Friday, 1 February 2013

RGCD News Update

Hey there - let me start this post by wishing you all a belated Happy New Year! There's a reason for the recent inactivity here at RGCD towers - my ancient old desktop PC (built in 2005) decided to finally die once and for all after months of random crashes and automatic turn-offs. This meant it was time to upgrade - and a direct result of this has been me wasting away the hours playing loads of new games that my old PC couldn't cope with. Fortunately, the novelty of having a new computer has now finally worn off and it's back to business as normal.

So, what has been cooking on the back burners here at RGCD? First off, and following on from my last post, the C64 competition cartridges have now all been sent out to their new owners across Europe, each housed in a neat little box designed by Redcrab of Goin' Sideways/Genesis Project. I'd like to say thanks again to everyone for making the 2012 competition such a success, especially Tim Harris for providing the hardware that makes this all possible, and Enthusi for his vital technical support.

In addition to this, we've been busy planning a fistful of new releases. First up, Assembloids and the long awaited official Minestorm/Spike cartridges are due in early February (or later, depending on factors such as how much of my free time is eaten up by work commitments and my children misbehaving). Assembloids 2013 (as it is referred to in-house) is a further refinement of Enthusi, iLKke and Conrad's 2nd-place winning competition release, complete with a score passcode system for saving progress and several minor tweaks and enhancements. Similarly, Spike and Minestorm have been further enhanced for cartridge release, and the two games are now confirmed as being NTSC compatible and designed to run on the GS console as well as standard C64.

But that isn't all... Remember our recent review of You Have To Win The Game? Well, C64 owners will soon be able to get their hands on an official C64 cartridge of J. Kyle Pitman's opus courtesy of Kabuto and RGCD. (For those who missed it, the C64 conversion of YHTWTG was uploaded to CSDB at the end of 2012). Kabuto is currently wrapping up some final fixes and aims to make the game NTSC compatible whilst also addressing some feedback concerning the joystick control system.

Work continues on the retail version of Super Bread Box, and yes I know, it's about time we put some proper content up on that website... A lot of people missed the news about the release of the 16KB version last year, so I'll be writing a separate post on the game's current status in the next few days.

Other C64 releases planned for the near future include a Psytronik/Mojon Twins compilation (Sir Ababol and Nanako on cartridge, with UWOL added as an extra on the Psytronik disk version), two-player spook-busting action from Smila and Endurion in the form of Guns 'N' Ghosts (formally known as Supernatural), a cartridge version of Bomberland (check out the awesome preview here) and a compilation from Richard Bayliss featuring enhanced versions of Sheepoid (cleverly titled Sheepoid DX) and Woolly Jumper (now with proper jumping physics). There are other games in progress such as Achim's awesome and considerably-more-gritty Rent-A-Cop: Reloaded and Smila and Endurion's Catnipped, but they are still in the early stages so I'll write about them in more detail as they near completion.

Atari Jaguar fans can look forward to the announcement of two CD-based game compilations in the near future following the success of Reboot's Kobayashi Maru: Final. As with KM:F, with aim of these compilations is to help raise money to pay for a large scale production run of new homebrew cartridges for the Jaguar, so that mere mortals who are unable/unwilling to pay the crazy prices on eBay for a Jaguar CD unit can get their hands on some Jaguar homebrew action. I've been told to keep the details vague (as some of the content it yet to be decided upon) but I can say there will be one disc from Jagware and one from Reboot, and on both you can expect to see "something new and something old". They're a mysterious bunch those Jaguar developer folk!

In other news, work continues (slowly) on our new and long-overdue shop system. I cannot give a date for completion just yet, but most of the work left is trivial (yet unfortunately quite time intensive). There is an incentive to get it done quickly though - we have been working with Joymasher to create a professional physical release of the PC, Mac and Linux indie-retro crossover smash Oniken - and to be fair our rather inept 'blogger page plus paypal button' combo is not going to be sufficient for the line-up of releases planned in Q1 2013. So expect further progress updates on this soon!

Finally, I'm super proud to announce that Achim Volkers, Stefan Nowak and Jamie Howard have joined myself, Enthusi, iLKke and Endurion in the C64 branch of RGCD. Achim is working on a new version of Rent-A-Cop (mentioned above) as well as discussing plans for a future game with Smila. Stefan of Sprites and Shapes fame has joined in the facility of tester and video-man - saving me the hours it takes me to successfully create game-play and trailer videos for the site. Last but far from least, fellow Exeter-ite Jamie has come on board to help us set up the website and online highscore system for Super Bread Box, allowing players to enter the codes generated by the game to upload their stats. So, much like the original, a record will be kept of the total number of crates collected in the C64 version, as well as score tables for each level! With iLKke assisting with the artwork, the final result (along with the game) should be something quite spectacular - and perhaps encourage more C64 games to feature online high score tables...