Code Notes – C64 Crack Intros (part 3)

Once again, things are a little late here at C64CD but this time your correspondent is going to blame the EU referendum because… well, it was there! But putting the quite frankly depressing result aside and not commenting any further than that, here we go with another Code Notes instalment delving through some crack intros which all utilise the C64’s ability to change colour registers as the display is being drawn.

Dynamic Duo Intro (C64)The first intro is release from the Dynamic-Duo; most of the screen is plain text – which probably isn’t surprising considering this was a 1986 release – with a sprite-based message that uses a ROL scroller at the bottom of the screen and a very colourful Dynamic Duo logo near the top. That upper effect is achieved by changing two of the character multicolours once ever second scanline and moving the colour tables that are used to govern those splits to make bars roll downwards on one register and bands of colour move up on the other. There isn’t any sound here but, as with the silent Ikari intro we looked at previously, calling a music driver from the interrupt wouldn’t have been technically problematic.

Papillons Intro (C64)The theme of splitting colours continues with the Papillons logo in their 1988 intro shown above, except the colour changes this time are happening on every scanline rather than every second. Most of the static text has also been jazzed up a little by constantly altering the colour RAM for that part of the screen and, along with the regular scrolling message below the logo, there’s a second, larger scroller which converts each pixel of a letter into a character and then passes colour splits through the result for good measure. The excellent piece of music comes courtesy of Superbrain of the Gamma Cracking Force.

Ikari Intro (C64)Finally there’s this busy-looking 1988 offering from Ikari (who we have mentioned twice already in the previous instalment) which raises the raster bar further[1] by having two values being written to three video registers per scanline where the logo is displayed; more specifically, the border and background colours are receiving one value whilst the horizontal scroll register gets another. The larger scroller is another sprite-based affair, this time with a colour split on every second scanline, whilst the moving lines above and below the small, character-based scroller are another example of colour RAM manipulation. This intro has shipped using a number of tunes from Edwin Van Santen, Johannes Bjerregaard and most prominently Laxity, with the tune provided in the download being the one your correspondent personally remembers.

And it probably doesn’t need stating again dear reader, but we shall for the author’s benefit; from C64CD’s viewpoint, all of the programmers, graphics artists and musicians whose work is featured in these crack intros started out as amateurs, teaching themselves the skills required either during or not particularly long after the author’s 1984 to 1985 window and without any amazing resources that weren’t available to someone in the United Kingdom.

[1] Oh dear. If it helps dear reader, your correspondent had to take a ten minute break after conjouring up that particular “pun” but can’t in all good faith apologise because he’s rather childishly proud of it!

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