20th August 1999
Game released and diary completed!
14th August 1999
So the actual game is now finished and will be ready for download in around a weeks time when I've done the documentation, updated the website, compiled the mailing list and received feedback from the testers. Don't beg me for an early copy because you won't get one, sorry :o)
7th August 1999
Well that extra feature I mentioned a short while back is now in place and looking good. It's weather! Click on the screenshots below to get a full size image. The suspected memory leak is well and truely dead now that I've figured out the exact cause.
3rd August 1999
Well I've sort of figured out the memory leak but I'm not sure what caused it. When everything else in done I may go back to it because it's a little worrying. The settings screen is now up and running which means that the front end is complete. It's just a few minor bugs and a couple of features to add then I can get this bloody thing released (woo hoo!).
The game will be available from a number of sites which I'm currently in the process of sorting out. When it's released I'll be sending out a mail to absolutely everyone who's been in touch. If you want to be included on the list and you've not emailed me in the past ten months then shout! If you have mailed me then don't worry, you're message will be somewhere in my mailbox.
So, a couple of weeks perhaps! Won't be long now.
30th July 1999
Slight setback (Boooo!). A few bugs have been reported back from testing and I'm currently trying to track down another one of those annoying memory leaks. I've had very little time to get anything done over the last couple of days due to rather more pressing social matters and this weekend is out too. Soon be back into it though!
27th July 1999
So the front end is looking superb now as John has finished the cartoons. Just got the settings page to sort out. I'm currently working on an extra feature which may or may not work well. More details at a later date. Also, for those who don't already know, there's another Skool Daze remake in the pipeline. Go to my links page now!
24th July 1999
Well, it took quite a bit of persuading but Mr Wacker has agreed to open up the school for public viewing. Follow the link from the main page!
23rd July 1999
So, I've been lucky enough to discover the talents of cartoonist extraordinaire, John Blythe. The game is going to look absolutely splendid with his artwork adorning the incidental screens. Code wise, I've sorted out a few minor bits and bobs in the game which is now 99% finished. Over the weekend I'll be looking to get loads of work done on the front end. Not long now folks.
22nd July 1999
I've reached a very important milestone now in that the game as it stands can be played from start to end without the help of cheat modes. I'll be spending some time putting a few extra little features in just to give it a more polished look. Time needs to be spent on the front end over the next few days. I want it to look good but not take too long.
18th July 1999
Discovered yesterday that Midas sound system f***s up all the Allegro timing routines which has been the source of all my sound problems. With a brand new initialisation routine in place it now appears to be working hunky dory. So, I can get on with finishing the game now!
14th July 1999
Well those bombs are so much fun that I decided to plonk an infinate supply in Albert's workshop. Also fixed a few bugs leaving nine on the list plus a few small features yet to be added. So all is well except for the sound which I've yet to sort out. I guess a realistic target for a release is about four weeks. No more news as yet on the Dave Reidy sighting but I'm very hopeful of something soon.
11th July 1999
Scotland was fantastic and I want to go back right now but I suppose we all feel that way after a holiday. Boo hoo! Anway, there was good news to be found in the mountain of emails in the form of a very positive lead on Dave Reidy. More news soon. Better get back into this programming lark I suppose.
2nd July 1999
Hmmmm, this sound stuff is still bugging me but hey, for the next week I really don't give a stuff because I'm off on holiday to Scotland. I'll figure it out eventually!
27th June 1999
So the new sound routines are still causing problems but I'm almost there. The game clock which controls screen updating now slows down drastically when music is initialised so I'm having to use the timer functions from the sound library. Haven't really got clue what it's all about though I've got it working in a Windows DOS shell but not in pure DOS mode. I'm sure that a little more dabbling around will sort it out.
20th June 1999
Just got the game to compile again following a decision to change the sound library and a bit of a code tidy up. Also written the setup program. PC Zone are interested again so look watch out for something there.
14th June 1999
Well, apologies for not updating the diary for two weeks, here's a bumper edition. So, been doing various bits and bobs since the last update. It's mainly to do with the game plot which I don't want to reveal too much of but I'm over half way there. The presentation has also been tarted up quit considerably because the original intro screen etc looked a little shite! Those lucky testers have had their copies of the game so I've also been sorting out a few "defects", cheers guys! But bugs aside the feedback has been very positive and the game seems to have lived up to expectations. I'm looking to get it finished in the next month but it may well be a little longer as I'm off to Scotland early July to drive up some mountains.
Albert's learnt a new trick, he can now open doors! He'll soon be gaining more skills as his playtime duties take on a more interesting look. That's next on the agenda following completion of the plot. Also in the pipeline is trying to incorporate the special playtime tasks that Eric has to undertake. After that it'll just be tidying up any outstanding bugs and that'll be it. One more thing, the colours of the school uniform can be customised!
1st June 1999
Eric's got a bomb!
29th May 1999
Well, just hacking away at putting the plot into the game. With the help of Dean Swain things have been finalised on that score. Not much else to report but I thought I'd better say something anyway.
21st May 1999
Oooooh, some shields have appeared. This is my first step into actually getting the game plot together. Not sure where I'm going with it yet but it marks a major milestone in the game's development. The core functionality is pretty much wrapped up now. In about a weeks time I'll be looking to get a beta version of the game to the testers. No more volunteers please, I have all the help I need. As Jeff Braine has been taking the piss about me never giving decent release estimates I think I'll take the plunge for once. So Jeff, just for you I reckon it'll be 6-8 weeks :o)
15th May 1999
How bizarre! Upon running the game this morning it appears that Mr Wacker has employed two new teachers into his establishment. Mr Jackson has taken over the computing department and Mr Carter has joined as the Psychology teacher. Mr Bitt has changed his name to Mr Blessed and from now on will be taking the Religous Education lessons. They've kindly offered to pose for photos so take a look at 'The Cast' page for more info.
9th May 1999
Oops, haven't been here for a week or two. Recent work has revolved around getting these lessons running smoothly. Everything is now read in from the text file okay and the teachers and the swot are exchanging speech bubbles. Apart from that it's really just been ironing out little problems. The game got a mention in this months PC Zone along with a few other PC conversions. Take a look at the article by clicking the image below.
Click to view
25th April 1999
Couple of new things. Firstly, all the names and descriptions of the characters have been moved into a text file, along with all the questions that the teachers will eventually start asking. This will make them easy to change in any normal text editor. Nice! Carl Murray has taken on the task of compiling a set of questions. Also, the blackboards are now complete with the teachers scrubbing them clean when the kids have been chalking away. The means the only thing left to add to the lessons is the quesion & answer thing between the teacher and the swot.
On the down side, I appear to have fell victim to a rather evasive bounds error which causes the program to go doo-lally the second time the game is started. Most annoying.
20th April 1999
It's a sad day for Eric and chums. Those nasty adults have been blessed with the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Booooo! Looks like it's time to start playing by the rules.
17th April 1999
Slightly renamed, welcome to Klass of 99. Thanks Ian.
12th April 1999
So, as I'm sure you've already noticed, things have changed slightly round here. The game has been christened 'Class of 99' to coincide with the brand spanking new web site and the screen shots are available at long last, apologies for the wait. On the game front, two new characters have been added and I'm now working on getting Eric into trouble when he's doing something he's not supposed to be. The music has been finished and now plays along in the background accompanied by sounds effects. The graphics are 90% complete. Having finished the school layout as an outline drawing, Graham handed the graphics back to me to add the colour. That's all for now because I'm just about to upload these new pages!
30th March 1999
Hello Andy, get back to work!!! So what's new? Well the day thing and the timetable stuff is done so the kids now go about there business before trooping off home at the end of the day. Matt Simmonds has been beavering away at the music so I've been sidetracked slightly in figuring out how to use the sound libraries. The background music is working now with different tunes playing depending on what's happening. Enter the headmasters office and the music changes to an atmopsheric little ditty to get the heart rate up. There are about 20 different bits of music and they're all fantastic, cheers Matt.
16th March 1999
Right then, I've been a little quiet on the diary front for the past couple of weeks but that by no means reflects the progress on Skool Daze. Having spent the majority of the past four months getting all the functionality for the kids implemented the hard work is now paying off. A few days ago I decided to get the teachers up and running and it took only a few hours! Brilliant stuff. I'm now working on the getting the characters to act out a full day at school. The only thing left to do on that front is work out timetables for each of the kids, just like being a real teacher! At the moment they all waltz in, roam around for a short while, go to assembly and then it's off to the first lesson of the day. The emails are still coming in so thanks to everyone who's done that, much appreciated.
27th February 1999
At last!!!!!! Only hours after typing yesterday's entry I discovered why Skool Daze had become so unstable. It was all down to a variable I declared but never initialised. Those of us who know C, know that a newly declared variable will contain junk until assigned a value. The knock on effect was inexplicable crashes all over the shop. Duuurrrrrr!
26th February 1999
Why oh why does Skool Daze keep on throwing up SIGSEV errors!!! Spent the last week fixing two totally zonky bugs. Now they're fixed another one has appeared for no apparant reason. Aaarrghhhh! Fear not, there's plenty of fight left in me yet. On the plus side though, all the kiddywinks are now clever enough to stroll into there lessons and take a seat. The day starts and ends with all the kids shooting off at home time. If it weren't for these annoying errors things would be flying along now. Most of the hard work has been done now and any new functionality is proving fairly simple to implement. The school map is virtually complete but only as a black and white outline image. Screen shots should hopefully be available soon when Graham's splashed some colour around.
13th February 1999
Things are picking up again now! Started off by having to rewrite the algorithm that calculates a route from one part of the school to another as the original code was a little restricting. The routine is written but it's not part of the main code yet, that's the next task. Also, I've just started to split the game up into seperate days. Not sure what's going to happen at the end of each day yet! Any suggestions welcomed?
15th January 1999
Not back up to full speed yet but I have been tinkering about with a few bits and bobs just to get the feel of things again. I've added four screen modes so the game can be played in colour or black and white on a normal screen or that pseudo TV thing you find on certain emulators (every scan line missed).
28th December 1998
With Christmas and a new house to cope with there has been bugger all work done on Skool Daze. Just thought I'd mention that so people know I'm still alive. Things will pick up again a few weeks into the new year. Happy new year!
9th December 1998
I'm pleased to report that I've broken through a tough physcological (spelling?) barrier in finally getting round to tackling the simple intelligence that each character possesses. It's not too difficult now that I've started but it was just a case of getting stuck in and keeping the momentum up. Angel Face is currently acting like a teacher by wondering into school, making his way to the science lab and telling his little cherubs to sit down. Having done that he then paces up and down the classroom waiting for the bell to ring out. Shame there's no bell yet!
Sadly though, things are now temporarily on hold as I pack up my worldly goods in preparation for my house move. I reckon normal service will be resumed during my time off work over Xmas. Please stay tuned...
1st December 1998
Only minimal progress over the last few days and probably for the next few weeks. I plan to get shit loads done over Christmas as I will finally have time off work which means long Skool Daze sessions between beer and sleep. I'm still receiving mails of support which is great. Everyone will get a mention in the standard scrolly message type thing. Stay tuned...
17th November 1998
All the characters are now present from the original plus Albert the caretaker. All the other pupils have their own names taken from everyone whose contacted me on anything to do with the game. The school layout is looking superb and growing. On a slightly more technical note, Eric the object no longer exists! He is now plain old Kid. I'm currently halfway through a rather large code restructuring exercise to drastically improve the overall object orientated direction of the code. Finally, I've made another attempt to contact Dave Reedy, the author of the original game. If anyone reading this has any leads then please let me know.
11th November 1998
It's time to start coding how the game will be structured. Things will be based on a five day week with the everyone going home at the end of each day. Each day will consist of 4 lessons seperated by playtime and dinnertime. Graham 'Graphics' Goring has scrapped his first incarnation of the skool and started from scratch. Aaarrgghh! No panic though, the new version oozes promise. Also received some bit of demo music from Matt Simmonds and it's excellent. In the meantime, coding is progressing a little slower than I would have hoped due to other things like buying a house, working the past five weekends!!!!, playing football and indulging myself in REM's latest album. Go and buy it now because it's beautiful.
28th October 1998
With a fully functioning Eric, loads of kids and Mr Rockett and Mr Withit walking the corridors things are looking fine and dandy. It's time to tackle what will probably be the trickiest part to do, giving the kids and teachers a level of intelligence. I've already jumped the first hurdle by coding a routing algorithm so the characters can figure out how to get from one part of the school to another. Now the characters need to work out for themselves where they want to go and why they want to go there!
20th October 1998
It's back to all systems go after changing the graphics routines. Eric is getting cleverer by the day with his list of abilities nearly up to that of the original game. The change in graphics technique will mean the school backdrop can be drawn freely as one large image. Graham Goring is on the case!
14th October 1998
Just downloaded DJGPP and Allegro and it appears to be absolutely wonderful. Therefore, Skool Daze production will be minimal over the next few days as I get to grips with this heaven sent graphics/sound library. Don't panic, it's for the best in the long run. Once I've found my feet on DJGPP, Skool Daze will be full steam ahead.
11th October 1998
Oh dear! Time to rip out the VGA routines and start again.
7th October 1998
Decided to keep a public diary of how things are going. Put in three entries to bring things up to date. I'll probably add to the diary every week or so.
5th October 1998
After ironing out a few creases and re-structuring parts of the code I've decided to go public on the game to gauge people's opinions. Uploaded a simple web page with an option to download the game so far. The response is fantastic. Thanks to everyone who replied. Loads of suggestions and offers of help.
26th September 1998
After a few days of tinkering about with bits of code things have taken shape quite nicely. Eric is back!!! For the background graphics I've opted for an 8x8 tiled map. Shit loads of tiles but perhaps the optimum resolution. My first priority was to keep the feel of the game as close to the original as possible. Eric can now walk, jump, hit and sit just like he does in the Speccy version. Getting Eric to walk up and down stairs proved to be the first tricky bit of coding. Got it to work by placing an invisible code layer over the map which also controls where Eric can sit and where the walls are (so far!).
18th September 1998
Posted a message to CSS to find out what Speccy game people would like to see remade on the PC. Nearly everyone that replied suggested Skool Daze. I'd thought about it in the past but the task always seemed a little too daunting. However, with such an amazing response for one single game how could I choose anything else!!! And so began my most ambitious project to date.