THE SEUCK VAULT
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SOPWITHS & PTERRORDONS
by Anthony Stiller
Anthony Stiller writes: This simple, single-level SEUCK game was a project I assigned myself to celebrate August, the unoffical C64 month (#c64month on Twitter). I didn't hit my deadline.
This is my first completed SEUCK game. My only other attempt was a long, long time ago (I tried to get a bubble to float gracefully across the screen, couldn't get it to look any way decent, and gave up).
There's no backstory to Sopwiths and Pterrordons. I just thought of two things that would be cool together. I love WWI and WWII planes, and who doesn't like dinosaurs? They seemed like a great mix (and from feedback I've received other people feel the same).
Feel free to make up your own backstory. Make sure the pilot is dashing/beautiful and says, "Tally ho!" and "Chocks away!" an awful lot.
Special thanks to Andrew Fisher (@merman1974), David Rayfield (@raygunbrown), Cameron Davis (@gazunta) for their valued advice, support and feedback.
Thanks also to Noble Kale (@lightestkale) and Rob Caporetto (@rob_caporetto) for their encouragement and inspiration.
- Scoring has been balanced so, with a little practice, you should just be able to nab an extra life right before the end of level boss.
- Due to the shape of the player bullet, enemies, and how SEUCK determines hitboxes you really need to line up your shots with the pterrordon's head to better guarantee a kill
- You can squeeze between the vertical rows of deadly crystal chunks in the terrain later in the game.
I approached Sopwiths and Pterrordons with definite goals:
- Use vanilla SEUCK
- Short (Originally only 1 scrolling and 1 static level which I then dropped to 1 scrolling level only)
- End of level boss
- Minimise framerate loss (a particular bugbear of mine with regards to SEUCK games)
- Well-animated player and enemy graphics
- Noticable ACTION-REST-ACTION phases during the game
- Use of foreshadowing (new enemies usually appear in generally non-threatening positions onscreen. The first laser-pterrordon is an exeption however neanderthals are placed before it appears to encourage the player to move away from the mental "safe zone" of the bottom-middle of the screen).
- Minimise unfair death (pterrordons that appear behind the player)
- The restrictions of SEUCK greatly reduced choice paralysis during the design/build phase
- Descoping: I had several rather neat ideas that I dropped late in the design phase and into the early build phase
- Getting some player feedback was very helpful
- SEUCK is still a pretty great tool, relatively.
- Like anything, this took a lot longer than I expected from both an effort and elapsed time perspective. For example, the title page took about 4 hours of actual effort spread out over a day. In total I think I spent around 40-50 hours of total actual effort on this project from beginning to end.
- SEUCK and C64 restrictions can get a little frustrating and needed a lot of replaying. I also wanted this to work on a real C64 with minimal juddering and forgot that emulators can keep a steady framerate much easier than the original hardware
- Initiatally I went for a low-flying biplane meaning the graphics needed to reflect that we were closer to the ground ie larger rivers etc. After some consideration I went for a higher altitude. This ended up causing considerable difficulty in the subsequent graphics design as I had to create graphics that provided the illusion of depth and distance (things falling into the screen or rising out of the screen).
- The cliffs on either side were a right pain. Ultimately the "overhang" design seemed to work.
- Colour palette choices. UGH!!!!!
- I used CCS64 using snapshots to save progress but actually getting the final game onto a working d64 image via SEUCK seemed to be entirely random
Click here to download the D64 files
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