Saturday, 30 July 2016

Clearing the Decks

It's been a funny few months, with a slew of new releases lined up for the Frog.

We'll be putting Deus Ex Machina and Slightly Magic on Steam, in their almost certainly final versions. Deus is down for 30th September release, and I'm toying with the idea of releasing Slightly Magic the same day, which happens to be my birthday.

I'd go so far as to say that both games are now the definitive versions, and that my two years or so programming them have mainly been well spent. They're both important games in my opinion, and it'll be a weight of my shoulders to see them given a proper release on PC, Mac and Linux.

There are another couple of surprises for Slightly Magic, but I'm still sworn to secrecy on that front. I thought I'd just write a few things about this final Legacy edition, while it's still fresh in my mind.

When I got Slightly back, me initial reaction was to sit down and take a good look at the game to see how the old fella looked. It had been 20 years or so since I'd played the game, and monitors have improved dramatically. I was shocked at how good the graphics looked, at least to me. Yes, they were retro, but because the game came in at the later end of the 8-bit machines' lifetime they still seem to hold up quite nicely. Chris Graham did a fantastic job, and to be honest I really wanted more people to see the game.

I thought the natural thing to do was to reprogram the game, clean up the original, remove a few machine-specific quirks and let others be the judge. Which is where we seem to be now.

Playing the final game yesterday afternoon, I realised just what I'd done - this game is better than the original. Yes, I dare to say, free from any nostalgia-tinted spectacles this is the version I'd want people to play - the PC, Mac & Linux Legacy Edition.

Why would that be, you might ask. The graphics, for one, don't flicker in play. Not just the Spectrum attribute-clash flicker, but flickers on screen redraws and speech and menu popups. Plus I do like the new in-game commentary option, because I'll never have the chance to do that again for the game.

Oh, and the save game, gamepad mapping and audio extras add a certain polish, which I think players of the original would have appreciated. Fast loading, crisp graphics and audio, and the experience of playing on a large tv with a wireless gamepad make for a very rewarding experience.

What next, after September, you might ask? Well I'll be running a Kickstarter starting August 15th, for a brand-new game featuring Slightly. More news on that very soon. It's a whole new format and a whole new style, but I'm hoping to carry Slightly's legacy forward.

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