HeliCave by Red Sector Inc. [web]
screenshot added by Baudsurfer on 2014-03-12 20:17:25
platform :
type :
release date : march 2014
  • 29
  • 7
  • 1
popularity : 60%
  • 0.76
alltime top: #4981
added on the 2014-03-12 20:17:24 by Baudsurfer Baudsurfer

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Sources included. YouTube video : http://youtu.be/pcdHY-eJVIY
won't run here :'(

xp sp3 glitchy screen. dosbox too.
so screenshot vote :D
rulez added on the 2014-03-12 20:34:46 by sensenstahl sensenstahl
Sadly not working here on XP Home SP3.

I'm getting a PC Speaker beep and an unhandled exception in ntvdm.exe

nopping out line 53 gets it to run but without sound and keyboard input doesn't seem to work.
Code: ;out dx,al ;send midi command

still its got to be one of the nicer 256 byte games I've seen.
rulez added on the 2014-03-12 20:47:32 by rain_storm rain_storm
rulez added on the 2014-03-12 20:47:46 by bitl bitl
nice work baudsurfer. looks cool!
rulez added on the 2014-03-12 20:49:20 by rudi rudi
Doesn't work for me either but looks quite cool in the video, nice job for 256 bytes. :)
rulez added on the 2014-03-12 20:56:34 by StingRay StingRay
Thank you sensenstahl, rain_storm, BiTL and rudi. Rain_storm : do you have shipped-in out of the box midi activated on default port in Win XP ? It could be the issue : see troubleshooting default midi on Win XP here. Sorry I didn't have the space to check for default Midi activation.
Stellar work for 256b
rulez added on the 2014-03-12 21:19:45 by Preacher Preacher
Looks terribly, controls don't work, no bit of playability (even on video), some bios fuckup occured, maybe thumb down later.
added on the 2014-03-12 21:27:27 by Pirx Pirx
Not working either.... ntvdm error... Why not to do a separate, bigger than 256b but secure version?
added on the 2014-03-12 21:54:05 by sim sim
Good job !
rulez added on the 2014-03-12 21:54:35 by maracuja maracuja
This is gorgeous! Congrats! :D
And the code is well comented...
rulez added on the 2014-03-12 22:32:58 by baah baah
DOS: some dirt displayed, after reboot bios checksum error making me very f*cking sad. DOSBox: doesn't work. WinXP: some lubberly scrolled dirt, anyway pretty much comparing to other comments.

Similar things done properly decades ago (Indecent, Mars Trooper, 256 Byte Scramble). Comparing to clean playable 256B games (Bomber, 4is256, DOH !!, ...) really bad.
added on the 2014-03-12 22:44:17 by Pirx Pirx
Reposted from here : if this fails you will get a ntvdm exception error.

I'm sorry if you cannot hear any sound. For XP midi sound troubleshooting :
test if you can play midi files :
A) double_click on any of : c:\WINDOWS\Media\CSSAMP1.MID, c:\WINDOWS\Media\flourish.mid, onestop.mid, town.mid
B) test if you hear anything on any of the LordKevin's prods using standard midi default port :
http://www.pouet.scene.org/prod.php?which=28544, http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=28670
if A and B fail :
1) verify default midi device present in XP :
in "Audio properties" and "Audio devices" tab :
verify the "Preferred device" in "Midi Music Playback" section has a default value
2) verify midi port enabled in bios :
there should be option "Enable MPU-401" or similiar in your BIOS if your motherboard has such port
if only B fails :
Remap default midi port : possible midi I/O addresses are set by switch or/and BIOS and they are ports 330H (for data and command, status at 331H), 332H, 334H and 336H. The factory default is 330H.
Good luck

rain_storm : you should place "add si,255" where you commented out "rep outsb" so the dataflow is
preserved. Also about keyboard controls, can you try a few more times so as to find the right key
for you as I wrote to Pirx below ?

Preacher :
Thank you it touches me, it is version number 353 of this code so some effort was put into it.

StingRay and Maracuja :
Thanks also for compliment :) StingRay, do you have midi activated ?

baah :
Your educated opinion is always cherished by me.

sim :
Maybe I will make a bigger secure version if I have time

Pirx :
About looks :
There are 9 different textures for the 9 different levels. It is difficult to find a mathematical serie with constant quality although I admit the 1st level texture is not too good-looking. Contrary to most 256 games it has a somewhat real sprite and an animated rotor (too subtle to appear in lowres video), a pixel precision cave outline (not blocks) , a running lava outline, a bezel scoreboard with procedural graphics actually representing something and related to the game far away fuming volcano cave island (not the gigerbread man). I admit looks and feels differ for each individual.
About safety :
One cannot modify BIOS (or "fuckup" as mentionned "reboot bios checksum error" above) from unprivileged ring-3 code or subset V86. So if it sadly somehow doesn't work : press Ctrl+ALt+Del like for any other blocked app and rest assured nothing was or could be modified from within a 16bit app since the 386+.
About playability :
I think it is playable. I designed the game for my 8-year old daughter and she found it playable. I worked up through 353 versions to make it somewhat enjoyable : there is the earthquake effect which challenges the player's position with the moving cave outline when happening, there is the single key "hop" movement which is based on right-timing aforehand of an obstacle, there is the gap between the cave walls that decreases with each level making it harder not to be precise. And there is sound effect no played trough a piezzo. It also stalls long enough before quitting to shell so you can note your score instead of leaving right away. Since it is not a Pong game or a Tetris, the rest is cutting corners mostly to fit in 256 bytes.
Hint : try to stay at middle of cave height at all times and just before a level changes (1000, 2000 etc...), align to height close to that of the ceiling of the cave of the righmost outline then recenter vertically to handle eartquake. ALso at one point you have to lose instead of playing on forever. If you get to level 8 you are a good player AND lucky ;)
About controls :
Different keyboards have different scancodes for seamingly up/down key. I could only take the default PC Ralf Brown preconizations and verify they worked for me. Since it is testing for a simple parity on a key scancode make value, "all" you have to do is launch the game a few times before you find the unique keyboard key that works for you (probability=50%) : press as many different keys as possible in the 3/4 seconds timelapse you have before heli touches cave ceiling. The up or down key worked for me right
away but I just found out testing now you could use the F(up) and Q(down) keys on an Azerty keyboard (for example). The point is some other keys are bound to work if the arrows don't on your keyboard.
About compatibility :
As mentionned in nfo, it only works in XP, and I omitted to say with default midi included in XP
activated on standard 330h port. If you have not activated the default out_of-the_box installed midi it will try to write to a non-existing hardware port and logically trigger an exception. I have taken the time to write a short troubleshooter here if one is serious about sizeprods. Also if you have some kind of keyboard overlay (like an enhanced fancy keyboard manager) non-conforming with standard bda values here : http://www.bioscentral.com/misc/bda.htm. The default keyboard buffer on
x86 is 32 bytes wide in standard. Bottom line it is for out-of the box XP with midi activated on standard default midi port, and if I get enough request I might try to make a bigger compatible version for DOsBox and with commandline switches.
Impressive tiny code and extreme optimizations, helped with the best encouragement that can exist :-)
rulez added on the 2014-03-12 23:14:24 by Cyg_BLaBla Cyg_BLaBla
Christ, and people have to thumb this down? They're way too negative. I blame Gargaj.
rulez added on the 2014-03-12 23:25:11 by Gertrude Gertrude
Well ok, there were no thumb downs, just threats of such. ^^
added on the 2014-03-12 23:25:40 by Gertrude Gertrude
Even the textures are nice.
added on the 2014-03-12 23:28:52 by Gertrude Gertrude
A DOSBox functional version, even if significantly larger, would be cool if you manage the effort...
added on the 2014-03-12 23:38:04 by Preacher Preacher
screenshot/vid + code vote
really enormous effort - congrats!

as preacher said, dosbox functional version would be great!
rulez added on the 2014-03-13 00:04:20 by whizart whizart

Regarding the keys: I put "add si, 255" in there and the sprite will rise if I keep tapping both the up and down keys one after another repeatadly. Looks like it works now.

Regarding the MIDI: I failed to find either of the prods you linked to. But I have previous experiments with Midi and tested port 0x0330 and it worked fine with my prod.
Wow! This in 256b is awesome.
rulez added on the 2014-03-13 01:20:23 by raer raer
Well played, sir!
rulez added on the 2014-03-13 08:07:04 by w00t! w00t!
This looks great. Couldn't run it on dosbox though.
rulez added on the 2014-03-13 10:48:46 by Optimus Optimus
rulez added on the 2014-03-13 12:28:38 by leGend leGend

(but as Preacher said, a dosbox version added to the package would be nice, even if the size >$ff)
rulez added on the 2014-03-13 13:06:43 by rez rez
It is slow but since some people requested it, I updated the download archive with a 376 bytes safe version of HeliCave for DOSBox-0.74 (control heli with the SPACEBAR key this time).
Thank you for the nice comments already made.
Cool stuff, but... working only partially =/ unde DosBox0.74. Only upper cave gfx shown..... But still cool!! =)
added on the 2014-03-14 00:11:55 by sim sim
Sim : wait for it. Or relaunch it 2-3 times.
It is randomized so sometimes the floor only appears after lever 2 or even 3.
The algo is level of bottom cave=200-k*level.
I just tested it again on DOSBox and it showed right away at level 1.
Nice effort! :D And indeed, the floor is "missing" in DOSBox most of the time, maybe the PRNG for generating the initial y position of the floor is bad?
rulez added on the 2014-03-14 01:40:18 by Saga Musix Saga Musix
The DosBox version works here. Very nice game :)
It is slow but since some people requested it, I updated the download archive with a 376 bytes safe version of HeliCave for DOSBox-0.74.

It's OK, just adjust frameskip in DOSBox (Press Ctrl-F11 / Ctrl/F12).
rulez added on the 2014-03-14 09:07:20 by Moerder Moerder
CPU speed, I meant. And Ctrl-F12, of course.
added on the 2014-03-14 14:55:40 by Moerder Moerder
The video bought me.
rulez added on the 2014-03-14 16:58:28 by -SP- -SP-
rulez added on the 2014-03-14 21:49:40 by xeron xeron
The idea is neat enough, but really, it's too easy, buggy and eventless to be any fun. By level 8, I'm flying outside the walls, by level 9 the games crashes. The "map" seems pointless too, as it doesn't convey any kind of useful information. The sound is nice, but I'd rather have you invest those bytes in a real sprite and a real map generator.

And people really shouldn't upvote because of (intentionally?) shitty videos that obscure what it actually looks and plays like. :)
added on the 2014-03-15 08:59:14 by tomaes tomaes
Doesn't work properly on other machines as well. BIOS fuckup, even if not caused by the program directly, was successor of cold reboot needed when everything hanged.

DOSBox version, although 120 bytes bigger, still buggy as hell. 0.5 FPS under XP. Smooth under DOSBox (found that I can control with space), but often program crashes, or I meet the wall. Restarting causes dirt displayed and hangs everything.

DOS production should work under DOS. I don't see any sense to waste precious bytes and compatibility with anything for simple sound done by dirty DOS-XP mixes. It's like mixing vodka and beer - can be funny, but the result is puke.

Take a look into 19 years old Indecent, which is based on the same idea. It works everywhere (DOS, DOSBox, Win up to XP) without tons of trials-errors and playing with system settings. It's very clean visually and technically. Has cool playability, at least for 256 bytes game. Features score progressbar, sound, many levels that can be selected via command line. Using controls doesn't need to be preceded by studying of Ralf Brown's biography.

If you are going to release another prod, I encourage you to direct the power (I see nice skills and big effort here) into creating solid intro instead of buggy hack aka hacky bug watchable via crappy video.
rulez added on the 2014-03-15 22:20:28 by Pirx Pirx
Pirx : I strongly disagree with you.

If you have a non tweaked windows xp sp3 install with the default midi activated on standard port and a Pentium pro+ for the cmov opcode, it will work for you just as in the video I filmed. No need for FUD.

Your guidance in general is appreciated albeit becoming tiresome when exercised in a non-constructive way and brings me to question your legitimacy as posing as a sizeprod reference.

A thread entitled does DOS platform needs to be subdivided? discusses in depth the differences between ntvdm and Dos on pouet, and is best fitted for religious wars.
Which part(s) of my comments do you disagree with?
Which part(s) of my comments have you found exercised in a non-constructive way?
added on the 2014-03-16 02:53:23 by Pirx Pirx
good, good
rulez added on the 2014-03-18 23:12:55 by tomkh tomkh
rulez added on the 2014-03-19 22:05:45 by violator violator
And people really shouldn't upvote because of (intentionally?) shitty videos that obscure what it actually looks and plays like. :)

Are you new to Pouet? :)
added on the 2014-03-19 22:25:13 by Gargaj Gargaj
Old school!
added on the 2014-03-22 17:24:25 by AntDude AntDude
FIX FOR *DOSBOX* : c:\>hellifix.com helicave.com

Peter Ferrie has had the kindness to point out
a few flaws to the original sourcode and also
contributed a DOSBox patch to fix them. Although
I've had mixed results with it, I believe in his
knowledge for in turn I myself could not recreate
some of the problems others reported. By running
the fix I hope it will resolve some of the issues
for some people. Big thanks to him.
awesome. :-)
rulez added on the 2014-04-01 01:20:30 by qkumba qkumba
OMG, this is so ossom. All hail to Baudsurfer :)
added on the 2014-04-29 22:47:18 by phaazon phaazon
Just can't imagine how you can cram as much stuff in 256b :O
rulez added on the 2014-05-08 16:02:26 by Den Den
the level 6 bottom warped right into me :D awesome work! =)
rulez added on the 2014-05-16 14:37:10 by HellMood HellMood
size optimizing is not an excuse for terribly buggy releases
sucks added on the 2014-05-17 22:25:24 by T$ T$
rulez added on the 2014-06-03 09:48:29 by SiR SiR
Thrustburst in a quarter of Kilobyte? How is this even possible? :D
Thumb up for making a game in such a small size, and yes, size optimization does stand as an excuse for a rough visual.
rulez added on the 2014-08-17 16:42:12 by fra fra
Great for 256b.
rulez added on the 2015-01-03 21:24:04 by Alone_Coder Alone_Coder
looks cool

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