Making an Atari game – Day 21

I Worked on making the enemies move a little smoother and Fixed 2 bugs.

  • The 1st bug, the player would randomly lose a hitpoint when he/she walked into some rooms.

What was happening was when you walk into a room, the player is sent to the opposite side of the screen and the next room would be drawn. However, the enemy sprites weren’t relocated out of the way before the next drawscreen command. This would cause a collision with the player and the (seemingly invisible) enemy, and the player would lose a hitpoint.

  • 2nd Bug, The cloud of “smoke” would disappear waaaay too fast after you killed an enemy.

I have saved a separate file every time I make a major change to the code. Right now I am on file number 40. I didn’t notice when the enemy death animation broke, so I went back and found the last working version on file 15. The reason it broke was because of the way I draw multiple enemies by sharing sprites. Basically, once I added more than one enemy to the game, the death animation ended in a single frame (a blink of an eye). The reason is because when the program calls the death animation to be drawn, it draws it for the current dying enemy. But then the program calls the draw monsters routine, which draws all 3 monster sprites at once before the death animation was finished animating. This was replacing the enemy death animation because all 3 are sharing the same sprites. It was kind of complicated trying to fix this one but I eventually did and added in a bit more frames before the animation ended to make it last a little longer on the screen. Just enough time that it feels satisfying to me to kill a monster and see them disappear in a white cloud. I tend to obsessively play and adjust over and over until things feel just right to me.

I added Enemy tracking. Now I can pick and choose which enemies I would like to be more intelligent. If the Track Player variable is set to 1 on the enemy, then that enemy will constantly walk towards the player in the room. Makes the game a little more challenging when all three Monsters are attempting to swarm the player.

Designed a new EndBoss Lair that I am hoping to use for multiple EndBosses. Right now the lair sits on the seventh floor in the third room up. Then the princess is in the floor just below it. This will all change though, once I start play testing and try to design the actual game to be more fun and structured. Right now everything feels very random and out of place. It’s like I have all kinds of working pieces, they just aren’t all fitting in with each other nicely yet.

This whole project feels like putting together a large puzzle. It’s like a puzzle that you make and at the same time have to solve yourself. That is pretty much all it is. It’s a fun puzzle to put together for me, which will hopefully turn out to be a fun game for you.

Next I think I would really like to work on making an Endboss… I also need to get some sound effects going too. I have the driver all made and just kind of sitting there. Need to start experimenting with creating the sounds I want this game to have. I think that will make a huge difference in the feeling of this whole project.

It’s getting close to Christmas however, which leaves me with less free time to work on this. (Update: keep in mind, these are notes that I wrote while I was writing this game back in December of 2018)