Just a quick update to let you all know what’s up.

One of our C64 Code Hacking FB group members has offered a 150Mb compressed archive of Commodore 64 source codes! I will be reorganising them and putting them up for all of you on my private Bitbucket repository, for public viewing 🙂

This should happen in the next couple of days, and as you can imagine, I’m quite excited! 😀

For now, it’s goodbye from me, and hello to code!


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I’ve neglected the blog this week, as I’ve been busy with the YouTube channel and INC $D020 digest, but don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you! 😀

Yesterday I decided to launch a contemporary Commodore 64 game publishing company and name it after my first demo crew, FutureVision Designs. Immediately I had a brilliant idea, I could reverse engineer my old FVD demo parts and use them as company intros to our commercial games! 😀

So I disassembled my favourite FVD intro, part 2 of Slow Death, and after a few hours had finished my first completed intro in ten years; and it felt good 🙂 You can download the intro from Dropbox, with source code, enjoy 😀

There are a few code snippets that can be gleaned from this 20 year old intro, that I thought you guys might like, even though the main raster routine is a bit of wacky self modifying code I wouldn’t use now, it’s quite functional.

First there’s the standard logo swing routine. This reads a value from a sin table, turns it into an x scroll position, and then turns that value into a character offset position, it’s very clever and common code, I’m not sure who the first person to come up with it was.

Then there’s the “animated character DYCP scroll” a scrolly technique I invented in 1990, which involves drawing a limited charset of $40 characters, in four different vertical positions, and then simply animating an offset over the characters using a table. So the whole line of the scrolltext is updated every frame, not just one character.

And finally there’s what I call a “blinker”, a 1×2 line of font that blinks on and off with announcement messages. These are particularly good for announce crack titles and such.

So three cool routines from one old demo part! Your challenge before the next article, is to whack these routines into a raster routine and make your own intro!

Enjoy the full source code, it’s goodbye from me and hello to code! 😀


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At 1:18am on the 10th of December 2016, Richard Bayliss of The New Dimension PMed me on Fakebook to let me know he had composed a title tune for The Final Attack in Future Composer. He was so enthusiastic he wanted to whack it on the unenhanced game and release it to the world, he even gushed, “I feel as if I have been Markus Schneider  :)”.

I had to convince him that was not a good idea, because we had to use the multi-colour bitmap picture my Dad had pixelled with just a joystick for the original loader screen. And it already had a kewl expanded sprite multi-colour bottom border scroll, all it really needed was Richard’s music and we’d have a new title screen for The Final Attack Redux. Retro trivia tidbit, I didn’t actually code the border scroll routine, it was an ML type-in program from Compute magazine. That’s why the raster split above it was so messy, it was actually an NTSC routine originally. The more you know 😉

But there was a problem, Richard quickly pointed out, SEUCK doesn’t leave enough room for bitmap data. So for a moment I thought it was over, then I realised we could just make it a loader screen again. And *then* I realised we could just crunch it and one-file it.

It wasn’t one am in Richard’s part of the world, he’d had some beers, and he said he had enough free time to give The Final Attack Redux a good go. Awesomesauce! 😀

So I disassembled the border scroller from the original load screen with Regenerator, and ripped the multi-colour bitmap into Koala format with the Action Replay 6 cartridge in WinVICE. Then I assembled the border scroll source, soft reset VICE after loading the original part; to preserve the data, and loaded borderscroll.prg from the VICE monitor and executed it. It worked! Gotta love Regenerator, right? 😉

Then I searched the web for simple Koala display code, and found it of all places on the Lemon64 forums. So two parts of the title screen were ready, and we had an awesome tune, all that needed to be done now was to put it all together in one part. Unfortunately I was so focussed on launching the C64 Code Hacking Tutorials Youtube channel, I’d completely forgotten to eat dinner, and it was now 3am. I was far too hazy to complete the task, and I passed it on to Mr. Bayliss and moped off to eat some youfoodz.com lasagne and drink homemade iced coffee. And a bowl of Mi-Goreng noodles. 😉

That brings us to the current moment in The Final Attack Redux development, and Richard is now attempting to write an intro using the various pieces I assembled for him.

And then, at 4:58AM on the morning of the 10th of December, Richard re-appeared and said “Here you go” and there, indeed, it was; the finished title screen. 😀

But were my speakers not working, or did it not have Richard’s music playing yet?

It turned out Richard thought I wanted the music on the SEUCK title screen, as he had assembled it in Redux, and thought the intro should be silent. I had to remind him that this was a straight 2017 Redux remastered version, and putting music on the SEUCK title screen would alter the feel of the original game. And there was no way that sweet intro screen should be silent, no way in the world.

He said, “Ok”, and got back to it. Soon, the intro screen would be complete and ready for crunching, linking, and release on CSDB. 🙂

“Just moving the music to another area for the intro, and code a little poke to enhance the sideborder scroll interrupt.”, he proclaimed triumphantly shortly afterwards.

At exactly 5:36am he declared, “Done now!” and sent over the completed intro, which is now entered into the 2016 CSDB Intro Coding Competition for random shits ‘n’ giggles! Enjoy! 😀

http://csdb.dk/release/index.php?id=152094


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Richard Bayliss is alternatively well known in the c64 community, and infamous in the c64 demo and cracking scene. He is known for his many SEUCK games, SID tunes, and finally his own original c64 games such as Trance Sector, X-Force and Sheepoid.

I chatted with Richard on Facebook recently about his life with the c64, his music and coding career, and what’s in store for the future. Read the interview below.

When did you first use a c64? What is your first memory?

My first ever computer was a Commodore VIC20, which was shared with the family. It was really difficult finding games for the VIC20, and classmates at my local school suggested I should get a Commodore 64. I asked my parents for a C64 as my next Birthday present. I ended up with one on Christmas day, with a tape deck, light fantastic games pack, Defender 64 light gun and also SEUCK.

That explains your well known fascination with SEUCK Did you create many SEUCK games back in those days?

I created loads of games using SEUCK in the past. I even remember submitting a game, which I made with friends for Commodore Format magazine. The game in particular was called Snow Storm. Unfortunately the game with many other creations were long lost, due to broken tapes and faulty disks, which eventually got thrown away. I was very obsessed with the Nyaaaah! series in the 1990’s. Now today the Nyaaaah! games are a thing in the past.

So what games inspired you to get into design and development?

There have been so many C64 games that were created in the past. A lot of great commercial titles inspired me to create new stuff for the machine. Subterranea and Powerama by Hewson inspired me to create X-Force, with Saul Cross doing the graphics. Sheepoid was inspired by Jeff Minter’s fun Lazer Zone game, which I created for a retro gaming event for the big screen in Oxfordshire.

Which SID musicians inspired you to become a SID musician?

A very difficult one to answer here. Mainly because I learned to compose SID music when I used to have Public Domain Utilities tapes and disks. I used to mess around with the music editors, and decided to compose tunes with various programs such as Dutch USA Music Assembler, Voicetracker, Future Composer, Demo Music Creator, etc.

Which coders inspired you to become a coder?

Various programmers. Probably too many to name

Any one prolific game developer in particular that takes your fancy?

Jon Wells.

Because of his talent in enhancing SEUCK games, it made me want to do the same thing

Archetype was a great example.

When did you start programming and on what platform?

I started programming in 1994, using BASIC on the C64. I created my first ever game, which was called CIDCOM. A simple reaction game, in which eventually was turned into ‘Coloured’. The game also involved IRQ music player and custom made charsets (Which I learned about in a commercial UK C64 magazine).

Have you ever coded an intro or a demo?

Not a proper scene dentro or anything like that. I did however program loads of TND intros to link my games and tools with. Had a lot of fun with that as well.

Who are your favourite demo scene coders?

Graham/Oxyron coded some really awesome stuff. Also Censor Design did amazing demo effects.

What was your first SID tune, and which SID release are you most proud of?

I cannot remember my first every SID tune. It has been a couple of decades or so. However my most favourite SID tune I composed has to be Zap Fight 2 – Title Music.

What is your favourite SID production software, and why?

On a native C64. DMC V4.0 and DMC V5.0. On PC GoatTracker V2.7 (That is the main composer I used to make hard thumping soundtracks for games like Trance Sector, X-Force.

You’re infamous for your love of SEUCK, what’s your favourite unmodified SEUCK game you have released?

Nyaaah! 9. It was different, and quite funny. You could move up and down ladders and lick the baddies into oblivion. It was very laughable and fun to make. Of course, I am done with Nyaaaah! games now.

You’ve been running SEUCK competitions for several years now, what are your favourite releases that have come from those competitions?

Pour Le Merite by Bamse was good. It felt like a true classic retro shoot ’em up with some potential. Stormbird by Eleanor Burns was absolutely breathtaking. A great homage to the 1942/1943 inspired games. Alf Yngve’s Forgotten Forest was brill, and as an extra prize. I submitted it to Shoot Em Up Destruction Set 2 as a bonus game. There were quite a lot of outstanding entries submitted to past time competitions. Sheer Earth Attack by Gaetano Chiummo had really nice graphics and music, etc. Out of all of the games from the compo. My number 1 choice has to be Gigablast by Alf Yngve. What a stunner of a game that was.

Tell me about the other game concepts you have planned for the future?

I am working on the final version of my single screen platform game, Vortex Crystals, which now feature alien teleporting – giving the player the chance to escape before it gets killed. Other features are to include a better front end, hi score table. YogiBear/Protovision might be doing music for the game as well. Also the new version of the game features in game sound effects. Sen2itive is another game I’m itching to do, after seeing the awesome Sensitive puzzle game, back in the 1990’s. A game in which contolled a blue ball which has to destroy all the yellow radioactive tiles, and reach tthe exit. There’s also a SEUCK Redux game, which Alf Yngve and I are working on, called Precinct 20 – Dead Strange. A horror game with big surprises. I also hope to do a vertical scrolling shoot ’em up, but not SEUCK this time

Excellent, we certainly can’t get enough of your original game concepts, and can’t wait for the next one! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!

No problem.


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Now we’d like to feature a guest post, written by Joonas Lindberg AKA The Mad Scientist/Hokuto Force, interviewing yours truly about my scene history and the future of C64 Code Hacking, originally due to be published in the next issue of Commodore Free, but reprinted here for your viewing pleasure. 😉

 

 

 

I recently interviewed C64 scener and long time friend of mine, Damian Caynes, also known as Slartibartfast in the scene. He has been a member of various groups and has made some really impressive looking demos, and he is also planning to make some games for the C64.

I talked with him to find out about his history and to discuss his C64 plans for the future, read the interview below.

When did you first use a C64? What is your first memory?

My mother bought my first c64 when she scored $10k for a damaged wrist, we took it home with a datasette and our first games were Brian Bloodaxe and Bombjack. We waited an hour for a game to load initially cos we heard tapes were so slow! But soon we also got a 1541 and an Action Replay V cart, and I never looked back

So what games inspired you to get into design and development?

So many different games, but mainly the games of Andrew Braybrook, Jeff Minter and anything I could get my dirty mitts on through the Action Replay V ML monitor

Which coders inspired you to become a coder?

Well as I said, the work of Andrew Braybrook and Jeff Minter, as they had dev diaries in ZZap!64 that revealed the coding techniques behind their games. But also the work of Martin Walker, Jon Wells, The Rowland Brothers, and Antony Crowther.

Who are your favourite SID musicians?

Oh it’s really hard to answer that question, as there’s so many talented scene musicians. But, in short, I’d say the work of Rob Hubbard, Matt Gray, Steve Rowlands, Chris Huelsbeck, Jeoren Tel, Ben Daglish, and so many more that I can’t remember at the moment.

What was your first piece of code?

Well, my first piece of code was probably just incrementing the border colour in a loop, but the first piece of raster code I wrote was a group of sinus colour bars animating on screen, I was really proud of it and it was the start of years of intro and demo coding.

Have you ever coded an intro or a demo?

Well actually, the only things I released in the scene were demos, but in classic Australian style they were little more than really stylish linked intros, but I did get a lot of praise for my parts.

As a member of the scene, have you ever done a crack?

No, even though I was in a cracking group in the 90’s scene, I didn’t release any cracks or even put an intro on a crack. But this week I joined a two man cracking crew with my old mate Fungus, and PROS will rule as a modern cracking crew.

Have you ever had a game commercially published?

Well, that’s actually a funny and slightly embarressing story. When I was 17 I was engrossed with making SEUCK games, this was a year before I started coding ML stuff. My brother and I noticed that a local c64 game publishing company (ECP) was releasing an awful lot of SEUCK games, and on closer examination we discovered that most of them were made by the owner of the company. So we polished of our quite average shooter, The Final Attack, and submitted it to the company. A week later the owner got in touch and said he was publishing the game, and offered an advance on sales. Needless to say we were very surprised at this, but gladly took the money and bought an Amiga 500 with RAM expansion and paid for a $1000 phone bill. Our parents informed the local newspaper and TV station, who praised us as “young entrepeneurs” and “computer whiz kids”. It was very embarressing for a kid in Year 11 of high school, and I got no cred for it cos the cool kids knew it was made in SEUCK. About two months later ECP got back to us and said there had hardly been any sales of the game, and they wanted their money back! Well, I was only 17, with no source of income, and they couldn’t sue me because I was too young. So I ignored their pleas, and about six months later the company went bust and was bought out by Electronic Arts.

Have you ever coded a game for the C64?

I have actually coded several games, but have never completed and released a project. Back in the 90’s I made a simple light bikes game and Tetris clone, and submitted them to Beam International in Melbourne, to show that I could code 6510 and would be able to handle 65816 on the SNES. Unfortunately they didn’t even know what to do with the disks, as the c64 was on the out and out at the time. More recently, in 2005, I half finished an awesome PETSCII game, TRONSCII, a 2 player multi scrolling playfield TRON clone, but I got stuck and that was like almost 10 years ago It was really cool tho, two multidirectional scrolling grids, colour cycling light bike trails… I couldn’t finish the project and it lay dormant for a decade, but recently I decided to submit it to Games That Weren’t , and it will be featured in the December update.

What game projects are you planning at the moment?

Well I’m planning three different game projects at the moment, of varying complexity. Firstly there’s Magic Bag, a Match-3 RPG game, where you match magic gems to improve your stats, cast spells, or attack. Then I’m planning to make a multidirectional shooter using the SEUCK Redux engine. Finally my long term project will be a hybrid of Habitat and the SCUMM engine, developed to show off a friend’s c64 modem, called The City. As well as these projects, I’ll be working on simple arcade conversions with my group mate Fungus.

It’s been a great pleasure interviewing you. Thank you for your information about your upcoming projects and thanks for taking your time with this interview.

Thanks! I just have to let the readers to know to follow my C64 Code Hacking blog, and continue to read the tutorial series in this magazine, and remember, code is life!


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Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Naveed ‘Algorithm’ Khugiani, about his history in the c64 scene, and to get behind-the-scenes info on his latest demo, Algo Dreams. Read the full interview below, and watch a video of the demo on my Youtube channel.

When did you first use a c64? What is your first memory?

I first used a c64 in 1990 and it was my first computer that could connect to a screen.  My memories of the c64 at that time was gaming for quite a few years using the dreaded tapedeck, although i did purchase an action replay cartridge later.  First gaming memories were loading the games platoon and rambo (which came with the c64 – hollywood pack) and i remember the nostalgic feeling of listening to the loader tunes and looking forward to the games being finally loaded.

So what demos inspired you to get into design and development?

I first heard of the demo scene in around 1993 or so and it inspired me quite a lot in particular the idea of pushing the computer further to its limits with graphics and music.  The adverts on the demo’s and scene were in UK computer magazines at the time (Think it was commodore format).  I found out that there was this guy who would save demos to tape and sell them (Kenz from Binary zone pd) hence i purchased a few of these and was awestruck.

One of the first demo’s i saw was wonderland 6 and some parts of dutch breeze.   Later on when i purchased an action replay cartridge, i would freeze the demo and look into the code to see how it would work.  At the time i had no access to a disk drive or any documentation, hence i figured out how things roughly worked by looking at the code.

Which coders inspired you to become a coder?

It was Bob mainly. I liked his style and censor designs style of demos with digitized audio and nice atmosphere.

What was your first piece of code?

My first piece of code was in machine code on a DIY computer kit that consisted of a Hexadecimal display and 9 led lights.   Had limited 128 byte ram iirc.

On the c64, my first piece of finished code was a two screen interlaced bitmap with a scroller at the bottom.  This was one of the parts in my “fantastic” megademo which was released in 1994.   I came across machine language by typing in many pages of data statements in basic which would result in a machine code monitor where i would be able to code the part.  The two interlaced images were created blindly and then mixed together.

Have you ever done a crack?

Never on c64, although on amiga i did extract some games from trackloaders and repacked them for my own use.

Your latest demo, Algo Dreams, was released recently and scored 9/10 on CSDB, were you happy with the reception this release received?

I would not care a single bit personally on what people think of the demo, even if it was 10/10 or 1/10.  I know there are many sensitive fucked up individuals who do not like the type of material i place in a demo.   I only code for my own benefit and practice, and a c64 production that is produced is not only c64 code, but results in me producing and sharpening my skills on the pc side where i develop tools and converters/compressors for the c64 parts.

Algo Dreams is technically brilliant, but also shows strong design skills. What has influenced your style, and do you do any design IRL?

I personally think of algo dreams being very non-coherent without any flow (even though parts are linked together with some transitioning)
I would like to think of algo-dreams (as well as my other demos) more as tech demo’s which demonstrate new gfx modes, new methods of audio/video decompression etc and not aimed at pleasing people (aka-crowdpleasers).  Some influences probably may come from a few crest demos demonstrating gfx modes with introduction and then baam, image is displayed etc.

The note on the disk says the demo only took you two weeks to code, can this possibly be true?

Ahhh. Yes indeed in total the demo took two weeks to code.. but that was spread across several months as mentioned in the note.

Each part would take on average an evening or two evenings to finalise.  There was also the coding of the pc converters.

There are so many technical achievements in Algo Dreams, it’s hard to focus on just one. What were your highlights from producing the demo?

Several Highlights as below:
15khz packed sample loop playback with ssdpcm (my own audio/compression method) depacking in realtime while playing back.

Improved and new gfx modes such as the unrestricted 15 color mode (DLSBCI) and the SprMask hires mode + ghostbyte sprite hires.
Stakker Humanoid Part.  If you watch the original video on youtube, you will indeed find that the sequences were taken from there (video).  It utilises disk streaming with realtime 4:1 audio depacking at 10khz along with video decompression at any frame rate from 240 bytes to full screen.

End part.  Many people did not like this demo, but its not common to see realtime ssdpcm1 digitized audio playback of a full song streaming from disk together with packed full screen animation at full frame rate.

You’ve created a number of new gfx modes in Algo Dreams, are you planning on releasing converters and source codes for these gfx modes?

I still have to finalise and place gui’s in my previous gfx modes in past demo’s as well   I wont release any source code.  Not sure about converters.  I dont like the idea of people who critisise but then they still end up using some of my stuff.  (This has been done before via several people which i wont name, but some converters have data embedded somewhere which indicates their origin) etc.

Have you ever considered developing games for the C64?

I am considering developing a game (would be my first ever game) idea is for some type of space-harrier shootemup (with some nice tunnels and afterburner type tilting).

What are your plans for the future?

I am also an amiga coder having created a few demos last year (amigaluscious, 28kbs, impassioned, ssdpcm-mp) all for A500. So may perhaps do some amiga stuff again too.


For the PC I am in the verge of developing a very low bitrate codec which is based on frodigi7 technology (c64 demo to come up at some stage).   This is able to pack a second of audio into 100-200 bytes via packed offsets and amplitude values into sines which are mixed to recreate the audio.   This was demonstrated in a simpler form in my Frodigi6 – c64 demo, that had the whole audio of george michaels faith track in a single file (including all singing, instruments etc).

Ok, thanks for taking the time to chat with us, and we look forward to your future releases!

No problem at all


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December 8, 2016 | In: Blog, C64 Coding

Game Construction Kit Redux!

Ok, so I’ve launched a major coding project, based on Martin Piper’s Redux engine. A pc based cross development tool for making games with events and actions, ala yoyogame GameMaker and Construct 2. It’s going to be a long term project, but I’ve written up a preliminary design document so you can get a feel for the project. Enjoy! 😀


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I’ve setup a private repository on Bitbucket, for all commented source codes from the various C64 Code Hacking projects.
If you’d like access to the source codes, just pledge the $5/month at Patreon and I’ll add you to the repository right away! 😀


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December 8, 2016 | In: C64 Coding, Intro Coding

1×2 Scroller

Ok, as promised, it’s time for new sourcecode! This time it’s a 1×2 character scroller, a two line high scroll font. Apologies for the slight delay in releasing this one, but I had some difficulty finding an appropriate charset. This one is by Nuckhead of Backbone Society, Device, and was released by itself as a 1×2 font on CSDB. You’ll find several fonts on CSDB if you do a search for “1X2 fonts”.

Firstly, I’ll tell you how to rip your own fonts. Find an intro or demo with a 1×2 font charset, then freeze with VICE monitor and check the contents of $D018, this will tell you exactly where the charset is stored. There’s a simple method to make sense of setting $D018, just separate the hex digits first, then multiply them both by $400 (it helps if you have a hex calculator). The first result will tell you where the screen is stored, and the second result, rounded off to the nearest $800, will tell you where the charset is stored. Screens use $400 memory, and charsets use $800 memory.

So, onto the code. Creating a 1×2 scroller from a 1×1 scroller is quite simple, actually. Simply scroll the second line of the screen as well, and when you stamp on the character from the scrolltext, add #$80 and then stamp it on the next line. This gives you one line of text, and one line of reversed text, as this is how most 1×2 font charsets are stored. If you find your charset seems to be corrupted on assembling your code, consider that your source font may have been built differently. This happened to me on one font I wanted to rip, and it took two days before I realised it was the font at fault, and not me…

Well, there you have it, your first 1×2 font scroller, your challenge for next time is to rip and display a 2×2 font! Until next time, stay tuned!


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Well, big things are afoot here at C64 Code Hacking HQ, we’ve registered a .com and the blog has moved to it’s own subdomain. We’re currently building course structures in a WordPress Learning Management system while we setup the first C64 Code Hacking University! With private groups and forums, social activity streams, badge achievements system, and online courses to go along with the Youtube channel.

Just another perk of pledging on Patreon. Stay tuned for further news!


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December 7, 2016 | In: Blog

C64 Code Hacking University! :D

Currently setting up the C64 Code Hacking University, would you believe it? Utilising WordPress, BuddyPress (for memberships, groups and forums) and a learning management system I’m buying next week. Exclusive access to $5/month Patreon pledges!   Stay tuned!


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Ok, have been quite the busy beaver tonight 😉

Firstly, the Patreon project has been retweeted by Sarah of the Commodore Blog to her 14k+ followers. Secondly AJ Heller of SceneWorld will be plugging the project on next week’s podcast! 😀

So that’s awesome news for this fledgling concept 🙂

In other news, I finally setup a FaceBook page and closed group for the project. Check them out, and stay tuned for more! 😀


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December 4, 2016 | In: Blog

C64 Code Hacking Patreon Launched!

So, I’ve been doing the C64 code hacking blog for just over two weeks now, and it’s been great. I’ve gotten some nice feedback from the community, and it’s had over 800 unique visitors.

Now I’d like to really give back to the community, by creating a Youtube channel and several c64 coding video tutorial series.

We’ll cover coding intros, which can also be used as the title screens of your games, demo coding techniques, and finally actual game development on the Commodore 64. Take note however, from now on I will be charging a $5 pledge for full access to the source code, as well as a 24/7 IRC help channel and a weekly Google Hangout. I hope you’ll agree it’s worth supporting me, leave your opinions in the comments.

But it’s early days, and the project is still in it’s planning stages. I’ll probably launch within a month, so stay tuned! 😀


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December 4, 2016 | In: Blog

C64 Code Hacking Wiki!

I just setup a wiki version of my code hacking blog, with Cruzer’s Assembly tutorial and The Dream’s All About Your C64, if wiki’s are your thing, check it out!


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Ok, well I’ve given in to popular demand, and starting soon I will be setting up a Github repository. Github also allows wikis, so I will setup a comprehensive code hacking Wiki in the next week or so, with everything you need to learn how to code c64, from memory maps, to info on op codes, to code snippets. Stay tuned!


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Ok, so I’ve made a promotional web page with links to the active threads regarding this upcoming competition, using the cover image I created using a thumbnail of the SEUCK box art. Enjoy and stay tuned! 😀


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As you may know from personal experience SEUCK (The Shoot-em-up Construction Kit) is an awesome tool for game construction. In fact, some people use it’s graphic and sfx editors for other game projects. But unfortunately it can be quite limiting and many games for the platform can suffer from being quite similar.

Enter SEUCK Redux, written by Martin Piper; an entirely new SEUCK engine, written from scratch, with full source code, and allowing you to use a remastered version of the SEUCK engine with new scroll code and sprite multiplexor, or alternatively the new Sideways SEUCK engine. Several games have already been released with enhanced features of SEUCK Redux, including Super Tau Zeta 2 Redux, The Adventures of Alain, Another Day, Another Zombie, Final and the technically brilliant Nuclear Strike Force all with new title screens and enhancements such as power-ups.

I find this new engine *fascinating*, and as I remix and remaster my own rare commercial SEUCK game, The Final Attack, I will also write a series of SEUCK Redux tutorials on this blog, such as how to create new title and high score screens, adding music to the game, and enhancements such as power-ups.

As The New Dimension’s SEUCK competition doesn’t allow Redux entries, near the end of my tutorial series I will be hosting a competition for SEUCK Redux coders in collaboration with The New Dimension, with prizes such as having your game professionally published, and even secondary prizes like a brand new 1541UII+.

Stay tuned, and leave your opinions of this concept in the comments.


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December 1, 2016 | In: Blog

And We’re Back!!! :D

Ok, it’s been two days and it’s been hell on a Windows 8 32bit backup pc. But now I have installed a new 240Gb SSD and preactivated Windows 10, and it’s on like Donkey Kong! 😀

New coding blog tomorrow, stay tuned folks!


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November 30, 2016 | In: Blog

Coming soon to a blog near you…

After talking with some amateur game developers on IRC, I have decided to write a game coding tutorial series in a few weeks time, after the essentials of intro coding are covered.

It will take you step by step through the planning and development of the c64 arcade game, Paddles! This will be a fully featured game based on Breakout and Pong, featuring breakable bricks with powerups in the middle of the screen, with four paddles on each edge of the screen. It was my first experiment in a pc game making program in the early 2000’s, and is a very easy to implement game. Through the tutorial we will cover all aspects of game development, up to polishing your game and different methods of releasing your game.

Stay tuned, and if you like this idea, leave a comment! 😀


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So my SSD boot drive died last night, taking my Windows and all my new c64 sources with it. So I’ll have to start from scratch again….

Ok, to make it easier on you all, I’ve decided to use my DropBox to archive my c64 sources. 🙂

You can download the source to the 1×1 PETSCII scroller here.

Enjoy, and feel free to leave a comment! 😀


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It’s been pointed out to me by several people that this blog doesn’t cater for the beginner, and that’s a fair criticism. Right now I just don’t have the spare time to write a beginner’s ASM tutorial, but I can do the next best thing; give you links to ASM tutorials, memory maps, cross assemblers, IDE and source code archives 😉

The cross assembler I use –  TASS64 https://sourceforge.net/projects/tass64/

The IDE I use – Relaunch64 http://www.popelganda.de/relaunch64.html

C64 Coding Tutorials & Resources

Beginner’s guide to coding an intro – http://dustlayer.com/

Linus’ introduction to programming demos – http://www.antimon.org/code/Linus/

Commodore 64 Programming #1: A quick start guide to C-64 assembly programming on Windows – https://digitalerr0r.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/commodore-64-programming-a-quick-start-guide-to-c-64-assembly-programming-on-windows/

C64 Assembler Tutorial – http://www.c64.ch/programming/

A full c64 game in 2013 – http://www.gamedev.net/page/reference/index.html/_/technical/game-programming/a-full-c64-game-in-2013-r3179

The Hex Files, learn demo coding! – http://www.oldschool-gaming.com/articles_index.php?view=c64_hex_files

64bites, a great tutorial series if you’re willing to pay for it – http://64bites.com/

Fairlight programming docs – http://www.fairlight.to/docs/

Hello World in c64 assembly – http://codebrane.com/blog/2013/10/25/hello-world-in-commodore-64-assembly/

C64 Programmer’s Reference Guide, essential reading! http://www.commodore.ca/manuals/c64_programmers_reference/c64-programmers_reference_guide-05-basic_to_machine_language.pdf

How to write a c64 game in several steps – http://www.retroremakes.com/remaketalk/index.php?p=/discussion/2391/how-to-write-a-c64-game-in-several-steps/p1

Archive of c64 books and magazines – http://www.bombjack.org/commodore/

Introduction to c64 demo coding – https://odd.blog/2008/01/11/introduction-to-c64-demo-coding/

Lets make a Commodore 64 Text Adventure Game! – http://retro.lonningdal.net/home.php?page=Adventure

Assemble It! – http://tnd64.unikat.sk/assemble_it.html

All You Need to Know About Your C64 – http://www.the-dreams.de/aay.html

Codebase64, learn demo coding tricks! – http://codebase64.org/doku.php

Note that the sources you find on the web may be for other assemblers, I will be posting about how to setup Relaunch64 and TASS64 soon.

Now go forth and code! Let me know if this was helpful in the comments 🙂


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November 28, 2016 | In: C64 Coding, Intro Coding

1×1 PETSCII scroller

Ok, here’s where it starts to get interesting, the source for a simple one character scroller that scrolls the first line of the screen.

Due to popular request, this source has more comments for easier readability.

Your challenge for this episode, try to create a 1×2 scroller. Good luck, and feel free to leave comments.


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November 25, 2016 | In: Blog

Games That Weren’t: TRONSCII

I recently successfully submitted one of my unfinished games to the marvellous Games That Weren’t website, it should go live sometime in December.

It started in 2005, when I’d just finished PETSCII Ate My TinySID (http://csdb.dk/release/?id=18202) and I’d been bitten by the PETSCII bug. I had to come up with an arcade game I could do in full PETSCII. At first I mocked up designs for a Dr. Mario clone, Dr. PETSCII, but after watching the new Tron movie things fell into place.

I realised I could use PETSCII to plot the lightbikes and their trails, and by using a repeating grid, have two player playfields scrolling multidirectionally on the same screen! Hectic work ensued, and eventually a system was worked out with my groupmate Style/Chrome to plot the trails on a huge virtual playfield. This made the code quite complicated, and I have a penchant for using self modifying code.

All was going well, until I couldn’t figure out how to plot the other player’s light bike on each playfield. Development stalled, and eventually I stopped working on it. It’s been almost 10 years now since, and I can no longer make sense of my clever code from back then.
Full source and prg was provided, I really hope some enterprising and resourceful coder will finish it. AI would be nice 😉

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November 25, 2016 | In: Blog

The Final Attack is Back!

Slightly off topic, one of the things I’m planning to do once my coding skills are up to it, is to enhance my rare commercial SEUCK game that was recently unearthed, The Final Attack. I had it published by a local Australian company, ECP, and they paid me in advanced sales. I bought an Amiga 500 with RAM expansion and paid a $1000 phone bill. Then ECP wanted the money back due to lack of sales, but it was gone and I was underage. They went bust not long after, and were bought out by Electronic Arts.

SEUCK Redux is a whole new SEUCK engine, with ACME source, that lets you take your SEUCK data and put it in an new engine with a better sprite multiplexor that reduces flicker in games. It also allows you to extend the SEUCK game with your own intro, in-game music, and even power-ups and boss battles.

So over the next few weeks I will also be working with SEUCK Redux to remaster The Final Attack. 🙂


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This routine is largely the same as our bare bones routine, except an extra interrupt routine has been added. $FFFE and $FFFF are set to the location of the next label, and $d012 is set to $32(the first line of the screen) + (12*8) (12 lines). Then after that routine has been executed $FFFE and $FFFF are reset to the location of the start label, easy as that!

Now as a challenge, consider the other VIC registers you could split, such as $d016 to have a scrolling area of the screen. We’ll cover basic scrollies in the next post. Feel free to leave comments 😉


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It’s a simple graphic equalizer, from the Reflexion demo part of Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind. I had planned to use it in this first intro, but Fungus advised it wouldn’t fit the style of the part.

First it grabs the value from $D41C, which is the Voice #3 ADSR output. Then it does some trickery to it to make it a value under $20. Then it uses this value to draw reverse characters on the screen, and fill the rest to $20 with spaces.

So only working on voice 3, it works better on some tunes than others. The tune I picked for the Reflexion demo part fit it perfectly.

There you have it, a simple graphic equalizer. What other ways could you use this routine? Discuss.


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The first thing I would need is a basic raster routine, for playing music and creating colour splits (my PETSCII logo uses a black background colour surrounded by reversed blue characters, so there needs to be a split to change the background colour to blue to match).

I looked at my early demos, and they depended on Kernal registers and routines, and used the stack to store the registers between interrupts. This would not do for a modern intro, so instead I looked to PETSCII Ate My TinySID as it also had the PETSCII proportional font scroller I needed.

Here’s the source of the basic routine, with one raster interrupt, playing music. TASS64 format is used.

You’ll notice it uses what is known as self-modifying code, instead of using the stack to push and pull the registers between interrupts, this saves raster cycles over using the stack for when you’re doing cycle intensive demo work. So, for instance, A is stored in nexta+1 which will load the value after the interrupt is finished. This is necessary so your interrupts don’t mess up the normal goings on of the c64.

Coming up next we’ll add a colour split, feel free to ask questions in the comments. In the meantime, as a quick coding challenge, try to add another raster routine with a  colour split yourself 😉


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November 24, 2016 | In: Blog

Introduction to coding an Intro

Hey, I’m Slartibartfast, formerly of Aussie demo crews FutureVision DesignsBattery and Lithium (old school) and Onslaught, Chrome and Hokuto Force (contemporary), recently having launched a contemporary 8-Bit digital game publishing company, also called FutureVision Designs.

I’ve been coding for the c64 almost since I first got one in the 90’s, took a break from the “death” of the scene in the mid-90’s until returning in the early 2000’s to join Onslaught and Chrome in around 2005. I released several short demos in that time, started work on a game, and burnt out around 2007 and left the scene again.

That brings us to today, where I decided if I was going to make a game now, I’d have to polish up my skills. This started as an idea to rejoin Hokuto Force, but then the CSDB intro competition came along and I met Fungus again for the first time in years, and we formed a cracking crew, PROS.

I figured I could disassemble my old demo parts, which were little more than linked intros, and quickly teach myself to demo again. And with the help of VICE monitor and Regenerator Disassembler, it worked! 🙂

So follow on and read all about the process in creating my first intro in a decade, along with source code snippets and eventually the source to the entire intro.

NOTE: This blog is currently just meant to be of interest to intermediate coders while I relearn to code. Full beginner ASM tutorials will be added at a much later date.

Enjoy! 😀


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