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As an amateur/beginner programmer and artist I want to keep things simple.

I’m trying to work out the best/simplest way to design tile & sprite graphics, audio and write the game engine/code.

I can use a paint program (e.g. GraphicsGale) to design the graphics then manually convert data into code for X16.

That might be interesting to do but might be time consuming as I’m estimating a total of 6,000 8x8 or equivalent tiles & sprite animations. (Not all loaded at the same time obviously, but total for all unique levels/tracks).

The tiles are going to be about a third of that or 2,000 8x8 unique tiles.

Is there a simple program for designing tile & sprite data that can then convert to an X16 data file?

Or is doing it manually going to be as easy and ‘fun’?

For game engine/code I’ll probably use notepad to start with to keep it simple.

For audio, I have no idea what software to use. I’m going to try to use the YM2151 to make some nice music and the VERA for sound effects.

So, what ‘simple’ programs can you recommend for designing art assets, music and programming the game engine?

Edited by Fenner Machine
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I'd recommend looking around and trying out different things and see what you like, there are many free tools, and a lot of paid tools have free evaluation versions.  Some tools are even totally browser based.

"Simple" is a very subjective term, I think to do any of the things you outlined, there is going to be some learning curve to the tools.  As far as text editors for coding, if you're talking about regular Notepad on windows, I'd say that's probably *too* simple.  I've used Atom a little bit, it's not bad, and I see Notepad++ mentioned very often as a great code editor.  I'm currently using Visual Studio Code, which is MIcrosoft's "lightweight" code editor, compared to the full IDE of Visual Studio.

Hope that helps.

 

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On 2/7/2021 at 8:03 PM, Fenner Machine said:

As an amateur/beginner programmer and artist I want to keep things simple.

I’m trying to work out the best/simplest way to design tile & sprite graphics, audio and write the game engine/code.

I can use a paint program (e.g. GraphicsGale) to design the graphics then manually convert data into code for X16.

That might be interesting to do but might be time consuming as I’m estimating a total of 6,000 8x8 or equivalent tiles & sprite animations. (Not all loaded at the same time obviously, but total for all unique levels/tracks).

The tiles are going to be about a third of that or 2,000 8x8 unique tiles.

Is there a simple program for designing tile & sprite data that can then convert to an X16 data file?

Or is doing it manually going to be as easy and ‘fun’?

For game engine/code I’ll probably use notepad to start with to keep it simple.

For audio, I have no idea what software to use. I’m going to try to use the YM2151 to make some nice music and the VERA for sound effects.

So, what ‘simple’ programs can you recommend for designing art assets, music and programming the game engine?

You can also use VERA for percussion samples.

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35 minutes ago, xanthrou said:

You can also use VERA for percussion samples.

And it's appealing to look for sound effects that can be done with the FM chip, since as far as I understand ITS channels have ADSR, which substantially reduces the background processing workload for sound effects.

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16 minutes ago, BruceMcF said:

And it's appealing to look for sound effects that can be done with the FM chip, since as far as I understand ITS channels have ADSR, which substantially reduces the background processing workload for sound effects.

I made all the sound effects for Chase Vault using the YM2151, as that was all that was available when I wrote it. While it may be more difficult to work with than PSG, it is by far the most memory efficient, as I was able to express each sound effect in fewer than 200 bytes, and most of them much smaller. For example, the little "ding" for taking each pellet is only 6 FM instructions, which is 12 bytes.

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I would recommend using Visual Studio Code. Yes, it is supposed to be "lightweight", and there is a huge library for supported languages. I am using it with a CC65 addon, and I am enjoying life with it 🙂

About graphics creation: What came to my mind is this. It's note exactly what you are looking for, but close 🙂

And ... as it seems you consider yourself rather an artist than a coder, and I don't know what you have in mind for a game, maybe you want to have a look at this:

 

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Thanks all for the recommendations.

Just to clarify I am a beginner at all aspects of making a game: programming, art and audio.

I was thinking of using Notepad for Basic coding, but I will try Notepad++ and Visual Studio Code.

They will be handy when I try to optimise using assembly code.

Pyxel Edit looks like a useful program. Also Tiled Map Editor sounds like it might be worth a try.

Aseprite might do for all graphics needs, tiles and sprites.

I’ll try them all out.

I’m working on a pseudo 3d driving game:

 

Just in the planning stage at the moment with some basic concept/placeholder art (not the pictures posted August 04th. I've done some 'slighter' better stuff since).

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I use the Atom editor, it has syntax highlighting, is multiplatform and has github integration.

In order to convert images to binary, I have created https://cx16.dk/piskelc2bin/ and https://cx16.dk/png2bin/

I startet out using http://piskelapp.com/p/create but don't do much graphics. As you might gather, I like my online tools 🙂

Just wish there would be an online IDE with emulator- and github-integration and maybe even online compiler that was not dependent on locally installed software.

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Asking this question in off-topic.

Also planning on rearranging my room to make various projects easier.

Currently have my TV and PC about 8 feet away, keyboard and mouse in a very unergonomic position, a 2 seater sofa, and a small table that is too low for working on.

The TV and PC can stay where they are as there is other equipment I would need to move too, and the TV is a nice distance.

So I need a work desk for various purposes that can be moved (only moved from a side to the centre of the same room), so not a large, heavy, permanent fixed office desk.

Used for study, music theory, programming, art and others related things.

So something that would work for drawing & writing, keyboard & mouse, iPad, second computer screen, and maybe a few other bits and bobs.

Would a gaming desk and chair work as an all-in-one solution?

Edited by Fenner Machine
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On 2/11/2021 at 8:40 PM, SlithyMatt said:

For example, the little "ding" for taking each pellet is only 6 FM instructions, which is 12 bytes.

I was impressed with Chase Vault and its use of YM2151 for sounds, but this I did not know. Wow! )

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Ou HS jazz ensemble in the late 70s had a Yamaha electric piano, and one thing you can do with an FM synth is electric piano ... with five channels ... three for three finger chords, and two for the melody line (so the decay can overlap), you can do a quite nice ragtime tune.

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Thanks all for the recommendations.

Just to clarify I am a beginner at all aspects of making a game: programming, art and audio.

I was thinking of using Notepad for Basic coding, but I will try Notepad++ and Visual Studio Code.

They will be handy when I try to optimise using assembly code.

Pyxel Edit looks like a useful program. Also Tiled Map Editor sounds like it might be worth a try.

Aseprite might do for all graphics needs, tiles and sprites.

I’ll try them all out.

I’m working on a pseudo 3d driving game:

 

Just in the planning stage at the moment with some basic concept/placeholder art (not the pictures posted August 04th. I've done some 'slighter' better stuff since).


I have found PyxelEdit very useful. You can draw you tiles and simultaneously arrange them in tilemaps to see how they work together. It have some bugs though. Tiled is the best program I know for drawing tilemaps. I have made an extension that exports the maps in the binary format that the X16 uses. I have made a small tool for converting tilemaps made with PyxelEdit as well but that is a separate program because PyxelEdit does not support extensions. You can find them under “Development Tools” in the download section.
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I highly recommend Visual Studio Code, it has a fabulous support base, an incredible amount of add-ons and has proven to be a solid performer. I normally code .Net applications and for that I use the full blown Visual Studio, but for everything else from Assembly to Typescript to even C++ I use VSC. It also has a CC65 plug in, so you can setup it up to compile assembly right from the IDE...

 

-Paul-

Edited by DeathSprockett
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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, Fenner Machine said:

Would a Yamaha Reface CS be good for experimenting with?

Would its sounds translate well to a YM2151?

I think VOPM is easier to play with than Deflemask if you're just looking to doodle around with instrument settings to see what sounds good. If you already have a DAW setup, you could put a VOPM plugin into it, set up some basic test sequence and start monkeying with sliders and knobs and checkboxes.

The one thing that Deflemask really makes hard to noodle around with IMO is the noise waveform functionality on OP31 - its "pitch" is not controlled by the note value but a separate register on the chip, which you can set in Deflemask using an effect, but it's far from ideal IMO.

Deflemask is great, and I love it, but its instrument editor I find a bit on the clunky side. I was hanging out in their Discord a couple of weeks ago, and the devs were there, and they let it "slip" that a new version is nearing release, and it's going to support Linux x64 natively, and that the UI has been overhauled. I'm pretty excited to see that. I should go donate to their Patreon or Paypal or whatever their tip jar is....

But I agree with @SlithyMatt - using Deflemask is probably the best tool to make actual music that you can get into your program because you can export your tunes as VGM, which is a fairly straightforward format to play back on the X16. The simplest thing to do would be to write a python script or something that takes a VGM and strips it down to just a stream of YM messages and pause values. (That's how Id software's AdLib music routine works, for instance). Then the music playback routine will be as fast as possible in your game.

Edited by ZeroByte
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