Monday, 27 July 2015

RGCD News Update

Been busy round here this weekend, hasn't it? Anyway I've got a few more bits of important news to share and I haven't got time to write a full-on blog post for each one. So, ladies and gents, listen up!



RGCD at Play Expo (Manchester, October 10-11th)


Long-term readers of this blog may recall that a few years back I (James) assisted with booking, organising and representing indies at Replay Events' PLAY Blackpool expo. Well, I've volunteered to help them again - but this time for their far bigger PLAY Expo at EventCity, Manchester (10-11th October). In fact, this time it'll be both Jamie and myself attending - RGCD will be present at the event with a playable/final build of our multiplayer battle game Pan-Dimensional Conga-Combat :)

If you're planning on attending as a visitor - or if you'd like to join us in exhibiting (booths cost £300) - then please get in touch!



Limited Number of Gravitrix and P0 Snake Available!


Both Gravitrix and P0 Snake have reached the half-way mark in terms of sales, so if you're interested in picking up either a copy of 2014's compo-winning P0 Snake or Robot Riot's awesome gravity-based puzzle-em-up Gravitrix you'd best do it quick :)

Oh, and talking of stock - a few extra copies of C64anabalt, Super Bread Box and Bomberland have been added to our online store, so feel free to grab those too if you missed them before!



RGCD Photo Competition


Over the years we've received loads of great photos of people playing their fave RGCD games on real hardware, and to be honest I'm pretty dreadful at photography, so these shots are super useful for helping us promote our games. I mean look at that one above from Arvid Weber - how awesome is that?

So what we're offering is this: between now and the 1st of September, send us your cool RGCD shots (with the understanding that we might use them for promo purposes) and in return we'll send a free game to whoever sends in our overall favourite photo.

To submit, drop us a line with the subject 'RGCD Photo Compo' or similar. Of course, if you want to just send us photos for us to retweet or whatever for fun, we're happy to do that too :)

Sunday, 26 July 2015

RGCD: From Mags to Riches – The Evolution of a Software Publisher


[This article was originally written by J. Monkman for issue #64 of the world-famous Commodore 64 disk magazine Vandalism News, and has been reposted here with permission from the editor. If you wish to read it in its original form, download Vandalism News from CSDB].

One of the things I have discovered over the past few months is that it is really hard to write about something you're both really passionate about and directly responsible for without sounding like a complete asshole. The chances are that I've probably failed here, so you'll just have to take my word that I'm actually an 'OK' guy, and not an egotistical, deluded idiot who believes he has single-handedly saved the C64 gaming scene by selling cartridges and running a game development competition. The part I play in all of this, although significant, is actually pretty small. To give a terrible analogy, much like a frontman of a typical rock band, without the rest of the musicians I'd be nothing - just a guy strutting about and shouting on a stage. So, the main kudos of course goes out to the large and ever-growing family of sceners I've collaborated and worked with since starting out on the C64, and regardless of how many interviews or presentations I'm asked to give about RGCD, this is a fact that I will never forget.

It's probably worth mentioning that I actually wrote the bulk of this article back in 2012 for a papermag version of Propaganda that sadly never materialised. Because of this there's a big chunk of the RGCD story missing that has been covered elsewhere in other interviews and blog write-ups (the release of Super Bread Box at GameCity 2013 in particular). Instead, I've decided to focus on the previously undocumented origins of RGCD, as well as briefly covering our present day activities and the future.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition!


Here it is, the long-awaited announcement of the RGCD C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition 2015! Following on from the success of the last four competitions (yep, that's one, two, three & four), we're hoping that 2015 will be our biggest year yet!

We are currently in the process of securing prizes and sponsorship, and awards will be given to entries that place 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. Drop us a line if you'd like to help out with the prizes!

Important! Please note that the deadline is NOT the 1st of December this year! December is a stupidly busy time of year for me and I don't want a repeat of last year's "sorry, I'm not available to close the competition" problems. Instead, the deadline is now the 1st of February 2016 - so you have plenty of cold, dark winter nights to code with your feet warming on the C64 power brick :)

2014 C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition Results


Ok, so today I figured it was about time to (finally) announce the next RGCD C64 Cartridge Game Dev Compo ... but then it dawned upon me - I still hadn't actually announced the final results from last year! Well, that's actually not entirely true, as the results were published over at CSDB, but somehow I had completely failed to update the compo page on this blog. Apologies to all involved!

Anyway, there's a story behind this. Earlier this year enthusi and I thought it would be fun to try something different with announcing the results, so we worked away in secret for a few weeks and used his excellent 'Above & Beyond' single-file diskmag format so that the entrants could view the judge's feedback on their own Commodore 64 (and 17 games judged by 12 people resulted in a LOT of text - over 18,000 words in fact).

I did initially intend to publish that text here as well, but let's face it - NO ONE is going to read an 18,000 word blog post! So instead, I've posted the final scores below (together with the original foreword) and packaged up the C64 results-mag disk with a copy of the VICE emulator (win32) so you can view and read it as was originally intended.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Story of the Commodore 64 in Pixels (Tiger Claw Exclusive!)


It's been some time since we collaborated in a Kickstarter (last time being Sam Dyer's hugely successful Commodore 64: A Visual Commpendium), but I'm proud to say we're back again to help with another exciting book project, offering another exclusive game cartridge as a backer reward. But before we talk about that, let's look at the book itself :)

The Story of the Commodore 64 in Pixels is the 5th (well, probably 6th) book written by Fusion Retro Books head man Chris Wilkins, and is planned as a 236 book about the history and legacy of the Commodore 64, featuring a foreword by Jeron Tel, and over 25 memoirs from home computer heroes such as Archer Maclean, Jon Hare, The Oliver Twins, Roger Kean, Oliver Frey, Andrew Hewson, Tony Crowther and many others.

Full details of the Kickstarter can be read by following the link above, but the book is already funded and Chris is steaming towards smashing some of the stretch goals - and we want to help him make this project as successful as possible! So what are we offering?


You may recall a cute little 16KB fighting game from our C64 development competition last year called Tiger Claw. You know, the game that came second place, behind the awesome P0 Snake. Now we always hoped to release the game on cartridge at some point, but first we really wanted to tweak and enhance a few areas of the game - and with Matthias and Saul already with several projects on the go, Tiger Claw MK2 kept on getting pushed back. However, when Chris contacted me enquiring about a game cartridge as a backer reward, I rallied the team together and Tiger Claw is now back in the RGCD workshop, receiving the following:

  • A larger, revised game map with several more screens/rooms (offering a fresh challenge).
  • Revised controls and physics with more friction.
  • Selectable difficulty.
  • Loading screen and additional music missing from the 16KB version.
  • A hidden additional game on the 64KB cartridge! :)

All of this is in addition to the original game's rooms, items, enemies, bossfights and full PAL/NTSC support (same gamespeed and musicspeed in PAL and NTSC)!


There's not much to share just yet, but we're on target to have the game ready to ship in two months time, packed in one of our DX cases complete with a double sided A3 poster/map, stickers and manual. Each copy will have a numbered sticker on the inside of the case insert with your name printed on, and the cartridges are exclusive to the Kickstarter - you won't be able to buy them from our online store!

To get your hands on this super limited release, back the project at the £70 level - or simply choose a lower backer tier and add £40 on to your pledge (that £40 includes worldwide shipping!) ... So what are you waiting for?!

(It's worth noting that fellow RGCD comrade George Rottensteiner and artist Trevor Storey are also contributing a game to the Kickstarter - so check that out too!)

Monday, 29 June 2015

RGCD News Update

As always, a lack of activity on our blog and social networking outlets means we've been busy - so busy in fact that this is the first opportunity I've had to announce not one, but TWO new RGCD game releases. Oh, and there's a load of other news-bytes as well, so get comfy and let's have a quick chat about the recent goings-ons at RGCD Towers...



Gravitrix Available! (Commodore 64)


Woah! Ok, so here's a first - and quite a milestone for RGCD. GRAVITRIX, the long-awaited and totally-ace gravity-themed puzzle 'em up by Robot Riot Games, was released a couple of weeks back on our all-new 512KB cartridge PCB developed by new RGCD member Siem Appelman together with Shareware Plus. An updated rework of an unreleased game that Nils Hammerich originally completed over 20 years ago, GRAVITRIX brings arcade-style, mind-bending puzzle-action to your Commodore 64 like never seen before!

To complete each of the 120 levels, you must clear the screen of all of the coloured GRAVITRIX stones. ALL of the stones of EACH colour must be connected in a single 'group' in order for them to vanish, ie. you cannot have multiple, unconnected groups of the same colour in different areas of the screen. The big challenge in GRAVITRIX is that the stones don't just have different colours - they have different 'directions' (or gravity) as well!

Each coloured stone 'falls' in its assigned direction (symbolised by an arrow) whenever there is nothing blocking its path, and this leads to some tricky chain reactions that must be solved. To make your life even harder there is also a time limit, environmental blocks and other gameplay elements that are introduced during the early levels.

Available to purchase on cartridge (with an initial limited run of 50 numbered copies), 5.25" diskette or even as a digital download, GRAVITRIX is superb fun - but don't take our word for it, grab yourself a copy of the free demo from our itch.io page!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Pandimensional Conga Combat: Interface Swoosh!


When I set aside time to work on Conga, before hitting the keys I normally sit down, skim through the all-important project design document to see what's left to work on, then pick a few meaty chunks to tackle. Usually I'm over-ambitious and select WAY more than I'll ever manage, but it does help to add a bit of focus and provides me with a rough plan for the days ahead. Doing this also gives James a chance to feed some ideas in ahead of implementation, as more often than not we've ended up scribbling something down during one of our weekly meet-ups and it's never actually made it into the documents (luckily his memory is better than mine!)

So, with three days booked off from real-life work, I set out my battle plan. On day one I'd tackle the entire front end, right the way through to Conga's 'Casual' play mode, then take on the scores and achievements on day two and round off with multi-player on day three! Oh well, one out of three isn't too bad!

Wanderers: Chained in the Dark (ZX Spectrum)


No, thankfully this isn't a sombre simulation of the miserable existence of a long-suffering Wolverhampton Wanderers fan. In contrast, Wanderers: Chained in the Dark is a swords and sorcery mini-epic in 128KB, featuring trolls, demons and fantastical creatures that are all frankly a little on the cute side to disturb this seasoned adventurer.

There is a distinct lack of this type of game on our beloved Speccy. It's a rather excellent RPG adventure in the Japanese style, by which I mean: when you encounter a baddie you are whisked into a combat mode and obliged to take turns thrashing each other. I always found the game mechanic rather bizarre but perhaps it was a natural progression from pen and paper RPGs to this. I don't recall this style of game gaining popularity in the UK until the advent of Final Fantasy VII in the 90s, and by then the Spectrum was commercially dead and in any case unable to handle the size of contemporary RPGs.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Conga Continued


It's been a few weeks since I last wrote about our adventures in game development, and although Jamie and I have not made quite as much progress as we'd hoped, work on Pan-Dimensional Conga-Combat has continued to move forward. Oh, and we released a new C64 game too - but more on that in a bit.

So what's new? In the previous update I explained how we were using timelines to synchronise in-game events to the soundtrack and discussed some of the problems we were having with 'frame-slippage' on less powerful hardware. Thankfully, this part of the project is now complete, and Jamie even fixed the sync between the game and soundtrack by incorporating a frame counter that starts as soon as the timeline and audio playback begins. This 'timer' is then compared against the current position in the timeline every frame, and if there's a difference the game simply jumps forward and realigns itself.

There is of course a small risk that the game will occasionally miss scheduled events, but so far the method seems to be pretty bullet proof and it's a huge improvement over what we had before (where even something as trivial as alt-tabbing out of the game resulted in everything falling slightly out of sync).

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Trance Sector Ultimate Available! (Commodore 64)


FINALLY! Those of you who've been following RGCD for some time may recall TRANCE SECTOR ULTIMATE being on a 'coming soon' list way back in 2012 ... and then it kind of dropped off the radar. You see, when we started work on our port the original game had already been out for a few months, so we wanted to offer fans of the game something different - worthy of the extra ££ that a cartridge version would cost.

The first (and obvious) decision was to incorporate both the original 32 levels together with the 32 from the earlier 'Competition Edition', but it was only when we bought in Akira of Kiken Corp/Genesis Project to design the box art that we collectively came up of the idea of releasing our version as a 'remix' - featuring all-new graphics and music.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Conganoids, Attack!


A huge amount of progress has been made on our quasi-arena-shmup project over the past fortnight - and although there’s a long way to go, the end is definitely in sight. We’re still hoping for an early summer release (at least on PC and Android), mainly because we need to start making sales in order to pay our accountants, but also because it’s good to have a self-imposed deadline so as to prevent the project running on and on.

We’ve revised the game design somewhat; in single player ‘arcade’ mode - the proper way to play the game - Pan-Dimensonal Conga-Combat now features three stages for each of the four dimensions, and loops indefinitely. On each stage the kill quota to unlock the exit portal increases by 20, then drops by 20 at the completion of a dimension so as to give a little breathing space. This means that to reach dimension two, the player needs to kill 20 + 40 + 60 (120) of the geometric critters, then to reach dimension three they’ll need an additional 40 + 60 + 80 (180) more. To loop the game, the player will need to kill a total of 840 critters all on a single life - which sounds insane, but when you consider that enemy formations and waves often consist of 10+ enemies and you get 10 kills for every enemy portal you close, it’s certainly still achievable. Also, we learnt from r0x EP that it’s a mistake to underestimate how well some people play!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Critical Beatdown


In the immortal words of the UMC's Kool Keith, we're hoping to "take your brain to another dimension" with our current project. Well, maybe not your brain, but certainly your thumbs/swiping finger. We've been busy working on RGCD.DEV's follow up to r0x Extended Play on odd weekends and evenings for a few months now, and it's finally at the stage where we have something to show (mainly thanks to the artistic talents of Folmer Kelly). So, here we go. Children of the Earth, meet Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat.

I've already given the game's background a brief introduction in a previous news post, but I never properly explained what it actually was or how it plays. So before we continue, if a picture speaks a thousand words then a video must be worth a million. Observe and discuss. (Warning! Flashing images follow!)

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Rocket Smash EX Available! (Commodore 64)


It's time to SMASH some ROCKETS! ROCKET SMASH EX has sat on the back burner in the RGCD kitchen for almost two years, but it's finally here at last in full EXtended glory thanks to RGCD members John Christian Lønningdal, Saul Cross and Flemming Dupont (and not forgetting the invaluable help and support from the mighty Tim Harris, Ray Lejuez and Dr. Martin Wendt)!

Initially released as a competition entry back in 2013, the original 16KB version of the game might not have taken the trophy, but it certainly won a lot of fans. Fans who have been nagging us fiercely to complete the post-competition build pretty much non-stop since it was first announced last year. Sadly, none of us get to do this stuff full time (if only!); real life got in the way, and you can well imagine, the longer you leave stuff, the harder it is to pick up the pieces again. But we made it in the end - and in true scene-spirit we've even released the full game in downloadable cartridge ROM format for FREE/pay-what-you-want over on our RGCD itch.io page. C64 scene, we love you!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Welcome to the Future!


2015 already? Wow. I was watching Back to the Future Part II yesterday, and if Hollywood is to be believed, we're less than one year away from consumer hoverboards, flying cars and cyberpunk costumes being mainstream fashion - so that's something to look forward to at least. I remember watching that movie at the cinema as a kid and thinking 2015 was so far away, and yet here we are. I also remember spending many a weekend in 1989 cycling over to a friends house to play on his C64 and I never would have imagined that now, 26 years later, people would still be messing around with these ancient machines - nor that I'd be involved releasing new games for them.

2014 was a pretty quiet year on the RGCD cartridge release front, with only 3 games published (Darkness, Phase Out and Powerglove), mainly due to real life issues such as moving house/office, redecorating, loads of DIY and other not-so-fun stuff. Of course, 2014 also saw the release of r0x (Extended Play) - our first in-house developed PC game since 2010 - as well as the founding of RGCD.DEV Ltd by myself and Jamie Howard. Sadly, the news/reviews side of RGCD has suffered as a consequence, and I think pretty much all our writers have jumped ship (although I'll try to find time to write a few things myself each month going forward).

Monday, 8 December 2014

RGCD C64 Cartridge Development Competition 2014

Ok, so there was a bit of a delay due to real life issues, but I'm super proud to announce that the fourth RGCD C64 Cartridge Development Competition concluded at midnight on the 7th of December with a whopping 17 new games for the C64!

Featuring the usual mix of conversions, original concepts and genre favourites, the beginning of December saw a frenzy of activity in the C64 scene thanks to the hard work the entrants put into coding their competition games over the past few months. I've put together a brief introduction to each submitted competition entry below, listed alphabetically with links to their original database pages. Fire up your C64 or emulator and enjoy!




Announced and submitted just days prior to the competition deadline, Mark Hindsbo's 16KB, three-stage retro shmup more than makes up for the epic load time and over-familiar game design with pure fun and smooth gameplay. Running at a super-smooth 60FPS and featuring gorgeous artwork from André 'Redcrab' Högbom, Avaiator Arcade's deadly aiming enemies and ambush/boss battles are both challenging and satisfying to beat. There's even an option to turn on autofire and remap the smart-bomb to the fire button (which is automatically selected for GS users!) In all, a fantastic scene debut!