C64 Sideways SEUCK Competition 2015

SidewaysSEUCK_TitleAs September is traditionally known as Shmuptember, we thought we would let you budding C64 coders know about the latest Shoot’Em Up Construction Kit (SEUCK) competition, but this time, your shoot’em up game must be a horizontal (sideways) scroller to be eligible for entry. So, download the free Sideways Shoot’Em Up Construction Kit and get cracking, I mean, get coding! You never know, you could be a winner just like Ant Stiller (Abyssonaut) or Alf Yngve (Forgotten Forest)!

The best part about these competitions is that you, the gamer, can play the entered games (Ed: Woo hoo!), and then cast your vote on your favourite. We must admit, we are hooked on Alf Yngve’s Edge Of Time entry, which is the sequel to his highly acclaimed game, Double Or Nothing.

This competition is once again brought to you by the great Mr. Richard Bayliss of The New Dimension!

Competition Details
Competition: Sideways Scrolling SEUCK Compo
Submission dates: Now till 30th November 2015
Voting commences: 1st December till 30th December 2015
Prizes: To be announced/given in February 2016

 

2015 C64 SEUCK Competition Winner

SEUCK_TitleA few weeks ago there was a call to action for the game playing public to cast their votes for the C64 2015 Shoot’Em Up Construction Kit (SEUCK) Competition. Among the many talented candidates was our good friend, Anthony Stiller. Anthony’s entry, Abyssonaut, a horizontal scrolling shmup, was well received and deserved its entry in the competition.

Well, the votes have been counted and we can now proudly reveal the winner – drum roll please……. And the winner is, Abyssonaut (171 points) by Anthony Stiller!

SEUCK_2015_Results_tableTake a bow Anthony, this is a well deserved win and a great reward for all your hard yakka! As the Champagne starts flowing, we corner Anthony to ask him about the win:

AUSRETROGAMER [ARG]: Congratulations Anthony, and well done! Has the win sunk in?
Anthony Stiller [AS]: Thanks, Alex! Last night’s shock (Kev, the editor of Reset C64, gave me the heads up) has finally settled down a little. I was buzzing at 1am this morning after reading the results!

ARG: You beat some seasoned game creators, how does it feel to be crowned the winner for 2015?
AS: There were some really great entries this year and, while I was very happy with Abyssonaut and knew it was in with a good chance, I really wasn’t expecting first place. Alf Yngve, who’s been the reigning champion, is a lovely, talented guy and Gigablast was an excellent entry. Really, though, everyone who makes the time and effort to enter a solid game deserves to be commended.

ARG: What was your inspiration to make Abyssonaut?
AS: Great question! I was at a party and my eyes fell on the label of a bottle of Kraken spiced rum (true story!). Also, once I had decided to use Sideways SEUCK I was thinking of what the player sprite should look like. I wanted to see the player’s figure but I needed to work within the two frames of animation you get for the player sprite. So the player had to be riding a vehicle of some sort. I was almost immediately hit with the image of someone in SCUBA gear riding a seascooter into a seabase. I may have watched a few too many James Bond movies growing up. And the rest is history.

ARG: How long did it take to create Abyssonaut?
AS: About three months elapsed time and over 100 hours actual effort. That includes concept, design (I like the idea of using sketches for design work), testing, and a little marketing, but doesn’t factor in the time my playtesters put in.

ARG: What were some of the challenges creating the game?
AS: Like my previous SEUCK game, Sopwiths & Pterrordons (S&P), I really wanted to make a “proper” game – with gameplay flow, foreshadowing, and a subtle story built into the game itself. All that takes time and effort and lots of testing. I also wanted Abyssonaut to be on a grander scale than S&P. It has a far greater number of different enemies and the actual length of the game is more than twice that of S&P.

Finally, I wanted to ramp up the difficulty. S&P is quite easy. Level 1 of Abyssonaut is gentle but the curve ramps up dramatically in Level 2. There’s a proper end of level boss in Level 2 and at this stage I don’t think anyone’s reached it without cheating.

Oh, I also should add that getting all the animation right was a huge challenge. I need to stop using bio-organic creatures in my games!

ARG: Have you got any new SEUCK projects in the pipeline?
AS: Well, there’s a rumour that there’s going to be a Sideways SEUCK compo later this year and I’ve got this really interesting idea … ARG: Your secret is safe with us. It’s in the vault.

ARG: Just like any award ceremony, is there anyone you would like to thank?
AS: Oh, that’s a long list! First, thanks to Richard Bayliss. Not only does he run the competition, but he is also amazingly helpful and supportive. Stacey Borg, who is the best playtester ever! Cam, RobRaj and Kale, my brains trust. There are a whole lot more people out there in the retro scene whom I only know online and are always lifting me up! You know who you are! And, lastly, thanks to everyone who’s played Abyssonaut!

As we toast his achievement and clink Champagne glasses, we leave Anthony to enjoy his deserved win. For those of you that haven’t yet played Abyssonaut, what are you waiting for!

 

C64 SEUCK Competition 2015

SEUCK_Comp_2015_headerThe voting has opened for the 2015 C64 S.E.U.C.K. Competition! The coders that slaved over their creations for your gaming pleasure, now need you to cast your vote. You have some very important decisions to make! Who deserves your vote?

Once again, this year is full of great SEUCK (Shoot’Em Up Construction Kit) game creations, from Ant Stiller‘s awesome Abyssonaut, to Alf Yngve’s GigaBlast, the decision to pick the best is going to be extremely difficult. If you haven’t already, please download each contender’s game to experience them for yourself and then cast your all important vote. Have fun, and as usual, your vote counts, so hop to it!

SEUCK_Comp_Contenderssource: TND – The New Dimension 64

C64 Shmuptember Action

SandP_titleIt may no longer be C64 month, but hey, who is complaining when you are getting an awesome free C64 game! Besides, it is SHMUPTEMBER, so here is your contender – take it away, Mr. Anthony Stiller:

SOPWITHS AND PTERRORDONS:
This simple, single-level Shoot’Em Up Construction Kit (SEUCK) game was a project I assigned myself to celebrate August, the unofficial C64 month. I didn’t hit my deadline (Ed: we ain’t complaining).

This is my first completed SEUCK game. My only other attempt was a long, long time ago (I tried to get a bubble to float gracefully across the screen, couldn’t get it to look any way decent, and gave up).

There’s no backstory to Sopwiths and Pterrordons. I just thought of two things that would be cool – my love of World War I and World War II planes, and who doesn’t like dinosaurs? They seemed like a great mix (and from feedback I’ve received, other people feel the same).

Feel free to make up your own backstory. Make sure the pilot is dashing, handsome and says, “Tally ho!” and “Chocks away!” an awful lot.

Special thanks to Andrew Fisher, David Rayfield and Cameron Davis for their valued advice, support and feedback.

Thanks also to Noble Kale and Rob Caporetto for their encouragement and inspiration.

Get your free copy of Sopwiths And Pterrordons here. Enjoy!

SandP_action

Playing tips:
– Scoring has been balanced, so with a little practice, you should just be able to nab an extra life right before the end of level boss;
– Due to the shape of the player bullet, enemies, and how SEUCK determines hitboxes, you really need to line up your shots with the pterrordon’s head to better guarantee a kill;
– You can squeeze between the vertical rows of deadly crystal chunks in the terrain later in the game
Design Notes – I approached Sopwiths and Pterrordons with definite goals:
– Use vanilla SEUCK;
– Short (originally only one scrolling and one static level which I then dropped to one scrolling level only);
– End of level boss;
– Minimise framerate loss (a particular bugbear of mine with regards to SEUCK games);
– Well-animated player and enemy graphics;
– Noticeable ACTION-REST-ACTION phases during the game;
– Use of foreshadowing (new enemies usually appear in generally non-threatening positions onscreen. The first laser-pterrordon is an exception however neanderthals are placed before it appears to encourage the player to move away from the mental “safe zone” of the bottom-middle of the screen);
– Minimise unfair death (pterrordons that appear behind the player)

What worked:
– The restrictions of SEUCK greatly reduced choice paralysis during the design/build phase;
– Descoping: I had several rather neat ideas that I dropped late in the design phase and into the early build phase;
– Getting some player feedback was very helpful; and
SEUCK is still a pretty great tool, relatively speaking!

Challenges:
– Like anything, this took a lot longer than I expected from both an effort and elapsed time perspective. For example, the title page took about 4 hours of actual effort spread out over a day. In total I think I spent around 40-50 hours of total actual effort on this project from beginning to end;
SEUCK and C64 restrictions can get a little frustrating and needed a lot of replaying. I also wanted this to work on a real C64 with minimal juddering and forgot that emulators can keep a steady framerate much easier than the original hardware;
– Initially I went for a low-flying biplane meaning the graphics needed to reflect that we were closer to the ground (eg: larger rivers). After some consideration I went for a higher altitude. This ended up causing considerable difficulty in the subsequent graphics design as I had to create graphics that provided the illusion of depth and distance (things falling into the screen or rising out of the screen);
– The cliffs on either side were a right pain. Ultimately the “overhang” design seemed to work;
– Colour palette choices. UGH!!!!!;
– I used CCS64 using snapshots to save progress but actually getting the final game onto a working d64 image via SEUCK seemed to be entirely random

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AntStillerAnthony Stiller
Loves the C64 a little too much, but that is ok.

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