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Program Announcements / Quazatron Remake (Full Game)

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StevetS
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Posted: 30th Jan 2011 12:04 Edited at: 30th Jul 2011 00:18


This is a (retro)remake of a game called Quazatron which was released on the ZX Spectrum in 1986. The original was made by Steve Turner (Graftgold) and itself was a spiritual sequel to Andrew Braybrooks game Paradroid, released on the Commodore 64.

The Story
In Quazatron you have to use your droid (Klepto) to infiltrate the robot citadel of Quartech and disable each of 8 levels before they are able to use their 'Massive Beam Weapon' to destroy the Earth!

Previous attempts to infiltrate the citadel have failed, so using data retrieved from the Paradroid Combat Group, a close quarters grapple device has been developed. The Klepto unit is fitted with this device which allows it to ‘interface’ with alien droid technology and capture and use any superior parts.

The enemy droids can be destroyed by using either a projectile weapon, being rammed, or by winning a grappling duel which starts a sub game.

Parts can only be salvaged from the enemy droids by winning a grappling duel and overriding its control circuits.

As Klepto progresses through the levels, the security rating of the enemy droids increases and he’ll need increasingly powerful equipment, shields, and weapons to stay alive.

On each of the levels, the Klepto unit has been designed to be able to use localised power conduits and computer terminals to access relevant information necessary to successfully disable the Quartech Citadel.

This is the main game screen (HUD):



The game is played in the 3D window in the centre of the interface and scrolls around the player, showing only the immediate area. The horizontal bar running above the 3D screen contains ticker-tape messages for the player.

Score: Your score!

High Score: The current high score!

Item area: Shows the device currently held by Klepto (there are 5 items in the game which improve either weapon, movement or power management)

Weapon area: Shows the current weapon held by Klepto (there are 5 weapons available, each with different power output, usage and weight)

Shield/Chassis monitor: These meters show how much shield and chassis power Klepto has. Impacts with projectiles or enemy droids will wear down the shield, then once its gone, begin to damage the chassis. Falls from height directly damage the chassis. Both can be replaced by salvaging from enemy droids.

Mobile/Grapple mode: Depicts the current mode Klepto is in. Collision with a droid during grapple mode will initiate the grapple sub-game.

Timer: The timer starts counting down at the beginning of the game – Klepto has 3600 seconds (1 hour) to disable the citadel and save the Earth.

Drain/Gain meters: These depict the current balance of power supply and usage from the installed components. In this case the power (gain) balances that used (drain).

Power meter: This depicts the Klepto’s current power reserves. Firing weapons depletes power as does overloading the currently installed power unit with high drain equipment.

Data keys: This area shows which keys are held by Klepto (there are 6 spread throughout the 8 levels).


Klepto can interface with computer terminals which allow him to access mission critical information as well as upgrade his security rating (which helps increase his chances during grapple duels). The computer terminals are also used to activate the power conduits on the levels as well as shut down each level reactor once it has been purged of enemy droids. All levels must be shut down within the time limit in order to win the game and save the Earth!


Power conduits are critical to Klepto’s survival in Quartech as these are the only means of recharging his power. A great deal of the equipment Klepto can salvage will have power requirements greater than he can initially supply and a balance must be struck between Chassis Type, Drive, Power Unit, Weapon and Equipment. Note the best Power Unit in the game will not have capacity to power the best chassis, drive and weapon all at the same time and a compromise will be required.


Unlike the original Quazatron, all levels are not available at the start of the game. There are 6 keys spread across the 8 levels (and randomly assigned to droids on specific levels – so they won’t be in the same place each time, but will be on the same level!). Klepto must find at least some of the keys in order to access all levels (not all keys are required but holding them all will allow short cuts through the levels).


Teleporter pads are the means by which Klepto will move between the levels. A number of these will only be activated once the relevant key has been found and activated in the terminal system!

The Grapple Sub-Game
When the player is in grapple mode and collides with a droid the game focus switches to a fight across the internal droid circuits. Both the player and the enemy droid have a certain number of 'pulsars' availble to them, depending on their security level, and must use these to gain overall control of the droids CPU to win:


The player is always on the left of the screen but during the count-up they can use the left and right cursors to flip the board to their advantage.

The complexity of the grapple layout is also determined by the differences in security level between the player and enemy droid.

If the player wins the grapple Klepto will have a chance to steal any equipment from the defeated droid:

The more convincing the win, the less likely the equipment will be burnt out!

The player must be carfeul when interfacing high level equipment as all parts have an impact on power usage and overall speed. E.g Interfacing a high level chassis with a low level drive will almost certainly have a detrimental effect on movement speed and power drain! A number of additional equipment upgrades can go some way to balancing power usage,weapon strength, etc but these must be found.

Controls
Movement - Cursor Keys
Fire Weapon - F
Toggle Grapple mode - G
Select - Space Key
Toggle Music - M
Teleport & Terminal Access - T

Compatibility
I've tested this on as many machines as I can and it generally runs ok on most systems and, speed wise, is just about passable on my mother-in-laws Celeron 3.33 with 512MB ram and onboard Unichrome Pro 3d/2d chip. I couldn't get it to run on my netbook, unfortunately!

Install
I've used Smartpacker Pro so it runs directly from the executable (12.4Mb), though not if the exe is in a firefox downloaded window for some reason! So copy to anywhere on your harddrive and double-click to run it.

EDIT: Revision uploaded 06-02-11 with modified grapple game - weighted a bit more in the players favour to reduce the difficulty

Download a version of the game here!

tiresius
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Posted: 30th Jan 2011 14:21 Edited at: 30th Jan 2011 14:22
I've been following this project for a while, looking forward to playing it more as I've never played the original. Great job!


A 3D marble platformer using Newton physics.
Ermes
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Posted: 1st Feb 2011 20:20
downloading.



[img][/img]
Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 2nd Feb 2011 00:25
Downloading now, will most definitely leave feedback once I've played it.

Ermes
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2011 13:01 Edited at: 3rd Feb 2011 13:25
played, wow great game!

i loved paradroid, not played quazatron, but this game is really well crafted.

my advice is to make even a fullscreen version of the game, not only a small window to play, with an option when starting game.

i think the game is a bit hard, make an option for difficulty level, with more energy for the gun and a lower ai for the puzzle section, and no damage for falling from short heights.

but it's only a personal opinion.

the fact is this game is great, let me say this, a complete game in "Program announcements" is very rare, and when the game is good as quazatron, you can count it on the fingers of your hand in a year.

ah, forgot this, music is also nice, suit the game, suit the retro, perfect.

can i give the game a score like "gamespot"? 8

edit: this game has the "replay factor", i.e. you will replay it more than one time. cool.

edit: sorry, but the grapple sub game is impossible to win... too hard, oppo is too smart, you have calibrate it on your skill for sure, you have played if about 1000 times and you are a master on this, is a common error here, the game is a match fot you but is impossible to us! this will cut the replay factor i mentioned above... i need fun from a game not frustration!!! losed all the match, about 20, some tie, and a win, a lucky lucky lucky win.
i'm not dumb believe me, with the poor 001 50% of time i get the 999 at paradroid....



[img][/img]
StevetS
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2011 22:58
Thanks for the comments Ermes.

I can generally beat the grapple game 7/8 times out of 10 on a like for like grapple but, as you said, I've been playing it a looong time!

I've actually simplified it somewhat from the original version I issued. The inclusion of the ability to flip the grapple layout during the count-up means the player can select the side he/she wants to work with.(Use the left/right cursors to do this as it counts up). I've also reduced the complexity of the layouts and increased the number of pulsars available to the player.

Sounds like I may need to go a bit further? I want it to be challenging but not so much so that people give up in frustration. If its not enjoyable then they won't play it.

Which bits generally cause the problems? Is it the number of pulsars available, the complexity of the layout, the speed of the AI???

Let me know as they're easily tweaked.

I'll add a few general tips (mainly for those who've not played either Quazatron or Paradroid before) and see what the general consensus is and adjust it to suit.

StevetS
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2011 23:00 Edited at: 3rd Feb 2011 23:02
General Gameplay Tips

Once power conduits on a level are activated they will gradually deplete over time and through use. Balance power use to maximise recharging and don’t activate conduits on a level if you don’t need to.
Always grapple a low level droid first. You have a greater chance of winning and your first grapple will create a ‘backup’ which you will transfer too should you lose a later one.
You can only have one backup at a time but once you lose it (through losing a grapple) your next successful grapple will create a new backup at your current location.
Don’t kill all the low level droids straight away. Allow some to remain as you’ll need to build up your equipment from scratch if you lose a high end grapple.
Once all the droids on a level are cleared, access the terminal and shut down the power for a score bonus.
Carefully consider which level you close down last – closing down the last level will activate the citadel self-destruct and you will have limited time to get back to your exit point (same place as your entry point!).
Use the Detector in conjunction with the terminal map menu and droid database to identify droids on a level and the equipment they contain.
You don’t need all the keys to access all the levels but having them helps.
Don’t fall or drop off walls, its hurts and can be fatal!
High end equipment usually has a higher power requirement and can slow you down. Balance your equipment by examining its stats in the selection screen. Taking the higher grade equipment every time isn’t always the best option.
Some higher level droids have more powerful thrusters, allowing them to hover at a relatively high level. You’ll need to take the high ground should you want to shoot these.
Avoid the lower levels until you are adequately equipped. The higher level droid are very powerful and can destroy a poorly prepared Klepto with one shot.
Get a shield as soon as you can. (Note: Shields don’t protect against collision damage or falls!)
The ramthruster increases collision damage to enemy droid and reduces damage to Klepto, but he will still take some damage.

StevetS
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2011 23:02
Specific Grapple Tips

As the grapple timer counts up you should examine the layouts and use the left and right cursor keys to flip to the one that will give you the best advantage.
Go for layouts which have chips with more output branches than inputs
Go for layouts that connect to nodes that are isolated from the enemy droid (once you convert these they’ll be yours for the rest of the grapple). These can be more valuable than treble output chips in certain circumstances.
The complexity of the grapple layout and the number of pulsars available to both sides is scaled to the relative difference in level between Klepto and the enemy droid – the higher the level difference the greater the complexity and the greater the difference in number of pulsars. Don’t overstretch yourself by taking on a droid of too a high a level as you’ll likely lose.
Grapple a low level droid as soon as you can to provide a backup location to return too should you lose a future grapple.
The grapple game runs for 18 seconds. Don’t rush to activate all pulsars as soon as the game begins.
Once actived the pulsar input points are locked for 10 seconds during which time your opponent can convert any adjoining nodes to their colour.
Note that any chips you or your opponent activate with less than 10 seconds left on the board will be out of play for the rest of the grapple – use this to your advantage!
The winner has control of the CPU at the END of the grapple period ! Hanging back has its benefits!

Ermes
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Posted: 3rd Feb 2011 23:43 Edited at: 3rd Feb 2011 23:54
well, it's hard in any way you look at, low power droids have too much pulsars, are smarter than Eistein, and if you beat 7/8 times on 10 times and you're the maker of the game, it would be about 1/2 times on 50 for a player never played before your game.

puzzle layouts are too much complicated, few seconds to select...
it's like the game start on level 20, well i like to play easy at the start, i'm not cannon fodder.

i like this way, the first two levels you learn how to play, smashing droids for fun, then the game go harder, finally you must be an ace to finish the game. but hey, the game here is really hard, you remember old seuck game of C64? impossible to play, 20 bullets to smash a single enemy... it's the same plague of FPS creator games, poorly calibrated, impossible to play, again 20 bullet to kill an enemy but with two shots and you're dead....

making a game is one thing, balancing it is another one. i spent a month to calibrate ESF and i'm not sure it's ok.but there are 4 difficulty levels.

so, if you want someone play and finish your game, make it easy at the start, give some fun, don't calibrate it on you, let some friends test your game and watch,listen what they say.

ah, another thing: how i recognize low level droids? paradroid has numbers, quazatron what? feelings? i really don't know.

there isn't any plugin to calibrate the games, only your experience. ah ah! just in case some clever user start thinking to make a setdifficulty.dll or even at TGC start planning to make the 1000th plugin for DBPRO!



[img][/img]
StevetS
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Posted: 6th Feb 2011 20:11
Uploaded a new version with modified grapple code to make the grapple game easier for the player on all levels, especially the earlier ones.

Download from the first post (old version deleted and replaced with new).

Good luck!

Ermes
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Posted: 6th Feb 2011 22:52 Edited at: 6th Feb 2011 23:13
YES! oh great, this game is one of my favourites!

downloading NOW!

edit:

played, oh yes more fun now, lose just a cople of match, and finished my first level! great work, more playable now!


Ciao facce da sedere!
baxslash
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Posted: 7th Feb 2011 13:24
Downloading. Looks great! I vaguely remember the original.

Ermes
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Posted: 7th Feb 2011 18:58 Edited at: 7th Feb 2011 19:14
1986.... 25years ago.... i'm wondering Lee Bamber at that time, starting writing a DBC for C64 with commodore directx 1.0

why not. or maybe he was on sinclair.

ah ah never mind. sometime i'm very idiot, just to entertrain myself.

last night i was boring myself so downloaded another quazatron retro remake, not liked it, downloaded a spectrum quazatron, was more playable.

this DBpro version of the game is really good, one of the best retro i ever played from an user of this forum.

BUT... original quazatron have robot id on their face.. example X9 U5 and so on
share most of the graphics with paradroid... weird....
if was fullscreen.


Ciao facce da sedere!
BatVink
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Posted: 12th Feb 2011 09:10
It looks good and well made. I have 2 things that are stopping me playing this game...

1. I only have 2 bullets so I can only kill one enemy
2. Grapple mode- I have no idea how to activate the nodes, I've tried left/right, space and Enter, none of the work?

StevetS
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Posted: 12th Feb 2011 10:28 Edited at: 12th Feb 2011 10:32
Hi Steve,

'G' key toggles the grapple mode.

'F' key fires the pulsars into the nodes.

Also, activate the power conduit recharge points using the terminals & you'll be able to recharge your power at the terminal recharge points.

As you win grapples you'll be able to harvest better equipment that auto-regenerates your power - or drains it more quickly!

A big part of the game is balancing power requirements against equipment usage.

Cheers,

Steve.

BatVink
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Posted: 12th Feb 2011 12:22
I got into Grapple mode OK. But once I got in I couldn't plug the connectors into the nodes. Do I need more power to do this? maybe I ran out and didn't realise.

StevetS
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Posted: 12th Feb 2011 15:47 Edited at: 12th Feb 2011 15:48
You should have around 10 pulsars (the blocks you fire into the circuit) when the grapple first starts. The higher your security level, the more pulsars you'll have (and the same applies to the enemy droid). You only get a finite amount so have to be careful where they're used.

You can't fire them into input chips which are immediate dead-ends (where they don't connect to any others) as they'd be wasted. Also, once they're fired into an available chip they lock-in for 10 seconds so you can't fire another into that chip until after that time.

Apologies, I should have included a better explanation of the grapple game - it's not exactly self explanatory!



Player and Enemy Pulsars: These are the input points (i.e. ‘shots’) that each droid has to influence the outcome in the grapple game. The higher their security level, the more they have.

Chips: These are single or multiple points on the grid which are activated or ‘energised’ by the robots firing the pulsars at them. Chips with a higher number of outputs than inputs are best as fewer pulsars will be required to activate a greater number of nodes.

Nodes: These are the 13 central activation points in the circuit and both droids are aiming to change as many of these to their colour in order to win the grapple.

Indicator: This glows to show the colour of the currently winning droids. When time runs out whoever has changed this to their colour wins the grapple and gets to scavenge equipment from its opponent. The closer the battle is, the more chance the equipment could be ‘fried’ and rendered useless so a decisive win is always best! The game can also be tied and in such situations we ‘Rerun the Fun!’

How the Game Grid Is Set Out

Both the player and computer controlled droids have two columns of potential chip points on their sides of the grid and both of these are randomly assigned a number of single or multiple chips (within a basic set of criteria). The number of input and output links to each of these is then randomly determined (again within sensible limits) so a chip may have 1,2 or 3 inputs and 1,2 or 3 outputs. It’s advantageous to have more outputs than inputs – for example, one input and 3 outputs requires only one pulsar to activate a potential 3 chips and thereafter potentially 3 node points:


In this example above, the first node point has a single input and output, requiring one pulsar to activate the central node.

The second and fourth central node points are isolated and can’t be access by the player, while the third node point will require two pulsar inputs to activate it.


In the example above, the player only needs a single pulsar to activate 3 nodes, the best arrangement to have. In this case though the computer controlled opponent has gained control of the first node by charging it after the player has originally activated it.

Once the player activates a node, the pulsar they use is locked-in for 10 seconds and they can't re-activate it, but theres nothing stopping the enemy droid from activating it from its side (providing it hasn't also already locked-in a pulsar to the node point accessing it)!

The Timing Element

The grapple game runs against the clock (18 seconds). At the end of this time the droid with the most colours in the central node column will win the grapple. Also, as noted above, once a pulsar has activated an outer chip point, that point becomes locked for a period of time and cannot be accessed again until that time has expired.

A bit on the enemy 'AI' process

In order to add a bit of intelligence to the computer’s selection I adopted a basic set of rules which the computer would follow to determine which node to activate next. By assigning a value to each of the central nodes it would work back through each of the chips either adding or subtracting the value depending on the chip size and number of inputs and outputs.

In the first instance the AI looks at all the central nodes and assigns them a value: 0 if it’s the AI’s colour (or unavailable), 6 if its empty and 12 if it’s the opponents colour. These values are then carried across into the first column of chips to the right and split depending on the number of available paths. These are then split again to determine the values in the far right hand chips. Each of the values are then applied to the input nodes, and determines the enemy droid's next 'move'.

Ermes
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Posted: 13th Feb 2011 11:15
yes, it will be nice to have more shots to fire.

anyway, puzzle section isn't so hard to understand, if you ever played paradroid, or quazatron, it's the same.

great game, great conversion.


Ciao facce da sedere!
StevetS
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Posted: 12th Mar 2011 21:00 Edited at: 12th Mar 2011 21:01
Hate to bump my own stuff but . . . . any comments (good or bad) from anyone. . . .

Thanks for the feedback Ermes - really appreciated. I think it plays better with the difficulty mods you suggested.

Cheers,

Steve.

Posted an updated vid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK-cpmGW02A&feature=autoplay&list=ULSPA1GMq7Vag&index=2&playnext=2

C0wbox
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Posted: 12th Mar 2011 21:31
Quote: "any comments (good or bad) from anyone"

Ok no one's allowed to flame me for saying this - he asked for good or bad comments.

I don't like the visual style of this project so I never tried it in WIP or PA. Sorry - I'm sure the gameplay's great. xD

StevetS
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Posted: 15th Mar 2011 10:14
Quote: "I don't like the visual style of this project"


Not a problem. It's quite a specific retro style I was aiming for with a game border/HUD and smaller internal 3D window. The colours are also a bit garish and use a limited palette, just like the original!

I'd played around with some blended / gradient shaded models and metallic effects (ala bitmap brothers) but it didn't really suit the style I wanted. They came across as '16-bit' as opposed to '8-bit'.

Ermes
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Posted: 4th Apr 2011 19:11
Quote: "
Ok no one's allowed to flame me for saying this - he asked for good or bad comments."


nice idea to say that before your post. i will use it! even in WOR thread! ah ah .. ah.

Stevets, what about to let the player select his preferite colour style?

like this: A) original colour, B) Bitmap brothers palette, C) Tron Legacy style.

it would be great.


Ciao facce da sedere!
C0wbox
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Posted: 4th Apr 2011 19:47
Quote: "i will use it! even in WOR thread!"

But I haven't asked for bad comments.

I only said that to clarify I was doing specifically what he asked.

Ermes
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Posted: 4th Apr 2011 20:01
yes i see that. it was just funny your intro!


Ciao facce da sedere!

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