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zMegaman Released / Official Statement
Posted by Ryan on 17 April 2013, 01:44 GMT

Just a few days ago, a pretty big release hit our archives that a lot of people have been waiting for, even if they did not know it. zMegaman, a fantastic Megaman clone, was released by an anonymous group of individuals within the community. Featuring multiple stages, weapons, enemies, and more, this is a huge step in the direction for which fans of both Megaman and platformers in general have been pining.

But wait, there's more! As you know, I am quite the fan of sharing source code, which the zMegaman team has done in spades with hopes of inspiring others to do the same. They are also calling upon the community at large for help with some known issues with the game, as well as encouraging aspiring programmers to hack, mod, and play with. I was personally rather intrigued by the develop process of the game, and asked the team for some more details about the project's development and history. Once you're done dancing, click through to the discussion page to read the team's full response to my inquiry. Thanks, team!

zMegaman started as a little project sometime last year just to see what the calculator was capable of and what we were capable of, with a special interest in free (and open source) coding. We didn't just want to get around the limitations of the calculator, we wanted to work on breaking down this huge wall in the community where people still refuse to release the source to their programs or release them under incredibly crippling licenses. To us, these programs are dead programs that have no more room for growth and provide no further benefit to the community.

To get to its current form, it took a little over a year. The first version was actually in grayscale (and didn't use smooth scrolling), but we quickly dropped that and rewrote the engine completely because we just didn't have the knowledge/programming skills to fit everything we wanted on top of grayscale. I think when we started we didn't really have a concrete idea what the final product would look like (the structure of the source probably reflects that), and in a certain way we still don't. There are still bugs to get rid of and new features to add in, but we decided that we really wanted to start putting the majority of our efforts into other projects, so we spent the past few weeks trying to iron out as many bugs as we could find and polish off the interface to prepare something releasable.

At the start, it was just us working on everything: code, maps, sprites, ideas, etc. Once we had the basic engine working we had some people offer to help out, particularly with sprites, ideas, and bug testing, and that was a huge help. So i guess you could say our team grew about 2/3rds of the way through and that's when zMegaman started to really take shape, too. I have to say, i personally think the biggest reason we managed to carry this project so far was the support and motivation of our own team members (friends). I think if we'd tried to write this individually we would've lost interest and motivation long ago. In fact, there were several long periods of silence as it is.

The main progression of the engine went something like this: tilemap engine, player animation, designing of the first few maps, bullets, enemies, rest of the maps, RLE compression of the maps and removal from the main program file, bosses/boss AI, special weapons, saves, and then other little touches here and there to pull everything together, including trying to break the $C000 limit. In the beginning we were really focused on optimizing everything as much as possible, making the engine run as fast as we could. By the end we'd started running out of memory and reusing code wherever possible to save space, often at the cost of speed. Fortunately, the engine was quick enough to handle it! We're still in the process of trying to remove all the bugs.

We welcome any feedback, especially bug reports. If you can figure out how to trigger the bugs, even better! Also, we're still trying to figure out how to put out an 83+ version, the $C000 limit proved to be much more dificult to get around on the 83+ and we still haven't quite figured it out. If anyone can give us some advice, we would be happy to hear from you: [check the readme for the team's e-mail address]

zMegaman was an experiment, it was an attempt to share our love for programming, games, the TI community, assembly (DIY) code, and freedom in general. We believe in the free exchange of knowledge, by that we mean that knowledge should be free and that it should be shared and accessible to anyone and everyone wanting to access it, that only sharing information with those who can afford it (or who care to afford it) is not just selfish and greedy but also dangerous! Our ideas should be catalysts to inspire the world and our actions should be inspired by our ideas. zMegaman is the result of a year of love, and it's that love that made us realize that (z)Megaman is no longer/never was ours! We've finally removed his chains and let him wander the world as a free man, it's up to you now to catch him! If you ever feel like it, please learn from it, rip it apart, use its code, modify it, hide your name somewhere, do whatever you want with it. If you want to ask for permission, just ask yourself: zMegaman is yours! We just hope you can enjoy it (and that it doesn't crash your calc!).

Anyway, thanks for your interest, Ryan! I don't think we'd initially planned to write so much, but it was hard to stop once we started. As we stated before, if you have any more questions, we're here to answer them!

-zMegaman Team, 2012-2013

Thanks to you, zMegaman Team, for making this wonderful game. We all look forward to seeing what the future holds for this game!

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The comments below are written by ticalc.org visitors. Their views are not necessarily those of ticalc.org, and ticalc.org takes no responsibility for their content.

Re: zMegaman Released / Official Statement
Stefan Bauwens  Account Info
(Web Page)

Congratulations on this feature!
I usually don't put batteries in my calculator to try Z80 games, but now I did.
It runs now pretty smooth, and I already(?) defeated two bosses. :D
I will continue to play this game. :)

Deserved feature!

Reply to this comment    19 April 2013, 12:04 GMT

Re: zMegaman Released / Official Statement
tifreak8x  Account Info
(Web Page)

I was so happy to see this game pop up in the archives, it's definitely deserving of the feature! What a fantastic game with easy to use controls :D

Reply to this comment    19 April 2013, 22:27 GMT

Re: zMegaman Released / Official Statement
James Vernon  Account Info
(Web Page)

It's great to see such a large scale project released - I'd be very surprised if this isn't our 2013 POTY! Congrats on a well deserved feature! :)

Reply to this comment    21 April 2013, 11:23 GMT

Re: zMegaman Released / Official Statement
NanoWar Account Info
(Web Page)

Oldschool programmers are the best! :)

Reply to this comment    21 April 2013, 19:11 GMT

Re: zMegaman Released / Official Statement
DWedit  Account Info
(Web Page)

You can see the thread made during early development of the game here on my board: (see link in post header)

Contains some more screenshots, and some nice programming advice from me.

Reply to this comment    18 May 2013, 15:31 GMT

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