If you haven't been searching for Easter eggs yet on this Easter morning, we have one for you: the fourth entry of the MRC MEGA-Challenge: Montana John and the Templar's Treasure, a platform adventure! Infinite's original plan was to create this game within one month for MSXdev'07, and while a very large part of the game was done during that deadline, bugs and unpolished content made Infinite decide to instead make it a polished MEGA challenge entry. A few weeks later, most of the game was ready and demonstrated on the MSX Fair in Nijmegen (now 2 months ago). Recently a few more details have been added, and as a result of that the ROM is now completely crammed with content.

The game, an SCC MegaROM for MSX2, is a platform adventure which merges gameplay from The Goonies and Usas while also hinting towards a famous movie character. While the game is an MSX2 game, the MSXdev'07 part of its history implicates that the game could as well run with the MSXdev'07 specifications, being a bare MSX1 with 64KB RAM. Naturally, an MSX2 (or an MSX1 with a V9938) with SCC is still the preferred configuration.

While the SCC chip plays a major role in the overall quality of the game, the production was plagued by that very same chip. This game's musical style exposed a major flaw in the SCC chip, causing the formal requirements to be somewhat different than you might expect: for flawless music on a real MSX, the game requires an SCC-I chip, like the ones in The Snatcher and SD-Snatcher. For emulators however, a normal SCC will do. For most people this would mean that the optimal way to play this game would be in an emulator.

pub.unreal64.net/boor/mjttmrc2.png

With little over three months of development time to go we expect to receive much more entries so if you would like to get your hands on one of the free 1chipMSX computers you'd better start developing your entry or entries, had you not already done so. There are three disciplines (MSX2 game, 64x48 pixel limitation and history-theme) in which you can join, so there should be a fun challenge for every MSX developer out there. Full information on the challenge rules and disciplines can be found right here.

You can send in your entries to mega@msx.org until June 27th, 2008, 23:59 CET. For now, happy adventuring with Montana John!

Relevant link: Montana John and the Templar's Treasure

Comments (130)

By [D-Tail]

Ascended (8250)

[D-Tail]'s picture

23-03-2008, 14:09

Really a great game with superb music, gfx and animations! Every MSX user should download this one! LOL!

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

23-03-2008, 14:41

Congratz guys! Another great game! Of course, next time we'll see a screen 5 production from Infinite!

By Oscar

Guardian (581)

Oscar's picture

23-03-2008, 14:54

Fantastic game! I hope the game will be released in cartridge

By Whizzy

Master (208)

Whizzy's picture

23-03-2008, 15:48

Marvellous game, only im running on RuMSX (for the moment) but how to use the Key ?

By [D-Tail]

Ascended (8250)

[D-Tail]'s picture

23-03-2008, 15:59

Using a key is dead easy:
yellow: walk over a chest to get its contents
green: walk to a door or exit to open it.

By Manuel

Ascended (18162)

Manuel's picture

23-03-2008, 16:14

Isn't that in the manual? Wink

By guantxip

Paragon (1600)

guantxip's picture

23-03-2008, 16:46

Great game (I love the music). Congratulations!

You must study the animation of Montana's jump exaggerating the position of arms and legs (take a look in Goonies or Galious). This little thing can get better the game a lot. (sorry for the english).

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

23-03-2008, 17:36

As for a physical release, this will only happen when the game is shipped with an SCC-I chip or when someone makes a new chip which acts like a bug-free SCC, a cheap CPLD could be such a chip (which is a small FPGA).

By hap

Paragon (2038)

hap's picture

23-03-2008, 17:48

Nice and polished game, good music Smile

physical release: or, if not too pricy, 2 SCC's on 1 cart? with slight modifications to the music engine (ch4&5 writes to SCC2 1&2 instead.. and 1 bonus channel ;p)

*edit* yes, cheap FPGA is a better option

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

23-03-2008, 17:58

With the 1chipMSX being spread, and thus with ppl learning VHDL, don't you think it'll be a more structured solution when ppl create a cheap SCC-like CPLD?

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

23-03-2008, 19:07

Using two SCCs is probably a more realistic solution indeed. The upside of this is that you would have 2x 4 channels, if desired in full stereo too! Big smile

By PingPong

Prophet (3768)

PingPong's picture

23-03-2008, 19:16

This is unclear to me: some one stated "it's a msx2 game but runs also on msx1". I've verified on bluemsx and msx1 brasilian machine.
Runs, perfectly. So why the sentence "it's a msx2 game...... ". This is a 100% msx1 game. The only diff i can see is the palette.

The entire game runs on screen 2. It's screen 2 a v9938 mode only? (of course no!)

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

23-03-2008, 19:22

There are 3 differences on MSX2:
- Palette, not just the same colors with a different RGB value, but also extra (darker) colors
- extra shades in the tiles (see e.g. the title), so technically these tiles are different in their structure.
- scrolling when a block hits the floor, and later on you'll see scrolling for other parts.

The visual quality is so much better on MSX2 that I want this game to live its life as an MSX2 game. The only reason this game works on MSX1 is because it started out as MSXdev'07 entry on december the 1st, 2007. Tongue

Likewise with the music: I'd like it to live its life as an SCC game, even when there is -inferior- PSG-only music.

*added to that*, most of the levels survive rather well on the old TMS, but last week I've added level 7 (Spiders Lair) which doesn't work out too well on MSX1. Again, see it and treat it as an MSX2 game, the fact that it runs on MSX1 in a skimmed-down fashion is rather a bonus for the MSX1-fetishists... Tongue Tongue

By Latok

msx guru (3836)

Latok's picture

23-03-2008, 19:31

I tried loading the ROM on my turboR with LOADROM, but without success Sad........Then I tried loading the ROM on my 1chipMSX and it works GREAT Big smile And what a game! Thx Infinite SmileSmile

By PingPong

Prophet (3768)

PingPong's picture

23-03-2008, 19:45

@wolf: if you want to consider this a msx2 game, maybe on msx2 machine the use of sc4 will be better, to avoid the usual sprite flickering...Tongue

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

23-03-2008, 19:55

There was something which made it impossible within the structure we designed, need to check again, but prolly sprite/rotation related.

By sunrise

Paragon (1091)

sunrise's picture

23-03-2008, 21:33

@Sonic , two SCC-I or normal SCC

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5880)

NYYRIKKI's picture

23-03-2008, 21:56

Wow, what a game!

... have to get back to playing... Wink

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

23-03-2008, 22:37

@Sonic , two SCC-I or normal SCCTwo normal SCCs that would be. The SCC-I works fine, so you'd only need one... (but it would no longer be stereo ofcoz)

By SLotman

Paragon (1238)

SLotman's picture

24-03-2008, 02:06

Nice game! I specially like the background graphics, and all the small animations in it Smile

The only thing I could point out, would be to set it on screen 4, and use the MSX2 sprite coloring capabilities to improve it even more (one place where it could be used is on stones being pushed... since they change from shape to sprite when pushed, some colors disappear while pushing; with MSX2 sprite mode this could be avoided)

But a very nice game indeed, congratulations Smile

By Vampier

Prophet (2385)

Vampier's picture

24-03-2008, 05:54

It's a great game! The dev team went the extra mile to make sure there is an ingenious system in this game which prevents me from training it Smile Evil

I've been playing it quite a lot.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6550)

ARTRAG's picture

24-03-2008, 10:13

greetings, imho this is one of the very rare examples of msx1/msx2 games
musics are great!!!!!!!!!!!!
the scc is exploited to its limits
congratz!

By Edwin

Paragon (1182)

Edwin's picture

24-03-2008, 11:35

About using SC4. At some point this was investigated, but eventually dropped. Basically two problems with it. The first is performance. Updating sprite colours in SC4 takes quite a lot more time than it does in SC2. This would like cause some stuttering here and there. Also, there are currently 4 sprites blocking the score panel so that the player/lift sprites disappear when the move into that area. In SC4 that would have to be 8, which we couldn't spare anymore.

By konamiman

Paragon (1143)

konamiman's picture

24-03-2008, 12:22

There is no SCC music for me. I put the game on a MegaFlash cartridge in one slot, then an SCC cartridge in another slot (I have tested with a SD Snatcher and with a Nemesis 2), and I get only PSG sound. Am I doing something wrong? Question (I have a Turbo-R ST, by the way)

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

Ivan's picture

24-03-2008, 12:23

Now I'm in the Red Temple. Is it possible to save a game?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

24-03-2008, 12:40

Ivan: no savegames, but the password stores the level, hp, exp, and player level, so you can always restart the level with the current state. After you exit a game, go to the password section in the main menu: there's your password.

Otherwise, BlueMSX has savestates.. Hannibal

By Edwin

Paragon (1182)

Edwin's picture

24-03-2008, 12:52

Konamiman> sounds like a valid configuration. It *should* detect any scc in any slot. The SD snatcher one is obviously the one you really want. Any more info? Expanders? Slot order? Any additional hardware?
Also, do you get the PSG only music or the PSG channels from the SCC music? (if you still hear the drums, it is the PSG part of the SCC music)

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5587)

JohnHassink's picture

24-03-2008, 13:08

Also, cool SCC-instruments! The harpsichords, the piano sounds etc... Outstanding use of the chip's possibilities.

They are quite 1:1 the FM-Pac voices.., just like the clarinet and a couple o' Microcabin voices Tongue

*sorry*, I did it again! (wolf) I edited instead of replied ^_^, sorry sir ^2 Tongue Canyou edit your msg back? ^_________^

By konamiman

Paragon (1143)

konamiman's picture

24-03-2008, 13:09

MegaFlash on slot 1, SCC on slot 2, or vice versa; nothing else connected to the computer. I think I'm getting the PSG version of the music, since it is the same sound as when I do not plug any SCC cartridge at all. Maybe do I need to use any additional switch when loading the ROM with OPF? It automatically detects a "Konami SCC" type ROM.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

24-03-2008, 13:15

Also, cool SCC-instruments! The harpsichords, the piano sounds etc... Outstanding use of the chip's possibilities.

They are quite 1:1 the FM-Pac voices.., just like the clarinet and a couple o' Microcabin voices Tongue

By Edwin

Paragon (1182)

Edwin's picture

24-03-2008, 13:39

Konamiman> You have almost the same setup as me, except that I have a MegaFlashROM SCC. But if I put my Nemesis2 cart in Slot 1 and the FlashROM in slot 2, then it detects the Nemesis2 SCC. At this time I don't see a reason why it shouldn't detect yours.

Anyone else with this problem?

By shaiwa

Champion (384)

shaiwa's picture

24-03-2008, 13:48

One word, wauw .... impressive and i've just started teh game.
Great use of the scc right from the beginning. Can't wait to hear them all.

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5587)

JohnHassink's picture

24-03-2008, 13:52

@Wolf, yeah, how come the drums in the Red Temple music remind me so of Xak? Tongue

BTW: Password? Sh%t... Shocked!

By poke-1,170

Paragon (1763)

poke-1,170's picture

24-03-2008, 16:50

cool SCC voices indeed ! there are a lot of different sounds I hadn't heard before, music is very well done.
I must say that second renaissance temple is a bitch Tongue

By PingPong

Prophet (3768)

PingPong's picture

24-03-2008, 18:31

>Edwin: About sc4. It's surprising me that there is no time to update the sprite attribute table, basically for these reasons:
1) the game is similar to Goonies. Goonies is so much less CPU intensive that the entire game logic runs on each interrupt. No need to split game logic in more than 1 int.
2) On a msx2 one can update the sprite attribute table EVEN in active area basically doing some sort of double buffering so no reason to jerky movements
3) the msx2 VDP does not impose slow vram updates as the TMS.

So really i cannot find any reason that can justify a so small available CPU time. What's the most CPU intensive task in montana, the SCC handling?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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24-03-2008, 18:45

Our SCCPSG player is heavier than the MB-Wave player.. Tongue

Feature-wise, our player is actually a mod-kinda player..

By KNM

Master (172)

KNM's picture

24-03-2008, 18:55

Another infinity game,yeah!Some things to say :

* Good playability,but grafx should be better.I found it a bit simple.It looks "weak" for MSX2,less for MSX1.

* Music : As always,Wolf´s exhibition is magnificent.And this time taking some risks musically speaking,packing the graphic enviroment with unusual musical tunes and textures on MSX games,creating some nice atmospheres.Listening a bit some parts of the intro and the main theme,for the ear trained,can be recongnized some influences of the first years of Genesis ( specially The Fountain Of Salamcis and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway ),and some "Williamz"obvius rythm bass touches on the first block of the main theme.Very nice "genesis again" break on the main theme Wink .

Ant the music "on-game",some times is too big compared with the visual aspect.But,as I said before,a musical risk for our "konami-arcade-conservative ears",but released with excelency!

Gonna play a little bit more !! :

KNM Running Naked in a Field of FlowersRunning Naked in a Field of FlowersRunning Naked in a Field of Flowers

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

24-03-2008, 19:38

( specially The Fountain Of Salamcis and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway )

Who? What? Hannibal

Isn't John Williams' "Indiana Jones" the more obvious answer here? ^_^

g.efg.c...g.c.g.a.....gfg.......
  ^^^.^

Those who've finished the game, did the transition from demo to credits remind you of "Scherzo for Motorcycles" from IJ: The Last Crusade? ^_^

+ I think the spooky/odd scales/bassruns are actually Danny Elfman style.

Really, if you try to analyze my tunes, your first start should be film music!

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

24-03-2008, 19:51

Overall its a great game, congrats to Infinite! Some feedback (some already mentioned):

- The music is fantastic. Its really the selling point of the game. Good variation, well balanced and works well with the game. Music is way better than old Konami games.

- Background GFX is very nice, its high quality all over. I especially like the caves. The MSX2 palette really works well here.

- Story is classic but good. I'm still working on pushing stones back and forth but I hope to get pass that soon. I hope the rest of the game gives new challenges.

- Animations of enemies are quite average. They work but they don't add to the overall quality of the game.

- The GFX of the main character is really poor and actually makes the game less fun to play. Since you're focused on the main character a lot, I think this is the weakest point of the game. There is a good adventure game for NES that i kindof similar (don't remember the name) with an excellent main character. I wish he was here too.

By Edwin

Paragon (1182)

Edwin's picture

24-03-2008, 19:54

1) the game is similar to Goonies. Goonies is so much less CPU intensive that the entire game logic runs on each interrupt. No need to split game logic in more than 1 int.

Except that you can't change the sprite colour in the sprite attribute table in SC4. You need to do that in the 512 byte sprite colour table.

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

24-03-2008, 20:08

We added SC4 support in Lotus F3 late in the development and it wasn't that hard to do. The sprite colors is of course the big issue. I guess we were lucky because we maintained a full RAM copy of the SAT so it wasn't too hard to take the color info and put it in the sprite color table instead. It does of course require more CPU but not that much.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

24-03-2008, 20:40

dvik:

The main player has 2 sprites on a row, never 3 or 4, there are creative limits as for how many sprites one can dedicate to something. In a way we were lucky the enemies had simple colors by nature.. saves some colors and thus the need for layered sprites. Think of it, a skeleton is white, so 1 color will do, a ghost is also usually white/transparent'ish, so 1 color will do. A bat is usually dark, and the darkest color on MSX1 is blue (4), A spider doesn't have much colors, but I liked yellow here..

Do keep in mind it's screen 2 all the way eh! If we knew at forehand we were to miss dev7 we may have started things differently, heck, maybe even screen 5 with less moving things. Tho lately I'm quite handy with pattern mode drawing so I wouldn't mind making gfx that way.

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

24-03-2008, 20:50

@wolf_: Its not really the colors that bothers me, its how the main character looks and moves that I don't like that much. If the music and background gfx wasn't so good I wouldn't have complained. But now the main character sticks out as ugly and poorly animated compared to the overall feeling of the game. The enemies works fine I guess, they aren't just adding anything extra to the overall graphical feel of the game. My point is that the character animations aren't the strong part of the game.

By KNM

Master (172)

KNM's picture

24-03-2008, 21:07

@Wolf_ : Who? What?

Isn't John Williams' "Indiana Jones" the more obvious answer here? ^_^

g.efg.c...g.c.g.a.....gfg.......
^^^.^

Those who've finished the game, did the transition from demo to credits remind you of "Scherzo for Motorcycles" from IJ: The Last Crusade? ^_^

+ I think the spooky/odd scales/bassruns are actually Danny Elfman style.

Really, if you try to analyze my tunes, your first start should be film music!

---

Indeed!just finished the game a while ago and have perceived more film references in some melodies - you´re right in "scherzo",reminds quite a bit - but I was focusing my views since harmony point of view.I reccomend you to listen to Genesis records of Peter Gabriel´s and Steve Hackett´s Era on early-mid 70´s and sure you will understand what are my references.Sure you´ve heard those records,but not,do it and listen Wink

By PingPong

Prophet (3768)

PingPong's picture

24-03-2008, 21:07

>Edwin: as said by dvik updating the sprite attribute table is quite cpu-intensive. But, are you sure the game need it for all sprites? i do not see too much changes in sprites colors. Plus switching to sc4 maybe makes useless the sprite rotating routine ( is there one?) due to the low numbers of sprites on screen and the more available (8) sprites on scanline in sc4.... may be?

By hap

Paragon (2038)

hap's picture

24-03-2008, 21:16

Its not really the colors that bothers me, its how the main character looks and moves that I don't like that much.Hmm, the only animation I'm not too fond of is the jump frame. The kicks (high front kick, low side kick) are good, including the arm positions. This is about as good as you can do unless you're a pixel art expert like these guys .

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

Ivan's picture

24-03-2008, 21:19

Just reached the Renaissance. The Red Temple was harder than I thought!

I agree with dvik that the main character is the weakest point of the game (it is quite ugly and I don't like its movements, enemies are way better characterized and animated). Another minor issue: you can hardly distinguish the o and the zero in the password menu (just use a slashed zero!).

An excellent game anyway! Smile

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

24-03-2008, 21:30

An excellent game anyway!
Fully agree !

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

24-03-2008, 21:35

Funny, the main character has never bothered me, and I consider myself a major sucker for those details. Btw, the high kick and low kick were pixeled after 2 karate poses from internet, the high kick being some cranebird kick or something.. Tongue

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (116)

anonymous's picture

24-03-2008, 23:22

I've only made a quick test of the game on blueMSX. In a few days I'll be able to test it on the MegaFlashSCC on a real MSX. These are my first impressions, which I think are similar to those exposed by other people. First... I love platform games, more if they are also adventure games. Thus, good point for Montana John!

About music, I've only listened the intro music, the music of the starting area and the one of the first cave. It sounds good. I am not an expert on this subject, but it also seems to me that, technically, it is a very good job and captures a misterious atmosphere. I like more "clear" melodies, thus, I hope later in the game there will be also these kind of musics. Wolf talks about John Williams, so, that's a good reference Smile. Of course, I'm worried about the problems mentioned about the SCC music when running on a real MSX, but I have not tested it yet.

About graphics, what I have seen seems to be correct. Background graphics are fine. It is not the typical MSX style, it somehow remembers me the graphics of Phantomas Saga Infinity. The background animations are smooth, that's great for sure. The player animation, as well as the enemies animations and even explosions are also smooth. Good!. My main concern is regarding to the player sprite, as somebody else pointed. It seems so simple. Like the Goonies main character is, right. But graphics of Montana John are more detailed than those of Goonies, so, Montana sprite seems to be, in contrast to the background graphics, too simple.

About programming, my first impression is that the game is very polished.

About the playability... I can not say anything now, as I have only tested the game a few minutes.

For short, my first impression is good. Graphics (except for the player) and music are fine, and the game seems polished. I should play a bit more to evaluate the playability, but I think I'll wait until I can test it on my real MSX. Nothing compares to playing an MSX game on an MSX ;-)

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

Ivan's picture

25-03-2008, 00:28

Now I'm in The Great Hall (level 6). This level seems to be a bit tricky.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

25-03-2008, 00:30

When you know where everything is, and you make no mistakes, then you can finish TGH in about 8 minutes!

By [D-Tail]

Ascended (8250)

[D-Tail]'s picture

25-03-2008, 01:02

I reckon I can do faster Tongue

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

25-03-2008, 01:06

Without F9 ? Hannibal

By viejo_archivero

Paragon (1395)

viejo_archivero's picture

25-03-2008, 07:24

Hey, nice surprise, I missed this major release! Well done again, Infinite. This game has got it all to be a winner. Nice musics and nice graphics: although, as some others have pointed it, sprite graphics are a bit poor compared to the rich backgrounds, that are really outstanding: wolfie, your screen2 skills are really neat, but keep an eye on your sprite work. Some tile graphics seem to be done faster, as the chest for example, and imho do not fit the richs backgrounds...

But anyway, those are details: the maps seem to be well designed and the game plays really well: thumbs up for the polishing of the game, although I must slap you around a bit for not creating the intro stills using patterns and sprites... the first one, with the man and the cross in shadow, could have been perfectly done by using black sprites!

Well, the relevant thing here is that we have another Infinite hit: so cheers and congrats to everyone involved, as this one seems to be a really really solid MRC Mega Challenge entry! Congratulations! (now it's time to announce it at Karoshi Forums!)

By ro

Scribe (4483)

ro's picture

25-03-2008, 09:58

This is about as good as you can do unless you're a pixel art expert like these guys .
Wow, Hap! About the best link I've visited in months, thanx!
(haven't even tried montana yet, I was too darn impressed with those dot-artists.. )

By Pac

Scribe (6412)

Pac's picture

25-03-2008, 10:29

At last I've played. For me the musics are really great, I can feel its
atmosphere...Shocked!

By ro

Scribe (4483)

ro's picture

25-03-2008, 10:31

Right, booted the ROM, checked the intro and played until temple one.

> Sound, mkay. cool
> SFX, mmmm, dunno.
> GFX, mkay. So far, nice. The mainsprite; well, I have to agree it's not the best job done. Should work better with an "outline" sprite. That sprite can also be used for more black. Or leave some more space in the sprite. It's too solid. The jump move is hilarious just like the "ladder/climb "move , 'com on Wolf, fix that. I like how the mainchar moves over obstacles (like a bridge etc), good job there Edwin. The bats; same story as the mainchar, too solid. The intro screen is lame... (sorry Wolf, keep making music and let someone else do the gfx.. well atleast one extra person wouldn't hurt.)
The "treasure chest" is a bit poor, I didn't recognize it at first...
> playability, so far excellent.
Hope the game gets more exiting while progressing, so far (I've only played 5 mins) it's pretty boring. Maybe some extra SFX would spice it up (rolling the boulders, jump, fall, etc)

I'd like to see the HP/EXP visually (bars) instead of text, if possible.

But, overall it seems like a winner. Hope there will be some updates to fix those little buggers.
btw, did ye write a new SCC/PSG replayer (using existing tracker?) ? it's kewl. Also nice to 'ave those Konami music FX on board. There's much Nemesis/SD-snatcher-ish sounds.

.. back to playing, hope I'll find some treasures.... Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

25-03-2008, 10:38

sprite graphics are a bit poor compared to the rich backgrounds
There's only so much one can do with sprites.. I say, show me better ones within the restrictions of the game, while *not* having maps with *less* sprites per screen. Just for the fun of it, make some in photoshop, and make sure the player is 16x24 with max 2 sprites on a row and max 3 sprites for the player, for all poses/phases.
as the chest for example, and imho do not fit the richs backgrounds...
??
I though the chest was fairly well given the screen 2 limits, really. If you feel like it: gimme a 2-tile chest you'd approve on.. Tongue
I must slap you around a bit for not creating the intro stills using patterns and sprites... the first one, with the man and the cross in shadow, could have been perfectly done by using black sprites!
Now that was one picture that worked perfectly well if you ask me, I've completely no impression sprites had to be put there. Besides sprites are present in the title (shadows) and it was *extremely hard* to get it all right. Note that I first made the word 'Montana John' and decided it could use shadows afterwards. I was lucky the title was bent a bit so that the sprites would be spread across the title's height instead of its width. Anyway sprites were hard. Not only in photoshop (which is a terrible app for pixel work), but also because our image system is completely based on tiles. Even our sprites are tiles made in photoshop and loaded into sprite mem, and so all the title sprites had to be redrawn in polka again. It was so easy to make a mistake of a pixel somewhere in that process.

Anyway, these are all details. What I find strange is that no-one has so far mentioned the things that really bug me (there are some!), instead people mention things that completely don't bug me at all. That's so strange about some of these replies! Tongue Do we live in another universe or something? Tongue

By ro

Scribe (4483)

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25-03-2008, 10:39

(excuse while I was editing some more while you posted your post.)

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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25-03-2008, 10:46

> GFX, mkay. So far, nice. The mainsprite; well, I have to agree it's not the best job done. Should work better with an "outline" sprite. That sprite can also be used for more black. Or leave some more space in the sprite. It's too solid.
There is no black in the palette, only color 0 is black, which can't be used as black sprite. But apart from that, that'd require an extra sprite which I didn't want to spend on it (would become 3-on-a-row). More space would have to be done with color 0, which would make it much more of a look-through sprite, like those in MoG. Not my taste.

(sorry Wolf, keep making music and let someone else do the gfx.. well atleast one extra person wouldn't hurt.)
Haven't you noticed there's a shortage of gfx'ians in the scene? But, since you've drawn your bit in history: show me -for instance- a player sprite using 3 sprites, 2 on a row max for all poses, and not too transparent! Keep in mind this is screen 2, not screen 4!

> playability, so far excellent.
Hope the game gets more exiting while progressing, so far (I've only played 5 mins) it's pretty boring.

First 2 levels are about getting used to the movements etc.

btw, did ye write a new SCC/PSG replayer (using existing tracker?) ? it's kewl. Also nice to 'ave those Konami music FX on board. There's much Nemesis/SD-snatcher-ish sounds.

It's all tracked in Impulse Tracker, so it's essentially like mod-format (per step: note, instrument, volume, effect, effectparameter). Sounds are mainly the essential Konami sounds and some FM-Pac/Microcabin sounds.

I'd like to see the HP/EXP visually (bars) instead of text, if possible.
Not possible, no tiles left in crammed levels like for instance the last one..

In general there's little space to add stuff, in each bank it's tens of bytes that are left.. this ROM is really filled to the edge..

By ro

Scribe (4483)

ro's picture

25-03-2008, 11:12

yeah, screen 2 is hard I know. But, like in MOG, I do like transparent sprites way more than your solid blocks of meat.
I've dun some serious GFX too, indeed, and always enjoyed it (sometimes even more than coding). rarely dun scr2 stuff so hell yeah, I should shut up and try my self. lez boot up photoshop.. (I hate doing pixels in PS)

I notices SFX are mainly SCC, and I don't like it that much. Maybe I should do some SFX for ye, I've dun my share over the last decade... last SFX were for bombaman IIRC.

BTW, that "man" (let's call'm Luke).... Is Luke the same man as the mainchar? In the intro he's wearing a hat.. like Indiana Jones did. Should spice up your mainchar (but you prolly refused to since it's korny , eh)

By ro

Scribe (4483)

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25-03-2008, 11:16

btw. congrats with finally finishing Luke Joe!
It's always great to see some Infinite products getting released. Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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25-03-2008, 11:21

SFX are sometimes scc+psg ('ouch', bridge blow-up, enemy kills, etc.), sometimes psg-only (kicks, gem-in-door etc.). Didn't want more sfx for e.g. rolling a boulder as they'd eat up music channels. Unlike Konami, the music here is really 5+3 with channel-stealing for sfx (which are btw truly multichannel). In sfx like e.g. that block hitting the floor, there's some low-freq stuff on SCC to make an extra thud impact.

By ro

Scribe (4483)

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25-03-2008, 12:39

gheh, I just noticed.. luke IS wearing a "hat" (sort of)
Wolf, could you share your palette? I'd love to have a go at a sprite...just for fun

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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25-03-2008, 12:44

It's basically an MSX1 palette on MSX2.

00: black/transparent
01: custom
02: 2 5 1
03: 3 6 2
04: 2 2 6
05: 3 3 7
06: 6 2 2
07: custom
08: 7 2 2
09: 7 3 3
10: 6 5 2
11: 7 6 3
12: 2 4 1
13: custom
14: 5 5 5
15: white

So, for 24bit RGB: mul with 36 or so.

The custom colors are the extra shades in levels, so they can't be part of any sprite or basic graphics (items). Only in The Dark Forest did I alter some of the standard colors a bit, in order to make it appear dark (after all, it's a dark forest Tongue).

By poke-1,170

Paragon (1763)

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25-03-2008, 13:07

I don't realy think graphical limitations should be a problem, caos begins has very cute and enjoyable graphics,
so does that mole break out game (msx dev 07, forgot the name).
Another plus to add is the enemy behaviour in MJTT, I guess stuff is set on random, because the behaviour
of bats for instance isn't ever the same, so it doesn't become boring if you have to re-enter stages.
Oh and of course music plays a role in the skeleton's movements Smile

By viejo_archivero

Paragon (1395)

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25-03-2008, 14:26


There's only so much one can do with sprites.. I say, show me better ones within the restrictions of the game, while *not* having maps with *less* sprites per screen. Just for the fun of it, make some in photoshop, and make sure the player is 16x24 with max 2 sprites on a row and max 3 sprites for the player, for all poses/phases.


??
I though the chest was fairly well given the screen 2 limits, really. If you feel like it: gimme a 2-tile chest you'd approve on..

Fine, I'll give it a try but I'll send my results to you in private, I don't want to be the know-it-all pixeling dude telling people what to do or not. I just think they could have been better, that's all Wink, and the chest too Wink. But anyway, the game is just great!

By ro

Scribe (4483)

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25-03-2008, 14:40

too bad Viejo.... why don't we open a Pixel Art forum thread for that!

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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25-03-2008, 15:12

You can always open whatever gfx topic in for instance 'general discussion' or 'development'. We're reshaping MRC atm (well not aTm), and there may be quite some more forum sections in the future.. needs to be discussed still, but ..uhm.. I think it'll work out well.. Tongue

By Huey

Prophet (2675)

Huey's picture

25-03-2008, 16:19

After reading the reactions I'm eager to give it a try this evening.
I already played it a few seconds and it looks like a very good and solid game.
The main character animations and jump did made me frown my eyebrows a bit. But in the end its all about gameplay and fun. Trust me it is hard to make good main character gfx.

It is fun to see that our project has a lot of similar gameplay elements which are implemented in a different way.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6550)

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25-03-2008, 17:09

lh5.google.com/ragozini/R-kjfCerBlI/AAAAAAAABHQ/XWMqR68CtnM/s144/MJTT_0000.png

The hat of the main character in this picture is very nice, but totally different by the one he wears in the game.
It would be great to have some close resemblance between this picture and the "in game" main character.

By poke-1,170

Paragon (1763)

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25-03-2008, 18:40

oh no I mean that's just montana's outdoor outfit.
You don't wear the same clothes every day either now do you ? Wink
Montana always had a huge wardrobe, as I recollect from the various encounters that I had with him (6 hours of craptalk later...)

By sinus

Expert (82)

sinus's picture

25-03-2008, 19:19

Skeletons synchronised on music! Always these little details that kill me!! And look at their faces! Tongue
Thanks for this beautiful product, masterpiece overall. Sound atmosphere is just perfect, still improvable or not, the whole is very well polished.
Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By GhostwriterP

Hero (619)

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25-03-2008, 19:36

LOL!

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (116)

anonymous's picture

25-03-2008, 20:55

Nice explanation about the hat of the character LOL!

Anyway... I have to say that, after reading the title of the game (Montana John) and seeing the intro graphic I thought the main character was a Cowboy LOL!

One little thing... I've just player Montana John for a couple of minutes on blueMSX using the MSX2+ configuration and the SCC+ on slot 2. I reached the first stage where you have to get gems to open the door. I collected the three gems and then, I went to the door. The door opened and... the game hanged there. Any idea about this problem?

By guantxip

Paragon (1600)

guantxip's picture

25-03-2008, 20:59

Wolf, only you have to modify 2 animations: jump and jump-right. You've got nothing to lose. Exaggerate the positions of arms and legs.
The normal jump hasn't movement. It's the same position. Open arms and separate the legs!!! The trick is set feet in the extreme of 16x16 pixels and join the legs with the body.

The character is simple but it isn't important, don't worry for that. Wink

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6550)

ARTRAG's picture

26-03-2008, 15:34

A new contest in the contest:

BEST MAIN CHARACTER ANIMATIONS!!!

LOL!LOL!

By guantxip

Paragon (1600)

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26-03-2008, 18:25

Very good ARTRAG!!!!LOL!

Main character is the soul of the game. You need indentify with him if you really want play the game.

By ro

Scribe (4483)

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26-03-2008, 19:36

So euh, only_69... made a map yet? Tongue

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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26-03-2008, 19:40

so euh, ro... made an alternative player yet? Tongue

By guantxip

Paragon (1600)

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26-03-2008, 20:23

wolf, I will help you with the animation of the character if you are interested.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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26-03-2008, 20:33

nah, *if* I choose to update it, I'll manage. Tnx anyway

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

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28-03-2008, 23:43

Now I'm in level 7 (The Spiders Lair). Awesome game wolf!

By GhostwriterP

Hero (619)

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29-03-2008, 15:36

Yes!!! I've finally made it through the cave. I spended to much time on obsurving the waterfall and stars, really nicely done.Smile

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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29-03-2008, 15:49

Those stars are actually like fireflies or something. I got that inspiration from one of the Planet Earth episodes. In some deep caves insects are usually caught by odd predators as they fly into bio-illuminating lights (like silk webs). Hence, I decided something illuminating should be present in this cave.

By Oscar

Guardian (581)

Oscar's picture

29-03-2008, 20:06

I am playing the game and it's really cool! Great music wolf, The Dungeon rocks!

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

Ivan's picture

29-03-2008, 20:46

Now I'm in level 11 (The Pit). E-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t game, it deserves a cartridge version!

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

Ivan's picture

29-03-2008, 21:44

I've just finished the game! A-W-E-S-O-M-E, F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C, E-X-C-E-L-L-E-N-T, T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C ! ! ! ! ! Smile Smile Smile
Looking forward to next Infinite's game!!!
The game has the precise level of difficulty: not very easy a not extremely hard Smile

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

Ivan's picture

29-03-2008, 21:46

Btw, does anyone want the password for "The Treasure Chamber"? Just send some money to my PayPal account Tongue Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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29-03-2008, 22:08

with which max-HP did you end btw?

By snout

Ascended (15184)

snout's picture

29-03-2008, 23:02

Finally got around to playing the game and I really, really, really like it. Extra kudos go to the extraordinary SCC music. Finally homebrew SCC tunes that are on par with Konami quality. Job more than well done, lads 'o Infinite!

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

Ivan's picture

29-03-2008, 23:04

with which max-HP did you end btw?270 (the maximum). I got that value in level 7 (The Spiders Lair). There's a trick to get 270 on that stage: in the most bottom-left room of that stage if you go to the room next to it you can defeat a bat as many times as you want making a quick "screen-change" Smile

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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29-03-2008, 23:57

Some trivia for triviajunks:
* The idea of using the Templar theme came from reading Don Rosa's "A Letter From Home" early December.. (it's a Scrooge comic)
* Given there was 1 month of time for the dev'07 deadline, the basic game story was made up in 4 minutes, purely to have a story. No reconsidering, no tweaking, just 'ok, fine, go go go!'
* The main music theme ( @ title screen ) is the Indiana Jones theme, reshaped/souped-up into something else, but still remotely related
* The title font is the IJ movie font
* A few returning musical themes:

  • The MJ main theme appears in: the title screen, somewhat hidden in Entrance/Red Temple, The Dark Angel, The Treasure Chamber, End Credits
  • The secondary (and more sad) theme appears in: the title screen (after the main theme), End Credits, Game Over
  • The end credits reprise the waltz from the Dark Angel sequence

* The transition from sad/story to credits in the end demo is more or less based on a similar transition in the end credits of IJ: The Last Crusade
* About 37% of the ROM is music
* The skeleton/face/marching concept was a result of the first two MJTT level tunes (red-temple & renaissance), there just had to be silly visual accents Tongue
* The concept of making acts was a result of the Dark Angel's main theme reprise
* The game was 100% made on PC using cross-development and emulating. From us two, only Edwin has occasionally tested the game on a physical MSX.. :-)
* Spiders Lair was based on typical visualizations of hell, which is usually using Gothic architecture
* chao5 has made the (large) dungeons level, minus 2 screens by me
* Edwin made The Tower and The Pit, the upper screens of Temple Entrance, Ancient Prison and the Teleport jungle of The Great Hall
* Sound effects are tracked patterns on the fastest speed (in a way an alternative SEE)

By poke-1,170

Paragon (1763)

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30-03-2008, 04:31

savestating my way through, I finished it... very nice last stage and ending,
and realy excellent music there (and in the outro) as well.
Thumbs up on this one Smile

By [D-Tail]

Ascended (8250)

[D-Tail]'s picture

30-03-2008, 04:38

270 (the maximum). I got that value in level 7 (The Spiders Lair). There's a trick to get 270 on that stage: in the most bottom-left room of that stage if you go to the room next to it you can defeat a bat as many times as you want making a quick "screen-change" SmileActually, that same trick can be used in The Caves [level2], in the exit screen. In the left is a bat which you can jump-kick.

By SaebaMSX

Hero (533)

SaebaMSX's picture

30-03-2008, 12:00


* The game was 100% made on PC using cross-development and emulating. From us two, only Edwin has occasionally tested the game on a physical MSX.. :-)

Wolf, I visited a MSXer yesterday who has a Japanese MSX1 [Casio with RAM 8KB] + 1MB mapper + Megaflash SCC. We were going to play Montana there but it was impossible, the sprites (player & enemies) got corrupt. The rest of the game was working as expected. Any idea why is it happening?

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

Ivan's picture

30-03-2008, 12:07

270 (the maximum). I got that value in level 7 (The Spiders Lair). There's a trick to get 270 on that stage: in the most bottom-left room of that stage if you go to the room next to it you can defeat a bat as many times as you want making a quick "screen-change"
Actually, that same trick can be used in The Caves [level2], in the exit screen. In the left is a bat which you can jump-kick.

I didn't spot that one. I was referring to this bat: screenshot 1, screenshot 2.

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

Ivan's picture

30-03-2008, 12:14

Wolf, I visited a MSXer yesterday who has a Japanese MSX1 [Casio with RAM 8KB] + 1MB mapper + Megaflash SCC. We were going to play Montana there but it was impossible, the sprites (player & enemies) got corrupt. The rest of the game was working as expected. Any idea why is it happening?Saeba, the game needs at least an MSX2.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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30-03-2008, 12:18

uh, the game should run on any msx1 with 64k

1LOL!LOL!

By Ivan

Ascended (9298)

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30-03-2008, 12:24

uh, the game should run on any msx1 with 64kouch! Then test Saeba's configuration on openMSX to check whether it runs or not.

By Edwin

Paragon (1182)

Edwin's picture

30-03-2008, 12:32

SaebaMSX> Strange. If the game and music are working normally, then everything must be in good order. Funny you should mention both the player and enemy sprites. Because the two are not actually related in code. Storage location and processing code is completely different between player and enemies. Are you sure there's nothing else wrong?

By SaebaMSX

Hero (533)

SaebaMSX's picture

30-03-2008, 12:49

I should check it again, but the enemies got corrupted just after they started to move! Before that the bats were perfect looking and only the player was "corrupted".

Ivan, I don't know if it will fail in an emulator with that configuration, as emulators don't normally work as the video chip.

By Edwin

Paragon (1182)

Edwin's picture

30-03-2008, 16:30

That the bat would only be corrupted when it's flying is normal. It's not a sprite when it is just hanging there. Other enemies, drops, lifts and rocks while pushing are corrupted as well?
I'm really interested to know whether other things look/sound/behave out of the ordinary. Because with just the sprites I can't think of much that could cause this.

By GhostwriterP

Hero (619)

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30-03-2008, 19:53

Could be that bit 7 of reg 1, this bit needs to be set on msx 1 machines. (4/16kb bit)

By hap

Paragon (2038)

hap's picture

30-03-2008, 22:26

At least the first three levels look fine here on my MSX1 (that does have the 4K/16K "feature" ).

By SaebaMSX

Hero (533)

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31-03-2008, 10:46

It is not playable to see all these sprites (stones, bridges, etc). But as I've said, all the sprites I could see are corrupted.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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31-03-2008, 19:42

ro: got a character yet? Hannibal

By Edwin

Paragon (1182)

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01-04-2008, 00:38

If only the sprites are corrupted, you should be able to play it well enough to see those things. Did you not try that or did the game not function well enough to get there?

By SaebaMSX

Hero (533)

SaebaMSX's picture

02-04-2008, 16:38

This is not that easy, you have no player but some random skeleton sprites around (appearing and disappearing) if memory serves me well. I cannot check it now since it is not my computer. I just saw that it was not playable so we tested it in turboR!

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6550)

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03-04-2008, 13:17

BTW
why not a MJTT in screen 5 ?
just map screen 2 tiles in 8x8 blocks et voilà

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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03-04-2008, 13:48

That has already been discussed here..

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6550)

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03-04-2008, 15:45

Yes, but what is the conclusion ?
Now that you finished the work, why not "patch" it in order to make it work in screen 5 ?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

03-04-2008, 16:05

(1) no motivation to completely rebuild this thing which includes rebuilding our graphics system. This would for instance completely ruin the timing of the intro, the time it takes to start levels etc. etc. To give you an impression of things: our gfx are a hybrid of pre-designed tiles and generated/modified tiles. The latter of course is done within the context of tiles. We'll prolly do an update prior to the deadline to fix a few issues mentioned, but that's it.

(2) sc5 is too slow for all the screen action unless we'll accept a significant performance drop, which we won't.

(3) It's not that this is our last production, our next one will be an MSX2+ game with Moonsound music, and after that we're prolly going to choose between finishing up our previous Dev entry or do something new. We both want to finally do something with the G9k for a change.. Tongue So, we could spend ages on MJTT to port it to all relevant screens -if possible, which isn't-, but we rather move on.

By hap

Paragon (2038)

hap's picture

03-04-2008, 18:54

Besides, ordered by importance to most end-users:
- gameplay
- feel/atmosphere (graphics design, music, etc)
- ..
way below: graphics technical quality (like kv2 msx1 vs msx2)

send the source to ARTRAG so he can have a go at it Wink

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

04-04-2008, 21:10

I think the only thing that this game needs is a better main character. To me thats part of the atmosphere which I think suffer from the current main character. I don't see any need for screen 5. The background graphics is already fantastic Smile

By PingPong

Prophet (3768)

PingPong's picture

04-04-2008, 22:13

Yes, dvik, they are fantastic considering screen 2 limits. May also be better on sc5?

By Huey

Prophet (2675)

Huey's picture

04-04-2008, 23:41

gfx9000 even better.... but why?

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

05-04-2008, 00:54

I'd say make the game for PC instead. Then you get more colors, higher resolution and 3D acceleration and better sound quality. Maybe also rewrite the story Wink

By GhostwriterP

Hero (619)

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05-04-2008, 10:37

Or a real life action movie!

By Edwin

Paragon (1182)

Edwin's picture

05-04-2008, 12:55

You are all thinking way too small! MJTT, The Matrix is already under construction! Soon you will all be hooked up! Muhahaha!

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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05-04-2008, 13:22

Edwin obviously ran out of coffee this morning, this is what you get then.. Cool

By Imanok

Paragon (1188)

Imanok's picture

15-04-2008, 13:10

I've been out for some time and I couldn't try the game until now Smile

Overall it's a nice game... it clearly looks as it has a lot of work behind and there are some very nice and polished details (although there are some others that aren't) . I think its strong points are music and ambientation but, as some people already said, it needs some improvement at sprites design and animations.

It's a pity the SCC issue... fortunately you're still in time to fix some of the stuff before the deadline, so I wish you good luck!

Entering 'ACT II'!! Wink

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (116)

anonymous's picture

13-05-2008, 14:48

Game finished!! I enjoy a lot of playing the game.
Thanks Infinite!!

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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02-08-2008, 11:35

Soon a new release with fixes!

By Huey

Prophet (2675)

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06-08-2008, 14:44

Any info on the fixes?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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06-08-2008, 15:05

Basically minor things, the comments from this thread, a few bugs, a few map-bugs, things like that. Atm I'm working on a nicer looking PDF manual, but that would be the final thing for the new package.

By Huey

Prophet (2675)

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06-08-2008, 15:10

no new main sprite?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

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06-08-2008, 16:16

A jump sprite, but not a 'different' sprite. For reasons I've given already: I don't want added transparency, and I want to stick to 2-on-a-row max. And yes, I know you're doing your sprite stuff in a different way, so be it.. Tongue At a certain point we must go on with the next thing, one can spend ages on improving small things but that's not what we want.

By Huey

Prophet (2675)

Huey's picture

06-08-2008, 16:22

I understand. But when you talked about the 'comments' I just wanted to know for sure.
Its your game..so your choice. No prob.Running Naked in a Field of Flowers