Blimey, 10 years...!
I remember, back in late 2006 or early 2007, idly thinking 'I wonder if anyone else remembers Dizzy?' So I googled it and came across something called DizzyAGE. The thought that I could actually maybe make my own Dizzy game was quite exciting, and I spent about two weeks playing around with it, trying to grasp how it worked. It was a steep, steep learning curve - DizzyAGE was still on version 1.31, and was quite a lot different to work on (and rather less intuitive) than version 2.0 onwards. I forget the differences, but they were substantial (no movement coding, for example). I actually still have v1.2 of Diamond Mine Dizzy, which uses DizzyAGE v1.31, on my computer.
Anyway, I'm not ashamed to admit that in the first two weeks of trying to code it, I almost gave up completely. Almost everything I did or changed in the coding seemed to throw up an error that made the game crash. And I didn't have a clue what I'd done wrong, or where the error was coming from. So much so that I used to keep a copy of the game so that I could revert back to if I couldn't fix the problem. That was a test game that I did, with a few rooms and a few puzzles. Unfortunately I don't have it anymore - I suspect I deleted it years ago.
As far as I can recall, my first game, Diamond Mine Dizzy, was just a load of puzzles copied from each other, so that not much could go wrong! I actually didn't join the forums here (indeed, didn't really know about them) until about Feb 2007. I can't remember how I found them, but it was probably through the DizzyAGE site, or Alex might have told me about them. It was about halfway through coding DMD though.
OH GOD! I've just been looking through some of my really early posts on here, and I've come across a post saying that all I needed to do was "list all the static brushes i've assigned IDs to in the 'Save' file..." which reminded me that in v1.31 you needed to keep track of all the brush IDs, as it didn't automatically save them!
See what I mean about the changes to v2 being substantial? That was a right pain in the arse...
Anyway, suffice it to say that, at the start, I really had no clue what I was doing at that point, and that clearly shows in DMD, which is a pretty simple game.
I'm quite humbled by the number of people who have mentioned my games in their comments. I'm slightly surprised by the number mentioning Illusion Island - it's not one that I have fond memories of coding (indeed, I barely remember it at all), but obviously the 'twist' was something that people liked. My personal favourite is Mystic Forest Dizzy
As for the others, well once I'd figured out how to code the games, I most enjoyed pushing the technical boundaries. Whether that was with the arcade games in IID, the top-down view of the Dizzy Legends series (unlikely to ever be completed, sorry!), or many of the later games I did. Sometimes I'd write a game almost purely to see if I could. For example, Bubble Trouble Dizzy draws its own levels as it goes along, with no two games ever the same (what a right royal PITA that was!). I think Quiggie almost had a heart attack when she realised that it can never actually be completed... (it just keeps on drawing more levels!)
As another example, Rock Dash Dizzy dumped pretty much all the movement coding, and I wrote my own bespoke movement code especially for that game. In fact, the way almost everything was coded in that game was unique, and I'm sure anyone looking at the coding would wonder what on earth it all does (I probably would too, now!). I do remember though, that nothing
moves in that game, other than Dizzy. That would be far far too complicated. What happens instead, is that there are hundreds of square objects in a grid, which each changing their properties (and image) depending on what it needs to be. So a diamond can be made to look like it's falling through air, whereas in fact all that's happening is that a blank square sees that the square above it is a diamond, and changes itself to be a diamond (and the square above to be blank), making it look like the diamond is falling.
Pirate Ship Dizzy is one that I'm particularly proud of, mainly because I automated absolutely everything
in the game, so there is no item-specific coding at all, it's all in the AI (and the map). Because of this, and stripping out the parts of the default coding that I didn't use, the game size is actually smaller than the default template...
Anyway, I'm getting caught in a reverie here. Of course, none of this would have been possible without help at the start, particularly from Alex, who talked me through how to do a lot of stuff in the early days. Also, Peter was a big help, having coded the first fan-games made with DizzyAGE. When I started coding, Peter was 'the boss' - the person who knew what was what!
Alex deserves a huge amount of credit for DizzyAGE. What a lot of people don't realise is just how flexible
an engine DizzyAGE is. I think I've probably proved that by doing stuff with it that it was never designed specifically to do, but which it was able to, because of how flexible it is.
I've got a lot busier over the past four years or so, life has moved on, and I don't have time to play any of the fan games anymore. But I do still check in here every month or so, and see what's going on. I'll even offer advice if I think I have something relevant to say
But playing around with DizzyAGE was a great way to spend four years of my spare time, and a lot of fun too. It's good to see that others are keeping it going strong.