Chimera Mac – Remastered

Screen Shot 2012 11 25 at 19 04 00

Chimera 1.0 for the Mac and PC, almost 28 years after I wrote the original, is now available. It’s free to play. This is what modern folk call a Minimum Viable Product. It’s not a very good game, I know that, but it forms the basis for something a lot better, which will contain all the ideas I had for the sequel back in the day, plus some recent ones. You’ll like that I think. Next year.

It’s cursor keys and space bar to play. Look at older posts for debug keys if you want to mess around with it. 

I will of course update this from time to time. I have plans for more audio, skins from the other 8-bit versions and maybe some bonus stuff too. My biggest hurdle writing this again was to stick to the mission. It’s so tempting to tweak something here and add something there. I avoided that for the most part, making the bare minimum of changes, like being able to move as little as you want instead of a block at a time, like the collision system pushing you around blocks, like the improved “event handler” and more context specific terminal help text. 

Underpinning all this is the result of learning some modern C++ (I was one of the first people in the industry to learn it and to teach my team the basics of object oriented programming back in the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s, so the basics were already there). This education will stand me in good stead for future versions that will really be a lot more interesting than this retro experiment.

It has not been easy doing this, but like anything worthwhile, it wasn’t supposed to be.

I have lots of plans, 1.0 is just the beginning of my adventure, aged 46, going on 47.

Download and give me your feedback on Twitter @shahidkamal (please see links below)

Update: PC version available, quit bug fixed in both versions, links below:

Mac version: chimera-mac.zip

PC version: chimera-pc.zip

Chimera Beta (sort of)

Screen Shot 2012 11 18 at 20 39 08

Latest build of Chimera now available for Mac. Will shortly be available for PC.

Most of the sound and feedback text is now in. Instructions follow:

  • WASD or cursor keys move the player
  • Space bar for action to pick up static objects, or combine them with another static object in front of you, or to consume bread or water, or drop a missile in a blue missile room, or access the terminals (which currently don’t tell you much)
  • Arm four missiles to start the self-destruct. You then have 60 seconds to exit via the green room
  • Moving uses energy up faster. If you’re carrying something, energy gets used up even faster. If you’re pushing against a block, that uses up energy. It’s more efficient to move without bumping into blocks
  • Radiators drain your coolant, the closer you are to a radiator, the faster your coolant drains
  • Missiles drain your coolant, as does proximity to an armed missile
  • When you die, hitting the L key (lower case ‘l’) will reLoad the game

Debug mode can be entered by pressing the ‘/’ key. I recommend playing without debug, but here are the keys anyway:

  • WASD moves you a room at a time around the map, cursor keys still move player as usual
  • ‘e’ replenishes your energy, ‘c’ replenishes your coolant
  • ‘r’ resets you to the first room
  • ‘m’ gives you a missile
  • ‘t’ gives you the torch
  • ‘k’ clears your inventory
  • ‘p’ places a missile, or rather, just increases your placed missile count
What’s left?
Music
Help text on terminals
Bug-fixes, tuning and a little polish.

Get the Mac build here: chimera-mac-0.5.zip (This version should work on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and above)

Get the PC build here: (coming soon, currently a bit buggy.)

Update on PC build:

I’m hitting some issues with the PC version, primarily audio related. Theoretically, a recompile should work. In practice, I get crashes on audio playback and it might be because my version of the Cinder library is not up to date. I’ll have to look into that. Bear with me, it’s going to be a few days. The Mac version is smoother for some reason, even on slower machines. I’ll look into that.

Second Playable

Screen Shot 2012 11 11 at 20 58 10Screen Shot 2012 11 11 at 21 00 32

I promised you a second playable this Sunday, and here it is. Quite a few changes.

I recommend playing the game in normal mode, instructions are as follows:

  • Cursor keys move the player
  • Space bar for action to pick up static objects, or combine them with another static object in front of you, or to consume bread or water, or drop a missile in a blue missile room
  • Arm four missiles to start the self-destruct. You then have 60 seconds to exit via the green room
  • Moving uses energy up faster. If you’re carrying something, energy gets used up even faster. If you’re pushing against a block, that uses up energy. It’s more efficient to move without bumping into blocks
  • Radiators drain your coolant, the closer you are to a radiator, the faster your coolant drains
  • Missiles drain your coolant, as does proximity to an armed missile
  • There is no text feedback in the game yet, that’s for the next build, along with more sound and perhaps some music (next Sunday)
  • When you die, hitting the L key (lower case ‘l’) will reLoad the game

Debug mode can be entered by pressing the ‘/’ key. I recommend playing without debug, but here are the keys anyway:

  • WASD moves you a room at a time around the map
  • ‘e’ replenishes your energy, ‘c’ replenishes your coolant
  • ‘r’ resets you to the first room
  • ‘m’ gives you a missile
  • ‘t’ gives you the torch
  • ‘k’ clears your inventory
  • ‘p’ places a missile, or rather, just increases your placed missile count

I’ll do a PC build in about an hour, but for now, here is the Mac version, which this time should hopefully work on Snow Leopard (that’s OS 10.6) or above.

Here is the Mac version: chimera-mac.zip

PC version (without the trademark sampled speech and scream): chimera-pc.zip

 What’s left?

  • Text feedback (if you’re new to the game, you won’t know what’s going on, text feedback will help a bit)
    • Terminal help (similar to text feedback)
  • Title screen
  • Control screen
    • Mouse control
    • Rotational key control
  • Sound effects
    • Heartbeat
    • Pick-up
    • Combine
    • Disable
    • Self-destruct klaxon
    • Consume energy
    • Consume coolant
  • Music
    • Titles
    • Win game
  • Animations for disabling animated objects
  • Points tally at end of game
  • Energy and Coolant tuning and placement of pick-ups

It’s almost done!

Chimera on the Watara Supervision

I just came across this…

I barely remember working on this, but I do recognise the scream. It’s not mine, as on the 1985 versions, it’s unmistakably my brother’s!

The aspect ratio of the screen also offers up a much more overhead view than the first versions. It’s also a lot faster than the originals because the 6502 variant in the Supervision was clocked at around 4MHz, practically RISC like.

Below is a screenshot I found on some site. I’ve removed their attribution, because the game is my copyright, not theirs. I quite like the more overhead look. Not sure I’d use it again though.

Chimera 1992 Supervision

Chimera Font

Chimera edited font

That didn’t take so long.

If you want to have a go at editing the Chimera pixel font yourself, perhaps you might want to make lower case versions of the glyphs, I don’t know, then follow the instructions in this PDF I made with step-by-step instructions. Make the Chimera font.pdf

Here’s the text file you’ll need for the above:

{“65″:[0,0,0,0,0,112,216,460,492,444,412,396,0,0,0,0],”66″:[0,0,0,0,0,252,396,444,236,204,396,252,0,0,0,0],”67″:[0,0,0,0,0,240,408,12,12,12,396,120,0,0,0,0],”68″:[0,0,0,0,0,60,108,204,396,396,460,124,0,0,0,0],”69″:[0,0,0,0,0,252,396,124,204,12,28,508,0,0,0,0],”70″:[0,0,0,0,0,252,12,124,204,12,28,28,0,0,0,0],”71″:[0,0,0,0,0,240,408,12,492,396,204,120,0,0,0,0],”72″:[0,0,0,0,0,204,396,412,508,476,396,396,0,0,0,0],”73″:[0,0,0,0,0,480,192,96,96,192,192,480,0,0,0,0],”74″:[0,0,0,0,0,480,192,192,384,392,460,248,0,0,0,0],”75″:[0,0,0,0,0,460,108,60,28,252,396,396,0,0,0,0],”76″:[0,0,0,0,0,28,28,12,12,396,460,252,0,0,0,0],”77″:[0,0,0,0,0,396,216,508,428,396,396,396,0,0,0,0],”78″:[0,0,0,0,0,396,412,428,492,460,396,396,0,0,0,0],”79″:[0,0,0,0,0,112,216,396,396,396,396,248,0,0,0,0],”80″:[0,0,0,0,0,252,396,396,236,60,12,28,0,0,0,0],”81″:[0,0,0,0,0,112,216,396,396,428,204,440,0,0,0,0],”82″:[0,0,0,0,0,252,396,396,236,124,204,412,0,0,0,0],”83″:[0,0,0,0,0,248,396,24,240,388,396,248,0,0,0,0],”84″:[0,0,0,0,0,508,372,112,32,112,112,248,0,0,0,0],”85″:[0,0,0,0,0,216,216,476,396,396,396,248,0,0,0,0],”86″:[0,0,0,0,0,396,396,216,216,112,112,96,0,0,0,0],”87″:[0,0,0,0,0,136,396,396,428,492,508,216,0,0,0,0],”88″:[0,0,0,0,0,396,408,432,240,216,396,396,0,0,0,0],”89″:[0,0,0,0,0,408,396,396,504,384,204,248,0,0,0,0],”90″:[0,0,0,0,0,508,204,100,96,304,408,508,0,0,0,0],”48″:[0,0,0,0,0,508,396,412,444,492,460,508,0,0,0,0],”49″:[0,0,0,0,0,112,120,96,96,96,240,248,0,0,0,0],”50″:[0,0,0,0,0,508,388,384,508,12,268,508,0,0,0,0],”51″:[0,0,0,0,0,508,396,384,192,384,396,508,0,0,0,0],”52″:[0,0,0,0,0,240,248,220,204,508,192,480,0,0,0,0],”53″:[0,0,0,0,0,508,12,12,508,384,388,508,0,0,0,0],”54″:[0,0,0,0,0,508,12,12,508,396,396,508,0,0,0,0],”55″:[0,0,0,0,0,508,388,448,96,112,48,48,0,0,0,0],”56″:[0,0,0,0,0,508,396,396,248,396,396,508,0,0,0,0],”57″:[0,0,0,0,0,508,396,396,508,384,396,508,0,0,0,0],”33″:[0,0,0,0,0,96,96,48,48,0,48,48,0,0,0,0],”44″:[0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,48,48,24,0,0,0],”46″:[0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,48,48,0,0,0,0],”58″:[0,0,0,0,0,96,96,0,0,0,48,48,0,0,0,0],”169″:[0,0,0,0,0,112,136,356,276,356,136,112,0,0,0,0],”45″:[0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,248,0,0,0,0,0,0,0],”name”:”Chimera”,”copy”:”shahidkamal”,”letterspace”:”64″}

Just copy and paste the above as plain text when prompted by the PDF guide.

Commitment

Bitfontmaker2

Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Well, I’m 46, and I’m tired of just aiming. So I’m taking the shot. And I will keep taking the shot, until I’m great at shooting.

I was awake at 6:30 in time for Fajr, the dawn prayer. After the prayer, I went to my desk and got started. On a Sunday. That’s what it takes if you want to get something done. No excuses. Make hay while the sun shines. No matter how grey I think the skies are, I know that there is still sun there. So I’m making hay. If I don’t do this now, I will never do it, so I am doing it.

Right now, I’ve committed to recreating the Chimera font, so I’m literally redrawing it using BitfontMaker2.

Chimera font

When I was 16, I’d draw fonts for practice on graph paper during Chemistry lessons. (I failed Chemistry, despite being really good at it to begin with). 30 years later, and I’m drawing pixel fonts by hand again. Is that crazy? On a Sunday morning with the world asleep, is that madness? 

I could probably find some productivity solution, or do some crazy script to get everything across more automatically, but that just distracts me from ding the work and pretty soon, the whole day has gone and I’ve actually done nothing. Sooner or later you just have to do the work. I suppose it’s a bit like the generation ship problem. You know, do you send out a generation ship in the hope that the eventual descendants some way down the line will meet up with an alien civilisation, or do you wait until technology has sufficiently advanced before sending people to far away spaces far more quickly than the primitive tech you used in that generation ship you were thinking of sending a few centuries ago, and which is still ambling along in the bus lane of space somewhere? Well, I’ve decided to take the generation ship.

My dad made me read the Somerset Maugham story on the ant and the grasshopper when I was 6 years old. I’m not sure why, but I spent far too much time as a grasshopper. That’s why I don’t have any savings or a pension. So now I’m an ant, and God willing, I’m not too late.