While we wait for beta3 to have all of it’s bug list squashed, we can already start looking to the future, and here is what beta4 has planned to bring:

  • must find a way to determine the jump size by the time of button pressed
  • create a new animation system, that have individual frames with duration [add_frame(posx, duration)]
  • redesign whole game intro (use in-game like graphics)
  • create graphics of players in several angles to improve graphics ideas
  • revise whole collision detection
  • add some animation using color cycle in intro by switching palettes
  • working staircases
  • indicate when a player is blocking the scrolling (using a P1/P2 above it’s head)
  • load NPCs from the game/map file
  • editor: allow user to set p1 and p2 starting position
  • editor: allow user to add boss door
  • editor: add npc support
  • editor: add line tool
  • music
  • sound effects
  • NPC movement types (wait, attack, loop, left to right and right to left)
  • NPC must return when killed and out of players vision
  • create transitions between two differente stages (like a boss door, or a staircase)
  • add boss (Apebot)
  • compile the game for Nintendo DS (no real build yet, just start testing)
  • make the screen rendering in real time, use a small part out of the screen to render when necessary instead of rendering the whole thing at once (this probally will reduce around 3~4 MB of memory usage)

Have suggestions for what we should implement first? Write a comment here.

Now on WordPress

Our previous solution for the Rockbot website, that consisted of a blogger that was dynamicaly imported using PHP and RSS, was giving us too much trouble. So, we decided to start using wordpress, and from now on a unique platform for web is used, meaning we have less work to mantain it, and can spend more time coding and designing Rockbot. In other news, the beta3 release will have to suffer a small delay. Adding support for Playstation cdrom was a bit problematic, contrary to the easy mass (USB), and we’ll probally not have support for HDD, as we do not have the hardware to do the several tests needed. We are also looking for people with desire to work to create ports do Mac OSX and PSP, while still needing some help in the graphics and music parts, so come and join us! All that said, beta3 will be released one we finish the following items:

fix npc-player colision function for PS2
  • 2 player on pc freezes when there is joystick attached
  • INWORK – finish player sprites adjustments (teleport on P2, p1 new face)
  • try to track down eternal loop bug
  • INWORK – create a complete map (without boss)
  • fix small underscreen bug on top of the screen
  • show projectile more near to the hit target (is vanishing too soon)
  • add a small text in the stage ending (beta and credits)
  • create deb package for Ubuntu/Linux
  • create an official PS2 build
  • fix npc-player colision function for PS2

fix npc-player colision function for PS2

  • 2 player on pc freezes when there is joystick attached
  • INWORK – finish player sprites adjustments (teleport on P2, p1 new face)
  • try to track down eternal loop bug
  • INWORK – create a complete map (without boss)
  • fix small underscreen bug on top of the screen
  • show projectile more near to the hit target (is vanishing too soon)
  • add a small text in the stage ending (beta and credits)
  • create deb package for Ubuntu/Linux
  • create an official PS2 build
  • fix npc-player colision function for PS2

Steady Progress

Work is being done nicely, and beta 3 promisses to be a really good one. See this small preview:

Here is the list of features, and it’s status, that will be in the next beta, targeted to the end of this month:

DONE – one/two player mode
a) remove player 2 from move/clear/show functions
b) scroll with only one player
c) select one or two players
d) on PC, P1 can use both joy1 and keyboard
DONE – allow multiple instances of a same NPC (to reuser the same graphics in a different position)
DONE – adjust players initial position
DONE – add players HP bars
DONE – fix collision verification when falling from a jump and moving left/right (still needs more work)
DONE – make NPC shield itself (shiled flag, plus frame zero in animation)
DONE – player hit animation
DONE – add collision verify into player hit animation to not move where it can’t
DONE – NPC hit animation
DONE – player hit animation
DONE – make players loose 3 hit points when touching a NPC
DONE – fix jump+shoot and walk+shoot animation
DONE – player teleport animation in stage start
DONE – “ready” text animation on stage start
DONE – align hit animation centered vertically and horizontally to the player or npc
DONE – editor: add fill tool (still needs work for non-continual areas like a square)
NOT – separate hit into NPC check into a separate function and call it even if player is stopped
DONE – make NPC shoot
DONE – NPC shoot must diminish 1 HP from players when hit them
– fix small underscreen bug on top of the screen
– show projectile more near to the hit target (is vanishing too soon)
– NPC killed animation
– create a complete map (without boss)
– add a small text in the stage ending (beta and credits)
– create deb package for Ubuntu/Linux
– map PS2 joystick buttons correctly
– fix timing for PS2
– initialize units for PS2 according to need (use argc to find run path)
– create an official PS2 build

Beta 2 released

This is a big day for the Rockbot project as marks the first release that already have a good foundation and a plan for features. Go grab the beta 2 build for Windows in our project page.

Some of the new features added in this beta are:
  • revised and incrementd NES palette to use current black colors
  • added ESC key to leave game in intros too
  • fixed the screen’s left side extra one pixel
  • fixed NPC sprite background overlapping PCs
  • changed NPC graphic
  • fixed bug that players are one pixel above ground
  • fixed scrolling to make floor always visible
  • vertical scrolling together with horizontal not working
  • a dead NPC is still blocking the shoots
Linux still do not have a build, but we plan to create deb packages for Ubuntu (always the lastest version, currently 9.10) and a Playstation 2 build starting from the next beta.

We have a plan! (besides take over the world)

We are deciding a list of features each beta will need to acomplish.

This is great, because it is cleaner to see and think what needs to be done, in an incremental way, instead of the old and plain TODO list.
Here is what is planned to beta2 (and much more that was implemented before the creation of the plan), due to come out in the next weeks:
  • revise and increment NES pallete to use current black colors (add a strong yellow for Betabot)
  • add ESC key to leave game in intros too
  • fix the screen’s left side extra one pixel
  • fix NPC sprite background overlapping PCs
  • change NPC graphic
  • fix bug that players are one pixel above ground
You can check the up to date document here: sourceforge svn for RoadMap

Intro Screen

It is still a bit sharpen, but it is great to have at last one decent intro screen ūüôā

Development is not dead [O desenvolvimento n√£o morreu]

Things are moving a bit slow in development, result of new year holydays, but little by little it are being resumed. Meanwhile we had the following improvements:
  • started the changes in Rockbot graphics; he now have larger arms and feets with a thinner face. steel remembers Rockman/Megaman, but is not a simple ripoff anymore
  • corrected again the bug that made shots not disapearing in left side
  • created a small stage with simple graphics for testing
  • created a test NPC
  • created structs to contain data about players and NPCs, like hit points and name
  • created graphic of one more boss: Daisybot, a girl who shots flowers

As coisas andam um pouco devagar no desenvolvimento, resultado das festas de ano novo, mas ao pouco v√£o sendo retomadas. Enquanto isso tivemos as seguintes melhorias:

  • in√≠cio da altera√ß√£o no gr√°fico do Rockbot: ele agora tem os bra√ßos e pernas mais grossos e rosto mais fino; ainda lembra o Rockman/Megaman, mas n√£o √© mais uma simples c√≥pia.
  • corrigido novamente o problema com os tiros n√£o desaparecendo na esquerda
  • criada uma pequena fase com gr√°ficos simples para testes
  • criado NPC para teste
  • criadas estruturas para conter informa√ß√Ķes como nome e pontos de vida de jogadores e NPCs
  • criado gr√°fico para mais um chefe: Daisybot, uma garota que atira flores


Semana passada eu descobri que a SDL foi portada para o Nintendo DS, então eu pensei que seria legal portar o Rockbot para ele Рeu adoraria recriar o Rockman 0 e 10 para jogar no meu DS já que a Capcom decidiu não portá-lo. Na verdade, a primeira razão para eu decidir criar todo o projeto Rockbot foi por estar brabo com a Capcom que decidiu não portar um jogo que parece de NES para plataformas antigas como o Playstation, e eu não tenho dinheiro ou desejo de comprar um console de nova geração.
Mas bem, uma vez assentada a idéia, eu tinha que construir todo o SDK do DS e as bibliotecas SDL, o que se mostrou um desafio, porque a SDL foi baseada em uma evrsão antiga do kit de desenvolvimento e tive que corrigir alguns bugs antes de ter um ambiente funcional para compilar alguns testes. Uma vez terminado, eu teria que diminuir o uso de memória de 46MB para menos de 4MB, que é o limite do Nintedno DS.

A√≠ vem a parte divertida, a maioria dos programadores de hoje s√£o simplesmente pregui√ßosos de otimizar o c√≥digo e usam o quanto de mem√≥ria conseguirem, e frequentemente as pessoas acham que os jogos mais legais s√£o os que as obrigam a comprar um computador inteiro novo, ent√£o podem ter um PC super modificado com luzes de laser interno e resfriamento a √°gua e outras tolices frescas. Felizmente, os videogames n√£o est√£o infestados por essa moda de atualiza√ß√Ķes frequentes. Ent√£o, a primeira coisa a fazer √© usar vari√°veis menores, j√° que estou lidando com valores abaixo de 64 mil, todos os inteiros foram convertidos para short. O pr√≥ximo passo foi limitar o uso de cores a 256, usando paleta web-safe, o que no fim das contas √© legal, por parecer mais com os jogos antigos de NES. Finalmente, n√£o d√° para carregar toda uma fase na mem√≥ria de uma vez, pois √© isso o que mais usa mem√≥ria, j√° que o n√ļcleo em s√≠ √© bem pequeno. Ent√£o, eu reduzi o tamanho do mapa, e agora o jogo usa cerca de 5.1MB de RAM!

Mas nós precisamos de mais, por isso eu planjeo usar os mesmos truques que jogos de NES antigos usavam: quebranco a fase em partes. Lembram-se como era lenta a transição de tela quando você estava em uma escadaria, ou alguns jogos tinham uma sala de chefe no meio? A razão é que, neste momento, vocês está liberando um mapa e carregando outro. Assim, acredito que será possível reduzir o uso de memória para 3MB.

O passo seguinte é aprender a editor os makefiles dos exemplos de SDL para DS para recompilar o Rockbot para o Nintendo DS e testar. Mas como o fim de ano está próximo, por enquanto planejo trabalhar em gráficos.

Outras notícias:
Рvocê pode sair da introdução pressionanto start
Рcomeçado trabalho em um teileset para montar um cenário
– feito um build teste para PS2, funciona bem, mas ainda tem problemas com delay/waiters.
РO PS2 precisa de ajustes para carregar os drivers necessários de acordo com a unidade de onde o programa está rodando, e também setar o FILEPATH com ela
Рprecisa ser refeito o sistema de tempo para frame de animação- por alguma razão eu perdi parte do código
– devemos implementar escadarias e “teleporte” de um mapa para outro
– implementar som usando SDL_mixer e doomsdl_mixer (PS2)


Last week I found that SDL was ported to Nintendo DS, so I tought that it would be a great thing to port Rockbot to it – I would love to recreate Rockman 9 and 10 to play on my DS once Capcom do not port it. Actually, the first reason I decided to create the whole Rockbot project was because I was angry Capcom did not wanted to port a game that is NES like to old platforms such as Playstation 2 and I do not have money, nor desire, to buy a new generation console.
But well, once settled the idea, I had to build all the DS SDK and SDL libraries, that showed to be a chalenge, because the SDL port was to an old version of the devkit and I had to fix some bugs before having an working dev enviroenment to build some tests. Once it was done, phase two started, I have to diminish memory usage from 46 MB to less than 4MB, that is Nintendo DS limit.

Now comes the fun part, most programmers today are just lazy to optimize code and take as much memory as he can get, and often people find that the good games are the ones that need a complete upgrade on your system, so you can have and ultra modded PC with internal lazer lights, water cooling and other pimp foolishes. Gladly videogames are not plagued by this upgrade-often fashionism. So, first thing is to use smaller variables, as I’m dealing with values under 64k, all integers were converted to short. Next step is to limit color usage to 256 colors, using web-safe palette, that is nice because looks more like old NES 8 bits style. Finally, we can’t load the whole stage in memory, because it is the thing that uses more space, as the program core footset by itself is very small. So, I’ve lowered the size of the map, and now the game uses only just around 5.1 MB in RAM!
But we need more, so I plan to use the same tricks old NES games used: breacking the stage in parts. Remember how slow was the scrolling when you changed screens on a starircase? Always wondered why some games had a middle-boss room? This is why, in that moment, you just freed one map, and loaded a new one. So, I believe soon, we’ll be able to reduce the memory usage to 3MB.

Next step is learn how to edit the makefiles from SDL+DS examples to compile Rockbot to Nintendo DS and test. But as holidays are near, for now I’ve work on intro and graphics.

In other news:
– you can skip intro by pressing enter
– started to work on a tileset to build a scenary
– made a build to test PS2, works OK but still have bugs with delay/waiters
– PS2 needs adjustments to load necessary drivers according to the unity is is running from, also, set the FILEPATH with it.
– needs to re-work the animation frame delay – for some reason I’ve lost part of code
– must implement staircase and map “teleport” to another map
– implement sound using SDL_mixer and doomsdl_mixer (PS2)

Editor Update

Iniciei o trabalho na ferramenta de edição de NPC. Ela será mais complexa no futuro, já que o usuário terá que adicionar cada frame gráfico, mas atualmente é bastante fácil pois não possui suporte a animação de NPCs.

Started to work on the NPC editing tool. It will be kind of complex in the future, as the user will have to add each frame, but currently it is fair simple as it does not support animation for NPCs.

[editing a NPC]