Friday, 22 April 2016

Backbone prototype demo released!

Dear fans of Chaos Guns,
while we are polishing and improving our demo in GGC engine, we decided to release Tsak's Chaos Guns prototype Backbone demo just to get a sneak peak on our new work. This prototype doesn't represent final product in terms of performance or content.

It comes in 3 versions (A,B and C) depending on the size of the viewscreen (version A has the biggest screen size).

Get the full pack here (all 3 versions included).

Or you can download individual versions here:
Version A
Version B
Version C

Extract the contents of the *.lha archive at your hard-drive. You'll need nearly 12 MB free for the whole pack or 4 MB for each version individually.

Minimum requirements:
A1200 + 030 + 4 MB FAST + HDD

A1200 + 040 + 4 MB FAST + HDD
UAE 020 and up with "fastest possible" option enabled (if you have a fast system, to avoid unwanted "speedups" use "JIT" disabled, "more compatible" option enabled and no FPU).

Note: These requirements are quite high due to Backbone itself, we would like to assure you, that GGC engine is far less demanding, more like original Alien Breed with extra RAM usage.

You can play with joystick, keyboard or cd32 joypad!

Let us know your opinion!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Shooting galery (UPDATE)

Just a sample of what Tsak is working on... I guess no more comment is required ;).

Monday, 7 December 2015

One year older

Dear Chaos Guns friends,

A year has passed since this blog has gone silent. One year with no news, no posts yet countless hours of hard work at the backstage for our team!
So, in case you are still wondering: No, we're not dead. We were not sleeping.
In fact development is on-going and the machines are working 24/7 back at Chaos Guns HQ!

However it's been a rollercoaster ride for us and a LOT of things have changed ever since.
Let me start with a summary:

First iteration of the game's engine was written by MarK and from the very beginning it meant to be something that the Amiga platform had never seen before. Open world support, huge maps directly imported from Google Maps, 4 player independent multiplayer action, true shadows and light conditions as well as a fully functional inventory and items management system were key factors in the design. Following the release of our first Amiga demo, back at June-July of 2014, MarK left the team due personal reasons, leaving the engine in unoptimized state (even on a 060 performance was about 10 fps only) that rendered any further development impossible. If we wanted to continue we either had to find someone to pick up MarK's work from where he left it or start from scratch.

At Summer of 2014, a small campaign was initiated to find support within the community but it soon turned out to be a wild goose chase. MarK's engine, written in his own language (PowerD, a derivative of AmigaE) was a huge barrier for anyone brave enough to dig deep into it. I met quite a lot of great folks on the net, but none of them was willing to really pickup it up (which is totally understandable). About that time, Dalibor Javorcek from Slovakia also came forward and invested some time on a new promising engine, done primarily as an experiment. But other than being a useful exercise this effort also failed to provide the needed solution as well.

In the mean time, Tsak had just begun working on a new prototype using Game Maker on PC. With the Amiga coder search being at a dead end, a fresh start was needed and Game Maker seemed like a solution that had the necessary potential. New platform, new goals and a brand new design: Having the experience from the previous demo we sat down and did an overall evaluation of all the pros and cons of the old build which resulted in quite a few changes. Multiplayer theme (primarily due to it's complexity in any platform) had to go and the action was focused on single player gameplay. At the same time an important aspect that was currently left incomplete - the combat, shooting and melee mechanics- was redesigned and character control was simplified. Lastly a new plan for the AI was formed as well as various other details and feats that were missing from the original plan.

With the basic Game Maker prototype functions ready, it was obvious that someone more experienced was needed to help us finalize it. So at November of 2014 we invited Game Maker expert Shaun O'Reilly from USA to join us. With him on board, development continued smoothly for the next 6-7 months. We didn't really published anything regarding this version but the results were surprisingly good! A weapon showcase was created, including rapid fire machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles and amazing, combo based sword fight, as well as enemy attacks, advanced AI that included seeing and hearing, a sneak system, running ability and much much more. Eventually, at June of 2015 Shaun was blessed with a third kid in his family, so priorities took him away from the project, leaving us -once again- in limbo...

The end is the beginning: About that time, we sat down for a second round and did an evaluation of our work and the development days passed. The dream for an Amiga version was always a priority for us and even as we progressed with the Game Maker engine it was always at the back of our head to make a comeback... someday. But in order to do that, drastic changes needed to happen.

One of the weakest points of the original first Amiga engine and the overall plan was that it was simply too demanding. Use of 256 colors, shadows and a highly complex rendering system that combined multiple layers of gfx, were all aspects that caused poor performance on classic Amigas without elevating the visual outcome (f.e. the same exact result could have been achieved with less colors, no auto shadows and a tileset with pre-drawn elements). In addition to those, the development and design logic was overly ambitious from the get go, prioritizing less central feats in expense of core gameplay functionality. So, it became apparent that if we wanted this to succeed we would have to focus on the basics and build our way up, placing as a first priority the game's performance.

First stop on this new endeavor was to get the game's gfx assets in a better shape & state. Tsak started experimenting with the use of different and smaller palettes that would not exceed 32-64 colors. The experiment yielded amazing results and soon the complete gfx database was restructured and replaced outright (95% from scratch) adding a sufficient amount of new animations and fx on top!

Having the gfx ready (with it's 32 color palette that would allow us to bring the game to the larger OCS public) and a new, more compact development plan, the Amiga version was now more likely to happen, so next the team focused in finding the right person that would undertake the challenge with a new build from scratch.

At the same time several other alternative solutions were considered. One of them was to use the popular Amiga game making program, Backbone, but we needed first proof that this was -indeed- a solution that would allow us to finish the game, even if this meant to sacrifice key elements of the gameplay in favor of a more classic and basic approach. So, without a second to waste, Tsak once again found himself working on a new experimental Backbone iteration.

By August of 2015, nearly 2 months after the Backbone demo was initiated, a new event came to shake development. Jozef Tomka from Slovakia, an experienced Amiga ASM coder who was working on his own map editor and 2D engine called GGC, responded to the call! It was a question of a few mails to give his engine an actual purpose and soon, a brand new Chaos Guns chapter was about to start!

Fast forward to today: Right now after 6 months of hard work we have at our hands not 1 but 2 brand new demos!

The first is an 100% finalized demo version made with Backbone. Despite it's shortcomings and performance, this version served it's purpose, proving that a full game using Backbone IS possible. The demo itself is an amazing feat for the Backbone standards both in terms of finish and overall design and it is currently providing a structural road map for the "real deal" that follows.

The second demo, based on Jozef's GGC engine, is the current 'work in progress' and aspires to be a SUPER enhanced version. Besides it's outstanding performance this new work is already shaping up amazingly well, incorporating Backbone demo's basic elements as well as more advanced feats from our previous designs, including a new and EVEN more sophisticated weapons showcase (compared to the one we had at the Game Maker demo). And this time, back on a real Amiga, without the need of any extra processing power!

To make long story short - after a year break on the blog, we feel confident again to share some samples and news about our project, which seems now to have a great new direction! With the basic engine ready, we will once again start designing maps to tell stories about vast and distant planets. And what better time than Christmas for this to happen?

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Show must go on!

Hi guys,
just short update - we are still looking for coder, preferably for the Amiga, but we are open even for Windows developers, or GameMaker creators etc. We created too much content just to give up! Do not hesitate to contact us.
Dalibor Javorcek was able to deliver very nice alpha version of new engine, however his free time is very limited, so he couldn't join our team - which is fully understandable. At least we know, that there are ways, how to make this game running with decent framerate on real Amiga hardware. But that's not enough.
We have contacted few more guys from Amiga community via EAB forum, but no response was given yet.
In latest Amiga Future Magazine you can read nice preview from Graham Humprey.
I would like to asure you, that we are actively pursuing new opportunities, how to make this game reality.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

We've come a long way, baby

From early alpha version, we grew up to expectations and released demo (actually two demoversions, if you like). Almost after almost a year of hard work, our main and only coder MarK decided to leave the project. As he would describe it, it's his time to move forward with his own life, to be not stuck in a past. This shocking news is sad on multiple levels. First of all, Amiga community just lost a wonderful member. Secondly - we can't continue with development in current direction. As you probably know, Chaos Guns are written in PowerD language, which is quite unique and basically there are not so many human beings around, who could pick up MarK's work and continue. If this would happen to me anytime in a past, I would just simply give up.

But not this time!

There are many idioms describing, how tougher times will prove be actually an advantage for you. That which does not kill us makes us stronger. It's my motto, so it's motto of Chaos Guns as well.

Yes, we are officially looking for a new coder.
Before you send me a message "I will do it for you", allow me to update you on this on, just to give you a full picture of what we are dealing with.

Last three weeks I have spent most of my time by pursuing new programmer. I started by contacting people around Amiga E language, as this is most similar langunage to PowerD. I was really surprised, that even after that many years there are still relatively live communities and mailing lists. Via Wikipedia I have found some names - author of Amiga E - Wouter van Oorterssen. He replied, but apologies, that this is out of his scope. Similar reponses were given by Leif Salomonsson and Tomasz Wiszkowski - both gave thumbs up to our project, but unfortunately they cannot board our team due obvious reasons. I also contacted Etienne Marais, but no response so far. Nevertheless, that was just beginning.

Very usefull insight was provided by Chris Handley, who eventually recommended me to contact Samuel Crow, author of port of Total Chaos games (nice coincidence with Chaos Guns name, huh?). Discussion with Samuel was very usefull and we finally moved somewhere.

The situation is - existing PowerD code could be "somehow" translated to AmigaE, which would allow to continue with project with relatively cosmetic changes. However, to do so, it would require a real manpower, because current PowerD source code has more than 10.000 lines!

From the very beginning, Chaos Guns meant to be a project, which is created in truly indie environment. However without MarK, we must think about alternatives. Samuel had a very good point, that porting game to AmigaE would allow us to port it with ease to multiple platforms as Windows, AROS, OS4 (thanks to Chris Handley's PortablE convertor!) and probably some more. It means, that our target audience would be MUCH bigger, therefore there would be real potential to start crowdsourcing campaing, leading eventualy to rasing enough money to pay professional coder.

So that was the question, which I was facing. Is it time to move project to whole new level, which I was not originally planning?

Hell yes.

I mean - I wanted to test my own skills of managing team, developing a game. If we couldn't find any suitable Amiga coder, moving forward to IndieGoGo campaing, allowing us to bring very same game to wider audience, would be certainly a way we shall go!

Because Samuel doesn't like idea of being only coder of the project, which I fully understand and support, I'm currently still looking for more guys like him, so we can create cooperating team again and continue with working. We will surely appreciate any recommendatation on this matter.

But that's still not all.

Within Czech and Slovak Amiga community, I know a few guys, which I contacted as well. To make long story short - Dalibor Javorcek was so kind and wrote skeleton of brand new engine written in C (and assembler) language! While his engine uses chunky graphics, it is VERY smooth (20+ fps) on real Amiga 060 (and probably around 15 on 030 with extra RAM). I can't express my happiness to see this working! The engine from Dalibor doesn't support any switches or enemies (yet?), so it's very static - but it works, which proves my point - there most certainly IS a way forward.

Still - no definitive solition was find, Samuel nor Dalibor didn't signed up yet. MarK's current engine supports around 85% of wanted functionality, while being strongly unoptimised. It can do things, which were never done on the Amiga before (multiple levels at the same time and very very HUGE levels!) So AmigaE is one possibility, which would allow us to port game to "outside world". But it's a tough goal, which I cannot really comment, as I'm not a coder by myself. Having brand new engine seems to be best way to fulfill our dreams, but it's not easy task as well.

Other option would be to optimise the content of the game itself - to cut exteriors in halves (or more), to minimise interactive elements to bare bones. I mean - if anybody would be able to write engine, we should definitely discuss, what kind of sacrifices could be made! Do not hesitate to contact us via website or Google+ or EAB or email!

Still not done!

In the meantime, Tsak started to experiment with GameMaker, with imported original graphics and so far, he made impressive progrees. It's in very early stage, but our in game Drokk guy is running around and shooting. His experimenting lead me to consideration of other existing engines as well. One of the option would be BOH - which is also available on the Amiga. Other option could be to use an engine of fantastic game Teleglitch - but that would mean no Amiga version and slightly different playstyle.

Even if MarK left us, game is everything but dead. At this moment it's very hard to give you more specific updates on content, because all our focus is currently on engine and coders. I'm sure that we will succeed! Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

NEW DEMO v1.2 Released!

After collecting first feedback from EAB, PPA.PL and, we made some serious changes in our demoversion. Please, download latest release here: ChaosGunsDemoV1_2.lha (5.2 MB) (and this time virus free ;).

Fully detailed changelog would be really long, but main changes are:

- PREFS are improved and integrated to main executable, it offers more transparent settings and testing
- only AHI sound is now supported!
- new graphics, new design of puzzles (it really plays as totally new game on old, but improved map)
- improved design of weapons and enemies
- adjusted difficulty - now you should be able easily beat the demo in one person!
- complete storyboard implementation
- complete gameplay remake

If first release was more or less TECHdemo, this time it's more like a true game, we hope you will enjoy it! Unfortunately, optimalisation is still the issue, so we can only recommend to use 060 processor on real Amiga, or emulator, MorphOS, OS4 machines (and it should work on X1000, according to latest reports!). Still, we are proud of current version of the game and as always, we will surely appreciate any feedback you might give us (while we are aware of framerate issues)!

Thank you for your support!

Character's introduction - Kajatol

Today's Kajatol is considered to be an obsolete version of support android for universal usage. Basic artificial personality, installed to each unit, should helped to develop skills, virtual emotions and characteristics, requested by customer. It is quite common, that these machines were very often released to freedom by some peace activists ("they virtually think, therefore they virtually are"), however only small amount of these androids were capable of surviving in vast universe. Some of them went crazy, you might remember android version of witch hunts few decades ago. But Kajatol is slightly different. He is a lone wolf, a collector. He just loves shiny things, which he stores in old pre-war bunker on abandoned moon of Arid sun.