Dangerous Caves – New Game for Vintage Macintosh Computers | Update 1

Inspiration

It’s odd that anyone would want to create a new game for an old computer like the Apple Macintosh Plus.

Growing up in the 1980’s and early 90’s my family’s computer was a Macintosh SE, an updated version of the Macintosh Plus. While it was top of the line for its time, looking at it today it is the very definition of antiquated technology. A black and white 1-bit monochrome display, 1 Megabyte of RAM, two 800K floppy disk drives, and no hard drive.

In the days before my family got our very own Nintendo NES, or any other video games, our Macintosh SE was my world. Macintosh games were the first of any sort that I had ever played. Lucky for me, we had some great captivating titles such as Dark Castle, Glider, Cap’n Magneto and Shufflepuck.

Glider 4.0
1-Bit artwork by
John Calhoun

I was always amazed at the artwork in a lot of the games I would play. The handcrafted 1-bit pixel artwork by great artists like Mark Stephen Pierce or John Calhoun truly filled my mind with wonder, and in my early elementary years at school I would draw and plan different games of my own.

Beyond Dark Castle
1-Bit artwork by
Mark Stephen Pierce

I wanted to program games for our Macintosh SE very badly, but I was just a boy with no experience or guidance. I had no concept of programming or experience with artwork (outside of doodles in MacPaint), and honestly don’t think I would have been able to understand in those early years.

I did however discover HyperCard at an early age, and found it easy enough to create my own game stacks using the built-in art tools and the HyperTalk scripting language. I created many point-and-click adventure games using this software. While it was a fantastic program for working with and managing information, for developing games it was ultimately limited of what you could achieve with it.

I am by nature a very creative person. To this day I feel a constant drive to always be creating something, whether that be personal projects for myself, or content I create to share online. Imagining, crafting, and completion are what truly make me happy.

I agree that it is odd to create a new game for a vintage Macintosh, but that is indeed what I am doing. Creating the type of game I envisioned when I was scribbling on notebook paper during my free time in early elementary school.

I fully understand there may be next to no market for a game on this platform, and that’s okay. I am creating this game because it’s something that I’ve wanted for a long while.

There’s also a serious lack of new software for vintage Macintosh computers. Over the last several years most other vintage computer platforms have had several new games released. Unfortunately the same hasn’t been with the Mac.

I feel this game is a unique outlet for my creativity, and I hope others will be able to enjoy the little adventure I’m putting together.

Dangerous Caves

Dangerous Caves is an action-adventure platformer where you’ll make your way through 8 levels and over 50 screens of hazards and lite puzzles.

Compatibility

The game will run on actual Macintosh Plus or SE hardware, along with an enhanced graphics mode that will give you a better framerate with Mini vMac or an actual Macintosh with at least a 68020 processor. I am also considering bundling a native version for modern Mac & PC, if there is any interest.

How far along are you?

I started this project in February of 2018 and worked on it in my free time for a couple of months (Most of this was learning). I had finished a good portion of the engine and mechanics when I put it away, but I picked it back up in January of 2019 and have been working hard to put it together.

Currently I have about half of the game finished, although not entirely sequential. I have all of my levels planned out on paper and many of them put into the game. I have many enemies finished, but several more to design. I am working on the flow of the levels and managing the difficulty.

When it comes to the game’s graphics, it’s really an ongoing thing. My main focus is to get everything playable first, then go back over everything and polish it up. Please keep in mind that a lot of what you will see in the coming posts will change. It’s a work in progress.

I originally wanted to sell a version of this game on a bootable 800K floppy disk, though with all of the art and sound effects I don’t think I can manage it anymore. I will have to make this either a non-booting 800K floppy, or two disks. I would prefer the former. It will also be available as a download for Mini vMac, and as I mentioned I am considering a port to modern systems.

Development

I am creating Dangerous Caves using Think C 5.0 inside of Mini vMac, along with modern versions of tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Audition for audio. For level design I’m using the level editor Tiled to lay it out, and Photoshop to assemble and create my individual rooms before bringing it over to my game.

I am far from a professional artist, but also not a novice, and am very comfortable with 1-bit artwork. I love to learn, and limiting my palette to simply black and white is truly a learning process. The goal is that my game will end with a unique art style of its own, yet remain easy to understand.

Further Updates

I will add new posts occasionally about the status and updates about the game. I will also do a video update on my Killgruz YouTube channel about the game when it gets further along. It’s going to be a lot of fun when it’s finished, so I hope you’re able to play it!

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