Friday, 7 December 2018

Powerglove Reloaded, Tiger Claw, Aviator Arcade II, r0x zer0 and more!

You know what? I really wish I had more hours in the day so I could post here more often. I love writing, but hardly ever get to do it anymore. With my limited time spent juggling RGCD, family life, my career and social stuff, there’s just no time left for updating this blog (or even Facebook and Twitter). So, yet again it has been months since my last post, but holy shit a lot of stuff been going on since then!

Remember that Hunter’s Moon Kickstarter? Well, in case you didn’t know, I personally flashed, packed and shipped all 300 of those cartridges in what was the most epic sized project I’ve faced to date. 300 games might not sound like a lot to ship, but every single package had a variety of different bolt-ons; postcards, stickers, t-shirts, CDs, posters, even mugs! Quite often they were in wacky combinations resulting in multiple packages going to the same address - but phew - the last one (a replacement) was posted a week ago, so that’s that finished. In total, I tallied up that it had taken me over 14 full (solid) 12-hour days to complete, spread over a couple of months.

In comparison, the more recent Zzap! 64 Annual Kickstarter perk I helped with was completed in less than a week, and the resulting 115 Sizzler cartridges will be personally delivered to Chris Wilkins this Sunday for him to distribute to his backers.

But what about our in-house projects?



Tiger Claw and Powerglove Reloaded


These two long-awaited Amiga releases, particularly Powerglove Reloaded, have been held back by pretty much every issue and road block that a physical game launch can possibly face. First up was the choice of packaging - initially I had this cool idea of using now-impossible to source CD jewel cases with a flip-out tray that could also house a floppy disk. I first came across these when I was working on the original r0x with Nicolas ‘Tomchi’ Flandin for the Atari STE about 10 years ago. In fact, this was how a limited number of physical copies of the game were distributed. So, decision made, I went out to source a new supply - and lo and behold! Someone on eBay was selling a huge box of of them!

After parting with what seemed like an obscene amount of cash, then paying import and customs fees from the USA, the cases finally arrived ... and every single one of them was completely fucked. They were clearly defective stock that someone had discovered in the back of a warehouse - the trays would not stay inside the cases and they simply fell apart when you opened them.

As I’d purchased the seller’s entire stock of 500 units from outside of the protection of eBay, after many emails I eventually had to go through PayPal’s tedious and dragged out complaint system to get a refund, which involved videos of me showing how every case was defective. In the end I got a fraction of my money back, and wow, I was feeling seriously burned and demotivated after that.


So after some time spent recuperating the lost money via other projects, I decided to try out another option as recommended by Christian Gleinser of Dr Wuro Industries - a simple clam-shell case for which I designed and ordered a foam insert to act as padding. 400 of these arrived in huge boxes that I kept stored in my shed whilst I worked on the print elements and other parts (whilst simultaneously shipping 300 Hunters Moon cartridges). A few months later, with help from Chis Mantil and Steve Day, the manuals and sleeve inserts arrived via courier. So, off I went to the shed, opened up the boxes of clam-shell cases and *SURPRISE* ... I’d inadvertently ordered a different model of case to what I had designed the insert for. So there we go, 500x A3 insert prints straight into the recycling and the project was held up by another couple of weeks whilst new ones were designed and ordered from the printers

On the more positive side, this comfort-zone-pushing project has resulted in some cool experiments and experiences. Unlike any other CD release I’ve been involved with before, Tiger Claw and Powerglove Reloaded are proper, glass-mastered CDs - or ‘duplicates’ as they are known in the industry (instead of CDR ‘replicants’). This was a super risky venture for two reasons; first, it’s expensive, and secondly, the CD32 has this bizarre copy protection method that involves a few bytes of ASCII copyright info being injected into the header of the CD. It’s not a file, but more like a the boot-sector you get on a floppy disk. So we had to lead our duplicating plant through the process in baby steps - with multiple test copies from different set-up arrangements arriving in the post for testing on my original childhood CD32 console. The good news is that the process worked, and I am now the proud owner of an epic stack of CD32 game discs (plus a dozen test coasters) :D


Similarly, for Tiger Claw Matthias and I discussed the wacky idea of including a rubber ‘practice’ throwing star (or shuriken) with the game. A sample pack of four of these arrived in the post, much to the delight of my two young boys, and wow - even though they are rubber, they are pretty damn lethal. I was initially concerned about how to package them without the sharp edges scratching up the rest of the physical package contents, but hey, wouldn’t you know that they fit perfectly in the anti-static bags I use for the floppy disks? Bonus!

So initially, throwing stars aside, Powerglove Reloaded and Tiger Claw were going to be presented in a package with the game box holding the following contents:

  • The game on auto-booting CD (complete with Windows, Mac, Linux, C64 and Amiga versions) inside a clear plastic wallet.
  • An A6 sized, professionally printed manual (designed by Chris Mantil).
  • An A3 poster with a game map on the reverse (supplied rolled but could potentially be folded and kept in the case by the customer).
  • A floppy disk of the game, with a spare label for ‘backup’.
  • A couple of postcards, badges and stickers.


This all seemed good and well, but then I started getting requests for a jewel case for the CD. It seems that some CD32 fans really love their jewel cases. So, I decided to do what several of the publishers did back in the day - I’d provide a jewel case inside the clam-shell with the rest of the package. I’ll have to find another use for the plastic wallets!

Now, of course, with us already behind on the launch I was not going to complicate issues and incur further costs and delays by redesigning the manual as a CD booklet. Nope - the final jewel case simply has a single-sided front and rear insert. The manual and everything else will have to stay in the big box on your shelf, CD32 freaks! ;)

Finally, Matthias and I played email tennis trying to work out a price structure that would cover all the costs and be acceptable for the paying customer. It’s incredibly hard to gauge interest and potential sales without opening pre-orders months in advance; something I have never wanted to do. Normally I calculate a sale price based on breaking even after a estimated number of sales, but for this project - with so many unknowns and such a high production cost - this price was looking a little prohibitive. So, instead Matthias and I have opted for a different system whereby we’ll keep the game price as low as we can, but until the production costs are recouped, neither of us will take any profit.


So, the games will launch at £15/16 (with/without the floppy disk version) plus shipping. Please note that if you choose the CD only version at the lower price, a floppy label will still be included in the package so you can make your own from the disk image supplied on the CD. This launch price may increase in the future (especially if we need to run a second production batch), but for now it is what it is.

The digital Amiga disk version will be sold via itch.io for $2.99, but the Windows, Mac and Linux ports will be free - much like how we did with Powerglove for the C64. However, this is classed as a ‘pay-what-you-want’ model, so please, if you feel our efforts are worth more then we would be extremely grateful for a tip :)

Finally, I guess the last thing to cover is that although both games will be available to buy this weekend, the physical packages are unlikely to ship before Christmas. This is simply the worst time of the year to post anything - so unless it’s fully insured at extra cost, I’m not going to risk it. However, all orders will be prepared and shipped at the start of the new year. In the meantime, enjoy the digital version!



Aviator Arcade II


Another one that’s been waiting in the release pipeline for ages, and likewise has seen various problems during production - with one right at the final hurdle! Aviator Arcade II features some code in the start-up sequence that auto detects whether it is running on a C64GS - and if so it forces autofire mode so that the fire button can instead be used for bombs. However, with C64GS consoles being rather rare, this was untested until very recently.

We sent a copy of the game on cartridge over to Jason Kelk of Cosine Systems to test on his GS, and yep, you guessed right … it didn’t auto detect the console. So Mark and Jason discussed the possible reasons for this and thankfully it is now fixed - and we even added a ‘hold fire when booting’ feature that forces this mode just to make sure.

Anyway, I’m pleased to say that Aviator Arcade II is now complete and ready to ship, and will also be made available to purchase this weekend on cartridge, disk (from Psytronik) and as a download. Please note that as the cartridge version of the game is in GMOD2 format (which is currently not emulated on hardware), so for now the disk image will only be included in the download (but this may change in future).



Skill Grid


More Amiga news! Saimo of Retream has been working on his abstract AGA Amiga shmup project for some time now, but after assisting him with playtesting and sharing my thoughts and feedback, we have now agreed to release the game together in physical format.

Skill Grid is at heart a simple endless-high-score-chaser, with enemies to kill, bonuses and upgrades to collect (cyan cells) and maluses to avoid (yellow cells). Of course, being a Retream release you can expect many, many levels of depth to be found, from scoring mechanics to mini games and boss battles.

Coming on two floppy disks and a bootable CD32 compact disc - and no doubt with a hefty manual to explain the more detailed aspects of the game - Skill Grid should be complete by early 2019. Check the Retream YouTube channel for regular video updates!



r0x zer0


Here’s a blast from the past! r0x zer0 is an Atari STE game that I worked on together with Nicolas Flandin about 10 years ago, and was then subsequently put on hold due to a variety of real life reasons and a lack of motivation (on both sides). However, over the past few months Nicolas picked up the project again and released a ‘party version’ of the game at Silly Venture 2018, where it won first place!

Loosely based on Terry Cavanagh’s ‘Self Destruct’, r0x zer0 is an endless shmup with an interesting mechanic - you recharge your weapon power by catching bullets when your shield is up. Oh, and here’s a first - it’s a three-button game that requires an Atari Jaguar joypad to play(!)

In all, and largely thanks to Vierbit’s graphical contribution, it’s a solid little game that has found quite some popularity in the Atari scene. Check out the review on Atari Legend here.

I’ve made plans to visit Tomchi for a long weekend next year with a view to further tweaking and polishing the game for a commercial release (possibly just involving improving the enemy attack waves, sound effects and adding extra level maps), so watch this space.



Monster Buster & Kobo64

Unfortunately these two didn’t quite make it off of the RGCD assembly line in 2018, but you can expect more news on both games early next year. Kobo64 is in fact ready to release, with just the manual to finish, and ALeX of p1x3l.net is still busy finalising Monster Buster and its online scoreboards. Regarding other projects, work on Grid Pix and Moonspire 2 is still also ongoing.



RGCD C64 16KB Cartridge Competition

Finally! Just a heads up to say this competition will be launched before Christmas! So many people have asked about it, but yes, I hereby confirm that there will be a new round of our popular game development competition launching before the year is out :)

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Rocket Smash EX Available (Again) on Cartridge!


I know, right? You don't hear a peep from RGCD for months, and now three news posts in a row!? Well, the truth is that just because we've been silent doesn't mean we've been idle - I really needed to get YOOMP! 64 released before announcing anything new. But here we are, this time with the announcement that the long-out-of-stock ROCKET SMASH EX is finally available to buy again on cartridge!

  • Check out our press kit HERE for a load of information about the game.
  • Download the game HERE (itch.io) for FREE/pay-what-you-want (complete with VICE for Windows, macos and linux).
  • Buy the game on disk or tape HERE (Psytronik Software).
  • Buy the cartridge HERE (RGCD).


Developed for the Commodore 64 home computer, ROCKET SMASH EX is an extended version of Saul Cross and John Christian Lønningdal's ROCKET SMASH, released in 2013 as an entry in RGCD's annual 16KB gamedev competition.

Your goal is simple; on each of the single-screen levels you must reassemble and refuel your crashed rocket ship before your oxygen runs out. However, the hordes of fearsome aliens and deadly meteor showers on each planet will ensure that your mission is far from easy!

ROCKET SMASH EX features:

  • Rockets! Aliens! Meteors! Lasers!
  • Story and pure arcade 'loop' game modes!
  • Three difficulty levels!
  • Cutscenes!
  • A hidden game! (Cartridge version only)

As with our other re-releases, ROCKET SMASH EX now has a new gel-label and RGCD comrade Chris Mantil has kindly given the manuals a professional redesign to match the rest of our catalogue, making this now the definitive version of the game. And don't forget, the cartridge also features a bonus game by the legendary 4-Mat (as announced in our easter eggs post!)

So what are you waiting for? If you missed out on the game last time round, grab your copy now! (Oh, and if you didn't miss around, note that the manual and gel label are available as an upgrade pack, with free postage when combined with another purchase).

YOOMP! 64 Available! (Download, Disk and Cartridge)


It took a little longer than I'd hoped, but at long last Zbigniew 'Zbych' Ross and Michał 'MCH' Brzeski's YOOMP! 64 has finally been released! Available now as a 'pay-what-you-want' download, disk and (of course) cartridge, from itch.io, Psytronik and RGCD respectively. The all-important links follow!

  • Check out our press kit HERE for a load of information about the game.
  • Download the game HERE (itch.io) for FREE/pay-what-you-want (complete with VICE for Windows, macos and linux).
  • Buy the game on disk HERE (Psytronik Software).
  • Buy the cartridge HERE (RGCD).


YOOMP! 64 is a Commodore 64 port of the classic Atari XE/XL indie arcade game Yoomp! Developed by Zbigniew Ross and featuring an original soundtrack by Michał 'MCH' Brzeski, bounce the ball through 23 three-dimensional textured tubes, collect as many points as you can and try not to fall off the edge!

Note that YOOMP! 64 is a PAL ONLY game. It will NOT run on NTSC Commodore 64 systems.

YOOMP! 64 features:

  • 23 levels of three-dimensional, fast-paced, rhythmic arcade action!
  • Innovative texture-mapping system!
  • Over a dozen bonus and hazard tile types to hit or avoid!
  • Password system to play previously unlocked levels!
  • An awesome SID soundtrack by MCH!
  • SD2IEC compatible loader!
  • Compatible with THEC64 Mini(!)

Please also note that as I felt we'd let Zbigniew and Michał down with all the (sadly unavoidable) hold-ups, RGCD are not making any profit on this release, so all money (minus costs and fees) will be going straight to the development team. So, please be generous and show your appreciation by sending a few virtual coins their way!

The cartridges are currently out of stock, but the page is open for pre-orders (so you can yoomp to the front of the queue for the next batch). The games will ship at the beginning of September.

Finally, Javier Couñago of Commodore Spain sent me this amazing photo of YOOMP! 64 being played the way it should be played - in an arcade tabletop C64. Just wow.

RGCD Easter Eggs: More Hidden Games & Screens

Waaaaaaaay back in 2014 I compiled a list of the various easter eggs that have been hidden away in the spare rom space of our game cartridges. Since then we've released quite a few games - and although not *all* of them have featured secrets, I figured that enough time has passed to spill the beans!



Quod Init Exit on the MAH Cartridge


It was a real honour to be involved in the release of Retream's leftfield arcade game MAH, and this greedy little easter egg game was added as a personal request of mine. You see, back in 2012 we released a cartridge version of Quod Init Exit, a beautiful looking single-screen eat-em-up using multiple, layered hi-resolution sprites that really looked more like an Amiga game than a Commodore 64 one. However, following the release, Simone decided that he wasn't done with the game and released a series of updates that rendered the cartridge version obsolete - meaning that I had no choice other than to remove it from sale.

So when Simone was looking for something to pad out the huge space on MAH's gnod2 rom, I knew what had to be done!

To load the (now) final version of Quod Init Exit, press Q on the main menu. It's as simple as that! You can buy the cartridge HERE.



Warpzone Remix on the Rocket Smash EX Cartridge


Another of my favourite secrets, courtesy of Jason Kelk and 4-Mat at Cosine Systems! Originally released back in 2003, Warpzone Remix was one of the early Cosine games that I'd always wanted to get on cartridge, and with Rocket Smash EX that finally became possible. An oldie, but a goldie, this arcade blast is launched by simply holding down FIRE on the joystick in port 2 when booting up the Commodore.

I particularly love the way that it drops you back to BASIC as part of the loading sequence! Worth booting up for 4-Mat's amazing soundtrack alone.

You can buy the cartridge HERE.



2K Race on the Planet Golf Cartridge


Hats off to RGCD's own Antonio Savona for producing the most convoluted easter egg to date! To access this neat two-kilobyte, open borders, casual-yet-crazy-hard minimal arcade game, first you need to achieve a high score in Planet Golf - which is no mean feat in itself! Enter your name as "I WANT MORE", and then the name entry will change to "SPACE FOR 2K RACE". Follow those instructions, and boom! Now you can 2K Race to your heart's content!

You can buy the cartridge HERE.



Music Player on the LuftrauserZ Cartridge


What's a reward without the risk? If you want to listen to all six music tracks in Paul Koller's LuftrauserZ without unlocking all the parts, you'll need to do something a little risky... From the options menu, select 'RESET GAME' - but hold DOWN on the joystick AS WELL as holding FIRE for three seconds. This will NOT reset your game, but instead load this little juke box! Use the joystick (left and right) to select the track, and read the short lower-border scroller text.

You can buy the cartridge HERE.



Invert on the Trance Sector Ultimate Cartridge


Moving on to the out-of-stock and discontinued titled, Trance Sector Ultimate received a limited release on cartridge back in 2015 (50 copies only). For those who have it, you might be interested to hear that another of Richard Bayliss' game was also hidden on the cart!

Originally an entry in our 16KB game development competition, this version of Invert is the full-fat TND version, and can be loaded by holding UP on the joystick in port two when booting up the Commodore. Although the cartridge itself is no longer available, the download of TSU can be found HERE, and Invert itself can be downloaded separately from the TND website.



Darkipede and Darkness OST on the Darkness Cartridge


Another limited edition release (yet one that I'd like to make available again in the future), Darkness also had a couple of undocumented extras; Darkipede, a homage to the Atari classic using the game sprites, and the Darkness OST, a joystick controlled jukebox similar to the one hidden in LuftrauserZ.

To load the games on the cart, after the intro sequence push UP on the joystick to load Darkipede, or DOWN to load the OST.



A Whole Load of Extras on the Tiger Claw Cartridge


Finally, this Kickstarter exclusive Tiger Claw cartridge was stuffed full of extras! I'm not sure whose idea this was, but in addition to the original game, the cartridge also featured an illustration of Bruce Lee, plus two full games by Wanax; Jump Ninja and Break 64.

I'm not sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion that one of these (if not both) were altered slightly for the cartridge version, removing any necessity for keyboard. If so, they've not been publicly released AFAIK!

To load these, hold down FIRE on the joystick when booting up the Commodore. When you see a blue screen, continue to hold FIRE but also push UP for Break 64, LEFT for the Bruce Lee picture and music, or DOWN for Jump Ninja. Make sure to let go of fire as soon as you see the loading indicator '@' in the bottom right of the screen!

Tiger Claw is available to buy as a downloadable .crt HERE.

And that's all till next time!

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 :)

Thursday, 21 December 2017

LuftrauserZ is Available (Again!)


Hey there people! So this post is a little late, but that's actually on purpose. You see, a couple of weeks back I was busy preparing the first batch of cartridges for Paul Koller's long-awaited LuftrauzerZ, and when I finished creating the shop and itch.io pages for the game I thought I'd post a quick tweet about the game before posting a full web/blog/newsletter announcement. And much to everyone's annoyance, *poof* the game sells out within a couple of hours. Ooops.

"Oh well" I thought. "No point in announcing anything until I have it back in stock again then".

And two weeks later, here we are. So, drum-roll please...


"The skies will be set aflame and the seas will overflow with wreckage in Vlambeer's stylish arcade shooter LUFTRAUSERZ! Select from over 125 combinations of weapons, bodies, and propulsion systems and take to the skies to battle enemy fighter planes, battleships, and rival aces for glory, honour, and high scores. Bravely volunteer for one of over 60 daring missions to unlock new Rauser combinations and become the most legendary Rauser pilot of all time!"

LUFTRAUSERZ is an official conversion of the 2014 indie classic LUFTRAUSERS for the C64 computer, developed by Commodore enthusiast Paul Koller and published on cartridge by Vlambeer and RGCD.


Exclusive to C64 cartridge, LUFTRAUSERZ drop-kicks your Commodore 64 into the 21st century with its hyper-aggressive, arcade-style gameplay, fluid 50FPS 8-way scrolling and endless waves of enemy fighters to blast out of the sepia-coloured skies!

LUFTRAUSERZ features:

  • Four THOUSAND unique player sprite frames stored in ROM (a C64 world record?!)
  • Endless waves of enemies and MEGA HUGE BLIMPS to destroy!
  • Smooth as silk 8-way scrolling, 50FPS arcade action!
  • Automatic score loading/saving to internal flash memory! (Physical cartridge version only)
  • Unlockable cutscenes and full game statistics!
  • Multiple heavyweight SID tracks by Stein Pedersen!

For further information on the game, please check the press kit.


...and there you have it! So at the moment, the game is available to buy (bundled with VICE) via our itch.io page with a 50% discount until the end of the year (a bargain at $2.49!) - and for those of you with a real Commodore 64, you can buy the cartridge (£40) here. Note that the game is PAL ONLY!

Cartridge Restock, Webshop Update & New Releases!


Ok, so just a super quick post here (before the big LZ announcement) to say that C-2048, Moonspire, C64anabalt, Powerglove, Super Bread Box, Jam It! and something else are all currently back in stock at our web shop (which has also recently received a massive facelift). New labels and manuals are also now available for Super Bread Box, C64anabalt (and Powerglove) for those of you who purchased the games before but want to give your copy an upgrade.

And talking of upgrades, new manuals and labels are also in production for Space Lords, Bomberland, Assembloids and Rocket Smash EX, so expect to see those titles back in stock in the new year.

Finally, joining them will be a handful of new cartridge games too! Planet Golf by Antonio Savona, MAH from Retream and Yoomp! 64 by Zbych. So watch this space!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

C64 News Update


[This article was originally written by J. Monkman for issue #67 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].

Hey there, it's been a while. I've had a lot going on in my life since the last time I wrote an article for VN - in fact, this time last year I nearly lost my home and family due to spending too much time with this hobby, and as such I don't have a huge amount to report.

Back in the Spring I started refreshing some of our product range, and ordered new cartridge labels and commissioned new manual designs from Chris Mantil for Powerglove, Super Bread Box, C64anabalt and Bomberland (to match those used in Jam It!, Moonspire and Tiger Claw). At the time of writing, C64anabalt and Powerglove have received the update, with Super Bread Box due out this week and Bomberland, Space Lords and Rocket Smash to follow in the new year. You can purchase these from our store here.

In terms of new releases, I've received everything for the physical release of Paul Koller's long-awaited LuftrauserZ - apart from the manuals, which are due to arrive from the printers next week. LuftrauserZ is a faithful demake of Vlambeer's Time Pilot/Jetstrike style arcade shmup Luftrausers, and is the first game we've released that uses iComp's new GMOD2 cartridge. The game will be available just in time for Christmas, so add it to your wish list!

In non C64 related news, I'm currently swamped with DD/DS 3.5" floppies in preparation for the release of Powerglove (followed by Tiger Claw) for the Amiga. Now that LuftrauserZ is complete, the next job will be to convert and update the C64 manual and poster/map for these two games, before finalising a CD image (the games will run on the for the CD32, with a floppy provided for classic Amigas). I'm hoping that both of these games will be available early in the new year, if not before.

Another couple of releases that are sat here awaiting print material are Retream's MAH and Antonio Savona's Planet Golf, both of which are collaborative releases with Protovision and Psytronik respectively. If you've not played either of these yet, MAH is currently available to from Retream's itch.io page and Planet Golf can already be purchased from Psytronik as a download and disk release.

Since the release of Moonspire, Dusan and Ari have been working behind the scenes on a sequel/expansion pack for the game. Using the same engine, the follow up (currently going by the name 'The Draxx War') is a far more challenging game than the original and features new graphics, new enemies, new maps and an unfinished song by Agemixer that is (currently) seven minutes long! No confirmed ETA on this one, and we're undecided as to whether or not it should be download-only or available on cartridge (we'll let a poll decide nearer the time).

Yoomp 64, a C64 port of the popular and acclaimed Atari 800 game Yoomp, has been sat in my 'ready to release' folder for quite some time. The game itself is complete, but we're still waiting for the cover art - a 3D render by Thomas Koch that is due to reach us in 'a couple of weeks'. Yoomp 64 is a challenging arcade experience coded by Zbych that plays like Trailblazer wrapped around a 3D tube, pushing the C64 to its limits. The music by MCH is (unsurprisingly) awesome and a huge improvement over the already decent soundtrack in the original Atari game. We're working with Psytronik as a joint release for this one, so expect more news soon.

There's a handful of other projects on the horizon, such as a collaborative effort between Carleton Hadley and iLKke to create a console-style Picross game with all new, unique puzzles based on Ilija's artwork, as well as various games released by Psytronik that missed a cartridge release in my absence from the scene. I'm hoping to work out the feasibility of these over the coming weeks. Additionally, we've given our webshop a bit of a clean-out, and work on a new RGCD website, various presskit updates and itch.io entries continues in the background. Hopefully some of this stuff will be complete in time for the next issue of VN! See you next time :)

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Pico Breed (PICO-8)


Back in the mid-nineties, one of the deciding factors that persuaded me to 'upgrade' from an Atari ST to an Amiga was playing a little budget game called Alien Breed (Special Edition) by up and coming studio Team 17. I'd cycled 4 miles on my BMX to a friend's house in the next village to check out his new Amiga 600, and after initially laughing at it's childish form-factor I was soon taken aback by the quality of the games on the thing compared to my trusty old Atari.

Looking back, Team 17 certainly had some balls in releasing Alien Breed. The follow up games swapped the xenomorph-lookalikes and face-huggers for more generic/non-copyright-infringing sprites, but that original game captured the pure essence of James Cameron's Aliens. It was unlike any other top-down exploratory shoot-em up of the time; your bulky marine felt slow and vulnerable, there was a constant feeling of dread and the scarcity of ammo and keycards forced you to constantly weigh up your options and make difficult decisions. The endless waves of xenomorphs meant that getting lost or taking a wrong turn could have dire consequences - and when that self destruct sequence countdown started... well, you just knew you were in the shit.

20th Century Fox missed out. They could have put an official seal of approval on the thing and Alien Breed would have been the best Alien home computer game ever. It really is a classic, and a game that I've yet to find a modern counterpart that successfully captures the same feelings.

Until today.

Who would have thought that it would have been an Alien Breed 'tribute' on the humble Pico 8 that almost got it right, causing those happy memories to come flooding back? But yet here we have Pico Breed, a game by a developer who has quite clearly been touched by memories of the 'Breed' in a similar way to yours truly. And damn, those teeny weeny alien sprites are almost too cute to kill.


Of course, being a Pico 8 port, there's been some cuts. There's only one short level, and aside from the three-headed queen there's a grand total of two alien types; predictably full grown 'xenos' and little facehuggers than spawn from eggs. Thankfully your stereotypical marine-tough-guy can take a huge amount of damage before kicking the bucket, and if you act smart and target the alien spawn points first then you'll find there's enough ammo to last for days.

Progress is made through this top-down shoot-em-up via the collection of key cards and hacking of terminals to open doors and sealed bulkheads. The layout of the stricken spacecraft is typically Alien-Breed-ish; i.e the architects were clearly on some heavyweight recreational narcotics when they came up with the layout and had no regard for common sense or health and safety. There are dead-ends and maze-like ventilation shafts a-plenty, key cards kept safely behind locked doors and ammo lying about in the most unlikely of places. At least on this version there's no self-destruct sequence with barely enough time to escape and tons of hurty-hurty one-way electric gates. What kind of sicko space-engineer came up with the idea for those anyway?

Surprisingly Pico Breed has also nailed the sound of Alien Breed too. There's an ominous background hum, the doors open with a lo-fi "swish" and the explosions and gunfire are suitably punchy. Even the alien death-throe chirrups are as perfect as you can get with the Pico 8 limitations. In addition to this, the starfield zipping by in the background gives a feeling of speed and urgency that Alien Breed never managed; there's a genuine sense of panic as the starship full of alien scum hurtles towards Earth.

There have been a few complaints on the BBS that the game is too hard, but I guess they are missing the fact that the spawning points can be disabled, or perhaps they missed the weapon upgrade? Not meaning to sound as though I'm bragging, I found the game pretty easy - I think it took all of two or three goes to successfully reach the end. But hell, it was a blast to do so and thanks to the speed-run timer I'm tempted to give it another shot. Gabriel Crowe, I salute you.

Download/Play the the game here (from the PICO-8 BBS).
Run it using PICO-8 (Commercial).
4 out of 5

Friday, 26 May 2017

Continued Progress


Good evening all! A rather eventful week so far here at HQ, I've been busy continuing to flash Paul Koller's Luftrauserz cartridges, we've just about finalised the manual text ready for Chris Mantil to work with, and lastly the Luftrauserz C64 case inserts have arrived and look just as dope as the indiebox originals. Check them out below; even the sepia is a perfect match!


As mentioned last week on Twitter, over the past six months our stock levels have run down from a healthy surplus to a mere handful of cartridges. We'll be taking advantage of this situation by relaunching our out of stock games with improved cartridge labels (see the post header image above) and newly designed and professionally printed manuals - in addition to new product photography and preparing proper press-kits and itch.io pages for each re-release.

For those of you who already own the games, don't fret. We'll be selling the new manuals together with the labels as upgrade kits, priced at around £4 plus postage (with free shipping when combined with other orders). The quality of the newly packaged version outshines our original hand-printed labels and manuals by far, as I'm sure anyone who owns one of our more recent games can testify (the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Just check the comparison below for yourselves (Powerglove original manual is left/top, new version is right/bottom).


The justification for this price is due to the high unit cost (due to the low order quantity), design fee and new product photography. Upgrading the manual and label for an already released and sold out title is a bit of a risk, so we have to ensure that it pays back what has been already invested. If they prove to be popular, then we should be able to drop the price in future.

We're also phasing out the 'standard' cardboard cartons. They sell in such low quantities compared to the plastic case versions that they end up raising the overall costs due to the additional print material that ends up being (mostly) unused. This will come as a blow to many of you who prefer these little boxes, but they are simply not economically viable. I'm really sorry about that!

Anyway, back to the restock/upgrade. First off the assembly line will be Powerglove for the C64; with the Amiga version available soon, we thought it would be nice to give the original game a little more love.

C64anabalt, Super Breadbox and Bomberland will follow soon behind with their own upgrades. In fact, the manuals for C64anabalt have already been ordered and Super Bread Box is being worked on as I type.

More news soon!