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About a year ago I released Alien Breed 5. Whilst I was quite happy with it, there were a few ideas & features that I had in mind during the development process that didn't make it into the final product for various reasons. I figured I'd come back and further develop the game again at some point, and based on my track record of Alien Breed games on TI calculators, I guess it was inevitable anyway! Those that have either finished all 12 levels of AB5 (or looked through the source code) will know that I decided to subtitle the v1 release "Episode I: Rebirth".

Episode II: Evolution is a major update to Alien Breed 5. The battle against the neverending alien horde continues, and will be taken to new levels of fun!

There will be a number of improvements and additions to the game. For this reason, it will be available only on the TI-83+/84+ calculators, as a flash application. The game has now outgrown it's previous "RAM program" life due to memory constraints. In terms of how the game will be changed, think of it like an "expansion pack", ie. all the previous levels and gameplay features of AB5 v1 will be there, but there will now be additional content and things to do in-game.

Features:
- 12 brand new levels which form Episode II: Evolution. This brings the level total to 24 across 2 campaigns.
- 2-player co-operative play.
- "Retreat" firing.
- Intex Entertainment "Space Pong".
- Achievements.
- In-game tips for new players.
- Smooth walls/soft corners for easier navigation into tighter corridors.
- Increased tileset, animations & interactive objects.
- Improved interface.
- Boss AI re-written.
- Game balancing adjusted.
- Cut scene type segments and improved epilogue when finishing a campaign.
- A bunch of minor bug fixes.

I was kind of hoping for a color version, but I can't honestly say I'm disappointed in this announcement--quite the contrary! It'll be fun to play some more Alien Breed, and I'm glad you're continuing the series. Can't wait to see what cool new things make it in. If you need anyone to test along the way just let me know Smile
Hooray, this sounds great!
That's an awesome intro Very Happy Can't wait to play!
Thanks all!

Merth: When the 84+CSE came out, AB in colour was the first thing I dreamed of. I'm not sure how achievable it would be, but it is something I'll no doubt mess around with at some point!

I'll definitely need testers once I've gotten a bunch of the new features ready, so I'll be sure to let you know and send out some beta copies to yourself and others.
Great work! I have played the other Alien Breed games, but have not finished any of them. I think I will get to that, and nice work as always!
How this slipped past my radar is ridiculous. Nice work, James! If you do need a tester, I'm happy to help Smile
I mentioned in the original post that AB5 v2 will include all the levels from v1 (Episode I: Rebirth). It will also include another set of 12 new levels (Episode II: Evolution)!

Whilst the Rebirth levels were based on the Alien Breed Special Edition '92 levels from Team 17, the Evolution levels will likely be a mix of the Team 17 Alien Breed 1, Convergence, Valiance & Synergy levels. I'm intending to make the difficulty curve slightly sharper on these levels, although I have no idea how easy or hard people found the Rebirth levels.. I find them pretty easy, but then I know the levels inside out from playing ABSE'92 through hundreds of times over the last 20 years!

When starting a new game, a new selection screen comes up, and you choose whether you want to play the Rebirth or Evolution episode. Passcodes from v1 are still valid in v2, and entering a passcode from a game you had been playing in v1 will simply work as it did before, whereas any passcodes you receive when playing the Evolution levels will automatically load you back into the appropriate Evolution level. This is because internally the passcodes calculate the Rebirth levels as 0-11 and the Evolution levels as 12-23.

I like the sound of that passcode implementation Smile Thanks for the thoughtfulness on your part Smile
elfprince13 wrote:
I like the sound of that passcode implementation Smile Thanks for the thoughtfulness on your part Smile
Hehe all good. Whilst it was never set in stone that I'd continue to develop AB5 when I released v1, I knew it was a fair chance, so I planned ahead with the passcode encoding for this reason.

The only thing you might lose from previous versions is your high scores, as I'll likely be updating the appvar to incorporate some new information. If it's not too messy though, I'll put some code in to "convert" the old format appvar into the new format so that old high scores are kept Smile

The next feature I want to announce is really cool - hopefully I'll have something to show in the next 4-5 days!
What's could be better than Alien Breed on a TI calculator? How about Alien Breed on 2 linked TI calculators?

The main new addition in AB5 v2 is that I've gotten around to implementing 2 player co-operative link play! This is something I've wanted to do for many years - back in 2000 I even attempted to make an Alien Breed "deathmatch" game, but failed miserably. The co-op feature of the Team 17 games was always an awesome feature that I enjoyed; Dad and I spent many years blasting away at aliens together when I was a kid!

I owe many thanks to Timendus for his Bell link library which I'm using. It's proved invaluable and syncing between the two calculators is running smoothly. In terms of performance, a link play game runs a couple of frames slower per second, due to the small packets being sent back and forth, but it's still nice and smooth.

With gameplay, it functions almost identically to the original Team 17 games. Both players must work together in the same area, ie. you can't venture more than a screen length away from each other, and you can't shoot each other. The only difference to the Team 17 games is that in the calculator version, the two players don't have collision detection with each other - you can walk through one another. This is simply because the levels in the calculator game are exactly half the length & width of the originals, thus the corridors are often narrower and so getting around each other would often be impossible.

In the event that one player runs out of lives, quits, or unplugs mid-game, the other player has the option to continue in single player mode. Once you revert to single player mode, you can't return to two player mode without starting a new link game. 2 player games can also be played on the original Episode I: Rebirth levels.

That is amazing! Will this work with usb connections as well, or just I/O?
I seem to remember that Bell works only for the standard I/O port. In either case, very impressive Smile
At the moment, it's just across the I/O port (which is what Bell supports). Investigation the USB port is on my to-do list though Smile
Can't believe I missed this! I will definetely be getting this.
JamesV wrote:
At the moment, it's just across the I/O port (which is what Bell supports). Investigation the USB port is on my to-do list though Smile


Might be worth seeing
a) what the differences for you would be between Bell and Calcnet
b) If the USB support in Calcnet extends to inter-calculator connections, or only works in slave mode to a computer. To my knowledge, nobody has ever tested that, but if it works, it could solve your problem.
elfprince13 wrote:
Might be worth seeing
a) what the differences for you would be between Bell and Calcnet
b) If the USB support in Calcnet extends to inter-calculator connections, or only works in slave mode to a computer. To my knowledge, nobody has ever tested that, but if it works, it could solve your problem.
Unfortunately Calcnet isn't an option, as AB5 is a standalone flash application. Regardless, I'll still be looking at the USB port at some point down the track. I understand how the I/O port works (primarily thanks to the tutorial videos that Timendus posted on YouTube). Hopefully seeing as I get the principles of the I/O port, I can wrap my head around the USB port once I get some time to read up on it Smile
Ah, I'd forgotten about the flash app bit, good point.
AB5 v2 will have a new minor gameplay mechanic known as "retreat mode". This was introduced later in the original Team 17 series, and I figured it would be cool to implement.

If you're facing an oncoming pack of aliens and you want to attack them but you also want to get some distance between you and them at the same time, you can now slowly walk backwards whilst firing. To do this in-game, hold down the [ALPHA] key whilst walking & firing, eg. if you hold down [ALPHA][RIGHT], you'll be walking to the right but still facing to the left. You can press [2nd] to fire off some rounds at incoming enemies whilst backing away from them. The catch is that when you retreat backwards, you only walk half-speed.

Previously the [ALPHA] key was used for accessing Intex terminals and activating fire doors, but this function is now mapped to the [X,T,O,n] key.

That looks amazing. This series just gets better and better Very Happy
  
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