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 :)