Flight of a Dragon is a retro style game for the Uzebox open source game console, a bit of 8 bit madness involving an ATMega 644 and a bit of electronics to get it producing a video signal and accepting input from an SNES controller. Now the game is complete so you can finally lead the dragon to his salvation! Thanks to emulation, you may also try it out within your browser!
If you want to play right away, proceed here (note that it needs a reasonably powerful computer and a keyboard, it won't likely play well on a phone or tablet).
You play as a dragon protagonist who must escape from his prison in an empire which wanted to break and train him to use him as a war machine in their conquests.
As such he is a powerful fire-breather who can easily storm through opposition, however the empire has a large and well equipped military all around who can grind him down if he wasn't careful. It is also important to be fast, to flee before forces could be mustered to thwart his attempt.
He doesn't want bloodshed, to be remembered as a monster, so he should be cautious to not cause more losses than necessary, and he may also help people (prisoners) on his way, supporting a probable uprising against the power.
Technicals & Source
The Uzebox console is built around an ATMega 644 chip which has only 64Kb of ROM (60Kb usable, the upper 4Kb is the bootloader) and 4Kb of RAM, running at 28.6MHz, however it also has to generate the video signal directly (no video hardware at all, not even that much like in an Atari VCS).
The core of the game's display is a tiled 16 color video mode with quite a few tweaks including the sprite library, methods to generate a colorful sky, parallax scrolling clouds and likes at 192 x 196 pixels resolution (pixel aspect ratio is 1.5:1, so pixels are wide).
You may look around in the game source on its Git repository.
Some bits on art & progress
The game began with an elaborate concept art about two years ago, after I devised a complex video mode for the Uzebox (integrated within its kernel), back then just toying with the idea without any actual idea on how it would actually become a game.
It is not easy to develop a game for such limited resources like the ATMega 644 offers (not that the chip was bad, just it wasn't especially designed for this wicked purpose :) ), I started out with realizing random ideas with a coarse goal of some platformer, which only later got some form and vague overall concept when I knew what I could accomplish.
The art itself went through several revisions, the run sheet above was created after I vaguely knew the limits for the dragon's sprite, making it more fluid compared to the version used in the first concept art (as I realized I can fit more in the space I imagined for it before). Then some time later even that was refined to arrive to what the game finally contains.
Level designs, tilesets and such also went through several revisions, quite visible on the differences between the initial concept art and the final game. Initially I didn't even knew I could solve placing my sprites behind various map elements, so it didn't have such grass like the actual game.
The demo version was released for the Uzebox Code Challenge 2016, and won first place :)
Of course development didn't stop there, it went on slowly to eventually fill all the gaps left in the ROM until I got a complete game. Graphics tweaks and additional assets, and lots of new code and balancing was introduced during this progress, hopefully ending with an enjoyable runner-platformer.
A bit of help if you are stuck
- Pay attention to your energy bar (third bar on the upper left). If it is depleted, you run slower and can't jump high. You can't catch some ledges without sufficient energy.
- Initially the dragon doesn't have his full potential. Collect power-ups, without those it might be impossible to finish the game.
- Always keep moving. Usually enemies are the least effective when you are running, but be vary of pikemen who charge at you.
The game and its art is released under General Public License Version 3 or Creative Commons BY-SA Version 4.0, as usual for games released for the Uzebox console. Feel free to play around with it, hope that tricky mess is at least as enjoyable as the game itself (if you like that sort of stuff)! ;)
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