Thursday, December 31, 2015

Xmas Rush for the MC-10

It's been a while since I've posted on this blog. I guess it is time to change that! A little Retrochallenge action should liven things up for a bit...

Christmas Spirit

Late in 2015 (just before the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA), I started thinking about making a Christmas-themed game for the Tandy Color Computer (CoCo). The original idea was to have a collection of 3 or 4 "mini games" with silly holiday references. I got started on that by putting together a simple game engine that used one of the 4-color modes on the CoCo. I tried to save time by taking the easy choice as often as possible, implementing simple blocky animation mechanisms, etc. Nevertheless, the holiday season brought with it some extra demands on my time...

What's the Rush?

By mid-December or so I had only come-up with one mini-game, a scenario where you have to go into the forest, grab the last Christmas tree, and escape from the evil snowmen guarding the tree. It sounds silly, but it turned-out to be rather fun. With the self-imposed Christmas deadline approaching I decided to polish-up what I had and make the best of things by releasing it. The result was Xmas Rush!

Challenge Accepted

Now we are at the turn of the year. With the New Year comes the next Retrochallenge event, RC2016/01! I have been participating in Retrochallenge events for a number of years, although my entry this past summer was a bit lackluster. Nevertheless, Retrochallenge is generally time well spent. The competition aspect makes for great motivation to get things done and the event provides great inspiration as an opportunity to observe what others are doing. I will continue what has become a tradition for me by entering again this year.

But what is the entry? Well, one regret I had about the Xmas Rush development was that I didn't have time to document any of what I was doing. I suppose I could go back and do that as my entry, but that seems a bit lame. However, it occurred to me that the MC-10 should be able to run Xmas Rush reasonably well. Plus, I have wanted to do an MC-10 project for some time. So for RC2016/01 I will port Xmas Rush to the MC-10, documenting the process along the way. Hopefully everyone will enjoy that!

The MC-10 is a different processor than the CoCo, and it has a number of architectural limitations that make it more challenging as a development target that its more powerful cousin. Plus, I will have to put some work into building an MC-10 development environment that is friendly to my style of work. Hopefully none of those challenges in sure to stay tuned!

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