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  • Writer's pictureBruce

Let's create an MPAGD game - Part 1 - Getting Started

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

I thought it might be useful to create an entire MPAGD game from scratch and blog about it. I doubt we'll end up with anything particularly ground-breaking, but you never know...we'll see where it takes us.

For the purpose of this blog series, I'm going to be writing a game for the ZX Spectrum, but once we've finished the game, we'll look at the options for converting it to other platforms.

Download & install MPAGD

First, we're going to need to download and install the latest version of MPAGD, at the time of writing this was version 0.7.10. You can always download the latest version from Jonathan Cauldwell's itchio page here

IMPORTANT: wherever you install it, make sure there are no spaces in the path...otherwise you will run into issues later. So, if you were going to install into a folder called \ZX Spectrum\ don't...install it in \ZXSpectrum\ instead.

Open up MPAGD

In the folder that you installed MPAGD open up WinAGD.exe

Two windows will open up

The MPAGD Editor:

We're going to be doing all our work in the MPAGD Editor, this is where we create our game.

The Console

When we build our game to test it, the console will display important information - such as errors.

Next, we'll choose our target platform, From the Machine menu, select the computer you want to design the game for - I'm going to select ZX Spectrum (note that by default, if you dont select a machine, MPAGD will use the ZX Spectrum ULA by default, for old time Speccy users this will confuse you as to why the colours look odd...more on that another time)

Now that we have MPAGD installed, let's start building a game.

The order that you do this in is entirely up to you, maybe you've got a fantastic idea for a game already...but chances are you just want to start messing around to see what you can do.

In most games, you'll be controlling a character on screen, so that's a good place to start....lets create our hero and draw a player sprite...

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Hello, I'm Bruce and I write games for old 8bit computers using Jonathan Cauldwell's excellent Multi-Platform Arcade Games Designer (MPAGD)

I've written a few successful* games for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and MSX platforms that have been (largely) well received including Twenty Four Hour Parsley People scoring a 10 out of 10 on Planeta Sinclair.

In my blog I am sharing lots of the code that I wrote for my games, in a way that you can use in your own games.   I've commented it so that you'll learn some of the techniques I use to create interesting new mechanics and help your games stand out from the pack.

MPAGD includes lots of standard scripts, they're great to get you started, but if you're new (or just rusty) when it comes to writing code, hopefully my tutorials will help you get started and  turn your imagination into awesome 8 bit games!

All my code is free to use and do with as you please, but if you find them useful please feel free to buy me a coffee ...or better still - buy or download my games :)

*successful is a very relative term in 8bit computer games

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