6May/131

Arcade Game Designer 4 Is Out

posted by TecSoft

AGD is a tool for writing your own simple arcade games. Download the latest version here.

Whats new:
Sprites can now be individually coloured using the SPRITEINK command. If 16x16 sprites aren't big enough, there's an option to use 16x24 instead. Note there's still a one-size-fits-all policy, but at least you now have a choice. It'll even resize your sprites for you.

There are now 9 sprite events, and a few other new events. Want an intro/control menu screen? There's an event for that (and a new command, CONTROLMENU, allowing the user to press 1, 2 or 3 to select keyboard, Kempston or Sinclair controls respectively.) There's a new event to trap when a sprite falls too far (ie reaches the end of your jump table) and there are now 2 events at the end of the game - one for victory, one for failure. Perhaps most useful of all is the fact that the events editor itself now moves the cursor straight to any lines it does not understand instead of leaving them for the user to find as it always did before.

There's a new miscellaneous menu, with various options. This allows you to specialise the engine for a particular type of game. There are 3 alternatives: firstly, there's a particle engine with explosions, starfields, lasers and a vapour trail/magic dust effect. Alternatively, there's an effects engine which enables scrolling text messages (either in-game or on a control menu/static text screen), double height text and score display routines and a window fade effect. Or there's an adventure option, for those Dizzy/Magic Knight affairs, which remembers in-game changes made to screens with the new PUTBLOCK command and redraws them when you leave and re-enter a screen. The adventure modification also has a new block type you might find handy: water blocks. Any sprite which has the FALL command in its event will now float to the top of a patch of water and bob up and down.

The call to the keyboard/joystick control routines has moved, so it's now possible to detect movement within a REPEAT loop, so long as you use DELAY 1 within it. That may sound like a minor change, but it opens up the possibility of coding your own little minigames. There's a rather simplistic bonus stopper event template so that you can see how to do it.

AGD 4 also allows you to load in a loading screen, and will create the relevant BASIC loader for you, saving it out automatically. If you choose to create a loader automatically, AGD won't return to BASIC but loop back to the intro screen/control menu event. You don't even need to write a single line of BASIC! However, if you don't ask AGD to create the BASIC loader your game will return to BASIC at the end as it always did, so you can still write your own BASIC code should you desire.

Maps can now be up to 11 rooms wide. There are new variables - Q, R and the read-only CLOCK. The ladder blocks are more robust and there are REDRAW and SILENCE commands. You can MULTIPLY and DIVIDE too. Sprite positions are more efficient than in 3.5 as well, and the sprite position editor now highlights the currently selected sprite. For techies, there are options to disable AY sound or the routine which sorts the sprites which might come in handy - no need to hack the engine for these things any more. There's also a new default ULAplus palette.

For the more technically advanced users, I've even added instructions for reading the Kempston mouse or calling external routines such as Beepola tunes from anywhere within a game. It's a little tricky for beginners, but it can certainly be done.

Now the bad news... you can't upgrade a game written with 3.5 to 4.0. Sorry about that, if you're already developing a game you'll either have to finish it with 3.5 or start afresh with 4.0. Secondly, a lot has been added and while I've tested it as well as I can, there will probably be bugs here and there...

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  1. Ok! I Cam play a TOKI for speccy, designer this game please!.

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