30th of August 2019 – Whats up II?

I probably should do a blog entry at least every month.

Thing is – nothing really exciting or new happened the last weeks – at least not Vectrex related.


I kept “playing” with PiTrex – but had to force myself away from it – in order not to lose sight on Vectorblade. So a couple of weeks ago I paused on PiTrex. I’m waiting eagerly to continue – but I wanted to finish VB (at least all coding) before continuing. So – unless someone tells me it is utterly urgent (Graham?) I still wait.

I still play Minecraft a lot (with my nephew) – there will be a time when he will not be interested in playing with his old uncle, so I rather enjoy the time now. This defenitly is a cut back on my Vectrex time (but the summer holidays are over now, so he probably is not allowed to play too much anymore).

beta of the wheel of fortune

Vectorblade is still coming along nicely (but slowly). There have been quite a lot memory optimizations.
I also added a “wheel of fortune” thing. Under the right circumstances you do not get a “fixed” special bonus, but rather one of 8 very good bonus (the beta testers thought the original bonus was too good).

I also implemented:
– VecVox support
– hardcore mode (only 1 life, no additional lifes possible, extra high score)
– level select up to the last played level
(but all of these things might not make it into the final game – these are more in the spirit of little “experiments”)

Overall Vectorblade lost a couple of hundred cycles speed wise. I hate that. The reason behind that is “generalization”.

Before, I did all testings on the cranky Vectrex that Thomas lent me. A couple of days ago I bought a new Vectrex (from Jürgen, the Vectrex that produced problems with “Release”) Gee I have 7 Vectrex by now – I am mad.

If Thomas’ Vectrex was cranky, the new one is “super cranky”. I will fix Vectorblade to run on that super cranky Vectrex – but after that I am done with crankies. If I ever discover a “mega super cranky” Vectrex – than that is just bad luck. I hate slowing things down for a very, very small percentage of all Vectrex.

Report on beta testing Vectorblade:
There are 8 people who “officially” are beta testers (some other 3 people also received “high” beta versions which could be used to test). Of these, 3 are very active, 3 give some feedback and from the last two I never heard a word – one didn’t even bother to register on the forum.

I made a special web page for the beta testing, on which I documented some more stuff (secrets and inner workings). In addition, I set up a forum on which we can communicate our findings (and my solutions). Also all beta testers got special cartridges with socketed flash chips – so they could update the rom easily (provided they have an eprom burner).
More than 500 messages have passed between us – and we are not finished yet.

I recently switched off public access to the beta test page/forum. Since at some stage an actual release will be done, I am hiding “secret” information about the game from now on.

Overall beta testing is doing very well. In the beginning a couple of “real” bugs were found (and corrected) which is great! Then the reports that came in were mostly beautifying, “ease of life”, or better handling aspects. Some of which I still have to implement.

The one thing I keep postponing is the extra stage with the Major Havoc like levels. Actually this is mostly finished – and probably only needs 2-3 days to complete – but for one reason or another I hold myself back (on that note, how cool is THAT: http://mhedit.askey.org/).
Last thing I did was to implement all “needed” animations sequences, as of now:

  • run left/right
  • walk left/right
  • fall
  • land
  • land hard an die
  • bump against wall (and fall) left/right
  • suffocate + death
  • idle animation
  • lean against wall
  • jmp up
part of the animation sequences (Vide)

The overlay “thing” is still problematic. The overlay design was finished quite some time ago and sent to the printing (mid June 2019) – I haven’t really heard back from them yet. I was expecting “slow going” but this seems rather “glacial slow” – I might hear from them next week.

In case you haven’t seen the overlay that Jacek did:

Box design and instruction booklet are also still pending.

If I ever do another game after Vectorblade I think I will not do a box or overlay. I probably have said that before – but I am rather in for the programming than for the “design” and “publishing” stuff.

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2 thoughts on “30th of August 2019 – Whats up II?

  1. Graham Toal

    “So – unless someone tells me it is utterly urgent (Graham?) I still wait.”
    No, you’re good. Urgency is proportional to 1/e^(november-date) 🙂 (ie quite low for now but approaching infinity as we approach november, if we hope to ship in time for a Christmas delivery!)

  2. Eric Barwell

    Sorry Chris I’ve dropped off the radar due to real life issues, not had chance to do much of anything regarding vector blade or anything else remotely interesting.

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