Amiga Music: Block Off! Music Post-mortem [2018]

The Block Off! Story is simple; i took notice of the work of Colin Vella in the AMOS developers facebook group and asked to cooperate.

The game is pretty simple: the player need do destroy all colored blocks putting blocks of the same color side-to-side within the allotted time, and each level might present a different challenge: different layout, ice blocks, arrows, dynamite+detonator blocks, unmovable blocks and so on.

There is not a single source of inspiration for the musical work; in a way all is inspired by different games, musics and situations that happen to give me ideas.

The main music in example uses a sample that is well known to be used by Tim Follin in the Qix High Scores (and that i did stumble in a demoscene .mod file); gives a pretty distinctive tone and a mood between the happy and space euphoria. Being a title tune i did use all four channels plus my usual bank of microsamples, that comes handy when the memory footprint is needed to be small – since the game need to fit in one 880k disk the leaner the better.

Same instruments bank is used for the High scores tune, and a slower pace compared to the title tune, more relaxing.

In-game tune A (that for some circumstances become the third in appearance during the game) is instead inspired by the tunes often heard on the Dizzy games and try to keep a playful mood.

And In-game B is instead a simple reggatta tune in part fueled by dubstep and in part by other pop songs that happen to come up in the radio.

In-tune C instead has a bit of mixed feeling between horror and misterious. No particular inspiration beside some meddling with keyboard while looking for inspiration and then start to build layers on it.

Then have a couple of short jingles: the Game Over tune (one track in style of the high score music) and an harp blend at the end of a successful level.

From the technical side, all songs are typical protracker .mod files, with sizes ranging from 12k (level done, just one pattern) to 60k (title song) and have been composed using Milkytracker on Windows XP.

The in-game songs uses just three of the four available channels, keeping channel 0 free for sound effects, while the title song, high scores song, game over song and level complete song use all four channels.

The game can be downloaded from the links appearing in the EAB thread here, while the soundtrack is available here.


Amiga Game Graphic and Music – Holy Warrior – W.I.P. [2017]

As many might already have understood, am trying to get back in both graphic work and music work (possibly also coding albeit simple); and when i did stumble in the indieretronews article showing the game by Dario Bongiorno (or Bongi as appears on Facebook). Dario did start to work on its game in the 90s but then dropped it – also due to Commodore demise.
Last year Dario decided to restart work on its game, and did ask for help in both graphic and music side. I offered myself to help him; thought was the right occasion to refresh my pixel art skills and to work in a genre – Fantasy RPG – that i usually did not touch.

First thing i proposed was the audio. Dario did let me know that space was tight. The game is programmed on AMOS and was already taking four disks. I give him some advices for optimization that took a while to be implemented, especially for the world map but now problems seems to be solved; however due to the still limited estate I decided to use micro instruments for the songs; beside the small space taken those also give a very distinctive footprint to the game atmosphere, with some reminescence of 8-bit RPGs on the NES and Sega machines.

Graphics speaking, the game was already doing a citation of games like Final Fantasy on the SNES: the way the panel and the fights are set up is indeed similar; using chiptunes enhance a bit the feeling, making you think to be in front of a PC-Engine rather than your miggy.

For the graphic overhaul i had an hard constraint about the palette; since Dario hardcoded it in the game, those were the colors I had to use; last 16 colors for the main character sprite and all others for the graphic environment and enemies. Fortunately colors were pretty versatile so had not too much problem.

The fighting screens have been redrawn too, and now have a better painting-like quality, despite the same palette.

Took me a while but i convinced Dario to change the map handling from using images to a tile system; that did help to reduce the game assets size considerably. I also pushed to have at least three sizes for the main character: a 16×16 sprite for browsing on the main map, a 32×32 for environments such as the village and others and a 48×48 for the fight scenes.

Now, due to the recent fatherhood of Dario [Congratulations again, by the way!], things might slow down a bit (real life gotta have priority), however we both are committed to continue work on the game and finish it. Stay tuned for more information!