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AuthorTopic: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [RELEASED]  (Read 3103 times)

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Offline saimo

Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [RELEASED]
« on: March 23, 2021, 05:13:16 PM »
Making ArtPazz (a remake of my third game ever, done in 1995) spurred me to remake (for the... erm... 4th time!) also my very first game (originally made in 1994): enter Follix, another puzzler for all AGA Amigas! The game has been in the works only for a couple of days now: the core is in place, but of course all the rest still needs to be done.
The original game was heavily inspired by Atomix, and so is Follix, although it introduces some gameplay changes. The "ix" at the end of the name comes precisely from "Atomix" - "Folli" instead, comes from "Follia", which is the Italian for "madness" (which links the game to ArtPazz also name-wise).

PREVIEW #1

The video shows the basic gameplay mechanics and these visual effects:
 * 24-bit translucencies;
 * 24-bit fading from/to black;
 * 24-bit cross-fading;
 * 8-bit alpha-cycling*;
 * 8-bit alpha-cycling and 24-bit cross-fading at the same time*.

(*I genuinely wonder if this has ever done before on Amiga.)

Please note that the graphics are temporary: probably they will change completely (in fact, I'm going to experiment with something totally different right after posting this).
Technical note: like ArtPazz, also Follix is written entirely with AMOS Professional 2.00 and the in-house ALS library.

P.S. And, yes, now I'm dying to remake also my second game ever, but that's just one more entry in my TO-DO list for the moment being.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2021, 10:32:23 AM by saimo »
RETREAM - retro games for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC
 

Offline saimo

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [WIP]
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2021, 05:53:57 PM »
PREVIEW #2

In this preview you can see that the core of the game is completely implemented now. In fact, the game can be played from the beginning till the end: all the 30 levels are in place! However, the most important thing to be done before the release is to add some nice gameplay feature. I have omitted the time limit and bonuses that were featured by the original game, as I don't want the game to be stressful (the same choice I made for ArtPazz), but I also want the experience to be richer than it currently is. Of course, there are also other things to do: graphics and sound effects have to be finished, music has to be written, the options menu has to be implemented and a nice story (which will unveil as the puzzles get solved) has to be penned. And I haven't decided yet whether to have a score and/or per-level scores (like the original game).
« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 08:32:17 PM by saimo »
RETREAM - retro games for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC
 

Offline saimo

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [WIP]
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2021, 08:32:38 PM »
Curious about how Follix is progressing? This new preview should quench your thrist...

PREVIEW #3

Latest changes:
 1. added options menu;
 2. added loading/saving;
 3. added option to restart from any of the levels previously completed;
 4. added trail graphical effect;
 5. added music and mute options;
 6. added title screen information overlay;
 7. improved graphics;
 8. improved sounds;
 9. made various internal improvements.

Notes about the changes:
 1. I decided to keep it minimal and stylish, adding new colors and - of course - more transparencies;
 2. the game tries to load the data from both a local file and through nonvolatile.library, and then uses the best data found; the game tries to save the data to a local file and, failing that, tries with nonvolatile.library; at the moment, the only piece of information loaded/saved is the number of the highest level completed;
 5. the music is the one I made for ArtPazz and, therefore, just a placedholder;
 6. at the moment, it is used only to show the "about" page, but I plan to use it to show also times/scores/records (if I ever decide to add them - I haven't made my mind about this yet); technically, it adds a 75% opaque layer on top of the background and of the alpha-cycling logo;
 8. in particular, I have improved the quality of the speech samples, but still they are affected by a light hiss due to quantization, so I'm thinking to use 14 bit playback for them.

General note: the sudden game-overs in the video are not due to a bug or a mistake, but are simply the result of pressing [ESCAPE] ;)
« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 08:36:02 PM by saimo »
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Offline saimo

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [WIP]
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2021, 02:35:35 PM »
There's still some work to do, but the game is nearing completion!

PREVIEW #4

Since the previous preview, the following happened (details further below);
 * added records;
 * added HUD (I went for a bold and, at the same time, fresh and simple style);
 * added 14-bit playback for speech samples (now they are crystal clear, while before the quantization noise was very audible - compare with the previous videos);
 * attenuated reverb effect on speech samples;
 * added saving of the number of the last level played, so, when it starts, the game automatically sets that level as the default one (of course, the player can still decide to play any other level among those that have been completed previously);
 * improved some graphics;
 * added saving of the audio mode setting;
 * reworked startup code so that it is much faster (this was planned since the beginning);
 * reduced disk space occupation;
 * implemented advanced data loading/saving system.

About the records:
 * the game measures the time taken to complete the levels;
 * the game keeps track of the best time of each level.

About the HUD:
 * top: current time;
 * middle: level number;
 * bottom: record time.

About the data loading/saving system:
 * loads the saved data both from local file and through nonvolatile.library (handling graciously the cases where any or even both of the sources is/are not available);
 * if both sources are available, merges the loaded data so that the resulting data contains the best information;
 * saves the data to a local file and, failing that, tries to save it through nonvolatile.library;
 * performs sanity checks/repairs;
 * needs 44 bytes of disk space / 5 nonvolatile slots.

At the moment, there is a simple time limit of 20 minutes to complete a puzzle (which is almost as if there were no limit, as I don't want to put too much pressure on the player), but I'm still thinking about introducing a time limit system similar to the original one. More precisely, I'm considering whether to add a level-proportional time limit that can be extended with the time left from the previous level, while keeping the pressure of time low.

And one last thing I forgot to mention so far: the game will be free ;)
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Offline saimo

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [WIP]
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2021, 07:34:35 PM »
The development of Follix is complete, so now I'm getting ready to release the game.
Here's a new video: PREVIEW #5

Release date: soon!
Price: free!
« Last Edit: July 08, 2021, 09:51:26 PM by saimo »
RETREAM - retro games for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC
 

Offline saimo

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [WIP]
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2021, 09:48:38 PM »
Today I played all the levels again for the 1000th time. At the same time, I made some adjustments, and (I think) I have now the final version ready for release. Here's another gameplay video - I know, it shows the same levels again, but you don't want more levels to be spoiled, right? ;)

PREVIEW #6

If all goes well, the game will be released this weekend...
« Last Edit: July 10, 2021, 04:38:36 PM by saimo »
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Offline saimo

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [WIP]
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2021, 04:35:58 PM »
I had already finalized the distro files, but then an old idea returned to my mind: what if, when the menu screen appears, the logo also moved (while fading in and alpha-cycling)? I couldn't resist...
You can see this final change in this new speedrun video.

The game now has also its own itch.io page and is going to be released tomorrow, right after AmigaBill showed it on his live stream (Sunday July 11th, 2 pm EDT / 6 pm UTC / 7 pm BST / 8 pm CEST)!
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Offline saimo

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [WIP]
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2021, 09:02:08 PM »
Follix is out!
Free download: https://www.retream.com/Follix / https://retream.itch.io/follix

And, since I didn't tell it yet, here's the full backstory...

I was 16 when I bought a stock Amiga 1200, in the fall of 1993, finally making the jump from my beloved Commodore 64. Back then, I was isolated in a little town, knew nobody who was into software development, owned no programming books and had no software, apart from a bunch of floppies containing 3 pirated games I got as a bonus from the shop I had bought the Amiga from. However, having heard I was interested in programming, some friends put me in touch with an older guy who had an Amiga 4000 loaded with several original productivity programs - among which AMOS Professional - and sitting on a desk in his shop, doing nothing. The guy (who eventually became a close friend) allowed me to go to his shop and use his Amiga at will (years later, he even let me take it with me to another town!) and provided me with a copy of AMOS (registered in his name).
I started learning AMOS and improving the little programming skills I had built with the Commodore 64 User Manual and some tapes that taught BASIC. I did not consider another language because I was totally unaware of other options and, anyway, AMOS felt like a natural step from Commodore 64's BASIC and gave me the feeling that I could finally satisfy my desire of making a whole, proper game.
Still, my skills and knowledge were limited, my unexpanded Amiga (which was the computer I did most of my programming on anyway) was not exactly a workstation and AMOS had its limits, so most of my ideas were doomed to remain just that - ideas. Yet, I was quite interested in puzzle games, which often have little hardware demands. And so the first game I ever created ended up being a puzzler. It was called Follia NBA¹, and the year was 1994.
The concept was stol... erm... heavily inspired by Thalion's Atomix², which I had seen on an MS-DOS computer of one of the aforementioned friends. It was a bit different from Follix: the tiles of a level were the pieces of a picture depicting the logo of an NBA team³; as a consequence, there was only one correct place for each tile; the player had to guess the area where the reconstucted picture fitted; for every 2 minutes left, the player was awared a bonus that, at his/her command, would automagically put a tile in the correct place.
That first version was really bad: some design choices were completely wrong; most of the graphics were ugly; the code was messy, inefficient and, in places, uselessly complicated; the sound effects were taken from various tracker modules. In all, it mirrored perfectly the fact that the development had been a learning process. Though, it did work (I am somewhat amazed by how the patches to the workarounds to the fixes to the bugs produced, in the end, the correct result); moreover, the puzzles were actually good and the game was indeed fun.
In those days, I could not imagine I was sowing a seed. Through the years, I reworked/remade the game 4 times (plus an additional attempt that brought a prototype to AmigaOS 4 and Windows, as a byproduct of an iOS version which somebody else was supposed to take care of), with Follix being the result of the last effort. The motivation behind it was not only to make the game better, but also to make it technically special through ALS (enhancing Follia NBA using CSS, the ALS predecessor, is something I had been wanting to do for ages), to put ALS to good use and to get rid of the basketball theme (which, at some point, no longer felt appropriate to me and certainly is not everybody's cup of tea). The code and the assets of Follix have been created from scratch, but the puzzles are still the original ones (except for Follix' first 4, which are new and purpose to introduce the player to the mechanics gently, and Follia NBA's last 2, which have been excluded because of their sheer difficulty).

¹ "Follia" is Italian for "madness".

² Follix = Follia NBA + Atomix

³ Such an odd choice is due to the fact that at that time I was a lot into (and played) basketball.
  By the way, those logos resulted surprisingly good, despite:
   · the wrong technical choices made at the beginning (i.e. HIRES resolution and very saturated palette of just 15 colors - color 0 was not usable for graphics as it was reserved for a background rainbow effect);
   · those were my first real pixelling experiences;
   · since I had no better tool, I was (painstakingly) pixelling the logos (some of which were downright huge), eyeballing them from a magazine, with the AMOS Object Editor, which was not suited at all for such a proposition.


@admins

Could you replace "WIP" with "RELEASED" in the thread title, please?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2021, 09:08:41 PM by saimo »
RETREAM - retro games for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC
 
The following users thanked this post: F1Lupo

Offline F1Lupo

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [WIP]
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2021, 05:10:15 AM »
@saimo

Thanks Simone! truly a fun game to play with great game play, graphics & music and puzzles get quite challenging as you progress  :D
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Offline nbache

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [WIP]
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2021, 10:05:20 AM »
@admins

Could you replace "WIP" with "RELEASED" in the thread title, please?
I think you should be able to do this yourself by editing your initial post above and changing the title there. At least that is commonly possible on other forums.

Best regards,

Niels
 

Offline saimo

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [RELEASED]
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2021, 10:33:37 AM »
@F1Lupo

Thanks a lot, have fun!


@nbache

I had tried, but it didn't work. Now I tried again and it did :o
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Offline saimo

Re: Follix - new game for AGA Amigas [RELEASED]
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2021, 10:06:33 AM »
Also Follix received its little maintenance release ;)

v1.1 (18.07.2021)
* Fixed writes to POTGO: OUTLX and DATLX were set to 1; POTGO is now managed properly by means of potgo.resource.
* Fixed graphical glitches in information screens on unexpanded machines.
* Added controls information to pause screen.
* Replaced raster beam Y reading procedure with faster and interrupt-proof machine code routine.
* Made a tiny optimization.
* Improved manual.

https://www.retream.com/Follix
RETREAM - retro games for Amiga, Commodore 64 and PC