Monday, 26 August 2013

The Spectrum Show #20

Welcome to The Spectrum Show Episode 20.

This is the last in the current series, but don't worry, we'll be back very soon with a whole new series and some great content.

In this episode though, we go back to October 1984 for all the latest Sinclair news and top selling Spectrum games. And, in an end of series special we take a look at all of the games from Imagine Software. The real Imagine before they went bust in July 1984.

That's a massive twelve games, all reviewed in this episode! It was a mammoth gaming session that saw me playing some truly terrible games for your entertainment!

Was it all worth it? You'll have to watch and find out.

Best viewed directly on YouTube.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Ah Diddums Fixed!

Recently I have been going through my older PC games and replacing the screenshots with video footage. It was during this process that I noticed a major issue with Ah Diddums - it ran in full screen mode at 640 x 480.

This cause problems with my current computer, that didn't like that resolution, the result of which was a badly flickering display that made the game unplayable. (Why didn't anyone mention this?)

In a fit of madness I decided that I would try to fix the problem and went in search of all the source code and the Blitz Basic program to re-compile it. Not an easy task, as the source code had long been archived to an un-marked CD somewhere in the middle of a mass of other un-marked CD's.

When I finally located the correct CD, the source code was missing! I then remembered that, for some reason, I had used a different folder to store my source code than the normal one I used for all my other games.

All was not lost however, as I kept backups on my hard drive at work. Since the game was written my work PC had been replaced twice, but it is my policy to never get rid of hard drives, and so have a stack of them in my drawers.

A few minutes plugging them in, and I finally had my hands on the source code. Back at home I fired up VMware Player, installed Blitz Basic, copied all the source data across and tried to re-compile - failed!

I was missing an include file, which was very tricky to pin down. Finally I found it, added it to the source and bingo!

I quickly checked the code, made a few changes (as it had my old web address in it) and discovered a nice little Easter egg hidden in the game that I had forgot about. This was triggered when you had gone beyond level 12 (but I have now reduced it to level 6) and died. A message then appeared on the title screen with some instructions..... I'll say no more....

I also noticed that the game works differently to the original in that you have to stack the blocks in a certain order (lowest number first) otherwise they just wont work and you can't get out of the toy box!

Anyway - the new, windowed version of the game can be downloaded via the game page (see right hand side!)

Monday, 5 August 2013

Game Marathon

With episode 19 out of the way, I can settle down and begin work on the end of series special - episode 20. Not wanting to give too much away, but suffice to say I am entering into a huge game playing marathon to be able to cover the content and create a really nice special episode.

As always when playing a lot of games, you are bound to get good and bad ones, and blimey am I suffering for my art! There are some real stinkers being loaded...

With the end of this series approaching I have also been thinking about the next series and how I can improve it. Taking some feedback from the WOS forums and comments I have received privately, series 3 will be bigger and better.

The format will pretty much remain the same, but there will be more game reviews and a brand new section to wind up each show. There will still be special features (budget allowing - or assistance offered - see top right) that covers real hardware and special areas in the Spectrum's vast range of functions.

Thanks to everyone who has viewed all of the shows so far, and to those who have subscribed and commented on YouTube.

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