Nesterin Trail
(full game will be available in February)

After almost six months after the demo’s release, I’ve finally finished the full game, of course using the StoryTll64 engine.

Or better, I should say that I’ve finished the full game AND I’ve changed the engine enough so to be able to have a game like that based on that engine.

Most of the engine changes are technical (I’ve switched from cc65 to oscar64 as compiler – and that required me some time but helped me to reduce player code footprint, I’ve improved several time the text compression algorithm, I’ve improved a bit also the image compression one, but mostly I’ve changed the way it works so to have a minimal decompression temp area) but some are related to the script too – for things I simply missed during the first implementation (and there still are others I should add) or for things I didn’t implement in the “best” way – even for such a simple tool.

I hope to find time to update the git release (even if in that case I must also update the demo games), but I also hope to find time to write more about it, in the unlikely case someone else wants to try to use it for his/her own game.

But for today, I simply want to say that it’s been a really long and hard journey, to go from Nesterin Trail initial idea to this full game, but the challenge has also been really rewarding. Yes, the first thing I should have learned (and I’ve not) is that trying to create a long game, with strict limits (I’ve also had problems with DISK space!) with a young engine, used just for minimal projects, is really a bad idea.

I’ve fought more against the code than against the story development and at the end I’ve cut a lot of things because I could not bypass (my) C64 memory issues (surely not without slowing down MORE the development time). I’ve spent nights debugging asm code with VICE because something didn’t work – and it was a problem related to memory overrun that happened because things were getting huge and I wasn’t exactly aware of where certain data overlapped others.

It was hard – to reach almost a crying point while trying to keep eyes opened.

But – uh – it was also FUN. I wasn’t ready or good enough for this kind of work when in the 80s I was a kid with a real C64 at home trying to create games to store on an unreliable tape. But maybe I’m now, ready to fight, even if probably still not good enough.

Anyway – I really lived in Nesterin this month – even if a Nesterin that was a fantasy setting, with a nerd technical feeling – and I really hope someone else could live there too and share this world with me, for the few hours of gameplay.

I’ll discover that soon – game’s ready but I’ve still a week to way before its release – and for a nice reason.

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