Saturday 15 June 2019

Relentless (Commodore 64)

Already this year the RGCD 16KB Cartridge Game Dev Compo has received its fair share of shoot 'em ups - and as shmups are my favourite game genre, this makes me very happy! With Sarah Jane Avory's excellent Neutron, Richard Bayliss' Blastopia DX and Let's Invade 2 already submitted and two more planned from C64CD (Stercore XD and Death Weapon), you'd think there wouldn't be room for any more.

You'd be wrong.

Back in 2013, Paul 'Axelay' Koositra, rexbeng and Tom & Jerry released a stunning 16KB shoot 'em up called Relentless for the Amstrad CPC - also, somewhat fittingly, as an entry in a 16KB cartridge competition - which it ultimately won. Then, to celebrate Psytronik releasing the cassette version of the CPC game, rexbeng uploaded a C64 version of the loading screen to CSDB as a teaser - but that was all - there was no C64 conversion planned... Until now!

Similar to the original, Relentless 64 is a high speed, non-stop score-chasing shmup with some neat score chaining mechanics. The enemy waves come at you thick and fast, and taking out an entire wave rewards you with an increasing score multipler, resetting back to 1x should you miss a ship or crash.

Level progression is akin to Konami's Scramble - no pause to catch your breath, no 'level complete' text, just a scenery/enemy change and onwards you go, leaving a trail of destruction in your wake. The gameplay, aside from the scoring, is pure - no power-ups or bosses, just classic horizontal shooting action at a breathtaking speed (beaten in this competition only by Stercore XD).

It's fantastic stuff, with multiple difficulty settings (changing the rate of fire of the scenery mounted turrets and player autofire), options for music, sfx or both (with the soundtrack provided by the awesome Cyborgjeff) and proper high score entry (which even remembers your initials between rounds). There are also plans for medal icons to show the difficulty scores were achieved on in the high score table.

As with Moonspire II, rexbeng's artwork gives the game a unique futuristic feel - the player ship and bullets are vibrant and despite the minimal ROM space he has achieved a rich and varied set of enemy types and scenery pieces. The randomly selected enemy waves also help to keep it feeling fresh with every play.

All that currently remains prior to submission in the competition is a reworking of the front screen and some minor tweaks and changes here and there, but in all Relentless 64 is shaping up as an excellent 16KB game, and one that we're especially proud to announce will be available from RGCD and Psytronik in physical format in the near future.

Keep an eye on the 16KB competition progress here, and make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook or sign up to our mailing list so you don't miss out when the Relentless 64 is released!

Sunday 9 June 2019

Wolfling (Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga & PC/Linux/MacOS)

Earlier this year, shortly after the launch of the Amiga versions of Powerglove and Tigerclaw, Matthias 'Lazycow' Bock released Wolfling for the Commodore 64, a conversion of his 2017 NesDev competition entry and possibly his most accomplished platform adventure to date. Featuring a shape-shifting werewolf protagonist, Wolfling is most notable for it's interesting mechanics; you can use rays of moonlight to transform from girl to wolf, with both characters controlling differently and having unique abilities and attacks. The game improves on the already high standard set by Lazycow's previous C64 games, with greater environmental variation and more developed story-telling, the only downside being it's relatively short length.

The more observant of you may have noticed that shortly after launch, the Wolfling page was updated with a new cover illustration. We've been keeping this pretty quiet, but that was actually commissioned by us after we reached an agreement with Matthias to team up together for a cartridge release of the game. Why the secrecy? Well, before making any announcement public, we needed to be in a position to actually confirm exactly *what* we were announcing...

Now at last, several months later, we're super proud to disclose that not only will Wolfling be getting a physical release, but it will be further expanded with two new levels, save-points, a mini-map, new graphics, parallax scrolling, new items (including a sword) and a power-dash for the Wolf! Oh, and the big news is that as with Matthias' other releases, this enhanced version of Wolfling will be available for the Commodore 64 *and* 1MB Commodore Amiga!

We've still got quite a long road ahead of us before release; currently the two new levels are built but most of the rooms are placeholder graphics only, and of course for the Amiga version all the artwork will need to be redrawn. There's also the question of how it will be packaged; at the moment I'm considering using the same boxes as used for our Amiga releases, and having the same print material for all versions (like in the old days).

This not only simplifies things for the customer, with one product page with the option of which version you wish to buy (C64 cartridge, Amiga CD and floppy disk, or both, all in the same box), but also saves on production costs - meaning we can sell the game at an affordable price. In fact, with there being Windows, Linux and MacOS ports too, it makes more sense to include a glass-mastered, CD32 compatible CD containing *all versions* of the game even with the C64 cartridge, and have the manual in the format of a CD booklet inside the jewel case.

We'll be back with an update when further progress is made on the Amiga version, but in the meantime, check out the latest public release of the game (currently available for Commodore 64, NES, Windows, MacOS and Linux) over at Lazycow's page.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook or sign up to our mailing list so you don't miss out when the game is released!

Friday 7 June 2019

Introducing the RGCD Megatape

I've been looking at getting some RGCD branded USB sticks made up for a few years now, but could never settle on a style that I was happy with. I figured it would be a nice extra to add with our physical cartridge games so that they can be played on TheC64 Mini or Ultimate64, but the cost price was always so prohibitive - especially so when in comparison with what value they'd add to the buyer. I mean, a 4GB USB stick holding a few kilobytes of data just seemed wasteful.

Then recently those cool guys at Hewson Consultants launched a (successful) Kickstarter for a collectors 'USB cassette' release of Puppy Games' Droid Assault (a game we championed back in 2009, when RGCD was still a CD-based magazine). I'd previously seen Hewson's USB cassette of Hyper Sentinel and I thought the format was a cool gimmick for an indie game, but seeing the Droid Assault Kickstarter aping the style of vintage game cassettes for the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore 64 made something click... and the concept of the RGCD Megatape was born.

I (like many of you) have an Ultimate 1541-II cartridge with my Commodore 64, and over the past decade I've built up quite a large collection of games, demos, artwork and music releases, all of which are now neatly stored on a single USB stick. However, it takes time to build up this sort of hand-picked collection, and with the scene being currently swamped with hundreds of new users thanks to devices such as TheC64 Mini (and the Ultimate64), I figured that a nicely packaged RGCD collection would possibly be well received.

The RGCD Megatape will not only compile all of our past releases and RGCD competition entries in one place, but will also act as a platform to showcase some of our favourite modern-day freeware C64 games and various stuff from the demoscene. The format of the USB cassette itself not only fits in perfectly with genuine retro game collections, but it's also super easy to use with modern hardware (although I may need to provide an optional short USB extension cable looking at how tightly it fits when used with the Ultimate 1541-II cartridge). In fact, if you want to impress your work colleagues, you could just bin the contents and use it as your regular work USB stick in the office! ;)

As you are no doubt aware, RGCD release C64 games exclusively in cartridge format - although we of course have collaborated with Psytronik and Protovision for floppy and cassette versions of some titles. However, compared to other media, these cartridge games are a little more expensive - which makes the Megatape an ideal way for people to add a physical RGCD release to their collection at a more affordable price. And what's really cool is there's no need for a 'Volume 2' - the contents will be regularly updated on a yet-to-be-built website (currently proposed as and ultimately free for anyone to download. Consider this our gift to the scene.

So, when will it be available? And how much will it cost?

There's still a lot of work to do. In some ways, I jumped the gun in asking Christina Antoinette 'Castpixel' Neofotistou to assist with the design and amazing illustration, but I was eager to see what the samples would look like before investing too much time in putting the contents together. Dr. Martin 'Enthusi' Wendt has also been hugely helpful in re-purposing his amazing diskmag engine for use as a note viewer - from the start I wanted to ensure that any readme texts were accessible as stand-alone programs (I don't think TheC64 Mini supports text files, although the Ultimate 1541-II and Ultimate64 do), so I've been busy writing them using a most 'unique' toolchain...

Enthusi's diskmag engine only compiles on Linux - an operating system I've personally failed to get to grips with. However, RGCD's Jamie Howard already had a Raspberry Pi on his network at home acting as a 'smart-doorbell', so we opted to just put the assembler files and scripts on there. So every time I want to compile a note I have to WinSCP the files across to the other side of Exeter, have a chat with his doorbell via PuTTY to compile it before finally transferring back to me. Yes, that's right, the Megatape README.PRG's are compiled remotely by a fucking DOORBELL. I don't think the inventors of the Raspberry Pi ever imagined their hardware would be used this way! :D

So, we're a few months off at least, but I hope to have the the first build of the Megatape available in our store by Autumn. I'll be at Nova Party in a few weeks and will be working on it there (between beers, smokes and socialising), so hopefully I'll have a better launch date estimate after that. Cost wise, these cassettes are not exactly cheap to have made as a short run, but I'm aiming for a price of around £15 plus postage. However, the RGCD Megatape is being developed more for fun than profit (the £2 mark-up per unit is literally just to cover the cost of the artwork), so I'll do my best to keep the price as reasonable as possible.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook or sign up to our mailing list so you don't miss out when the RGCD Megatape is released!

Tuesday 4 June 2019

RTFM(!) - The Evolution of RGCD's Instruction Booklets

Here at RGCD we're currently knee-deep in near-completed projects, and one of the biggest milestones in getting a game published is of course the print material finally coming together. With that in mind, I thought it was time to introduce Chris Mantil - one of our unsung heroes. But first, let's reminisce a little...

When I was a kid in the early 90's, buying a new video game meant taking a 30 mile bus trip into Exeter, walking down to either the independent or chainstore, handing over my £20 or so, then catching the bus home again - and as soon as I got on-board I'd tear open the cellophane and pull out the manual to digest on the way home. Manuals back then were pieces of art themselves, often full of the promise of the excitement ahead, if not more exciting than the games themselves (I recall loving the novella that came with Frontier: Elite II much more than the actual game!)

Of course, in today's gaming environment no player is expected to look at a manual - modern-day game developers are encouraged to either make their games so intuitive that instructions are unnecessary, or provide extensive tutorials that hold the player's hand. Gamers have never had it so good, you'd think. But for me, part of buying a physical release was always about the manual, and for this reason I've always striven to provide full, printed documentation with every RGCD release.

In many cases, this has meant writing a story for an already completed game. Particular examples I'm most proud of include Get 'Em DX - an arcade game which really doesn't need a back story, but received one anyway, and Moonspire - where I had to crowbar a believable sci-fi background into a game that seemingly had no setting at all, despite the futuristic title. (Thankfully, for the sequel Rexbeng, Dusan and I have actually been working out all the plot details before building levels and have even moulded the gameplay to suit!)

However... I'm no graphic designer. Early RGCD releases came with manuals that I put together in MS Word, printed out and cut and stapled together. The text may have been full of plot, trivia and facts, but the presentation was basic to say the least. Then, back in 2016, I received an email from Chris whom introduced himself as a graphic designer (and RGCD fan) who wanted to join the team. The timing couldn't have been better as we'd just agreed to ship Tiger Claw as a perk in the "The Story of the Commodore 64 in Pixels" Kickstarter - a game that very much needed a decent manual. And now in 2019, thanks to Chris, all of the games in our currently available catalogue are up to the standard I always hoped for - with beautifully presented manuals deserving of the player's attention.

One of the things Chris has introduced for RGCD is the 'compatibility grid' - a collection of cells on the first few pages of each manual highlighting features and system requirements. Rather than present these in a bullet-point list (as previously managed), Chris chose a more visual approach that has remained consistent over the past few years - making it immediately clear to the user what they need to run each game.

In addition to this, there's the consistent style he's given each game manual so that it fits the overall package; with Rocket Smash EX's manual having a 1950's aesthetic that matches Flemming Dupont's box illustration, and Aviator Arcade II's 'Field Manual' having the appearance of a fictional Military file. In fact, every time I receive a new set of PDF proofs from Chris my inner kid gives a whoop and a high five!

This year we're continuing the laborious process of working through our back catalogue of 'deleted' games to give them a much-needed refresh and re-release, with 2011's Fairy Well by Wide Pixel Games next to come off the assembly line. I'm hoping to continue to do this alongside the new releases, but it's a pretty expensive venture to redo the manual, create new labels and update the prints, so it will take time for all of our games to become available again.

However, if you have any of our early revisions it's worth noting that some of these can now be (cheaply) updated by purchasing one of our upgrade packs. In fact, if purchased alongside another game or item, the postage is free - so check them out - and please, put my original hand made efforts where they belong - in the recycle bin! :D

Words from the Designer

I emailed Chris a copy of this post for him to check over for factual errors prior to publishing, and in his reply he asked if he could add a few words. What I received back from him was a bit more than 'a few words', but it was so warming to read his thoughts about his time working with RGCD I just had to add it here. Chris, thanks again for all your help!

"I blame C64anabalt for my rekindled love of the C64. After finding out the game had been ported to the 30 year old computer, I quickly fell down the rabbit hole that is the C64 scene. It blew my mind seeing people not only porting games, but also creating entirely new games for the system.

I was so young when we owned a C64, It was hard not to remember it as anything but this funny little computer that our grandparents handed down to us. I wasn't really sure what it was. All I knew was that it was the only form of videogames in our house and that my sister was way better at playing Jumpman than I was.

Diving into the scene as an adult let me track down all the games I played as a kid and appreciate them on a whole new level. I also got to discover a ton of new games, like Knight and Grail, which was easily my favourite game I played that year.

I soon discovered RGCD and again was just blown away by the amount of games that were being released. I also really appreciated that RGCD was committed to putting games on cartridges. As kids, we only ever had a stack of floppy disks, and as much as I loved playing those games, I was never a huge fan of how tedious it was to get them loaded (I didn’t even know games came on tapes)."

"I could tell that there was a lot of care going into these games, and (despite what James may say about his original manuals) I really respected the level of polish that was being put into the packaging. I wanted to be a part of that so I sent James an email and offered to help in any way I could.

It's been three years and I have worked on 18 game manuals as well as boxart for the 2015 16k Cart Competition. It's been a ton of fun collaborating with RGCD and I am very proud of the work we have done together.

Despite being relatively simple, these game manuals are always a bit of a challenge. We usually have limited art assets to work with and often times what we do have is 8-bit sprites. The fun comes from trying to work within these limitations. I always want the instructions and controls to be clearly communicated, but I also want to visualise the tone, energy, and style of the game.

I am particularly proud of the C64anabalt manual. C64anabalt is simple but extremely stylish and relies heavily on atmosphere, as well as a sense of speed and momentum. By replicating the onscreen visuals across double page spreads and the selective use of text, I think we did a great job of conveying the games atmosphere while also communicating how the game moves and plays. Other standouts for me are Super Bread Box, LuftrauserZ, and Rocket Smash EX.

I remember how much fun it was as a kid to pour over game manuals, and I hope my work brings back those fond memories for other people too. It's a ton of fun getting to be a part of this scene. I am constantly impressed by the amount of work people are putting into keeping this computer relevant and I am so glad I get to help out in any way I can."

C. Mantil.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Moonspire II (Commodore 64)

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything about Dusan Milivojevic’s Moonspire II project, and for good reason. Originally planned as a free DLC-style set of extra levels, then re-styled as a stand-alone sequel, an early preview was uploaded to CSDB in which unfortunately 75% of the rest of the game levels we’re hidden in the cartridge image - and of course, when it was ‘cracked’, those half-finished, broken levels were found and unlocked.

This was hugely demotivating for Dusan in particular, and the project was almost binned. However, I suggested that instead of refitting an set of extra levels as a sequel, perhaps this would actually give us the opportunity to start the project again from scratch.

And that is what we’ve been doing for the past year.

Working together with Harris ‘rexbeng’ Kladis and Ari ‘Agemixer’ Yliaho, our plan for the sequel was to tear-up the rulebook and start with a fresh design; instead of crow-barring a plot into a game, this time we’ve been working on a properly structured story with cut scenes and mission briefings that fit the levels. In addition to this we’ve completely revised the control method and even included a huge, scrollable in-game map.

Where the original saw the player infiltrating an alien moon base, in Moonspire II they take the fight to the Draxx, stealthily boarding their leviathan space craft, and uncovering the alien's plans for the human race via a series of intelligence-gathering missions. This has required a huge amount of graphics reworking, and Harris has delivered a unique visual style unlike anything I’ve seen in a C64 game before, with detailed animations and mechanical, futuristic sprites and tiles.

Agemixer’s original acid track from the sequel has been further extended, with additional music being programmed for the intro sequence and outro. In fact, the only thing really holding back the demo release is a missing intro track (which we hope will arrive soon).

The upcoming single-level demo will showcase some of the new features - your mission involving hacking a number of surface mounted computer terminals in order to gain access to the inside of a Draxx fleet ship. There are now switches that unlock sections of the craft, teleporters that take you to otherwise impossible to reach locations, defensive gun turrets and tiles that restrict movement or inflict damage to the player. On the positive side, you now have a cloaking device that renders you temporarily invulnerable added to your arsenal - and the other weapons have been linked to the F-keys for faster selection (rather than using the spacebar-driven menu from the original).

rexbeng has bold plans for the rest of the game, and although development of the six remaining levels will no doubt be a slow process (fitting it in around family commitments and work), if the detail he has put into the demo is anything to go by then it will be worth it.

Moonspire II will hopefully be available in early 2020. In order to document the development and maintain motivation I intend to post regular updates as progress is made, so make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook or sign up to our mailing list so you don't miss out when the game is released!

Note: the original Moonspire can be purchased as a *.crt image for download here, or as an actual physical game cartridge from our online shop!

Friday 17 May 2019

Grid Pix (Commodore 64)

Nonogram puzzle games on the Commodore 64 are like buses, huh? You wait 30 years for one, then two arrive at once! Hot on the heels of Carl-Henrik's 'Nono Pixie' (released as an entry in our 16KB game development compo), follows our own commercial release of Carleton Handley's 'Grid Pix', featuring puzzles designed by Ilija 'iLKke' Melentijevic and music from Merman, TDM and Cyborgjeff!

(Of course I know there are other nonogram games out there for the C64 - Oziphantom released his 4KB 'Picross' game back in 2016, and there's an unfinished C64 port of CEZ's 'Illogical' out there somewhere too!)

We first showed Grid Pix back in February at the GAME>PLAY festival in Exeter, and since then we've been busy preparing the game for release, adding two additional soundtrack options, commissioning a fantastic piece of cover art by Ste Pickford and further tweaking and refining the game. Progress has been slow yet steady, but I'm pleased to announce we are (finally) nearing the finish line :)

Interestingly, the trickiest part of putting together a nonogram puzzle (or 'picross', as they are commonly known) is ensuring that they are logically solvable. For each puzzle, following the numerical clues, there must be only one correct answer, and when it comes to drawing the puzzles this can be a real headache. Ilija must have submitted at least another 30 puzzles that didn't pass Carleton's testing program - add this to the fact you really want to keep puzzles from being too easy to 'guess' and avoid excessive symmetry in such a tiny 1-bit frame, and... well, you get the picture! (pun intended)

An interesting bit of trivia is that when Carelton was originally designing the game, he used the puzzles from Mario's Picross on the GameBoy as test data, and as a result, Grid Pix saves it's data in exactly the same format! In fact, this week Carleton has been introducing a system allowing the cartridge version of the game to upload 'expansion pack' disks into RAM, and guess what has been doing the rounds internally to test that the system works?

(check out the image below - these of course are NOT available with the game!)

Our plan for the release is to ship Grid Pix with 100 puzzles, and then to provide free, future puzzle packs as .D64 images to add to the longetivity of the game. If you'd like to get involved and submit some puzzles for a future pack, please drop us a line! Puzzles can be any size up to 15x15 pixels, but obviously have to pass the testing algorithms before inclusion ;)

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook or sign up to our mailing list so you don't miss out when the game is released!

Thursday 16 May 2019

Retaliate DX (Commodore 64)

Way back in early 2018 I came across a preview of Marcelo Cabral's Retaliate on CSDB - a simple looking shmup that on first glance appeared to be no more than a generic Space Invaders or Galaga clone. However, upon closer examination my interest was piqued - the production notes described it as a demake of a Android/Roku game of the same name, and the summary page highlighted a novel mechanic whereby you have to collect bullets with your shield in order to fire them back at the enemies - similar to the system Nicolas and I devised for r0x Zer0 on the Atari STE.

After playing the game a few times I could see the potential - in fact, after familiarising myself with the Android version I realised that with a little polish the C64 version could potentially surpass the original - which is quite an uncommon feat for a demake!

At it's core, Retaliate is a high-score chaser, and an unusual one at that. In order to achieve a high score, you can't just camp out and use your shield to survive the waves of enemies - instead you must catch the bullets and take the fight back to your aggressors - hence the title of the game.

After introducing myself to Marcelo, I reached out to Trevor ‘Smila’ Storey, Richard Bayliss, Antonio Savona and Jon Eggleton, and as a team we’ve been assisting Marcelo to further refine the game - Trev redid all the in game art and helped redesign the GUI, Richard composed a new title track, Antonio assisted with the cartridge code and Jon Egg delivered an amazing title screen. Retaliate DX was born. I, on the other hand, simply pestered Marcelo again and again with tweaks and amendments - something that anyone who has worked with me before can probably relate to!

My initial concern involved the player hitbox - in fact the player has two hitboxes - a large one for when the shield is activated (by pulling down on the joystick) and the other for detecting death-collisions with bullets and enemies. No doubt to Marcelo's annoyance, this second hitbox caused me to request revision after revision; the game features several unlockable craft, all with slightly different spite shapes and sizes, yet we needed to find a one-size-fits-all solution. Personally I’ve always been a fan of smaller hitboxes (I love the feeling in shoot em ups when you fluke a near miss), but the original game features full-sprite-width collision detection, so whilst the C64 conversion does now differ, this has involved a lot of conversations about not deviating too much from the source material.

Talking of source, some of you may be interested to know that Marcelo has actually branched off the code for Retaliate and the source code for the game (minus the revised artwork, etc) will remain freely available on github as a ‘community edition’ for people to view and learn from for their own projects.

One of the nicest bonus features that made the transition from the original Roku game is the ability to customise the appearance of the player ship; using sliders you can repaint the hull of your ship and the colour of the shield. From this 'hangar' screen you can also select from the available craft, unlocked by achieving score targets in different difficulty modes, and each complete with slightly different stats.

As it stands, the game is now nearing completion and will hopefully be ready for release within the next couple of months. Marcelo has been frequently sending over new test builds for Antonio and I to play, and already the game seems very far removed from that original beta I played over a year ago. With its refined game play, smoother controls and a wider variety of enemies and attack patterns, we're hoping that you'll soon be enjoying Retaliate DX as much as we have been :)

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook or sign up to our mailing list so you don't miss out when the game is released!

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Kickstarter: SID Chip Club: Vinyl album & C64 Cartridge

Those of you who are into modern SID music (and Commodore 64 cartridges) should check out this Kickstarter project by Markus 'LMan' Klein. LMan has been blowing the scene away with his unique club style SID tracks over the past few years, and with this project he not only proposes putting together a six-track vinyl album, but also making it available on cartridge so you can play the tracks on a real Commodore 64! Alternatively, for those of you who prefer records, "SID Chip Club" will be released on a high quality, 160g yellow vinyl record with a special black splatter effect. The pressing will be performed carbon neutrally by an experienced manufacturer.

I've been a fan of LMan's work for quite a while - after all, music productions by people like him, Jason Page and Linus are the reason why I have a C64 set up and plugged into a sound system on my everyday work desk. So it should come as no real surprise that RGCD have offered to help him with the cartridge side of things. You can rest assured that the final result will be a quality physical release that will have you dancing around your C64, lights off and volume up to the max, jacking like its 1988...

The Kickstarter is currently sitting at about 2/3 of the way to it's much-needed target, so if this is something that remotely interests you, please consider giving it your support by clicking here. Records are available for £22-24, and the cartridge is only £30!

Friday 26 April 2019

SkillGrid Available! (Amiga Download & Physical Release)

Finally! All the packaging and printed parts have arrived and I'm proud to announce that RGCD and Retream's SkillGrid is available to purchase now for your AGA Amiga as either a physical release or digital download!

SkillGrid is an endless score-attack vertical shoot 'em up for AGA Amigas developed by Retream, featuring frenetic, tactical gameplay and comprising of a variety of different sub-games, boss battles and in-depth scoring mechanics.

Based on an original concept, SkillGrid faces the player against infinite waves of enemies to kill, bonuses and upgrades to collect (cyan cells) and maluses to avoid (yellow cells). Designed for AGA Amigas only, the game features three-layer parallax variable-speed scrolling (2 of which generated procedurally), 8-bit alpha channel transparencies and real-time palette changes, highscore saving, beautifully designed sprites with pixel-perfect collision detection, high quality prog-rock music in the form of lossless-packed 8 bit stereo 28.9 kHz samples and even in-game speech warnings (from the developer himself)!

All of this is crammed into a single load game that runs from floppy, CD or hard disk!

F​or full details on the game, please check out the official website here. Please note that SkillGrid is a PAL game. It will run on NTSC Amiga systems (the machine will switch itself to PAL mode automatically) but you will need a PAL display!

SkillGrid is available in two versions; a basic CD-only version that comes with an auto-booting jewel-cased, glass-mastered CD complete with a professionally printed 16-page manual, a large weather-proof vinyl RGCD sticker, RGCD and Retream postcards and two disk labels (so you can make your own floppies from the images on the CD). The deluxe version comes with all this plus a packet of four beautiful 25mm button badges, an A3 poster (rolled) and the game on two floppy disks - all presented in a plastic clam shell box complete with custom made foam insert.

Please note that SkillGrid is also available to buy here as a downloadable .ADF/.ISO image to use via emulation or on real hardware. Purchases of the physical package come with a download link of the game for free. Grab your copy of the game now from our online store!

Get 'Em DX Available (Again) on Cartridge!

A couple of months ago, RGCD were fortunate to be involved in a local gaming festival here in our home city of Exeter (GAME>PLAY hosted by Tech Exeter). We had a bunch of our games on rotation through the day, yet surprisingly the most popular one by far was Get 'Em DX, a previously discontinued C64 cartridge game that was developed in house by Georg Rottensteiner, Ilija Melentijevic and Sean Connolly.

Get 'Em DX is a one or two player (co-operative) maze-based arcade game. It's a bit like Pac-Man, but with procedurally generated levels and more shooting. The goal on each level is to eat all the crosses, then grab the key that appears and head for the exit door. However, there's also a motley bunch of nasty characters who'll try their best to kill you, block your path and otherwise hinder your progress. In fact, they'll even run off with the exit key if you don't collect it first!

It's a game that I've always been fond of, so seeing it being enjoyed so much at GAME>PLAY inspired me to give it the re-release it deserved, complete with professionally printed inserts, a new domed label and a beautifully designed manual by Chris Mantil. And fear not - if you already own the game on cartridge you can upgrade your own copy with a new manual and label :) Grab your copy today from our online store!

Get 'Em DX is also available for FREE download as a .crt and .prg image from our page.

Friday 8 February 2019

Moonspire, Powerglove, Yoomp! 64 & Bomberland Back in Stock!

Unsurprisingly, quite a lot of our physical game releases ran out of stock during the Christmas/New Year period - but at the time of typing, most of our back catalogue is again available to purchase, including Yoomp! 64 (which hasn't been in stock for a few months)!

Currently available over at our online store we have:

Note that Rocket Smash EX (C64) and C-2048 (C64) will be available again soon (I'm awaiting a delivery from Tim at Sharewareplus). Also, our planned back-catalogue reissues continue this year, with Georg Rottensteiner's one or two-player arcade-style eat-em-up Get 'Em DX (C64) currently being worked on. Expect more news on this one at the end of the month.

Aviator Arcade II Available! (C64) (Download, Disk and Cartridge)

An unknown militarized terrorist unit, known as the X-Force, has occupied the peaceful city of Suburbia. As the top pilot in the Earth Defence Force (EDF) the job of defeating the terrorists falls to you!

Flying your state of the art attack helicopter you are sent into what seems to be a straight forward seek-and-destroy mission - but as the story unfolds it will become apparent that the X-Force's goal is more sinister than anyone could have imagined...

Grab your joystick, save the world, and see if you can get that all-time high score!

The initial version of AVIATOR ARCADE was released as a three-level, 16KB cartridge game for the RGCD annual C64 game development competition (in 2014). This greatly enhanced sequel, AVIATOR ARCADE II is a direct response to the feedback received after the first game was released, and features:
  • High octane 50/60 FPS SHMUP action!
  • Ten action packed levels!
  • All new background and sprite graphics!
  • Bosses at the end of each level!
  • Weapon and armour power-ups!
  • Three difficulty levels, auto-fire and more options!
  • Upgraded sound and bomb effects!
  • High score list and options saved to cartridge and disk!
  • Full PAL/NTSC compatibility!

Developed by Mark Hindsbo, Saul Cross and Thomas Petersen, AVIATOR ARCADE II is arguably one of the best vertical shoot-em-up games available for the Commodore 64, offering players a console quality arcade experience on the humble 8-Bit home computer!

AVIATOR ARCADE II is a Psytronik and RGCD Production.

The All-Important Links:

  • Download the game demo HERE ( (complete with VICE for Windows, macos and linux). The full version is available for $2.99.
  • Buy the game on disk HERE for £6.99/13.99 (Psytronik Software).
  • Buy the cartridge HERE for £36 (RGCD).

Powerglove Reloaded Available! (Win/Mac/Linux/Amiga Download & Physical Release)

The world's fossil resources are exhausted. Two polar subterranean thermal reactors supply the increasing energy demand of mankind. An explosion in the Northern polar thermal reactor has destroyed all primary and secondary energy connections and contact with the engineers and rescue robots has been lost.

Without an energy supply the death of billions is imminent! We need the six control diamonds to engage the station's backup systems. Use the shielded suit and the Powerglove to protect you against the maintenance robots.

You're our only hope!

Powerglove Reloaded is a classic-era run 'n' gun game developed by Lazycow and Pierre 'Cyborgjeff' Martin for the Commodore Amiga home computer. Based on the 2014 Commodore smash 'Powerglove', this enhanced port features improved graphics, a larger game map, deeper game mechanics and even boss fights!

Guide the hero through the polar thermal reactor complex, navigate the complex network of transport tubes, locate the six control diamonds and blast away every rogue robot that stands in your path!

Powerglove Reloaded features:

  • Classic run 'n' gun action over six huge maps!
  • Seven types of fiendish mechanical monsters to vanquish!
  • Four bosses to battle!
  • Cool stuff to collect (including Powerboots & Charge Shot)!
  • 'Classic' mode with chunky C64 graphics!
  • Awesome Soundtrack by Cyborgjeff!
  • Full NTSC/PAL support!

Powerglove Reloaded is available for Windows, MacOS, Linux and the Commodore Amiga (1MB RAM), both in digital format and as a physical release.

The All-Important Links:

  • Visit Lazycow's web site for full details on the game!
  • Download the game HERE ( for Windows/MacOS/Linux (FREE/pay-what-you-want). Amiga version available for $2.99.
  • Download the game HERE ( for Commodore 64 (FREE/pay-what-you-want).
  • Buy the Amiga physical release HERE (RGCD) for £15/16.
  • Buy the Commodore 64 physical release HERE (RGCD) for £28.

(Yep, the C64 version of the game is now free! Enjoy!)

Tiger Claw Available! (Win/Mac/Linux/Amiga Download & Physical Release)

Help TIGER CLAW kick and punch his way through 24 screens of martial-arts mayhem to retrieve the four mystic scrolls before Fire Fist, Thunder Chain and Angry Tongue can reveal their true potential!

Fortunately, Master Lee has transferred some of the mystic scrolls’ power into four masks of endurance before they were stolen. Find these masks and use them wisely. As Confucius said: “He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools!”

TIGER CLAW is a relentless beat 'em up game developed by Lazycow and Saul Cross. Originally released exclusively on Commodore 64 cartridge by RGCD for backers of the C64 in Pixels Kickstarter (Fusion Retro Books, 2016), then ported to Windows, MacOS, Linux and the Commodore Amiga in 2018!

TIGER CLAW was initially released as an entry in the 2014 RGCD 16K C64 Game Development Competition (where it placed 2nd out of 17 entries). Taking player feedback into consideration, the game was both further expanded and refined for the 64KB final, including the addition of extra rooms, foes and features, an arcade-style training mode and a 2-4 player deathmatch arena!

In December 2018, a new version of TIGER CLAW was made available for Windows, MacOS, Linux and the Commodore Amiga (1MB RAM), both in digital format and as a physical release.

  • Kill your friends in deadly 2-4 player versus battles!
  • Smash your way through the arcade-style training mode!
  • Collect ancient masks to gain new powers!
  • Slay dozens of enemy foot soldiers, deadly ninjas, fearsome daemons, rabid hounds and birds of prey!
  • 'Classic' mode with chunky C64 graphics!
  • Full NTSC/PAL support (both on Commodore 64 and Amiga)!

The All-Important Links:

  • Visit Lazycow's web site for full details on the game!
  • Download the game HERE ( for Windows/MacOS/Linux and Commodore 64 (FREE/pay-what-you-want). Amiga version available for $2.99.
  • Buy the Amiga physical release HERE (RGCD) for £15/16.

(Yep, the C64 version of the game is now free! Enjoy!)

(Belated) Happy New Year!

A belated Happy New Year to you all! The last couple of months have been insane here at RGCD; since the release of Aviator Arcade II (C64), Powerglove Reloaded (Amiga) and Tiger Claw (Amiga) in early December I have been swamped with over 250 orders, most of which were for multiple games. As you (probably) know, all our releases are hand assembled and packed by myself, Jamie and (in the case of most C64 releases) Tim in our spare time outside of our real-life jobs - and as a result I've only in the past couple of weeks caught up with the backlog. Phew!

Unfortunately, another side effect of the order-backlog was that I have completely failed to update this website! So, over the next couple of days I'll be quick-firing short blog posts to cover all the various projects that have been bubbling away in the background here. More to follow...