Welcome, I’ve created this blog to document my development journey in updating the original C64 classic game Hunchback published by Ocean Software.
After seeing the 40 years celebration of the C64, it made me take another look and notice the thriving community still interested in developing for this wonderful machine. Back in the 80’s I was a little late to the party and by the time I became familiar with assembly language on the C64, people were moving on to the Amiga, so I never really felt I accomplished anything, apart from an article in Your Commodore magazine (Dec 1988) called ‘Sprite Controller’, so this gave me the incentive to do something.
Well this was my favourite arcade game after spending a week on holiday in the UK and Hunchback was the only arcade game there, so my cousin and I played it to death, and bought it right away when it was ported to the C64. I know it is not the best C64 game out there, but just holds good memories and I liked the simplicity and gradual difficulty of the game with the excitement of rescuing the princess.
Why Remaster it?
Once I started to explore the development scene after all these years I noticed the game had been reversed engineered by C64-Mark so was very interested to see the source code and how J (John?) Steele created it. After exploring the code and figuring out how it all worked, I then thought, could I implement smooth scrolling, and replace the jerky char scroll, and that’s when my journey began. Remastering/updating an existing game also seemed like a good compromise as I work fulltime and don’t think I would ever complete a game if I had to start from scratch.
I find Hunchback very playable even today, which is a lot to be said for some games that I remember as being really good, but revisiting them, damn, I wish I had kept them as a memory. So the goal is not to drastically change the game, but try and make some subtle improvements, like smooth scrolling, maybe a SID tune, add the missing rescue level, but the main goal is a learning exercise for me to get back into C64 assembly and try out some techniques I never managed to do back in the day, and thought why not document some of them on the way, which others may find useful…
Disclaimer : I am not an experienced C64 assembly language programmer, but have some basic knowledge who is keen to learn more, so my approach and comments are based on my limited capabilities and I’m sure there are probably better ways of doing it.
If you want to follow a seasoned C64 programmer then I highly recommend you check out Kodiak64 who inspired me to start this blog.
Enough ramble, let’s crack on!