Making the Game

Ever since I had my Vic-20, I’ve wanted to write a game of some type.  Usually is was some reproduction of an arcade game that I loved.  I learned how to create new character sets, POKE graphics on the screen, make “music”.  The problem was, it was all in basic and very slow.  I eventually moved up to the Commodore 64 in high school and continued to try making something that I felt was decent.

The problem was, I only new how to program in BASIC and it was terribly slow.  I had lots of motivation, but not a lot of know how.  Needless to say, I was disappointed with the results I was having.  I did pick up the Commodore Macro Assembly Development System (MADS) and tried to learn assembly, but it was beyond my comprehension.

I took the Commodore to college where it was my workhorse for papers.  I had two 1541 disk drives and a Seikosha SP-1000VC “Near Letter Quality” printer to print it all out.  This was about 1989 and I was ready for an upgrade.

I had saved up some money and bought myself an Amiga 500.  That was the end of my C64’s career, or so I thought.

Fast forward to 2014.  In a series of events, I came into possession of my old C64c, 1541s and printer.  All the software was gone but the computer started right up.  The tape drive even worked.  I bought some single sided, single density floppy disks and tried out the drives.  They still worked too!

Now I wanted to do something with my old friend.  I started looking online and found drive emulators that will allow me to store files on an SD card.  I found all kinds of software as .d64 disk images (including MADS).  

I decided I was going to make some kind of game in assembly and fulfill the dream 15 year old me had.

I decided I wanted to remake the lunar lander game much like the Atari arcade version.  Something relatively simple.  You have gravity, limited fuel, and mountains.  That is what this blog will be about.  It is the story of making the game.  The things I will learn building this game from scratch.

I discovered that there are modern tools out there to help you write games for the Commodore 64.  I decided, at least for this game, that I was only going to use the software tools that would have been available to me in 1985.  I will be writing this software using the Commodore Assembly Development System.  I will be writing my own tools in BASIC to create sprites and fonts, as I would have done if I were 15.

So here we go.  Hopefully there will be something playable when I’m done.

Mike

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