owsf2000: (default)
Ok, I've been out of the loop of doing most anything related to my game/art/music/whatever projects since probably 2010. At first minecraft was eating up a lot of time, and lately it is again admittedly as I work on The Industrial Complex on Pseudo World. (Formally known as the Guardian Farm)

But after noticing half of January has already slipped by, I'm going to try to step up my game for my projects.

I've tried coding on the 2600, and that's been... a mixed success. Certainly Maze Realms functions, but it's a far cry from what I wanted it to become, and the code has gotten to the point where if I attempt to change anything I just create bugs rather than fix any. So that's on the shelf still.

On the Atari 7800, I attempted working on some display building routines to help code out the confusing aspects of the MARIA chip (The gpu of the system so to speak) but I didn't really get as far as I wanted. I got it to the point of displaying a sprite on the screen, but whether a part of my code or an emulator bug distorted the graphic a bit - until I moved it around some. Attempts to fix that were like the 2600, resulted in more bugs. So I gave up on it again.

Now, lately there's been someone that's written "7800basic". Essentially a basic-like compiler for making 7800 games. It lets you code in a syntax close to Basic while including some 7800 specific things naturally and some helper routines. This has the benefit of also coding out all the confusing Display List and Display List List garbage of the gpu.

Sooo... I've decided to try to learn this 7800basic. I've browsed over the system commands and it looks like it'll mostly be easy to understand. And as a bonus I can do my sprite sets in paint programs like Paintshop Pro that I own - just have to save the files as pngs with a few conditions on palette size and x/y dimensions. And it'll encode them for the game's screen modes on it's own!

It even has a sound/music driver I can use, I just have to make the actual sound data to add to the game and do some organization to it. Overall this looks like it should free me up to concentrate more on the game itself than wrestling with the underlying hardware.

The 7800 is comparable to the NES in terms of power for those who don't know. It has different strengths and weaknesses however. There are games you can do on the 7800 that look like shit on the NES, or are simply not possible on the NES (without insane horrible flicker)

My goal is to try to make a simple old-school JRPG for the 7800, since it pretty much as none of those in it's library to date. It'll probably be comparable to some degree Dragon Warrior in complexity although I'm not going to be using it as a standard to design by. Basically I mean it'll probably end up as a one-hero adventure. No party members, etc. Possibly.

The first step and deadline I'm setting for myself is February 1st - iron out the basic game play. IE: How the battles will work, main stats, how the player will level up, maybe even the general story of it.

At this point it'll all be wish-list kind of stuff, but so long as the XM Module gets released this spring as promised, I'll probably aim the game to run on that. All the XM module does is add ram, sound chips, and high score saving to the 7800 - things that have been always possible to add to it's cartridges (It's not like a 32X adapter on the Sega Genesis that adds new CPUs etc) The module has been delayed and delayed for the last... 4 years. >_> But the latest delivery promise is spring 2015.

I'll also need to get a ram cart at some point so I can run my test builds on actual hardware. Maybe a better 7800 as well while I'm at it. Mine is kinda beat up, and I question the state of it's RF adapter at times.

Long story short (Too late!) I'm going to try to stay on track with this. Devote an hour or two a day at the very least working on it in some capacity. I'm tucking away some money out of every paycheck as well so I can invest in some new hardware and a ram cart. I've already paid for the XM back in 2010 so that's not an issue beyond it actually being completed.

Wish me luck, I'm likely going to need it. ^_^
owsf2000: (default)
I have to admit I'm a little softer on DLC than I use to be. Don't get me wrong, I haven't accepted it. I still roll my eyes at it and I still get pissed at it. I also still make purchase decisions based on it.

However it seems consoles have realized there are people out there like me. They no longer advertise on the back of the package, particularly with Sony with how they use to standardize it's advertisement in the top right corner of the back cover. This becomes a bit more of a pain for me to verify if something is designed to be a DLC whore or not.

I won't get up in arms overall if there's just a couple little things cut out as DLC. This of course depends on the type of DLC which I really should do a rant about on my website...

But then you get into games that end up having more paid DLC than the entire cost of the base game - sometimes to the tune of several hundred dollars. Those in particular I stay the hell away from.

I do my homework before purchasing now. Originally all I needed to do was check the back cover. If there was going to be DLC, it was generally known before the game was released and it ended up with a notice on the cover. If it didn't say DLC there, it was typically safe to buy.

But I guess they noticed lots of games were being left on the shelf due to that "feature" being interpreted by people like me as a WARNING instead. So they apparently removed it.

Now I have to check PSN (or Live, but I so rarely buy 360 games anymore...) to see what kind of DLC is out. Before the DLC was so early you'd be able to check it in the store on launch day and see all the Day 0 DLC for it. So I'd make the decision to buy on Wednesday assuming any copies remained at the store.

I buy a lot of small run JRPGs so there are times when the stores in town will have 1-3 copies and that's it. So the odds of them being gone the next day were always a possibility.

JRPGs are usually out in Japan up to a year or two before they get translated and released in North America. So seeing the DLC available on launch isn't too surprising. It's in fact more surprising to see DLC show up later than that!

And here's where I get to my issue. Fairy Fencer F was released a couple weeks ago. I bought it on a Wednesday after checking the store for DLC like I usually do. I saw 2 free items for the game. Both of them item-starter kits. I look at these as "Oh shit, we made the game a little too hard to start off with, let's give them something to start them off." Basically a band-aid for a failure in game balancing during debug/testing.

Ok, that's all they have? So I bought it. I played through it. Seemed a bit short to me. It said 40hrs, and I actually spent closer to 60 I guess, but I did a lot of grinding too. How much grinding? Enough such that I don't know what the game over screen looks like. I have never lost, or run away from, a battle. Including bosses, of which for some of the bosses I kicked the crap out of. Which is why those tropes I mentioned in an earlier post iirc erked me so much.

While checking on PSN for a new jrpg I heard was released today, Tears to Tiara II, I didn't find anything about the game at all. I'll assume it'll be added to PSN after 5pm. I went ahead and bought it anyway since it had a free mini-art book >_> and the company that released it isn't currently on my conditional boycott list. We'll soon see if they end up on the list if this shows up as having shitloads of DLC.

What I did find on PSN however, was that Fairy Fencer F now suddenly had a total of SIX DLC items. 4 free, 2 paid. (Total of about 3-4 bucks on the DLC, but both are completely insane. One gives you a free bonus fairy, the other is nothing more than a level limiter unlock. It basically lets you gain an extra 300 levels if you're willing to grind, and it gives you a bonus dungeon to go through with those hyped up levels. Basically, a level they should have included in the game, and an artificial level lock is imposed on the base game.)

So... maybe I'm being too generous and lax with these companies. I'll certainly be watching to see how the Fairy Fencer F DLC progresses each and every week from now on. Because it looks like what they've learned from us anti-DLC people is that we seem to be not buying the game because they're showing us too much DLC at once. Rather than... you know, us having a problem with there being useless, pointless DLC in the first place.

I'm thinking I'm soon going to be abandoning day 0 purchases entirely. This of course means I'll likely not have a chance to buy most of the games I like to play since they get small runs to begin with. I'll just wait 4-6 months then check the DLC at that point and then check if Amazon still has copies for sale. If it's full of DLC or Amazon is out of stock, guess I'll be out of luck. Oh well. Life will go on and I'll still have something to play anyhow.

On other notes, in addition to all this I saw two other games that I'll probably want to pick up soon. One is a collectors edition of a jrpg that I can't remember the name of offhand. I'll have to see if I can research about that. But another is a jrpg called "Ar nosurge" that was released a few weeks ago. There's apparently already no copies left in town, assuming there was more than 1 copy in town to begin with. As the "Ar" might indicate, it's got something to do with Ar Tonelico. From what I've read it's apparently a prequel to the series although it's a sequel to a vita game that never got released out of japan. I don't think I'd buy that original vita game however since it looks like it was released as a per-chapter DLC thing. (Apparently the way such games as Strongbad's game was released, only with like twice as many chapters) I may have to get that game via Amazon, but until I order it I'll be keeping an eye on the DLC issue. Currently just 1 item.

Ok, adding the "rants" tag now. :P

September 2017

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