Memento Mori is a stunning Commodore 64 demo released by Genesis Project that won first place at the Function 2020 demo party recently. The picture above was shared by Raistlin/G*P on Twitter saying:
Razorback delivered this stunning piece for Memento Mori. This is a 408 pixel wide multicolour bitmap that we scrolled, right through the side borders, at 25fps, streaming from disk as we went. A world first on C64 🙂
This is a game I’d forgotten about until recently when I saw someone playing it on Twitch. Solar Jetman came out on the NES in 1991, and conversions were made for the C64, Speccy, Amiga and Atari ST. Unfortunately due to poor sales of the NES original the conversions were never released.
Luckily the team at Games That Weren’t were contacted by Martin Holland, someone who knew about the game’s development.
GTW got to work and began to search for this elusive conversion, and started with Haydn Dalton, who sadly could not find anything of the game after some searching. Two years later, and a month or two after the site relaunch, efforts were made to find the game’s programmer, John Buckley as a last ditch effort. After tracing John down to PlaypoolUK, GTW got the news it dreaded.. John hadn’t got any of his old disks no longer… But a week or two after almost giving up hope of finding the game, Haydn Dalton was one day searching through some things at home, when he stumbled upon a disk with the label missing. The label was in there too, and stated “Solar Jetman Disk 1”, and after a bit more digging, Haydn found the second disk.
The game itself is like Thrust or Lunar Lander, but it came later and is much better than both! Controls are easier and enemies are more varied so if you liked those games you need to try Solar Jetman.
The conversion is missing a few things present in the NES version, and apparently the maps are a little cut down from the original. I need to download the NES version and give it a spin too!
What do you see when the game ends? Vinny has the answer and posted it on the (old) C64 Game Endings site here.
I discovered an interview with John Buckley, the developer who worked on the C64 version.
What were your first and last ever productions on the C64? The first thing I did on the C64 was called Jeep Command. I did this in my spare time including the graphics and sound FX. If you have seen it, you will know I ain’t no artist! I sent it off to Bug Byte I think, and they put some music on it and shipped it out. The last thing I did was Solar Jetman, which never got released… until now.
Out of all the games you have worked on, which were you most proud and disappointed with? I can’t say I am disappointed with anything I worked on. Most of them were conversions, some I wish I hadn’t of worked on but such is life. I liked working on Solar Jetman on the C64 but overall I am most proud of PLOK on the SNES.
Going through some of my old C64 discs and I found a bunch of “work in progress” demo parts and routines I was playing with.
Back then I didn’t know about revision control but it was a pleasure to find these bits and pieces of code that I had completely forgotten about. Here’s a few screenshots from Vice, but it’s shocking the difference between Vice and real hardware. The cascading Ozone logo is very pale compared to what I see on another screen. Could it be the screen? Or is it the emulator?
These were found on disc 23, side 1. All those discs are littered with small files, chunks of code that I was working on before throwing them together in the Action Replay monitor.
Kids these days are spoiled with their fancy editors. 🙂
In the bad old days of the 80s and 90s computers weren’t as fast as they are now. You had to fill ’em up with leaded fuel and they were noisy and hot and you had to keep the windows open to let the fumes out.
Well, maybe not. They weren’t as fast as the handheld machines in our pockets now but I’ll bet that a larger percentage of users back then at least tried to code something. People had to because it wasn’t always easy to get games. You had to go down the shops and get out of the house to buy any new software! You had to open the manual to find out how to load anything!
So it was that I figured out that I’d rather be coding than playing games, and with the purchase of a book on assembly (that has sadly gone missing in the last year) I got busy and created a bunch of demos on the C64.
I wish I’d had this video to watch when I was starting out! If you’ve done any sort of assembly programming it won’t be anything new but it’s presented in an easy to understand manner and is worth watching if you’re at all curious about how computers work because a lot of the terminology is going to apply to other systems too.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest of this series. I want to get back to doing some assembly programming. There’s plenty of documentation out there but it’s a matter of finding the time and energy to do it.
So, apparently this is the first demo by this developer and it’s amazing. Hell of a fire effect.
I discovered this while testing the SD2IEC on my C64. Assembly64 has a “One File Top 200” directory that I was working on because the disk images have characters the filebrowser has trouble with. This small bit of bash shell script will sanitise it before viewing on a C64:
for i in *
mv -v "$i" "echo $i|cut -c13-|tr '[:upper:]' '[:lower:]'|tr -cd ' a-z0-9'"
It changes the filenames to lowercase and then removes anything but a-z, 0-9 and space and also cuts out the first 13 characters . There are still a few shortened filenames but it looks much better now.
Edit on July 8th, 2019: The SD2IEC is slow when there are lots of files in a directory, plus the directory contained other directories so I decided to move everything into directories named after the first letter of each directory with this code:
for i in *
new_dir=echo "$i"|cut -b 1
mkdir -p ../1/$new_dir
cp -v "$i"/* ../1/$new_dir/
Everything’s in sub directories of a new directory called “1”. There are multiple demos in each directory but not enough that it’s too slow. 🙂
I figured out how to play Sam’s Journey on the Commodore 64 using two fire buttons! One as a normal fire button and another for jumping.
C64 joysticks only have one fire button so jumping up in platform games requires you press up on the joystick. Back in the day we knew no better and did our best using the directional movements. It’s not very precise as it’s easy to slip into left and right too. Pressing a second button to jump was a luxury NES owners had! C64GS owners had a joystick with 2 separate fire buttons but I think there was only ever one game that took advantage of that feature.
Unfortunately you’ll have to use the Vice C64 emulator, Virtual C64, or another C64 emulator that allows you to map keys to joystick actions.
First of all, open the joystick settings in Vice. Here’s the one from version 3.1.
Assign a keyset to joystick 2. I used the keys T, G, “,” and “.” and the right CTRL to fire. Sam’s Journey actually plays reasonably well using those keys if you don’t want to go any further.
However, if you want to use a controller you’ll need another program to map those keys to controller actions. On MacOS I found Enjoyable, a free application that allows you to map controller buttons and other inputs to keyboard keys or mouse movements.
I simply assigned left, right and down on the d-pad to the correct keys, and then two fire buttons to CTRL (fire) and T (up) respectively and it worked!
The game is definitely more enjoyable but it’s just as hard as before. I could have sworn I ran out of lives in the past to be thrown back to the start of the level. Now I kept getting put back at the last checkpoint, which is an improvement I have to admit as I died quite often. 🙂
This is just amazing. All done on a lowly C64 by Censor Design and Fairlight. Grab the demo from csdb. Unfortunately it doesn’t work in the SD2IEC because it has a fastloader. I should buy an Ultimate II+ or Ultimate 64 shouldn’t I?
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