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The UK and the Texas TI99 in the 80s


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#1 Retrospect ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 6:33 PM

As I've mentioned before on this forum, I used to have a collection of games on cassette that were not considered mainstream, that were sold by small "bedroom companies" and considered as "homebrew" software.

 

Among all that I had, a little game called "Dodger" was the most memorable, as it had really nice graphics and sound and was available for Extended Basic, not needing any other upgrades.

 

Back then, when I were a wee laddy .... the games used to load from cassette at a slow rate, screeching away, and were often temperamental - it either loaded or you had to mess around with the tone/volume settings on the cassette recorder.

 

When the games did load, it all seemed magical - I don't ever recall sitting there and questioning why the games may have been slow running, I never put to question the graphics presented on the screen, because to me as a nine year old kid, it was literally a form of magic unfolding.

 

We used to order from magazines from time to time to get our software, my stepfather would even take a ride with me in his car to go get some games, as we did when we travelled just over 30 miles to get an adventure game called Alpine Quest.  I took it home and couldn't get past the first location, which was a receptionists desk in some building.  The very last attempt at getting anywhere on that game resulted in my typing "Eat Receptionist" as I had tried literally everything beforehand.

 

Here are a few images I've managed to pick up from a magazine called Home Computing Weekly which I'm sure the previous owner of my beloved TI99, my cousin David, used to buy.  It turns out the following games I had were mail ordered .... Chalice, Dodger, and Bomber.  Bomber and Chalice were TI BASIC games and Dodger was Extended Basic.

I would have had loads more but trying to remember them is beyond me at the moment!

Attached File  apex.png   401.94KB   9 downloads    Attached File  dodger.png   838.41KB   9 downloads

 

Attached File  ti 1.png   544.5KB   7 downloads   Attached File  troll king.png   504.69KB   11 downloads

Now, if anyone has any information about Dodger , Chalice , or Bomber, from these companies, please share your memories / information! ..... Someone in the UK must have had these games at some point :)

 

By the way, I am currently remaking Dodger using the information provided in the review you see on here.
The way the reviewer described the type of enemies, and the 4 homes at the top of the screen, fit perfectly onto the TI screen if we are using Sprite magnification 3 setting!!!

It's on the way, it helps greatly that I do remember the game quite well, and I am very pleased with it so far, I will have something to show on this thread shortly, when I've ironed out all the bugs I've managed to put in :)



#2 am1933 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:54 AM

I have Troll King, Hunchback Havoc and The Black Tower(Lantern Software),FunPac 2(Virgin Games), Toad Graphics(Timeless Software), Quicker QWERTY(Stainless Software) and Mania(Intigue Software).

 

All from UK software houses and all of varying quality.

 

Mania from Intrigue Software was fairly interesting as it was an attempt at a graphic adventure game on the TI  that only required the basic 4a.

 

I still use my tapes from time to time(usually after a few beers).



#3 Retrospect ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 1:51 AM

I have Troll King, Hunchback Havoc and The Black Tower(Lantern Software),FunPac 2(Virgin Games), Toad Graphics(Timeless Software), Quicker QWERTY(Stainless Software) and Mania(Intigue Software).

 

All from UK software houses and all of varying quality.

 

Mania from Intrigue Software was fairly interesting as it was an attempt at a graphic adventure game on the TI  that only required the basic 4a.

 

I still use my tapes from time to time(usually after a few beers).

Good man , you've still got the tapes :)

 

Oh I wish I had kept all mine, but when I gave the TI to my best friend back in '88 I think some of the tapes got mislaid.

 

Mania sounds very interesting actually.  I like the idea of a graphic adventure on the TI, not many other than obviously Mania and Return to Pirates Isle were done for the TI that I know of .... 

 

There was loads of games released for TI BASIC by various companies like Apex, Stainless, Intrigue .... and my favourite of them all , Firefly.

Firefly made some very good looking games.  I found out yesterday reading online that they were a group of 3 kids who used to use bicycles to get from one house to another, carrying they're tapes and accessories with them.  They would release the games when they had created a bunch of tapes and advertised through computing magazines.  The logo they used was a swirly effect with a firefly punching the air, if you remember it?

 

The magical days of the 80s!

It's no surprise that only really the bigger companies like Atarisoft and obviously Texas produced games on Cartridge or assembly games on disk, as the offputting thing was you couldn't code assembly natively into TI Basic (until now, thanks Harry)

 

So with that, eventually people started buying machines that played mainstream games ... and when I say mainstream should I say "movie tie-ins" ....  all the cool kids wanted the latest Rambo game and didn't wanna be playing Dodger on his TI.  Well I was the kid that wanted Dodger and said Stallone could take a running jump, I liked what I had, it had charm to it.

 

My Dodger game is currently compiling as I write this, it was made originally by Firefly and this new one's got the Firefly name on the title screen, not mine... it's the closest to the original game I could get it , albeit the one major difference is that this one is compiled instead of running straight BASIC.

 

The original ran through XB but was slick as anything with very good sprite collision, I dunno how they managed it granted that the sprites sped up after each screen was completed.  
 



#4 ti99iuc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 2:57 AM

these are my UK K7s :) .... i love international TI's cassette tapes :)

 

Attached File  20140405_105143.jpg   119.63KB   22 downloads


Edited by ti99userclub, Sat Apr 5, 2014 2:58 AM.


#5 Retrospect ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 3:03 AM

Okay .... I'm happy with the game DODGER and it's here for you all to enjoy.

 

Now .... before you play, you need to know that I haven't gone to massive effort with the graphics or gameplay because I didn't want to make it too different from the original game! .... This new Dodger game is pretty much exact to the old one apart from new sounds and the fact that it's been compiled to run better..... also to note, the movement is done in what I call "slots" .... you know, like the old LCD games, your main character occupies certain slots on the screen as he moves around so be aware that on the 1st level you might run up the back of a car!  The action gets faster the more you play.

 

Attached File  d2.png   13.37KB   5 downloads

The title screen is pretty much exact how it used to be , it's "flashy"

 

Attached File  d1.png   17.22KB   6 downloads

Some of the "monsters" are animated ... your main character throws his arms about in panic as he moves around the dangerous road, the giant spiders spin, and the octopus moves it's tentacles around.  

 

Sprite collision is as good as I can get it .... my personal best score for this game is 336 points or so ....

 

Move your man into one of the 4 homes , once occupied, the home will light up ... do not attempt to put another man into the lit up home, if you do, you start back at the beginning.  You need to light up all 4 homes to complete the level.  Once done, the action gets faster each time, just as it did back in the day.  Have fun ... retro fun.

 

 

Attached File  DODGER2.zip   7.4KB   28 downloads <--- download here ... fixed version with better responses & joystick control

 

 


Edited by Retrospect, Sat Apr 5, 2014 1:26 PM.


#6 Retrospect ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 3:06 AM

these are my UK K7s :) .... i love international TI's cassette tapes :)

 

attachicon.gif20140405_105143.jpg 

Hey Ciro! 

 

I love your collection of games :)

I am interested in Hunchback Havoc ... I wonder if it's similar to another game I had on tape - and I forgot to mention this one - CASTLE CONQUEST ... It might be the same game but with different name? .... would it be possible for a screenshot of Hunchback Havoc ? :)



#7 ti99iuc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 3:13 AM

...now i am out of house... but the screenshot should be in the GameBase

 

Attached File  Hunchback Havock.png   559bytes   10 downloads  Attached File  Hunchback Havock_1.png   1.28KB   9 downloads

 

 

 

 



#8 Retrospect ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 3:21 AM

...now i am out of house... but the screenshot should be in the GameBase

 

attachicon.gifHunchback Havock.png  attachicon.gifHunchback Havock_1.png

 

 

 

 

Nice game ... mine was different .... so I am now going to look for Castle Conquest, it might have been made by anyone like Apex or Firefly .... 
I've released Dodger onto your facebook site , I hope someone will try to beat my score of 337! :)



#9 OX. OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 5:07 AM

If anyone has any tape games that are not in the Gamebase I'd love to get hold of them to add.



#10 ti99iuc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 5:58 AM

If anyone has any tape games that are not in the Gamebase I'd love to get hold of them to add.

 

I will check my tapes but for sure will put everything online database of my website, I will alert you and you can download them from there;)



#11 sometimes99er OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 5:59 AM

Nice thread.
 

DODGER


Very nice game.

Very nice graphics etc. Firstly, I'd like it to be much more responsive, like you sit around, starring at the thing, and then you press left, release it, and nothing happens. And I mean the thing is compiled. Okay, so you figure out that you have to hold left and that things are like timed in certain intervals, but please !? I know it may seem like a small thing, so what, it may be nitpicking, but again, it's often small bits like this that makes a difference between playable and really additive. To have it do just that may be a bugger, but a small hand-drawn flowchart may help !? Secondly, I'd like joystick support instead of TI arrow-keys. Okay, so it works, but running from emulation (being a bit selfish), joystick or perhaps WASD (trying to escape the selfishness) is much more natural for us (51, 43, 18, 16 and 6 years of age). We discovered you could hide in the grass between houses. Also we mostly ran in CPU Overdrive, making it responsive and overall maybe not easier but more enjoyable - to us.

Keep up the good work.
 

;)


Edited by sometimes99er, Sat Apr 5, 2014 6:06 AM.


#12 Retrospect ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 6:30 AM

Hahaha .... thanks for the tips Karsten.

 

I know exactly what is causing the delay with movement - I have obviously had to put some sort of a delay in there to stop the dodger man from running up the arse end of any cars / monsters, but I have put the delay loop in BEFORE the man moves which makes all the difference it seems.

 

I will correct this.  

 

Ciro Biralle also noticed you can hide in the green strip of grass up by the houses.  This is a fault of the 9918 videochip with the 4-sprites in a line limitation, so the only real way I can get around that would be to have the houses as character tiles instead of sprites - which is not a bad idea really.

 

You want joystick support?  You got it.   I'll throw that in too.  



#13 Vorticon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 6:30 AM

Really not bad at all, and I agree there is definitely a certain nostalgic charm to it! Nicely coded :) One bug (?) I noted was that the little guy disappeared when he crossed into the green strip next to the houses, although he was still controllable, I think the game would be more challenging if it did not allow you to enter that strip at all except at the location of a house.

Well done.



#14 Retrospect ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 6:54 AM

Really not bad at all, and I agree there is definitely a certain nostalgic charm to it! Nicely coded :) One bug (?) I noted was that the little guy disappeared when he crossed into the green strip next to the houses, although he was still controllable, I think the game would be more challenging if it did not allow you to enter that strip at all except at the location of a house.

Well done.

DUDES!!!!

 

its the videochip

 

 

:D haha !  .... yeah it sure does have nostalgic charm doesn't it .... I'm going to work on it though and implement the suggestions Karsten made, and actually, I'm going to look into maybe like you say, Vorticon, not letting you actually access the grass strip if its not near a house.

 

I think if I allow Dodger to go just say 5 pixels into the grass, it would pick up the sprite collision for any house, but deter him from entering (and getting lost in) the grass!

 

Yeah it's really not a bug, it's that darn videochip with it's silly limitation, just think, if it was running just a couple of MHz faster it would have  allowed us 5 sprites on a line and Dodger wouldn't be running around invisible in long grass.

 

I'll get a new revision out soon :)



#15 Vorticon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 8:35 AM

But does Dodger need to be a sprite since he does not move in a continuous fashion? It should be feasible to use characters for him except for the death animation where a sprite could be substituted.



#16 Retrospect ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 9:07 AM

But does Dodger need to be a sprite since he does not move in a continuous fashion? It should be feasible to use characters for him except for the death animation where a sprite could be substituted.

Ahhhh now you're getting onto what i was thinking about ..... can dodger be a tile char.

Well, yes, in short, he can.  He moves left to right in segments of 24 pixels (he has 20 slots left to right) and he has 10 up and down slots.  The slots were devised to make the game harder, so there are no "comfort zones" in the road and on the water.

 

But as soon as I make him into chars,  I have the problem of having to work out his position vs everyone else's positions on the screen.  It would be easier (for me) to simply devise a line just along the houses that he can't cross, let's say 18 pixels down from the top, so that when he DOES go to the top towards the houses, if anything he's just gonna be missing his head if he stands /between/ the houses, because the houses will only overlap him by a few pixels, if you get me.

I'm working on it now, actually, I've just reduced the delay in the movement and am about to implement joystick control .... gotta admit that ESDX thing, well, it's there for pure nostalgia but it's not doing our wrists or fingers any good really.

As I write this, I've just had another brainfart.  What if i could make an F18A version which takes advantage of the no-sprite-limit, therefore I could have really nicely designed sprites that have a black outline around them (so the crocs show up better in the water, and would just look really nice) the black outline could be done using another sprite in the same place.  Obviously, this is me literally writing what i'm thinking so it may be a while before that one materializes but i would like to take advantage of the F18a so it's got some software to show (although I think Rasmus has got that one licked with his excellent games!) ..... lets' see what happens :)



#17 am1933 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 11:56 AM

these are my UK K7s :) .... i love international TI's cassette tapes :)

 

attachicon.gif20140405_105143.jpg

Ciro-you truly are-"THE DON!!!!!!!!!!!"

Damn fine collection of tapes you have there.

Respect and jealousy in equal measure.



#18 ti99iuc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:07 PM

thank you ;) ... but, well, i think more than "THE DON" ... I have a disease for the TI99 :) .. it's the same way as a drug or alcoholism ... or better yet, a gambling! ... I can not stop buying TI... and the problem is that i've finished money :(  a lot of other UK K7 tape missing in my collection ....;) ... and i am using not mine money at now :D



#19 am1933 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:07 PM

I know this is slightly off topic but bear with me, about a year ago I picked up a Sinclair Spectrum 128+2 with a load of cassette tapes for about £15, "what is so special about that?"-I hear you ask.

In the background of the picture you could plainly see that the included tapes were not infact Spectrum tapes, they were a full set of TI Scott Adams adventures. I won the auction and got the Spectrum which was quickly deposited in a cupboard, I then managed to replace some of my more worn examples of the Scott Adams series with those lovely new mint examples.



#20 ti99iuc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:11 PM

excellent! "Sharpen the view" when you look at the picture can be very helpful!
I understand you very well :) ... in fact I find some duplicates for this reason :)



#21 am1933 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:13 PM

thank you ;) ... but, well, i think more than "THE DON" ... I have a disease for the TI99 :) .. it's the same way as a drug or alcoholism ... or better yet, a gambling! ... I can not stop buying TI... and the problem is that i've finished money :(  a lot of other UK K7 tape missing in my collection .... ;) ... and i am using not mine money at now :D

Ciro-I just had another look at your tapes, can it be true that you don't have Troll King and The Black Tower by Lantern Software, please let it be so!, this will make me feel so much better knowing I have something that you don't :-D



#22 ti99iuc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:19 PM

oh yeah, I miss those! along with many others unfortunately! : D ... you can consider yourself relieved ;) ... but if you will have some of your doubled K7 let me know, We Could exchange or anyway i could be interested ;)

i am interested in Italians, French, German, Spanish or anyone K7 tapes i missing too ;) ...


Edited by ti99userclub, Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:25 PM.


#23 RobertLM78 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:24 PM

Perhaps we should get these tapes of Ciro's on Whtech?



#24 am1933 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:24 PM

oh yeah, I miss those! along with many others unfortunately! : D ... you can consider yourself relieved ;) ... but if you will have some of your doubled K7 let me know, We Could exchange or anyway i could be interested ;)

i am interested in Italians, French, German, spanish K7 teapes too ;)

I have double of The Troll King by Lantern Software in a Clamcase-Condition is good, I will set up my tape deck next week sometime and test it then let you know.



#25 ti99iuc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 5, 2014 12:26 PM

This could be great am1933 ! :D ... thank you ;)






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