Last Phantasy!

Last Phantasy is the title for a game engine that I worked on a few months ago. I started out using Mode-13h because this graphics mode is very simple to program in. Also, I already had a library of nice Mode-13h graphics functions that I had written for other games so Mode-13h seemed like the obvious choice. However, I soon realized that redrawing the entire video screen every frame (which is required for scrolling in Mode-13h) just takes too long on even a 486, and copying a virtual screen (a.k.a. double buffer) to video memory takes even longer. As a solution to this problem, I started working on a Mode-X graphics library. After about three weeks of working in my spare time (which I don't have much of), the graphics library is finished! Overall I am very pleased with the performance of the new Mode-X engine, but one thing worries me. If a Pentium computer becomes standard, and it probably will be by the time I finish a game, I won't even need Mode-X! In fact, I think Mode-13h will make a comeback in popularity because all of your drawing is simple and can be done in system memory which is ultra fast on Pentium computers. In the end, I may switch back to Mode-13h, but for now Mode-X is still the ticket to high performance.


I also have a new music/sound engine to accompany my graphics engine. I have been using Midpak for music and my own sound code for sound FX, but Midpak costs $500 for shareware use and it sounds like crap to boot (it uses FM synthesis to reproduce MIDI instruments). This new engine is called Bells Whistles and Sound Boards, and it uses the various MOD formats for music. Needless to say, it sounds way better than Midpak, and it even comes with a setup program! On top of that it only costs $50 to use it in shareware! The only bad thing about this sound library is the fact that it is a bit slow. It causes my 70 frames/second (actually much faster without locking the frame rate) scrolling to chunk up a bit in DOS and chunk up a lot in Windows. I am considering writing my own MOD player so I won't have to deal with this problem. I know it is possible because Jazz Jackrabbit and Epic Pinball use excellent sound systems which don't cause the screen movement to jerk. For now though, this sound system is the best thing going. I must thank Kris Schnee for telling me about it because I would still be using crappy music with no setup program if he had not recommended BWSB to me. By the way, the song that comes with this demo was written by me for my game Vampire Hunt. It doesn't really fit the mood of Last Phantasy, but it's better than nothing (maybe). It was really just a quick fix that I finished in an hour because I made Vampire Hunt as a school project, and the deadline was coming up fast so don't expect Mozart. Surprisingly though, the tune does tend to grow on you...

Map Changing

This version of Last Phantasy has map changing implemented. Although there are only two maps right now, the program supports literally hundreds of different maps, and each map can have up to 128 different graphic tiles (I can allow even more if necessary, but I think 128 is sufficient). I hate to blow my own horn, but this engine is so good that all map changing, loading, etc is handled in such a way that the program doesn't even need to be changed as maps are added or modified. All I have to do is make sure that all of the filenames of data and graphics files are recognized by the program. It's almost eerie the way it works... Anyway, you may download the demo below. I warn you though, I am not a good artist or screen designer! The programming aspect of game creation is the part that I enjoy.

Map Editor


Recently, I created a simple map editor so I could create screens for Last Phantasy. It is included with the zip file below.

Download Last Phantasy demo (with editor)

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