Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

People are still making stuff for the Sinclair related machines. Tell us about new games and other software that runs on the Spectrum, ZX80/ZX81, Pentagon and Next.
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rothers
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Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by rothers »

So, this is what I came up with after my learning curve from making Super Minimal Bros. (super sonic bros. is not necessarily the final name for this)

I wanted to make a super fast scrolling Mario/Sonic mashup on the 48k (because that's what I had as a kid!), and the 48k never got games like this.

Here is a level I made for it this morning:

https://toastyfox.com/zx/sonic.html

Try it out above. I will put some music in it for 128k owners if someone can help me do that (I know nothing about music).

I also tried to make this not look like the old Speccy games, I wanted to use all the colour and I think I did!

I want to make it in to a full game, I've got all the low level ram for storing levels, and I've written some simple compression for them which seems to work well. I've still got a load more features to add to it, but I don't see any issues in doing that, there is also more room for optimisation.

I wrote a tool for making the levels, which just converts a picture made in gimp to a level format :lol:

Screen shots:


Image

Image

PS it only works on a 48k at the moment, but I know how to fix that, it's how I'm doing the vbl.
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PeteProdge
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by PeteProdge »

What the...

My breath is taken away, this is amazing! Another day when I'm saying "this... this... this isn't a ZX Spectrum, it just can't do this, surely?"

Why can't you have been hired by Activision to handle the Wonder Boy conversion!?
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Joefish
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by Joefish »

That's very good. I like how you've used black edges on the background objects, and how that lets you use light and dark shades without affecting the background colour. Also the highlights and shading is impressive for such blocky limitations!

I'd like to see a bigger player sprite though, in more than one colour. If he was three or four characters tall you could maybe use INK + PAPER colours within the head / body to add detail in colour.
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by gabriele amore »

Joefish wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:34 pm That's very good. I like how you've used black edges on the background objects, and how that lets you use light and dark shades without affecting the background colour. Also the highlights and shading is impressive for such blocky limitations!

I'd like to see a bigger player sprite though, in more than one colour. If he was three or four characters tall you could maybe use INK + PAPER colours within the head / body to add detail in colour.
I was going to write pretty much the same

good job!
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by highrise »

Nice work! I've seen this trick used quite extensively in the demo scene over the years but not much in games, well done.
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by Morkin »

Looks cool - 4-pixel scroll is very smooth-looking. 8-)

Only thing I found is that it feels like Sonic style momentum (and style) but the level I played seems to require Mario-style precision. It looks good but I found the controls a bit tricky. I had about 10 goes and couldn't get past the tube/water jump-y bits, because of the inertia/momentum I just kept falling off the end.

As a fairly-rubbish-games-player request, if you release a full game, my plea would be can you make platform edges slightly more forgiving, or make the sample level one of the later ones, otherwise it'll be yet another nice-looking new release where I can't get off the first level :lol:
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by uglifruit »

This is great. Hats off.
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by 5MinuteRetro »

Thiis is fabulous. I wonder why we've never seen games like this (that I know of, at least)? But I agree with a previous comment here, that it has Sonic speed but with Mario mechanics... it's just a bit too tricky.
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by rothers »

Morkin wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 2:27 pm Looks cool - 4-pixel scroll is very smooth-looking. 8-)

Only thing I found is that it feels like Sonic style momentum (and style) but the level I played seems to require Mario-style precision. It looks good but I found the controls a bit tricky. I had about 10 goes and couldn't get past the tube/water jump-y bits, because of the inertia/momentum I just kept falling off the end.

As a fairly-rubbish-games-player request, if you release a full game, my plea would be can you make platform edges slightly more forgiving, or make the sample level one of the later ones, otherwise it'll be yet another nice-looking new release where I can't get off the first level :lol:
Ah don't worry, the physics were just my best guess at sonic/mario mash up. I know it plays a bit like you're on ice, but it's just a demo.

Thanks for your kind comments everyone, I'm glad you like the idea.

I don't know why games companies didn't use 4*8 mode. I used to always think there was a reason why it was impossible as a kid, but the idea has been eating at me for 30 odd years!

I've now done both the game styles I always wanted to.

This isn't even optimised, it's mostly in C :lol:

My next little project might be a Wolfenstein clone using a similar method. But I want super sonic mario to at least be a 'full' game of some description first. *help with music* would be most appreciated!
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by rich_r »

rothers wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 4:02 pm I don't know why games companies didn't use 4*8 mode. I used to always think there was a reason why it was impossible as a kid, but the idea has been eating at me for 30 odd years!
I wonder if (at least in 1983-4), people might think it looks too much like a ZX81 game, but with colour. People were quite keen to show off the Spectrum’s ‘high resolution’ graphics as being a major step forward.
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by rothers »

You might be right, I am only just learning how to mix them together in 2024 :lol: because I have very little to go off from the past...

I think if balanced right it can work for a very fast, very colourful scrolling game. I just keep trying different things until it looks good.
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by Morkin »

rothers wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 4:02 pm Ah don't worry, the physics were just my best guess at sonic/mario mash up. I know it plays a bit like you're on ice, but it's just a demo.

Thanks for your kind comments everyone, I'm glad you like the idea.
Looking forward to playing the game when it's out..! :dance
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by DVDfever »

I had a go through this, thanks. There was a bizarre way to get to the top of a tree early on, but later, I knew I wouldn't get all of the items :D

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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by worcestersource »

Assuming this turns into a polished game, this would have been a smash back in the day.
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by equinox »

Cool. I have never seen a Spectrum game that looks like this... The controls seem a tiny bit too fast to be comfortably playable, which is, er, a better problem to have than the opposite one.

I got as far as the "Bullet Bill", which scared the pants off me. (Pipes too: it's a lot more Mario than Sonic, isn't it?)
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by rothers »

DVDfever wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 11:35 am I had a go through this, thanks. There was a bizarre way to get to the top of a tree early on, but later, I knew I wouldn't get all of the items :D

Ha it's funny seeing someone else play it, getting up the tree is indeed a bug I'd not seen, I forgot to mask off that edge, and it thinks it's a pipe so pushes you up until you hit blue! (you can actually get up on to those trees from the first pipe).

I'll try to push out a proper updated demo once I've drawn more levels. I need to play more Mario & Sonic for inspiration, I want to do some really fast levels like Sonic. I also had some optimisation ideas today while on a walk.

I'm also having issues putting the level data in to contended RAM with the compiler, so the only way I can currently do it is to make a .tap file, open in emulator, export .sna file then inject the level data in to that and run it again :o but I really want to keep this 48k, the game code is under 16k.
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by DVDfever »

rothers wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 6:54 pm Ha it's funny seeing someone else play it, getting up the tree is indeed a bug I'd not seen, I forgot to mask off that edge, and it thinks it's a pipe so pushes you up until you hit blue! (you can actually get up on to those trees from the first pipe).

I'll try to push out a proper updated demo once I've drawn more levels. I need to play more Mario & Sonic for inspiration, I want to do some really fast levels like Sonic. I also had some optimisation ideas today while on a walk.

I'm also having issues putting the level data in to contended RAM with the compiler, so the only way I can currently do it is to make a .tap file, open in emulator, export .sna file then inject the level data in to that and run it again :o but I really want to keep this 48k, the game code is under 16k.
Thanks. I thought there was an end to it, but when I realised it was a case of turning round and going back the way I came, I went for that :D
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by IgnaCoBo »

I used your technique of "moving" only attribute memory, and leaving static graphic vertical bars on the bitmap screen.

Here is my demo, programed in pure Basic, moving colors data using defadd trick. As you can see, the scroll is in 4pixels increments:



Image
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by patters »

IgnaCoBo wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 6:54 am I used your technique of "moving" only attribute memory, and leaving static graphic vertical bars on the bitmap screen.

Here is my demo, programed in pure Basic, moving colors data using defadd trick. As you can see, the scroll is in 4pixels increments:



Image
Bolalela 4 did something similar. I unpicked it to figure it out here:
https://github.com/patters-match/bola4
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Re: Super Sonic Bros. Fast scrolling platform game which tries to not look like a ZX game

Post by DoctorRad »

rothers wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 11:47 am Here is a level I made for it this morning:
https://toastyfox.com/zx/sonic.html
Link appears to be broken?
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