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General Category => News & Events => Topic started by: Jonathan. on 16:34, 10 February 13

Title: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 16:34, 10 February 13
Hi guys,


as some of you may be aware, I developed a game editor for the Spectrum called Arcade Game Designer - or AGD for short.  A number of people have already put the tool to some use and produced a dozen or so games for the machine.


I've recently been working on a CPC conversion and feel it is just about in a state where I can release it for others to have a play.  There are a few bugs and sound/save/load aren't in yet, but everything else should be more or less functional.  Thanks must go to Kevin Thacker and Mauricioi Munyoz Lucero for their advice over the past few weeks.


There's a snapshot here (https://rapidshare.com/files/1064863090/AGD02.sna).


The Spectrum version (which has instructions!) is available from the AGD forums (http://arcadegamedesigner.proboards.com).


And just to whet your appetite, some links to YouTube videos to show you what people have already done with the Spectrum version:


Donkey Kong Reloaded (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRmtCD8sEwE#)
Apulija-13 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsB__bf_if0#)
Lost Inside My Spectrum (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xqRntNtwNI#)

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: db6128 on 17:11, 10 February 13
Looks fast! I wonder if it will be that quick on a CPC, due to the added overhead of masking colours onto the screen.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: mr_lou on 17:17, 10 February 13
Looks nice.

Will the CPC version be able to load source files from ZX Spectrum games and export to a CPC game then?
In other words, will the CPC be able to relatively fast have the same games that's already been made on the ZX Spectrum version?

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Devilmarkus on 17:25, 10 February 13
Cool project!
I appreciate that.


To those of you, who cant load compressed Type 3 snaps:


Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: SyX on 17:42, 10 February 13
Great Work Jonathan!!! :)

It looks very promising, i'm sure that AGD CPC is going to be a success as the ZX version :)

PS: My name looks a little encrypted, but sure without an spanish keyboard is going to be difficult to write "Mauricio Muñoz Lucero" :P
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Gryzor on 13:44, 11 February 13
Hello Jonathan!


Welcome to our forum - it's a honour to have you here :)


The Speccy demos look fantastic indeed. I just wish this had been released on the CPC a little earlier so people could take advantage for it for out ROM competition!
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: TFM on 00:58, 12 February 13
Looks fast! I wonder if it will be that quick on a CPC...
Sure, even faster if you like.
1. There is no scrolling of screens
2. The speed of sprites depends here on how much pixels you move them every frame.
 
About the snapshot (tried JavaCPC and WinCPC)
The SNA carshes here. How must the CPC Emulator be setup to work with it?
EDIT: Works in WinApe
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Devilmarkus on 02:33, 12 February 13
Use 6128 ROMs. No extra ROMs.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: arnoldemu on 11:21, 12 February 13
Sure, even faster if you like.
1. There is no scrolling of screens
2. The speed of sprites depends here on how much pixels you move them every frame.
 
About the snapshot (tried JavaCPC and WinCPC)
The SNA carshes here. How must the CPC Emulator be setup to work with it?
it is a good tool for those who can't program but who want to make games.
more games for cpc. yes please.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: TFM on 20:10, 12 February 13
Use 6128 ROMs. No extra ROMs.
Extra ROMs can NOT be a problem, since a SNA overwrites the tables of the OS, so they are not initialized. That's not the point. 6128 ROMs is what I always use.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Devilmarkus on 21:42, 12 February 13
Extra ROMs can NOT be a problem, since a SNA overwrites the tables of the OS, so they are not initialized. That's not the point. 6128 ROMs is what I always use.

Good, then the SNA works ok ;)
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 19:47, 14 February 13
Sorry, I should have stated that the snapshot was created with WinAPE.
 
Speed isn't going to be a problem.  I've been messing around with the sprite code and timings, and it looks like the CPC will support as many sprites as the Spectrum version at the same frame rate.
 
It won't be possible to load Spectrum games into the Amstrad version, or vice versa.  To convert a Spectrum game you'd have to load it into the Spectrum editor and have a look at the graphics and logic, then recreate them in the Amstrad version in another emulator.  At some point in the future there will be a PC tool capable of creating Spectrum and Amstrad games and hopefully versions for other machines too, but I want to get the CPC version sorted first.
 
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: db6128 on 21:29, 14 February 13
Speed isn't going to be a problem.  I've been messing around with the sprite code and timings, and it looks like the CPC will support as many sprites as the Spectrum version at the same frame rate.
Great! I wasn’t doubtful of your ability to program, just curious if the added overhead to address a more complex and larger screen would be noticeable.

Actually, there’s a question: What will the native resolution be for this? Will it be configurable? Again, just curious!

P.S. Heh, with this particular pair of machines, people will probably be glad that direct conversion isn’t possible. ;)
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 23:46, 20 February 13



It isn't configurable, the resolution is 128 x 200.  It made most sense to do it that way.


Latest version is here (http://rapidshare.com/files/3430736278/AGD03.sna), I've used a different snapshot format this time.

Let me know if you discover any problems.

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: MacDeath on 02:39, 21 February 13
speccuy ports everywhere, my eyes burns from the colour clashes.  :o


Sorry, had to tell this.
This said, those games looks quite good, fast and so on, also nice to have AY sound on those Speccy128/+2/+3.


Such tool would be great on CPC.
No scrolling, not sure it will be too slow on CPC if the sprites routines are well implemented.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: sigh on 13:13, 21 February 13
Looks like a great piece of software. So is it not possible to scroll the screen?
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: db6128 on 20:59, 21 February 13
It isn't configurable, the resolution is 128 x 200.  It made most sense to do it that way.
I presume you mean 128×200 in MODE 0. Now, why does that make most sense? What would make the most sense, if you must use a 64-byte wide screen – which has a lot of its own advantages and greatly simplifies things, hence why I use it – is 128×256, so then you wouldn’t be wasting the other 56 lines’ worth of memory scattered throughout the 16 kB. I mean, sure, you could store stuff there, but it’s hard to organise. With 128×200, you’re getting some of the benefits but not taking full advantage of all the available memory within the 16 kB map.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 17:18, 23 February 13

AGD isn't designed to scroll and works with static screens only.  There's nothing to stop you animating things in the background though.

128x200 in mode 0 makes most sense firstly for the reason you mentioned - a 64-byte line is simpler and makes for faster code.  It's 200 pixels high because that's a very common screen height.  The first version is there to make conversions between the 2 big Z80 machines as straightforward as possible.  I want somebody who has used the Spectrum version to be able to instantly pick up the Amstrad program and start using it, and vice versa.

Ultimately, the aim is to produce a GUI cross-platform PC development tool which can develop games across a number of different 8-bit formats, and the first version of the CPC engine will have to fit in with that.  Incidentally, the Spectrum side of that tool is already out (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwXFKYO5i1IlWEhIVm9VU1BFYVk/edit?usp=sharing&pli=1) and it won't be long before the CPC is added to it.

When that's all done I'll look into creating specialist versions for both machines.  I'm well aware that they can each do things the other can't.

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: EgoTrip on 13:35, 25 February 13
I've had a play around with this, its very impressive, thanks for working on this.


Once the finished version is released I will work on a game. Will you be able to include your own stuff with it, for example, music composed in a different package?
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: sigh on 16:24, 25 February 13
AGD isn't designed to scroll and works with static screens only.  There's nothing to stop you animating things in the background though.

128x200 in mode 0 makes most sense firstly for the reason you mentioned - a 64-byte line is simpler and makes for faster code.  It's 200 pixels high because that's a very common screen height.  The first version is there to make conversions between the 2 big Z80 machines as straightforward as possible.  I want somebody who has used the Spectrum version to be able to instantly pick up the Amstrad program and start using it, and vice versa.

So is it safe to say that you cant do 128x200 in mode 1?
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: arnoldemu on 19:44, 25 February 13
So is it safe to say that you cant do 128x200 in mode 1?
I believe Jonathan may do a mode 1 version later, and then it would be 320x200.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: db6128 on 01:19, 26 February 13
256, surely, if he wants to retain the advantages of 64-byte lines?

Anyway, 128×anything in mode 1 would make no sense.

The first version is there to make conversions between the 2 big Z80 machines as straightforward as possible.
Easier said than done with a two-fold difference in resolution; I presume you are prioritising number of colours rather than horizontal resolution, but that’s not “as straightforward as possible”.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: arnoldemu on 11:32, 26 February 13
256, surely, if he wants to retain the advantages of 64-byte lines?

Anyway, 128×anything in mode 1 would make no sense.
Easier said than done with a two-fold difference in resolution; I presume you are prioritising number of colours rather than horizontal resolution, but that’s not “as straightforward as possible”.
don't forget Jonathan is much more familiar with the Spectrum than the CPC.

When he means "as straighforward as possible", it means in terms of core z80 code, and that the number of differences are limited to work out screen coordinates and finding the next line down, reading the keyboard and reading/writing files.
A lot is re-usable, and drawing sprites is about 90% the same.

So mode 0 version first then I am anticipating a mode 1 version to follow.

Behind AGD is already a thriving forum, instructions and existing games on the Spectrum.
This can all be used to help others to make games for CPC, or for them to remake the Spectrum games on the CPC.


Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: sigh on 18:47, 26 February 13
I believe Jonathan may do a mode 1 version later, and then it would be 320x200.


Sounds good. It would be great to have a dedicated option to also increase the mode 0 at the same time if possible. Scrolling would of course be asking for too much ;D

Well...if this arcade game designer doesn't require any programming, then maybe even someone like me could knock up a quick demo of something:)
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: EgoTrip on 21:27, 26 February 13
Well, it does require some scripting, but its quite simple enough for even me to pick up.


Mode 1 would be a good addition.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: db6128 on 23:49, 27 February 13
It would be great to have a dedicated option to also increase the mode 0 at the same time if possible.
Increase the horizontal resolution, you mean? Speaking from experience, 64-byte lines aid programming a lot, in various ways, and switching to a different figure that isn’t an integral divisor of 256 mandates a significant amount of extra computation.

Seriously, some ingenious things can be done with a 64-byte–wide screen. ;)
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: TFM on 00:14, 28 February 13
Yes, it can be done Amigo 8)  And scrolling with overscan can be done too.
 
A 64 byte/line screen makes only sense when using a huge amount of sprites (so about 70 or so...).
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: db6128 on 00:41, 28 February 13
I can’t agree. The potential speed-ups made possible by a 64-byte screen apply to lots of cases, not just ‘oh no I’m running out of V-blank in my game’. There are many reasons why people might want to optimise wherever possible, and calculating addresses and progressing up and down the screen are much easier and faster when its width fits integrally within a page of memory.

It’s not something that “only” becomes relevant when you’re bombarding the Z80 with sprites. I can attest to this from two projects – one of which you might remember – that both benefited immensely from the much faster and more logical addressing made possible by this width, neither of which used sprite-based graphics. I can explain some of these techniques another time, when I have energy to remember them, and probably access to my source.

It’s an easy way to save NOPs, and if you don’t need a wider screen for your graphics, it’s something that should probably be done. Set it, forget it, and program with much greater ease and without having to manually wrangle with multiplying this, modulo’ing that, and so on!
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: TFM on 05:17, 28 February 13
Of course, there are always exceptions and extras. I've been stating that in general. The big point is scrolling though. ;D
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 15:16, 17 March 13

Version 0.4 is now available. (http://rapidshare.com/files/798449446/AGD04.sna)

Full instructions for the CPC version. (http://rapidshare.com/files/1641563146/AGD.DOC)

This version should be capable of producing full games although the save/load functionality is a bit of a pain.  If there are no major issues, I'll take a look at putting a tape or disc image together and releasing it as version 1.0.  Meanwhile, do make sure you save regular snapshots of your work.

Once v1.0 is out of the way I'll look into some bespoke enhancements for the CPC, as I'm currently doing for Spectrum version 4.0.  For now though, this version has pretty much the same functionality as the Spectrum version 3.4 so it should be possible to convert existing Spectrum AGD games reasonably painlessly.

Have a play and let me know if anything goes awry...


Edit: Just noticed I haven't credited Kevin or Mauricio in the instructions for their advice during development.  I'll sort that out in the next release, guys.  Sorry about that.

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: SyX on 19:47, 17 March 13
Great Work Jonathan!!! :)

I'm sure we'll see the first games using AGD very soon, and who knows, maybe even entries for the game competition :)

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: TFM on 02:37, 18 March 13
Your word in gods ear  :)
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: sigh on 18:46, 18 March 13
Can the graphics and sound be imported from another package or can they only be created in the editor?
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: SyX on 00:38, 19 March 13
In this moment in the Editor, and although we could make a tool for importing datas in it, after everybody tests AGD (you don't need to make a fullgame, only test the options following the manual and edit the example game) and Jonathan gets feedback (Very Important!!! Tell him what you like or not, bugs found, ideas to improve the project, ...) and the possible bugs are fixed, then, i'm sure that the CPC version will be supported in TommyGun AGD (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwXFKYO5i1IlOE1PcFZ3LXVfVnc/edit), a pc tool that let you create AGD games for ZX.

And we will have two options, or the CPC native editor or the PC crossplatform editor, win, win :)
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Gryzor on 20:38, 22 March 13
That was a fast dev cycle... hope we see some goodies! :)
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: sigh on 20:59, 24 March 13
I noticed that when reading the instructions about sprites, it said it's composed by 9x16? Is this correct, or should it be 8x16? Is this calculation refering to wide or single pixels (being that AGD for CPC operates in mode 0 only)

Also - is it possible to create a larger sprite out of the 9x16/8x16


 Sprite Images

 
Sprites are 9x16 pixel images which make up moving parts such as the player, player bullets, enemy craft, etc.  Sprites may have any number of frames.

 
Move around the grid with the cursor, fixing and deleting pixels with SPACE or 0.  Because AGD's collision detection is coordinate based, it is a good idea to fill out as much of the 9x16 area as you can, particularly for player and enemy sprites.  Collectables don't matter as much, players seldom notice or care if they pick up a collectable from a couple of pixels away.

 

 

 
 
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: sigh on 15:03, 27 March 13
Is anybody using this software yet? I'd like to know their experiences as I'm thinking as using it to do a remake test of Rodland. The sprites and graphics for the first level have been gathering dust for sometime now, so I may as well use them(though I would have to redraw them from scratch on AGD as it does not allow importing graphics.)
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: TFM on 19:45, 27 March 13
What's about an import / conversion tool. Can't be that tought :)
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: sigh on 14:18, 28 March 13
What's about an import / conversion tool. Can't be that tought :)

I guess this would happen on the next update when the CPC version is actually used for testing and feed back is given like SyX said. I think that game conversions from existing games would be a good way to test as they are already designed which cuts out that side of work, which means that time can now be spent on how well the scripting/events/AI of that particular game functions within an AGD environment.

Single screen games like Cabal or Dead Connection covers a lot of bases for enemy behaviour, destructible environments, weapon pick ups, bosses, sound cues, 2 player mode etc.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 17:34, 29 March 13
I noticed that when reading the instructions about sprites, it said it's composed by 9x16? Is this correct, or should it be 8x16? Is this calculation refering to wide or single pixels (being that AGD for CPC operates in mode 0 only)

Also - is it possible to create a larger sprite out of the 9x16/8x16



It's 9x16 pixels in mode 0.  They're stored as two separate pre-shifted images so you may as well use the extra pixel.


It's difficult to put two or more sprites together because they might be drawn in alternate frames.  You might get away with it for static animated sprites, but if they move around the screen you may see some tearing.

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: sigh on 17:57, 29 March 13

It's 9x16 pixels in mode 0.  They're stored as two separate pre-shifted images so you may as well use the extra pixel.


It's difficult to put two or more sprites together because they might be drawn in alternate frames.  You might get away with it for static animated sprites, but if they move around the screen you may see some tearing.

Ahhh okay.

The Rodland sprites I did are a little too wide which is a shame.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 00:36, 31 March 13


A couple of minor issues have arisen with the code editor and a critical bug came to light on the Spectrum version which was also present in CPC version 0.4.  These have been fixed so version 0.5 (http://rapidshare.com/files/3767639374/AGD05.sna) is now available.

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 19:15, 07 April 13
Incidentally, I'm trying to publicise AGD a little better, as up until now it's not something I've done terribly well.  It would be nice to get as many people as possible using the tool and posting tips on the AGD forums.  CPC tips will obviously apply to the Spectrum, and vice versa.
 
With this in mind, if anyone is a member of any retrogaming forums where AGD hasn't been announced, please feel free to tell people about it.  Especially non-English language forums!  Ich spreche nicht Deutsch, no puedo hablar mucho Español et mon Francais est assez mauvais...
 
Also, if there are any emulator authors who'd be interested in including AGD as an example program with the next release, do please get in touch.
 
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Gryzor on 20:39, 07 April 13
If you feel like creating a concise little article about it I could link to it from the wiki's front page. Perhaps even add a small banner :)
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 03:24, 13 April 13
If you feel like creating a concise little article about it I could link to it from the wiki's front page. Perhaps even add a small banner :)


That would be fantastic!  Let's get a few more people playing with game designs on the old 8-bit machines with which they grew up and maybe producing new games for us all to play.


What would you be looking for, a few hundred words about where AGD came from and what it can do?

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: EgoTrip on 19:44, 13 April 13

A couple of minor issues have arisen with the code editor and a critical bug came to light on the Spectrum version which was also present in CPC version 0.4.  These have been fixed so version 0.5 (http://rapidshare.com/files/3767639374/AGD05.sna) is now available.


I cant open the snapshot in winape


edit: never mind, I found the .dsk version on the AGD forum. Thanks. Will play around and when I get time hopefully come up with something decent.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Gryzor on 20:19, 13 April 13

That would be fantastic!  Let's get a few more people playing with game designs on the old 8-bit machines with which they grew up and maybe producing new games for us all to play.


What would you be looking for, a few hundred words about where AGD came from and what it can do?





Whatever you think could be interesting, would do. Maybe a short guide, even from alread made docs, whatever is good really!   
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: SyX on 14:21, 14 April 13
Incidentally, I'm trying to publicise AGD a little better, as up until now it's not something I've done terribly well.  It would be nice to get as many people as possible using the tool and posting tips on the AGD forums.  CPC tips will obviously apply to the Spectrum, and vice versa.
 
With this in mind, if anyone is a member of any retrogaming forums where AGD hasn't been announced, please feel free to tell people about it.  Especially non-English language forums!  Ich spreche nicht Deutsch, no puedo hablar mucho Español et mon Francais est assez mauvais...
 
I have just announced AGD in the spanish forum, you can find the thread here (http://www.amstrad.es/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2999)  :) :) :)
Title: Update: version 1.3 released
Post by: Jonathan. on 18:53, 08 November 13



I'd hoped to do more, but as 1.3 is long overdue I thought I'd release it with the fixes it already has.  This should address a few corruption issues:

Zippyshare.com - AGD1.3.zip (http://www65.zippyshare.com/v/92138294/file.html)


As ever, let me know of any issues you encounter and I'll endeavour to fix them.

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: sigh on 17:29, 20 January 14
Are there any more releases coming up for this software that will enable larger sprites and 320 x 200 screen size?
It would be nice at some point in the future after the beat em up that I could try this for the Rodland remake.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 19:17, 13 October 14
No plans for bigger sprites or a 320x200 version just yet, although I wouldn't rule them out at some point in the future.

I've just released version 1.4 which should clear up some issues.  As ever, let me know of any bugs you find.



AGD Releases | Forum (http://arcadegamedesigner.proboards.com/board/4/agd-releases)

Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: EgoTrip on 00:09, 14 October 14
I will check out the new build and let you know how I get on with it.


I think you should do a 128k editor, which runs games on a standard 64k machine like you have done with the Spectrum. This will enable you to use more resources and make bigger games.


I also think Rodland remake would possibly be beyond the capabilites of AGD, although it would be cool to be proven wrong.
Title: Re: Arcade Game Designer
Post by: Jonathan. on 23:55, 02 November 14
In addition to the forums, there's now a Facebook group for AGD.  Come on guys, We need a few more CPC fellows to balance out the Spectrum bias!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/785775881484393/ (https://www.facebook.com/groups/785775881484393/)