I've had a reasonably fun week or so off, but it'll be back to the usual grind tomorrow which will mean fewer updates and less playing around. Oh well, its been fun :)
I'm currently playing with lots of different things just now, flicking back and forth as the mood takes me. Currently I've got my SuperCPU hooked up as I was playing with a true dual-playfield system. Its got 2 bitmaps and masks one onto the other if you can believe it! I've said it before but Metal Dust I don't think used the power very well and does look like just a nice C64 game. To my mind the new Enforcer 2 actually looks just as good but is on a stock machine. I think you need to do something really different - something that would be impossible on a stock machine, and I'm still playing around with what that could be.
The problem with TRUE dual playfields is that you can't make best use of colour, in fact your pretty much back to 3 colour displays or you end up with huge colour clash again, and thats not very SUPER. Also to make it simpler, you really need to manually smooth scroll the front layer and that means you can't make them up from a software character map meaning you can't have it all animating away which would also be a shame. Still, I'm working away on it...
On the C64 XeO3 front I've obviously been pluggin in my new multiplexor and speeding that up, although there is one more major speed up needed here and thats when I do the sprite copy to the IRQ buffers, I also copy in the first seven sprites, however these then immediately get copied into the hardware. This means an obvious speed up is to skip that and copy the first seven sprites into the hardware directly. This will slow down the copy a little, but not having to duplicate it will be a big speedup over all - I hope.
PC Engine.... I've almost got my assembler going although I need to add a few more addressing modes to deal with TEST #??,blah types. After that I can start to play properly, however my PC Engine has started to act up and it looks like its dying, so I'll need to find my TG16 in the loft at somepoint.
Lastly... XeO3 on the Plus4... After playing Blood Money a little again, I'm starting to sway towards the player dying but the action keeps on going. You then come back on flickering or something to give you a little bit of a shield and then carry on from there. This means you won't be thrown back to the start of the level, but you WILL lose some weapon power (not all). The reason for my sudden reversal is that after playing and watching Blood Money I realise that its gonna get hard later on anyway, so even if you don't get thrown back to the start, you're not gonna finish is easily anyhow - so what the hell. It will hopefully mean most folk won't get too frustrated early on, but it does mean it'll get pretty hard later on, which was to be expected anyway I guess. I'll try this out and get a few peoples feedback, or we might even release another test although I think that unlikely for now.
Oh... and a quickie. With the C64 codebase getting pretty stable, I think I'll be releasing a framework sooner rather than later. So it won't be the full XeO3 source yet, but it will be a nice framework for starting a game in, complete with a production quality multiplexor. People can then strip it to bits and bend it into thier own idea of a framework and make some toys with it..... we can hope.
And thats where things stand for now! Fun, fun, fun!! Any questions/suggestions/gripes/feedback, please just post a comment.