Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

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Samwise
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Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby Samwise » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:51 am

Hi, fellow StairwayToHell forum dwellers!

At the start of last year, you may remember the launch announcement of a sister-site to STH - the publishing label Retro Software, which has been setup to foster development of retro titles, provide useful tools and docs and, eventually, to publish them.

Well, it's been a busy time since then - we've seen a turnover of a number of retro projects. Some never made it past the screenshot phase, a few others have stalled but a selection have reached the playable demo stage and, finally, one has reached the goal of becoming our first commercial release!

It's taken a lot of work to get to this stage, the RS website and community have been steadily growing in 2008, due heavily to the Retro Software contributors, many sourced from these very forums. The RS wiki is becoming a formidable Acorn developer's resource and the forum over there remains a great place to talk at the most detailed technical levels. Behind the scenes, STH and RS founder member DaveM has been investing time, energy and not an insignificant amount of his own cash into building up our physical publishing label.

The results were available, for the first time, for sale at the recent Retro Computer Museum Open Day, where Zap! was officially launched for the BBC B/B+/Master and Master Compact.

You'll find some pics of the first cassettes and discs up at the Zap! page: http://www.retrosoftware.co.uk/zap

We're still working on a more permanent web home but, for now, you can order your own copies of Zap! through eBay, in the following formats:

- BBC Micro Cassette (£1.95)
- BBC Micro 5.25” Disc (£2.95)
- BBC Master Compact 3.5” Disc (£2.95)

An SSD version for emulator users will be available soon (on CD-ROM) priced at £1.95.

If you'd rather not sign up for an eBay account, you can also PM DaveM/Arcadian via the Retro Software or STH forum for details on how to purchase the game directly.

We hope you'll take a look at the Zap! homepage and consider placing an order to encourage all of our hobbyist developers to stick through to the end of their projects. Even if shoot-'em-ups aren't generally your thing, Zap! is actually a remarkably good one for the beeb and is a worthy addition to any collection. It'll be worth a fortune on eBay in about five year's time. :D

Remember, Retro Software is wholly a not-for-profit organisation and the cover price of each release is split between the cost of production, royalties to the author and, if there's anything left, into a fund for advertising Retro Software.

So there it is. Get the #1 title in the Retro Software label here ...

http://shop.ebay.co.uk/merchant/dllm

Keep an eye on http://www.retrosoftware.co.uk/ for further titles in the future - and, please (can't stress this enough!), do leave us some feedback in the RS forums!

Many thanks,

Sam.

P.S. The Retro Software community welcomes volunteers who'd like to get their hands on early releases to do some beta playtesting ... plus, as well as needing graphic artists, musicians etc. if anyone out there is of the art persuasion, we have plenty of cover-art and poster work to do as more of the projects get closer to completion. If you're interested, head over to the forums and join in!
Last edited by Samwise on Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Announcement replaced by second title launch announcement

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techie_alison
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby techie_alison » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:03 am

Excellent work!! :D

I've bought mine.

Next I want to see Space Invaders!! :D

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LeeB
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby LeeB » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:14 am

Ah! I never thought i'd see a new software release for the beeb in 2009, let alone buy one!
Fantastic! :)

Can't wait to get my hands on it!

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Arcadian
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby Arcadian » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:35 am

Thanks Lee/Alison (and also JamesW & Francis L, who've also ordered Zap! within the last few hours) ... I'm off to do your copies right now! :D

techie_alison wrote:Next I want to see Space Invaders!! :D

Then go here! :)
www.retrosoftware.co.uk/wiki/index.php/Sparse_Invaders

"Pitfall Jones" has also added sound to Neil's latest build (here) but you'll need to run it on a Master 128 (or in Master emulation mode on BeebEm/B-Em)

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billcarr2005
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby billcarr2005 » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:53 am

Looking forward to receiving mine too! :)

Arcadian wrote:"Pitfall Jones" has also added sound to Neil's latest build (here) but you'll need to run it on a Master 128 (or in Master emulation mode on BeebEm/B-Em)


Because it's a single file game, which relocates itself when loaded, it (seemingly) works fine on a standard BBC (on BeebEM at least!)

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Arcadian
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby Arcadian » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:26 pm

Aha! Silly me ... I only skim-read the post and didn't spot the bit about the code being relocated ... :oops:

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techie_alison
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby techie_alison » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:05 am

The Space Invaders thing. I've kind of been playing it on an XBOX 360, and it's awsome!!

Now, the Beeb won't come close to that. But some of it could be possible. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYcRDC9PZEo

zedeighty
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby zedeighty » Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:10 pm

Will there ever be an Electron version of this game? Looks lovely and smooth in the video. Fast, too. I doubt that could be replicated on an unmodified Electron, though.

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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby SarahWalker » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:12 pm

The source code doesn't exist anymore, so an Electron version is very unlikely. Even if it did exist, there would be a huge number of problems to overcome to get it running _well_.

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MartinB
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby MartinB » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:16 pm

Eh? :shock:

They've lost the source code for Zap already? That's just typical.... :wink:

Martin

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retroclinic
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby retroclinic » Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:53 pm

TomWalker wrote:The source code doesn't exist anymore


I'd have to second that :shock: Eh? and add a :-k

How can you release a new game and not have the source code?

If the source has really been lost, can the author disassemble it from the code, as he would know the code best to get a version that can be re-assembled for different platforms?

Mark.

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Arcadian
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby Arcadian » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:16 pm

Aha, whilst it may be a new release, it's not a new game (see the History section of the Zap homepage for more info).

Any mods to the original game code were achieved by hacking at the binary (which I just about managed to salvage from some [very ropey] 23-year old master discs!).

Btw, we've moved 35 individual units of ZAP! so far, so major thanks to everybody off this forum who's supported us to-date! :)

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MartinB
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby MartinB » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:39 pm

Actually, I was being ironic - I have followed the Zap wiki from the beginning Image

Martin

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Arcadian
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby Arcadian » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:52 pm

I know! I was replying to Mark! Image <-- backatchya

But seriously, with regards to an Electron port: if anybody who's bought the game fancies dissassembling it and re-coding it for the Elk, feel free (though I doubt it would be as easy as I've just made it sound!).

(if anybody does take up the challenge, I'd advise you to alert me before you do any serious work on it, just in case anyone else has the same idea and we end up duplicating efforts!) #-o .

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retroclinic
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby retroclinic » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:55 pm

Ah okay, I get yer! I still thought you had the soruce though!

Still, should be a huige job to RE it in a disassembler should it? An Elk version would be a good addition.

Mark.

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Arcadian
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby Arcadian » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:13 pm

retroclinic wrote:Still, should be a huige job to RE it in a disassembler should it?

Do you mean should or shouldn't? :?:

Are you thinking of volunteering? ;)

Edit: 36 sales in total now! :D

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retroclinic
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby retroclinic » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:35 pm

Arcadian wrote:
retroclinic wrote:Still, should be a huige job to RE it in a disassembler should it?

Do you mean should or shouldn't? :?:

Are you thinking of volunteering? ;)


Hehe, yes, too many late nights are catching up on me! Shouldn't is what I meant!

I'll give it a bash, but I'm busy coding for DataCentre and other things to do too. There are several good disassemblers, as well as the one you linked to, it's then a case of going thru the code and sorting the data from the graphics, which is something the original author may be better at doing, as maybe he can remember what he put where!

Mark.

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MartinB
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby MartinB » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:40 pm

37 now - and yeah, I'm crap at games but it gives me an excuse to use these new smilies.

So, when I get my copy of Zap! I'll be Image all night long.

Martin Image

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Kecske Bak
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby Kecske Bak » Fri Jun 12, 2009 4:09 am

retroclinic wrote:it's then a case of going thru the code and sorting the data from the graphics, which is something the original author may be better at doing


That's actually not a problem as you can clearly see where the graphics data is simply by loading the game into screen memory.

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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby CMcDougall » Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:20 am

ive watched the clip on eBay link, & it looks very good! =D> better than Zalaga +Galaforce1/2

right, i want it! :P but a few Qs first.

is there any difference between the 31/2" Master -Tape -51/4" Disc??
ie, if i bought the 'master' version on 31/2" for my beeb, would it still work ok?

or does the Master version use sideways ram? if so, can i change the loader (like i did with CrazeeRider/HoledOut) so that it works fine with my 128k Watford swram board?
do i still add £1.50 for post if not ordered on eBay? as this would also save ebay/paypal fees! :twisted:
and when i buy today, do i get a .ssd image emailed/PMd, so i can play it before the specky post man brings it =P~
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Arcadian
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby Arcadian » Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:33 am

CMcDougall wrote:right, i want it! :P

Good man!

CMcDougall wrote:is there any difference between the 31/2" Master -Tape -51/4" Disc?? ie, if i bought the 'master' version on 31/2" for my beeb, would it still work ok?

BBC 5.25 DFS and Master Compact 3.5 ADFS are identical (no use of sw/ram in either case) though the cassette version features an alternate Retro Software Intro Loader, a Mode 5 (as opposed to Mode 2) Loading Screen, and the Mode 7 'Zap! is Loading' splash is omitted.

The Master Compact version is ADFS. As PAGE is normally pushed up to &1F00 on Model B's w/ ADFS, I can't guarantee that the ADFS version will work on a Model B (whereas on the BBC Master Series, PAGE is &E00 in ADFS mode).

CMcDougall wrote:do i still add £1.50 for post if not ordered on eBay?

Yes (for the first item), plus 50p each additional.

e.g. for a disc and tape: £6.90 to dllm@usa.net via Paypal (£2.95+£1.95+£1.50+£0.50)

CMcDougall wrote:do i get a .ssd image emailed/PMd, so i can play it before the post man bring it

As you sorted me out with those MMC cards, sure! :)

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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby CMcDougall » Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:09 am

^^ you forgot 'specky' before post man in quote [-X :lol: :lol:

Thanks for the info, so ive ordered the 51/4" DFS, as ADFS sucks eggs :twisted: . Maybe should sell 31/2" DFS beeb versions too \:D/
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Arcadian
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby Arcadian » Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:30 am

CMcDougall wrote:^^ you forgot 'specky' before post man in quote [-X

That's because you edited your post after I'd begun replying!!! The 'as this would also save ebay/paypal fees!' sentence was added afterwards, too!

CMcDougall wrote:Thanks for the info, so ive ordered the 51/4" DFS, as ADFS sucks eggs :twisted: . Maybe should sell 31/2" DFS beeb versions too \:D/

Thanks, you have copy #0021. :)

Had thought about doing 3.5" DFS versions, but decided to stick with what would have been issued 'BITD' i.e. BBC Tape, BBC 5.25" DFS Disc, Master Compact 3.5" ADFS Disc (personally I'd prefer not to issue emulator images on cd/via email at all, but there certainly seems to be a call for them [as Samwise will testify! ;)]).

And just FYI, when we have some Electron releases ready, we'll be doing:
- Cassette
- 5.25 DFS Disc (for AP4 & Slogger Pegasus. Also SEDFS and STL DFS [if it runs with PAGE @ &1900]
- 3.5 ADFS Disc (but only if it runs on an original Plus 3 with PAGE @ &1D00)
- Emulator Image on CD.

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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby CMcDougall » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:18 am

geee, thats was quick, Thanks!! \:D/

Had a quick go 8) , and checked the files. I would put them in order of loading for discs users (defo 51/4" anyways), as it does make a difference in speed of loading and 'drive noise'.

order, ie 'sector 002 start' : - !Boot, Retro, Load, ZapScr, ZL, Zap1, ZPL, Zap2 :wink:

PS i might have time this weekend to try on my Elk with Plus3 and ACP DFS1900, with LOAD"LOAD" GOTO80 and see what happens....
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Arcadian
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby Arcadian » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:37 am

Actually I think ZPL is loaded after ZAP2, but I'll do as you suggest on future issues. Cheers.

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techie_alison
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby techie_alison » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:45 am

I've got #12. I've got #12. :P

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woody.cool
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby woody.cool » Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:09 am

I bought my copies (I got one 5.25" disk version and one casette version) at RCM.
I got #2 of each :D

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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby SarahWalker » Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:41 am

Retro Gamer #65 was just delivered by the postman, inside was a Zap review, scoring 85%! Though they seem to have messed up the screenshots a bit...

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antpotter
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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby antpotter » Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:50 am

Hi everyone.

The postie has just delivered a parcel from the super fast despatch office of Retro Software (many thanks Dave) and I'm sitting outside in the sunshine holding my brand new game and feeling strangely fine!

It took me right back to the long ago days when I would save my paper round money, swap the cash for one of my Dad's cheques, post it off and then wait and wait for the game to finally arrive.

Isn't it amazing that holding a real disc with real packaging feels a thousand times better than downloading an image file. True retro!

So thanks to everyone involved in getting this to market and I'm looking forward to loading up the game as soon as the sun goes down tonight.

Ant

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Re: Retro Software: our first release - Zap!

Postby regregex » Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:42 pm

I am now the proud owner of tape no. 10. I agree a physical copy to have and to hold is nicer. Especially for a SHMUP on tape, the loading is part of the experience! In this case I'm catching up on the games-buying I didn't get to do before!

The graphics are rich and very smooth, a lot better than I was anticipating. You do have to watch that the enemies don't get level with you as they are fond of launching sideways mines that wipe you out! After managing a high score of 894 I also spent some time making a UEF complete with instructions and inlay scan (below) for putting on my GoMMCs.

Thanks again, Dave and everyone involved!

--Greg
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