So as I get into the meat of this game, it’s time to set my goals. I need to put down what I hope to accomplish in this game. So, in no particular order:
Make a Lunar Lander game similar to the arcade game.
Always a goal of mine when I was trying to program games was to make it something close to what I loved to play in the arcade. That being said, the Atari game used a vector monitor that gave the screen a very specific look. I won’t be able to have that exact look, but I’ll do the best I can with the limitations of the C64.
Make it look dated.
I am kind of going for a 1970s look. I am building a “computer-like” font and using block letters for the title. I want the title screen to look as if it’s transmitted over a 300 baud modem connect. I’m looking for a retro feel to the whole thing, you know, because all of this is old. The original Lunar Lander game was written in 1969 and one of the first computer games written.
Use the High-Resolution mode and Sprites.
I also plan to move around the graphics screen with the Vic II chip. The default location is limiting especially with the use of the 8K needed for the hi-res screen. I’ve been studying the memory map for the c64 and plan to put the graphics screen under the basic rom memory. Sprites were a no brainer. I used them in BASIC thirty years ago, I’ll use them now, in machine language.
Write the entire thing in assembly.
The goal from the beginning. I’ve always wanted to write something completely in assembly. It seemed like magic when I was a kid. This was mostly because I would enter programs into the computer from magazines and books and all I saw was a series of numbers in DATA statements. I wanted to know how it all worked. BASIC will be disabled for this game to have access to the ram underneath.
Make some sort of soundtrack.
I haven’t started to investigate this yet. I have three voices to work with, but one will be used for the sound effects. That leaves me two for the music. I used to play with Craig Chamberlain’s Sid Player back in the day, but never programmed my own player.
Do it all on my Commodore 64.
I know there are modern tools out there to program and test programs for the Commodore 64. This first game (if I do more than 1) I want to do entirely on the 64. I suppose to say that I did. To show 15 year old me I could. I’m not really sure of the reason, but I think there is going to be a bit more satisfaction if I do this on the tools of the time.
So there it is. What I hope to accomplish. I will be documenting what I’ve done and learned along the way.