After a small break due to family, work and a cold, I'm now back on track and pushing down the memory to try and free up as much as I can for the last chunk of code. I've rewriten the sprite cache, packed the sprite data and done a general re-jig of the data layout. I've managed to save 4K which means everything can move up by a whole bank ($1000) and this lets me easily pack this 4K in with the current code and data, which brings the grand total memory free to 6.5k - which isn't bad at all. Of course theres still lots to do, but this should give me plenty of space to do it! The remaining 1.5k is right at the top of memory, which makes it a bit of a faff to use for most things - unless I can generate tables there.
So, now that this little(!) task is taken care of, I can start to go through my to-do list. If I get the weapon system working, Luca and I can try and release a test level which won't be used in the final game, but will give us feedback on difficulty levels from - well all of you. If you look at Luca's page, you'll see he did another level based on the level 1 graphics. This is the one you'll get to play with first.
But before I do all that, I'll need to test the new cache system and make sure its holding up okay, and then try and insert the code I took out before that actually makes the cache work properly. If that still doesn't work as well as I hope, then I'll change it all again and make it a simple queue.
It should also be noted that the remaining 6.5k is IT. There is no more free memory after this runs out, which means if I need more space, then I need to start cutting things out....Lets hope it doesn't come to that.