Monday, 12 March 2018

Yoomp! 64 - Arriving Soon from RGCD & Psytronik


Way back at the end of 2007 - back when RGCD was still a disc-based magazine - I reviewed an Atari XE/XL game called Yoomp!, a game that I was asked NOT to describe as “Trailblazer in a tube” (which in fact, it pretty much is). Truthfully though, Yoomp! is in fact a 3D reinterpretation of a Atari 8-bit game called 'Jump' by D. Johannsen, originally released back in 1986 - which is coincidentally the same year as the aforementioned Trailblazer.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, we championed the game back in 2007, awarding it 5/5. You can read the full review here. As to be expected, discussions of porting the game to other platforms popped up across various forums and irc groups, but at the time Yoomp! was generally considered to be a game that would be impossible (or at least incredibly difficult) to convert over to the Commodore 64.


Fast forward to 2016, and Zbigniew ‘Zbych’ Ross (joined by MCH) took it upon themselves to achieve the near-impossible task of creating Yoomp! 64 - a game that RGCD together with Psytronik will be releasing in the next few weeks on cartridge, disk and as a ‘pay-what-you-want’ download.

Zbigniew’s port (as briefly mentioned in the previous issue of Vandalism News) shows off what a capable beast the humble Commodore 64 really is, with 23 levels of increasing difficulty, smooth rhythm-synchronized gameplay and some bassbin-rocking new SID tracks from MCH.

As with the original Atari 8-bit version (and indeed ‘Jump’ before it), in the opening stages you are gently introduced to the different tile and bonus types - including jumps, holes, teleports, tunnel stop and start, increase and decrease brightness, lightning and screen-shake - and of course the occasional extra life and long jump pick-ups. Passwords are earned as you progress, and you’ll need them too - the game gets pretty brutal near the end!


The main hold up on our end was of course the family issues I had last year, but the end is finally in sight - all the material on my end has been ordered and I’ll be putting together the itch.io page later this week, with the packaging going to the photographers soon after. One aspect out of my control was a delay in the cover art - a situation that interestingly resulted in the game receiving two finished cover designs/illustrations that arrived within the same week earlier this year! With both Ilija’s and Tommes’ submissions being of excellent quality (as seen above), in the end we decided to use them both (with Ilija’s homage to the original artwork as a poster, and Tommes as the cover).

There will be more news soon, but for now check out the awesome game play video below! And turn up the speakers loud :)

Friday, 2 February 2018

Planet Golf Available (Again) on Cartridge! PLUS the Space Lords are Back!


As with our recently released Luftrauserz cartridge, a brief tweet was all it took for the first batch of new cartridge versions of Antiono Savona's Sizzler award-winning Planet Golf to immediately go out of stock again! To make matters worse, I ran out of boxes to package the game in as well - so it's taken until today to restock the game again. But the good news is that the game is finally available to buy again! Pop over to our online store and grab yours today :)

Planet Golf is a stunning 2D golf simulation that takes place across 99 levels on 5 different planets in the solar system, each with its own realistic physics, unique terrain and devious obstacles and enemies! Packed with innovative touches, flawless presentation, superb sampled speech, effects and humourous touches this is an unmissable release for C64 gamers!

Planet Golf is a Psytronik & RGCD Production. For full details on the game, please check out the official press kit here.


In addition to this, we've been continuing to work away behind the scenes on reissuing some of our long-out-of-stock releases, and this week I'm proud to say that p1x3l.net's awesome multiplayer party game Space Lords has returned to our store with a new cover, English/German manual and cartridge label!

Initially released as one of the higher scoring entries in 2011's C64 16KB Cartridge Competition, ALeX, Retrofan and Taxim from p1x3l.net are proud to present the 'Centaurus' version of the game on a 16KB cartridge courtesy of RGCD, complete with a space-freighter load of aesthetic and gameplay improvements over the previous Andromeda and Andromeda II builds. Full details on the game can be found in our all-new press kit :)


You can grab a free download of Space Lords (Centaurus) from our itch.io page here, and buy the cartridge from our store here.

Continued Progress & New Game Releases from Psytronik


Hey all, it's been a busy week here at RGCD. We've been busy working on fixing various bugs that our Steam beta test of Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat has thrown up, Jamie has started playing around with various unfinished projects and I've been cramming in the hours finalising stuff for our upcoming C64 cartridge releases of Yoomp! 64, M.A.H., Argus and Aviator Arcade II - all of which deserve a blog post of their own (coming soon!) Oh! And Jamie and I gave a talk about game development to a group of students last week at Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum - so yeah, busy!

However, big news this week in the C64 scene comes courtesy of our friends over at Psytronik; they've only gone and released not one, but two massive and long-awaited metroidvania style games! Make sure to check out Pains 'n' Aches and Steel Ranger over at their itch.io site. Both games are available to purchase as a download now, with physical releases from Psytronik coming soon... and in answer to the oft-asked question, nope, there are not currently any plans for cartridge releases of these.

I've been meaning to write a piece about how the C64 games scene has evolved over the past couple of years, but I don't have time for that right now. However, Kenz and I (James) are still good mates and will continue to collaborate on co-releases, but with the level of recent investment Psytronik has made in their new product range Kenz has explained that he needs to keep some games exclusively 'Psytronik' - similarly how we have also operated in the past with some of our games being exclusive to cartridge.

Things may change further down the line, but for now the only 'confirmed' PSY/RGCD collaborations we have planned for 2018 are Yoomp! 64, Argus, Platman Worlds, Aviator Arcade II, Soulless 2 and Black Star. More news on these projects soon - in the meantime grab that competition pro and throw your dollars at itch.io :)

Monday, 29 January 2018

Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat (Finally) Submitted to Steam - Hopefully Out Next Month!


So, it's been a while since we discussed Pan-Dimensional Conga Combat here, hasn't it?

If I'm completely honest, part of the reason that updating the game for Steam has taken so long was due to a severe lack of motivation following the initial release. Despite a positive outreach campaign on Twitter and a really great write-up on EuroGamer, we're still only at about 25% of the way to breaking even (being sold on both GameJolt and itch.io). Around the time we launched Conga back in 2016, our Greenlight page for the game had also stalled at just over 1000 views and was sat at around 33% to the top 100 with only 700 or so votes - a record low for RGCD. All of this combined had Jamie and I feeling pretty down in the dumps.

Then, after months and months of zero sales, POW! An email out of the blue arrived in our inbox around the middle of last year from Valve saying that Conga Combat had been Greenlit.

This really highlighted to me what a total bonkers system Greenlight was. I mean, I'm not knocking Conga Combat at all - Jamie and I are both proud of how the game turned out (even if it has completely failed to find an audience), but how exactly was it Greenlit when it was so far down on the list? Sure, considering the niche genre we had a pretty good split of yes/no votes (49/49% with 2% undecided), but only 1000 page views, and 700-odd votes? Wow, Conga Combat must be one of the lowest scoring games ever to break through the Greenlight barrier. But hey, at least it made it in the end.

However, 'making it' presented us with another problem; we had to invest more time into the game to tick all of Valve's boxes for release. Time that, quite simply, we didn't have last year.


Coming back to the game after such a long time provided some surprises; the first being what a cool game Conga actually is. Neither of us had played it in ages, and with fresh eyes it looked, sounded and played really, really well. I had an absolute blast play-testing it again. However, Jamie soon found a bug that had been there since launch, and that meant trawling through code neither of us had looked at in over a year! We nailed it in the end (thanks to some half-decent structure and clear commenting), and Jamie completed tweaking and finalising the Steam Achievements and leaderboards code he had started on last year. By Saturday we had completed working through the epic Steamworks checklist and hit 'submit', with a launch proposed for next month. I just hope that the extra work will be worth it! :)

If you'd like to receive a Steam key to assist us with beta-testing the new features, don't be shy! Drop us a line (via the contact form/Twitter/email) and we'll see you soon on the scoreboards!

Monday, 15 January 2018

After-Action Review: An Overview of the Making of LuftrauserZ



After releasing LuftrauserZ last month, a few people asked for a post-mortem on how Paul Koller created his opus, the demake that many thought was improbable -if not impossible- to achieve on the modest 8-bit breadbin. A brief making of both Luftrausers and LuftrauserZ is included within the game manual, but with a limited page count a great deal of info was missed. So, to rectify this and fill in the blanks, Paul has helpfully written the following blog post on the creation of LuftrauserZ.

Of course, it would be foolish of me not to remind you that the game is (currently) available to buy again on cartridge and as a download. The cartridges don't tend to stay in stock for long though!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year all! Well, thankfully that's another decadent winter holiday behind us and it's finally time to escape the family and get back to work tomorrow (or at least that's the case here). So, with only a few hours of free time left I thought I'd put it to good use and type a quick news post about our recent games restock and a few recent developments in the C64 scene that you may (or may not) be aware of.

RGCD Restocks & Rereleases

Ok, so the good news here is that all three of Paul Koller's cartridge games are currently back on sale - the all-new LuftrauserZ, and the re-released C64anabalt and Super Bread Box, both of which are now complete with new professionally printed manuals and labels. If you missed them first time around, now's your chance to grab them!


In addition to this, Jam It!, Moonspire, C-2048 and Powerglove are available again on cartridge, with a reissue of Space Lords and Bomberland currently planned for next month. Check out the available games in our revamped shop.



Galencia and Sam's Journey Available from Protovision

If you follow the Commodore 64 games scene then there's no doubt that you’re already aware of this, but the long-awaited Sam's Journey by Knights of Bytes was released on the 24th December - and here at RGCD we've been giving the game quite considerable screen time. It's a totally amazing game that you should most certainly check out (if you haven't already). Head over to itch.io for the download, or Protovision for the physical release!


On a related tip, prior to the release of Sam, Protovision launched Jason Aldred's excellent old-school arcade blaster Galencia as a download, disk and cartridge, so check that out ASAP!




Starfysh

Last but not least, Richard of TND released an awesome little shmup over Christmas that you should grab. Starfysh, a collaboration with WEC (whom previously worked with Richard on Woolly Jumper), makes up for its short duration with some quality music, amazing artwork and pure blast-em up action. It's one of our favourite TND games to date, and certainly worth downloading from either CSDB or TND.


And that's all for now! Next post will feature some new releases of our own, so watch this space :)