The Beginning BASIC - Commodore PET
Memories from an old storage box. For more about me and my history, see https://happyzoidgames.com/about/
The other day I was going through boxes in storage and discovered a folder full of paperwork from the 80’s. I took some photos and will go through it all in more depth when I get some holiday.
I used school work books to plan/write code for my first games. Here are images of one book and a page showing the start of the basic code from one of the first games I had created at age 14.
I think I had the best handwriting at this time LOL.
Learning Z80 - Amstrad - The First Real Game
After a few small games in basic written on the Commodore PET, I moved onto the Amstrad and created my first adventure game. The great thing about this game is that I had written a design document of sorts. I have a few pages here.
From memory the game code was based on logic like IF VERB=X and NOUN=Y then ACTION. The user typed GO NORTH, PICKUP ROCK, THROW ROCK etc.
I am a sucker for shiny new technology and when the Amstrad CPC464 became available, it was a joy to own and use. As some of my friends had the ZX Spectrum, I could be the boy on the block with the Amstrad and we could play each other’s machines after school. My favourite game on the Amstrad was Oh Mummy, Blagger and Manic Minor. We had a friend Phil whose father worked at AMSoft (senior manager) and was a friend of Alan Sugar. Before new games came out, we would go to his house to play them.
I never released any demos or games on this platform. Of the few things I remember writing in Z80 were (1) An adventure game (2) A game cassette loader system which played music, drew a picture and loaded a game all at the same time. (3) A space Harrier clone which was abandoned halfway through. I knew people at a company called Advanced Software who released Laurel and Hardy on the C64, Butch Hard Guy on the ZX Spectrum. They were happy to take the game when finished.
The mighty 6502 - Commodore 64
I don’t know why but the Commodore 64 gripped me. Looking through the user manual and looking at the motherboard schematics, I became obsessed with learning now this machine worked and how I could program it! After a few scroller demos, I began to create several game concepts. The following images show the demo on the C64 and some notes about the design.
Shown below is a screen shot and notes from a game called Arbitrator. Game development was stopped when it was clear using the joystick to move and fire by selecting icons was not going to work.
Another game, Humanoid only had a few screens.
This game would have been similar to Cybernoid if it was to have continued.
On the right you can see some notes from the game design document.
The second game I finished on the C64 in machine code was called “Crack Mainia”. I thought the miss spelling of “Mainia” would be funny but people just accused me of being a bit retarded saying I can’t spell. I expect thew- r-wobbly-wight. 🙂 Crack Mania was a 2 player Pac Man style game but with little characters and floppy disks instead of ghosts. I had this bug that affected the player 2 joystick and could not find the bug. I was at work and had one of those weird kind of moments where I stopped in my tracks and in my mind’s eye, could see 100’s of lines of assembler code scrolling and then an arrow flashed next to a statement which showed I was saving the accumulator “A” register to the X register instead of the Y register. I told my dad about this and he recommended I “Get a life”.
Amoungst the boxes of floppy disks, I found a game I thought I had lost in the late 80’s. I cant wait to have a play when I setup my C64 in the next few months!
The first full game (unpublished) I created was called Danger Zone and was a vertical shooter dedicated to Yak the Hairy (Jeff Minter).
From memory you had to shoot waves of aliens to earn points/money and you could then spend them in a store to upgrade weapons.
As you completed each wave, the ground would extend from bottom to top to complete the level.
The lost Amiga days
Unfortunately for me, when my marriage failed, all my Amiga software and documentation was still in my old house, and I was not able to retrieve. Somethings in life are not meant to be, but I have a few of my things from the 8bit days and that is good enough for me.