MARCH 2019

Chapter 15 -  The Alien Sprites

I've been spending a lot of time on the development of the Alien sprites.

I've created 5 of the standard Aliens that include animation and are properly merged with the moving background as well as 2 Boss Aliens that will be encountered.

The first Boss will appear at the end of Level 2 once you navigate through space tracking a path via the various Jump Gates leading to the Alien home world.

The second Boss will be at the end of level 4 and is the supreme leader of the Alien civilization. This guy is an ugly MF and will take some skill to destroy. Once he's wiped out, the Alien civilization will collapse and you will have saved Earth from the Alien invasion.

These Boss's are large sprites and the planned effect in level 4 should look impressive.

On the right you can see the first 3 Alien sprites. These are animated in the game but only static shots shown here.

I will not be showing the other 2 Alien sprites nor the 2 large Boss's. I am enforcing a state of confidentiality and non-disclosure on much of the game artwork from here on.

Why am I doing this? Why the secrecy?

I'm sure there will be those that will say that I'm just being a snob but this is something I must do to preserve the surprise and element of discovery for the game buyers and players.

Where's the fun if I disclose everything in the game?

It's not fair to the players if there is nothing new and exciting to discover. Not knowing what's coming up adds to the players desire to keep playing.

Looking good!

What I can say is that the graphics are looking good!

The Aliens are not actually flying around yet but sit in the one position, animated and superimposed over the scrolling graphics underneath.  I can currently fly my GunStar behind the animated aliens clearly showing that the transparency and sprite overlay function of my graphics engine is working perfectly with not a trace of flicker.

And the CPU overhead consumed to create the engine in the beginning is now paying off with the ability to display 20 animated sprites simultaneously without dropping the frame rate.

The test code I have now is animating the 5 Aliens, the GunStar itself and two Boss Aliens with no frame loss... as well as having my 2 channels of digital sound effects running... and there's still speed for more but this will be needed for the rest of the game logic.

The benefits of this graphics engine are starting to show and I can conclusively say that it has exceeded my expectations.

NTSC Composite is back!

As another side note, I have included support for NTSC composite colors. Thanks to Erik Gavriluk for providing me with the most accurate RGB-to-CMP conversion chart, I have a colorset which I'm happy with on NTSC Composite. RGB is still sharper and has better color of course, but I feel that this is the best that can be had for Composite.

Coming up

Next on my agenda is to get the Aliens flying and getting their attack formations working.

This and collision detection will be some of the more complex routines I need to get right.

Copyright 2017 by Nickolas Marentes