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atarialoha

Star Raiders: Hyperspace

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Folks, sorry this is vaporware right now (LOL), but I was thinking about it last night.

 

We have the source code for Star Raiders (both the original and the amazingly reverse engineered one, which totally blows the mind).

 

So I was just musing about how the game can be enhanced. No need to keep it within the incredible 8K that it took back in the day.

 

I was thinking, make a few tougher enemies, like a Klingon type battlecruiser, some stronger TIE fighter ships, with more shielding, tougher weapons.

 

You'd repair at one type of space station, and reload armament at another type.

 

For new weapons, you'd have a kind of photon torpedo, limited ammo. Maybe 2 per reload. They would be guided but you have to lock on first. Opening the torpedo bay doors takes a second or two and you would be more vulnerable to attack damage, but these torpedoes would deal massive damage if they hit the enemy.

 

The long range sensor can detect squadrons of enemies, and they would also sometimes fly in formation. You need to outrun them sometimes, not just always attack them head on, and especially when damaged, you need to run away and repair, while making sure you don't run out of energy. In fact, for some extreme repairs, your on-board repair robot must salvage parts from weapons, so you can repair (shields, hull, sensors and hyperspace only) but not fight, and need to go to a space station to do a proper repair job.

 

Shields can have two levels. First is the regular one. Second level is Advanced Shields which blocks more attacks but you cannot fire or shoot torpedoes, and uses more energy.

 

Energy management will become a crucial task and you can't just generally forget about it like in the original game.

 

The enemy will also have better AI and will have a strategic element, as it moves across the Galactic Map to destroy space stations systematically. You need to play chess at this level, like in Archon, and then engage in the dogfights once you warp to the sector. You need to sometimes decide if you want to save a weapons cache or a repair depot because both are surrounded.

 

Any other ideas?

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Not sure how practical an idea it is, but other fighters that you can direct on the map and/or take control of.  I never played Star Raiders on anything but the 5200 until I was in my late 20s, so the image I always associated it with was this:

 

AT5200-star-Raiders-large-image.thumb.jpg.1916586e5d6fd77e1162b91257d5d07f.jpg

 

Very anachronistic, Napoleonic Kriegspeil sort of imagery to it, but it implies a strategic scale to the game that doesn't really come through in the game itself.  It's just you in the cockpit.  Zoom over here, zoom over there, occasionally run and dock.  Pew pew pew.  It would be cool to have multiple fighters to direct.

 

Or, failing that, have some system where you can redirect power from your shields to your warp drive, or from your targeting computer or your weapons.  Something that makes managing your ship's systems a gameplay mechanic, rather than just they're on, then you get blasted and they're off.  Either press on without them or run and dock.

 

Also, enemies with cloaking that can only be detected on the long range scanners and targeting computer.  Thinking these would be slow-moving bombers with a light fighter escort that stalk the starbases, so once you've wiped out the fighter wave, you have to have a cat-and-mouse "Balance of Terror" sort of fight to save the base.

 

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Cool idea, but honestly, at this point, I'd rather someone fix the AI for Wilmunder's Star Raiders II. It's basically the next gen sequel and it's sooooo close to being done.

That said, with the code being dumped, this would probably be easier to do. I like the idea of having different ships, that would add a lot of interesting replay-ability. Not sure about having different starbases with different refills though, that would lock you into unwinnable situations. Maybe a better idea would be to do like Artemis does where all starbases give you energy and repairs, but they have limited, individual amounts of the more powerful weapons. That would add strategic depth without making the game unfairly hard.

Another fun thing to do would be to have an 'emergency repair' option where you could degrade one system to increase another to 'partly working' status.

 

Another fun mechanic would be to add (seeing as this game is basically the old mainfram Trek game in real time) a couple of non aligned ship classes that give bonuses or weapons if taken out, but otherwise do not attack starbases (though they will attack you).

 

Quote

Also, enemies with cloaking that can only be detected on the long range scanners and targeting computer.  Thinking these would be slow-moving bombers with a light fighter escort that stalk the starbases, so once you've wiped out the fighter wave, you have to have a cat-and-mouse "Balance of Terror" sort of fight to save the base.

Great idea.

 

Quote

 

For new weapons, you'd have a kind of photon torpedo, limited ammo. Maybe 2 per reload. They would be guided but you have to lock on first. Opening the torpedo bay doors takes a second or two and you would be more vulnerable to attack damage, but these torpedoes would deal massive damage if they hit the enemy.

Maybe something like the Nukes in Artemis: extremely limited ammo but destroys small fleets. You'd only have a handful per game (and only if you flew everywhere to pick them up) but they could be great for emergencies.

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Just to add to the ideal Wish List, maybe a Tractor Beam thing might be good. You would have disabled vessels and/or cargo packages that you tractor, and then you need to hyperspace to the starbases with them (these assets can also be damaged by enemies). If successfully rescued you get bonuses from them (rescued vessels might power up the weapons or even give strategic information such as location of enemy bases). Maybe cargo doesn't need to be taken to starbases but tractoring them can give you ammo and energy.

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16 hours ago, Lord Thag said:

Cool idea, but honestly, at this point, I'd rather someone fix the AI for Wilmunder's Star Raiders II. It's basically the next gen sequel and it's sooooo close to being done.

It's literally the same-gen sequel. It's an interesting historical artifact, but the frame rate is way too low for a twitch action game like Star Raiders.

 

As for the original Star Raiders, instead of grafting a bunch of new frippery onto it, I'd rather see the bitmap display upped to single-line resolution, and faster math routines so it runs smoother.

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6 minutes ago, ZylonBane said:

faster math routines so it runs smoother.

@phaeron has done this- search the forum & you will find the download.

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6 hours ago, ZylonBane said:

It's literally the same-gen sequel. It's an interesting historical artifact, but the frame rate is way too low for a twitch action game like Star Raiders.

 

As for the original Star Raiders, instead of grafting a bunch of new frippery onto it, I'd rather see the bitmap display upped to single-line resolution, and faster math routines so it runs smoother.

True, but I think some of the coding wizards around here could pull it off if they had a mind. It's so close to being very good. I'd love to see it 'completed'.

Star Raiders is such a great game, I just find it annoying we never really got a real sequel to it. Sure, there have been followups with the name, and a couple of later gen 'inspired by' games like Battlesphere on Jag or t he dodgy ST 'version', but nothing that really feels like 'Star Raiders II'.

Even if it's a homebrew, it would be cool to see a sequel on the A8s. Can't tell you how many hours I've put into the original since the 80s.

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On 5/27/2021 at 11:13 PM, MrTrust said:

the image I always associated it with was this

I love that it shows people in future-space-clothing using manual plotting of their enemies like it was WWII.

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Posted (edited)

Here's a link to Lorenz Wiest's amazing achievement.

 

(He is here by the way. Hi Lorenz!)

 

I think we can start with his code (instead of the original source code) because he documented how it works.

 

Now we don't even need to type in the assembly code from the original listing.

 

https://github.com/lwiest/StarRaiders

 

Original discussion here

 

 

Edited by atarialoha
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If even just half of your proposed changes/additions were to be made, it sounds like a ton of work and almost a complete re-write of the original.

 

I look forward to playing your results though! Keep is apprised of your progress.

 

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13 hours ago, ZylonBane said:

I'd rather see the bitmap display upped to single-line resolution, and faster math routines so it runs smoother.

Both of these were done already.  The single line resolution hack received interest from maybe 2 people, but the faster explosion hack that phaeron did was a bit more popular.

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On 6/2/2021 at 7:20 AM, bfollowell said:

If even just half of your proposed changes/additions were to be made, it sounds like a ton of work and almost a complete re-write of the original.

 

I look forward to playing your results though! Keep is apprised of your progress.

 

I don't think a complete rewrite is necessary.

 

The hardest part is actually looking through the code and understanding how it was done, and figuring out where to insert new subroutines to add in the new stuff.

 

Plenty of space to muck around, without being limited to 8K haha!

 

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3 hours ago, atarialoha said:

I don't think a complete rewrite is necessary.

 

The hardest part is actually looking through the code and understanding how it was done, and figuring out where to insert new subroutines to add in the new stuff.

 

Plenty of space to muck around, without being limited to 8K haha!

 

 

That's certainly true. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

 

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On 6/4/2021 at 1:03 AM, bfollowell said:

 

That's certainly true. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

 

Let's not make this only about me! LOL! Just starting the discussion.

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I wanted to build my own Star Raiders ROM without using MAC/65.  And it turned out ATASM was the best compiler for that.  So, I have made a ZIP file containing the original source ZIP, one I modified (only as much as needed!!) to work with ATASM, a working statically linked ATASM.EXE (needs no DLL's) and a MAKE.BAT file.

 

So, if you are on a modern Windows version, you should be able to unzip it, double-click the "makefile" and it generates a working StarRaiders.ROM which binary compares exactly to the original.

 

So, it makes it REALLY easy to change anything.

 

MAKE STAR RAIDERS.zip

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You mean "assembler" 😉😆 haha sorry I like to nitpick on that one whenever I see people post it LOL

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3 minutes ago, atarialoha said:

You mean "assembler" 😉😆 haha sorry I like to nitpick on that one whenever I see people post it LOL

Well, actually ALL assemblers ARE compilers.  But not vice versa.

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16 hours ago, glurk said:

Well, actually ALL assemblers ARE compilers.  But not vice versa.

Really? I guess I learned something new again.

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I did a little font hack to phaeron's FAST-DIV version just to see how it looks with a consistent font throughout.  I like it!  But I noticed a bug in his version.  When you start a novice mission, and go hyperspace, the cursor is not centered, it's off 1 or 2 pixels too low.  I PM'd him about it, anyways.

 

So this is just a test, but I think it's good:

sr.xex

 

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Ok, sorry for slightly hijacking this thread, but here is a "Star Raiders" that I'm happy with at least.  It's phaeron's FAST-DIV code, with a new font including replacing the built-in numbers and letters, and the centering bug fixed.  I'm pretty sure it's solid.

 

Star Raiders (Phaeron+ Font).xex

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Does a version exist with the Fast-Div code and fixed centering bug, and no other mods?

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Posted (edited)

It most certainly does. Thanks!

 

Years & years ago on the day I got the Atari 400 and Star Raiders were were debating whether or not to stay home and play on the family TV or go for pizza at ShowBiz and play Tempest and Centipede. In the end it was a compromise, we went for pizza but it was later in the evening.

 

That a home game could complete with the Arcades at such an early juncture was notable. Arcades always had the better graphics and more compelling gameplay - cheapdeaths notwithstanding. Well Atari homestuff usually lived up to its name.

 

Star Raiders on 400/800 and Space Invaders on VCS were to start a running timer in my head that would keep counting till home games surpassed arcades consistently. The situation steadily improved and scales irrevocably tipped in the home direction with the advent of the 386/486 PC gaming era. Tubular Worlds, Wacky Wheels, Raptor, Doom, Quake, Hexen, Heretic, Flight Simulator 4 & 5, Tyrian..and more.. One by one they came out and I (we) spent more time playing them than in the arcades.

Edited by Keatah
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