Up in the air

TND Games

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Up In The Air was to be a game similiar to Sub Hunter by the same coder Richard Bayliss, with graphics and game concept by Wayne Womersley. Think Sub Hunter in a different direction and in the air with a plane as the main sprite. Development was started in February 2009 by the group and got off to the positive start.

The game originally started as a shoot em up concept in the sideways Shoot Em Up Construction Kit by Wayne. The concept showed a toy aeroplane which has to blast different types of enemies on each level and then fly over baloons to burst a particular amount per level. The balloon part was inspired by Kikstart on the C16.

Richard picked up the game and got to work moving the concept outside of SEUCK and into a game coded from scratch. The idea would switch to a different direction of scrolling and feature end of level baddies and bonuses.

Development got fairly far over the space of just over 3 years, with a large number of levels completed, each with an end of level bad guy. Unfortunately as things progressed, inspiration for completing the game became difficult and trying to fix some of the issues with the game.

Too many graphics to cram in, less room to try and improve some of the game play issues – all of this coupled with general demotivation to complete the game meant that in May 2013, the game was officially cancelled. Richard is planning to move onto other projects for Psytronik. Unfortunately sometimes it does just happen for some games – that the developer can lose interest and motivation and decide to move on. Sometimes its for the best, and Richard has certainly done this a few times as you can see from the archive (and unsurprisingly given the sheer output that Richard has on the C64 scene).

Richard has now decided to release all of the workdisks from the game, as well as last build of the game with approximately 9 levels for you to check out for yourself.

We have also added Richard’s own words on the game and also PDF’d all of the diary pages from the TND website for posterity. Check it out!

Case closed!

Supporting content

Although I have left this project for about a year or so. I have decided to cancel the entire project. The concept was basically meant to have been
another Sub Hunter, but with 1985 style graphics and based in the air. The game really had me stressed out – fitting everything, due to so much graphics and leaving me less room for code and data. I know Wayne mentioned about use of Multi Load, but I couldn’t see the point with this. The plan was to make it a single load game. Sadly the game didn’t turn out well as we were hoping. Everything was just a complete mess.

Wayne’s original plan was to create a game similar to Sub Hunter, which used his graphics, and make UITA as a commercial release. When I visited RetroVision 2011, and talked about UITA. There was some negative feedback about working on the game. Due to the graphics. I also received too many work disks, crammed with the Graphics editor, by Firebird Software. Practically everything was frozen with an Action Replay cartridge. Each screen looked incorrect. Since I had to keep updating the graphics and recapture each level screen from SCREEN RAM and COLOUR RAM manually. The way I captured each screen was by use of the Action Replay M/C monitor and program an extra hack/routine, which copied from $0400-$07e8 to a spare location, and $D800-$DBE8 to the spare location + $0400. I compressed it all as well.

Overall conclusion:

Too many graphics, less room for code. Lack of motivation to continue this project. All in all, cancelled. In 2012, I knew this project was going to go downhill, after showing the previews to some C64 programmers and enthusiasts. No publisher, apart from one wanted this game, but I felt so fed up with the project. I had frozen it, until I finally pulled the plug on the nightmarish game project completely in May 2013. Mainly because I felt that it wasn’t worth working on this game no more. Also because of the constant stress I had with it in general – and I don’t wish to return to that stress.

Wayne and I are happy to share what remains of the game, including some extra assets, including some SEUCK demos of enemy attack formations, a few unreleased SEUCK games by Wayne, which was created specially for the UITA disk (Now compressed and added to the UITA Preview disk). I also added an old version of the Up in the Air music. Which I composed using EMS V7.03, beware. Near to the end of the in game music, some strange behaviour occurs where the music went out of sync. I suspect that is the reason for why I used Goat Tracker instead.

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