Alter Ego

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D3thAdd3r
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Alter Ego

Post by D3thAdd3r » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:30 am

Hello to all the forums members!

I'm excited to finally release my "secret" project to the unsuspecting public. Alter Ego is a logic/puzzle game with a very small hint of platforming action. The game itself is a fairly original concept where puzzles are solved by carefully planned moves and position swaps with your 'alter ego'. Each level has a different number of swaps available, and the puzzles will require different tactics to solve. This puzzle game is not overly difficult and should have a lot less frustration than others. That said, there are definitely some moments that will require some novel thoughts to move forward. Check out the wiki entry and the manual for more detailed information, or just dive in as the game explains itself as the levels advance.
aescreenshot.png
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I wont repeat everything that is already in the wiki, but I'll skim over a few cool features just for fun. As far as ram tile effects, there is sprite recoloring, foreground in front of sprites(look for it), and intro,logo,credits,title,victory screens are all ram tile effects; that is, they are entirely held in ram loaded from the SD card costing *no flash. All the levels and demos are loaded straight from SD using ram tiles as a buffer as well. There is support for up to 16 episodes all with different levels/demos, and I will be releasing eventually a new data file to throw on the SD card(which will contain these levels, plus the new ones in the same file) that will have the levels from Alter Ego 2. From there, there is a PC version also that has a lot of levels, but that is something for the future. There are 25 levels, 24 demos, and 7 songs. The new gameplay elements and enemy from Alter Ego 2 are already implemented, and you will see them when the next level pack is released :ugeek:

I based the game on Shiru's excellent NES game of the same name, which in turn was based on Denis Grachev's original version for the ZX Spectrum. Music I translated from the NES version, which is an impressive original score composed specifically for the NES port by Richard Armijo. I'd like to extend a special thanks to Alec who has always been willing to put the work into helping everyone whether with suggestions or rolling out new kernel features. Specifically here, a gameplay change, bug finds, SD card compatibility issues, along with technical suggestions. I was really losing motivation and got to a dark place on this one when facing one technical challenge after another and the thought that I would have to simplify the whole game. After conquering all the problems, it feels absolutely great to have this complete and I am very happy with how it turned out. Thanks to everyone who plays it and all those that keep the forum and hobby interesting!


PS. PackRomGUI doesn't seem to work on this for me, can anyone else confirm this?

Edit by Uze: Added the .UZE file. Validated that this one works on uzem and the bootloader (don't forget you need the data file aedat.bin in ae.zip ).
Edit by D3thAdd3r: Added a YouTube link for the Uzebox port
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hpglow
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Re: Alter Ego

Post by hpglow » Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:18 am

Another game I need to give a roll. Looks good to me. These recent titles are making some more complex games look more possible.

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uze6666
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Re: Alter Ego

Post by uze6666 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:50 am

I don't say this often, but this is really a masterpiece (right in the major league with Paul McPhee 8-) ). I can totally appreciate all the technical wizardry that was pulled behind the scene to have such a load of graphics, intro logo, so many music tracks and maps. Those ram tiles tricks and new SD card stuff will have to be added to the kernel! It's a great game and everything feels and plays just right, you really adapted it perfectly. What else can I say, I'm very impressed. Congrats!!

Play the game!! :mrgreen:

P.s.: I'm making a new batch of kits, just in time to include it!
P.p.s: So you get an idea of the game, I'm including a link to the NES version which is very close. But IHMO, Lee's music is better!


P.p.p.s: Hmmm...I say don't blink during that D3thAdd3r logo... ;)

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Gosma
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Re: Alter Ego

Post by Gosma » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:16 pm

I remember you posted an image of this game in one of my posts, that's great you have finished it! :D

Incredible effects, playability and funfactor, (i like the logos also :D), makes me want to study more to finish my own games close to this level :D

Will it have any box art?

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Re: Alter Ego

Post by CunningFellow » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:59 pm

Awesome work. Very well polished.

Level 15 had me stumped for a while.

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D3thAdd3r
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Re: Alter Ego

Post by D3thAdd3r » Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:37 am

Thanks for the kind words guys!
Gosma wrote:Will it have any box art?
Good point! I forgot about the box art idea for some time now, but I think it would be very cool to do for this game. When I get around to porting Alter Ego 2 levels over I will definitely make up box for it. I think I already have visualized what I want to do and my interest in artwork has recently grown quite a bit too.
hpglow wrote:These recent titles are making some more complex games look more possible.
Can't agree more. It's similar to other consoles in that later games are more advanced because people get more used to working with it. I think a big part of it is the very good wiki we have to document thing everything, and the open source nature and people talking about what they are doing or have done. It makes us all kind of a combined development team in a sense, since all research, development, code, or new features/techniques goes directly to anyone that wants to know.
uze6666 wrote:P.p.p.s: Hmmm...I say don't blink during that D3thAdd3r logo...
:lol: I don't know exactly why, but I do make a cameo appearance in the game...kind of like "Toasty" from Mortal Kombat II, girlfriend thought it was funny...yeah. I believe you are a fan of easter eggs in games much like me. It should also be noted that there is a "secret code" which can be done at the title screen, which is hinted at in the manual. With it you can do a Sound Test, and also skip levels with select button when it's activated. Thanks for the .uze file and additional info link. BTW, were you able to use PackRomGUI to make that? I didn't seem to find a pre-compiled version of the command line version.
CunningFellow wrote:Level 15 had me stumped for a while.
I was the same, it's probably the first one where you really have to think it through..and die a few times to experiment then it's like "oh, of course". 15,17,19,22 are probably the most challenging the rest are leisurely puzzles. I suspect most of us will be able to beat the game in a few sittings, and afterwards be masters beating the game in 10-15 mins which is nice because it is never frustrating. Compared to Sokoban World, where to be honest I myself gave up in the second episode and a lot of the content goes unnoticed in that case. I am a bit burned out on this game for a while because the content creation for the levels and demos was very manual/tedious..BUT the 32 levels from Alter Ego 2 really are considerably more difficult and quite different. So once everyone has "consumed" this version, a new fresh set of levels should also keep it interesting.

I am working on Frog Feast now and that is going pretty good and I should have that done before long if I can keep at it. After that I am taking a break from games and focusing on interfacing hardware which I really want to learn more about. PS2 keyboard I want to get polished up to the point it could be part of the kernel and be easy to use. I also know %100 sure that we can easily use an Nintendo64 controller without additional hardware, and the reason that is great is because it is a cheap and plentiful way for us to have nice analog controls. Those are small things that be fixed up in a dedicated weekend of coding or less. My main dream for hardware is to get deadly efficient internet connectivity for the Uzebox.

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uze6666
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Re: Alter Ego

Post by uze6666 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:14 pm

:lol: I don't know exactly why, but I do make a cameo appearance in the game...kind of like "Toasty" from Mortal Kombat II, girlfriend thought it was funny...yeah. I believe you are a fan of easter eggs in games much like me.
A cameo...cool, another first on the Uzebox! :)
BTW, were you able to use PackRomGUI to make that? I didn't seem to find a pre-compiled version of the command line version.
No you are right, it doesn't work. PackRomGUI doesn't generate the header correctly. The file I added was done with packrom. The same version I have is on gcode.
I am a bit burned out on this game for a while because the content creation for the levels and demos was very manual/tedious..BUT the 32 levels from Alter Ego 2 really are considerably more difficult and quite different. So once everyone has "consumed" this version, a new fresh set of levels should also keep it interesting.
I'd really like to see these levels, and more! How hard would it be to make a simple level editor made on the Uzebox itself and save to SD card?
After that I am taking a break from games and focusing on interfacing hardware which I really want to learn more about. PS2 keyboard I want to get polished up to the point it could be part of the kernel and be easy to use. I also know %100 sure that we can easily use an Nintendo64 controller without additional hardware, and the reason that is great is because it is a cheap and plentiful way for us to have nice analog controls. Those are small things that be fixed up in a dedicated weekend of coding or less. My main dream for hardware is to get deadly efficient internet connectivity for the Uzebox.
Yes, I'm with you on this one. Let's start new discussion threads, exchange ideas and then commit to a solution and get it done. It's been long enough that we have to move!

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D3thAdd3r
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Re: Alter Ego

Post by D3thAdd3r » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:01 am

uze6666 wrote:I'd really like to see these levels, and more! How hard would it be to make a simple level editor made on the Uzebox itself and save to SD card?
These 25 levels I took screenshots of every level in a NES emulator, and looking at them I built them in the hex editor visually tile by tile. This method may not work now though. The real problem I see with Alter Ego 2 levels, is that they are only on the ZX Spectrum and the graphics look very different and don't even seem to be 8x8 pixel tiles and so very error prone to do manually between different graphic sizes(I have already tried the first level and didn't get it right after 20 minutes). It is seeming more productive to have a visual model in an editor as I go. Besides it would be cool to finish a level editor considering I I bailed out on it for Sokoban World but I definitely will have it for Lolo some day :idea: I think the editor itself will be easy, I will work on the hard part which is mustering up one last more spark for AE after Frog Feast is done. Uzem doesn't yet support SD writing correct?
uze6666 wrote:Yes, I'm with you on this one. Let's start new discussion threads, exchange ideas and then commit to a solution and get it done. It's been long enough that we have to move!
I'll avoid the temptation to rant about it in this thread. So I will just say a very serious: "Hell Yes!!" for now.

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uze6666
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Re: Alter Ego

Post by uze6666 » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:36 am

Uzem doesn't yet support SD writing correct?
Ahem, ah yes, that's right. Not yet.... :|

On an unrelated note, I was checking the game via that small LCD I wanted to use for a Uzebox portable and it's the only one that displays a weird green wedge in the lower left corner all the time. Did you use the stock mode 3 for Alter Ego? Any tweaks or "weird" tricks? This kind of effect usually happens when the sync is off. In this case it seems something is screwing or holding the sync just after your last row of tiles. Any ideas? Something related to the sd card?
aebug.jpg
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Also, planning to release the sources to all your games? ;) I know you have a gcode account and I was hoping to find it there.

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Re: Alter Ego

Post by D3thAdd3r » Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:49 am

It is stock Mode 3, I am thinking it might be caused by having a vram of only 25 tiles tall? I ended up removing an expensive feature and it is likely to work well at a height of 26 now, I will see(the last level is where problems would happen). Out of curiosity FrogFeast is 26 vram tall, does that have any problems? Otherwise it could be FIRST_RENDER_LINE at issue.

I haven't posted any code in a long time and hadn't realized google code doesn't allow me to upload zips any more....and I have no idea what I am doing with SVN nor how to make new folders :oops: I dumped the source for now here. I will need to learn how to actually use that in the future but that should be everything you need to build it. All the graphics stuff needs to go to data/graphics and sound stuff to data/sound and it should work. I will get the graphics source BMP files and midi files up at some point too when I get it all figured out.

PS. I know the code isn't very friendly looking or orderly...but if you compare it to Columns it is a walk in the park :lol:

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