The Never Finished Game

Ever since I have learned how to program I have been programming games. Right after have experimented long enough with the input, print and goto commands on my Commodore 64, I copied seven lines of code from a magazine and had created my first game called 'Stars'. If I recall correctly the code looked something like this:

10 x=20
20 get a$
30 if (a$='a') and (x>0) then x=x-1
40 if (a$='l') and (x<39) then x=x+1
50 print space(ran(40))+"*"
60 poke(1024+40+40+x, 65)
70 if peek(1024+40+40+40+x)<>48 then goto 20

I have been creating games ever since.

First I experimented with the Stars game adding extra stars, a score, a high-score, multiple ships, a two player mode etcetera. Then I started programming other games. A friend of mine had a primitive football management game on his IBM-PC. So I programmed one on my Commodore. A book in the library contained the code to a simple text adventure and introduced me to text-parsers, but I soon discovered that 64k memory is to little to store an engine for a text adventure complete with elaborate descriptions of 200+ rooms. Other books explained the assembler language, how to use sprites or change the 256 character font in order to create visually more elaborate games.

When my mother got a PC I lost interest. PCs were harder to program, I had to learn new programming languages. The results were not really better than I could on my C64. At the same time I discovered role-playing games and these too demanded a lot of attention.

sample from my 'prince' game-engine

It wasn't until my time at university when a housemate introduced me to Pascal and Delphi that I got going again. This time around we started working on a dungeon adventure game loosely based on the Ultima series. From the start we trying to create a game that would design its own levels. How, were we supposed to play the game ourselves otherwise? This project turned quickly into a never finished game, and I still get back to it occasionally. The level of sophistication of the desired game kept increasing. At times I got versions of 2D platform game-engines running that actually would have allowed me create a game if I could have been bothered to design the levels and a story. I always kept oscillating between a 2D platform game which would allow me to get some interesting gameplay, and a isometric flat adventure world which would be more interesting exploration and role-playing wise. For the first type I have created the most interesting game-engines while for the latter I have created some awesome world and dungeon creation routines. I am still working out how to combine them.

random generated map from a recent project

the game engine that goes with it

Recently I came up with an new format that would allow me to combine to strengths of platform games and isometric worlds. A top-down view of a game world based on a tile map, with the screen centred on the character will allow to use the mouse as an input device. Map the relative angle and distance to the cursor to angle and speed and you can create a top down action game with jumping, skidding and swimming action. I try to concentrate more action, that is reminiscent of the Atari Adventure game, than on any character-building role-playing game. Who knows were this project will end up, but it probably remain in an unfinished state forever.

My latest stab at creating a isometric game engine can be found below. The character walks to wards the mouse cursor when you press D. You jump by pressing S. Use the scroll wheel to select different objects and magic abilities. Use the mouse button to attack or use magic.