Friday, 15 March 2019

RetroChallenge 03/2019: Responding to Charlie's Input

Made the changes to my game "Manic Miner" that my son Charlie recommended. There is now a (kinda) timer. If you finish collecting all the gold on a screen quickly enough, you get a 500 point bonus. Also, the snake starts higher when on the lowest ladder. So you have to finish quickly or it will make it to the bottom of the ladder blocking the exit. Then you are stuck waiting until it moves up again.

Now the instructions explain the numbers at the bottom of the screen. Also fixed some other minor errors on the instruction screen. Changed the program so now you have to clear every gold on the level prior to the 5th to earn the bonus life. This also happens every subsequent 5th screen, so you have to make sure to clear on levels 4, 9, 14 and so on. Don't know how to explain this exactly.

Also added true flapping to the bat's wings. Used the counter (ZZ) for the level timer that I added for the bonus calculation and then just (1ANDZZ) and add the result to the array pointer for the bat graphic.

Also did a bunch of speedups. Can always seem to find untold ways to make the code more efficient. For example, when printing the rock it is just one graphic that never changes, so instead of using the array A$(15) I just print the two characters in a string "**" that's a saving of two characters that don't have to be interpreted and also the removal of some string variable manipulation. Also noticed that if you stood on the edge of the screen as a monster headed towards you, it wouldn't kill you because the end of its run would be triggered and it would be plucked from the screen and assigned a new location before it got to the regular collision detect in the main loop. Needed a special collision detect just for checking at the end of a monster's run.

Not sure now if the game is too fast again on the first levels. I felt it was a bit too slow at the point of my last posting, but now I'm not sure if I have made it too fast again because of the speedups. Can't stay alive too long to test whether I have the amount of time allocated for the bonus on levels other than the lowest. I changed the program so now as you progress, every 5 levels another gold is added to the screen up 7. So the speed bonus has to also allocate more time as you have to deal with more gold. Hard to know if I have it "tuned" right. I'm just using a straight counter and not an internal clock timer. I'm hoping my son Charlie might be able to find some more time to help test these features. He's a much better game player than me.

Chad Edward on the MC-10 facebook group recommended shortening the musical refrain. It does get a bit tedious. So after the first two levels, you only get a much shortened version before you must be ready to face the monsters.


Charlie has tested the game and helped me with fine tuning the speed timer for level completion. He has declared it "tight." So, unless any brainstorms strike, or bugs appear, I think I am calling this project complete. "MINER" can be played under our "Original Micro Color Basic Games" category on Game Jolt:

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