Saturday 29 June 2013

Huenison Demo Available! (PC/AmigaOS 4)

After what seems like an eternity in development, Retream's intense dot-matrix colour-matching puzzle-shmup hybrid Huenison is finally complete and just about ready to launch! You may recall our previous enthusiastic preview and update, but now you can finally descend into the mind control wells yourself and experience the game in the form of a short 5 level demo available from the Retream website.

Huenison has been developed specifically for PC and AmigaOS 4, but on the systems we tested the game also ran flawlessly through WINE on both MacOS and Linux. With the full version of the game due for release via our online shop in two weeks time, the demo features 4 of the 9 game modes, 5 out of 25 levels, less bricks, bonuses, disturbances and music, no interludes, no ending and no online high score submission. In short, you get about a fifth of the full game for free, just enough to give a taster of the retro-gaming chaos to follow!

Download the demo here (from the Huenison website).

Developer Interview

Whilst working on the final preparations for launch we managed to sit down and have a brief chat with Simone Bevilacqua, the sole-developer of the game, about his experience working with AmigaOS, SDL and the future of Retream.

As way of introduction, please could you give a brief paragraph or two about yourself?

Outside of Retream I'm a simple office worker. I chose a job totally unrelated to software development, because it drives me nuts if I don't do it exclusively under the inspiration of my own little dreams, my own way, when I feel like and without any external pressure (the self-pressure I put on myself is already barely sustainable, after all).

I have a few other interests, and no time to dedicate to them. Every now and then, I enjoy producing noise with my guitars and I love to play basketball, but now I'm too old and broken: so, to the big relief of all the backboards and rims in the world, I show up at playgrounds only very, very rarely.

As for how I got into game development... Let me pack it in as few words as possible: kid, imagination conquered by the Commodore 64, got my own C64, started fiddling with it, passed to the Amiga, kept on fiddling, never been able to quit the addiction. Made lots of different things, but lately focused on games - I guess it's because they are what struck me as a kid and because they provide the most complete development experience, given that, beside the logical thinking, there's also graphics, music and, of course, the gameplay aspect.

Being one of a minority of game developers who support the AmigaOS 4, can you explain your connection to this market? Is there actually any money to be made by developers in the Amiga scene in comparison to other platforms?

I simply stuck to the Amiga and used it as my main machine through the years, so my projects were naturally developed on it and for it.
Regarding the market, I'm stating the obvious, I know, but the Amiga scene is so small that one just can't be in it for the money.

The current trend seems to be for indie developers to use off-the-shelf development environments (such as Unity) that offer quick cross-platform porting. In contrast to this, you've always opted to build your own framework for game development. Can you explain the reasons why, as well as discuss the benefits and problems of this system?

On the Amiga 1200 I used to hit directly the hardware, as that was much more fascinating than programming at OS level. And dealing with any OS APIs never felt that pleasant to me anyway. But on the AmigaOne and AmigaOS 4 that was not possible anymore, so I searched for an abstraction layer with a reasonably simple API that would allow me to focus on the code of my projects and spare me from the pain of digesting the OS API. I stumbled upon SDL, which, despite some shortcomings, offered exactly what I was looking for - and, as an added bonus, it was also multiplatform.

Little by little, I created a framework of my own, made basically of scripts, custom libraries and SDL, and a tool chain that includes a few custom tools and SVN, make and gcc.

The benefits are fundamentally two: I'm in control of pretty much everything and I can port my software easily to other platforms. No, wait, there's a third benefit: I have lots of fun and do lots of experience in development! The problem is that, sometimes, to achieve a certain result, it's necessary to first do a lot of work to produce the underlying technology, which might even be quite boring per se. In theory another problem would be that, of course, my framework is limited in comparison to what advanced environments offer... but it's a sort of moot point, because my framework completely fulfills my needs.

Finally, with Huenison finally reaching completion, what is next on the horizon from Retream?

One of the little things I'm working on is a new version of QUOD INIT EXIT: I have already a build with some new interesting features ready, and I plan to add more until I've used each and every free CPU cycle and memory byte (but, honestly, I'm still at a loss as for what!).

Another thing is a super-mega-ultra-hyper-final version of BOH. I tend to update my projects continuously and, moreover, I adapt them continuously to the framework, which is a live entity, subject also to incompatible changes whenever that allows for an improvement. BOH is part of this game and so it has improved since the latest update. On top of that, some BOH modules were reused in Huenison and, during the development of the latter, they improved significantly, so I want to backport them to BOH. And there's also another cool thing: but I don't know if it will be feasible and, anyway, I don't want to spoil the surprise.

I feel also the urge to make another brand-new C64 game - I have had the base concept in my mind for more than a year now - but I don't know if it will ever see the light: at the same time, I'm considering whether I should stop developing altogether, because, while it's an activity that provides me with utmost satisfaction, still it's not giving much to the rest of the world... for sure I could use all my energies and capabilities for more important things. I don't know if I'll ever be able to break out of this form of selfishness. Time will tell.

Assembloids is now FREE!

The previously retail-only enhanced version of RGCD and Onslaught's Assembloids is now available for free download for your emulator or Commodore 64!

An acclaimed frantic-paced puzzle/reaction game from Enthusi, iLKke and Conrad that deservedly took second prize in the 2012 RGCD game development competition, Assembloids is all about assembling robot faces from four sets as quickly (and completely) as possible against an increasingly tight time limit. This retail version is further enhanced over the original competition build, with a refined difficulty curve and highscore verification codes.

Of course, if you want a physical copy of the games for your collections (and who wouldn't?) then it is still available to buy on cartridge from our shop here, and tape users can buy the game from Psytronik Software.

Friday 28 June 2013

Made in Creative UK

I'm proud to announce that RGCD and Psytronik Software have joined Made in Creative UK, an initiative founded by Philip Oliver (CEO of Blitz Games Studios) that aims to highlight and celebrate video games produced in the United Kingdom. Backed by organisations including UKIE, TIGA, NESTA and the Department for Culture Media & Sport, in order to qualify at least 50% of the creative labour of the project needs to have been produced in the UK - so going forward, any RGCD or Psytronik release that meets this requirement will bear the Made in Creative UK banner on the box art, the first of which will be the forthcoming Sheepoid DX/Woolly Jumper compilation for the C64.

Of course, compared to the likes of Crytek, Team 17, Codemasters and Rebellion we are incredibly small players in the game publishing business. However, we are both established representatives of the retro gaming scene and seeing that our games are shipped world wide (as physical products), it just made perfect sense for us to support the cause.

If you would also like to support the Made in Creative UK campaign, more information can be found at

Friday 21 June 2013

Mr Rescue (PC/Linux/Mac)

Blasting doors down with a fire hose, throwing innocent civilians through windows to their 'safety'? This can only be firefighting Mr Rescue style!

Mr Rescue puts the player in charge of the eponymous firefighter as he rescues citizens with gusto, defenestrating them to safety through three levels of what could clumsily be described as "2D 8-bit Habbo Hotel Towering Inferno". It's a platform rescue-em-up which plays quicker than fire rushing down a corridor in a special effects department.

It's a whole lot of fun and a few attempts in I found myself totally immersed in the game, with a huge amount of satisfaction coming from each comical grab-and-throw rescue!

Hypersuper Cannon (PC/Linux)

Every once in a while, there's a game that really throws me for a loop. A game that makes me say "WTF?!" in every single sense of the phrase. A game that is as mysterious as it is well crafted, compelling as it is frustrating. Grimic's Hypersuper Cannon is one such game, and man, is it weird. Awesome, but weird.

I know what you're thinking, especially if you've already peeped some of the screenshots or seen them elsewhere: this is yet another dual stick shooter. Wrong-o, pal. Let me see if I can explain this. (Warning: by giving away some of the game mechanics, I may ruin some of the fun of the discovery process of the game. I found this mystery greatly enjoyable, but others may not. Read at your own peril.)

Thursday 20 June 2013

Futuridium Extended Play (PC/Mac/iOS)

When Andrew Braybrook's Uridium first came out on the Commodore 64 back in 1986, no other shoot 'em up had dared to present players with an enemy that was up to 10 screens in length whilst allowing full freedom of left and right scrolling, and few have pulled it off so well since. It was this sense of scale that made the undisputed 8-bit classic (and its 16-bit sequel) so special. Piloting a nimble one-man Manta fighter craft and taking on a fleet of epic armed-to-the-teeth alien dreadnoughts was no walk in the park, yet the sense of achievement felt as you pulled away from the disintegrating wreckage of each gigantic battleship was more than worth the effort; a real 'fist-in-the-air' victory moment, every time.

As you can no doubt tell, I'm a life-long fan of the franchise with Uridium being one of my earliest videogame memories and a shmup I still play regularly today. So, you can imagine my excitement when I first discovered Mixed Bag's beta of Futuridium EP a couple of months ago, a game preview that delivered the classic experience of Uridium in a fresh 3D perspective backed up by a bassbin-rocking glitch-hop, breakbeat and drum and bass soundtrack.

After sending the Italy-based development team a rather gushing fan letter, RGCD were invited to help further playtest the game through the final stages of development - and now, (you lucky, lucky people) the finished full game is available for free download (and soon for purchase on iOS).

Monday 17 June 2013

Super Connard (GameBoy)

Super Connard sounds like an innocent name for a game doesn't it? That is until you translate it from French and discover that actually means 'Super Asshole'. A collection of three mini-games that sees you playing none other than Joseph "I stuff monkeys into Pringle tubes in the name of science" Herring, Kim Jong-un and Adolf Hitler, it could be the most controversial game to ever hit a Nintendo console. With homebrew Gameboy releases being somewhat of a rarity - ones featuring real-life dictators considerably more-so - the question remains; what is Super Connard actually like to play?

Fortunately, here at RGCD we were lucky enough to receive a near-final version of the game earlier this month prior to its physical cartridge release.

Saturday 8 June 2013

Full Circle: Rocketeer Available! (Atari Jaguar CD)

"Flying through space is no picnic. Commanding an intergalactic space vessel isn't all plaid blankets and wicker baskets. All manner of peculiar happenings might ruin one's day. Take planets for instance. They're big. Really big. Often rather solid, too. For these reasons alone, it's usually advisable not to involve yourself in any sort of altercation with one, particularly when travelling through hyperspace.

This was now something Space Corps Commander Gwyn Williams knew only too well, as, from his vantage point high in the upper atmosphere, he observed the fragments of his vessel scattered over the surface of this particular example of Big Solid Planet. Sliced into three sections with the ship's cargo falling from orbit all around him, he wondered how this day might possibly get any worse... Ah! Of course! An onslaught of deadly rocks - simply perfect!"

Following the Jaguar CD releases Kobayashi Maru: Final and Jagware Collection 1.0, Reboot and RGCD are back with another serving of unashamedly old-school arcade goodness in the form of Full Circle: Rocketeer. Rebuild and reload your crashed space craft whilst fending off endless waves of hostile aliens and meteors in 16 unique levels spread over 4 worlds! Full Circle: Rocketeer features 50/60 FPS fluid gameplay (PAL/NTSC) powered by Reboot's Raptor game engine, 8 channel digital sound (music and effects), collectable bonus items, online high scores (via webcodes), MemoryTrack saving and ProPad controller support.

The physical release comes cellophane wrapped in a clear DVD box with full colour, double-sided printed inlay on a full face printed, glass-mastered CD, direct from the factory (100% professionally produced in the UK). Instructions for each game are included on the inside of the inlay. It requires no additional hardware to run other than the Jaguar CD console itself. As an added bonus, a vinyl Reboot sticker will be included with every order.

Priced at £21 (plus £4 UK/Europe shipping, £5 rest of world) Full Circle: Rocketeer is available to buy from our shop page today!