In Megablasters you and your friend can take control of Bob and Bart, two young boys who have to rescue their kidnapped twin brothers in order to save the world. You will have to conquer at least 9 different worlds, blowing away countless enemies and survive many adventures in order to win the game!
This is the story its creation...
It's always best to start at the beginning: At its beginning Megablasters wasn't meant to become such an enormous game, it wasn't even meant to become a commercial game at all. It all started in 1991 when my brother got a copy of the game "Dynablasters" for his Amiga 500.
In "Dynablasters" you could either play a story mode alone or fight up to 4 friends in the battle mode. I tried my luck with the story mode a couple of times, but we had the greatest fun playing the battle mode, especially with a lot of players. The more, the better.
At some point this also got boring. The battles were over very quickly, you had barely enough time to collect some extras to gain an advantage over your opponents. I found that a big drawback. In my opinion the playing area was too small - the walls that separated you from your opponents were gone very quickly and then you had no other choice than to fight one another. So I had the idea to create a conversion of the battle mode on the CPC and remedy all these disadvantages.
I just wanted to create a battle mode, nothing more, nothing less.
At that time I wasn't aware of the fact that "Dynablasters" was also just a clone of a video game called "Bomberman" which had its origin in a game of the same name on the rather unsuccessful MSX line of personal computers. I would find that out some months later, but for the moment I was content with the idea to create my own conversion of "Dynablasters"...
I started out by deciding to use the overscan technique to create a huge playing area. Additionally I selected the CPC four color Mode 1 for the graphics, so that I could have detailed graphics in very small space. Unfortunately using the overscan mode left little main memory for the graphics (the game screen was double buffered so that the animation wouldn't flicker). That meant that the main characters shouldn't have too much animation if any animation at all. I figured that if the main characters would be balls there was no need for animation.
Emoticons hadn't been invented at that time and I wasn't good at painting graphics at all. So when it came to giving the characters faces I tried to paint some for a while, but all these attempts looked so terrible that I arrived at the compromise to cover their faces up somehow. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show and games were very popular at that time and I thought, "Well they have eye bandages and the fans love them, so why don't I give my characters also some facial cover". Thus the spherical main characters wear bandannas over their faces...
To give the game a somewhat cartoonish look I drew a funny dying animation where the character is blowing to ashes which falls to the ground, leaving the eyes standing still for a moment before they fall on the heap of ashes. I thought that since the characters themselves doesn't offer much for good or at least funny looks this animation (which was easier to draw than a funny looking face) would compensate for that.
The basic game was finished after a few weeks. Actually I was eager to finish it, because I intended to go to the GOS Party 4 in Bad Hersfeld in 1992 and I wanted show the game to the other CPC freaks there. This decision was going to change the course of game almost completely...
The game was accepted very well by the other users. Actually one of the other freaks (whom I didn't know at that time) approached me and asked me whether I wanted to make a commercial game out of this battle only game. The name of this CPC freak was Kangaroo and he was the owner of a small company called "New Age Software". He also distributed BSC's SoundTrakker which soon became the standard CPC music editing software.
I told him that I would think about his offer and would stay in contact with him. Some weeks later I told him that I accepted his offer and would add a story mode to the game.
I redesigned the graphics of the whole game and switched from the four color, high resolution screen mode to a 16 color, reduced resolution screen mode. I had to reprogram the source code to pay heed to this change. While doing this I also added a sound effects routine, since the original Mode 1 version didn't play any explosion or other sounds at all.
As soon as the new four player mode was finished I sent it to Kangaroo to get his opinion. He was quite impressed with the changes I had made to the game and wrote a short piece of music that I was able to add as background music to my game. His music underpinned the action very well and since my sound effects routine used just one of the CPC's three music channels to play the "boom" and "bang" sounds, these effects incorporated nicely with Kangaroo's three channel music.
Actually he was so enthusiastic that soon after getting the new four player mode he started to place ads for the game in the last remaining 8bit computer magazine in Germany: the legendary Computer Flohmarkt.
In my opinion this wasn't such a good idea. First of all I was far from being ready with the game (it took me almost another 12 months to finish the battle mode alone) and secondly the game still had the rather cumbersome working title "Caution! Explosives". I thought up this title to dissociate my game as best as possible from the Amiga version ("Dynablasters") and the original MSX version ("Bomberman"). An alternative title I had thought of for my game was "Megablasters", but at first I was afraid to use a name that bore so much resemblance with the Amiga game title. In the end I threw all doubts over board and decided to go with the latter name, since the former just sounded so awkward and clumsy.
Secondly I heard some rumors that Prodatron and Kangaroo got into a fight over supposedly late or insufficient payments from New Age Software for his Digitrakker Software. Also there were other rumors that BSC and Kangaroo had some disagreement on the payment. Since I knew Prodatron and BSC longer and better than Kangaroo (at that time) I trusted their judgment and thus became convinced that I shouldn't have New Age Software publish my game but rather publish it myself.
You can imagine that Kangaroo wasn't very happy about that and wanted me to reimburse him for the ads that he had put into the Computer Flohmarkt. This led to some discussion. Suffice to say that Kangaroo and I are still friends and that I didn't get rich by selling my game by myself. I never found a real French distributor, so unfortunately Chany took over that job for me...
In Great Britain a penpal of mine, Rob Buckley from Radical Software, took over the UK distribution of Megablasters. He sold some copies (more than I did) and in exchange I tried to sell three games from Radical Software (Fluff, Star Driver and Masters of Space) for him - though I wasn't very successful with this undertaking.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before I could start to distribute the game, I needed to finish it. And from the four player battle mode it was still a long way to the finished game with 10 worlds and lots of enemies.
I hadn't yet found a graphics artist for my game and after my disagreement with Kangaroo I also had lost my music composer. A replacement for the latter was quickly found: Crittersoap, the son of Marabu from the HJT stood in for Kangaroo and composed the rest of the music for my game.
On the BENG Euromeeting 2 in Wuppertal in 1993 I found somebody who was eager to paint graphics for demos and games and was just waiting for the right offer: Rex of BENG! We just needed to talk very little and he was all ablaze with ideas for enemies, end-of-world bosses and backgrounds needed for the game.
After the BENG Euromeeting 2 Catloc and he (both were from Greece) stayed at my place for another 9 or 10 days and besides finishing a small intro we had begun on the Euromeeting (the Skull intro) we started to work on the details for the different worlds of Megablasters. Having returned to Greece he spent some weeks working busily on the graphics and sending me discs with new enemy graphics and some hand written scripts on the abilities of these enemies.
The "only thing" I needed to do was to create the program that would animate these enemies and give them some artificial intelligence or at least a more or less sophisticated movement scheme. That may sounds simple, but it is far from that. It took me around eleven more months to write the subroutines for all the 89 enemies, program a disc loading system (so that the game was able to reload each level from the floppy disc), design an intro and create the main menue with several options, submenus and the two hidden cheat modes.
I won't go into the details of this incredible programming effort. Suffice to say that I spent several hundreds of hours in front of my CPC to finish the program before no one was interested in it anymore - you know in 1993 a lot of people had already left the CPC and with each week some more turned their backs on this 8bit Computer. Since I wanted my game to be successful, publicly as well as comercially, I had to speed up, in order to reach as many of the remaining CPC users as possible.
After writing the routines for all the enemies and different levels I started to create the main menue, the intro and the end sequence. Writing the programs for these features wasn't much fun anymore. I was pretty burned out after creating one enemy controlling routine after the other - it was like I was an assembly line worker under a strong deadline pressure. I had the best intentions for the menu and the intro and ending sequence, but I must honestly admit that my motivation had suffered a lot and I just wanted to get done with it.
So I could probably have done something better than this, but not after so many months of work on one and the same project. Initially I wanted to add a hidden mini-game in the title menu - I intended to create a vector graphics conversion of the best Vectrex game ever: Minestorm. I had already started to create the graphics routines for that, but in the end the time ran out (I had scheduled the Odiesoft Party 1 as a Megablasters release party for April 1994 and the deadline was advancing quickly) and so I had to abandon this idea.
Another factor that increased the pressure to finish this game was that when I looked at a list of games to buy from one French distributor I saw that the name "Dynablasters" was listed. I was shocked to see that some company intended to publish a similar game as well and I desparately needed to be the first to publish this type of game. I never found out what had happened to this "Dynablasters". It was obviously meant to be created by a French company, but that's about everything I ever found out. In the end I came first with my Megablasters and as far as I know nobody else ever released another Bomberman clone on the CPC.
Instead of the missing hidden game I wanted to have a cool intro sequence to introduce the game. I had thought about an adequate intro sequence for some time before I finished the game itself and I already knew what I wanted to have: an Odiesoft Logo where the big S is being painted by two small dots and when the dots meet in the center the remaining blue color would appear with a flash to present the whole Odiesoft Logo. During all this animation the first few tacts of "Also sprach Zarathustra" were supposed to be playing. So I asked Crittersoap to create that tune for me while I programmed the animation. Creating this intro sequence wasn't really much work. Nowadays I still like the idea though I'm not really too happy with the sound. I think Critty should have done a better job with the music...
I also spent some time on creating a special display of such an inconspicuous thing as the directory. Using some control codes I've setup a directory that, when you try to list it, clears the screen and displays some text and characters. Many demos and magazines changed the directory to display messages instead of the file listing. But I wasn't satisfied with just displaying a message like everyone else so I made some "@" characters appear behind the Megablasters text so that it gave the text a three dimensional look by adding a shadow in the back of the text. Besides that my manipulations of the directory structure worked for any screen Mode whatsoever. (Often when you listed the directory in Mode 0 or Mode 2 the whole effect went down the drain, because the programmers didn't do the manipulation properly...)
With that the work on my game was - after two years of hard work - finally finished!
And the best thing was, that I was right on time for the Odiesoft Party in April of 1994.