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 ;)

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