Before the amazing new beat ’em up game for Amiga 500 was shown for the first time at AmigaBill’s Stream to the public. Everyone that saw the stream got big eyes. Finally, after so many years the awesome Amiga computer will finally show that it can do beat ’em up genre too! Final Fight was one of the better conversations for the Amiga back in the days from the arcades, but it still lacked that extra Amiga spirit in it.
BitBeamCannon which is behind the new beat ’em up game is finally showing what the Amiga could do if proper gaming developers had the time back in the days. Because Amiga has always been more than meets the eye. Finally, after so many years, Classic Amiga is back for good!
Here are the Questions and Answers with BitBeamCannon
Introduce yourself please. Who are you?
Where does BitBeamCannon name come from?
It took about 2 days of searching for words that had the right retro/arcade game type feeling we wanted to associate with our ‘brand’ and then trying different combinations until we found the combination we liked best that also was not already taken by someone else out there on the internet.
Tell us about your connection with the Amiga computer? Where did it all begin?
My big brother purchased his first Amiga when we were still teens. I had already become very interested in computer graphics and pixel art through the previous computers in the house as I grew up, namely the Coleco Adam and then the Commodore 64. I immediately fell in love with the Amiga’s abilities and what programs like Deluxe Paint and Brilliance made possible.
Questions about Amiga
What inspires you about the Amiga computer?
The abilities of the machine first and foremost, but definitely also the art, animation, and authoring programs available for it that enabled me to continue to improve my skills and dream of someday making great games for the system. In later years, the enthusiasm and support of the Amiga community kept me interested in pursuing my life-long dream of making AAA quality games for the platform we all love so much.
Please tell us a bit about your Amiga projects?
There are several game projects; the highest-profile ATM is Metro Siege, which is being programmed by Alex Brown of Enable Software, and with huge graphical help my John Tsakiris of Pixelglass and Corey Annis (the co-founder of BitBealCannon).
The game is most likely to be finished for Amiga after Metro Siege is called DaemonClaw, which was prototyped in Amos to prove it could be made to run on Amiga 500’s even using Amos. After proving it was possible, DaemonClaw branched into 3 projects.
The one that will likely be finished first is the full version of the game for modern platforms, being produced with Construct 2 and 3. The second DaemonClaw project is to finish the core code and features for level 1 of DaemonClaw in Amos to make that game engine available for any Amigan and Amos user to use to create their own game with. (they will be allowed to use the code, not the art). The third DaemonClaw Project will be to finally make the entire game in C or Assembly (or a combination of the two) for classic Amiga while adding at least one new level and boss to this real, final, and deluxe Amiga version of the game. This third DaemonClaw project will likely begin before the Construct 2/3 made version is finished and published.
Aside from direct Amiga projects, we’ll continue to make lots of hopefully entertaining but also educational videos and tutorials for our Youtube channel, and keep developing and sharing tools, example code, and engines to help inspire and empower other creators.
Is it possible for Amiga people to join your Amiga projects? Where to apply?
We’re always open to talented and passionate people contacting us about a potential collaboration. firstname.lastname@example.org is a good way to get our attention.
But please keep in mind we are already extremely busy with numerous overlapping projects, so it’s unlikely we’ll be able to collaborate on any new projects until some of these current ones are finished, and we’re going to be very selective for all kinds of reasons throughout, so please don’t take it personally if we can’t directly collaborate. In those cases, we hope our presence and continued efforts to make useful tutorials, tools, and example code will be helpful to you on your own endeavors.
Questions about the Beat ’em up Engine
On the Amiga Bill’s stream, you talked about that you wanted to share your knowledge. How can Amigan’s that want to develop a game contact you? What can you help them with?
On the topic of the beat ’em up engine specifically, It’s owned by Alex at Enable Software and it’s going to stay in-house for the time being at least. It is possible to even now for serious investors and/or top-tier artists to work out deals with us for simultaneous or future use of the engine for other games. Amigans should be able to find Alex Brown at Enable Software fairly easily if they want to make specific offers or show him their portfolio. After this first game or two with the engine is done and the engine is fully realized Alex will consider the options for making the engine more available to a broader range of creators.
As for other engines, tools, and knowledge, BitBeamCannon has made our modular animation tool available to everyone, which will now also be supported by the Scorpion Engine, and we’ve been making Amos code examples such as showing how to get great translucent color effects on any Amiga. We also have been creating Youtube videos for our youtube channel (BitBeamCannon) which include a lot of useful information and tutorials. We hope to continue this trend to make creating high-quality games easier and easier for every Amigan and retro game creator in general.
At the Amiga Bill’s stream, we got to see your new beat-em-up engine. Metro Siege looks really promising. Can you explain a bit more into details about the game?
It supports 2 player simultaneous, will be available on many modern platforms as well as classic Amiga, and will likely support cross-platform online co-op play. It features a sophisticated combat engine including blocking/countering, a power-meter for special moves, fast footwork dodging, hitting enemies while they are down, and throwing enemies into each other.
Why did you choose Metro Siege as the name of the game?
Finding the name for any business or product is a long process of typically many or all members of the team just coming up with words and word combinations we like.. you slowly start to figure out the types of words and combinations of words you like best, and just keep trying to combine them in different ways until you find something that simultaneously sounds good and is not yet taken by someone else. ‘Metro’ just represents a major city, and ‘Siege’ represents the fact that outside crime lords are using an army of thugs and bribed officials to take that city over, so it’s literally an attempted ‘siege’.
The resulting name has a nice ring to it, has the right nostalgic flavor to it, and Corey made an absolutely beautiful logo for it which will translate perfectly to the required retro-pixel art style we need.
Can you explain a bit more about the features in the looks of the game? What technique did you use for the graphics?
The art style was developed by me, but now two additional strong pixel artists are working with me to ensure faster development time and a superior finished product. I’ll function as art director throughout the process to make sure the game has a consistent art style because even great art by three different artists can look bad when combined together on the same screen if they are all made with different styles. The foreground art and characters are all using the same 16 color indexes, but much more color and parallax scrolling are added to the screen via sprites and copper-controlled color changing in vertical regions of the screen. The current level displays a bit over 60 colors on screen simultaneously.
Metro Siege is made for A500 with 1MB RAM or more. But after the stream with AmigaBill. Amitopia got several requests for an AGA version of the game. So I ask about if you have plans to make:
- a) an AGA version?
- b) Nextgen AmigaOS 4, MorphOS and AROS?
a) Definitely possible. It depends greatly on feedback, support, and demand, but it would almost certainly come sometime after the full release of this OCS/ECS version, and it’s not guaranteed. I can tell you I personally am very interested in a sort of the second wave of games in these franchises that would specifically target and take full advantage of AGA.
b) This will be completely up to Alex at Enable Software and I’m guessing will be a matter of support, demand, and how much work it would take to make such versions a reality. Remember, we are all eager to deliver fantastic games, but many of them one after the other… we don’t want to linger and focus on a single game for years, working on only versions of that one game at the cost of progress making all new games, so it will all be a balancing act, and there are far too many factors involved for us to be able to promise anything until the future makes it obvious what will happen.
Amitopia TV – Moves In The Game
On the Amiga Bill’s stream, you talked a lot about the features of Metro Siege and the gameplay all in all. Can you in-depth reveal or explain more about the game’s gameplay?
I’ve provided an in-depth and initially exclusive video to you where I explain the moves and combat-system in depth. This would be a great spot for you to embed or link to that video once you’ve hosted it.
You also talked about the blitter and copper effects used in the game. Can you tell us more about the graphics techniques that you use in the game? How did you manage to set the requirements so low?
It stems from an obsession I have with being able to create the illusion of much more colors on-screen, even with heavy graphical constraints. I knew for classic OCS/ECS Amigas to have a console-quality brawler, with many large characters fighting on screen the core of the game would need to be in 16 color mode, for both memory and blitting performance. Alex, John and I worked together like mad-men to squeeze every bit of performance and visual excellence we could so far to make this engine a reality. We’re not done yet and the final product will hopefully look and play even better.
In general, we use the repeating sprite trick for the back layer skyline and the remaining sprites for the extreme foreground phone poles. The copper is used to change colors often to add more color to the sky, buildings, pavement, etc.
One of the most important optimizations to get so many large, animated characters on screen is the concept of modular animation, where characters are made from a bunch of small body part images, that are moved around and swapped out to make frames, as opposed to full-frame images, which would just eat up all available memory even before the first character’s moves were accounted for.
Roadmap and Timeframe
Do you have some exclusive information for Amitopia Amiga Magazine regarding this game? Maybe a timeframe or some information about when it will be out?
Roadmaps and time-estimates are always dangerous, especially when not even the first full level of the game is finished. I can say we are all making great progress and are very dedicated to making this as quickly as possible while also not reducing our standards and dedication to making this game completely competitive with any classic console or arcade brawling game.
When we finish will depend greatly on how many man-hours we can spend per week on the graphics and sound production. This will depend greatly on support via Patreon, PayPal donations, eventual monetization via our Youtube channel, and possibly an eventual Kickstarter or IndieGogo campaign. A deal with a publisher for exclusive marketing rights is also a possibility… there are just too many possible factors at this point to be able to make an accurate estimate.
What other types of Amiga gaming projects do you do?
I’ve got a couple of proof of concepts in Amos going (DaemonClaw and that side-scrolling Mech SHMUP), but that’s about it for Amiga directly (aside from example code and tools). BitBeamCannon is working on other great retro-style games such as Cyber-jack which we hope will eventually have enhanced versions for classic Amiga.
General Amiga Talk
What do you think of Vampire 68080 accelerators for the Amiga computer?
I think it’s really cool. I’d definitely consider getting one if owned a classic Amiga 600 these days and wanted to use that Amiga itself for high-speed productivity and development for both OCS and AGA color modes.
What type of Amiga Joystick do you recommend for your beat-em-up game?
Either a multi-button arcade stick or a multi-button control-pad will be fantastic, depending on what you are most comfortable with. The most important thing is multi-buttons.. at least two. I’ll be playing mostly with a Super Nintendo style control pad myself.
Where do you think that Amiga is in 10 years from now? What can we all do to protect and to move the Amiga creativity over to the next generation?
I’m hoping our games, tools, example code, engines, and tutorials and other videos will draw new interest and developers to classic Amiga and will continue to further empower current Amiga developers in the community. As I mentioned in the AmigaBill stream, the two giant issues that limited Amiga game development are no longer present, so we have a great chance to really rejuvenate the platform and the fanbase. It’s something I’m very passionate about.
Which of the Amiga companies do you see is the most certified to own Amiga? And what should the one that finally gets the Amiga rights to be doing?
I’ve intentionally remained ignorant to the details of what’s going on in that regard, so I really would have no right to have a strong opinion either way. I think its a topic that doesn’t directly affect any of my goals, or classic Amiga as a retro platform for game fans and collectors in general much at all.
The classic hardware, emulators, and actual community will still be here no matter what business deals or settlements are reached by any particular groups. I think it would likely be counter-productive for me to become really emotionally or otherwise involved in the topic, or to pick a side. I’ll just be focusing on making the best and most fun games I can for the platform we all love and doing my best to help others make the games they want to make, regardless of how such things play out.
In the end. Do you have anything more to add that you haven’t mentioned?
For me, it’s all about love of the system and community of fellow Amigans, and the desire to prove what great quality games could have been made for it and can be made for it now.. to make as many of those games as I can in collaboration with the awesome and talented members of this community, and to attract really skilled developers from outside to make even more great games for the platform.
I’d also like to take the opportunity to shout out to the other long-time members of the community who have made or are making incredibly high-quality games and demos as we speak. Their skills, passion, and the resulting quality of their projects is a huge inspiration to me and has been for a long time. This ‘Amiga renaissance’ started quite a while before MetroSiege had even begun, and the enthusiasm those other creators generated created the atmosphere and possibilities that resulted in John, Alex, Corey and I getting together and making the MetroSiege project a reality.
End of the Interview
Thanks to Michael for answering my questions. It is amazing to see how much Amiga activity there is in the world today. With Worthy, Tanks, 4K Pong and Reshoot R released. And now we see new games such as Inviyya and MetroSiege coming it is really worthy being an Amiga user today.
What the future will bring for Amiga users is uncertain. But what we know from the experience we had and will have. It will show the world how vibrant and creative the Amiga community is. That’s why Amitopia Amiga Magazine will continue to follow up whats happening. Thanks to BitBeamCannon for their productivity. We will for sure cover and help you to succeed.
Pixelglass is the ones behind this game. They are in cooperation with BitBeamCannon and Enable Software. They proudly present ‘Metro Siege’: a brand new, 2 player co-op brawler in the works for Amiga 500 (512k chip+512 other ram)!
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Source: Amitopia Own Interview with Michael from BitBeamCannon