Friday, 30 December 2011

Possible New Game

Back in the 80’s I wrote a lot of adventure games, none of them written in a form that would allow publication. Mostly they were in BASIC, a few of them used graphics using a non-standard method to hold four sets of UDGs in memory and flip between them, some were just downright too rude (like the one based on Derek and Clive!).

When I began recently to make games with AGD, I have always looked out for ways to re-produce my old games in a professional manner. I stayed clear of utilities like the Quill or PAW, instead wanting more freedom.

I looked briefly at BASIC compilers, but they fell short, especially when using the non-standard graphics, GOSUB and GOTO plus other oddities. Another major stumbling block was the LOAD/SAVE of game data.

I have for a few months, been looking at Boriel’s Compiler, and liking what it does. As a test project I have taken one of my old text adventures and attempted to re-create it in fully compiled, 42 character machine code.

So far things are going well despite early problems with GOSUB and GOTO, but I just had to re-think how things work in this environment. I also needed to work out how many locations I could squeeze in, as well as all the interaction, parser and object manipulation.

As things stand I have nearly all locations in, most of the object and puzzles, most of the interaction (with just the last and most complex puzzle/interaction to do) and most of the parser. It is 90% playable, up to the point of the final locations and puzzle.

My plan is to finish the game and then look at how I can make LOAD/SAVE work. I think, looking at Boriel’s documentation, it can be done easily by building an array of values and then saving as data. If this works then I will release the game and look at the rest of my old adventures with a new enthusiasm.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Android Shoot Out Update

After a week of playing with the emulators on the Asus Transformer tablet, I have decided to update my previous PDF on the Spectrum emulators available for this format. The main reason for this was that I omitted to test multi-directional games that required more than just left, right and fire. Because of these extra directions and the controls schemes required, I felt my previous feature did not fully cover all aspects of the emulators.

It initially came to light when I wanted to play my own game, Space Disposal, on my tablet. Once loaded into Xpectroid I noticed the difficulty in controlling the game in landscape mode because of the layout of the virtual buttons. That is when I realised I hadn't mentioned this type of control in the feature.

So, after another few days of testing, I have released an updated version ready to download and also view online.

View Online Here

Download original report
Updated report Nov 2011
Updated report Feb 2012

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Android Tablet Speccy ShootOut

See versions below.

Having just got myself a new Android tablet one of the first things I wanted to do was get a Spectrum emulator. Browsing the Android market I noticed five, all boasting good solid features, and no doubt all work well on Android phones. The problem is, I have a tablet, and as any tablet owner will tell you, what works on a phone may not work on a tablet.

Amongst the issues I expected were scaling problems and screen estate. Phones have small screens, typically three to four inches, but tablets on the whole double that. The manufacturers have provided functionality to scale or zoom applications, but again, this does not always have the desired effect.

I spent a few days testing each emulator and the results are available in a PDF document. I hope to add the full report here shortly, but for now, you can grab the PDF using the link below.

It is important to know that the comparison of emulators is based solely on their ability to work with tablets and how they respond to the different hardware and screen sizes than originally designed for. It is in no way aimed at the emulators use on phones, which I assume is fine based on market feedback.

Get the original full report here.
Updated report Nov 2011
Updated report Feb 2012

Thursday, 20 October 2011

AGD Tutorial Part 5

The next section in my AGD tutorial is now online, allowing you to continue developing your own game from scratch.

This section covers Messages, Score, Lives and Deadly Blocks.

Because of the ever growing size of the tutorial I have also added an index to the first page.

You can access the tutorial from the little tab at the top of the page, just in case you missed it ;-)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Space Disposal

The amount of space junk floating around has become a major concern, especially the huge amounts that manage to get through planetary atmospheres without burning up. This debris is largely ignored by the planets responsible and so out of this mess grew a new lucrative industry.

Space Disposal Corporation was set up to clear away unwanted and potentially dangerous space waste for those planets rich enough to pay for its services.

Traveling around systems can be a huge drain on resources, but this is where SDC’s technicians came to the rescue. By collecting and harvesting the junk, enough power can be generated not only to drive the collection ships, but also to pay the fees for inter-planetary portal transport.

As a new pilot, you are given four planets to clear. Your ship can withstand collisions with the planet surface and foliage, but cannot take hits from moving hazards like meteors or rouge cleaner droids. You have quad-laser canons that can be used to destroy any moving hazards.

Some planets opted for a cheaper alternative cleaning operation prior to calling SDC. This usually involved a pack of cleaner droid manufacturing pods being dropped onto the planet. Unfortunately, contaminated waste interfered with their circuits and the droids are left to roam about without actually removing any debris. Many droids are unpredictable, changing directions randomly, so be careful.

These droids are self-repairing and any hit will destroy the current unit, however, the pods will generate a new replacement straight away. It is useful to locate these pods, as destroying droids can be useful, despite them being re-generated. The pods cannot be destroyed.

By collecting all junk from one planet, enough power will be created to allow the blue portal to be activated, allowing you to travel to the next designated planet.

Once all four planets have been clear you will be allowed to enter the final portal for transport back to SDC.

Any SDC pilot will learn that his laser canons are not weapons but mechanisms to manipulate the environment. By destroying a droid it will be regenerated in its pod, by blasting a meteor it will clear the way long enough to move, but more meteors are always on the way. Keep this in mind.

Download Space Disposal

Screen Shots

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

AGD Tutorial Moves On

The next few sections of my AGD tutorial are now up, moving the demo game along with movement, animation, falling, objects, platforms and collecting. My AGD tutorial will take you from nothing to playable game in easy steps, covering each aspect of a game. Use the tab at the top of the page to being making your own Spectrum game.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

AGD Tutorial

Anyone who has played one of my Spectrum games will know I use a utility called Arcade Games Designer (or AGD for short) to produce them.

This wonderful program is written by Jonathan Cauldwell and is free to download from his Website.

Since the release of Kyd Cadet I have had several emails about certain techniques or methods I use when creating my games, and so I have decided to put together a step by step tutorial.

The first part is now live (see links at the top of the page) and more sections will be added over the next few weeks/months. Have fun, and don't forget, anything you produce would be gratefully welcomed by the guys over at World Of Spectrum.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Red Pants

This game was never officially released because it had some collision issues, particularly around the main character and the scenery. Despite this though, it was probably one of my better PC games.

I found this on an old CD whilst looking for another program I had written, and quickly got into it just to see the levels.

It was created using Clik And Create, a nice little game creation program that could produce some really nice results. The program was originally released by Corel but was either sold or dropped, leaving the developers to carry on. They re-released it with some tweaks under the name Multimedia Fusion.

As this was never released I thought I might as well put it out there. Although it was written for older hardware, there are no speed issues (although the gameplay is a bit slow compared to today’s speed fests!).


Download Red Pants Here


Video Ease

Video Ease was written partly to prove you could write and sell a video titling package for less than £200 and partly to allow me to add titles to my own videos without spending £200.

At the time the only video titling package for the Amiga was Broadcast Titler, a hugely expensive and professional package. There were no cheap alternatives although they were about to start hitting the market.

Working in a computer shop I was constantly asked for a video titling package but could offer nothing within budget. The shop owner suggested I write one and he would pay the money for boxing and advertising.

I set about producing something easy to use that did not require 8mb of Ram, the result was Video Ease v1.

It had its rough edges, but it did the job providing various scroll options along with ten wipes ready to use with your genlock.

I took the package and advertising photograph, destroying a perfectly good porn video in the process. The boxes arrived and we started to advertise in all of the popular magazines.

Click To Read

It sold badly, just about covering the costs and in the end my total profit was £15. Version 2, already 99% complete a week after the release never got completed despite being an ultimately better program. I still have a few sealed boxes kicking around somewhere.

Amiga Shopper gave it a full page review and absolutely destroyed it and any potential sales.

I will provide only screen shots here as I don’t want the program to be made available again! Video Ease was my only commercial program.

Screen Shot

Monday, 3 October 2011

Progress Update 2

Another few hours and a complete change of template should see this blog finally settled in and ready to go. The previous template seemed very unhappy with Internet Explorer, and so I had to wade through masses of sites to find another one I liked.

It's here though, and I can now begin to get the blog sorted out with new posts and back-filling of my older games.

As mentioned previously, my new Spectrum game is complete and ready to be launched, but more of that in another post.

Sunday, 2 October 2011


Baldy was a simple and basic platform game written in 1992 mainly to alleviate the boredom of my mammoth graphic adventure game I was trying to finish.

The main character, Baldy, is based on myself (or a friend - I can never remember as we were both bald!), and has to hop around blocks trying to collect Amiga discs.

Each level layout is the same but with different deadly blocks.

Each level also introduces a new enemy type, increasing in number as each level is complete.

The game received mediocre reviews but did manage to make it onto the cover disc of Amiga Action and One Amiga magazines. It was written using AMOS and its compiler, and in my mind, once you get the hang of the controls, is a nice little game.

It was originally sent to 17bit Software, but as it spread around other PD Libraries got hold of it.

The game on this blog can be used with an Amiga emulator (probably best stick to a standard A500 config with 1mb ram) or if you have the right tools, can be written to a real disc.

I was responsible for all the graphics, coding, layout and music!

Reviews (click to read)

One Amiga: 84%
Amiga Power: 3/5

Get Baldy Here

Screen Shots


Talisman has a long history and goes back to 1985 with the creation of a single character for an old Spectrum BASIC adventure game. The character grew and eventually the world in which he lived became a Play By Mail game hosted on a local BBS.

Play By Mail games, in case you are not familiar, were text adventures that callers to the BBS could play by sending commands via email. Once received, the game master (in this case me) would take the action and report back to the player.

It was a long, slow process, but back in the mists of time, it was the forerunner to online games today, and was certainly around and popular for those that could not afford huge phone bills to play MUD or other such games.

From this came a four-year struggle to write a novel. The book took just a bit longer than that and never got published!

The next phase was a graphic adventure for the Amiga. The title of the game/novel changed many times since its first inception but finally was released into the PD market in 1992 as Talisman.

Even his wasn’t the end, as Games Workshop contacted me and demanded I rename the game and remove a few images I had used. I duly went about this and told them I would re-release the game once I had received a letter from them confirming their request. I never got the letter and so the newly named game was never put out (although the name of the novel was changed!).

Back to the game, and this two-disc graphic adventure required 2mb of RAM to play, but could be installed easily on hard drives. The game was completely driven by the mouse and took nearly a year to finish!

The images used come from a wide variety of places including a cartoon I saw on German satellite, All Dogs Go To Heaven, Lord Of The Rings cartoon, Time Bandits and Eye Of The Beholder plus many more I can’t even remember!

It got good reviews in several Amiga magazines, Amiga User gave it 9/10!

The game can played on an emulator and I suggest you read the README file (please be aware, the address in there for help is no longer mine – I moved in 1995!).


Amiga User International
One Amiga Magazine

Screen Shots

Progress Update

I have been setting up this blog for the better part of the day, and finally I have something stable, unless I decide to change the order of the pages - in which case the whole template blows up!.

I have got all of the Spectrum games up along with screen shots and download links now.

I have a few PC games up too, and am working on other bits including some review quotes. I still have to dig those out!

It's time for a beer right now, but I'll be back later in the week to continue with the work. I will also be announcing my new Spectrum Game too!

iPad / iPod Games

Anyone with an iPod/iPad can now play Kyd Cadet and Kyd Cadet II via Jonathan Needle's great emulator, Spectaculator.

There are two packs available, one which is paid for and comes with 3D Starstrike, Tau Ceti, Dynamite Dan, On The Run, Albatrossity, The Fantastic Mister Fruity and Battery's Not Precluded.

A second release, which is free, comes with  Alter Ego, Catch the Cash, Crimbo, Flynn's Adventure in Bombland, Gloop Troops, Kyd Cadet, Kyd Cadet II and Gloop Troops - The Lost Crown.

Last news I got was the free pack had hit over 7000 downloads!

You can get the free version from iTunes.

Chopper Drop - Spectrum

It’s a tough life being a chopper pilot. Day in, day out, you have to pick up crates and drop them onto the lorry ready for delivery.

Time is short however, and you only get so long for each load. Don’t take too long or you’ll be fired.

Avoid the WOS blimps, mad balloonist and seagulls to get your drops on time and maybe someone will take notice of your flying skills and give you the job you always wanted.

85% - Retro Gamer
Retro Gamer gave Chopper Drop 85%.

Click to view:

Download the game
Chopper Drop

Screen Shots

Kyd Cadet II - Spectrum

Kyd Cadet II follows on from the first installment but you do not have to play that first.

As Kyd blasts off after refuelling on the abandoned mining planet, he can at last continue with his first mission.

An important space dignitary, Pobbleflu, has been kidnapped and taken to a nearby planet by his captors. As they bargain for higher and higher ransoms, Kyd is sent in to rescue him unseen.

The only intel he has is that Pobbleflu has been locked in the flight tower, and that the key has been hidden somewhere on the planet. To hinder any rescue attempts, further security doors around the planet have been sealed and can only be opened by one key each.

Kyd has to find the required keys to allow him to continue his search for the final key that will set free Pobbleflu, and give Kyd his first successful mission.

Kyd Cadet II

Screen Shots

Kyd Cadet - Spectrum

Kyd, the intrepid young Space Cadet, was on his way to his very first mission when he suddenly realised that he hadn’t refueled before leaving the space port.

Glancing at his short range scanners, he picked out a small moon and set his coordinates.

According to the databanks, the moon was a peaceful ore mining satellite that strangely didn’t show any life forms. His scanner picked up enough fuel held in their stores to enable him to get back to the space port and so he set about landing.

Once down, he suddenly realised that the mining operation had ceased long ago, but no one had decommissioned the droids.

Our hero must now search the dangerous complex for the required amount of fuel without upsetting the crazed droids; his life depended on it.

84% - Retro Gamer
Kyd Cadet got a review in Retro Gamer – awarding it 84%.

Click to view:

Download the game
Kyd Cadet

Screen Shots

Subternaean Stryker

Subternaean Stryker was originally released by Insight and written by Mike Follin for the ZX Spectrum computer.

Your citizens have been captured and forced to work in the alien mine.

The enemy power crystal is hidden deep within a subterranean network.

Its your mission to rescue them and destroy the crystal in this 'Defender In a Cave' type game.

The Remake
Staying loyal to the game, the graphics and sound have been enhanced and a bug on the last level sorted out so you can actually complete the game.
Also added a secret level :-)

This is an old remake and may not work on newer systems.

Subteranean Stryker

Screen Shot

Lunar Crabs

3D Lunar Crabs was originally released by Micromega and written by Mervyn J. Estcourt in 1983 for the ZX Spectrum computer.

The game play is simple and challenging - survive for as long as possible while at the same time getting as many points as you can.

You are stranded on one of Jupiter's moons and the native Lunar Crab population don't take kindly to you being there.

Scurrying about, they continually spit green goo at you whilst darting in and out of the rocks.

The Remake
The screen is presented in 3D with sandy ground in the foreground, running away to mountains and hills in the background. You can only move left and right, scrolling through a large landscape, and firing off into the distance with your laser canon.

Each level gets harder and harder, and in a slight change to the original, I have made level 5 the end level, and changed the way in which the crabs attack/die. Each level holds 20 crabs that must be killed before you get a bonus and can move on to the next lot.

After level 5, the levels stop and the games enters into a 'progressive' phase. Each crab you kill re-appears somewhere else on the landscape, which means this level just keeps on going.

This is an old remake and may not work on newer systems. It was released in 2001.

Lunar Crabs PC


Ah Diddums

Ah Diddums was originally released by Imagine in 1983 for the ZX Spectrum computer.

You control a teddy bear trying to get back to it's nursery through 99 toy boxes (Levels).
Using the keys, the idea of each level (Toy Box!) is to build a set of steps out of building blocks that are scattered about.

There are nasties (the level indicating the number) that will shred ted if he makes contact with them. Weapons can be picked up and used to kill the nasties, however if they are all killed, an indestructible roving lump of plasticene will then hamper you. To temporarily pause the nasties, you can open the jack-in-the-box by touching it.

The Remake
Staying loyal to the game, the only major difference is the number of toys. I extended these as despite claiming 99, the game only ever gave you 15.

WARNING: The original download of this game (prior to 14th Aug 2013) ran full screen 640x480 and would not work properly on some computers. I have since replaced it with a newer version that runs in a window.

Ah Diddums PC


Scumball - PC

This game was originally written for the ZX Spectrum in 1988, written by Peter Gough and published by Mastertronic.

The sewer has been overrun by an assortment of terrible nasties, headed by a monstrous green slime creature.

You must take LINDA and guide her through the sewers in a top secret mission to destroy the slime.

This remake uses the same game map, reproduced in full colour at twice the resolution. All of the images have been taken from the game, smoothed and re-coloured for best results. The animation and movement has undergone a few minor tweaks and the sound has been improved to take advantage of the capabilities of modern PC's. All but a few objects are present in the game and there has been the inclusion of a fabulous sound track written by Jeppe Schmidt.


Screen Shots

Booty - PC

Booty was originally released by Firebird Software and written by John F Cain in 1984 for the ZX Spectrum computer.

The remake remains faithful to the original, having the same room layouts, platforms and nasties to negotiate.

The graphics have been re-drawn, sound effects added and yes, that awful music if still awful !

The game is set on a pirate ship called the Black Galleon which has 20 holds full of booty. Playing the part of Jim the cabin boy, you must search the ship and collect 125 pieces of booty before you can escape.

Once the 125 pieces have been collected, a golden key will be placed somewhere in one of the holds. Collecting this key will allow Jim to escape with the booty. Jim only has 60 seconds to find the key though, so be quick.

Booty was written using Blitz Basic, so should work fine on new PCs.

*NEW 1.05 version*

Download 1.05



Possibly the first real vertical shooter for the Spectrum, this great little game was the first effort from the then new company Imagine.

Boasting 12 levels of mean aliens in a variety of shapes and sizes, there were several features that made it different from those that followed.

The remake features re-coloured, enlarged and smoothed graphics, 'flicker-free' animation and movement (just had to put that in!), great sound effects and music, and the same addictive game play that won this game its large following in the early days of Spectrum software.

Not only that but the game has been extended with an extra 8 levels to challenge you - that's a total of 20 levels to get through.

So, what are you waiting for - for some classic blasting - grab a copy now.

This is an old remake and may not work on newer systems.

Arcadia PC


Hello And Welcome

Hello and welcome to you all.

Those of you who knew of my old site (called Random Kak) will know who I am and what I do. I have decided to move the contents over to this blog to make things easier to update and maintain.

I will also be adding some of my Amiga games here to, so it will be almost a complete collection of my released material from 1985 to the current day.

As it is now, this blog is new and I am still tweaking it, so not everything will be available straight away. I will endeavor to add bits when I can, and hopefully we will be back to normal (what evere that is!) as soon as possible.

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