DRAFT: How I ended 2014, and plan to end 2015 (Jam-like?)

EDIT: Final version is over here:


This is a story.

Near the end of 2014, I started researching how to makes stuff for Commodore 64. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. The Commodore was the computer I grew up with as a kid, but as a kid, I only ever wrote some lousy BASIC programs on it. I never made anything that truly utilized the hardware.

Then I stumbled across this video, and there was no turning back.

After figuring out how to get code running on a C64, I decided to set a goal for myself. Since the Commodore was the gaming machine of my youth, I decided: In the final days of 2014, I would create a small game based on something I wanted to make as a kid.

After digging through my sketches, doodles, and notes, I chose to do something with these:

This was me from the early 1990’s, probably 11 or 12 years old. I used to draw pixel art and game maps on graph paper (I used to paint them on my Commodore 64 too, but I don’t have backups).

In the 20+ years since then, I’ve learned a thing or two about drawing. I’m not great, but I have improved. So I decided to re-create the character.

Using some of the excellent free tools available for Commodore 64 dev, I made sprites.

After a bunch of work, I got this running in an emulator.

Before finally getting it running on an actual Commodore 64.

(NOTE: I stole the SID music file, but it’s playing for real on the C64)

At the end of the day, there wasn’t really much of a game there, but I was very proud to have finally make something that ran on the Commodore 64.

Want to hear something interesting? I wasn’t the only one.

A couple friends on Twitter were also playing with little retro projects.

Ryan made a game run on the Nintendo Famicom (NES).

Tim made a game run on the Atari 2600.

As you can see, we were sharing Vines of our progress while we made them. It was pretty cool. 😀

I think we might be doing something like this again (I know I am). 🙂

* * *

Me, for 2015, I’m planning to dabbling with hardware this year.

Some weeks back I ordered some old sound chips such as the Commodore 64’s SID (6581), Yamaha YM2612 (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive), and an AY-3 (other). I’m going to try directly interfacing with those sound chips using either an Arduino or Raspberry Pi (still deciding).

I ordered them via AliExpress, which means China, which means shipping can take a month+ to get to me. That’s why I’m bringing this story up now, a good month+ in advance, so you too can make preparations.

* * *

This isn’t a Ludum Dare, or an announcement for a new Game Jam. This is merely an invitation. Maybe you too have a few spare days before the year ends to do something. I usually have a few just after Xmas and Boxing Day, so I’ll be doing something then.

I suggested to the guys that we should come up with a common hashtag (not sure what it should be yet). That way, it’s easier to find the stuff we’ve been up to. Photos, Videos, Vines.

You’re welcome to join us. 🙂