Creatures 2 Torture Trouble
Original Price: £11.99 Cassette - £15.99 Disk
Company: © 1992 Thalamus
- Tips and Cheats
- The Fuzzy Factory - Part 1
- The Fuzzy Factory - Part 2
- The Fuzzy Factory - Part 3
- The Fuzzy Factory - Part 4
- The Fuzzy Factory - Part 5
- The Clyde Guide - Part 6
- The Clyde Guide - Part 7
- The Clyde Guide - Part 8
- The Clyde Guide - Part 9
An excellent sequel to an excellent game.
Personally I preferred the first game. If this game had to scrolling levels as well it would have been my favourite. Its got very good level layouts and this music is the best and the use of the C64's graphics take it to the limit (who would have though you could have a full screen snow effect and still have a game running as well).
Insert disk side A and type LOAD "*",8,1 (RETURN) Creatures 2 will now load automatically. Creatures 2 is a multiload game, follow on screen instructions to play.
Insert tape into tape player making sure it's rewound on side A. While holding down the SHIFT key, press RUN /STOP. When the screen prompts you, press play on your player. Creatures 2 is a multiload game, follow on screen instructions to play.
Life has been rather peaceful for the Fuzzy Wuzzy clan ever since Clyde Radcliffe disposed of the island's resident Demons who had kidnapped his best friends. Their torture devices were no match for the might of Clyde and his flame breath.
Clyde had since settled down with Bonnie, a very attractive Fuzzette who fell for him at one of the many 'fuzzy raves'. After several trips to the cabbage patch, they were the proud parents of no less than nine cute little fuzzies. Life was just perfect... or was it?
Unbeknown to them, the land they discovered a few years ago and named 'The Hippest Place in the Known Universe' consisted of not one but three islands. The few surviving Demons fled to these islands and began to construct bigger, better, and more ghastly torture chambers - they wanted revenge.
The Demons decided to strike during the Radcliffe's annual trip to the beach, and while Clyde and Bonnie were 'walking' in the sand dunes, the sadistic Demons mercilessly swiped their helpless kiddies. When Clyde returned, his children were gone the only thing left on the beach was a tiny pair of luminous Bermuda shorts.
On their way back to the village they found Chaz lying on the ground, bleeding and out of breath. He told them about the Demons, the new torture chambers, and that everyone in the village was gone. Chaz drew one last breath, closed his soft, pink eyes, and died. A tear ran down Bonnie's face, and Clyde felt a lump in his throat he knew what he had to do.
The game is set across the 3 islands which make up 'The Hippest Place in the Known Universe', each island in turn contains 6 separate stages; 2 Torture screens, 2 Interlude screens, a Demon Selection, and finally the Island Hopping Selection.
Here Clyde must rescue one of his captured kiddies, using the available on screen objects and devices. Certain creatures, when destroyed, will leave behind a Magic Potion (stolen from the span (Witches Hut). When collected, this potion adds a particular weapon to Clyde's current selection.
For these Selections Clyde teams up with the Fuzzy rescued from the previous Torture Screen, their aim being to bounce a designated amount of Fuzzy Wuzzies to safety. Careful 'fuzzy bouncing' can be used to collect BONUS coins a bonus life is awarded for every 5 collected.
Once Clyde has completed the first four stages of an island he is nabbed by the Demons and imprisoned. To escape he must destroy his captors by bombarding them with Bugs which must be kicked under the Acme Vacuum Machines.
When Clyde has completed an island, he must take his rescued children to the next island. As Clyde is the only one equipped with scuba gear he must carry his offspring across the water. However, Clyde's path may be blocked by smaller islands. The fuzzies must be deposited on the lefthand side of the islands and collected from the right. Again there are BONUS coins for him to collect. Note: It a fuzzy is left too long treading water he will drown!
HIDDEN BONUS ROOMS
Situated on certain Torture Screens are Hidden Bonus Rooms. Clyde can only obtain access to these at certain points and at certain times within each Torture Screen. Once inside, Clyde must collect as many 'bonus creatures' as he can, in as little time as possible. To go into the next room simply fall off the bottom of the screen. ' Note: Only collect the nodding, smiling creatures. If any other creatures are touched, Clyde will automatically leave the Bonus Room.
CONTROL IN GAME
Run Stop: Pause (move joystick to resume)
Q: (from pause) quit
R: (from pause) Restart Torture Screen (one life will be lost)
Pushing UP makes Clyde jump, LEFT/RIGHT makes Clyde walk left and right.
When FIRE is pressed, Clyde will fire using the current weapon. If FIRE is held down for a second and then released, Clyde's flame breath will be activated.
Pulling DOWN then pressing FIRE will bring up the weapons tablet.
Keeping FIRE depressed, LEFT/RIGHT can be used to select a weapon - release FIRE when the desired weapon is highlighted.
Pushing LEFT/RIGHT will move Clyde and his kid left/right.
With FIRE held down, LEFT/RIGHT can be used to tilt the trampoline left and right. If a Fuzzy is bouncing to the left, tilting the trampoline to the right will cause him to bounce straight up. If the trampoline was tilted to the left, however, the Fuzzy would be catapulted twice as far as usual.
Pushing LEFTIRIGHT will move Clyde left/right.
Pushing UP/DOWN will move the selected exhaust port up and down.
This is where any bugs that have been sucked up will be launched from.
When FIRE is pressed Clyde will kick.
Pushing UP, DOWN, LEFT and RIGHT makes Clyde swim up, down, left and right respectively. To collect a fuzzy from the beach or an island edge, pull left to touch the king sure Clyde is at the top of the water. To deposit a fuzzy onto an island or the beach, pull right towards the land again making sure Clyde is at the top of the water. Once a fuzzy is deposited on an island, pressing FIRE will make him run to the other side where he will wait to be collected.
HIDDEN BONUS ROOMS
Pushing UP makes Clyde jump, LEFT/RIGHT makes Clyde walk left and right.
In the improbable event of this product being faulty, please return it to the original place of purchase, Audiovisual concept, label and program
This game is dedicated to Chaz and the dozens of Stunt Fuzzies who gave their lives - they will never he forgotten.
Game conceived and created by APEX COMPUTER PRODUCTIONS
Programmed by John 'Tequila King" Rowlands
Graphics, music and SFX by STEVE "Kid Lucky" Rowlands
With bodacious acknowledgment to:
Dave '16 Valve less" Birch (loadsahype); Andy "Mr. Silk" Smith & Andy "and for my next trick" Roberts (handywork (work by Andys'); Rob "Mr. Quazar Ellis (SFX software); Tracy "Brandy Queen" Matheussen (fiancée/gofer); Sandra "one track mind" Boe (moral (immoral?) support); Francois "myroundaphobia" Mertil (unused ideas).
© 1992 THALAMUS EUROPE
1 Saturn House, Calleva Park, Aldermaston, Berkshire RG7 40W, England
Unauthorised copying, hiring, lending, munching, public performance and broadcasting of this product are strictly prohibited
Clyde Sprite Sheet
Tips and Cheats
Wet your finger and rub the joystick port 1 on the title screen and Clyde dances, when you have done it enough Clyde changes into Maximus Mouse (From Winter Camp).
Copper Engraving (or chocolate) art converted by GameStone
The Fuzzy Factory - Part 1
The Rowlands Bros are back, after overdosing on Big Whoppers, scorching holidays and serious partying, they've finally decided to get Apex Software back on track with a sequel to possibly the best C64 game of 1991 - CIyde Radcliff Exterminates All The Unfriendly Repulsive Earth-ridden Slime, aka Creatures. For the newcomers to this epic soap, the characters include John Rowlands (also known as Jaz, John is a brilliant programmer sadly afflicted with Mad Cow Disease), Steve Rowlands (graphics artist, musician and informally known as 'stud' (honest!)) and finally Dave Birch (Thalamus's sharply dressed and much loved boss, who no-one every says anything bad about). This month the Bros reveal such disgusting habits as roadsting fuzzies, promise to create a friend for Clyde and muse on Dave's medical requirements!
THURSDAY 24TH JANUARY
JOHN: No, not those Fussies again! I've had it with those guys. During the final seven weeks of Creatures I spent many a sleepless night working to finish it, and at one point I'd slept 22 hours out of 268. But l can handle it, I'm a professional (I don't think).
One of the main advantages of doing Creatures II is that I can use some of the code from Creatures - not that l'm lazy or anything (well, maybe a little). The sort of routines which can be used again are Clyde's movement and animation routines, his weapons movement and animation routines, the collision routines etc. So I've been ripping out all the code I don't need, leaving me the memory to start Creatures II.
STEVE: The structure for Creatures II will not be entirely different from Creatures as it will have a Torture Screen on every level Between the Torture Screen there will be an Intermission Screen, which I am working on at the moment. The idea is that Clyde has to chase a cute little creature along a road avoiding rocks'n'stuff, and when he catches up with him he shakes him around until he offers Clyde loads of goodies. This is planned to be in brilliant parallax-o-vision, the characters are nearly done but John's still too busy to do the scrolling so I will have to wait to see the finished effect.
MONDAY 28TH JANUARY
JOHN: I finished ripping out all the code I didn't need over the weekend and chucked in the first Torture Screen from Creatures to test the remaining code. I was pleasantly surprised to have it up and running correctly within a few minutes - it just goes to show that I must have some idea of what I'm doing, occasionally.
The next thing I did was to change the Status strip at the bottom of the screen. I decided to kick out the borders throughout the entire game this time, and shoved Clyde's lives and score over it. As Steve has already designed the font (style of alphabet) for the game l got him to copy the numbers into sprites so I could get the correct score printed. As an afterthought I made the score sprites constantly move up and down a little, giving it a slightly 'cuter' feel.
STEVE: The characters are now finished for the Intermission Screen so next are the sprites. I've put Clyde in a sports car but there is one drawback, it uses up seven sprites out of a possible eight. I tried another way with three expanded vertically sprites but this looked too chunky so that was scrapped.
I'm leaving the Intermission Screen until John gets around to coding it so I'll have to find something else to do. The first Torture Screen of the game is top of my list and ideas are no problem. This will see a poor little FuzzyWuzzy tied to a spit being barbecued over a raging fire. The spit will be turned by a cute little creature and the idea is to put out the fire, but how? The use of balloons would help you with this task.
WEDNESDAY 30TH JANUARY
JOHN: In the last five days of production on Creatures, a small bug appeared in my sprite-tosprite collision routine, This must be the most bug-ridden routine in the game! Now as I've vowed that Creatures II is not going to contain a single bug, I fixed it this morning, and dare it to screw up again.
I've been spending a few hours here and there creating a new 'Get ready' screen. It uses a similar technique to the one used on the 'Level Complete' sequence from Retrograde (ie the wobble effect on words) This time I've reflected the words 'GET READY', and it's this reflection that I'm wobbling, A fabbo ripple effect it is, but cute it ain't. So when I get the time I'm going to rip the lot out and start again, see. As I said, I can handle it!
STEVE: Having spent a while designing the Torture Screen it's now down to designing the graphics for it. First will be the characters for the background and maybe even some aliens, it depends if we run out of sprites or not. This Torture Screen is set on a cyan sky colour, with some good (brilliant) vegetation graphics in the foreground and background, While doing this section I've corne up with some new ideas for the death of Fuzzies on Torture Screens.
There's a Fuzzy tied to a stake in the ground with loads of TNT around the bottom and a cruel creature with a barrel of gun powder walks off and leaves a trail behind then. of course. lights it.
There's also a creature with a baseball bat standing near a Fuzzy, you see the creature take a few practice swings then it walks towards its victim and takes a big swing ...
FRIDAY 1ST FEBURARY
JOHN: I've nearly finished all the parallax scrolling for the Intermission Screen - and pretty damn good it's looking too, With a planned twelve different parallax layers and a 'screen-high' telegraph pole in the foreground, which takes it up to thirteen speeds, it's pretty slick! The only problem with it is the playability and we can see that this isn't going to be too playable. We spent a good few hours, which turned into a good few days, trying to improve it but we couldn't. We were stuck with a screen which was absolutely great to watch but not much fun to play. So guess what. That's right I've got to rip the lot out and start again. I can handle it... just!
STEVE: As John's mentioned, the Intermission Screen is going to be scrapped. It's a good job that I've been thinking of a new idea for the last few days, which is nearly all based on gameplay and not just how good it will look on-screen. I have seen games that are incredibly playable but graphically poor with bad presentation. lt's hard to get the balance right, but we shall do ourbest.
The main objective of the Intermission Screen is to save your cute little Fuzzy friends who are being cold-heartedly thrown to certain death. You and your friend, that you have just rescued from the previous Torture Screen, must save them by bouncing them to safety, So the graphics are underway with a pine forest theme, and all's goin' well.
MONDAY 4TH FEBURARY
JOHN: So I've got to start another Intermission Screen, I wonder if we're going to keep this one? All I can say is that if it turns out half as good as we hope, it's definitely staying in, I started it on Saturday, getting the backdrop printed on-screen, Then I introduced Clyde to it and he gave it the big thumbs up, As he has to complete the Torture Screens by himself, we thought it only best to give him a friend to help him complete the Intermission Screen (we don't want him feeling lonely), So now I've added another Fuzzy to help Clyde out and it appears that they are already the best of friends, Isn't that sweet?
This afternoon I set about writing the animation routine for them, l simply checked the current direction of the joystick and animated the sprites accordingly I usually start a player's control mode with the movement routines, adding animation after. There's no special reason for doing it the opposite way round this time, I just felt like it. What's wrong with that. eh?
STEVE: The graphics for the Intermission Screen are virtually complete now. but I think there will be bits added soon because when John gets the latest background up on-screen with the rest of the stuff it may look a bit empty.
Before I have to change those graphics I will get on with some music. I ended up going through some old disks and found loads 'n' loads of music that could be used in Creatures II. The only problem being that none of these pieces of music were finished, some were only just started, so which one do l work on first? The piece that is needed most urgently is the music for the Intermission Screen, but none of the music I've dug up from the old disks will suit it. so I'll have to write a new piece
THURSDAY 7TH FEBURARY
JOHN: 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,' Don't read it - sing it. Yes, that white stuff which we haven't seen for three years is here! It started snowing yesterday and it hasn't stopped since. There's now over a foot of it and we love it. We couldn't resist taking a couple of hours off this afternoon to go out snowball fighting with some of our mates Damn good fun it was too.
When I wasn't out getting soaked I was working on the movement for Clyde and his budd, They only need to move left and right across the landscape, which saves me having to write any vertical movement code. The routine was originally written so that if you pulled the joystick left, the Fuzzies ran left until the moment you let go (and the same for right). We decided, however, that it would be better if the Fuzzies moved a specific distance every time the joystick was moved, They now move approximately 32 pixels before you can change their direction. I know it sounds bad but believe me, it greatly improves the playability (which has the highest priority methinks).
We were at ZZAP! Towers a couple of weeks ago, talking about the Creatures 'game complete' sequence, cartridge games, whether David Birch should have a sex change (to a man!) and - most importantly ideas for Creatures II. We discussed having a shoot'-em-up stage in the game, with Clyde flying around on a jetpack shooting hundreds of cute aliens. I've been thinking about this a lot recently and have now decided to start doing it. So l spent most of the night (and the early hours of the next morning} ripping out the weapons routine from Retrograde. We've had loads of mail asking us to write Retrograde II, well we are not doing that (yet) - but this is going to be the next best thing!
I would just like to state for the record that David Birch does NOT need a sexchange and is in fact, already a man - honest?
STEVE: Today the start of the sprites for the Intermission Screen, First of all I got a Fuzzy into the new sprite bank and then started the sixteen rotational animations that he would go through. I then did eight rotational animations for the Fuzzy rotating the other way (towards you).
Creative Materials - the guys doing the Amiga and ST conversions of Creatures - now needed all the game characters, sprites, alien movement patterns and level maps. A day later after trying to save this lot to disk for them and realising it would take forever, we came up with an easy way to do it. We would just let Clyde walk through all aliens so they could go straight to any section of the game they needed to look at - easy.
After this task I went back to doing the music for the lntermission Screen, but without brilliant results. I don't know what it is at the moment but l can't seem to get a piece of music to suit this section, maybe l've got too many distractions at the moment, who knows? It could be the snow. Well, there's one way to find out let's go out to play! I built a nice big snowman/woman/monster don't-va-know, which looked a bit like the creature that pulls the rope on the second Torture Screen of Creatures (without the rope, of course), I know I'm probably a bit old to do things like that, but what sort of adult draws Fuzzy creatures all day?
Clyde: Snowball fights - Yeah!
Creatures II agreed by Steve 'Stud' Rowlands, Dave 'Mr Thalamus' Birch and John 'Jaz'' Rowlands. And where did Jaz get his Creatures T-shirt?
A torture screen slowly takes shape in the sick minds of the Rowlands Bros.
MONDAY 11TH FEBURARY
JOHN: I've got the Retrograde weapons routine working 'bug free' now and have already been coming up with tons of new weapons, I ripped out the 'weapon-alien' detection code and have also got that running too, To test it I chucked some static aliens on the screen, a couple of which were made up from 4 sprites bolted together.
We decided that ordinary singlesprite explosions for these bigger aliens looked a bit tame, so l modified my explosion routine so that it now prints up a bigcharacter explosion. 'Wellcool' is an understatement.
Back to the Intermission Screen, it's looking better each day, Clyde & Co can now catch airborne Fuzzies. But I've also got to teach Clyde how to bounce them off in a different direction This presented the challenge of calculating a Fuzzy's new direction, depending upon the angle of Clyde's pad and the current direction of the Fuzzy, For example, if the Fuzzy is moving left and the pad is angled right, the Fuzzy must bounce up vertically; if the Fuzzy is again moving left and the pad is held straight, the Fuzzy must carry on moving left I sorted all that out and got it running properly this morning without any real problems.
With multiple Fuzzies bouncing up 'n' down over the screen, I must add the code to put some sort of range on them At the moment they simply bounce off the screen and appear on the other side, If they hit the righthand side they must bounce back left, whilst hitting the lefthand side will mean they've been saved (yippee). I decided to work into the early hours of Tuesday and finally got all this done
STEVE: I'm not carrying on with the music for this section which has been rewritten many times. I need some inspiration for this music, and as it happens, l know where to get it. We have a nice Yamaha keyboard sitting on the desk in our office and it has loads of preset styles of music, a few of which are ideal for the Intermission Screen, The thing is I'm now totally bored of doing music at the moment so I think I will do something else.
I'm doing more Intermission sprites now and the monster at the top of the screen is on the agenda. This monster will be standing on the platform, then walk off the screen and a few seconds later walk back on, holding a Fuzzy over his head. When the monster gets to the end of the platform he will mercilessly throw the poor Fuzzy off. So all those animations are done and the only thing left to do on this section is some sort of flying creature that swoops down from the top of the screen and grabs the helpless Fuzzies.
Retro-Clyde swaps his Super Droopy for mega-weapons in a suspiciously Retrograde-like shot!
The Fuzzy Factory - Part 2
The saga of Creatures II continues with John and Steve Rowlands confessing to an ' April' Fool in the last ish (it was May, lads). Yes, the idea of an armed to-the-teeth 'Retro Clyde' was a joke, and the screenshot faked! The daft duo would also like to apologize to Thalamus's Dave Birch for the personal remarks made about him - they've promised to include some better ones this month!
WEDNESDAY 13TH FEBRUARY
JOHN: Work continues on the Intermission Screen (you remember, the one with Fuzzies getting thrown off a cliff). Up to this point it hasn't mattered if the bouncing Fuzzies hit your pad or not, they will still automatically bounce back up again according to the direction the pad is facing. So the lime has come to put a detection routine in (this'll be fun).
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away - well Chelmsford, to be precise - there were three Wimpy bars. As time went by the people of this city - well me and Steve anyway - demanded something more, something bigger, and God sent unto us a Burger King (which was very large indeed). Since then a year has passed, and even Burger King has become boring (what is the world coming to?). So now there is a new burger joint in town, and it goes by the name of... wait for it... McDonalds!
STEVE: Today we received a big brown parcel with eleven copies of Creatures inside. We thought that the lovely Dave 'I love pheasants' Birch of Thalamus had sent us some complementary copies, but this was not the case.
Apparent1y these games were RETURNS, and didn't work, but every single one that we tried to load, loaded perfectly - apart from the one that actually had Midnight Resistance recorded on it (I spent a few hours playing this - not bad).
MONDAY 18TH FEBRUARY
JOHN: Once I'd finished the detection routine I had to write a death sequence for any Fuzzies that Clyde misses and which therefore hit the ground. We then came up with the idea of Clyde and his buddy running off the screen and then running back on as 'medics', wearing little caps and carrying a stretcher. They will then pick up the injured Fuzzy-Wuzzy and carry him off to hospital. Well all this is written now, with just one little bug needed to be fixed: when I'm moving a horizontally expanded sprite off the left-hand side of the screen it disappears for a short time. This is a hardware problem and nothing to do with me - honest. It took me two minutes to fix it and if you are having a similar problem, then read the 'Technical Bitz' of this instalment for the solution.
STEVE: I've been doing the medic caps for Clyde and friend. I've also designed the grabbing creature at the top of the screen, so John now needed to code it. After doing this John decides that some of the sprites are in the wrong place in the sprite bank so I have to rearrange the lot (wot a waste of time).
Now I'm adding to some music for the Torture Screens, which I now have 9-10 bits to choose from. There is one effect that appears in a lot of this music and that is 'note-plexing', which sounds pretty good and can be used in many different ways for lead instruments or drums and percussion.
The Apex programming centre complete with the most important piece of hardware the stereo! Steve Rowlands is on the left with one of those extremely rare C128s.
TUESDAY 26TH FEBRUARY
JOHN: I've just completed coding the little guy whose job it is to throw the Fuzzies off the ledge on the right of the screen. As it happens he looks quite cute, lobbing Fuzzies off with a big smile on his face.
STEVE: We had a visit from a good old (young) Dave Birch today, to discuss some major points in the game and some marketing ideas. First of all was the idea of having a big Clyde costume made for the September computer show. He would walk around promoting the game (or hold up the bar - whatever he prefers) and you could have your photograph taken with him (with a pint in your hand).
The next idea was to put the Creatures bugs in the boxes of Clyde Radcliffe In Torture Trouble but also put in an authentic adoption certificate with a ribbon tied around it.
Finally, the release of demos was discussed. Leading up to the release of the game there will be two demos. One will be of the Intermission, bouncing Fuzzies section and will be a 'look-at' version only. The other will be a fully playable demo of one of the first few Torture Screens.
FRIDAY 1ST MARCH
JOHN: Throughout the game there will be coins (with the letter B on them), which should be collected by Clyde to highlight the letters of the word 'BONUS' in the status area at the bottom of the screen. When the whole word is lit up, Clyde is awarded a bonus life. Most of these B-coins will appear on the Intermission Screen and can only be collected by bouncing a Fuzzy over them.
I've spent most of the day reorganising the status area in the bottom border (see Technical Bitz for taking out borders) to try and get two sprites for the word BONUS. When I (eventually) did this I wrote the routines to highlight each letter.
STEVE: I've been working on the music for the Intermission section and it's starting to come together at last. I also had the idea of having a new bit of music for when the medics pick up the splattered Fuzzy on the ground and it has ambulance sirens in the background.
For us to get a Clyde costume made we need to produce some rough scale drawings and a colour drawing of Clyde. Dave Birch is trying to find someone to make this costume but has not been successful, yet! Hopefully it will get done as it's a nice idea.
Super-smooth animation requires plenty of work by graphic artist Steve, here's just a few of Clvde's animation frames together with one of the new baddies.
TUESDAY 5TH MARCH
JOHN: Over the weekend I coded a little editor which will enable our graphic artist (Steve - I think) to fill the screen with sprite animations. This will be used for any screenshots needed for these very pages.
Clyde now gains a bonus life when BONUS is highlighted. As with Creatures the status displays up to nine lives and remembers any extra ones.
On the subject of status areas (warning: serious moaning about to follow), if there's one thing I hate it's games which have teeny-weeny little playing areas and absolutely MASSIVE status panels. You know what I mean? They usually display the name of the game in some fancy logo, don't they? I'm so glad they do that. Quite often I'll be playing a game when all of a sudden I'll forget what it's called - better look at the ol' status pane! - oh, I remember now!
STEVE: The music for the Intermission Screen is nearly complete, but remember the music for the medics when a Fuzzy gets squished? Well, it's not in the game any more. It didn't have the desired effect so I'll have to do some sound FX or something soon.
It's back to work on the characters and window for the second Torture Screen. The design for this Torture Screen wasn't finished when I started the graphics so I'm adding ideas as I go along. The main objective of the Torture Chamber is to save a cage full of your Fuzzy friends. The cage is suspended above a lake of Acme Acid which is being pumped in continuously Sitting on a rock ledge near the cage is a huge monster with a cattle prod in his hands. When the monster rams the prodder into the cage a cute furry Fuzzy falls feebly to his fate ... or can he be saved?
FRIDAY 8TH MARCH
JOHN: At the top of the Intermission Screen is a creature that has become known as a 'Snatcher'. This rather large character flies around watching the Fuzzies bouncing below and when one comes near, he grabs him and carries him off screen.
His initial movement routine had him flying around randomly but this didn't look too hot, so I modified it to move in a preset pattern.
I also did a little update routine which lets you know how much time there is left to complete the screen in. As an afterthought it flashes when it's down to the last 30 seconds.
STEVE: Now I have loads of stuff planned for the Torture Screen, I'll carry on with the graphics. I have just done the Fuzzies in the cage peering through the bars and next I'll make them squirm when prodded. After a few seconds one will get pushed out of the other side of the cage. On the acid there will be a raft which is acid-resistant (obviously) with a cute little creature standing on the top, holding an oar (which is also acid-resistant), This little creature paddles along the acid and catches the falling Fuzzies.
TUESDAY 12TH MARCH
JOHN: The animation routine for the Snatcher is completed now, with him flapping faster when he's carrying a Fuzzy. This poor little Fuzzy also wiggles about whilst being carried off (thanks to Andy Smith for that suggestion) and he looks really helpless!
STEVE: The second Torture Screen is being worked on at the moment, specifically the prodding monster. There are now nine frames of animation with a few expressions thrown in. When the fluffy Fuzzies fall feebly into the acid and dissolve they need some sort of splash animations. So I'll do that next, together with the skeleton animations for when all the Fuzzies' fur and skin are dissolved off.
THURSDAY 14TH MARCH
JOHN: Today I started on the new Get Ready Screen. Once I'd got the Stage number and title printed we decided to chuck on some dancin' Fuzzies, with some pretty cute results.
Most of the text during the game (including 'Get Ready') is going to be colour-split. Unlike Retrograde and Creatures, where most text had its own bit of code to split colours, Creatures II is going to have a 'universal colour-split routine', Yes, that's right, no more countless glitches to time out, no more split routines to write during the rest of the game - just one major routine that will handle any amount of colour, anywhere on screen and always be glitch-free.
STEVE: Today saw the creation of more dancin' Fuzzies with a good little dance step ending in a pirouette.
After working on the Get Ready music for a while it got a tad boooooorring. This was because the music wasn't brilliant, just good - and that won't do, will it? So I'll leave this piece for now until I can come up with something incredibly inventive. I have been going through some old music disks and found some pretty good music. There were three pieces that could be used by just adding ends to them and three good enough to go in the game but needing some work.
MONDAY 18TH MARCH
JOHN: A small bug appeared in the Intermission Screen today, occurring when the Snatcher grabs a Fuzzy when there are three or four bouncing around. It would carry it off alright, but the creature who lobs 'em off the ledge wouldn',t do it properly from then on! A little tinkering with my code and it now works perfectly.
I also made any Fuzzies that have just been saved a tad more appreciative. So far they've just stood there for a few seconds with a big grin on their chops. Now they actually thank Clyde and his friend for their help.
STEVE: Did you know that in July/August 1990 we had a nice shiny new office built (thanks Dad!) with a few special features. One of these features was the cables built into the walls for the speakers to run through. There were four cables in all, two at the front and two at the back. When we moved into the office after it was built we just used the cables we had before and left the others to hang out from the wall.
Anyway, the point of this scenario is that I eventually got around to putting the speakers through the wall cables, but did it with the stereo on (whoops!). Two of the cables must have touched because one explosion later, the left channel of the amplifier was totally dead. So it's time to take the amplifier to a repair place.
THURSDAY 21ST MARCH
JOHN: I've been working on the Title Screen today with some pretty damn good results. The first part is on light blue (as with Creatures), with text flying on from the left and the right. I also made the game go between different parts (ie Title Screen, Get Ready, Torture Screen 1, Get Ready, Intermission 1 etc). Now one thing became apparent. As it flicks between each part, minute glitches, character colours and colour splits sometimes appeared. This occasionally happened in Creatures, but I didn't have the time to take them out. Well for Creatures II I have! So I worked into the early hours of Friday getting everything looking 'well wicked'.
STEVE: I've had some more brainwaves for dancin' Fuzzies. One is a starjump type of dance and the other is like a Pink Panther dance with the Fuzzy pointing up and down.
Back to the music, and some good stuff is in the making. If anyone out there was lucky enough to buy a copy of Retrograde you may remember the music from the bitmap loader. Well I ripped out the drums and started to put some cute stuff over the top.
TUESDAY 26TH MARCH
JOHN: I've been tweaking the gameplay for the Intermission Screen, making it relatively easy for the first time the player gets onto it.
Over the weekend I went to SouthendOn-Sea with Andy Smith to check out some of the latest arcade games. To my surprise, there's quite a few good games around. I'm totally addicted to Rampart, which has average graphics and sound but incredible gameplay (especially with three people playing simultaneously). Some other cool games are Bells & Whistles, Rad Mobile (the 32-bit Sega race game), Super Invaders '91 and Space Gun (which is as about as close as you'll get to playing the film 'Aliens').
I must also mention another game which isn't computer-generated. Two people sit on a seat in front of a massive machine which has five 'tracks' on it. At the end of these five tracks is a real cute little space alien who is trying to reach an energy block situated in front of the players. Each player has a lightgun which fires out (you'll never guess) a beam of light, sending one of these cute guys back to the end of his track if he's hit. Anyway, the game's called Cosmo-Gang and is a real crowd puller.
STEVE: On the Intermission Screen there is a pine forest and waterfall in the background. We were going to have the same background for every Intermission section. This, however, was not a hot idea so I started to design some graphics for the one on the next level. I then thought that we could use the level names from Creatures to describe the background graphics, and to give me some inspiration. The first one is now called 'Watery Falls', the next will be 'Caves Of Slime' and then 'The Black Forest Of Gateau', etc. So I'm now designing some pretty hot caves.
I think John will soon be getting around to coding the first Torture Screen of the game, so I'd better complete the graphics for it. I needed an explosion for the lump of TNT so a nice 'BOOM' was put in. Also where the Fuzzy-Wuzzy was on the spit over the barbecue, I needed some smoke and fire for when he finally caught alight (Flame Grilled Fuzzies .. ,.Mmmmmmm).
A fiendish Fuzzy-Wuzzy torturing screen slowly takes shape. What on earth are the Acme balloons going to be used for?
Expanded Sprite Movement
When decreasing a sprite's X position off the left side of the screen, its position changes from $00 to $FF  and its corresponding bit in location $D010  is set (its MSB). However, if it is expanded horizontally it will disappear for a short time. To overcome this modify your movement routine so that its X position changes from $00 to $F7 . It will now move smoothly off the screen.
This technique can give the impression of multiple channels and can have some very good results. This effect is achieved by rapidly changing a channel's note. Once you've done that. try changing its waveform too.
Removing Top And Bottom Borders
This routine must be constantly called at raster position $F9 in order to work.
Once this is running you will be able to place sprites in either of the borders, and can specify if you want border colour or screen colour (or a mixture of both) behind them. The last byte in the selected Video Bank controls this (it will be one of the following: $3FFF; $7FFF; $BFFF; $FFFF). Make it $00 to show the screen colour, $FF to show border colour or anything else to combine both screen and border colours.
The Fuzzy Factory - Part 3
It's birthdays all round this month, with Steve celebrating both his own 20th birthday and that of 'Girlfriend Of The Week', Miss Sandra Boe, a Mancunian he met while partying in Majorca. Amazingly enough with all the celebrating the Rowlands Bros still manage to do a bit of work; finishing another torture screen, getting Clyde to walk up hills (gasp!) and even swatting a fly (murderers!).
WEDNESDAY 27TH MARCH
JOHN: A lot of modifications have been made to the original Creatures source code today. These included modifying selected colour splits on the 'Get Ready' screen, modifying Clyde's fire routine so it only uses two-sprite animations, and probably the most outstanding modification of the day was to extend the playing area of each Torture Screen into the top border.
STEVE: Before I get started with this instalment I would like to wish Sandra Boe a very happy birthday.
I'm now bringing the first Torture Screen to a conclusion. I was working on some balloon-popping animations and some speech bubbles. One was for the poor Fuzzy on the barbecue spit; the other for an awkward sort of guy that doesn't want to die.
As always with the Bros, presentation provides a useful distraction from the game coding. Steve's title page has a stylish Raider Of The Lost Ark look.
FRIDAY 29TH MARCH & MONDAY 1ST APRIL
Bank holidays. (Great excuse for frequent trips to Southend-on-Sea to check out the latest arcade machines and consume gargantuan amounts of junk food.)
THURSDAY 4TH APRIL
JOHN: I've been writing a collection of small routines which can be used together to adjust the text characters used in the game. I can flip them upside down (useful for reflections and shadows), inverse them (depending on whether I want to pulse their colours or colour-split them) and copy them to sprites (therefore making it easy to move them on the screen).
I also made the weapon tablet appear as soon as you pull down and press fire, getting rid of the short delay that was in Creatures. This also had the advantage of automatically fixing the bug which made it possible to, on certain occasions, make Clyde fire out weapon icons instead of a large flame!
STEVE: I'm adding more and more sprites to the TSA (Torture Screen A) sprite, and memory is rapidly running out. I am going to have to take out a very nice-looking twosprite explosion that goes 'BOOM' and replace it with a one-sprite mushroom cloud explosion.
TUESDAY 9TH APRIL
JOHN: Due to a few people (okay, a lot of people) complaining about the fact that Clyde doesn't walk up slopes but has to jump up them, I've decided to ... take out all the slopes in Creatures II. No, no, no just kidding! I've spent a day or two making Clyde walk smoothly up and down slopes.
One way of trying to figure out how to complete a Torture Screen is to pause the game as soon as it appears, therefore giving you unlimited time to worn out the best way to do it. So the new pause mode blanks the screen leaving just the status area, Clyde and his bullets (and putting them into black & white, which looks quite tasty).
STEVE: I haven't got the faintest idea what the music for the Torture Screen is going to be: that's why I'm looking through old disks (again). I've come across a bit that takes my fancy but will need a bit of work.
Now I have some sprites left in the TSA bank I can add some some clouds to put in the top border and a cool dude sun with shades to put up in the sky.
THURSDAY 11TH APRIL
JOHN: All the required sprites are now split correctly for the Torture Screen, with movement and animation code to be added soon. There's quite a collection of routines written which will be used by the other Torture Screens. So as more and more screens are created, there will be less routines to write.
STEVE: Guess what today is? .. Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday to meee-eeeee, happy birthday to me - rapturous applause and big pressies.
Today saw the completion of two bits of music, first was the Torture Screen music, second was the stonkingly good Get Ready music.
I've been working on the animations for Clyde. When he gets too near fire he spontaneously combusts with flames all around. Also, I've designed a Magic Potion bottle which, when collected, gives you a new weapon. This cuts out the famous shop (which has been in all our games until now), but does give instant access to the new and old weapons.
Oh, by the way, thanks to Ben and Technosis for the B'day card.
WEDNESDAY 7TH APRIL
JOHN: The Torture Screen has been coming along really well. When a specific creature is killed a Magic Potion rises out of the ground, which looks quite neat. Spent ages creating the colour table for the potion and, in the end, decided to occasionally flash the entire animation white as with the MPCs in Creatures.
STEVE: I'm now doing some more 'perfecting' of characters for the Torture Screen, which included putting a digital display on the 'Acme Balloon Machine' to add a bit more difficulty to the gameplay.
After just finishing the music for the Torture Screen, we realise it has to be changed. This is because John's code and my graphics take up a lot of memory, so now I will have to write some new sounds in under 300 HEX bytes.
MONDAY 22ND APRIL
JOHN: The code to move and animate the owl is completed (at last), so today was spent coding the TNT movement and animation. Ooops, I mentioned the TNT why don't I just tell everyone how to complete the screen and jump over", STOP! Nope, no clues in this game I'm afraid.
STEVE: Today saw the start of the second Torture Screen. The first thing to be done is the screen design. It's planned out with me just using a reversed character until I have the main layout, then I go around the screen putting all the detail in. The next step is to get an A4 piece of graph paper and copy down the character layout. I then work out where all the sprites I plan to use can go.
The mysterious balloon Torture Screen has been finished and it's the most fiendish one yet. A clue: when turned on the machine partially fills the floating balloons with water!
THURSDAY 25TH APRIL
JOHN: Yippee! The first Torture Screen is complete and looks pretty damn good, even if I say so myself (which I did). We showed it to Andy Smith (our chief playtester) and he gave it his stamp of approval. The only problem is that it's very hard to actually work out what to do if you don't already know. So it looks like the first Torture Screen created is going to end up as one of the last ones to appear in the game.
STEVE: If there's one thing I hate it's doing things again after they've been finished. This has happened a lot today. For starters, I thought I had finished all the chars 'n' sprites for TSA, but no, I had to adjust some more background stuff (boooooring). Then I had to add another sprite to the TSA sprite bank so that we could flash the magic potion bottle totally white. If that wasn't enough, I had to stop doing the new bit of TSA music (which was less memory than the old one) and continue with the original bit. This is because John's found the memory to put the big bit in now (I wish he would make up his mind, if he had one).
TUESDAY 30TH APRIL
JOHN: Bouncing back from any abuse Steve dishes out, I've started to write the 'Level Complete' sequence. Unlike the Creatures one (which had a black screen) this is set on light blue. RIGHT, THAT'S IT - I'm going to have to stop typing for a second as I'm off to splat this fly that's been testing my patience for the past ten minutes ...
Okay, I'm back (and a little out of breath - that's my exercise for the month). I've just had an idea to get twice as many 'background sprites' for the Level Complete screen. I wish I could tell you what they were but I can't, so there.
STEVE: Many a person has said to us that Creatures should have had passwords, and are suggesting putting them in Creatures II. We've been thinking about this and have concluded that there is a major problem. Two months after a game comes out you can find pages and pages of passwords printed in magazines enabling you to jump to any level of the game. Hardly fair now is it?
So John and I have tried to come up with a way to make each copy of the game have its very own table of passwords. We have successfully done this but it involves a slight problem,you would have to save to tape the very first time you play the game (disk owners wouldn't even know if we made a quick save to disk). This means we would need leaderless and un-notched cassettes, not really much of a problem, but there is a chance that someone might record over the actual game data by mistake. So all in all we're going to forget about the password idea.
THURSDAY 2ND MAY
JOHN: Speaking to Andy Roberls today about having a massive Clyde on the high score table, he suggested having another one on the loader holding a sign with the credits on! This would be before the Bitmap screen appears (if we get time to do it), Andy also pointed out that an Amiga demo of a Torture Screen is currently doing the rounds on the Public Domain circuit. It turns out that was done by our mate Steve Packer!!
STEVE: We feel compelled to print this poem, sent to us by a certain Rory Retrograde Stamp...
I'd love to be the Retrograde, it would be very nice.
Dealing justice to alien slime, you needn't ask me twice.
Yes I would be the Retrograde. it's just my sort of thing.
As I finish another Nerve Centre, this song is what I sing.
I see the final baddie, fill my underpants with fear.
Yet another game gone, and yet another tear.
But as I'm not the Retrograde, I hum Steve's loading tune,
finish a few levels, then jump around the room
By the way Rory, his name is Major Dan Damage and not the Retrograde, as you asked.
TUESDAY 7TH MAY
JOHN: Now that Level Complete is finished, I've moved onto the Title Screen. This already comes up with 'Clyde Radcliffe in TORTURE TROUBLE' (in 'Indiana Jones' style writing) but must also display the high scores and credits. So after getting the high scores printed up we thought about how to make it different. In the end we decided to make them sprites which meant me ripping out all the print code I'd already written (don't ya justluv writing computer games?).
STEVE: TSC! Yep, that's right, the third Torture Screen design. This is set in the mountains of the island with snow falling I'm not exactly sure what this Torture Screen is going to consist of but we need loads of blood and the infamous 'Chainsaw Monster' will probably make a horrifyingly gory appearance. Some of the other creatures on this screen will, during the snowstorm, have snow piling up on their heads. We think that the bright red blood of the massacred Fuzzies will contrast well with the pure white snow on the ground.
Next month, we have exclusive pies of Sandra Boe, while the Apex Lads whip up a title screen, code a river of acid and skive off on a holiday in America!
The Fuzzy Factory - Part 4
Last week's missing Fuzzy Factory was absent due to the Apex lads not sending it in, basically. Their excuse?: they were holidaying in America - 'junk food heaven'! When they eventually got home they realised that their Creatures II diary needed some serious updating, hence this special 'bumper' instalment. Now, after all this hard work they need another holiday!
WEDNESDAY 8TH MAY
JOHN: I'm currently working on the title sequence, adding two extra screens to the present one (pictured in Issue 75). I've got to add a High Score table and a credits screen. I just hope I've got the memory as I'm running out pretty fast. I've finally got the high scores split, all i have to do now is move 'em onto the screen somehow.
STEVE: Today is a music sort of day with the continuation of the new Torture Screen A music - LAT06 as it's known to me. This, as usual, uses the note-plexing technique but with a difference. It plays a long chord in the background of the drums, lead bass and a nice little tune, but in the chord voice it has other notes playing at the same time to enhance the overall sounds and gives the impression of at least four or five voices.
Also, today saw work on two more cute bits of music, one has a version name of 'Cudly' and the other 'Gismo' but neither have been assigned to any particular part of the game.
FRIDAY 10TH MAY
JOHN: I completed the high score movement routine this morning together with a pattern to test it. The scores come flying on from the top of the screen and spiral into the middle. We thought the idea was good, but it somehow doesn't look as cool as we'd hoped. So after spending hours creating it I've got to rip it out.
STEVE: This morning was spent on even more music for TSA and the Title screen. I was doing TSB graphics for the rest of the day, with some speech bubbles for the Fuzzies in the hanging cage saying, 'HELP, SAVE ME, FREE US'.
We've had some ideas for TSC ('Snow Problems'), which include even more blood. This sees the Fuzzy being lifted off the ground on the end of the chainsaw monster's chainsaw, with the blood oozing out all over the snow (certificate 18).
TUESDAY 14TH MAY
JOHN: The high scores now bounce onto the screen. I also got a big Clyde to pixel into the background, which looked pretty good until there was a power cut! I stayed calm though, I didn't hit the computer too many times. So when the power came back a few minutes later I just had to write all the fade code AGAIN, Ho hum.
STEVE: Rob Hogg phoned this afternoon and we had a chat about the weather, life and why hadn't they got the latest instalment of the diary yet, so we printed it out and faxed it off. Rob and I also discussed the idea of doing a Creatures cartoon strip for ZZAP!. I've now started work on that and called it 'The Further Adventures of CLYDE RADCLIFFE'.
The credits screen with a fountain of spinning Fuzziesl
THURSDAY 16TH MAY
JOHN: I'm onto the credits page now, complete with dancin' Fuzzies, large action shots of Clyde and ... the credits! So I had to write a quick message-print routine which slowly prints up text, a 'Clyde face' routine (fade Clyde in, fade out, change animation and fade in again etc) and rewrite the dance routines so that it would always be in time with the music (when Steve finally gets around to doing some). As an afterthought we decided to have loads of stars flying around behind the credits but over the large Clyde animation.
STEVE: I've now finished the black and white version of the cartoon and have faxed it to Rob to see what he thinks.
Meanwhile I had an idea for a TSC alien which was to have bouncing snowmen when killed their heads explode into snow and you can push their bodies around like big snowballs.
Rob gave the cartoon the thumbs up so I'm now starting to colour it in, this will take a while. When it's finished I'll get a few full colour laser copies done and send one to the guys at ZZAP!
SATURDAY 18TH MAY (A SATURDAY?)
JOHN: Finally got the credits page to loop back round to the title page, Andy Smith was over this afternoon, discussing which club we should go to tonight, which drink we should get merry on and, most importantly (maybe), the title sequence. He suggested replacing the stars with Fuzzy-Wuzzies. So I banked down the spinning Fuzzies from the Bonus game and quickly modified my animation and colour routines Now there are Fuzzies flying around the screen.
STEVE: After having had the same Intermission Screen graphics since the start of the game I thought it might be time to do some new stuff to go on later levels. The theme headings from Creatures gave me some inspiration, such as Lily Lakes. Watery Falls and, the one I did, the Caves of Slime. This features the caves in the foreground, with stalactites and stalagmites behind, and right in the distance you can see the sky at night outside the cave with the stars and moon.
TUESDAY 21ST MAY
JOHN: I've been tweaking my sprite-2-sprite collision routine today as I haven't really looked at it properly since I modified it for CRITT, Retrograde and Creatures needed to check all on screen baddie sprites against the player sprite. However, Torture Screens do not always use sprites for baddies (and not all baddies kill you anyway), so I made the routine check only a select amount of single sprites. But I also made the routine do a lot of stuff every time it went to check a sprite instead of just doing it with the first sprite (which is all that was needed). So basically, the processing time was twice as much as it needed to be (Lame Programmers Inc)!
STEVE: I had another idea for some more Intermission Screen graphics, 'The Black Forest Of Gateau' features a small hut, set in the middle of the creepy forest at night. The graphics are nearly completed, with the exception of the platforms that the Fuzzies are thrown to and from.
More TSC graphics are underway with the designing of the rope that holds the Fuzzy over the chainsaw monster's pit and the post that the rope is tied around.
FRIDAY 24TH MAY
JOHN: I uploaded the graphics for the second Torture Screen yesterday and then chucked in some colour splits (looks a little like a bitmap screen now). Next I overlaid all the sprites we required for Fuzzies, acid, baddies etc. Today I coded a little bit of code (!) which produces a splash, needed for objects failing into acid and water. I've also got the raft at the bottom of the screen moving and animating, together with a little fella who sits on it paddling his heart out!
STEVE: I've come up with a good idea for another Torture Screen, There is a pit that's half full of water and infested with crocodiles. On the right of the screen there's a waterfall and near this is a little creature with a big bucket. This creature sticks the bucket into the waterfall, then carries it across to the pit and pours it in, and yes, you've guessed it, above the pit is the latest Fuzzy victim. As the water rises the crocs get closer to the Fuzzy until they bite the bottom of his body off (also rated 18).
MONDAY 27TH MAY BANK HOLIDAY
As with most Bank Holidays we spent the day down Southend with some of our mates. The sea front was well and truly packed as not only was there not a cloud in the sky, but it was the Southend Air Show today - not that we saw much of it. We spent all day in the pubs, arcades, pubs, fast food places, pubs, more arcades and ... the pubs. Yep, a great day was had by all!
Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble it's the acid bath for you!
TUESDAY 28TH MAY
JOHN: After playing the latest arcade games yesterday and spending loadsamoney on Rampart (and booze) it's back to work on the game, So this morning I was not only struggling through a hangover but also making a Fuzzy fall out out of the cage and into the acieeed. Once I'd finished that, I started on the baddie who prods the Fuzzies in the cage (obviously causing one to fall out). I then tied the whole lot together so it's now a little sequence of events leading up to the death of one of our fluffy friends unless, of course, Clyde saves him.
Flicking through the latest ZZAP! today I noticed that our spoof 'Readers Awards' entry was printed by the one-and-only, Lloyd Mangram (it was actually sent with a demo disk to Rob Hogg and wasn't intended to be included in the awards). I also noticed that our address was printed with the entry (and I was stupid enough to put it on there'). This will probably have the effect of drastically increasing our mail bag.
STEVE: I've come up with some more Torture Screen ideas but instead of ways to kill Fuzzies, I've been thinking of ways to rescue them. Picture this, an ill-fated Fuzzy fastened to a rope dangling above some sort of gruesome death device. This rope is hooked over a pulley and tied around a pole. Under the rope is a candle that is slowly burning away the fibres, until the rope snaps. Near the candle is a large monster just sitting there, On the other side of the screen there is a seesaw and an alien dressed in a waiter's outfit who walks off the screen and returns with a cute little alien on a tray, He then puts this little creature on one side of the seesaw, and you have to catapult it right into the mouth of the creature near the candle. The idea is that you feed this monster so much that he gets ill and throws up all over the candle thus putting it out.
THURSDAY 30TH MAY
USA here we come ... That's right. we're off to America today (we needed the break, okay) So the game has come to a standstill for the next two weeks. Oh, by the way, we received four bits of fan mail this morning and ZZAP!s only been out a few days!
MONDAY 17TH JUNE
We're back! But we don't want to be! Back to all these high prices, limited sources of junk food and all this rain. We can't even use our English accents to our advantage any more (hee hee). But at least our lager has alcohol in it!
The amount of mail we received while we were away is a tad large to say the least. Before our address was made public we made a policy of always answering any fan mail we got, but with the number of letters we're getting now, unfortunately it's going to be impossible to reply to everyone and still produce the game. So we send our apologies (and thanks) to all of you who sent us your opinions/questions and wanted a reply - it's just that there are too many of you! What we will do, however, is attempt to answer some of the most commonly asked questions in this very instalment (see 'APEX ANSWERS' box).
FRIDAY 21ST JUNE
JOHN: The game's been coming along slowly this week. Andy Roberts (who playtests our games and gives us the odd (very odd) idea) came down from Liverpool for the weekend. Looks like we'll have to take him to a club tonight. We showed him the latest demos of the game which he seemed to like - at least that's what he told us.
STEVE: Andy brought down a load of Amiga demos: one was of the first Creatures Torture Screen with grafix ported across from the C64 with all the animations and some intro grafix. The sound had been sampled from the C64 and instead of taking up less than 1 K it was 300K for about four bars worth. All that was done by 'Kenz' and Andy Roberts.
Steve's sketches provide some idea of forthcoming Torture Screens. Stand by for a full cartoon strip next month!
TUESDAY 25TH JUNE
JOHN: Having to describe what we've been doing to the game every day is presenting us with a slight problem: we'll end up giving too much of the game away. Screenshots of each screen will also give away more than we want to. So a quick request to the ladz at ZZAP!: DON'T PRINT FULL SCREENS - pretty please.
STEVE: At the top of the Intermission Screen there is an alien known as a 'Snatcher', I'm bored with what it looks like, so I've started to design a new and improved one which looks something like a bat, but a lot cuter. Also you may remember me telling you about a creature that is wearing a waiter's outfit, well I've been sketching down this very creature and a few others, these may be seen in this very instalment, then again...
THURSDAY 27TH JUNE
JOHN: On Torture Screen B, we've noticed that when the frog falls into the water he doesn't look like he goes in it - he looks too overlaid (which, of course, he is). So I decided to add a colour split across the top of the water which turns the frog from green to light blue, therefore making him look like he's submerged.
Next I realised Clyde can get to the water and fall into it, so technically he should go light blue too. So now he does, and falls to the bottom of the pond and drowns.
STEVE: On the subject of TSB, I did a new alien for the top of the screen which was like a dog creature, but then I decided to go back to the original 'Screamer' creature. I added a nice 'Ouch' animation to it for when he gets shot. Finally got around the last alien on TSB, who looks a bit like one of the cuter aliens from Retrograde. It's got a nice 'splitting apart' sort of explosion.
MONDAY 1ST JULY
JOHN: Only two weeks to go until we're off on holiday (again) and we can't wait! You'll never guess where we're going. As we had such a fabbo time there last year we're back to the same island and even the same hotel. That's right, in two weeks we'll be in Majorca!
It's back to work for now though. With all the froggy intelligence done, I've started to code the rock movement routine as well. I'm not going to mention exactly what the rock is supposed to do for obvious reasons.
STEVE: I'm doing new acid animations for TSB and while I'm here I've done the Fuzzy wave. After you rescue the poor old fellow he gives you a flutter of his paw and walks off to freedom.
The TSC design is now back on the C128 and I've just added a big black cannon to the character set and background. This Torture Screen is the one with the infamous Chainsaw Monster that carves frightened Fuzzy to death (yuk!). I have just done all the animations for this with poor Mr Fuzzy-Wuzzy on the end of the chainsaw being lifted around (with blood everywhere - of course!).
Steve and girlfriend Sandra Boe make a spectacle of themselves in the States, while John looks cool on the right.
THURSDAY 4TH JULY
JOHN: I had a little break from the Torture Screen yesterday to make a slight modification to the Title Sequence (which is bigger than the Retrograde and Creatures Title Sequences put together!). At the bottom of the first screen is the credit, 'An Apex Computer Production', with a colour split background. We decided to change this background to black, and have loads of stars flying through the letters. This has been finished now, but it doesn't look as good as we'd hoped. So I will probably modify it.
I was chatting to Steve today about the amount of extra lives we should let you lot get. We then came up with the idea of 'Hidden Bonus Rooms'. These will be found on selected Torture Screens and are simply rooms full of the 'bonus coins' that are found on the Intermission Screens. You must find the secret way to get to them and if you do, you'll have something like 20 seconds to collect as many coins as you can before returning to the Torture Screens. I've already devised a way to cram a 40 x 24 character screen into 8 bytes, so we could make each room more than just one screen.
STEVE: Well this hidden bonus room sounds like a good idea. Talking of 'sounds', we need some music to give a nice atmospheric effect and there will be effects for Clyde as well. This music has been done in two channels, took about 20 minutes to compose and was a massive 48 bytes long.
We've been getting a lot of fan letters lately, some of which ask lots of questions and others that suggest ideas to put in Creatures II. Out of all the Torture Screen ideas sent, I have chosen all the good ones and started trying to compile some screens, Thanks to James Cutts (aged 14) whose sketches gave me inspiration for a new Torture Screen.
'How do I start writing games?'
Er, good question. If anyone finds out could they let us know? Seriously though, you must first learn to program Machine Code. Learn how to use the C64, how to move and animate sprites, create background graphics, where to store them etc, All of this information can be found in computer books, which brings us onto the next question:
'Which is the best book to get?'
The best one (in our opinion) is called 'Programming the Commodore 64' written by Rae West. It is published by Level Computer Publications, PO Box 438, Hampstead, London NW3 1BH
'Which graphics editor do you use?'
Our most commonly used one is Silverbird's Graphic Editor. We also use custom editors which we write for any special tasks that our other editors can't cope with easily.
'Is there another cheat for Creatures?'
There isn't another built-in cheat mode for Creatures but there is, however, a poke which will give you infinite shields. To enter it you'll need an Action Replay cartridge. It is: POKE 44183,173.
The Fuzzy Factory - Part 5
The Apex lads go on yet another holiday to 'get inspiration for more Creatures II ideas', consume countless brown cows and end up seeing pink elephants. Now there's an idea! The complete lowdown on the holiday is here (well, what they can remember of it) along with the latest Creatures II developments - yes, they actually managed to do some work on it!
TUESDAY 9TH JULY
JOHN: No, no, no, no, no - I simply cannot handle this any more! Once again (for about the 800th time) my sprite-2-sprite collision code is playing up. The core of this routine is two years old (it was written for Retrograde) and has still got a bug in it. How can this be? Half the production time on our games seems to be spent fixing this stupid routine. So I spent most of today searching through print-outs of the code, and making small modifications to it, with the hope that it might miraculously fix itself. Eventually, after a lot of swearing and computer bashing, it decided to work and if it goes wrong again there isn't going to be a Creatures II, okay?
STEVE: I'm in the mood for music, which makes a change. I started this nice mellow sort of tune with some cool cords and brilliant bass (of course). Does anyone remember the music that played in the background of the cartoon series called 'Peanuts'? You know, with Snoopy, Charlie Brown and friends, well it sounds similar to that
Believe it or not, I'm still designing the third torture screen, the one with the snow. I've just added clouds across the top of the screen, which is where the parallax snow falls from. Also to make this chamber a tad harder I came up with the idea of sticking a 'snowball creature' on one side of the screen. This creature throws snowballs (Obviously!) across to the other side, but if they hit you, you don't die, you just get knocked along habit.
What's happening? Is this CRITT: The Teletext Game? Nope, it's just a glimpse at the very early stages of a new Torture Screen.
FRIDAY 12TH JULY
JOHN: I'll be honest and let you know that not a hell of a lot of work has been done to the game yesterday and today. The reason is that we're preparing for the HOLIDAY (oops, I typed that in capitals). We're leaving for Majorca on Sunday so we've been doing our last minute shopping. As with last year's diary we'll attempt to keep a mental note of what's going on, but as we'll be consuming excessive amounts of booze, we may not remember much.
STEVE: This lunchtime was baking hot, so naturally I just had to spend it outside catching rays in the garden, just so that when we go on HOLIDAY in a few days I don't get too burnt. But having said this, I did do some work this morning. I actually had to go back to the second torture screen to alter the character set and the screen layout, for the LAST TIME!!!
Well this afternoon I'm starting the new Torture Screen D from all the new ideas we have, beginning with a rough on-screen layout of the background. This is normally done just by using one or two different-coloured reversed characters.
SUNDAY 14th TO SUNDAY 28TH LIVE FROM MAJORCA
TUESDAY 16TH JULY
We're not drunk! Nope. No siree. We're as sober as a... as a... a big sober thing. Okay we'll come clean, we're inebriated (which is a hard word to spell... ). Last night we were at the famous BCM Music Empire wishing that we were back home working on Creatures II, we don't think! (Hold on - we don't think anyway!) We spent most of the day on the beach which wasn't too bad except for the sand and the salt water (?). However, the topless entertainment which frequented the beach made up for it!
FRIDAY 19TH JULY
We've now finished a couple of rolls of film and already the camera has started to play up. And on the subject of cameras, Steve has earned himself the nickname of 'KID LUCKY' for reasons we can't divulge. We spent today by the pool, drinking alcohol (I don't believe it!), getting a tan and soaking anything that moved with our massive water guns. Andy Smith (who helps us with ideas and problems - technical problems) is nicely sunburnt, hee hee. What a great shade of red he is too.
MONDAY 22ND JULY
We were at a beach party this morning and a water park in the afternoon (despite saying we wouldn't go to a water park this year as we would all get colds after). The park closed to the public at 6.00 but because we were with 'Thomson Young Fun' we could stay until 7.30. That meant no queues on any of the slides. Yippee! After this there was a massive barbecue for us all with competitions and entertainment laid on by the Reps. (John won a bottle of champagne - well that's what it was meant to be.) So by the end of the night we were all stuffed with chicken and completely drunk. We went on a pub-crawl with one of the Reps after, and we just had to drink him under the table. However, thanks must go out to Jon (the Rep) for introducing us to a 'Brown Cow' - and before any of you say anything, it's a drink.
Brilliant animation requires painstaking work on lots of frames of animation, including some showing the leaping, crumbling skeleton of a dissolving Fuzzy!
THURSDAY 25TH JULY
We've lost track of what day it is as every day is a Saturday out here. We were on a cruise on Tuesday, sailing around the island, eating more chicken and playing drinking games all day - as ya do. Andy had a grain of sand in his eye from the beach party the day before, so we cleared his eye out by throwing him off the boat (while he was still wearing one of his pairs of £80 boots). Most of today, however, was spent asleep recovering from the mammoth drinking session we had last night (and the night before that, and the night before THAT etc... ). If you think about it, we can't actually remember that much about the holiday. This is because by late afternoon we would be downing bottles of peach Schnapps and Southern Comfort, preparing ourselves for the night to come, where we would all be completely paralytic. Then every morning we're all asleep recovering from the previous night, leaving just the early afternoons when we are actually conscious AND sober Can't wait for the photos to be developed as we can't remember taking half the pictures.
SUNDAY 28TH JULY
Boo, hoo, sob, whimper, etc. This is our last day and - guess what - we don't want to come home. Okay, so everyone has got a severe sore throat (we knew we shouldn't have gone to the water park) and everyone has got the squits, but we still want to stay. But hold on, if we stay, we won't be able to work on Creatures II. We DEFINITELY want to stay!
When the time did come for us to depart (6pm to be precise), we had half the hotel seeing us off (yeah - the front half, we mean half the people in the hotel). For them it was 'pay-back time', as we were soaking all of them for two weeks. For us it was mega-soakings all round, and just before we got on the coach too. We thought that we'd throw Sue (the cutest of the Reps (well Jon wasn't too bad)) into the pool for the last time though, a sort of going away present if you will. Anyway, we've had an utterly brilliant two weeks (this being by far the best holiday we've ever had) and so here's a quick list of people who helped make it happen. 'Yo!' and massive drinks to
Caroline - 'I don't like to get out of my,depth',
Andy - 'Bing bong, bing bong';
Sue - ' ... erm.. .' (that's a dizzy blonde for you! (Just kidding Sue);
and last but least (only joking) it's Jon, the 'brown cow king' - 'I'm havin' it off on Tuesday'.
Andy, Declan, Kevin, Neil (the nodding dog), Dean, Ralph (Richard), Andy, Dave (divine) and Gary.
Lisa, Niki, Cathy, Helen, BJ, Stacey (Tracey), the two Welsh lassies next door, and the countless females we met but simply cannot remember the names of.
MONDAY 29TH JULY
JOHN: Slept all day.
STEVE: Slept all day.
TUESDAY 30TH JULY
JOHN: We're back and awake Yep, what a holiday that was. All that sunshine for two weeks and we come back to this thunderstorms. Great.
Anyhow, I suppose I'd better get back to work, but not on CRITT. I've got a little task to complete for Retrograde It's going on The Hits 2 (THE compilation of the decade), and needs to have the protection taken off for the duplicators. The only problem is that it's now two years old and I didn't put the protection on in the first place. I'll give it my best shot though.
STEVE: After having just started the design for Torture Screen D before the absolutely excellent holiday I am going to have to leave it. The reason is that we now need to design the first Torture Screen that will be in the final game. When I mention the first TS or the second TS this isn't the first and second in the game, it's in the order of design. So we need an easy but good first TS and I've got some good ideas for It, but it needs a bit of work, so I'll try and add some humour. It is important that the first few stages of the game have the right playability so that we keep the player coming back for more.
THURSDAY 1ST AUGUST
JOHN: August already! Where does the time go? Technically speaking (or is that technically writing?), we have only got two months production time on the game. Is CRITT going to be finished? Hmmmm. Today though, I was working on TSB, creating the death sequence for the bad guy you've got to kill in order to complete the screen. (You see how little I gave away then, hee hee). I also adjusted the animations for the 'prodder' - the creature whose job it is to prod one of the helpless Fuzzies out of the cage and into the stream of acid! I also added a creature to one the platforms which looks like one from Retrograde (to those of you who got that far anyway), making it slightly harder for you to save any Fuzzies that might need saving (you can bet your life they will).
STEVE: Clyde Radcliffe In Torture Trouble is the name of the game in unabbreviated form, but when abbreviated it becomes CRITT. We've been given the idea that if we add 'ERS' to the end of the abbreviation we end up with CRITTERS. This does sound better than CRITT so now all we need to do is to try to come up with three words to fit 'ERS'. Tough task but it will have to wait until later when we can devote more time to it and have a glance at our thesaurus (swear words aren't allowed!). Reebok's 'Energy Return System' pops straight to mind, but that doesn't go too well with the rest of the title!
SATURDAY 3RD AUGUST
JOHN: I've been coding the final bit of intelligence for the little 'raft-paddling creature' at the bottom of the screen. I thought I'd finished it but when I was showing it to Andy last night (the Torture Screen, obviously) I spotted a bug in it. This means I'll working on it again on Monday Rob Ellis popped over this afternoon and when we had eventually finished telling him some of our 'holiday stories' we decided that a load of us should go to the Southend arcades next weekend. He mentioned some of the features of Space Gun (his favourite game at the moment), which got me thinking. In it you must save a quota of good guys, whilst blasting the aliens. Well near the end of the game (which we have reached) you start getting some of these good guys running towards you and then 'mutating' into hideous aliens. Well how about doing this with our cute 'n' cuddly Fuzzies? Great idea, huh?
STEVE: Well the last time I worked on this part of the game I said it would be the last time I would work on it (?). Yeah, it's Torture Screen B. It seems like this is a neverending TS that I can't get rid of. This time I have to add some extra animations so that when the poor Fuzzy gets prodded out of the cage and lands he gets up nice and smoothly.
It's time to do the graphics for the level loading screen as John will hopefully be coding that soon. After a long discussion on how we could graphically show three Torture Screens on an island, we eventually came up with a suitable answer. There would be three doors to the three chambers onscreen. When the one you are about to enter loads in the door would open. So by the time you were on the last Torture Screen you would have three open doors on the screen, see.
Character blocks are used to buitd up this atmospheric forest scene, all we need now is a witch on a broomstick!
The Clyde Guide - Part 6
GameStone - Zzap! 64 when bust so the guide was carried on in Commodore Format.
Welcome to our first instalment of the Creatures II diary, in which the Apex lads narrate the day·to·day trials and tribulations of coding a (hopefully} chart~topping C64 game. We've picked it up half· way through the project, where they're already busy inflicting pain on the poor Fuzzies. Take it away, guys...
TUESDAY 6TH AUGUST
JOHN: I'm working on the 'Hidden Bonus Rooms' at the moment, with some pretty damn good results. These are secret rooms which can only be accessed at a certain time and at a specific area on some of the Torture Screens. If you do find them you'll have about one minute in which to collect as many bonuses as you can. With just 15 bytes I can print up a screen layout together with different multicolour/screen colours and up to 56 sprite X-Y positions, animations and colours. As with the Torture Screens, Clyde can leap about in the top border but with extra height and speed capabilities. The only problem is that I'm having quite a difficult time with the collision routine (needed to allow Clyde to pick up the bonuses).
STEVE: Work had to stop on the game due to a potentially disastrous situation - the car stereo was dead. Most of the morning was spent performing major surgery with a soldering iron in one hand and a tub of flux in the other. But finally I got the power to work and now the bass is back!
This afternoon I've been working on the music for the hidden bonus rooms. It's just a little jingle type of tune that uses two voices.
One of the hidden bonus rooms full of collectible creatures. As you can see, Clyde looks suitably surprised!
THURSDAY 8TH AUGUST
JOHN: After spending all of yesterday trying to fix my collision detection routine I decided to scrap it and start again last night. The new system I'd come up with meant I had to change my position and split routines as well. So I was working until 2am and rewrote two days' work in just over two hours!
Today however, I got the status in the bottom border. The status in these rooms is different to the one in the game. It's basically just the time left to collect as many bonuses as you can. I also made it possible for Clyde to fall off the bottom of the screen and into another one below.
STEVE: Last night was spent trying to come up with a new Torture Screen design for the first one in the game. I finalised the basic ideas this morning, then started the on-screen layout. This is done using reversed characters placed on screen and can be adjusted easily to form the platforms and background. After the layout is completed, I can then go around the 'teletext' screen filling in the detail.
Also today I was again adjusting the TSB (Torture Screen B) sprite bank. The alien at the top of the screen is now Invincible and two sprites high. Also added the famous sun and clouds for some extra background detail.
SATURDAY 10TH AUGUST
JOHN: I've added another two screens to the original one making this hidden bonus room three screens high. You now exit the rooms if you run out of time or if you collect a 'No' bonus. I modified the Level Complete code to print up the amount of bonuses you collected if you found the hidden room. If you manage to get a 'Perfect' (ie, pick up all the bonuses in the time allowed) you get an extra life - ain't we generous?
STEVE: I think it's about time to add some new weapons for Clyde to use in CRITT (Clyde Radcliffe In Torture Trouble). I sketched out a few ideas and am now putting them into icons. There are three weapons in the weapon tablet from Creatures and five new weapons. The actual sprites have now been designed but John still has to code the new movement patterns for them, which should be pretty good.
MONDAY 12TH AUGUST
JOHN: We were down Southend-On-Sea yesterday playing loads of arcade games and looking for inspiration. The latest games we've completed are Midnight Wanderers (by Steve) and Chariot (by Rob 'Transmission Software' Ellis). We also played the new Sega machine called Time Traveller, which features pseudo-holo-graphic people in front of you. It looked pretty good actually and may start a new wave of holographic games (well lets hope they play better than Time Traveller does! - Ed).
Back to our game however, and I've been adding the finishing touches to TSB. I've added the sun and clouds in the top border and tweaked the odd bit of code (actually a lot of the code is odd!). I worked into the early hours of Tuesday adding Clyde's new weapons, including two which can be fired out and left spinning around until they hit a bad guy or you go and pick 'em up!
STEVE: As John's just mentioned, we were in Southend yesterday and pretty damn warm it was too. You can call me Mr 'Midnight Wanderers' as I think this game is pretty cool. There's a huge disgusting blob sort of alien on the first level with what looks like a very bad case of halitosis (even worse than Clyde's). There are plenty of other aliens that would look nice in CRITT but I try not to copy ideas and keep mine original (honestly!).
At the moment I am working on some music for TSB which, coincidentally, sounds reminiscent to the music for Creatures TSB. Also done in the music department is some new 'Level Complete' music which is good but may be changed for something better (If I get around to rewriting again!).
Clyde: Hey, corne on guys! My breath's not that bad!
THURSDAY 15TH AUGUST
JOHN: I came to add some extra sound FX today and noticed that there are a hell of a lot of SFX in there from Creatures that aren't used in Creatures II, So I spent an hour finding out which ones weren't needed, ripping them out and then adding the new SFX. I also tweaked the Bonus game (with the bouncing Fuzzles), adjusting the 'snatchar' detection in particular. On top of this I made it Jump to 'Level Complete' once the required quota of Fuzzies had been saved.
I was speaking to the one and only Dave 'fax king' Birch today (the big cheese at Thalamus) and he was saying that Creatures is selling rather well to say the least. So it's a big 'thanks' to everyone who bought a copy and 'buy a copy' to the few of you who haven't.
STEVE: As Johnny has been sorting out his SFX bank I thought I might do some new SFX Just for fun. I came up with a pretty good 'Coin Collect' 30 second timer and the screamin' Fuzzy sound effect.
Just to make some points a bit clearer, when we refer to a Torture Screen eg, 'TSE' we mean this is the fifth (E) In the order of design. This means that they could appear in any order In the game. So there you are - clear as mud.
During this project, about eight months so far, I have been a bit bored once or twice (yes, only once or twice). So to keep my mind busy I draw little sketches of our cute 'n' cuddly friend Clyde Radcliffe, These soon turn into little stories and I have Just started the second episode. This series Is called 'The Further Adventures of Clyde Radcliffe' so watch out for it.
MONDAY 19TH AUGUST
JOHN: Andy Roberts (the guy who does some of the tips and maps for Game Busters) phoned today asking for a few Retrograde 'jump addresses' and cheat POKEs (he's doing some tips for it), so I took an hour off from Creatures II to try and find them.
With the second Torture Screen finally finished (YES!) and some new graphics waiting for me on disk, I suppose I'd better start another one. This will appear as the first in the game but is in fact the fifth one that has been designed (hence the code TSE), But before that I've got to rip out all the code I'm not going to need from the Torture Screen I've just finished, leaving me with an up to date, empty version of the game.
STEVE: Today sees the completion of the cartoon. Most of yesterday and some of this morning was spent adding colour to the black and white version. But a quick trip into town to get three colour laser copies of this episode makes the last three or four days worth the effort.
Well the rest of the day was spent adjusting the new 'grabber' creature for the bonus game. This new one looks a bit like a cuddly great bat with big feet - and why not?
Here's Torture Screen 'E' (the first one in the game). Unfortunately. the most vital part of the puzzle is covered up by this ridiculously large caption box, It doesn't have to be this big. but we thought, what the heck, Better not give too much away, right lads? So we've continued to witter on until this box is, pretty much full of text. Sorry, but it had to done. (Nearly there...)
WEDNESDAY 21ST AUGUST
JOHN: Since Monday I've uploaded the background graphics, colours and windows, together with the latest sprites. I've got the bike creature animating, the core of the 'press' routine written and both conveyor belts animating. If Clyde falls onto the conveyor belts he moves along with them (obviously). The explosion routine is also done. I'm going to tempt fate and say that TSE is proving to be the quickest to produce so far (uh-oh! That's done it).
STEVE: For some time John has been saying that the Fuzzles that dance across the screen on the 'Get Ready' section should have bigger smiles on their faces. Well John, it's donel (Just upload them sometime this month will you?)
This afternoon I've devoted to Torture Screen E. I added a new help bubble for the latest Fuzzy in peril and a few more slogans just so he can show his frustration at you for not being able to complete the Torture Screen.
FRIDAY 23RD AUGUST
JOHN: As this is the first Torture Screen you'll play it needs to be pretty easy. I've come up with the idea of having a 'help balloon' on the screen, and if you pick it up messages will appear in the top border to help you complete the screen. I'll leave this until I've completely finished coding TSE before doing it though. I've also got to squeeze in the title music, the high score music and all of the high score code into the normal Torture Screen code-space as well. So memory is going to be very tight.
STEVE: There are more TSE bits 'n' bobs to be done and this starts off with the massive explosion for the bomb. The death animations for the giant double-headed slug monster are next, This has the monster squealing with pain as it dissolves into the ground.
Also, the blood animations for the Fuzzy death sequence are required but any expert who knows how to play the game will hardly ever see them, This usually means that whatever you have to do to save the Fuzzy is also fairly graphic, as in this case (enough said).
SUNDAY 25TH AUGUST
Sunday!- Are we mad? (Only as mad as for slaving over CF all weekend - Ed).
JOHN: Yawnl Heavy drinking sessions for the last three nights mean heavy eyes today (don't, do it kids - Ed). (Yawn.) But even though we may be hung over, we're stili going to work on the game. (Yawn, hick.) So, apart from nursing a headache today, I fixed a bug on TSB (the acid screen) that I noticed while I was showing it to Andy Smith yesterday (the screen, not... er... oh, forget it). Back to TSE and I managed to start and finish the 'platform intelligence code'. These are the platforms that - hold on! I shouldn't give too much of the game away!
STEVE: Well (burp) what can I say apart from, I feel ill (see, I told you - Ed). But hangover aside, I will work today because the game needs work done to it (that doesn't usually stop us though!). I'll have to try and focus my blurred vision so I can design the sprites for the pause mode. When you see them in the finished game, if you don't think they're drawn very well, you'll know why (I wish I had that sort of excuse for the rest of my graphics).
WEDNESDAY 28TH AUGUST
JOHN: Actually Steve, I don't think there's an excuse on Earth that would let you off from your graphics, Anyway, I've now done the death for the Fuzzy on TSE (with loads of blood, of course) and also the death of the two-headed creature as well. The little guy who fires over the pool of acid is now animating, jumping and firing. I then wrote his death routine, together with the magic potion that appears from under the ground beneath him. Working yet another late night, I did the 'bomb' movement and explosion routines. And yes - I am giving away the game.
STEVE: I'm back to TSC (the one with the snow) and I'm doing a nice big squidgy alien to go up the top left of the screen just to make it a tad harder. This alien will shoot horizontally across the screen. Originally it was going to throw snow balls but I ran out of room in the sprite. It could be redesigned though...
On a different note (literally), we decided it was about time to change the death music for Clyde. So out came the good old Yamaha PSS 790, and to my surprise a decent little ditty was composed in no time. It was then time to convert this to the C128, adding loads of bass, a few drums and some nice backing sounds. The completion of this music didn't take long, so being in such a good mood I started another damn hot bit of music that will probably end up in a Torture Screen.
FRIDAY 30TH AUGUST
JOHN: Well, this time next week we'll be at the Computer Entertainment Show, which will probably be relatively boring as it's trade only (as you all know by now). This means that we don't have to get any demos of the game ready for it, which usually meant us staying up to about 5am on the first day of the show.
TSE is drawing to a close with Clyde's death routine, should he fall in the acid, completed now. I also fixed a bug from Creatures (wot? A bug in Creatures never!) which occasionally caused his death bubble to appear on the left hand side of the screen when he had died on the right. I've virtually finished all the routines needed for the bike creature, so there's basically just playtestlng and tweaking needed to complete production on the screen. (Yippee!)
STEVE: When I said the new death music was complete, I lied. As normal, we find ways to improve or alter parts of the music to make it even better (Is that possible?). So we now have a rather nice supa deluxe version of It. The music department is still open, so I can continue with the new damn hot bit of music that now has a version name of 'OUT0A', basically because the bass sounds similar to the one from 'Wipe Out' by Run DMC (but not that similar, Mr Lawyer). This music department is open well into the night, mainly because of me doing more music. I've found two new bits that are suitable for Torture Screens, one of which sounds really spooky in a cute kind of way, so there will be a Torture Screen designed for that bit.
A tantalising shot of Torture Screen 'B' (the second one in the game). We've decided to show just the lower half, as a poor Fuzzy gets prodded into the acid pool (that's his skeleton bobbing about on the waves!)
TUESDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER
JOHN: With the Torture Screen completed (as far as I know), I'm onto some presentation - which I just happen to love, It's time to design the screen which lets you enter your initials into the high score table. I've had an idea of what this should look like for some time, All I've got to do now is see if it works well once it's in the game.
So far I've got the screen set-up with the current high score music playing. The letter you're choosing is now printed on screen, with all the necessary sprite splittin' and movement in as well. I am having a little problem with the sprite animator though, and will have to look at it more closely tomorrow.
STEVE: Hey dudes, today Is excellent! The sun is out, the sky is blue and there's not a cloud to spoil the view. Just to make the most of this most glorious day I am working outside, designing a new Torture Screen. This one is TSF and features some pretty nasty customers. I think this will be rated Cert (18) for sure, Just like a few of the others. Hey man, the design is now accomplished to the fall and next on the agenda is to do the 'teletext' screen layout.
Before I start doing the graphics for TSF, I thought I might help John out. At the moment he is working on the high score/name entry screen and could do with some extra letter for you to enter. So added to the font is a nice idea 'The End' icon (to end) and a nice little back arrow (to delete a letter) as well as the original A-Z, 0-9 and some punctuation.
THURSDAY 5TH - SATURDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER
Yes, that's right - we were at the show for three days and every day we were more drunk than the previous one! Technically, the show itself was pretty lame but the bar more than made up for this. So now it's on to the customary shout-outs to everyone worth a mention. Monumental 'Yo!'s' to: Andy Smith, Andy Roberts, Sarah and James Beach, Nigel Barden, Rob Ellis, Dave Birch, Steve Ralling, Andy Braybrook, Pete Woods, Steve Archer and the rest of the guys at Ablex, Ash Hogg and Dave Clarke of Genesis, Rob Stevens, Stavros Fasoulas, Jason Perkin, Bart Simpson and Mirrorsoft, Next month dudes!
The Apex team have worked wonders on the high score table. What this static shot doesn't show is the amazing wibbly text which flows through each letter. Looks like you're going to have to wait for the finished game!
The Clyde Guide - Part 7
A big welcome back please for the Apex lads, as they continue telling the true story of the day-to-day development of Creatures 2. This month, the guys pass some time programming and spend some more time passing the buck. But it's okay, everything is going according to plan... honest! (Ahem)
FRIDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER
(Cue sinister sounding music.)
JOHN: Well done - you've Just found the most important thing In the whole of the known universe (well, it's not that important). Yes indeedy, we're back with this month's fountain of information on Creatures II. (Get on with it - Ed.) Surprisingly, none of our computers went down on us today. I spent all day tweaking the first page of the title sequence, making 'AN APEX COMPUTER PRODUCTION' a lot more eye-catching, using colour splitting rasters and colour cycling sprites (and a bit of CF - Ed).
STEVE: I've been working for a few months, on and off, on the title music. But it doesn't seem either cute or different enough. So I got myself into the mood for composing some more music on the keyboard. in about 10 minutes I'd come up with the 'well cute' bass and started to program it into the trusty CBM128. Next on the keyboard came the accompaniment to go with the bass, along with a few variations to add later. To my surprise, It's started going rather well.
WEDNESDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER
JOHN: I went back to the hi-score entry bit, writing the code that inserts the selected letter to the hi-score initials. Once I'd done that I noticed a justification bug In the hiscore table in the title sequence, The Creatures and Creatures II large text print routines justify all the letters, numbers and punctuation. These large letters are based on a 2x2 character block but, whereas most of them fit nicely into this, letters such as I, W and M are different widths (I is 1, W and M are 3). So the print routine has to be adjusted accordingly again! (Observation 1: large text doesn't look good unless it's justified this way. Observation 2: look at Last Ninja 3 on the Amiga to see what I mean, Observation 3: Last Ninja 3's font (text style) Is uncannily similar to the one In Creatures. don't you think?)
STEVE: The new music is coming along. Even so, I started yet another piece that was based on an old demo we've got, called Zagallax, which didn't sound bad. I've also been updating an earlier track to go in the game as music for the hi-score, which has a version name of Bug (if you wanted to know) but the title music is most important now, so I'm going to have to work on that. A long time ago, I used to use a music package called Electrosound. I don't know why but I did. Anyway, some of the music on this was pretty good, so good in fact, that I converted it to our own music system and included it in a couple of our games. As it happens, the latest conversion of notes from Electrosound generate some good harmonics when played along with the title music-to-be.
This is the status screen which has caused John and Steve so much trouble. And to think that is looks so innocent at first...
MONDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER
JOHN: Now I've finished the hi-score table entry system, I'm moving on to work on another part of the game. With the exception of stages, I'm coming to the bit that's normally written last. Yep, it's time to do the disk level loader (now, John convince yourself you like doing this). Steve and I have come up with a suitable screen layout, considering the lack of memory we have left (nice way of putting it -Ed), so I've been writing routines to print this up on the screen using the smallest amount of data possible. I've also had to do a variable location check on all the torture screen. This is when I have to make sure that specific variables are always in the same place in each screen, so they can be loaded in without corrupting when executed. Understand? Don't worry, neither do I yet.
STEVE: Just to take another break from the title music, I've been messing around with our Yamaha and have come up with e more suitable hi-score track. So now most of the notes have been composed, I've got to program them all over again, into the computer. They'll probably end up being completely different by the time I'm finished but who cares as long as it's good.
Meanwhile, I've become completely bored with the music business, so I've loaded torture screen C. I've designed a nifty little creature to put into this one. His purpose in life is to light a cannon that's pointing at your bestest buddy, so you won't have to think twice about exterminating this bit of slime.
FRIDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER
JOHN: Okay, I can take it - my load code isn't loading properly and I've run out of things to break with frustration (with my fist, actually). I've modified the routine from Creatures (but so that it's always correct), so maybe this is the problem, I've got to confess, I'm depressed at the moment. Dave 'I want my GTE back' Birch (Mr Thalamus to you) phoned today to ask me how the game is going, Of course, I told him everything was going well and that I had no problems whatsoever in getting the loader to work (I wish).
STEVE: We haven't had any new interlude graphics for a while, So I started work on a palm tree scene. This features three large palm trees in the foreground and lots of smaller trees behind, under a cyan coloured sky. These big palm trees were also the basis for another interlude section - the beach. At the moment, this features deep blue sea, golden sandy beaches and maybe a few killer sharks. As with most things I design, it has to be adjusted days after I've finished it, a bit like the level loading screen John is having trouble with (ha-ha-ha!). The basic gist of it is that it has a few cute Clyde sprites dotted around with some games status chucked in for good measure, as you do!
TUESDAY 1ST OCTOBER
JOHN: At last I've got a torture screen to load In and execute properly. The only problem now Is that the Interlude sprites get corrupted. 'Bonus' sprites in the bottom border also add to this growing trend of 'if you're a sprite, corrupt'. Even title screen sprites have screwed up. But at least the torture screen works, right?
STEVE: Well, just to add a little sparkle to my working day, l have to go back over some old work and adjust it. This time it's the level loading screen again and the objective is to save some coding memory for John. He was going to print up all the different column headings (for the game status) using precious code space but I'm now adding the headings to the window. Because this window already has its own little space in the game, it won't add any extra memory.
You can't tell from this shot but the loading screen features animated text (so you'll just have to believe us when we tell you it's brilliant)
FRIDAY 4TH OCTOBER
JOHN: I've now started to do the calculation routines for the loading screen, the ones that work out how many lives you've lost during the previous stages. The screen also displays the lives you have left when you complete each stage, together with the stage score and total score. We can squeeze one island's status - which is comprised of seven stages onto each screen, with loading messages etc above and below (and stili have a some of our fluffy friends scattered about). I've written the subtraction routine. This is used to calculate the previous stage's score (by subtracting the previous total score from the current total score). Now I just have to get the results printed in the right place.
STEVE: Most of today has been devoted to torture screen C. My attention is drawn to a cute little creature that has the task of lighting a cannon which subsequently, albeit indirectly, kills your fuzzy buddy. This creature can be killed by you, eventually, so it needs its own explosion animation. I've also just added the doomed fuzzy's speech bubbles. These consist of the obligatory, 'HELP' and a new 'I FEEL SICK' as he's held upside down from a piece of rope. Today's work was enjoyable but the definite highlight was getting a free 12-pack of Heineken, due to a rather generous Pizza Hut offer.
WEDNESDAY 9TH OCTOBER
JOHN: A few days ago I was trying to fix a title sequence bug that didn't clear one of the screens properly. It had been screwing things up for a month and had spent most of that time on my Must Fix That One Of These Days list. I spent a few hours on it before giving up in frustration. Today I tried again and spotted the error after about seven seconds! It's amazing how much difference a break from debugging can have. The bug? I had written LDX 7 instead of LDX #7. Wow.
STEVE: At the moment I'm compiling a list of music from some of my earliest music disks but which may stili be suitable for use in Creatures II. This music would be revamped but so far I have around eight tracks from 6 different disks but each disk has around 15 to 30 tracks of music saved on them, It just goes to show how much music gets written that will never be heard at all (probably isn't such a bad thing).
FRIDAY 11TH OCTOBER
JOHN: I found another bug yesterday (never... ) which caused the title sequence to crash when it came to set up the third screen (the credits page). I deduced that this must have had something to do with the new title music which I'd uploaded. But why? It took the best part of the day to fix and I'm still not sure why it's working now, not that I'm complaining. So, with an early version of the title music pounding away, I can finally adjust all the dancing fuzzies so that they bop in time to the beat (which they just love doing).
STEVE: Most of the sprites needed on TSC have been designed but there is stili one big task to face, This torture screen features one particularly bad tempered creature with a chainsaw in his hands. When the fuzzy you're supposed to save falls into the pit Mr Chainsaw himself inhabits there are four overlaid sprites to animate and position. These include the fuzzy, the chainsaw, the creature and of course the blood! The big problem is that all these sprites need X, Y co-ordinates for every animation, so now I need a sheet of graph paper and a whole day to draw and calculate.
WEDNESDAY 16TH OCTOBER
JOHN: The time has come to write a compacter (and uncompacter) for any text screens that'll appear in the game. Within the last few days I've done this, starting with the 'Uncompacter. I've now got a neat little system which allows me to compact any of Steve's screens before I upload them. Flushed with the success of these routines, I emptied the resident torture screen (TSF) ready to code the next 'well 'ard' screen we've designed (and believe me - it's going to be amazing).
STEVE: My disk drive has been becoming more and more unreliable. Sometimes it doesn't load files and lately the computer doesn't even find a device there. Being technically minded like I am, I took it apart, To my surprise i found the problem in no time. (Your C64 was in pieces? Ed.) The socket in the back of the drive is soldered to a chunk of printed circuit board. Solder had been worked loose by the pushing and pulling of the drive leads, so out comes the trusty Iron and industrial sized reel of solder. The drive is now alive.
TUESDAY 22ND OCTOBER
JOHN: It's snowing! Well, maybe not outside but on the latest torture screen it is, Yep, this screen (with the codename TSC and why not?) is set in arctic conditions with frozen water and loads of snow. I've spent a day or two teaching our trusty old C64 the physics of snow (as if I knew them in the first place). With 11 different snowflake patterns and 40 character strips, this gives a total of 440 on-screen snowflakes. 'Mega' Is an understatement.
STEVE: Another month has passed and even less has been done to the game than in the previous month. Why this is I'm not quite sure, maybe it has something to do with morale. I don't know what could give our morale the boost it would need to increase productivity. Or maybe I do. Loads of cash would be nice, or perhaps a holiday on the Costa Del Sol.
The Clyde Guide - Part 8
In the on-going adventures of two arcade game designers, John and Steve Rowlands continue their diary of a completely bonkers computer game. And this month they reveal a few of their secrets. They must be feeling generous or something...
WEDNESDAY 23RD OCTOBER
JOHN: I'm working on the snow torture screen (remember?) which has, not surprisingly, got falling snow on it I coded this last month but have since been unimpressed with the amount of processor time it takes up. So this morning I sifted through the routine and saved a few bytes and a lot of cycles. It's now only a quarter of the time it was and is executed in the borders (where there is no snow), which means there will be no glitches appearing! I achieved this by limiting the number of snowflakes that are processed each 50th of a second.
As there is no visible delay on any of the flakes I added a few more, taking the total from 440 to - wait for it - 720! Yes, it does look cool (well, cold at least)
STEVE: Just to give me a break from the hassles of producing computer games, I put my C128 to one side and got out one of our trusty Amigas. This is because we feel we need some company T-shirts made (as you do) to get the attention of anyone who might recognise us at the World of Commodore Show (not that we need T-shirts to do that!). The Amiga will be used to design the logos on the front and back, after which we will take the photographs of all the different parts, get them enlarged and then transferred onto the T-shirts. This is a time consuming process but should give us some excellent results.
That was not a very good start, fellas.
FRIDAY 25TH OCTOBER
JOHN: All the graphics unloaded, together with the latest screen displayed, it's time to split all the sprites needed for the bad guys. Before we start developing a torture screen we plan out what sprites are going where, ensuring that we don't run out. We can only have a maximum of five horizontally, plus three player sprites, making it up to eight). They're very valuable.
At the bottom of this screen (codenamed TSC as it was the third screen we created) there is a collection of sprites. That had presented a few problems but we got over it even so, it was a close run thing.
STEVE: All the photos are taken and now it's just a matter of dropping the film off at the developers. That leaves it for me to get back to work on that good old snow torture screen. More tweaking needs to be done to the character set and background. This has only just become apparent, as John has recently coded the section of screen that requires a lot of sprites split on the same line.
These sprites had to be moved up off the snow platform slightly so they could be there without a glitch. Now they look like they're floating in mid-air, which would be all right if they were balloons or something...
TUESDAY 29TH OCTOBER
JOHN: All the bottom at this screen is a freezing cold pond, which has to be crossed by Clyde (of course). There are three platforms to help him across, but should he fall into the icy water he's got to die (no surprises as yet).
We have decided however that the standard death sequence for him isn't really suitable. So we've come up with the idea that once he falls in, he floats back up to the surface in the middle of an ice cube. Nice idea, huh? (What do you mean, 'No'?) Anyway, now most of it is coded it's starting to look pretty cute (you actually feel sorry for poor old Clyde).
STEVE: More tweaking is to be done to some sprites on TSC. The pool of blood that forms under the fuzzy wuzzy when he is lifted off the ground by the Chainsaw Monster had several animations added to it, but only because I had some empty sprites in the bank. Also Mr Chainsaw Monster himself needed some adjusting. When he walks along the platform towards his next fuzzy fatality, the smile on his face drops to make him look sad.
Don't ask me why I had drawn it like that, John had just pointed it out for the first time (it had been designed over a year ago!) So now he grins all the time (not John that is), including when he is massacring that ill fated fuzzy and getting showered in blood.
This looks more promising...
THURSDAY 31ST OCTOBER
JOHN: With the 'frozen Clyde' death sequence completed I'm onto another death sequence, the one for Clyde's fluffy friend (who is understandably allergic to chainsaws). This is going to be a large - and dare I say it, complicated - collection of sprite movements, animations and colour routines. So the first thing I've done is make him fall from the rope and land next to Mr Chainsaw. Then he gets up and, realising he is in mortal danger, tries to make a break for it. Obviously, he hasn't got a chance (cue nastily menacing chuckle).
STEVE: I'm now working on the Level Complete music again, which started off well. This must be the third or fourth time I've rewritten it but this version looks (sounds?) like it will be the final one. It's a fair way through now but I'd be tempting fate if I was to say it was nearly complete (so I wont'). It suits the part rather well, mind you. And the other three versions won't go to waste. We can use them in nearly any other part of the game (except the Title Screen, Get Ready, Clyde's Death, High Score or the Interlude ... but apart from that, any other section).
Oops, fumble. 'It was you!' 'No, it was you!'
TUESDAY 5TH NOVEMBER
JOHN: The fuzzy death sequence is nearly finished, with just a bit of tweaking needed.
Our playtesters seem to like it, together with the snow storm. If I have time after I've completed coding this screen, I may add another 80 snowflakes, taking the total up to 800.
Today I wrote the animation/movement code which causes the death sequence to start. Unfortunately I can't say what it is as this would be giving too many clues to you and I don't want to take all the fun out of the game (if there was any fun in there in the first place). Besides, I'm sure you wouldn't want me to spoil it anyway... Fat chance.
STEVE: You know those photos I was talking about earlier? Well they have now been developed and enlarged. I've started cutting around the well smooth ACP (Apex Computer Productions) logo with a trimming knife. Carefully does it.
Soon, I will be trimming up the 'Totally Awesome' writing and then the little 'Apex Computer Productions' logo which goes on the front of the T-shirt. When all that's done, we'll go to the printers and get it transferred onto our T-shirts.
Ready or not, here comes another one.
THURSDAY 7TH NOVEMBER
JOHN: Today we were talking about the interlude graphics (and maybe hidden bonus graphics) which have to go with any snow torture screens. We decided that, seeing as these screens are obviously located near the torture screen on each Island, they should have the same snow 'graphic style'. Then we came up with the idea of having it snow in these parts too' Fifteen minutes of messing around with source code and it was snowing in the Interlude stage as well. As everything was going so well (I'd forgotten how this felt), It thought I'd make the sprites go behind the snow. A little tweaking later and the snow was falling in front of bad guys and fuzzies, generating a tremendous illusion of depth.
STEVE: This interlude section, as John mentioned, needs new snow graphics. For those of you who know anything about programming the C64, when you switch sprites behind characters the sprites will still go over background colour and multicolour 1 (going under multicolour 2 and character colour). If this effect is used well, it can provide an even better illusion of depth by designing foreground trees In MC2 and CC (so Clyde and buddies go behind) and designing background trees in MC1 and BC. The effect it has on this snow screen, as well as looking mega cool, adds a lot to the gameplay. This is mainly because when you are behind a tree you can't see what angle the the Acme Trampoline is at Cunning, neh?
There is one little problem with it. That screen isn't going to present much of a problem to experienced players, which all of you should be after playing the cover cassette demo to destruction, over the hols!
Hope you do, when you get a moment to spare.
When Steve gets bored he draws cartoon adventures of Clyde Radcliffe. It's not only relaxing, it's a good way of trying out ideas.
The Clyde Guide - Part 9
Join us as we join John and Steve Rowlands of Apex for the continuing exploits of two game designers with a dozen ideas a minute and a deadline. As the final day closes in, the boys think, 'Blimey, we better start programming this game then!'And lo, they set about their work...
MONDAY 11TH NOVEMBER
JOHN: Yo! The Apex boys are back. We're still here, kicking it into '92. By the time you read this, you'll already be stuffed with turkey and pud but we've still got that to look forward to.
Anyway, back to today, which doesn't rate highly on my 'creative days' meter. All I've been doing is debugging the interlude game (yawn}. But it's completely finished now. No more bugs left to fix. Famous last words...
We showed the first full torture screen to Andy Smith (our chief playtester) over the weekend and we all decided it needed a bit of tweaking. Steve would put more stuff into the background to fill it out a bit. I had to work on some more sprites for the top border. After burning the midnight oil a little, I ended up putting in a sun and a flock of birds in the distance. It wasn't essential but makes pretty good polish, which more games should have, these days.
STEVE: In case you didn't notice, CF12's covertape featured our interlude game sequence from Creatures 2. My task today was to design CF their very own background (and of course, it'll be snowing because it's Christmas). Two hours after I started, the graphics are complete, probably the best snow graphics yet. I also had to draw the third instalment of The Further Adventures of Clyde Radcliffe for that issue. I did it the same way as the first two but Colin and Sean promised to print it in colour this time. Good.
Hankies out for the sweaty tropical scenes.
Hey, lets play frisbee, guys.
Eek, Clyde in horror spook land.
THURSDAY 14TH - SUNDAY 17TH NOVEMBER
The World Of Commodore Show. We found ourselves at Early Court II for the second time in as many months. The biggest Commodore show of the year gave us a good excuse to consume gargantuan quantities of lager (hic!). We didn't spend all our time at the bar, however, only 95 per cent of it (and you think we're joking). We complemented our boozing expedition by frequenting the waltzer on the Ocean stand - what a great combination that was. Actually, we came up with quite a few good ideas for Creatures 2 with Andy Roberts and Andy Smith. We walked around the stands a bit, met a few people, shook a few hands, had a few laughs (as you do). An excellent time was had by all. A quick 'Yo' to Andy Smith, Andy Roberts, Andy Braybrook from Graftgold), Steve Ralling, Mev Dinc and John Twiddy from Vivid Image, Ash Hogg and Dave Clarke from Genesis, Mario Van Zeist and everyone we chatted to.
WEDNESDAY 19TH NOVEMBER
JOHN: With the graphics for the Creatures 2 demo nearly finished, it's about time I started coding it. The first thing to do is to empty the game of all the code which won't be needed (eg torture screen routines, title routines and so on), The reason for this is not only to release a minimum amount of the game but also to reduce game data and therefore save some all-too-precious tape space. This took me the best part of the day and just left me with the Get Ready and Interlude sections of the game.
STEVE: A few days ago, John had just programmed a gaggle of gaggling geese which flew peacefully through the air. Well, as usual, there was some re-design necessary. In the editor the birds looked really rather nice. It was a slightly different story when we included them in the game, however. It was a few hours of real work that did the trick - the crows, flamingos or whatever they were are now looking a lot better. By the way, the only reason why I can't make up my mind about which kinds of birds they are is that they're only three pixels wide each and don't really look like any kind of bird in particular.
You've got to watch out for that green sludge, or you'll end up with disintegrating Fluffies.
You've got to keep in touch with what's happening with all those Fluffies flying around.
More bug eyed thingies. We've made quite a a collection of monsters over the years.
FRIDAY 21ST NOVEMBER
JOHN: I've uploaded Steve's demo graphics into the game and have got my snowflakes to appear behind them (all 720 of the suckers). It's amazing the amount of difference a snow-storm makes, as the screen looks a hell of lot better in the game than it does in the editor (without any snow). Next, I set the number of fuzzies that you have to save, together with the time limit for saving them. I found the stage incredibly easy to complete but I'd been playing it for months, so that wasn't a very good verification of the screen's difficulty level. We needed someone who hasn't played the game before, so enter Tracy Matheussen (my girlfriend). There was only one problem: she found it very hard. In fact, she found it very hard to save one fuzzie (sigh). So we set the difficulty to what we thought wads reasonable and just hoped (you'll know by now, whether we got it right or not).
STEVE: Have any of you ever made an audio lead to link your 64 to a stereo system? Well I've made a few. Our C64, C128 and Amigas all have these cables and none of them seem to work properly.
When the computer is playing sounds, the stereo crackles a little and sometimes loses a channel but when I give the joints in the cable a squeeze, it all works. John keeps saying, 'You'll blow a chip like that,' so I think it's time to fix it. These leads were made a considerable time ago, when the connection were made by twisting the wires. I now believe this to be insufficient. And you know how it is between me and my soldering. Looks like we're going to spend a little more time together before I get back to writing more music.
Happy sunshine in Clyde-land.
THURSDAY 28TH NOVEMBER
JOHN: As the standard Level Complete screen is going to be released in the game, we couldn't give it away with the demo, could we? So I've spent the last few days creating a Demo Complete screen. Seeing as there was a lot more memory available for me to use on this, I did. The result is a lot more impressive than it would otherwise have been. As I write this, the finished demo is winging its way to he CF office. If you got last month's CF, you'll know what it looks like by now as well
STEVE: The audio leads are working, so I thought I might put some music together. The most needed piece of music at the moment is the Level Complete tune and I have some well cute riffs to put in it. At this point, the composition bursts into a euphonious multi·voice arrangement which includes some great harmonics yet still retains a melodically happy sound in a cute sort of heroic way (Zzzzz .... Ed.)
And onto the snow screen. It's freezin.
Lordy knows what's going on here.
Jump on the ugly thing to win this screen
TUESDAY 3RD DECEMBER
JOHN: I've been working on the memory structure of the game, adjusting it slightly to allow a new piece of music to fit in. It replaces Clyde's death music from Creatures, and is slightly larger (and a lot better). But as I've got very little spare memory, I have to reorganise some routines so I can get back the bytes I need. With this done, I can continue to program the snow torture screen (if I can remember what I was doing last time I touched it.
STEVE: You may remember that I had started torture screen F, the one that features a ghost. It also needs a creature to guard the entrance, so it's off to work I go.
After a few minutes playing around with some sprite ideas, I decide that this guard monster needs to have big, cute bug eyes. All good guard monsters look that way, I figure, so I'll just have to get stuck in. There's no point in changing things. It's also going to have a cute little tail and a cute little mouth with a pair of cute little feet (I like cute, okayl). As this little fella is destined to be startled by the ghost, it's time to do the 'Oh my god, I can't believe my eyes' (or eye-pop ping) animation of this creature, which also looks pretty cute (needless to say).
After my cute creation has been startled in this way, he runs off the screen in a cuteish whimpish frenzy (surprise, surprise), Anyway, enjoy the review. Until next time...
[T O P]