writing a game supernatural for the c64

I should learn to start my videos with saying hi alright if I’m if I’m really honest with myself then the whole retro gaming thing to me is mostly about the Commodore 64 and and the pc and all the all the other stuff you know the the NES and the ps1 the the Wii the Wii U the ps3 are you know I have a lot of fun playing those but the real reason you know H time I i think you know why the hell am i doing this and do i still like this basically that’s the question and it’s always the Commodore 64 that pulls me back in you know the and that always comes down to the the secret wish that I’ve always had to to either right at a video game on the corner 64 or to at least understand how it works how to develop the skill to do it because you know from from the first Donkey Kong or crazy Kong as i know it and galaga ‘he’s and and you know one of the things that I had in my mind was I can do this as well I can do this I can make this it’s not that difficult so I basically that that thing you know that base of my retro gaming is reflected in what i have here I mean I i have my pc you i have my Commodore my pc and that is the most important thing that’s what I always the last week i was browsing the internet for you know information on how how games work and I was interested in the game loop and the you know the timing there’s actually some really interesting articles on on the internet that go into how timing works how do you control timing how do you make sure that your game runs at a certain pace certain frames per second and that is important when you have to deal with hardware that is faster than your then you want your game to run which is you know definitely a challenge of today you have to slow your game down in the color 64 days it was different because the hardware wasn’t I mean it was fast enough to write a game but you couldn’t do that much in between screen updates you know a Commodore 64 PAL system runs at 50 frames per second but that doesn’t mean I mean the video chip runs eight times faster than the CPU and the cpu was all kinds of stuff to do and it leaves only a little bit for you to do your game logic so you have to be really smart so you know that was the kind of thing that I was a i was looking into and I found something I found something really interesting i found something on gay there there was this is sort of a a tutorial or a course of someone said you know let’s write as c64 game basically a little bit like like Tony Cruise Electric Adventures is course you know that’s right a retro game which are very interested in because it goes just into those things you know a game timing how do you set up a screen how do you do collision detection and all those kinds of things that have how do you keep the score how do you hide yes you bullets how do you make sure that when your player falls and your lands on a platform he doesn’t keep falling and all that kind of thing is some things are easy when you die the game is over you know the score goes up for the picking up an item how does that work you know how do you know where the item is how do you know what the item is that you picked up how do you know that you picked it up all those kinds of things so this this guy had a tutorial let’s write a game and it started with step one and it wasn’t it didn’t look interesting at all and I read some of the comments and someone I read one comment that said oh ok you know the sort of has merit but it isn’t a real game but i’m i’m pretty sure that by the time that you wrote that the game wasn’t finished because I decided to you know to click ahead you couldn’t skip to the end so i didn’t know how many parts there were but i had to click to part 108 part 100 there was a complete game and what a game that was I was blown away by the quality of this game it was so good and I was expecting some sort of you know poor homebrew dude writing a simple simple game but this was professional quality stuff music a gameplay interesting it was smooth it had everything that everything and it had all the code plus explanation by the guy who wrote it so I thought you know this is gold this is for me this is gold this is interesting stuff now what he’s done he’s gone ahead and used the Acme cross assembler which I’ve heard of before but it’s very poorly documented the kick assembler is a much better documented this assembler I don’t think the acne assemblers you’ve been used or is even developed anymore but the developer of this game his name is georg von Steiner he’s German he’s even written an integrated development environment for this for this cross assembler but it gets even better because he wrote his own assembler using the syntax that belongs to the Acme compiler so acne assembler so that means that I’ve gone you know i have now seen I think well I’ve seen three different cross assemblers now for the Commodore 64 I’ve used to and I’m gonna learn the third one the Acme one this guy this is gay August has documented the assembler that he wrote so that’s good the thing is I I don’t know yet where I want to go with this but I’ve always wanted to know how to write a game and I feel that this is a good opportunity to actually look and learn i’m pretty certain that he’s you know it is explanation because he does a little step at a time no it’s a bit of code and there’s an explanation now let’s do the next step and there’s a bit of code and the next step and there’s a bit of code and the code expansive experience and he explains in every step he doesn’t as a hundred steps and at the end there’s an actual video game which i’m going to show you when i’m done boring you with my talk so I don’t know what I’m going to do with this you know I’ve been thinking what the hell am I gonna do with my life and this is one of the things you know that that I just keep coming back to and this may be the moment that it actually comes together and I and I learned this thing maybe it’s just about learning it for me maybe it’s you know it ends up maybe at the end of this I think that how you know this is doable i can write my own game I mean it’s not impossible just have to have a good idea of it so maybe i’ll just do videos that go into you know into this code that I that I show you what the next step is and I explain a little bit about it because i’m sure that i can find stuff that needs expanding on you know i’m sure the Georg that is best explaining his cold but i’m pretty sure that you know this maybe there’s alternatives maybe there’s things that can add to it and I’m i may do videos about it i may not I don’t know but it’s exciting so at least it is to me what i’m going to do is I’m going to wait a minute when I i’m forgetting so this is Game supernatural right and it’s free you can play it you can you can have the code you can do everything but then there’s also a commercial version which is called guns and ghosts which is a bit unfortunate because it’s gonna confuse people with ghouls and ghosts and ghosts and goblins but this is guns and ghosts it’s exactly the same game but the commercial version has multiplayer options added has improved graphics and I’m sure there’s a couple of bugs that are that are ironed out and you can you can buy this version you can buy 45 pounds at two places you can buy at a floppy disk or tape version i think you can buy a cartridge version as well I off the top of my head I cannot name the sites but i’ll include links to them so that you can you can just check them out for yourself both of those sites actually refer to each other for a free download of the commercial version but neither has one so there is no free download for the commercial version of course you can find it but you’ll find a cracked version which you know in this case I have a little bit of trouble with because this this is actually a good piece of work in this guy selling it right now and he’s actually making new games i think there’s a new number 64 game underway which is called Hyperion I can’t wait to see it it looks a little star wars the futuristic but by made by this guy it’s got to be good now supernatural is is the free game you can just download and play it guns and ghosts is the commercial game that’s exactly the same so you don’t have to rip off the guy by downloading an illegal copy you can just play supernatural it’s it’s a great game and i’ll show it next you know after this and after that i’ll show you where I found it and what these coding steps look like and what you can do with it i’ll show you the guy’s website and everything so I’m excited about it but I know me and this excitement may go away and i’ll be doing pickups before you know it i I don’t know this but at least this moment it’s supernatural enjoy the gameplay and if you want to stick around for some of the code that goes behind it then stick around and otherwise thanks for watching guys bye bye ok this is a supernatural there’s only single player don’t know i’ll look at this I was just saying that the co-op play was only in the commercial version but there’s call playing this one as well as a few guys you can choose from i can choose Sam or I can choose d now of course we’re going to choose teen I also i can choose between sound effects or music i’m going to show you the one with the music first and then all switch to sound effects I am i have to say that the the sound effects are a little bit lackluster but you know not bad but let’s just try music first i’ll try and explain that the game a little bit so we go plays in Greenfield hiyo local newspaper mentioned several missing people seems to be a reoccurring pattern every 44 years we should investigate the town cemetery and my cop I think I’m a cop I don’t know so let’s go get ready now this sort of looks ghosts and goblins like this is dean and Dean that can fired two bullets at this moment boom and I have to wait for Dean to reload his gun and in order to reload his gun I just have to stand still for a bit so after I shot twice i have to wait you can and then i can shoot another two bullets and I wait again so this is a challenge i can pick up extra bullets both spaces such as i can fire more than than two bullets it’s actually quite a challenging campus one of the things that I wanted to learn about coding out there’s a pickup I’ve picked up something although i don’t know what it is maybe its health is nuts not health symbol may be faster reload or something it looks like it’s faster reload that’s actually useful useful power up there and there’s also speed bullets they kill in any weather stronger and they will kill many math that’s controller many enemies with was just one shot the thing is i’m playing this on vice and i’m using the 360 controller and the only way to the jump is with the thumbstick and i just cannot get used to jumping by pushing up on the thumbsticks i’m going to make a lot of mistakes there there’s a power up again I don’t know what that does load boom but listen to the music look at the the graphics another power up i I don’t know what that is again you can see the bullets flying that’s that’s design choice i think you can see the screen flashing but nothing nothing really zooms across the screen just hit anything that’s on my level at this moment boom Oh another power up I’m being at oh that’s the level it’s all single screens and others a bat the bats I have to hit twice boom there’s one I don’t know oh I want that I want that that’s that’s a speed bullet I can’t reach it oh that’s so sad I would have been able to kill the bats with one shot shoot shoot up there go our another one that’s an extra space and that’s the speed bullet that’s good because now I can go boom-boom every every oh oh it’s gone I didn’t know that could be taken away from me but it’s it’s it’s a very rich game isn’t it it looks good and this look at this is the free version it looks exactly the same as the as a commercial version guns and ghosts the music is a saying she has as I have more bullets oh shoot I they oh yes wow it’s hard yes thank you that’s what I wanted it’s not very useful now but there’s going to be skeletons later and they’re going to be very hard to kill oh that powerup is gone immediately to I i thought the speed bullet stayed hm ok this level is hard because I cannot these ledges are too high for me to jump on so hey I’ve got only two bullets now it’s not entirely bug-free see happen ok so the commercial version is a I mean I played the hacked version of the commercial version and it’s it didn’t it was a bit easier so that’s that’s something that’s changed let’s try okay type my name thank you for letting me type now I’m gonna try it with the sound effects and you’ll notice the sound I’ll shut up and you can listen to the sound effects here we go shit we as that’s a shot that’s a lackluster isn’t it ok I mean oh shoot that’s the I’m dead sound this is much easier when you can do this when you to jump you press the joystick up pressing a thumb stick up for me he’s there we go that’s a pickup sound come on reload shoot why are you not reloading I want that i’m not going to get it walked in the room so well you’ve seen it this is a it goes on and add the the levels are imaginative you know for single screen I’ll levels the the graphics look good the music is ok the gameplay is good you know this the the jumping the animations are good I and for free game homebrew game that i have the code for I’m really impressed with this this is something I really can really dig so pickups power-ups really nice so let’s have a look at the at where this stuff came from them yeah so this is where I where I found it c64 game in several steps lots of them there are 100 steps to be exact and this is on gamedev dotnet i’ll include the link to this page below in the description then I won’t forget it and then yeah I just want to read this out to today’s development development is heaps and bounds leaps and bounds I think beyond imagination from 20 years ago I’ve always had a soft spot for the c64 after all these years so I sat down and tried to start assembly program on a c64 now now that we’ve seen the result of his efforts i find it difficult to believe that he just sat down and and did it and and and that came out and i know this because before he published supernatural and ghosts guns there were there were other games already there was Joe gun and what will you know I’m thinking he did that earlier but we’ll we’ll just take it for what it is right now is so this is how it how it’s done he just shows a little screenshot and then he has a little link to step one which is a zip file now if you look at a zip file whoop there it is there’s aj main assembly file i don’t want the Jeff stands for it doesn’t mean anything to me it’s just I mean it’s just a name it’s called JJ main j & incident it’s an assembly file and if you open the assembly file then I’ll just full screen this this is actually shown in c64 studio which is all park behind my head c64 studio which is the integrated development environment that he built himself so it’s basically a standard commodore 64 programming this is the screen buffer so if you if you write characters to this address they show up on the screen this is where the program starts you want to start the program with a command like this so there has to be a little basic program at this address anything you put this address will be interpreted as a basic program then we initialize this Brides we don’t want to make anything visible please and then we set a character set he used decimal values here so I don’t not exactly sure what he what he does here he switches the Vic banks now for starting programmer I don’t believe this you know bank switching and character sets and stuff you know this is this is all anyway that lets not doubt his little let’s not be cynical and then there’s the main game loop flashes the border obviously and then increases screen character this value and then he says wait frame he has a weight frame so he loads the roster this is where this these are Exodus model is this is the rest the register it compares it to f/8 which is a rest align right the end and if its a fate it goes to wait frame and if it’s not a fate wait for the rest to reach line fa should be closer to the start of this line I not exactly sure what he does every in every iteration of the game loop what he does is he waits right he looks at the rest of register he compares it to f/8 if it’s on a fate he jumps back here if it’s not he goes on and then he does the same thing but he jumps back when it’s not f8 so not exactly sure what he tries to do here anyway he comes out of this and then he starts back together this is something I have to think about this is some arriana fate already if so wait for the next full screen prevents miss timings called too fast so not exactly sure what his technique here is but that’s that’s the way he does it you know and that’s I mean this is just step one and i’m already asking questions you know but I’ll figure this out this is easy stuff i just have to think about it but that’s that’s the way it goes and then you we we go to step 1 B and in step 1 B he has some extra code no screenshot this time and then it goes to step 2 and then we have ye we have custom characters and we have a our own character set and all that stuff so I think it’s really really interesting especially knowing because by this time I was you know what I what I’d seen this I was still thinking you know where it’s going to end up i mean i i’ve seen other efforts that you know end up in games that you know that may be interesting but they’re not the quality that I’ve seen in Supernatural that is just amazing and then there’s the final step here it is what you can see this is this the screenshot here the the company’s site ronic it says for digital download taper disc digital download is not true because you cannot download it there and RG CD cartridge with nifty packaging and stickers now I i’ll include these links but you know that’s let’s have a look at them and they make games I’ve never heard of them sigh tronic software but they have common 64 games and vic 20 games and other things look at it it’s good stuff and this Hyperion is what I just talked about oh yeah this is Hyperion this is a gale gordon Steiners new game and it says here now in production so this looks look at it look at the animation here look at the gameplay that’s I am as a little film clip there so i’m i’m very anxious to see what that is so but we’ll try and find guns and ghosts too quickly duty i think i may have already skipped over it ok is Joe Gunn that’s his other game i think i skipped over it i think i skipped over let’s get three and start from the beginning I appearing on every and if they if they done this in alphabetical order I would have three there we go guns and ghosts there we go and it says a digital download version is also available by our friends over at our gcd ok let’s look at our gcd we go to our gcd and we click on games and then there’s guns and ghosts all rights blood blah every oh there it says the retail version goes it goes currently not available you can buy the game on cars here or as a download tape and disk from psionic software here and then they link back to that side so it’s just a sort of a merry-go-round but this is a the the guns and ghosts game which is basically just the same to the gameplay is little difference i’ve noticed and this different players Georg on Trev I had salmon Dean brothers co-op double gay organ double trev I don’t know shit this is sort of a manually a trivia so interesting stuff now who is gay or gratin Steiner i used the developer of this stuff he has a website tada and we go to games and here we go hm there are getting but they also see 64 games let’s look at that this is guns and ghosts but then we had so less we had get them DX we had Joe gun now this is and then we had penultimate fantasy which is not like this like fan final fantasy but then not quite so and this is a basic game i think but you know if I see these and they’re kind of listed before this game then it sort of sounds like a I set down her and and started to write a game and it and came out the guns and goes I mean not that he’s totally amazing look at this and and then this environment so this is awesome i’m excited i’m excited are you excited as well then the club with me i like it i’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet but i just thought i did i chaired thanks for watching people i have nothing else to show you buy oh I can’t wait bye

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  • Chad Bailey says:

    Wow, I have never been first to the land of Highlander!

  • Chad Bailey says:

    That's a really cool project. I like how that game looks. I have no idea what you are doing or talking about half the time. I just smiled and nodded for those parts ๐Ÿ™‚

  • GadgetUK164 - Retro Gaming Repairs & Mods says:

    This is a great idea! Look forward to the next part! I might have a crack at C64 development after I've seen how you get on with it.

  • Michael Smith says:

    Great video, man! I'd be really interested to see videos on your progress of you decide to follow these steps and make your own game

  • lactobacillusprime says:

    This could be an awesome journey.

  • GalacticusX says:

    It's certainly an exciting challenge to create a game and actually see it coming to life, if you feel excited about it and have the time needed, go for it!

    I never came around learning to program. At school I taught myself a little of GW Basic on Amstrad PC and used to "port" Basic programs from other systems, from listings on magazines. I even managed to find a utility that translated vector drawings into Basic code, and made a rudimentary game of a basketball player shooting free throws. That was as far as I went.

  • riteasrain says:

    30:53 Is "venster" in Dutch, "window"("link openen in nieuw venster")? How interesting. Isn't venster windowsill?
    Lol sorry for picking up something totally unrelated. However, I have been very interested in making games over the years, or at least knowing what's behind games. Thanks for an interesting vid, Wouter.

  • StigsWorld says:

    Very interesting mate. You always make it sound so easy lol. Best of luck with the project, If you need any testers then give me a shout ๐Ÿ™‚

  • bwack says:

    Fascinating stuff ! Looking forward to it.

  • Nick Berry says:

    To write your own game on your favourite system, would be uber cool and a major achievement, even if it isn't that great of a game, as I would expect it to be a learning curve for all programmers. Good luck with this project, it's going to be a labor of love despite the many challenges – hopefully the programming community will provide you some help along the way.

  • SmoothEmJay says:

    Just spent 2 HOURS playing this game ๐Ÿ™‚ on a real C64

  • HalfBlindGamer says:

    Very cool! Takes me back to the old C64 days when I did dabble a bit in trying to program for the thing. Felt so good to make anything happen, even though it really was nothing special, like minor text things, but was still something you made yourself. Game development certainly has become a lot more easy and accessible nowadays! Shame that it still takes a ton of time, otherwise I'd love to pick it up as a hobby again as well.

    I should still have some old c64 programming books laying around somewhere… I think one was specifically aimed towards games. Should look that up sometime if I still actually have those. Might be of use to you now, though with that course, you might not need it! That game looks like a lot of fun.

  • Casual Commodore says:

    I'm fascinated that people can code in assembler. I'm not understanding most of it myself. I do know one command. When I'm creative on the Action Replay cartridge on the Amiga, and hunting down the memory location where "1 life is subtracted" (or energy or anything really..), I replace that with "NOP". ๐Ÿ™‚ The whole assembler thing really amazes me, but it's too steep for me to get into, I think. You seem to have a good enough grasp on it, to go through how Supernatural was made. – I hope you stick with it! You certainly don't seem to lack the passion for it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Retro Phaeax says:

    This is very exciting news and it's gonna be a blast following you on this journey!

  • mtshark7 says:

    Nice video Wouter! This game look cool; nice gameplay video.

  • NVIDIA G says:


  • trevor storey says:

    Good to see people enjoyed the game and i hope you create some software yourself ;).
    I designed/ did the art for hyperion and hopefully that will be finished end of this year.

  • Voultar says:

    His "INIT CHARSET" code is integral. Unless you want to design a game using the standard Commodore text character sets :D.

    That little snippet of code is pointing the C64 to the memory location where his custom graphics live at in memory so it will know where to look, which disregards the standard "out of the box" character graphics that are in the Character Rom Generator.

  • Peter Hewett says:

    Best of luck with it! I read that tutorial series a while ago and it brought back a lot of memories from my teens hacking away at the 64 – I eventually moved onto the Amiga (and never finished writing a game for it either). But I've also wanted to go back and actually write a few of the ideas I had way back then. Once I'm done with the Android project I'm tied up with atm I might just jump in myself.

  • c64braindotcom says:

    Having a passion for the Commodore 64 has helped keep it alive. Let's keep spreading the word. Also nice progress you are making on that game.

  • MindFlareRetro says:

    First of all, I've been wanting to watch your Supernatural development videos for some time, so here I am at the beginning — but better late than never. I used to dabble in C64 assembly language so I am sure I will enjoy this.

    I never realised this Supernatural game is based (I am assuming) on the U.S. cult TV series "Supernatural" (https://goo.gl/s5wt7) with Sam and Dean Winchester who cruise around the USA in their โ€Ž'67 Chevrolet Impala hunting ghosts and other malevolent supernatural beings. A fun TV program, especially after the first couple of years when the show started not taking itself too seriously. Perhaps this game/TV show connection come to light in your later videos — but, again, here I am commenting at the beginning.

  • Christian S. says:

    Direct Link to Georg Rottensteiners Tutorial/Course:

    A more convenient PDF:

    And now I will watch ALL of your Videos ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Raul Gubert says:

    oh, I did not know youย posted tutorials for assembler C64 ย cool, I want to write a viseogame for C64 in assembler so I will follow your tutorials…thank you for uploading.I would like to ask you few questions…I would like to start with calm and begin with the music ย and the graphics as I know there are programs that you can use without assembler…I'm referring to CBM Studio for the sprites and maps and Goattracker or SID wizard….what do you think about them? thank you…I'm writing few composition for a normal tracker, soon I will send you some files (mp3) maybe you like them and you want to use for your projects….thank you!

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