Friday 24 July 2020

Turbo Tomato: Sounds Good

The previous devlog was a bit of a slow week in Turbo-land, but still, rough edges were shaved off the game and some great new music found its way in too.

This time is a similar story.

It's been a busy week for me, just unfortunately not on TT. ${DAYJOB} has been stretching the definition of "day" quite a bit, and I have some ongoing contract work outside of that that needed extra attention as well. But enough about my problems, let's move on to the game's problems.

The main achievement this week was to replace the existing module replay and sound effects systems with one combined music/sfx system in the form of ptplayer. The old systems worked well enough individually, but didn't talk to each other, and this caused problems playing sound effects alongside in-game music. ptplayer supports mixing effects and music out of the box, and quite a bit of headscratching was saved by switching as I'm not really familiar with Protracker replay code.

Replacing the old systems was a lot of work, and there's still more to do. ptplayer was (by design) not written in a system-friendly way and it will need some adjustment to use the Amiga hardware timer interrupts via AmigaOS instead of using them directly as it does now. With some help from the ptplayer author, I think I have handle on the changes required now, I've just lacked the time to implement them so far. Coming soon.

Aside: any other Amiga coders feel a bit uneasy doing web searches for "CIA"? I'm probably on a list now.

I mentioned last time that a composer had come on board and dropped some new tunes for the game. With the audio work above in place, I am now happy to show a  preview of these tracks working in the game! Wrap your listening bits around this:


The tracks are not final, but even now they're a great improvement over the old ones and, I feel, really capture the vibe of the game. My kids were bopping around the office to the new title track for some time, so that's a positive vote for it's catchiness!

The new tracks were written by Mark "TDK" Knight, who has worked on a number of Amiga games such as Wing Commander and D/Generation in the past, as well as quite a lot of Amiga scene productions. It's great to have Mark working on Turbo Tomato now.

Some pixel art by Chris McAuley
(Dredd does not appear in Turbo Tomato, sorry)

In other exciting team news, talented artist Chris McAuley has very generously agreed to donate some of his time to improving the current background tiles, and he plans to get started as soon as this week. I'm happy with the enemy and other graphics, but felt the tiles could use a fresh (and non-programmer-art) eye, and there are likely some other items - guardians and world introduction panels spring to mind - that could use some pixel love too.

Which segues nicely in to the next chunk of work I have planned: the big play through. I wasn't entirely convinced this was the right thing to do next, but with Chris starting now too it makes sense to capture all the missing and shonky bits so everything that can keep moving forward, keeps moving forward. I expect the amount that needs done will be terrifying at first - it always is.

Finally, I will mention the long-trailed big news. I still can't say anything! I'm waiting for some external work to be completed before that can happen. Timing is out of my hands and I'm not really complaining about it to be honest. I'm itching to do the reveal, so as soon as I can, you'll know.

Until next time then, my little tomatoes.

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