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Cart [#44887#] | Copy | Code | 2017-10-03 | Link

Back 30 years ago, After Burner and Thunderblade ruled the arcades.
As a kid, I only had an Amiga and near zero coding skills to produce very (very) weak clones.
Now a seasoned programmer with the mighty power of PICO-8, I can beat a Sega X board!
Well, err...:

• Chris Butler (player + tank sprites lifted from the C64 1989 version)
• gamax92 for midi to pico-8 program
• dw817 (david w) for image decompression code (http://writerscafe.org/dw817)
• pico-8 community

What's Missing
• gameplay tweaking...
• levels 2,3,4,5
• gazillions of buildings on screen!

Tech Details

Drawn using sprite sheet (2), you can tweak the level using colors:
4: tank
6,7,13: building
8: enemy helicopter
9: Battleship boss
10: swtich to chase mode
11: switch to top-down mode
15: end_game (use carrefully!)

Title screen:
Title image is loaded from a stringified image, decompression done 'asynchronously' with yield.

Main screen:

Buildings are mostly drawn with many rectfill using a big checkerboard pattern to simulate windows/floors.

Everything is z-sorted (w actually ;) before being drawn. This 'zbuffer' is in charge of drawing every asset.

Game screen manager:
A light version of what I've extensively used during my XNA period. Allows nice decoupling between game loop and other loops (title, game over).

Used only for rare events (like player dying) to easily control animation and state changes.

Lessons Learned
• PICO-8 is a fantastic platform. Forces you to keep things simple (say that to my dozen or so failed Unity attempts...)
• token count is everything
• Coroutines are unfortunately too slow to be used in the core game loop
• Throw OOP techniques out. The nice class:method() construct eats up too many tokens - had to rewrite half of the code to stays within the limits :[
• bnot-cheating the platform is way too easy (but resisted against!)
• Did I say token count is everything?

arcade retro
P#44889 2017-10-03 16:02


NICE! Loved the original and this is a worthy homage for sure. Tough at first due to controls.

Bitchin' music...

Can't wait to see how much more you're able to toss in.

P#44893 2017-10-03 21:11


Super Scaler Technology!

This looks great, good work.

P#44894 2017-10-03 21:31


The point of releasing the game was to move on.
This is my first completed project on the platform and I hit the limits left and right!
I had big plans to uncompress levels from string resources (but it breaks compressed size limit) and the famous caves (but it breaks token limits).
Fell free to start over from this material ;)

P#44904 2017-10-04 15:01


I love what you did here! I'd love to research the source code. I was playing with zoom and stuff in my Leap of Faith project. Such a nice thing with buildings. I might give it a try.

P#44928 2017-10-05 10:59


I kept the source code fairly readable (given my time is limited, coding takes several months!) - it is not even 2K loc after all!

Have a look at this other project (not mine), fairly good use of sspr (in the line of Power Drift): https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=2828

P#44932 2017-10-05 15:45


I really like the look, but the feel is a bit off. The original Thunderblade was very responsive to movement, but this has a delay when trying to move from side to side that just doesn't feel right.

P#45314 2017-10-18 14:28


The arcade version was actually ‘laggy’ thanks to the turning chair and a very long flight stick.

That said, I admit that gameplay in my version is a bit so so...

I’ll do better in my next cart ;)

P#45320 2017-10-18 15:37


Hmmm....you might be right in that it took a tiny bit of extra time before the chopper reacted to your control, but when it did, it was full speed. In your version it starts slow then speeds up over time, and that's a bit annoying. I say fix it and this thing is great! :)

P#45326 2017-10-18 16:54


This version is a lot more difficult. The effects are great, though. I think the next super scaler you do, since you have a nice engine now, the actual gameplay aspect polished up would make a sick cart. Cool stuff...I'm a superscaler fan, so I'm glad others are doing projects like this. I think that specific kind of visualization style didn't get enough exploration when it was around, and it's an area of graphics/lofi/pixel art interest I have...I know, we all have our computer graphics fettishes.

P#45353 2017-10-20 02:38

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