Retro gaming has been popular since back when it was just called gaming. Recent years, have seen the interest in retro titles explode in the mainstream gaming community. Crowdfunding platforms have long been dominated by games fueled by nostalgia. Now there are YouTube channels dedicated to nothing but video games pre-1990. One such retro focused channel is The 8-Bit Guy, who just finished developing his second game, Planet X2.
Planet X2 is a modern retro-styled RTS. It was also designed on and for the Commodore 64. The Commodore 64, owing its name to its 64 KB worth of RAM, was a personal computer released in 1982. As you can imagine, it was already difficult to develop games for the system when it launched. Now just imagine what it’s like these days.
Luckily, you don’t have to just imagine. The 8-Bit Guy released a short documentary showcasing the journey.
Trust the Process
The video shows the entire process The 8-Bit Guy, David Murray, went through to make the game. It starts with him talking about finishing his first game, Planet X1 for the equally ancient Commodore Vic-20. He quickly decided he wanted to expand on the idea of the first game, creating a full RTS for the Commodore 64.
When he set out to create the game, he immediately faced issues with the limited memory of the computer. This would be a constant struggle throughout development – simply not having enough room to store everything he wanted to do with the game. It’s fascinating to watch him come up with clever ideas to lower the space of the game, as well as making the hard decisions about what to cut out.
The documentary also covers the creation of the art assets, which he drew with a program he created. It then moves onto his search for beta testers to help him find bugs, and even hiring someone to compose music and create the box art for him. That’s right, being a game on 35 year old system, there’s no downloadable option. Instead he had to burn the game onto blank floppy disks and physically mail them to customers.
If you want to learn more about the game, check out his video above. Planet X2 is available to purchase on his website for the Commodore 64, and he’s currently thinking about ports to other retro computers. No word yet if he plans making the game available for modern platforms.