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Core Dump

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Core Dump - Work In Progress

Episode 43

September 23, 1997 : Zandvoort '97

I had considered making a big, all new promo version. But universities and social life got in the way, so I figured "Well I'll just take the internet promo along and show all the cooler weapons" (There is a cheat mode in the promo...). And my girlfriend, Yen-Ha, had never been to an MSX-fair so I guess she had to face it sometimes...

Late again

I am quite famous for arriving late at fairs. Pat always travels with the Futuredisk gang, so he is always there at the opening of them things. Not me. Usually I arrive around 14:00. This Zandvoort was no exception.

Okay, so it was a bit empty. Why? 1) MSX is on the decline, but hey, it has been on the decline for a number of years. 2) There were no big products launched this year. 3) The games abonnement. People can stay at home and still get their games.

So much for the products, and customers stayed away likewise. But the people who make stuff always go to fairs, so it's always fun to have a chat with everyone. For example, I hadn't realised that Peter Meulendijks (UMAX) is creating Smumpkin IV on his own! That's quite impressive, considering that he isn't a coder originally. Anyway, we talked a bit. Goody. Smumpkin IV will have background animations, that looks quite cool. And no more area scanners, I recall. Instead some cool map. (But is that useful?)
Anyway, he had tried to play the Core Dump promo but had somehow missed the point of hanging from ropes. So he didn't know how to get past the first few spikes. Duh.

Stefan Boer explained that he saw such a fair as a reunion, and I guess he's right at that. It must be easier for him now, as he now goes to fairs as sort of a normal person, instead of running everything the way he did for years. For me, fairs like these are needed to keep in touch with everyone. But I also go to see how people react to our games.

I had wanted to chat to Jan van Valburg and Anne de Raad, but as I don't have a clue on what they look like, it kinda slipped off the agenda. Maybe they'd already left at 14:00, I'm not sure.

I watched a few people play the promo, and that was a very nice experience. They actually liked the more frustrating bits, although I have to remember not to make the jumps too hard. friends are waiting, more typing tomorrow!

...and now the story continues.

I was watching this person play the promo, and he fell into the pit (east bit in the promo) where the grenades can be found. Going back up there are two harder jumps. I find them easy, but then I've created the player controls so I know what I'm doing. Anyway, this guy jumps and misses the platform. Ok. I understand that. Climbing back up. Another try. Almost! Okay. Back up. Ooops! Just missed that! ........

This went on for about twenty minutes. I was thinking "Any minute now this man will stop playing and go somewhere else."; "he can't be enjoying this". But no. He stayed. Far longer than I'd expected.

Very useful information, seeing someone play. Even Pat was amazed that someone really liked the game that much. Oh well. I guess that's all part of the game. *grin*

What shall we do with the drunken Zandvoort?

Early in the morning. Indeed. Well I don't mind another Zandvoort, but I don't think it's going to happen. Tilburg '98 will see Smumpkin IV released, and hopefully some other good stuff. That will attract visitors. I think it would be wise for the Tilburg organisation to make an internet page, say two months before the event, where all things that will be launched at the fair can be presented. To wet the visitors' appetite. Call Peter Meulendijks and ask him for screenshots. And voila, twenty extra visitors... or something.

FD rulez the wavez

The FutureDisk is going very strong, and signed up approximately 20 new members which is surprisingly many. Goody, that's a really nice development there. And now that there isn't any competition left everyone better get their subscription to the Futuredisk now! Oh, and they've got a web page now. The URL will follow soon, but I've forgotten that now.

Game front: 500kB of main source code and rising...

(And that does not include in-game text. It's quite a lot for an MSX2 game that will fit into 128kB ram, including all data and music and the like)

Anyhue (Muppets Tonight gag...), I have been working on more strange enemy systems. There is now a "have I been displayed onscreen last time the screen was printed?"-bit for each object. Usually, you can detect this by measuring the distance from the object to the player, but with all these multiple camera's that obviously does not work. But whenever enemies "appear" on the map, the player should not be able to see that. It looks stupid. Really.
So now if there is an object that "generates" enemies, it only creates new enemies when it has not been displayed onscreen. This also implies that when you place a plastic explosive next to it, it won't generate anything at all. If you wonder why all these devices are constructed: it is to produce a really slick game in which nothing is "slightly strange" (unless intended). We're aiming for quality here, for a good "feel".

Go on...

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