After more than 2 years... a new - and massive - playable preview is out! The changelog below speaks for itself. Enjoy!
Preview 4 (08.07.2022)
* Made Zampo jump only when he is not moving upwards already (before, if Zampo's legs were on a solid tile while he was already moving upwards and the joystick was pushed up, he would jump again, thus continuing the upwards movement; this increased the chances of unwanted double-jumps).
* Changed the portals/teleporting behaviour: when Zampo uses a portal, he is now automatically teleported to the right location (this simplifies the gameplay, as before misusing portals was too punishing - i.e. it made completing a zone impossible); they are now activated with [DOWN] insted of [FIRE] to reduce the chances of activating portals unintentionally (as [FIRE] is used for turbofarting, whereas [DOWN] is used for ducking, which is a much less common action).
* Accelerated the relocation of Zampo to checkpoints.
* Worked on the collision detection against the background: made more precise and relative to Zampo's movement and aspect; extended the detection area for some tiles, so that picking up items and operating switches is easier.
* Worked on food/drinks: added 3 new types (which affects the gameplay, as it makes the appearance of the spinach can and of the Gasorade bottle less likely; this has been counterbalanced with the following changes); made the Gasorade bottle restore the turbofart meter entirely; made the cake (one of the new items) restore the belly meter entirely; avoided that they spawn on some tiles where they would be uncatchable; redrawn the spinach can.
* Worked on the PIG-OF-GOLD mode: enlarged the area checked for the activation, so that Zampo no longer requires to be placed too precisely; avoided that it is re-activated when it is already active not only because conceptually it makes no sense, but also because it could interfere with the PIG-OF-STEEL mode.
* Added the PIG-OF-GOLD and PIG-OF-STEEL modes tunes.
* Added a simple sound effect for teleporting (music gets paused in the meanwhile; this is the only case where a sound effect is used; the reason is that it is the simplest and least memory-hungry way to suspend the PIG-OF-GOLD and PIG-OF-STEEL modes tunes, when such modes are active and a portal is taken; anyway, it is quite appropriate as Zampo, when teleporting, is indeed in a kind of suspended state).
* Added the zone exit icon (a thumb-up icon that blinks constantly to indicate the point Zampo has to reach after collecting all the potties).
* Extended the tile-related events triggering mechanism (and used it for various purposes in the existing maps).
* Added a mechanism for making a switch appear with a brief blinking.
* Added a mechanism for making a generic tile blink.
* Added a mechanism for performing real-time, progressive, arbitrary changes to memory (and used it for various purposes, especially in the existing maps).
* Sped up the removal of barriers by 1 frame per tile.
* Reworked the handling of Zampo's appearance by implementing a centralized mechanism which: takes a few cycles more, but saves memory and makes the code cleaner; allows each tile to have lighting properties; allows checkpoints, portals and portals destinations to be also in places where the lighting is shady/dark; solves (elegantly) the clashes between the GOLD and STEEL modes relatively to Zampo's colors; provides a centralized way to make Zampo flash.
* Slown down the flashing of Zampo when the PIG-OF-STEEL mode is about to end.
* Made Zampo say: "YEA" when he catches the cake; "WOW" when he catches the Gasorade bottle or the spinach can; "YUM" when he catches another food item.
* Ensured Zampo is visible when a game is aborted.
* Slown down the blinking of potties.
* Worked on baddies: added 2-frame animations; added the "explosion" animation.
* Added (support for) dynamic tilesets.
* Made the head-up display taller to make room for the information relative to the zone-specific features.
* Fixed Zampo's X speed in couple of places (it was 1/16 off due to an inverted sign).
* Fixed the Zampo Y correction relatively to collisions with obstacles above (it pushed Zampo 1/32 pixels below the character he was in, instead of keeping him in that character by just 1/32 pixels).
* Fixed the baddies X initialization (the spawning code is distributed across multiple frames to spread the load, but it defined the X before the final position was validated; given that, in the meanwhile, the screen most likely scrolled, at the time of spawning the X could have been unsuitable - and thus caused the baddies, in some circumstances, to appear out of nothing).
* Fixed the sprites clipping code (the fact that the screen is narrower/shorter due to scrolling was not taken into account because of some wrong labels and a constant was off by 1).
* Fixed the bug that allowed to use the portals frames to teleport.
* Fixed the horizontal alignment of icons in the head-up display (was off by 1 pixel to the left).
* Fixed/optimized some instruments in music.
* Extended/improved the intro text.
* Wrote the outro text.
* Changed the design of the 'I' in the logo, to match the font's (which needs that letter to be easily readable).
* Saved some memory by moving some sprites graphics and other data to the unused space in the charset.
* Made many speed and memory optimizations.
* Made the [F1] check in the pause routine more robust (the CIA registers were accessed continuously, but my C64 did not like it).
* Renamed meters: "belly satisfaction meter" -> "belly meter"; "turbofart charge meter" -> "turbofart meter".
* Renamed the FACTORY zone as the TOWERS zone (as now there is an idea of how it will play and look like).
* Made a few other minor changes.
* Worked on the FUN PARK zone: started the map; added "FUN" to the name.
* Worked on the CLIFFS zone: added the cross subquest; added 2 checkpoints to make it easier; improved/enriched the map; improved the graphics.
* Worked on the FORTRESS zone: improved/enlarged/completed the map; made the map easier; added the stars & hidden switches puzzles; improved/extended the graphics.
* * Worked on the frontend: made it present by default the last item/zone played; inverted the zone selection controls (now: [UP] -> next zone, [DOWN] -> previous zone); changed colors of unselected icons.
* Worked on the text reader (used by quickstart guide, intro and outro): rewritten in assembly (it was a mix of BASIC-BOSS and machine language, as it was an adaption of the text reader used by MAH); added 0.5 lines spacing for easier reading; compacted the data and reorganized the memory allocation to reduce greatly the size of the binaries; made it faster; reduced the rendering glitches as much as possible (without resorting to buffering - double buffering would slow scrolling and triple buffering seems overkill, although it remains an option for the future).
* Worked on the documentation: renamed the notice as "quickstart guide"; improved/updated/extended the quickstart guide and the manual.
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