Richard's C64 game projects:
Time for the flight of your life

The Up in The Air Team

Richard Bayliss - Programming, compiling, disk/tape mastering, sound effects
  Richard Bayliss / Andrew Fisher - Music
Wayne Womersley - Graphics and game project head gaffer

PAGE 1 / PAGE 2 / PAGE 3 / PAGE 4
/ PAGE 5
/ Page 6

Project cancelled

30th May 2010   – Let's get that big  Bi-Plane outta here (Richard)

Hi there, well it has been quite a short while since I last did something for this game. Despite working today (Working on a Sunday at a local  distribution Centre, due to having the Bank Holiday off? WHAT? WORKING SUNDAYS? ARE YOU MAD? - Heckler!) and also while working on this project. Hmm, now then where was I? Oh yes, now I remember. I've come to the part where I am to program the next boss stage for Level 6. This stage is to feature a large bi-plane, which the player will have to fight against. This stage will be similar to the bird shooting stage, but the bullets can move faster than the bird. I might make some additional movements to the boss plane, but first I must get it added into the source code before I even have it moving about.

The first thing that I did was opened the CommandTables.a assembly file and added an additional parameter label. Which of course was .Boss3Frame - This is where the boss plane animation will be stored before I put that boss plane into Sprite 2's type value inside $77fa . The second sprite ($7ffb) will of course be the Bi-Plane's bullet. Then I stored the Bi-Plane's frame data into  the .Boss3Frame label, so that when I get on to the boss sprite's code, I can add the .Boss3Frame to the VIC2 sprite type. The next thing I done was loaded up  the TestBoss.A and added a routine to check for LEVEL 6's boss stage. Because the level's boss stage is going to be similar to LEVEL 2's boss wave (probably apart from the movements and bullet speed), I can use some of the same JSR routines to allow the Bi-Plane, fire a bullet at a time.

As soon as I got the Bi-Plane to shoot bullets, I worked on the movement of the sprite. Like with the Bird boss, I got the Bi-Plane to move up and down, but this time round the Bi-Plane moves forward. The bullet speed is medium, as when the bullet speed was set to fast, it was just too hard and the Bi-Plane will only move forwards at a slow velocity - as if it was hovering across the screen. Hopefully now that this stage is working, I shall move on to level 7's stage. :o)

10th June 2010 - Blame the blasted author (Wayne)

Grrr at the library today found a book called THE HISTORY OF FLIGHT, there are pictures of PLANES AND HELICOPTERS and other stuff, wish I had found this book two years ago!!! Oh well I suppose there are plenty of ideas here if I did decide to do a UITA sequel! ( LOL ! ) Also I have been working on ZAP ZIP ZOP and WHEELSPIN, these are nearly finished, they have taken much longer than I expected to complete, I find it SO frustrating , working full time AND working on these projects is such a pain!!! I will get these things done if it kills me!  Got an Gmail off Richard today, he asked if he could send UITA off to KENZ for approval, I of course said yes.

13th June 2010 - Off you pop. (Richard)

As I have mainly been working on Bionik Granny Returns sprites, nothing else has been done you. I'll need to sort something out for level 7, and hopefully I can start on it later on this week or maybe the next weekend. I emailed a preview of this game to Kenz to try out to see what he thinks of the work done so far. The game feels like going back to 1985 or something, but on a playable perspective side of things. Heheheh. I guess I should do the same type of loader for this game as I did with the Firebird style version of The Wild Bunch (The Visi Load effect with Martin Piper's Autoboot IRQ Turbo Tape). :o)

16th June 2010 - Two new SEUCK games (Wayne)

Well again I have been back on the Two SEUCK games ZAP ZIP ZOP is complete apart from sorting out some text to type on the title screen, WHEELSPIN ( A game featuring Cars and other Traffic ) is a completely different matter, I have been adding and improving graphics, I wanted to shade the cars but didnt want to do them too well because when the game is developed proffesionally and released as BOUNCY CARS people will have nothing to look forward to.  BUT when I ran the game with the cut down shadow it looked rubbish so I took the time to go over every car frame by frame and shade them properly, it might not make sense now bnut when you see the finished game you should appreciate it! Never mind I have PLENTY of tricks up my sleeve for the final version of BOUNCY CARS but you lot will just have to wait and see!!!

27th June 2010 - YO DJ, SPIN THAT WHEEL (Wayne)

I was off work last week, unfortunately because I spent the week at my girlfriends and she has no C64 there I didnt get and work done, it was fab spending time with her but felt wierd going "COLD TURKEY" without my beloved C64, to quote an old girlfriend ( Who I wish was dead but isnt unfortunately ! ) the C64 is my "other woman". Anger and bitterness aside I came home this week and worked on WHEELSPIN, this little devil is finally finished, although I would like to tweek it and do a "MANLY THAN MEN" version that will be slightly tougher ( ERM did that sound odd, good I thought so too... ). Its funny how going away from a project and coming back to it helps you see it with different eyes, for example, I had drawn shadows for the cars but had drawn buildings and neglected to do the same for them, coming back to WHEELSPIN on Monday night, I noticed this and corrected it, all is good in Waynes World at last... ( ITS PARTY TIME -EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!! )

18th July 2010 - Back in action soon (Richard)

I was on holiday for 2 weeks or so and have just come back. I have two outstanding diary entries and later on this week, I'll be working on level 7 and a possibility of level 8 as well. Depends on how the mood takes me at the time.

18th July 2010 - A couple of Wayne's diary entries (Wayne)

Had a daft weekend, I went over the UITA levels and apart from creating some new levels I also checked the level colours with the relevant enemies for there specific levels, I decided to make some changes to ensure that the best colours would be used in the game, also I am trying to help add variety to the game. This is incredibly boring but necessary work and hopefully will show through in the final product! I noticed when I went back through the level colours that some of the screen colours and sprite enemies wouldn't have worked, so I am very glad that I went back through these levels and checked them. To save memory I have reused level graphics from previous levels, but I plan to change the colour schemes to avoid too much repetition, I have also tried to space out these levels to avoid making it look too obvious that I am reusing level graphics if that makes sense. I have also been thinking about going back and tweaking one or two sprites in the game, one of the planes at the end of the game definitely needs adjusting. I have also sent Richard a colour table for the levels today too!

21st July 2010 - I've been frozen by an Action Replay Cartridge  (Richard)

I received an email from Andrew with a few .D64's for the Up in the Air game. Alright, who's responsible for freezing my project with an action replay cartridge, causing me to load 149 blocks of data? Nah, doesn't matter. It's okay, I used the Action Replay fast loader and I didn't have to wait for the program to decompact either :o). Nyaaaah, nyaaaah! That shouldn't really matter as this was to show me how what I missed out for that particular level.]

 It appears that I made a mistake with the end of level 6 boss. It should have been a brown wooden biplane instead of a boss plane. So when I get round to doing some more programming on the project tomorrow morning. I shall update the boss to be the biplane and then work on with Level 7. Do some Bionik Granny Returns on Saturday, and then come back to this project on Sunday. I might help start Gold Quest 5 with Thorsten and his friends next week. Also I have something special in store for September 2010. Not only the vertical scrolling SEUCK competition (4th September 2010). As it is the 15th anniversary of an infamous game of mine :o)

On the same .D64 was the UITA charset for the title screen. I loaded it up and I took a look at it. I will most definitely use this for the front end for the game. That should make Wayne's day :o) As well as the UITA title screen char set. Wayne has also provided a UITA menu screen (Hmm, will I need to program this one in, or has it already been done? Hehehehe. ). I loaded the file up and ... BAH. I have to program this as well. At least the disk menu won't result to be too big in size (No. of blocks) after it has been programmed and compressed. :o)

Now, I am on to the final .D64, which Andrew passed over to me. It's an .I file called Zip Zap Zop. It's a SEUCK data file, but I can still load it up with SEUCK, using an Action Replay cartridge, by loading the data file to $0900 - $FFFA. I tested the game and ...  It's a challenging game. For some reason, it reminds me of one of the retro arcade classics called "Invasion" ... This game has a whole variety of enemies and some nice bonus sections as well. I hope Wayne will or Andrew will come up with a good idea for a new front end for this title.

21st July 2010 – I hacked Richard's game – I'm in real trouble now! (Wayne)

Ok this has been a big week so far, I sent Andrew Fisher two disks, this involved me staying up until 3am MON and TUE night. Mondays disk had new levels for the game and the final version of ZIP ZAP ZOP, Tuesdays disk had a hacked version of the game with a simple change of enemy for one of the end of level baddies in it, somehow the wrong sprites where being used for one of the end of level baddies, I don't know how it happened but it did, so I hacked (Action Replay MK VI, rules - Richard) into the game and relocated the required sprites to the location the game is using - very ugly thing to do really and not even proper programming but at least Richard can see what I am doing with the final game!

Oh and I also stayed up and drew a whole new front end character set, The current one we are using is one I drew ages ago and doesn't look that good and I have been meaning to alter it for a while... Game play wise I can tell you UP IN THE AIR is feeling great, Richard has altered the GYROCOPTERS on Level 6 to fire at you, this really does make the game much more challenging. I also like the End Of Level 3 baddie movement pattern, things are progressing very nicely indeed... :o)

nd July 2010 – Peak-a-boo (Richard)

I received another two work disks from Andrew today. One has the updated version of Zip Zap Zop, for the final UITA disk, and also there's another disks, which contains the background for levels 16, 17 and 18. So when I looked at the levels, I can nice mountains for level 16. Level 17 looks similar to level 3, and level 18 looks similar to level 1.

Programming time - again

Well, if you remember my diary entry from yesterday, you'll notice that Wayne has been hacking my game to show me what the correct end of level boss should have been in the first place. So, I went back to my assembly source code for the boss stage and altered the biplane to show a giant wooden bi-plane for this level. I also used a wrong colour for the boss. It should have been brown, rather than blue, so I changed the colour for this boss stage as well. Wayne also wanted the speed of the boss Gyrocopter to move faster, so I added a little hack to the boss routine, which made the bi-plane move at a fast paced speed. Now level 6 is done. On to level 7 now.

To get level 7 started, I copied and pasted the usual level setup routine, and set the decruncher routine to decrunch from the end address of the compressed level screen (Level 7) and then I checked the level specification for this stage will be using for this stage. Well, it appears that Wayne would like me to use bomber planes for this stage. I loaded up his SEUCK demo to have a glance at how the enemy should move. It looks as if the enemy has to move in a straight line and drop bombs. Hmm. Another recycled level 5, but this time with bomber planes and bombs. Sounds like a great idea to me.

I setup the level background scene, as indicated in Wayne's level design, but there still seems to be a small glitch in the scroller. It looks as if Wayne used more than one colour for the background (for the red mountains), therefore when the background was scrolling, I could see black and blue bits. Hmm, perhaps there was something wrong with my screen colour scroll routine for the third layer of the parallax scrolling. I must take a look at this on Sunday. I also added level 7's random speed table and also implemented level 5's shoot routine into the code. Unfortunately it seems that the bombers are not just dropping bombs, but the blighters are also shooting out bomber planes as well. LOL that is a silly mistake I have to admit. Anyway, I shall look into fixing this and the scroller on Sunday. Today was a working day, I'm a bit burned out now, spent 2 and a half hours on this project today. So I shall call it a day for now.

25th July 2010 - The Wright Stuff (Wayne)

Well I did notice in the demo Richard sent me that the end of Level 3 was wrong after a quick Gmail to Richard he has corrected it, the end of Level 3s plane is now a Wright Brothers style plane albeit in the fact that it shoots you. I am betting the Wright Brothers never intended their planes to do that! :-> If I feel in the mood tonight ( MATRON ! ) I may well touch up ( MISSUS ! ) the sprite graphics. Next Time - Wayne tries to write a diary entry free from CARRY ON references giggle! ( oh and before I go special thanks to Andrew Fisher for porting over and sending over all my C64 files to Richard Bayliss - what a HERO ! ( Like Robert DeNiro ) End Of Diary!

30th July 2010 - More work files received (Richard)

I got an email from Andrew with yet another two .D64 files. This time round those two .d64 images contained some work files of Wayne's final sprites and also some more level designs. Andrew pointed out to me that with the new sprites file, Wayne has drawn an animation for the balloons popping. I have noted this request down and shall implement it near to the end of the project. I'm now thinking to myself about the pop effect - it would be much better to use this, rather than have no effect where the balloon disappears at all. :o)

3rd August 2010 - School Holidays SUCK! - Roll on September! (Wayne)

Over the last week I finally did the Alpha version of the sprites, this involved me going over everything I had drawn and giving it one last final improvement and tweak, now I am happy with my Sprites. I had one or two problems with the game which I have mentioned to Richard but he says he will fix them so that is no problem! On a personal note I would like it known that I hate the main holiday holiday season - when the screaming kids are off school and come in the library screaming-SHUT UP you screaming little gits!!!! (Send in Mastertronic's Bionic Granny to clobber them if they cause too much trouble - Richard)

On a calmer note I have been working on Camels In Space 2 Sprites ( again! ). SCREAMING KIDS SHUT UP! ( Has anyone got my point yet? )

12th August 2010 - Manuals! (Wayne)

At long long last I  have begun the Manual for UP IN THE AIR, am hoping to keep it brief and fun to read. When I ve done I shall post it off to KENZ and hopefully get his approval. Its still quite hard to imagine that UP IN THE AIR is going to be available to buy as a real media game. Richard is working so hard on it I am very pleased indeed. I am also interested to see what his BIONIK GRANNY RETURNS game turns out like (You'll be laughing when you play it Wayne) :o) 

My intention is once the UITA manual is done to restart work on my old game Honeybee. Quite a lot has been done on this project so it would be prudent to finish this first. I shall begin a whole new diary and the like once Richard has finished working on UP IN THE AIR so that no one gets confused!

NOTE: I'll be back on the programming phase of this game hopefully next weekend. :) RICH!

27th August 2010 - Clobbered with Bionik Granny Returns (Wayne)

Played the finished BIONIK GRANNY RETURNS this week-WOW fantastic stuff, it looks and plays like one of those early TASKSET games. I never played the original BIONIK GRANNY but this is brill and the title screen drawn by KENZ is brilliant. Nice Music too! Havent got to the end yet, but I have got to the Alien Level! Richard has done a great job of putting lots of variety in and different colours and variety in the levels. Been in touch with the C.C.C ( COMMODORE COMPUTING CLUB ) and am hoping to have a demo of UP IN THE AIR running on their stall at the R3TRO SHOW in BLACKPOOL!

15th October 2010 - Better late than never (Richard)

Well, it seems as it has been just nearly two months since I last did something with this project. Ahem. What happened then? Well, unfortunately, like with Sub Hunter, I wanted to hold things back, due to lack of motivation. Real life working overtime, etc. Plus I have been working on a top secret co-op project for Psytronik Software, but I won't say much about it, except for that it will brighten up your day.

What I also remember from Up in the Air is that I showed a preview of the game (with nearly 7 levels) to Kenz at Psytronik Software and he's really looking forward to seeing this game get finished. Wayne's getting excited. Things seem to be looking good for this project. The question is when will I be able to get back to this project? Well, the answer is, I don't really know. Hopefully tomorrow or Sunday.

21st October 2010 - Loading picture (Wayne)

Well not long before the R8tro Event, I have the beginnings of the game manual so I will be taking this to pass on to Kenz, I also want to show him the BITMAP loading screen I have done, my version is poor so I am going to ask if he can redo my version and do something amazing for the game, heres hoping...

24th October 2010 - Mad bombers on the run (Richard)

Well, here I am, back on this game project (for the time being) as I felt that more work ought to be done. I have been busy on another Psytronik Software game project, which involves some comedy martial arts. I will not go any further about this production, except for that it was great fun to make and absolutely hilarious to work on. Anyway, back to UITA now. I have been a bit busy today working on Level 7's issues. It seems that before hand, level 7 was shooting bomber planes out instead of dropping bombs. It's a difficult issue I've been banging my head on for a while, but I have decided to come back to sort it out today. After fixing the bombers shooting out of the bombers bug, I now noticed that the bombers are not dropping anything on a random basis and are also incorrect colours. So I altered the tables to try and get those working again.

Now the bomb drop part seems to be a really tough cookie to crack. I had to add a new routine which will allow the enemies to drop bombs, when selected, but I also had to add some new logic to it. I noticed that although I added some more to the assembly code, I found that something was wrong. Nothing was falling or shooting. I checked through my code to see what the problem was. Half an hour later, I figured out what I did wrong. I placed the bullet sprite detection routine in the wrong place, which caused nothing to shoot. Once I put it in the correct place, the bombers were shooting the bombs across, but not downwards. I added a new routine, and created a new value for the program to compare the bullet direction to shoot. Then I added the downwards drop routine. I assembled and test run the program in VICE and found that the routine worked.

From one problem to another. I found that although the bombs were dropping on a random basis (That was sort of good news to me), I also noticed that bombs were falling out from inside the top border. So I had to add a routine, which would check the range that if the bullets were OUTSIDE the border (where enemy planes were blasted, etc) then the bullets MUST stay outside the border. So I added a little routine to iron out this issue, to prevent bombs from falling from the top border. After adding this little routine, it works. And now .... Level 7's finished, I think, despite the colour bug (which will be fixed near to the end of this project).

2nd November 2010 - R8tro's coming (Wayne)
Got a new demo of UITA off Richard last week, there are one or two minor little bugs BUT the most important thing is I have something substantial to take with me to the R8TRO show, I havent seen KENZs name on the list of attendees, so I may have to Hijack some C64 and load up my Creation of Cloudy fluffy loveliness ( otherwise known as UP IN THE AIR ) and let the public see it! Keep the peace Brothers Wayne is out of here...

5th - 7th November 2010 - Some bad news at R8tro. (Wayne)

So as you guys might or might not know, Richard very kindly sent me a new demo of UP IN THE AIR for the R8TRO show. Me and Carol met Andrew on the train to go to the Blackpool Event on Friday 5th November, we got to the Hotel and dropped our stuff off. After having tea we went to the Event to help set up the machines. After talking to Dave Moore I mentioned that I had brought some C64 Disk Stuff to showcase, he very kindly pointed to a load of boxes on the floor and asked me to help myself to what equipment I needed. So after getting all the stuff set up I was quite pleased with myself. We went back to the Hotel and slept. Next morning ( SAT ) we went to the event after a bit of a queue we got in, I dashed to the C64 set up and switched everything on, I inserted the disk for UP IN THE AIR and proceeded to load it - OR NOT as the case was! The 1541 decided NOT to load any of the disks-DAMMIT! After a while I managed to calm down, unfortunately there was no other 1541 drive available. So I resigned myself to the fact that I couldn't do anything, After walking round and playing a few games I met TMR, and we had a great talk about the C64 and stuff. I also met Jeff Minter, I mentioned about my future game CAMELS IN SPACE 2 to him, he seemed quite amused by it and I asked his permission to do it ( as it is based on his "Mutant Camel" games ) and he gave me his blessing. He also showed us his new touch screen game done in an ATARI 2600 style, its really nice! :-> I also picked up some games too!

Sunday, I went and played on some Commodore 16 stuff and Dreamcast and one or two other machines, to be honest I played more games this day so it was great. I managed to pick up a Spectrum 48k ( Nice ! ) with games and some software for my ATARI 7800 too.
All in all it was a nice weekend, personally we thought it was a bit too big a do. We preffered BYTE BACK and RETRO REUNITED but it was still pretty darn cool and nice to spend time with cool people! It would have been nice to see KENZ and Shaun Bebbington but its hard to make time for these events sometimes. Next Event I hope to get on a working C64 and demo UITA!

Richard's bit
It is a shame about what happened at the R8tro event. When just I heard about this bad news, it was a disappointment, but faulty 1541 devices cannot really be helped, even if they are well looked after. The devices can hardly be replaced, unless you are lucky to find a working one on EBAY for a bargain price. A shame really, as I was looking forward to hearing some good news and interest about the project. Wayne may be pleased to hear that I will be working 6am - 2pm shifts this coming week, which means that I should be able to spend some time on this game project Sunday onwards. - That's if I get any motivation to continue the project this week. Hahahahahah!

21st November 2010 - Update those colours NOW! (Richard)

A short while back Andrew got back to me with an email about the Up in the Air project. There are some bugs left in the game. I'm still aware of this, however the major problem with colours was related to level 7. So I updated the main gameloop and added a couple of labels (Where a value is loaded into $D025 and $D026). Then in the level setup source file, I added the colours for each level (Mainly the same, except for level 2 and level 7) and compiled everything. After I tested the game, Level 7's sprite multi colours were much better and fits inside the brown background. You could also see those bombs being dropped by the enemy planes as well. Excellent :o)

I'm not doing much more today, as I am currently busy doing other things, including music for another game, but later on this week (As I am now doing an 8am-4pm shift doing easier work) I will be working a little more on this production. So stay tuned :)

29th November 2010 - Back to level 5 (Richard)

I been going through one of my old emails today and noticed that there was a problem with the lightning in level 5. I hated programming that level. Anyway, there seemed to have been a problem where one of the lightning bolts got stuck at the bottom of the game screen. So I browsed through the code to find where the problem lied. Sadly I cannot seem to find which sprite is causing this problem. So to try and find which sprite is getting stuck at the bottom, I added a quick border flash. This was done so that I could find which sprite was not resetting correctly. So after updating the settings I got the lightning to work. Unfortunately this level still does not seem to be working out very well. I have come back to the lightning appearing from nowhere problem. Perhaps I should have created some additional logic parameters which will lock the lightning sprites until one of the two enemy clouds appear on screen. I'll see what I can do to solve this problem next week.

29th December 2010 - A new preview for New Year's Day

After I read Wayne's Email response, which I sent a while back. I have been given the go-ahead to prepare and release a 4 level playable preview of Up in the Air. So today during my day off work, I altered the source code to check whether or not it was a playable preview of the game or whether or not it is the full game. If the assembler recognises the game code as preview source, then additional data and routines are cut out, unless the game is full. Also I fixed a couple of silly bugs in the game, which included the player's last life. Instead of 00 being displayed. When game is over, the bug showed /0 inside the lives counter. After a tiny tweak and an update, I fixed this problem. Next I mastered the game to a .tap image using the Thunderload V3 loader system. Also the TND intro. The demo's now ready for Saturday's New Year update on the TND web site. :o)

1st January 2011 - Up in the Air Preview Released today

Finally you get to play the first 4 levels of this new game. Download the game from the link below, and check it out. We do hope you will enjoy this preview. More work will be put into the full game in the near future.

Click on disk to download game preview:

5th January 2011 - Changes, we need changes! (Richard)

After the release of the Up in the Air preview on Saturday last week (or should I have said earlier on this week). I recieved some feedback about the production, which has made me note down and also think about some major changes for this project. I also sent an email to Wayne, but fear that he might not be happy after he reads the email, a shame as he has worked several days, weeks and maybe months on trying to get the graphics just about right.

The game will need some major changes if it is to become a really good milestone, since Sub Hunter. This does not mean that I can't do anything to the project though. I can still work on the level attack formations for each level, but when it comes to the graphics front for this game, major improvements/tweaking are desperately required before the end of the project.

12th January 2011 - She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes. (Wayne)

Well It seems like quite a while since I did any more work on UP IN THE AIR, to be honest, I keep thinking its over for me then something else crops up!  I decided that the Background Mountains on one of the levels didn't look quite right, to be honest, Andrew had mentioned it to me ages ago, but me being stubborn. I stuck my fingers in my ears and went "LA, LA, LA!" (That's not a good thing to do Wayne. - Richard). So the other Sunday I used colour mixing and I redesigned the new mountains. I think they look a little bit like the graphics from a GTW game called, COLONY. I didn't plan this to happen but here you go... :o)  Well I hope you have been enjoying the UP IN THE AIR demo, which Richard released on New Year's Day. I honestly wasn't really bothered about releasing one, but Richard asked me. So I thought after the disaster at Blackpool's R8TRO Event  we had better release something, so I agreed with Richard! Andrew informs me that the demo has generally been well recieved.

12th January 2011 - The evening later (Richard).

I have been checking my email and I noticed that Wayne has done a couple more graphics files for Up in the Air. The first one was the font update. The charsets look similar to the ones in the demo, but Wayne added a couple more chars for the demo, which were of course Airplanes. Quite nice. The second file on the disk contained what appeared to be a new design for one of the levels. The clouds looked fluffy, and the mountains had some more shade added to them. Awesome.  I better sort out that level 5 bug (The clouds), but I've been busy doing something else. Oh well :o)