Development History

Before Christmas 1997:

My mother requests having some clones of old Atari games for their computer. Unfortunately I was unable to find an Asteroids like game. So I decided to write one as a Christmas present. Development was done under Linux using Identical Software's graphics library which I wrote some time ago. Keyboard routines were stolen from another game development project I'd started with some friends. All the routines had support for DOS in addition to Linux so no porting would be needed.

When I finally came home for Christmas break and tested the program, I found it ran too slow. I quickly got it to a reasonable speed but still not great. The game play wasn't right either making the game far too easy. Other niceties such as sound and title screen were missing due to time constraints. The images used were screen grabbed using an Atari 2600 emulator.

Version 0.1

After receiving my Net Yaroze, I decided to port the Asteroids like game so that I could quickly have something to show. My original intention was to port Identical Software's graphics library and keyboard routines. However, the program used an old version of the graphics library and in order to take advantage of the Playstation hardware the API would need to change. So I quickly hacked the asteroid code itself rather than write a new graphics library.

The first two weeks I spent modifying the sample programs from the Net Yaroze and trying what the documentation didn't make clear. These tests were done under DOS. The third week began the porting effort. For this I used Linux which made it so I couldn't try compiling but alot of worked was needed before that anyway. The porting didn't really hit full speed until that weekend when I received the members site password. I quickly found some Linux development tools and by Sunday night I was destroying rocks in space.

When I uploaded the program, I discovered I needed a new name for the beast since Asteroids was trademarked. By combining Yaroze and Asteroid, I came up with Yaroid. Also new graphics were development to replace the Atari 2600 pictures but they still remained a single solid color. The new images were designed using PO, a Linux painting program.

Version 0.2

Just before releasing 0.1, I checked out gd010.zip which is a Galaxian style game. It made me somewhat disapointed with my release but I wanted to have something to show. In order to spruce up the graphics and add a title screen, I played around with GIMP. The image you see at the top of this page is the result. No skill of mine was involved in this creation. Instead I simply used one of the scripts distributed with it. However, I needed someway to convert it to a TIM file. Since I didn't want to boot to DOS or use an emulator, I quickly wrote a converter from PCX to 8-bit TIM.

In order to enhance the asteroid images, I tried scanning in rocks but they didn't look good scaled down. After playing around with the pattern fills under GIMP, I got some reasonable 16 color rock images. This required the writing of another converter from PCX to 4-bit TIM. By adjusting the color balance with GIMP, I was able to create the color shifts. To add these palettes another utility was created to add a PCX's palette to an existing TIM. But the image didn't display right on the Net Yaroze. In order to combat this problem I wrote a collection of TIM functions to add to Identical's graphic library. At which point I found the images were fine and I had forgotten to change where things are loaded based on the new size. (Always try the simple solutions first although in this case it did have the benificial effect of making me write some generic routines.)