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Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.

VI – The Story So Far

Christ on a bike, its been a long time since I first began work on this. The first entry on my hidden beta board is from the 29th September last year and within a few days I’d managed to get a pretty good prototype of how the game was going to play up and running. All well and good, but this is my first real approach at something completely written from scratch so I should have known it wouldn’t all be so simple.

The original plan for the game was to create a vectorised homage to Robotron, pulling together all the things that make me grin like a lunatic into one package.

Glowing vectors? Check.

Yak influenced eye monging effects? Check.

Abstract use of sound? Check.

And all was going well. I went through an insane phase of coding like an utter lunatic for months, whacking new things in, throwing everything at the game I possibly could to see what would stick. I suppose you could call it completely off the cuff development. And it worked. Up until a point.

After 3 months, it was becoming quite clear that I’d backed myself into a corner codewise. The backend of the game was a sprawling near incomprehensible mess, everything was bound together so tightly that the slightest adjustment could tip the entire balance of the game right off the scale. So, I backtracked. And began to contemplate how to take the bits I’d gotten working and liked out of the old code and turn them into something that would work not just as a game, but as a readable and editable mass for my own sanity.

There were a few other things that paused the development of the game. When I’d set out designing the game I’d not even heard of Geometry Wars other than a few whispers about what a great little hidden game it was. I bit the bullet and picked up a second hand copy of Project Gotham 2 for my trusty Xbox and settled myself down for a game. You know something is wrong when even your good wife turns around and asks “Is that your game?”. Bollocks. Somehow, I’d managed to pull something from my brain that looked uncannily close to someone elses game. Easily done I suppose when you’ve got over 20 years of playing games behind you, but to clone the looks of a game I’d never even seen a screenshot of nor played left me gutted. I’d lost heart in the project completely and lay it to rest whilst I wondered what to do next.

Fast forward a month or so to the PlayBASIC Retro Remakes competition (nowt to do with the site I run btw) and one of Retro Remakes board regulars and moderators comes up with a cracking cross between Jetpak and Defender with some utterly lovely old skool sprites. And my, did it look gorgeous. I’d forgotten just how much I adored that low res style of chunky pixel goodness. Well, that was it then – the solution was there in my hands. Ditch the vectors, crack open ProMotion and get pixelling.

I must have pixelled for England for a few days as although I knew roughly how I wanted to look, pulling it into a coherant whole was going to take some work. Eventually, after toying with pixelling around my old Vector style sprites, experimenting with Tron style backgrounds and Lord knows what else, I hit upon a look I was happy with. Suitably chunky and almost Speedball-y in execution. It looked lovely, and lo – I was a happy bunny.

The next stage was to crack on and get the engine running again, reusing the old bits of code that were still usable and not wrapped up like a spaghetti bondage monster and rewriting some parts that were causing problems for some folks on certain systems. It meant a lot had to go, but after inumerable cups of tea and a lot of support from the chaps in #Remakes IRC I’d got it all back together again and working better than it ever had before. New enemies, new graphics and new effects – yet, thankfully, I’d managed to retain all the gameplay techniques from the old build intact.

Lovely.

And thats where I am today, nearly there at the end of a long and arduous development cycle thats seen me learn more from creating this 1 game than I have in a ruck of remakes. So, for the final stages – I’ll keep everyone posted as to whats going on as I code up the final few parts, drop some exclusive screenshots onto here and maybe, if you’re lucky – even drop some mp3’s of the excellent soundtrack I’ve had produced for it.

But for now, I’m going to cook some food as I’m ravenous.

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Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.

From the archive #5

Okay, so it wasn’t quite December 18th, but its been a busy time for us at Mersey Remakes – what with Oddbob becoming an admin at Retro Remakes and the preparations for Megatree being put into place – expect some news and a sneak preview on that soon.

In other news: Retroactive, the Retro Remakes magazine is now at its third issue and available to download from the media section. Its fresh, its new – and its superb.

We’ve also contributed some sound FX and levels to TCK’s excellent trippy bulletdodgefest Transversion. Its a fantastic game and with a hotly competed online score table. Go grab it…

Mersey Remakes in new game shocker!

Smila has just completed Aztec Challenge

An absolutely gorgeous remake of…Aztec Challenge! All the levels from the original have been lovingly recreated with some beautiful Smila-fied gfx. Top work indeed that man!

At the moment, Oddbobs working on The Megatree site for the collaborative project between Mersey Remakes and Scottigesoft. As soon as we’ve got all the content together – you can expect that to go live.

In the meantime, why not visit Remakes.org and show us your high score goodness in the Score Leaderboards?

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Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.

From the archive #4

::23rd SEPTEMBER 2004 – THIS IS THE NEWS::

The Retro Remakes 2004 Competition is drawing to a close now, so I guess its time to get back to the nitty gritty of site updates and useful stuff like that. You’ll be glad to know that we’ve been doing anything but resting on our laurels, despite a few personal setbacks timewise.

We’ve got a few nice games lined up for release for the first few days in October, due as soon as they’ve been uploaded to RR.

We’ve got Curse Of The Aztec Tomb, a remake of the old David Healey type in listing for the zx81 – original(ish) version sourced from the Rev Stu. A remake of Costa Panayi’s first opus – Android1, brought kicking and screaming into 2004. Smila’s also been hard at work with his version of Hawkeye, the C64 classic and yet another Jet Set Willy game: The Trash Of The Universe.

We’ve also provided graphical joy to a number of other remakes, the main character sprite for Jetmans Dad’s Stop The Express Remake, The title screen logo for Peejay’s The Birds And The Bee’s as well as giving him a head start on the graphics for his remake of Highway Encounter. We’ve sent a few things over to the Retro-Relevance camp for future releases. ( Some stockpiling of sprites ready for when GK’s had some r&r after the competition ) from tiny things like inbetweeny level screen’s for GK & Cheeky’s Potty Pidgeon remake to a tile set for Yars Revenge, a background screen and some other bits and bobs for a remake of Pete Cooke’s excellent Brainstorm and some may/may not be used stuff for an update of Jasons Gem. Scottige has been on the receiving end of some stuff for Moon Cresta and some work’s been done on the Knight Tyme graphics, at the moment – thats in a kind of limbo as neither of us can be bothered finishing it.

And we’d also like to say that we’re proud to contribute to the long overdue return of Space/Time remakes with a tileset for the Ultimate:Play The Game classic Trans Am. Go check it out, so far Darkside’s succeeding where others have failed in bringing this classic to life.

As if all that wasn’t enough to keep you in jollies for a good while, we’ve got some very special remakes planned for the near future – including the fabled Megatree project and the Atlantis classic – Sceptre Of Bagdad. Stay tuned for more information.

::I’VE GOT THE KEY…ERM…SO NERRR::

Mersey Remakes has given a home to Zonkers remake of Solomons Key. I’d hope that the game doesn’t require any explanation – its all blocks,fairies and wands, standard STompy territory really 🙂 If ye like yer remakes, and ye like yer Solomons Key then erm…download this Solomons Key remake! Go on, you won’t feel too bad about it.

::WALLPAPERS::

We’ve also found the time to add a few wallpapers to download in the Mersey Remakes media section. So, if you’re bored of your current desktop design – then why not check ’em out.

::NEW GAMES ADDED::

Well, not so much new, but definitely added. We’ve trawled the old Mersey Remakes Archives to see if there was any previous releases missing from our list and shock horror, we found that we were 2 short. Thanks to Flynn@Retro Remakes for finding one of the missing files for us and thanks to my messy hard drive for keeping the other one hidden. So, if you peek at the release archives, you can now find Bruce Lee2 and Wizball Breakout available to download.

::RETROGAMER::

Once again, you can check out some of the content of this site on the coverdisk of Retro Gamer magazine for those too lazy to be a downloading – so a big shout out to the RG team once again for showing impeccable taste. And besides – I don’t need to tell you this as you buy it anyway don’t you 😉

::AQUARIUS::

Mersey Remakes’ very own Oddbob has just contibuted some sprites for Retro Relevance’s Aquarius, the game is available now from either Retro Relevance or mirrored here. You can download it by clicking on the bit which says “Aquarius” 😉

::SITE FEATURES::

New features on the site include a forum where you can leave comments on Mersey Remakes stuff – feel free to pop along and leave your musings,as well as the Mersey Remakes blog , which hopefully will contain both Oddbob’s personal musings as well as a Mersey Remakes development diary. You can also get in touch with us by the technological joys known as email should you so desire. Feel free to mail us with any queries which you feel can’t be expressed in the forum, but chances are – we’re more likely to reply to a forum post than an email, unless its something really important.

Well, thats enough waffle for now – I shall leave you to try some of our retro remakes and general bumphy things that we have lying around for your pleasure.

Enjoy.