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Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
Joined:
2006/12/6 0:11
From Italy
Posts: 657
Since the middle of May I've been working on a new game called Blastaway. It isn't finished yet, but it's playable.
Ideally, I would have loved to make it for AGA Amigas, but, instead, the target platform I chose was... Windows (!) Last week, I thought I could make it available for AmigaOS 4, too. So, I ported it and on friday I made an AmigaOS 4 build publicly available.
More about the platforms later: let's look at the game itself, first.

Blastaway will be (hopefully) a highly playable and entertaining arena shooter, gameplay-wise heavily and shamelessly inspired by Wizard of Wor and graphically somewhat inspired by The Chaos Engine.
Looking at the latest video preview will let you immediately understand what it is all about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILtA75f4GtQ
You can try the game yourself anytime by downloading the latest build from the game's page (it will redirect you to https://retream.itch.io/blastaway, as itch.io is where I'm currently keeping all of my games).

At the moment there is only 1 stage (i.e. world) with its 10 arenas (i.e. levels), but the final game is planned to have 5 stages, for a total of 50 arenas. I have a few more points in my to-do list, but the core of the game is complete.
I'm releasing new builds frequently, so, if you're interested, keep an eye on the page and/or follow the public devlog on the same page or Twitter, LinkedIn, Patreon, TIGForums, YouTube. Whenever possible, I'll provide updates also in this thread.

Now back to the target platforms. There's a long story behind, and I'm going to be totally open about it. I'll try to keep it as short as possible, but still it will unavoidably turn out lengthy. Please bear with me.

I wrote that, ideally, I'd be making Blastaway for AGA Amigas: in fact, that would be the most self-rewarding experience, as I just adore programming the oldschool systems of my childhood/youth - the Amiga and the C64 - and doing that the oldschool way (i.e. direct hardware hitting). Moreover, I've developed a lot on the Amiga, but I have released too little, so my urge to make games for it is boosted further by the motivation of making more stuff of mine available for that machine. And then, I have a number of projects/engines waiting to be used, and I'm really afraid that I'll never have time to do anything with them. Those are the reasons that, less than two years ago, pushed me to return, after years of work on PC (in a general sense) and C64 games, to the classic Amiga and make SkillGrid.
Thus, the fact that I chose to target Windows is quite surprising, isn't it? And there's also another surprising aspect: while my other games are designed to bring innovation, be unlike anything else, and be based on rich and unusual mechanics (that often require massive and detailed manuals), Blastaway is familiar and straightforward, and I'm trying hard to refrain from adding the many gameplay features that my thirst for originality and depth suggests.
The reason for such a sharp (and tormented) turn is simple: I needed to reach the widest audience possible. I've been making anti-mainstream games, some of which for niche platforms (you know which), for a long time, but now I'm in a situation where I really needed to reach lots of people. So, I decided to go more mainstream. Sure, I'd better make real mainstream games, but my heart isn't there and I can't program a single line of code without heart (which is also why I'm not a developer by trade); also, I'm good only at making oldschool games, so Blastaway just had to be retro. Of course, this automatically means reducing the potential audience, but - hey - there are limits to what I can do. Also, the same limits are what rule out mobile platforms and consoles: I just can't find the words to explain how sick I feel at having to learn other platforms/systems/languages; I'm no geek, I'm not interested in technology per se, and I just feel like going crazy when working on systems which are alien to me (especially for projects that aren't my own). It's already a miracle I managed to build my own little, isolated world on top of C and SDL back in 2004, which is what allowed me to make games for PC like BOH, Huenison, KOG - and now Blastaway.

So, why do I need to reach a wide audience?
In the middle of 2016 I quit my job and returned to Italy to offer support to my seriously ill father and my mother. Returning to such country (and, in particular, the south part of it) automatically meant one thing: being unemployed or enslaved. I've had interviews, went through job selections, worked briefly for a certain company... all indecent, unspeakable experiences. Seeing how there's one thing that, even in this place, seemed to flourish, I decided to become a professional pizza maker. I've followed an expensive course and toured around making pizzas for about a year and a half; unfortunately, even this occupation fell in the category "slavery", so I quit. I've also written a book and looked for a publisher, but since in this rotten country publishers ask you money to publish a book (they run their companies with the authors' capital... now that's a smart business model!), I could only find a very small publisher willing to publish the book without getting paid: the book was indeed published, but the fact that the publisher was so small also meant that the book remained unknown (on top of that, I didn't get support from the people who had told me they'd help me with promoting the book). Basically, for about three years my only income was the little money that comes from my games, which is just pocket money (to give you an idea, just think that the all-time gross revenue of all my games on itch.io is a miserable $1389.84 USD). Basically, the only thing that allowed me to go on was that I was again at my parents' place: they gave me food to eat and a bed to sleep in - and, let's not forget it, the electricity to make my games.
(At least, my unemployment had the positive side of leaving me plenty of time to work on my projects: in fact, I have updated and re-released all my games, published the special physical editions of BOH and Huenison, had the heavily-expanded version of MAH published on cartridge and floppy, and even created SkillGrid from the scratch and have it published on CD and floppies.)
On May 5th a radical change happened: my father died (after years of ever-increasing physical/psychological/spiritual pain). Therefore, I could finally leave (for the third time) this devastated country and build a present and a future for myself somewhere else. Well, not really: I just couldn't leave my mother alone all of a sudden! I decided to stay a few more months so that she could deal with the loss more easily, and also to assist her with the burden of the bureaucratic matters. But then another thought came: I'd be far away just when she would need me most, that is, during the last part of her life. That will be hard for both, although she can't wait to see me begin to live again and will support any decision I'll take. I told myself: OK, for once, don't make the game you want, but the game that people want! As unlikely as it can be - who knows - maybe this time around you'll achieve a significant commercial success and be able to stay. Well aware of how nearly impossible that is, especially with an indie game of my kind, still I had a few months to give it a try: so, I (sadly) put aside my classic Amiga and C64 projects and started Blastaway. And not just that: to obtain the maximum visibility, as mentioned already, I also started keeping a frequently updated devlog, releasing pictures, videos, and builds, using the variety of channels listed above (plus Facebook, which I have recently gotten rid of due to personal data abuse). All that promotional activity requires a lot of work, which I honestly don't enjoy and I'd rather dedicate to the game itself. Finally, I never said that the game would be commercial: I haven't taken a decision yet, and actually one of the options was - and still is - that the game remains free, to really reach as many gamers as possible (in that case, what I'd earn is publicity, sales of my other games, and a chance to be noticed by some important player in the game industry).

Did I succeed? The answer is a big fat NO. In 64 days, Blastway had only 334 views and 60 downloads (and that's including multiple visits and downloads by who is somewhat interested in the game). There's only one word for this: failure.
I know it's going to be unpleasant to hear, but since I'm being 100% honest, I can't hide that such failure is the reason why the idea of making an AmigaOS 4 port came: I thought that I could get support from a small community that knows me already and that wants new software. By "support" I don't mean "sales", because, as said, the game might stay free and because the community is too small anyway, but the community might help a lot with spreading the word and attracting people outside of it, and also provide ideas regarding how to promote the game and reach others in the rest of the world.
That said, of course, giving the AmigaOS 4 community another game is an additional pleasure for me.

In conclusion: hey, I'm making a new game for AmigaOS 4, are you interested in it and would you help me let the rest of the world know about it? Please let me hear your comments and ideas, both about the game and about how to promote it, and let other people know!

Of course, you don't have to give support, nor must you necessarily like the game. If the game fails to generate enough interest in the community, I'll just acknowledge it and drop the AmigaOS 4 version.
Anyway, I'll do my best to get the game finished: it's something I personally and strongly want, even if nobody ever played it. I don't know how long it will take, and I'm afraid there will be soon major delays as I'll start looking for a job abroad at the beginning of August, but I really want to get it done (just like it happened to Huenison: I had started it when I was in Italy, then moved abroad three months later, and eventually finished and released it).

Finally, a few notes:
* I chose AmigaOS 4 because, quite simply, that's the only NG system I've ever had;
* please don't ask for ports to other systems: I can't take that burden (supporting two platforms is already demanding, and with BOH I've learned that increasing the number of supported systems beyond two is insane);
* please don't offer to make ports for other systems: also that, for several reasons, takes time and energies;
* please don't be offended if I don't answer to requests/observations about ports: I can't afford to get involved in conversations about something that isn't going to happen anyway;
* if you have a non-IT job for me in a Nordic country, please let me know!


Edited by saimo on 2019/10/19 13:15:30
Edited by saimo on 2019/11/12 17:33:44
Edited by saimo on 2019/11/18 10:16:02
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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/9/11 11:31
From Russia
Posts: 5536
Downloaded, run, just works !

Music, sound, fullscreen/window modes, all works :) Passed few levels : gameplay also good enough. Feels that there was time spend on planing.

Thanks !

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Just popping in
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2012/7/16 17:57
From Istanbul
Posts: 90
@saimo

Nice game...Runs without problems..

I will buy the full version when released..

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Just popping in
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2014/5/23 1:58
From Australia
Posts: 34
Two thumbs up Saimo :)
I hope you get more support as you definitely deserve it.

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2009/5/1 17:57
From Czech Republic
Posts: 1059
@saimo

I've bought BOH and Huenison, and I'll be happy to buy Blastaway as well. You know we OS4 people are your crowd

A few ideas how to get more publicity:

- make sure the game hits AmiStore;
- provide a review copy to Epsilon to get it published on his blog;
- provide a review copy to the Amiga Future magazine.

_________________
Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!

AmigaOne X5000 @ 2GHz / 4GB RAM / Radeon RX 560 / ESI Juli@ / AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition
SAM440ep-flex @ 667MHz / 1GB RAM / Radeon 9250 / AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition
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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
Joined:
2006/12/6 0:11
From Italy
Posts: 657
@all

Thanks for the encouragement and for having tried the game :)

I have now almost finished implementing hardware scaling (I just have to polish the code a little bit), and it works like a charm on my rusty AmigaOne XE G4 + Radeon 9000 (with software scaling and solid filter, it couldn't do more than about 16.5 FPS with resolutions that required a 4x zoom; now it achieves full speed, i.e. 50 FPS).


@Trixie

I do remember you bought the physical editions of BOH and Huenison - and you can be sure I really appreciate that ;)

Thanks for the suggestions!
Just a comment about the first one: I'm sorry, but I'm not going to put the game on AmiStore because it's a pain to have the games spread over multiple stores. In the past I had several games in multiple stores, including AmiStore, but it had become a burden and produced no significant income (and actually, in the case of Desura, IndieGameStand, and Gameolith, I even lost money, as they ran away with my earnings), so at some point I removed the games from everywhere but itch.io (a truly excellent store that gives total control to the user), with the exception of Huenison, which is available also on Steam through RGCD (it would be too much of a mess to remove it from there).

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
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2007/2/27 10:47
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Posts: 654
@saimo Candor. And heart. Tweeted about the game (yes, to a few people).

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
Joined:
2006/12/6 0:11
From Italy
Posts: 657
@Thematic

Cool, thanks a bunch :)
If I may ask, what's your Twitter user?

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
Joined:
2007/2/27 10:47
From Gravity well
Posts: 654
@saimo

<< this was taken, it's @ticthema

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
Joined:
2006/12/6 0:11
From Italy
Posts: 657
@Thematic

Thanks!
(Oh, Finland! I Happily Lived there - in Oulu - for almost two years.)

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/7/7 3:34
From Toronto, Canada
Posts: 2327
@saimo

what a great surprise Simone !!!

a BIG YES please count me in even for a phyical release as well if that happens...as you know already I'm sorry to hear about your recent struggles but keep strong and keep doing what you love and supporting your mother as much as you can

to all fellow my fellow amigans please consider donating anything you can afford to Simone's Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/RETREAM/overview




_________________
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c64-dual sids, A1000, A1200-060@50, A4000-CSMKIII
Indivision AGA & Catweasel MK4+= Amazing
! My Master Miggies-Amiga1000 & AmigaONE X1000 !
mancave-ramblings

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
Joined:
2006/12/6 0:11
From Italy
Posts: 657
@328gts

I'm deeply grateful to you for your neverending enthusiasm and support :)

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2009/5/1 17:57
From Czech Republic
Posts: 1059
@saimo

Quote:
I'm not going to put the game on AmiStore because it's a pain to have the games spread over multiple stores.

Well, nobody pushes you into anything of course! But think about AmiStore as easy publicity. It's a place where OS4 users will normally look for software, so the very minimum benefit you get is that the users become aware the game exists and can be bought. Unless having a game displayed on AmiStore actually costs you money, it can hardly be a disadvantage.

_________________
Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!

AmigaOne X5000 @ 2GHz / 4GB RAM / Radeon RX 560 / ESI Juli@ / AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition
SAM440ep-flex @ 667MHz / 1GB RAM / Radeon 9250 / AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition
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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
Joined:
2006/12/6 0:11
From Italy
Posts: 657
@trixie

Quote:
Well, nobody pushes you into anything of course!

Oh, no problem, I didn't take it that way! Clearly you just want to help and provided an idea. Even if I don't think it's a good idea, it doesn't mean I don't appreciate your effort ;)

Quote:
But think about AmiStore as easy publicity. It's a place where OS4 users will normally look for software, so the very minimum benefit you get is that the users become aware the game exists and can be bought.

The community is so small that it's easy to reach pretty much everybody even without AmiStore.

Quote:
Unless having a game displayed on AmiStore actually costs you money, it can hardly be a disadvantage.

It actually is: it takes time and energies, because it's one more channel to manage, it's one more channel to keep track of, it's a channel I don't have any control over (everything is done via email with the owners), so that I can't easily make changes/updates.
I'm just one person with limited resources, and I prefer to use those for developing rather than managing multiple pages/stores. In fact, I'm using itch.io not only as my only store, but basically also as reference website (this is why all the links on https://www.retream.com redirect to https://retream.itch.io).

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
Joined:
2006/12/6 0:11
From Italy
Posts: 657
A less traumatic start: previously, the entrance was such that the player had to enter the arena very carefully, a enemies might hide behind the arch, and only their shadows could be seen behind the entrance bars. I decided that it was a little unfair, so I have redesigned everything.
The "only" other notable change here is that the AmigaOS 4 version gets hardware-accelerated scaling. Before, the old AmigaOnes like mine (AmigaOne XE G4 @ 1 GHz + Radeon 9000) had a very hard time coping with zoom factors from 3x and above (e.g. at 4x the frame rate dropped to about 16 fps), but now the game runs constantly at full speed, no matter the zoom factor! (The second part of the video shows precisely this.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij_pGJpaNkY

CHANGELOG
* Redesigned entrance so that enemies behind it can be seen.
* Added (experimental) hardware-accelerated scaling to AmigaOS version.
* Added an arena.
* Touched up some arenas.
* Improved manual.

Latest build download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Site Builder
Joined:
2006/12/2 23:57
From Athens
Posts: 538
@saimo
Very good game and really hard, which is good. I like it a lot. The only thing that I missed is joystick support on AmigaOS 4, where I tested, or might did something wrong and didn't work for me.

Keep up the good work. I also uploaded a new item at https://amiga.gr/2019/07/925/blastaway

Hey guys, we must all support Simone on Patreon so he can continue creating great games for us.

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
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2006/12/6 0:11
From Italy
Posts: 657
@walkero

Quote:
Very good game

Thanks :)

Quote:
and really hard, which is good.

What? :o It should be almost a walk in the park (at least with the current arenas and enemies)! Maybe you still have to get used to the perspective and develop the right strategy to kill enemies.

Quote:
I like it a lot. The only thing that I missed is joystick support on AmigaOS 4, where I tested, or might did something wrong and didn't work for me.

Joystick support is in place: just make sure the device is connected before starting the game (and that the system drivers handle it correctly). I didn't try it myself on AmigaOS 4, but it works in Windows, the code is 100% the same, and, as far as I know, my other games, which are based on the same framework, use joysticks/joypads just fine.

Quote:
Keep up the good work. I also uploaded a new item at https://amiga.gr/2019/07/925/blastaway

Wonderful! It looks like I have some work for Google Translate ;)

Quote:
Hey guys, we must all support Simone on Patreon so he can continue creating great games for us.

I can't thank you enough for your great support!

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Home away from home
Joined:
2007/9/11 11:31
From Russia
Posts: 5536
@saimo
I found that i can't set window mode of a size i want, its always ends up with 1920xsomething, is it expected to be like this ?

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
Joined:
2006/12/6 0:11
From Italy
Posts: 657
@kas1e

Quote:
I found that i can't set window mode of a size i want, its always ends up with 1920xsomething, is it expected to be like this ?

Yes, the window will always be the biggest size (up to 5x) needed to fill as much as possible of the screen.
Previously, like BOH, Huenison, and KOG, Blastaway offered the option to choose the zoom factor, in both window and full screen modes, but then I replaced it with automatically calculated zoom factor to simplify things to everybody.

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Re: Blastaway, a new game for AmigaOS 4 (?)
Quite a regular
Joined:
2006/12/6 0:11
From Italy
Posts: 657
More noise! Arenas feature now some blocks that can be destroyed by shooting at them: at first, that might seem useful to wander around more easily, but, on second thought, that also makes life easier to wors! In fact, they can destroy the blocks, too...
(Note: in the future, the blast marks on the ground might: a) stay as they are; b) go; c) be extended to affect also the vertical elements like walls. Option c) is the most unlikely.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Suv1vGPjxUs

CHANGELOG
* Added destroyable blocks.
* Assigned [SPACE], [ENTER], [RETURN], [CONTROL], [SHIFT], [TAB] the shooting function.
* Touched up graphics.
* Added one arena.
* Updated/improved manual.
* Made other internal improvements/bugfixes.

Latest build download: https://www.retream.com/Blastaway

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