JavaDegas 1.0.1 - Documentation


About JavaDegas v.1.0.1

JavaDegas is a Gradius-like, straight forward "Shoot'em Up" game.  Use
the arrow keys to move your ship and 'space' to fire.  It can 
automatically fire, so you can just hold down the 'space' and it will 
keep firing.  You can also use 'h', 'j', 'k', and 'l' keys to move 
your ship, just like the nice old vi editor.  Certain enemies drop 
"Energy Capsule" when you blow them up.  Pick them up to 
increase/decrease your power indicator, then select which power to 
obtain by pressing either 'm' or 'n'.  At the end of the each stage, 
there is an enemy mother ship waiting.  So far, I only wrote two 
stages.  People out there can add more enemies, mother ships, and 
stages.  It shouldn't be that difficult.


There are 4+ kinds of energy capsules.

[Green] -- moves power indicator 2 to the right
[Blue] --- moves power indicator 1 to the right
[Red] ---- moves power indicator 1 to the left
[Yellow] - sets power indicator to none

 - - - turns power indicator to slot machine
                  press 'm' or 'n' to stop


Probably, you want to avoid [Red] and definitely [Yellow].  However,
if you feel lucky, and/or you have nothing to loose, you can take
your chances by picking them.  One of them may turn out to be a
"surprise" energy capsule.  Who knows?  You might end up getting the
power you wanted so bad, or you might end up losing everything.


There are 7 power up items.

[Speed Up] -- increases speed
[Slow Down] - decreases speed
[Beam] ------ sets to default beam weapon
[Laser] ----- sets to laser weapon that can penetrate multiple ships
[Option] ---- adds option that acts like an extra ship
[Doh!] ------ Doh!
[Shield] ---- adds shield that's good for 5 hits



About Music. . .

I originally programmed full length music for this game, but when I
converted them to au format, each of them were way over 1 mega byte.
That was unacceptable.  So, I had to trim down a lot of them.  How
sad.  When I convert this to Java1.2, I'll replace stripped down au
music with full length midi music.

Stage 1 - Revolutionary Etude by Frederick Chopin
Boss ---- The Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner



About SFX. . .

I made all sound effects using my old SoundBlaster16 and midi
sequencer.  I'd like to re-do them with better quality sound system
when I have the opportunity.



About voice. . .

All voices were done by my 3 year old son, Christopher.



Reported somewhat working platforms. . .

As Applet:

  Sun Sparc Solaris 8 with Netscape 
  ix86 Windows 95 with IE4/5
  ix86 Windows 98 with IE5, Netscape 4.7
  ix86 Windows 98J with IE4J/5J, Netscape 4.7
  ix86 Windows NT5 with IE5
  ix86 Windows 2000 with IE5
  ix86 FreeBSD with Netscape


As Stand Alone(no audio):

  Sun Sparc Solaris 7 with java 1.1, kaffe 1.0.5



History. . .

In the late 80s, my brother showed me a video game called Gradius by
Konami.  I'd never seen anything like that before.  Power up items
were cool, background music were cool, graphics were cool.  It was a
"COOL" game.  I was instantly hooked to this game.  I must have
spent a couple of months trying to clear all stages.  Good thing, it
was on MSX computer at home.  I didn't have to spend any 100 yen
coins at the arcade.

Konami kept releasing sequels to Gradius and as far as I know, they
all became big hits.  Salamandar, Life Force, Gradius 2, Gradius 3,
Parodius Da!, Gokujou Parodius Da! were some of them.  Also, Konami
added extra items when they ported Gradius to other platforms.  For
example, MSX version had an extra stage that didn't exist in
original arcade version.  MSX version also had a couple of secret
stages, where you can get different kind of power items.  No matter
what platform, no matter which generation, I had real good fun
playing Gradius series of games.

These days, most games are street fighter style beat the crap out of
each other kind of games or Wolf 3D kind of 3D shooting games.  I
don't see games like Gradius any more.  I don't care too much for
those fighting games, but I admit I enjoyed Wolf 3D and Doom.

Other great games I enjoy playing are the Wing Commander series of
games by Origin, but their newer products don't run on my old slow
PC.  Bummer.  Actually, a lot of today's games don't run on my P120.
Doh!

I used to own a Sharp X68000 computer and played the Gradius series 
of games probably at least once a day for years.  Did I get sick of
them after while?  Nope.  I still miss Gradius.  So, I thought I
should try writing a game like Gradius.  This is my second attempt
writing a game, so it's not like I'm used to writing games, but I
decided to try it anyway.

I started out writing it in C++ and Xlib.  At one point, event check
routines (XCheckMaskEvent, XCheckWindowEvent) started dumping core.
It happened on both Sun Sparc and PC Linux machines.

After wasting so much time trying to figure out the cause and the
way to get by, I decided to rewrite the whole thing in C and Xlib.
I thought maybe C++ is screwing up somewhere in Xlib C API calls.
Guess what?  Same darn thing!  Event check routines started dumping
core at one point.  I was pretty much fed up with Xlib calls by
then, I started to look for an alternate GUI platform.

Where did I turn to?  Back to Java again.  I was disappointed on
JDK1.2beta, because it kept messing up the graphics on my PC, but
JDK1.2 seems to run all right.  I do have a problem running Java on
my Sun Sparc20 with Solaris7.  I cannot send any keyboard input to
my applets.  It's very strange.  I talked to a friend at Sun, but he
seems to have no problem at all running my applets on his
UltraSparc.  Probably there's some goofy component inside my Sparc
that's causing it, or something.  It's kind of stupid that Sun's own
Java doesn't run right on Sun's own Sparc Station.  No, I didn't buy
it from a Sun dealer.  I bought it at an online auction.

So, I code and compile on my Sparc, then test it on Win98/J PC with
IE4.0/J.  That's the only way I can send my keyboard input to my
applet.  Why didn't I just develop and test on PC?  I run fvwm95 on
my Sparc and let me tell you, it's "nice".  Besides, there is
something wrong with my PC.  I can open one dos prompt without a
problem, but if I try to (re)open another one, it hangs the whole
machine.  Doh!  Linux?  Yes, an ancient version of it is installed on
my PC.  I could use Linux for development, but I paid a lot of money
for this Sparc Station and I am going to use it to develop
something!

Despite this goofy environment, I somehow got it to work, so here
it is.

No, I haven't tried Visual J++ or J Builder.  What for?  I edit files
in vi and compile with JDK's javac.  Combine them with fvwm95 and I
got my ultimate development environment.  Even when I have to write
something for PC, I use vi for windows to edit files.  I only use
one thing in the whole Visual C++ environment and that is the "Build"
button.

KDE?  I haven't tried it, yet.  I'll give it a try one of these
days.

A friend of mine suggested I should use Kopi and Kaffe to develop
java freeware.  Good idea.  Once I upgrade my Sparc to Solaris 8,
I'll install those tools.  I also need a bigger hard drive for my
Sparc, but can't afford "Sun" hardware.  I'll probably get a generic
SCSI drive and see if it works.



Future. . .

I haven't figured out how to do the background objects, like
scrolling floor and ceiling.  It would be cool if I (or somebody)
can get the Moais to come up and spit those circle things.  Then,
I'd like to have a stage with a capital ship, like stage 3 on
R-Type.  That was fun destroying the huge ship.  I'll also add a high
speed scrolling stage.

I'd like to add missiles once the scrolling floor is in place.

I also like other classic games like Dragon Spirit, Thunderforce,
Silpheed and R-Type.  I'd love to see them become available
somewhere.  I'll see what happens. . .



Special Thanks. . .

Mike Chachich
 - for creating and maintaining official JavaDegas homepage.
   also, for helping on documentations.  Thanks, Mike.


Shinji Umeki (shinji@umeki.org)
Sep. 9, 2000



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