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The history of Bombaman - by Arjan Bakker
This project originally started way back in 1998. FutureDisk (a diskmagazine for MSX) was going to release a South Park edition and I thought it would be nice to include a little game with it. So the idea was to create a Bomberman-clone with South Park graphics, and just the multiplayer mode so you could take out your friends with Kenny or any person of the gang. However, development took more time than foreseen (although it went quite nicely considering I had to go school too) and the South Park edition also had slipping deadlines. At one moment, it wasn't even clear if FutureDisk would even release another issue.
 
The next step
At this stage, we (me and Jorrith, the music composer) decided to transform the game in a real Bomberman-clone, in Bombaman as you know it now. This meant we had to put in levels, enemies, boss monsters and some demo stuff in the game as well. We only had one problem: we didn't have a graphics artist because we couldn't rely on the graphics designer from the FutureDisk anymore. After a while we found one but after a few wasted months without replies from the new crew-member we decided to ditch him and started looking again. Then we found someone willing to create graphics for us, Robert Vroemisse. He had worked on some games that have never been released and found it pretty cool to work on a game that didn't have limitations like the other games he worked on (of course Bombaman has it limitations, but that's another story...)
 
The editor
Things were progressing nicely, and at some point we needed to start creating levels. I decided to code a level-editor for windows and decided that that editor should be available for everyone, so that people can make and play their own levels. This resulted in the editor 'bombed', a very easy to use level-editor. This editor is almost ready and a preview version will be released very soon.
 
Gameplay
Recently, we expanded the team with Jesús Pérez Rosales. He'll be assisting us in fine-tuning the gameplay (which will of course be never finished because perfection cannot be reach with the game-engine) and also with the creation of the levels. Development of the game went quite nicely since he joined the team, especially when it comes to the levels and gameplay issues. For example, a lot of new enemies have been introduced the last few months, as well as teleports to make the multiplayer modes even more frantic!
 
Current situation
Current status of the game is:
  • multiplayer engine almost finished, just lacking computer controlled enemies
  • singleplayer engine almost finished, there's some gameplay tweaking to be done
  • bossmonster engine 50% finished. This is what is taking most of the time at the moment. Three more bosses have to be programmed and the existing ones have to be fine-tuned.
  • leveleditor, as always almost finished but who knows what kind of features we can think of...
  • graphics, all the in-game graphics are nearly finished, only the demo graphics have to be done.
  • music, a lot of works has to be done here, because all music has been created for the MoonSound (OPL4-based cartridge) first and will have to be ported to FM-music, which is one hell of a job.
 
Cool stuff
Some noteworthy points of the game:
  • one of the few action games on MSX to include MoonSound music, made possible by optimising the original music replayer a lot! Also uses stereo sound effects for a totally immersive experience
  • 3 gameplay modes, mixed throughout all the levels. Objectives can be killing all enemies, collection all gems and destroying all games, making the game less repetitive and more fun to play.
  • a story! This Bomberman-clone will actually have a story, but we're not going to say anything about it.... (mostly because we don't know it ourselves yet!)
 
Work in progress!
What we are working on now (some of it might already be done by the time you read this):
  • adding a sample library to reduce disk space used by the MoonSound samples.
  • updating the Bombaman HQ
  • finalising the single player level graphics
  • adding the last few boss monsters
  • tweaking the gameplay
  • fixing annoying bugs
  • and much more!

The game is in a very far stadium now, with three worlds including boss monsters ready to be played and the other three worlds being compiled very quickly. Most work has to be put in the boss monsters and demo's, and of course giving the game the final touch. We think we can finish the game within half a year from now, but we've been saying that for more than a year now. But someday, the game will be finished, really!
 
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