Development of Blake's 7 (was OASIS development)

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ibisum
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Re: OASIS development

Post by ibisum » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:36 pm

There are ALPHA testers?!!!

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Chema
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Re: OASIS development

Post by Chema » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:50 pm

Yes, I like to send alpha versions to people to get some insights. I try to send it to people that are not actually going to play the game completely, or some friends not Oric-related :)

There are too many things missing and rough corners as to send it to too many people :)

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Re: OASIS development

Post by Chema » Thu May 04, 2017 7:59 pm

Hi guys! In case you were wondering, though I had very little spare time lately, development has continued. I am currently working on Episode 3, and I have almost all the plot and I started with the room design. I also made the intro to the episode. Here it is:
https://youtu.be/SSJUDZ9_hAg

I have problems reading the magenta and red texts after the video was processed by YouTube. Do you have this problem too? I asked before a friend if he was able to read these texts on the emulator and he told me there was no problem.

A more elaborated version with texts in Spanish...
https://youtu.be/4JDVNOLTLh0

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Re: OASIS development

Post by Dbug » Fri May 05, 2017 6:00 pm

Magenta is a problematic color, generally speaking, I've seen it both very bright and very dark depending of screens.
For texts displayed over BLACK, I think it's a good idea to avoid BLUE and MAGENTA, and RED sometimes appear very dark brownish when on old CRT screens over the antenna connector.

EDIT: Btw, it looks like the eye patch changed place between the ingame character and the large picture :D

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Re: OASIS development

Post by Chema » Fri May 05, 2017 7:19 pm

Weird, I don't have problems with magenta on the real Oric, but I do with red. Anyway I'll have a look.

Ah, and well spotted! The patch changes eye when the character is drawn looking left, as I am mirroring the graphic. I might ask the designer to change it, because Travis usually appears looking left :)

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Re: OASIS development

Post by Symoon » Sat May 06, 2017 3:35 am

I also see the red problem here on the Youtube video.

I suspect it's just because of compression.
I'm often adding text notes on photos, and noticed that red color has to be avoided, because after Jpeg treatment it becomes very blurry. Don't ask me why, I never tried to understand, and use yellow instead ;)

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Re: OASIS development

Post by Chema » Sat May 20, 2017 6:36 pm

Still designing rooms and polishing puzzles.

Developing pace is slow, but it keeps going.

Sometimes you end up with a nice design but no puzzle for it. Usually I discard the room, but in this case I think I'll make an exception :twisted:
cave.png
cave.png (3.84 KiB) Viewed 2185 times

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Re: Development of Blake's 7 (was OASIS development)

Post by Symoon » Sat May 20, 2017 7:12 pm

:mrgreen: Nice!
A place to get a fish, or poisonned water, or, or... ;)

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Re: Development of Blake's 7 (was OASIS development)

Post by Chema » Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:32 pm

Hi again. I have been working on Ep 3 lately and made several screens and started implementing it. The intro cutscene and first puzzles are working. Little advances, but I really had little time.

But I have more news. I went to a retro event last Saturday and not only showed the Oric, the Cumulus and Silicebit Microdisc clone, but Silicebit kindly repaired the sound of my Oric 30 years later!

I am really glad to have it back, even with the annoying volume of most games (annoying for the neighbors, that is). I have to say that it is quite different playing things like Oricium with the sound coming out of the speaker. It even sounds different.

Oh, and two more things. When trying my game with Cumulus I noticed that:
- Saving/reloading a saved game does not work. It works on the emulator and on real disks, though. I must investigate more, but there is some kind of incompatibility here on the emulation code in the Cumulus. Saving works from within Sedoric, I'm quite sure of that. And IIRC my old saving routine worked too.
- Loading times are similar to those on the real disk. Surprising as it seems, it takes 18-19 secs to boot the game, while with a real floppy drive it took 20-21. On the emulator it is MUCH faster, so the bottleneck is not on the mechanical part, nor it is on the decompression. I think it must be on the data transfer.

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Re: Development of Blake's 7 (was OASIS development)

Post by coco.oric » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:34 am

Hello Chema

We tried oasis on my oric with gotek hxc drive at the ceo visu
my son and some guys played, and we didn't noticed anything. i'll retry it soon and on my cumulus.
coco.oric as DidierV, CEO Member
Image Image

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Re: Development of Blake's 7 (was OASIS development)

Post by Symoon » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:14 am

Chema wrote:
Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:32 pm
- Saving/reloading a saved game does not work. It works on the emulator and on real disks, though. I must investigate more, but there is some kind of incompatibility here on the emulation code in the Cumulus. Saving works from within Sedoric, I'm quite sure of that. And IIRC my old saving routine worked too.
Stupid question, but did you check if there was any write protection on the DSK in the Cumulus interface? Haven't used it in a while but IIRC it was possible to protect disks - and I can't remember if it was the default setting.

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Re: Development of Blake's 7 (was OASIS development)

Post by Chema » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:09 am

@coco.oric It worsk quite well, but if you restart the game after it has saved your progress (it does automatically) and select C (continue playing) instead of starting a New game, it starts loading and hangs. Probably because corrupt saved data, but need to check.

@Symoon, indeed. You have to unprotect the dsk. This is one of the things I wanted to change on a new firmware version, because it is much better to use the protect attribute of the file or even of the SDK. Any program wanting to save will fail if dsk is write protected and it does not remember your settings, so you have to do it manually every time the cumulus restarts or you insert the dsk.

This and the cumbersome way to reset the Oric through the cumulus with at least pressing 3 different buttons!

But I did remove the protection and the write operation seems to work. In fact I am quite sure the first sector at least is saved and reloaded correctly, because the save game is detected and your inventory is correctly restored. Then the engine flags a yellow error and hangs (yellow is a code I use for script errors, I guess a resource is not found, probably the resource ID is invalid). Need to investigate more (there is no debugger in the real Oric!).

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Re: Development of Blake's 7 (was OASIS development)

Post by Chema » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:45 pm

A small update. While including the new rooms and working out the puzzles for the last episode, I decided to follow the advice given to me at the latest retro event we had in the north of Spain. It was something already mentioned by Dbug too, so I guess it was worth the effort.

I hacked in the code a way to use shortcuts for the verbs. They are located in the numbers, so they don't interfere in the key redefinition (simply don't allow numbers to be used). They work quite simply: just select an object with the cursor and, instead of going to the list of commands, select one and then get back to the object to click on it, press the number of the command you want to use.

It is working quite well, though don't expect anything totally polished, as it is quite a hack. I have only 43 bytes remaining for the engine, so I can't do any advanced things!

It needs some practice, but the system is good enough, I think.

And it improves playing experience :)

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Re: Development of Blake's 7 (was OASIS development)

Post by laurentd75 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:54 am

Hi Chema,

After watching all the vids you published on YouTube with great expectation I fnally had yje opportunity to play with the Blake 7 alpha at the CEO's June meeting and I absolutely loved it ! I'm really looking forward to the finished game, I have no doubt it will be a masterpiece !!

Two quick notes about the discussion here:

1) the cave.png screen: by all means, *please* keep it if it can fit the story, it is really nice !! I find it has a 'Space Quest II' touch, I really like it ! :-)

2) about the menus / point and click system: when playing the game, you really wish you had a mouse, I must admit it's a bit painful to move the cursor back and forth between the playing area and the menu area. So your "numbers'" shortcut system looks appealing, even though I didn't quite undrstand how it works yet. (Is the "1" key used to activate the selection of numbers to select a verb after clicking on an object on screen?)

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Re: Development of Blake's 7 (was OASIS development)

Post by Chema » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:08 pm

Thanks Laurent! I am glad you liked it!

Don't worry, the cave screen is already in :)

About the shortcut thing, it is more difficult to explain than to use. When you hover the cursor over an object, the name appears on the screen. Usually that is what you do when entering a new room, you move the cursor around searching for objects to interact with. The thing is that, when the cursor is over an object and the name appears, you can press 5 (for instance) which is "Look At" and the engine runs the action immediately. No need to get back to the verb area to select "Look At" and then back to the object to click over it.

It is not that you can run all the game using shortcuts. Inventory management, dialogs, or discovering objects still need you to move the cursor, but it speeds things up a lot on the most usual cases.

You can redefine the keys so you can control the cursor with the right hand and use the left hand for these shortcuts, for instance. It would have been more convenient to use a matrix of keys, such as "qwe asd zxc" that resembles the position of the verbs in the menu, but that would mean not allowing the user to select those keys for handling the cursor. And my first objective was that this be just an add-on, keeping the usual way of playing for those who want to.

It would be much better to have a proper mouse on the Oric, but that is not a reality yet and probably will never be for most users. Besides that hardware did not exist back then, and I like to stick to supporting only the hardware that was available. Using a joystick does not benefit the gameplay too much, as it is the acceleration thing of the mouse, which makes it convenient to move the cursor comfortably.

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