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Author Topic: Ring around the World - out now!  (Read 1780 times)


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Offline saimoTopic starter

Ring around the World - out now!
« on: March 06, 2023, 04:21:04 PM »
After months of intense work, a game (almost) nobody knew about is finally out!
All I'll say here is that it's a point'n'click adventure - as for the rest, just feel free to check it out ;)



Like all the RETREAM games, also this one is 100% free, but, if you like it, please offer some support to somebody who is a victim of any kind of violence.
RETREAM - retro dreams for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC
The following users thanked this post: Tygre, klx300r

Offline Tygre

Re: Ring around the World - out now!
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2023, 07:00:22 PM »
Hi Saimo!

Looks cool, thanks!  8)


Offline klx300r

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Re: Ring around the World - out now!
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2023, 07:11:17 AM »
Thanks for this new game Simone ;D
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Offline saimoTopic starter

Re: Ring around the World - out now!
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2023, 05:45:48 PM »
I have just released a bugfixed version (v1.1).

There is no update option - updating a previously installed copy consists simply in deleting the latter and installing the new version.
Due to the bugs and the changes, v1.0 snapshots are no longer supported - using them will cause unpredictable results, so do not use them.

Despite the v1.0 had been released after having been played from start to finish many times on multiple machines, some bugs managed to slip in >:(
The first one was found without looking at the game or at the code: it presented itself out of the blue during the sleepless night following the release of the game. The second one was spotted while watching somebody else play the game and the third one was reported by him after I revealed the other bug. Then, quite a few other bugs were found and fixed after the revision of the code started.
I seized the chance to include also some improvements.

The detailed list of changes goes as follows...

v1.1 (17/03/2023)
* Fixed the cave entrances (they could be entered from above; also, they brought the protagonist to the place from where he last exited the cave, which might be different).
* Fixed the protagonist escape from the cave when he needs to sleep and the closest exit is the north one, but the access to it is blocked by the chasm (he would virtually take that exit anyway).
* Fixed the handling of the protagonist's sleep when requested by the player (multiple tiles replacements where generated whereas none were needed; when sleeping just because of the physical need, the protagonist would sleep while standing on his feet).
* Fixed the drinking balance handling (a check was done too late, which could cause the thirst to seem quenced when, instead, it was quite strong).
* Fixed the palette of the game over screen (was slightly off).
* Fixed the initialization (did not handle errors relatively to a certain group of operations).
* Fixed the triggering of the earthquake (it could happen because of the loading of a snapshot if saving had been done in the upper part of the cave).
* Fixed the protagonist bob image upon loading of a snapshot (its index was calculated, but that did not work when he was standing on the raft).
* Fixed a boundary check in a tile replacement procedure (was using a wrong upper boundary).
* Fixed the replacements of several tiles (multiple instances of the internal data were used for each tile; in most cases it was actually just an ill-advised choice).
* Added a workaround to OS memory fragmentation, which could cause out-of-memory errors when switching location on 1 MB RAM machines.
* Refined the location loading so that, upon failure, a second attempt is made after freeing the memory occupied by cached chat data.
* Removed the current snapshot preservation upon snapshot loading (obsolete since quite a while).
* Saved some memory by reducing the variables buffer and tweaking the AMOS Professional Interpreter configuration.
* Modified the double buffering system to allow limiting the graphics refresh rate arbitrarily.
* Limited the graphics refresh rate to 25 fps when the protagonist moves or animates (expanded machines executed at 50 fps, which looked worse).
* Replaced AMCAF's Raster Wait and Y Raster() with more reliable assembly routines (which include also the loops that made use of them).
* Changed the effect the non-player characters phrases are printed with (this one looks better and avoids that partially updated graphics show on underpowered machines).
* Improved the synchronization of some graphics/palette updates.
* Made palette changes faster.
* Made the movement of the pointer smoother when exploring the world area (it was assigned the image on every graphical refresh with Change Mouse and that caused it to stutter).
* Made the protagonist turn towards the destination tile also when his movement is initiated by the program control (i.e. not by the player).
* Made the protagonist turn towards the right direction in a situation where he did not.
* Simplified the time-based events code.
* Added a time-based event that removes the imprints/pits from the sand after some in-game hours.
* Touched up the metal plate graphics.
* Fixed 'I' and ']' of the non-player character texts font.
* Added a sound effect.
* Made other minor changes/optimizations.
* Reprocessed the executable with an improved optimizer tool which optimizes also Colour, Colour(), Exit If ... and While ... Wend.
* Made a few minor changes/additions to the manual.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2023, 06:07:35 PM by saimo »
RETREAM - retro dreams for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC

Offline saimoTopic starter

Re: Ring around the World - out now!
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2023, 10:19:36 AM »
Three days ago, a friend who was playing Ring around the World (without me even knowing), asked me: "I noticed that the palette changes and I'm pretty sure it's because of the elapsing of time!". He was right - the game simulates the elapsing of time and handles several events related to it.

A constant and very important effect is that the protagonist becomes (more) thirsty, hungry and sleepy as time goes by. Another constant and noticeable effect is that the environmental lighting changes according to the hour of the day. Other events happen when a certain time is reached.
1 in-game hour corresponds to 10 real-world minutes, but some actions might cause time to elapse more quickly.
The duration of a day is 24 hours.
The game starts at 12:00.

Before releasing the game, I had made a video to show, at an accelerated pace, some effects of time, but I had kept it private. To answer my friend, I showed the video to him, but now I thought I'd share it with everybody.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2023, 10:30:57 AM by saimo »
RETREAM - retro dreams for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC

Offline saimoTopic starter

Re: Ring around the World - out now!
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2023, 09:37:28 PM »
For those who are curious about how the game came into being and how it evolved, here's a video that shows some phases of its development and the full backstory.


Back in 1994, my 17-years-old self started making his third game, inspired by Empire Software's game DreamWeb (whose demo he had deeply enjoyed) and by Kim Stanley Robinson's novel A Short, Sharp Shock (whose Italian translation was titled Anello intorno al Mondo, which Ring around the World is the literal translation of).
Like the previous two games (one of which has been remade from scratch and released in 2021 with the name Follix), it was made with AMOS Professional.
It remained unfinished: it was just too big and beyond my capabilities. The graphics looked ugly, the code was even worse, there were only a couple of horrible sound effects, only one map was (kind of) complete and two other maps were basically placeholders.
However, that game always held a special place in my heart.

Fast-forward to the fall of 2022 and one evening, while talking about books, I mentioned the novel and then the game to a friend (a former Amigan). The next day, a gust of nostalgia prompted me to fire up the game and wander around the playable - and terribly sparse - map. Immediately, the memory of a shameful graphical bug returned: after a few steps, I performed the action that would bring it up. Through the years, such scene repeated quite a number of times, but I never got around to fix the issue because it was caused by the conceptually wrong graphical system, so a solution required a major rework - not something an unfinished game was worth. Actually, in 2000, I did start a remake, but I stopped quite soon before completing the new scrolling routines because, when compiled, the game would crash - the AMOS Professional Compiler did not get along with the custom equates I had defined for the game. Disappointed (to put it mildly), I refused to remove the equates making the code less efficient and I simply abandoned the project. This time around, I could no longer suppress the urge to fix the defect for good, so...
Fighting the disgust, I waded through the entangled code, figuring out how it worked, reimplemented the graphical system and finally got rid of the bug. But I did not stop there: I fixed also other issues and refactored, optimized, cleaned up and made error-proof the code - and even standardized the naming conventions and removed the pieces of Italian scattered here and there.
I could well have been happy with that, but the ball was rolling and I could not stop it. I pushed things further and replaced the scrolling engine several times until I settled for one that moves the world view by tiles and substituted the quasi-real-time mouse-driven movement with automatic destination targeting - given that the protagonist's movement was locked to tiles by design since the beginning, the original 2-pixel per update scrolling was just a drag. Also, I redesigned entirely the interface - promising myself I would not touch the other graphics.
Once again I could (and should) have stopped, but there was still a major issue: the graphics were in 32 totally wasted colors! There were two blacks (one for the border color and another one for the non-transparent black pixels of bobs), a color was reserved for the main bob, a color was unused and many colors were very close to one another. That annoyed me so much that I broke the promise and decided to reduce the colors to 16. I carefully defined a palette of handpicked colors, redrew the interface (multiple times) and recolored the rest of the graphics by means of an automated process.
The recoloring results were worse than expected - and that started one more iteration of the remake. I had to repixel the graphics: I knew it would be a lot of work, but it could not be avoided. While at it, I changed the screen layout entirely by making the inventory vertical and moving it to the right side of the screen, so that the world view could be bigger and square - previously, in fact, moving vertically was uncomfortable due to the limited height of the view.
Countless improvements and additions followed, until the game reached the current state - and became suitable for public release, which had not been even contemplated when the work started.

In the end, nothing remained of the original material and the last challenge was to answer the question: where to stop? The remake was not planned, stole time from other (and way more important!) projects and, to become a sufficiently large game, would have required months (or even years) of further development. Therefore, I decided to make it a mini-game restricted to the (questionable) map of the original work, keeping its spirit intact.
RETREAM - retro dreams for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC

Offline saimoTopic starter

Re: Ring around the World - out now!
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2023, 04:28:24 PM »
Just released a minor update.


v1.2 (07.06.2023)
* Fixed 3 tiles in the main location map.
* Fixed the audio fade out routine (did not execute the last step).
* Fixed the cleanup of the ending (the music was not stopped, some when it was erased from memory unpredictable results could happen).
* Reprocessed the executable with an improved optimizer tool which optimizes also multiplications and divisions of variables by powers of 2.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2023, 04:30:20 PM by saimo »
RETREAM - retro dreams for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC