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I know there are too many of these kinds of games, but hey. Columns holds a special place in my heart as that one game (in this 6-Pak cartridge I've enjoyed playing when I visited my relative's house during the weekend back when I was much younger.

So I figured I'd see if I could give recreating this game a shot. A few weeks (which should have really only taken a few days but graphics) and I have... something?

Demo gameplay shot using LICEcap since CEmu botches the screenshot timing. They say they fixed it in v1.1 but that doesn't seem to have been released

Idk if this is a known issue, but I had to use a URL shortener on some of the links since they contained characters which appeared to break the URL tag
Ooh that looks fun! I imagine it is main screen and score calculation things that are left to add? Also, you should totally upload projects to github Smile
Looks very polished already, Iambian - nice work!
This is superb news! Columns was great as a kid - looking forward to this, it will definitely work on the CE. Cheers buddy! Smile
That looks very fluid, Iambian; keep up the great work! What works so far, and what do you still need to add before it's ready for a release?
It looks pretty complete
KermMartian wrote:
That looks very fluid, Iambian; keep up the great work! What works so far, and what do you still need to add before it's ready for a release?

Thanks!

The following needs to be added/changed before I can make a release:
* Various bits of interface graphics (new score/time, current score/best time, level, jewel count/class)
* Scoring and timing methods for "original" game and time trial modes.
* Gem graphics/animations and field generation needed for "flash" game mode.
* Timing to allow multiple steps per frame for those really fast drops.
* All those fancy graphics and menus that were in the original game to select those fun game modes.
* Fixing backgrounds and adding additional game-over checks.

The following would be nice but not strictly necessary for a release:
* Half-tile drop animation (like in the original)
* Some manner of 2-player support (whenever we get usb libs?)
* Animation on the title screen
* High score and general scorekeeping
* Fixing borders.

Most of the time spent between last post and now was in getting those small graphical elements at the side of the play area put together. I couldn't get the borders of the interface exactly the way I wanted them to be but it'll have to be good enough for now.

Animated .gif of cycling through gameplay modes via debug command to inspect interface elements. Glitches are intended; the game was never meant to be controlled in this way.


Notes: The background uses the same two tiles for every game mode. I could probably get away with reducing it to just one tile, though. I do palette shenanigans to change the colors on the tiles for every mode, which lets me save about 3KB on storage costs. The program as it is at the time of posting weighs in at 10KB. I expect the final result to be around 30KB, most of which will be in recreating both title screens. Game scoring might not be 100% accurate since I can't fully figure out how the game calculates the base score prior to level and combo multipliers.
EDIT: You can follow the project on GitHub. Don't mind the horribly incomplete everything.
It's getting closer to completion. My prior size estimates were a bit on the low side. It currently compiles to 48KB and I still have some graphics I need to add.

TODO
* Game over / victory conditions / score saving
* Bugfixes
* Code refactor
* 2p mode lockout (reserved for when link play becomes a thing)
* Arcade mode option menus
* Time tracking for time trial and flash columns play modes

Sample gameplay from all available modes. Flash mode not yet correctly implemented


And now, to go get myself lost on imgur
Awesome! This is a great example of C being put to good use on the CE Smile
Since the last time I posted, I have updated scoring, fixed a couple gameplay bugs, added a few menus and a game over screen. Flash Columns is mostly complete by now and is perfectly playable. The game currently compiles to about 58KB and is not expected to get much larger than that.Haha I'm pretty sure I said that before.

TODO:
(Prior to release)
* Fix strange random crashing bug in time trial mode
* Fix possible score compare bug in Flash Columns mode
* Lock out 2p modes
* Figure out where to show the arcade mode high score screen
* Add speed/difficulty ramping
(After release)
* Refactor and (size) optimize

Example of a poorly-played arcade mode run, a game over screen with name entry, an example of a very easy run of Flash Columns, main option menu and color test


Notes:
* The game versions the score/settings file. If there's a version mismatch, it deletes the old file first to prevent compatibility problems. This should only really be a problem if you've been playing the pre-releases or have been building the game yourself from the GitHub page.
* The color test is actually a full-screen compressed image with the text "Color test" overlaid. The 320 by 240 image compresses to a little less than 300 bytes.
* There was back-end work done with how drop speed is handled. The game can now drop up to 2 squares per frame @ 60fps, which seems to be about as fast as the original game can do it.
* The change in how drop speed was handled revealed a bug which was present for ages and was never truly solved but was patched over. I should be able to allow off-screen match testing again. At some point.
* The presence of options alluding to any sort of BGM could have been removed, but they were present in the original game and leaving them out made the menus feel too empty. Toggling these options, however, are still tracked and can be used in case I ever port the game to a device that is able to play sounds.
Too fancy haha. This is looking great though! How long do you think you have left?
This is a very nice implementation of the game! I remember seeing you working on this in HCWP, and I love the way it turned out. Smile
Minor update:

* Added additional checks for next jewels display, hopefully fixing a bug that crashes near the end of a time trial run
* Added magic jewel

Demonstration of the magic jewel's function


TODO:

* Fix display bugs in next jewel display
* Block off 2p modes
* Adjust jewel clearing/cycle timings
  
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