Alternate Reality X – Release 0.82 Available!

Alternate Reality X – Release 0.82 is now available for download from: www.crpgdev.com/downloads. This release focuses on fixing a number of bugs which players have reported following recent releases.

  • Fixed – Group encounter messages out of sync with their damage
  • Fixed – Group encounter attacks out of sequence
  • Fixed – Fixed encounters not updating correctly (e.g. ghost in Well Lit Area)
  • Fixed – Fixed encounters not leaving weapons or treasure
  • Fixed – City Smithy items selling for minus value at Dwarven Smithy
  • Fixed – Troll Tyrant / Goblin Lord – wrong monster types appearing
  • Fixed – Troll Tyrant / Goblin Lord – didn’t leave ring halves
  • Fixed – Guild names and locations not all correct in City
  • Fixed – Character indicator on large map not in correct position
  • Fixed – Legend on large map not aligned for different window sizes
  • Added – Mercenaries and Paladins Guilds now in City
  • Code – Spells moved into separate source files

 

PC Upgrades and thanks

I’d been using an old PC for some time. It was several years old with a small case design for a specific motherboard / hardware combination and struggled with some of the fairly basic things I wanted to do including my game development. My son upgraded his PC over Christmas and gifted me his old motherboard and processor (pictured below) which I thought I would use as this would probably be a decent upgrade over my existing PC.

 

 

My existing PC case was no good so I thought I would use some Patreon and PayPal funds to buy an expandable PC case which I could use now and in the future and make use of my “new” motherboard and processor. I’d like to be able to use a full size video card at some point in the future, though it’s not essential for my current game development.

I looked at several case designs but opted for a CIT model I found on Amazon and ordered a 500W power supply to go with it. These arrived quickly and I was able to install everything without too many problems (though the power cables to the motherboard were a bit short). I transferred a couple of old hard drives into the handy caddies in the new case and my existing Windows 10 install booted up fine despite switching from an Intel to AMD processor / motherboard – an unexpected bonus. I also added a mini wi-fi dongle to the PC which is working great for networking compared to my old NetGear stick. The PC and case seem to be working really well and a nice upgrade from my old set up. The on-board AMD Radeon HD 8470D video is good after the old Intel graphics I was using.

There are still a few further upgrades I’ll buy at a later date such as a larger monitor (the 24″ one I have in my day job helps a lot) and a better chair (but not an expensive one). An SSD at some point would be great but this is way down my priority list.

 

 

In addition I spent time reorganising the room that I want to use for carrying out game development as it had become a dumping ground for the family and I could barely reach the desk – hardly conducive to productive game development! Still a bit crowded with other items but at least its tidy now. I need to do some negotiation with other family members to empty the room further so I can add a bit of storage for my game development notes, programming books etc.

Major thanks to those Patrons and PayPal supporters who’ve supported my efforts and helped fund some of these items. Greatly appreciated. The upgraded PC set up and improved working space will feed directly back into improving my game development output over the coming weeks and months.

 

Making a CRPG on the Commodore 64

I’m starting to put together my notes for a new project – part original game, part game programming video / blog tutorial. I’ve been planning this for the last couple of years and it will be an enjoyable change of pace from Alternate Reality X development.

 

 

As you may know I grew up playing CRPGs on the Commodore 64 so have many fond memories of those days spent exploring the lands of Britannia in Ultima IV, skulking round the streets of The Bards Tale and of course finding unique new treasures in the depths of Alternate Reality: The Dungeon.

I recently had a lot of fun doing a bit of BASIC programming using a Windows based program called CBM PRG Studio – this provides an IDE for rapid C64 development in both BASIC and assembly language as well as offering integrated tools for graphic and music creation.  Used in conjunction with the Vice emulator it’s a pleasant way to program for this classic machine. I’m also planning to dip into other tools such as native assemblers and possibly even some cross assemblers and cross compilers.

Of course you won’t need a Commodore 64 to follow the series or play the various versions of the game. Depending on how the game comes along I’m not ruling out a version which will run on current operating systems as well. The intention is to start small explaining the basics of the machine and its display, use of the built in character set and PETSCII characters before moving onto user defined characters and multi character tiles more akin to Ultima and other classic CRPGs from the era.

In case you haven’t heard about it there was a recent successful Kickstarter called “Unknown Realm” which is for the C64 and PC and looks good. In case you’re wondering I was planning some C64 CRPG development when I bought my Programmers Reference Guide a couple of years back 🙂 You can read more “Unknown Realm” below:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stirringdragongames/unknown-realm-an-8bit-rpg-for-pc-and-commodore-64

Don’t worry about my new project slowing down ARX development. I’m planning small incremental changes as to how the series and game develop which I don’t anticipate will be particularly time consuming compared to a typical ARX release. I hope you’ll enjoy it.