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pixelpedant

Arcturus/Zaxxon Content Collection

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Posted (edited)

Since I'd collated a lot of content relating to Zaxxon and Arcturus for a video recently, I figure it's worth collecting that in a post, to make it more searchable.  Heck, maybe I should just be doing that in the first place, and saving myself the trouble of making YouTube videos :P

 

In any case, here's a big Arcturus/Zaxxon image content dump, for posterity, since it seems like a waste for this stuff to just be hiding out on my hard drive, and inside a video.

 

And I know most of you guys know all this stuff (and more).  But it's nice to have this kind of stuff publicly findable, in one place.  Toward which end, I'll try to include some descriptive text.

 

 

 

So, Zaxxon for TI-99/4A (and other platforms) was advertised in Compute! in February 1983, by Datasoft, as an April release:

 

 

432121360_ZaxxonadinComputeFeb1983citingTI-99port.thumb.jpg.a801e3ef3b56f154c6e1305e430d7835.jpg

 

And in keeping with that, was announced by 99/4 Users of America (Feb 1983):

 

1749440281_Zaxxonportnews-Flint-994usersofamerica-Feb1983.thumb.png.fa044914139d6cfaa599e23fe365ddea.png

 

But subsequently retracted, as the port did not come to be:

 

1288429277_Zaxxonportretraction-Flint-994usersofamerica-Jan1984.thumb.png.264b77117a40968b8cdf0d3109f8a5f2.png

 

 

Funnily enough though, Datasoft was still advertising for programmers in 99'er magazine in April to August 1983 making explicit reference to Zaxxon (I guess if you've got the rights, they might as well be good for something):

 

 

69324723_August198399erDatasoftadseekingZaxxonprogrammers.png.b76e723d0b22615adae165edd648bb7b.png

 

 

However, while Zaxxon didn't happen, in October, Bill Bies (pronounced "Bees" per Bryan Roppolo) demonstrated his Zaxxon clone, Arcturus, at a Pittsburgh user group meeting:

 

1103470140_November1983PUGnoteonBillBiesArturusdemo.thumb.png.234dca66d1f618826d98d0fbc0af9472.png

 

He's also noted there as the author of AsTIroids and Arthropod:

 

Arthropod.png.3e62146a53b18bf4c315b9fdcf89ffe6.pngAsTIroids.png.2017c88db6853a09cb24fe341d189e3f.png

 

It would ultimately be published by Sunware, who were advertising cart conversions at the time:

 

(Home Computer Magazine, Summer 1984)

 

1889782950_Summer1984-SunwarehasHCMadpromotingcarttech.thumb.png.a69f8f8442c2e3e7ab50cb8cd9b8a0a9.png

 

(Micropendium, June 1984)

1617283517_June1984-MPmentionofSunwarecartconversions.png.eb74a569ed667835e285d3dd1301568a.png

 

(Winnipeg TIUG, November 1984)

 

937111020_November1984WinnipegTIUGreportonSunwareformation.thumb.png.fe0d14a656f3d201e903db1dab61208f.png

 

And who fairly imminently rebranded as Exceltec

 

(Atlanta, November 1984)

 

998023177_AtlantaNovemberNewsletterExceltecmoniker.thumb.png.b29817a5941247565e6855842d92e7b3.png

 

And Arcturus appeared under the Sunware brand in the Fall 1984 Unisource catalogue:

 

97543831_UnisourceFall1984Ad.jpg.95f6f35060bb3f8370260eaa7726a42b.jpg

 

With the cartridge as a sideport cart:

 

cyc-cart-image.jpg.03e9373f27d49698e9f92aab2b5cebf3.jpg

 

It also appears (under the Exceltec brand) advertised in the Unisource catalogue in 1985:

 

747401664_unisourcearcturusadaug1985.thumb.png.b9fb974ac2d2a05e9aee00473e8f4cf3.png

 

And by Arcade Hardware in the UK in 1985:

 

1044917025_winter-spring1985TIHomeComputerUsersClubArcturusadEngland.png.b6444cdc7b2bc2939390e1dc6c8c7093.png

 

Tex-Comp was advertising the disk version as a "backup" in the early 90s:

 

1643149827_MPFeb1991TexcompDiskBackupAd.thumb.png.79d48eda6adb3674497e6a59b265464b.png

And just for fun, here are some high scores from West Penn, 1987:

 

2115538631_westpennoct1987highscorelistwitharcturus.png.92d42307e4f6df850e8174e7f1e5d864.png

 

 

The cartridge (and not just the disk version) is accessible today thanks to Acadiel and Tursi dumping and converting the cart in 2009.

 

 

 

Edited by pixelpedant
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Nice game, visually striking, and great music... but sadly I cannot play it well enough to save my own life.

 

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Posted (edited)

 

One key tactic, I think, is paying attention to the ship's shadow even more than the ship itself: 

 

 

 image.thumb.png.84c176ce8fdf5f3d1400509640aa564e.png

 

 

Since this tells you both the ship's true horizontal position with respect to objects at ground level, and its height. 

 

The geometry takes a bit of getting used to.  But all the information is actually there, as long as the shadow is visible. 

 

Note that flying enemy targets also produce shadows which reveal their position and height:

 

 

image.png.429a524c203b831de6d58f24528f8ae0.png

 

Edited by pixelpedant
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I still have the old EA/5's I had back in the last century.  These were removed from an old 5.25" diskette years ago.  If someone without a FlashROM or FinalGROM wants to play it, here ya go.

ARCTURUS.zip

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Yeah, the disk version music is pretty awesome.  Even as a Trekkie, I can admit Star Wars has some fantastic music, and this is a brilliant treatment of it:

 

 

But I'm kind of glad the cart version has music that isn't just cribbed from Star Wars, as amazing as that music is. 

 

Though the end of stage jingle is still Star Wars.

 

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Oh, here's another tidbit, for Zaxxon. 

 

Compute! Magazine, July 1983: Zaxxon for TI-99/4A (on Disk) being explicitly advertised (jumping the gun a bit, it would seem) by one vendor with a list price of $28:

 

Zaxxon-ad-Compute-July-1983.thumb.png.be418ee2b9da81f47ad8b0b84a390403.png

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They were selling it for 48 Pounds in 1985?  Holy crap!

 

winter-spring 1985 TI Home Computer Users Club Arcturus ad England.png

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25 minutes ago, sometimes99er said:

It was actually quite good (if memory serves me well).

My memory sucks, but this surprises me, I never knew Zaxxon existed for the TI, only Arcturus.  

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1 hour ago, INVISIBLE said:

My memory sucks, but this surprises me, I never knew Zaxxon existed for the TI, only Arcturus.  

this time its accurate..  there's no evidence Zaxxon ever existed for the TI

image.thumb.jpeg.295f3fec0987e432c0a94a29110664c6.jpeg

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15 minutes ago, arcadeshopper said:

this time its accurate..  there's no evidence Zaxxon ever existed for the TI

 

THANKS!  That's good to know.  It would make a killer port though!

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Can't really blame the vendor for advertising it though, given Datasoft had explicitly announced an April release. 

 

Presumably that ad was submitted well ahead of time and was just assuming the title would be available by publication (as promised). 

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There is a Zaxxons Trainer in the GameBase. It only has some sprites.

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Huh, neat, yeah.  Here's source, if anyone without Gamebase wants to play with it:

 

100 ! NEW SOFT TI 99/4A
110 GOTO 150 :: S,A$,PT,K,C,A,TM,FRD,HT :: CALL CLEAR :: CALL SCREEN :: CALL CHAR :: CALL MAGNIFY
120 DATA 32,2,1000,36,12,10,104,15,300,108,10,0,128,5,500,124,16,0,132,5,500,124,16,0
130 DIM PAT(15),COL(15),AM(15)
140 [email protected]
150 ON WARNING NEXT
160 CALL CLEAR :: CALL SCREEN(2)
170 FOR A=4 TO 15 :: READ PAT(A),COL(A),AM(A) :: NEXT A
180 CALL CHAR(92,"000000030000000000000000000000000C30C000000000000000000")
190 CALL CHAR(36,"03071F1F1F3F3F7F7FFFFFFF7F1F00008080808000000000C0E0E0E0C")
200 CALL CHAR(32,"6030180C050103273F0E00000000000000000080000080C08")
210 CALL CHAR(108,"000000003F3F3F3F3F3F3F3F3F1F070000000000FCFCFCFCFCFCFCFCFCF8E")
220 CALL CHAR(104,"071F3F7F7F3F1F474020180700000000E0F8FCFEFEFCF8E2020418E")
230 CALL CHAR(120,"102349D367339E7117317BA76DF0B71105123871C46E55022AF2CFE64C196F86")
240 CALL CHAR(96,"FFFF0C183060FFFF183C66C3FFFFC3C3C3E7663C3C66E7C37EFFC3C3C3C3FF7E")
250 CALL CHAR(100,"C3E3F3DBCFC7C3C37EE7C1781E83E77E",64,"3C4299A1A199423C")
260 FOR A=3 TO 8 :: CALL COLOR(A,16,2) :: NEXT A :: CALL COLOR(1,2,2,9,8,2)
270 DISPLAY AT(12,8):"`abbcde TRAINER" :: DISPLAY AT(20,5):"PRESS ANY KEY TO BEGIN": : : :"@1985 NEW SOFTWARE TI 99/4A"
280 CALL KEY(0,K,S) :: IF S=0 THEN 280
290 DISPLAY AT(1,12)ERASE ALL BEEP:"OPTIONS": : : :"PRESS": :"   1 FOR FIRE": :"   2 FOR ESCAPE": :"   3 FOR GROUND": :"   4 FOR ENDING"
300 CALL KEY(0,K,S) :: IF K>52 OR K<49 THEN 300
310 IF K=52 THEN CALL CLEAR :: STOP
320 DISPLAY AT(20,1):"NUMBER OF TIMES?  200" :: ACCEPT AT(20,19)BEEPSIZE(-3)VALIDATE(DIGIT):TM
330 DISPLAY AT(1,1)BEEP ERASE ALL :: RANDOMIZE
340 CALL MAGNIFY(3) :: A$="0000000000000000" :: CALL CHAR(96,"181E1FFF3F0F0F00"&A$&"1C7CF8F0F0F0F0F03")
350 CALL CHAR(124,"0000071F3F7F7F3F1F070000000000000000E0F8FCFEFEFCF8E")
360 CALL CHAR(128,"030F0F03000000000000000000000000C0F0F0C030F80E030")
370 CALL CHAR(132,"030F0F030C1F70C00000000000000000C0F0F0C0000000000")
380 CALL CHAR(100,"000003FF3F0F0F00"&A$&"0C7CF8F0F0F0F0F03")
390 CALL CHAR(112,"000002201406334B1F3F5F3F2F050000002122889CB8F8FCFFFCFDFCFEF88")
400 CALL CHAR(116,"000000000000000101070F0701000000000000000000002040E0E0F04")
410 CALL CHAR(136,"0C0F0F0F0F0F1F3E300000000000000060E0F0F0FCFFE0000")
420 CALL COLOR(1,14,14,3,2,14,4,2,14)
430 CALL SPRITE(#1,96,16,147,90,#2,100,2,154,90)
440 ON K-48 GOSUB 580,460,500
450 GOTO 240
460 CALL COLOR(1,2,2) :: FOR A=3 TO 5 :: C=INT(58*RND)+28 :: HT=C*2+50 :: CALL SPRITE(#A,136,A+9,C,HT) :: NEXT A :: FRD=1
470 CALL LOCATE(#2,147,90) :: CALL PATTERN(#2,112)
480 HT=3 :: FOR A=1 TO TM :: DISPLAY AT(1,1):A :: CALL SHIP :: FRD=-FRD :: HT=HT+1+3*(HT=5) :: C=INT(3*RND)+2 :: K=C*2 :: CALL MOTION(#HT,FRD*C,FRD*K)
490 CALL THEY(HT+1+3*(HT=5)) :: NEXT A :: CALL DELSPRITE(ALL) :: CALL CLEAR :: RETURN
500 FOR A=4 TO 14 STEP 2 :: C=INT(255*RND)+1 :: CALL SPRITE(#A,PAT(A),COL(A),C,248,4,-8,#A+1,PAT(A+1),COL(A+1),C,247,4,-8) :: NEXT A
510 FOR A=1 TO TM :: CALL SHIP :: CALL DEST :: NEXT A
520 CALL MOTION(#1,0,0,#2,0,0) :: DISPLAY AT(12,5)BEEP:"PRESS REDO OR BACK"
530 FOR A=1 TO 200 :: NEXT A
540 FOR A=1 TO 300 :: CALL KEY(0,K,S)
550 IF K=6 THEN CALL CLEAR :: GOTO 510 ELSE IF S THEN 570
560 NEXT A
570 CALL DELSPRITE(ALL) :: CALL CLEAR :: RETURN
580 FOR A=4 TO 10 STEP 2 :: C=INT(255*RND)+1 :: CALL SPRITE(#A,PAT(A),COL(A),C,248,3,-6,#A+1,PAT(A+1),COL(A+1),C,247,3,-6) :: NEXT A
590 PT,HT,FRD=0
600 FOR A=1 TO TM :: CALL FIRE(PAT(),COL(),AM(),HT,FRD,PT) :: DISPLAY AT(24,3):A :: NEXT A :: CALL DELSPRITE(ALL)
610 DISPLAY AT(3,1)ERASE ALL BEEP:"TIMES:";TM: :"SHOTS FIRED:";FRD: :"HIT TARGETS:";HT
620 DISPLAY AT(9,1):"PERCENTAGE OF HITS:";INT(HT*100/FRD): :"ABILITY:";INT(HT*100/TM): :"SCORE:";PT: :"SCORE RATE:";INT(PT/TM)
630 FOR A=1 TO 500 :: NEXT A
640 CALL KEY(0,K,S) :: IF S=0 THEN 640
650 CALL CLEAR :: RETURN
660 DATA 32,2,0,36,12,0,104,15,0,108,10,0
670 [email protected]+
680 SUB SHIP
690 CALL KEY(2,K,S) :: X=3*((K=2)-(K=3))
700 Y=6*((K=2)-(K=3)) :: CALL MOTION(#1,X,Y,#2,X,Y)
710 SUBEND
720 SUB FIRE(PAT(),COL(),AM(),HT,FRD,PT)
730 CALL SHIP :: CALL KEY(1,K,S) :: IF S=0 THEN SUBEXIT ELSE CALL POSITION(#1,X,Y,#2,X1,Y) :: FRD=FRD+1
740 CALL SPRITE(#3,92,16,X,Y,-60,120) :: FOR A=4 TO 10 STEP 2 :: CALL POSITION(#A,X,Y2)
750 IF ABS((Y2-Y)/(X1-X)-2)<.3 THEN CALL COLOR(#A,12,#A+1,10) :: CALL PATTERN(#A,116,#A+1,112) :: CALL SOUND(-400,-5,0)ELSE 780
760 CALL DELSPRITE(#3) :: CALL SHIP :: C=INT(256*RND)+1 :: CALL PATTERN(#A,120) :: PT=PT+AM(A) :: DISPLAY AT(1,1):USING "######":PT
770 HT=HT+1 :: CALL SPRITE(#A,PAT(A),COL(A),C,248,3,-6,#A+1,PAT(A+1),COL(A+1),C,247,3,-6) :: SUBEXIT
780 NEXT A :: CALL DELSPRITE(#3)
790 SUBEND
800 SUB DEST
810 CALL SHIP :: FOR A=4 TO 14 STEP 2 :: CALL COINC(#1,#A,9,DE)
820 IF DE THEN CALL SOUND(500,-7,0) :: C=250*RND+3 :: CALL LOCATE(#A,C,248,#A+1,C,247) :: SUBEXIT
830 NEXT A
840 SUBEND
850 SUB THEY(HT)
860 CALL POSITION(#1,X,Y,#HT,X1,Y1) :: CALL SPRITE(#6,92,9,X1,Y1,45,-90) :: IF ABS((Y1-Y)/(X-X1)-2)>.3 THEN SUBEXIT
870 CALL PATTERN(#1,120) :: CALL COLOR(#1,12,#2,10) :: CALL SOUND(-300,-7,0) :: CALL DELSPRITE(#6) :: CALL DEST :: CALL COLOR(#2,2,#1,16)
880 CALL PATTERN(#1,96)
890 SUBEND

 

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Not bad for Extended BASIC...

 

Although line 320 needs a space between BEEP & SIZE

320 DISPLAY AT(20,1):"NUMBER OF TIMES?  200" :: ACCEPT AT(20,19)BEEP SIZE(-3)VALIDATE(DIGIT):TM

 

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Huh.  Wonder why that space doesn't appear in the TI99Dir listing of the program.  Bug I guess.  Since it's definitely there, in the program itself. 

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I have always been fascinated by Zaxxon, and it would be a nice challenge to make a port for the F18A. For the 9918A I think the MSX1 version is already as good as it gets.

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11 hours ago, sometimes99er said:

It was actually quite good (if memory serves me well).
 

Indeed. Zaxxon was one of my top 3 games i loved on the C64:

Zaxxon, Z-Pilot, Blue Max.

I wish Z-pilot could be on the TI with F18a support.

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10 hours ago, Asmusr said:

There is a Zaxxons Trainer in the GameBase. It only has some sprites.

Ah yes, that looks like it. Thanks.
 

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