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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Commodore PET

System details and history of the Commodore PET have been updated, including a video covering a brief history, hardware etc.
Check it out on the Commodore PET CBM 8032 page.


Steve Benway 14:20 [+] (0) comments

Friday, 21 January 2011

A message from Fabio Bizzetti

Fabio sent me a very interesting message in response to this video and asked if there was any way for me to publish it, as YouTube limits the length of comments on videos.

Here is his message:

First of all I wish to thank Steve for the time he has spent to video record (whereas the trickly SHRES display mode), game-test and show You my old puppy.

I want also to thank a lot All those that expressed comments, in particular nukinetix, who sadly at the moment I haven't identified exactly, because of the nickname, but I hope to fill the gap soon.

Thank You Steve for being one of the first foreigners (from my point of view, that is) to pronounce my name correctly. :D

My spoken English is all but trained, so I didn't grasp some parts of the (talked) comments by Steve. No problems for the criticism :o but I'm here and hopefully I can clarify some points:

Yes, the game is hard, but I was coming from a real karts experience and I wanted it to be hard. However I think that there was like a "critical mass" to reach, I've seen with my betatester friends, the first impact was "too hard!" but they eventually felt pity for me, had to betatest the damn game, and after x hours (expecially after they managed to remember every corner of the track) they suddenly started to really enjoy it. It's a game that, like real karts, must be driven "instinctively", not like a big heavy car for example. You don't have to think, just move the stick. Eyes/hand coordination, just that, like with karts. Then it can be funny, yes. Or, well, I'm biased, but the project started as "a game for me", then as relatives and friends were impressed with it, I decided to try to get it published too.

The best control device for VK in my opinion is, I say it with no hesitation, the analogue joystick. That changes much in the enjoyment of the game. I can get very good lap times even with the mouse, but it's not the same thing.

An anecdote: when I had to release VK (deadlines, etc..) I was working day and night and was getting really pretty sick. Finally I told my brother "it's finished! I've compiled and packed all files to the 2 floppies, applied the protection.. now I'll send the discs to the publisher". But my brother wanted to betatest it for the last time. :P He found it to be suboptimal that the kart driver's feet weren't moving when he was accelerating or braking, so he actually commanded me to make them move them accordingly. I was really tired but we did it, he made almost all of it, then I compiled and packed and protected all files again and the game was finally ready for release. Then I got 4 weeks of rest, as I was more than tired, really sick. I hated the game for a couple of days, but then I was too happy that I actually made it.

Due credits and big thanks go also to my friend Jonny Johansson for his hard work on many tracks of the game, and Ruben Monteiro for the music.

Perhaps it would have been better if I only made the programming work, however although it can be criticized, I actually like the design of the game, not saying it couldn't be improved, but in general I wanted it to be like this, and being just the programmer would have removed all of my inspiration. I also made the graphics, it was just a pretext to need and get and learn Deluxe Paint. :o At the time I still didn't know if I possibly had more talent as a graphician, a game designer or maybe, who knows, as a programmer. :^) "As a player!".. I had missed the obvious. =8-O

@RPKGameVids, You write: "That is really impressive. I wonder if the Atari ST could do anything like this?".
Not at all. I will describe the chunky technique if You're interested, You'll see it wouldn't work on anything but the Amiga AGA (at that time of course). Not even the Falcon could feature this mode, but it had chunky 16bit truecolor mode, so it really didn't need it either if we want to be honest (I miss the Atari vs Amiga wars a lot! "My Amiga is 100 grams lighter than your ST, blablabla"). ;o

VK2 runs almost* all the time 50fps on plain vanilla unexpanded A1200, I think this is the most impressive achievement, which took a full afternoon of hard work! But it was snowing outside, so that was someway justified. :'D

*meaning that it drops to 25fps only during the pre-race helicopter bird-view, and very very rarely, when You race, if You have a lot of opponents near You (fill rate limitations of the 68020 CPU and slow chipram, those zoomable huge sprites were painful to handle, I could cook eggs on my Amiga's CPU when I was passing by the other karts 8) ).

The same video mode was used in a small intro I made, called "Exotic" (available on Aminet as Exotic.lha archive). There's even a track of VK in there (lazy me). :p I've also released A1200Homage.lha which features the same chunky mode.

@Steve, You haven't shown the 2D mode though. :P That took the morning after (but it was raining =) ).
Also, You wrote: "Believe it or not, it looks better on youtube that in the real world :S".
Really? If You use a real Amiga and a proper monitor (composite! not RGB) then the pixels are much smoother, and the 50fps sure make it appear actually better (in my opinion at least!) than how it could even appear on the slow and inconstant frame-rate of YouTube.

The game was made 98% in my own programming language HLA (High Level Assembly) and the remaining 2% in pure ASM. I.e. just the innerloops of the gfx routines.. while the vehicle's game model formulae (physics), game structures, etc.. were much more comfortably made in my higher level language. I'm (still today) a great fan of pure ASM but I just wanted to try this other route too. I'm a fan also of compiler technology, You see.

For me talking about the Amiga is like getting a knife in the chest, but I'll do it and, if any of You has some questions to ask or is curious about anything, I will gladly answer.
I was young at the time and this (the former VK) had to be the first "real game" I made, I had made a previous game, CyberMan, but obviously with VK and VK2 things were getting more serious. I had many plans about hardware devices to improve the possibilities for the game and demoscene coder, notably the AGAExtender design (AgaEXTENDER.lha on Aminet). It hurts to remind that just when things were taking off, we've been shut down first by mismanagement and finally (this is what I always believed) by Microsoft and its greedy plans with the X-Box.

You know, the world has changed after the Amiga.. perhaps not just the home computing world.

One book You all should absolutely read is "The Home Computer Wars: An Insider's Account of Commodore and Jack Tramiel" - author Michael Tomczyk.


Steve Benway 14:42 [+] (4) comments