound is fantastic. For me, it is the best game of the competition.
I really enjoyed woods resque, it is a very simple and fun game.
Hey sailor also is one that i liked a lot.
Also, i like fitzroy in the dark, Jacks bubble island and angry kitten.