Release Notes – Hyperzap 2018 (C64)

Hyperzap 2018 is the first game release from C64CD, a gallery shoot ‘em up for the C64 based on a game your correspondent wrote over thirty years ago whilst learning how to program the C64 in assembly language. The original was both painfully simple as a game and technically terrible, but that was because your then teenage correspondent was working out features of the C64 hardware as he went from their entries in the C64 Programmer’s Reference Guide and implementing what was required for his project “on the fly”. The hardware-based sprite collisions which apparently vexed the author in the past were, after a little experimentation to understand how they operated, utilised.

Jumping forwards in time to the bank holiday weekend just a few days ago and your correspondent found his mind wandering a little more than usual – possibly due to the hot weather – and thinking about hardware-based sprite collisions; his code in 1987 was something of a bodge in part because the hardware collision system is somewhat limited[1] and erred on the side of caution by destroying anything registering as a collision to make sure nothing was missed, but perhaps there was a way to handle things with more accuracy? That’s where Hyperzap 2018 comes in dear reader, because the bulk of the main code was written in around four hours on bank holiday Monday to test your correspondent’s cheap but cheerful solution!

Please don’t expect amazing things from Hyperzap 2018 dear reader because it’s very simple fare and deliberately so – that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the development time – but games like this and the demos we’ve looked at previously are, despite the author’s bizarre and rather pointless fixation about drawing lines, the sort of thing that 8-bit programmers would actually write whilst learning and your correspondent points to himself as one of many examples along with the developers behind some of the games that loosely inspired the original Hyperzap like Pirates In Hyperspace from 1986 or the public domain release Kernal’s Chaos which was originally shared via Compunet in 1987.

Hyperzap 2018 (C64)

The author has endlessly lectured his readers on programming but we have to note once more that he doesn’t actually release anything himself – very much a case of talking the talk whilst failing quite spectacularly to appropriately perambulate it would seem – but this might be his chance for some redemption; after all, he’s said how much easier the other 8-bit systems are to program compared to the C64 so, if that really is the case, writing a similarly simple little action game for one of his favoured platforms which matches the 50 frames per second (or indeed 60FPS on NTSC) action of your correspondent’s little game should be a walk in the park for him [2].

[1] Sprite to sprite collisions are handled by a register where the eight bits of one byte represent the sprites; if a bit is set that sprite is colliding with another, but that’s all the hardware really tells the programmer so further checks are needed.

[2] No dear reader, your correspondent really doesn’t expect the author will do this… or indeed any actual programming despite several promises over the years.

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