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!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition - Status Update #2

I'm currently at Sunspot (a shadow party for TRSAC-014), watching demo competition entries on the main screen and thought it was about time I typed up a new status update for RGCD's own 16KB C64 compo - so here it is! But before jumping straight into the entry write-ups, here's a quick word from one of our sponsors...


Remember the excellent C64 Visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer? Well, Sam has kindly offered to provide the top three winning entrants with free copies of his book! Oh, and in case you weren't aware, Sam is currently running another Kickstarter for a Commodore Amiga book with some ace rewards, so make sure you check that out!

If you missed out on the C64 volume, you can pick it up over at www.funstock.co.uk for £24.99. Ok, now on to the entries!



Competition Entry #3: P0 Snake
Developer: Antonio Savona
Status: In Progress


Antonio wrote to me today explaining that since we asked for help with the P0 Snake soundtrack he was "overwhelmed with proposals" He went on, stating that "the c64 community is just unbelievable! I got a great SID tune in the end. Too good for my game, but I'll use it anyway!" Good news then :)

Aside from that, Antonio is pretty confident that the game will be completed by the deadline, with 24 levels already complete and only polish and wrestling with compression to get the sampled speech to fit within 16KB! Good luck :)

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Tsunami Cruiser (Android/Ouya/PC)


[This review was originally written by J. Monkman for indiegames.com, and has been reposted here with the editor's permission].

Released for Windows yesterday (and Android and Ouya last week), Boris Van Schooten's wavy-navy, Geometry-Wars-at-sea twin-stick shooter Tsunami Cruiser has come on a long way since the early prototype developed for Ludum Dare 29. With tighter controls, super-clean redesigned vector graphics and a new speaker-buzzing, arcadestep soundtrack from BitBurner, blasting away marauding sea critters and alien saucers whilst bouncing about on an increasingly choppy ocean has never been so much fun!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Iron Fisticle (PC)


With a title like Iron Fisticle, one might suggest this is something they only do in Germany, or perhaps an obscure entry on Urban Dictionary. No, friends, you won't be hitting up the missus (or the mister) for an 'iron fisticle' any time soon. Unless you make it up. Rather, Iron Fisticle is the name of a fantastic new dual-stick shooter that harks back to the old days of quarter-chompers Gauntlet and Smash TV, developed by Confused Pelican Games (Amiga shareware-scene hero) and Tikipod (Rock Boshers DX, Aqua Kitty and of course r0x EP).

Shovel Knight (PC/Mac/Wii U/3DS)


I normally lead into these reviews by setting the theme or laying the foundation for a punchline, but this time this time I'll cut the (now traditional) waffle I'm famous for by simply saying that Yacht Club Games' Kickstarter-hit Shovel Knight is an absolute work of art. It's not the kind of indie game that wants to be famous for its 'message' or 'deepness of expression', it's instead the kind that polishes an established set of formulas and delivers a diamond-solid package.

Boson X (PC/Linux/Mac/Android/iOS)


Being a physicist never looked so exhausting. Or so death defying. Mu and Heyo's Boson X is a runny, jumpy platformer of the breed that has been made world-famous by games like the viral leviathan that is Temple Run, and like all of its brethren a spiritual successor to the modern classic Canabalt.

This particular endless runner takes a graphical style begging to be described as 'Super Hexagon meets Another World' and sees the player in charge of a miniature scientist taking a really hands-on interest in particle-colliders. Simplicity and ramping difficulty are key players in this game, which eschews the bells, whistles and fripperies of bonuses and rewards in an appropriately scientific just the facts sort of way. This is gameplay pared down to a pure and simple form; Occam’s Razor taken to the run and jump genre.