So a while back, AMCOG Games released their Games Development Kit to the public – allowing you to be able to make your own games written in BBC BASIC without having to worry too much about the not-so-fun aspect of game creation – libraries, sound samples, error handling etc.
The kit comes with libraries to cover core areas such as screen plotting, screen transitions, MP3 playback and audio as well as a selection of game sprites, music tracks and sound samples to get you started.
The pack is available for £14.99 from the Pling Store, let’s take a look at what you get for your cash:
- A core library to enable sprite plotting, error handling, screen transitions, MP3 playback and much more.
- A tile library to provide a general game engine for games based on tiles.
- A sound library and virtual sound chip: RDSP
- Game sprites
- Music tracks
- Sound samples
Three complete games are also chucked into the kit for good balance too, so you can use them as case studies to see how they’re written and how everything comes together, or even just use them as a template for a new game.
A look at the included games
The kit comes bundled with three games. Mutant Penguin, which is also available for free download from Amcog’s website, Cyborg which would cost you £9,99 if you got it separately, and Sparky – a basic Pacman-style game.
Mutant Penguin – Retro platformer Mutant Penguin sees you in a universe where penguins have developed the ability to wear a stylish red bow tie. The aim of the game is to guide your penguiny friend around the screen, pushing ice blocks around to kill slug-like creatures called spods.
The game is available for download for free from Amcog’s website, although the version that comes bundled with the kit does include the source code, so you can inspect and dissect to your heart’s content.
Cyborg – The game sees you, a Cyborg treasure hunter, attempting to penetrate Castle CyberDroid on your quest to thieve ancient treasures from under the noses of hordes of security robots that are teleported into nearby rooms with a view to spoiling your fun.
The game is available seperately from Amcog, but unlike Mutant Penguin, it’s quite a complex game with multiple levels and a lot of game logic, so it’s available for purchase from the Pling Store for a tenner. Check out our review of Cyborg here.
Sparky – A much simpler game compared to the other two. Sparky was written in a very short space of time, which resulted in a couple of new methods being added to the tile library. The game is essentially a reverse-Pacman, you control your character and move him around the screen avoiding the ghosts, and drop dots rather than collect them.
Sparky is currently only available as part of the kit, and is presented both as a playable game, and as a five phase case study in using the kit to develop a game.
The AMCOG Development Kit is compatible with RISC OS on modern hardware such as the Raspberry Pi, Beagleboard, Pandaboard and ARMx6. It will also run on RISC OS 4 and has been tested on RPCEmu running RISC OS 5.
It is available from !Store for £14.99, with updates for existing customers free of charge. If you’ve purchased it on CD at a show, there should be a code in the CD box that allows you to download the updated version from !Store.
In terms of whether it’s worth splashing the cash on this development kit. I’d say it’s definitely a hard offer to turn down if you’re also considering purchasing Cyborg, for a fiver more you’re getting a plethora of tools to help you create your own games in BBC BASIC. As the libraries, template sprites and sounds are already there for you – all you need to add is any additional logic or features you need – and obviously, implement your idea for your game.
August is Games Month on the RISC OS Blog, where we focus exclusively on gaming, be it reviewing new games or taking a trip down memory lane with a look at a classic title. Stay tuned for more games articles throughout August!