My life in gaming...

Early Gaming Experience

Like I said I've been gaming since the 70s. The early days of gaming consisted of playing what other people owned.

i.e. Gaming paraphernalia owned by family and friends. 

Playing the little basic pong gaming systems owned by family members, on times of going to visit. 

Visiting the Arcades in the 70s/80s

Visiting the arcades when holidaying are wonderful memories of gaming in my life, especially a particular amazing holiday in Tenby, South West Wales. A small town, but having found a little arcade, wonderful times for the younger gaming me. 

Hitting the arcades downtown as a teenager. To play my favourite arcade hits, Choplifter, Ghosts and goblins, Metrocross, Area 88  and Teenage mutant ninja turtles. To name but a few.

School days

At school remembering the days of going across to the local store, at dinner break, and playing the few arcade machines they had in the back room, lunar lander and oh my god sit-down Phoenix. The times the guy who came to empty the machines, chucking us handfuls of ten pence pieces, fun times. 

And I mustn't forget going around to a school friends home, a pub run by his parents, and going upstairs and playing his Atari 2600, and enjoying pork pie and mushy peas. Great days. 

Computer Club impresses

Being impressed by the coding geeks of the computer club, tapping out those quick routines to get those spiraling line and curves, strobing around the screen on the schools Acorn BBC Micro Model A. Very impressive. I had to have my own system. Maybe not the BBC thou, who could afford that.

My First Console

My earliest memories of creating games, in a sense, was on my first personally owned system. 

The Philips Videopac G7000, as it was known in the UK. In a game called Munchkin, a game that allowed you to create your own mazes, many hours were spent creating, and many hours/mazes lost to Mum unplugging my system, so she could vac up. I forgive you Mumūüíē

As my next experience of creating games came about from a Boyfriend of my Mum, at the time, who lent me a computer system he owned. 

The Texas Instruments - TI-99/4A. 

It didn't come with any games so I read the basic manual, and I learnt a little. I manage to make three basic, basic games. 

  • High noon type shootout game, two cowboys facing each other across a river. The sun setting as a timer, wait for prompt to shoot. React , press a key. 
  • Downhill skiing game, move left and right to dodge trees, get to the bottom  to enter the cabin.
  • Horse racing game.

I was proud of what I had created at the time, I wish I had these games to see today, they're just fond memories now I'm afraid. I remember sitting one afternoon, showing a friend what I'd learnt, and creating the basic horse racing game. Basic one character horses racing around an oval racetrack, creating a simple colour changing crowd. 

Not sure if my friend was impressed.

ZX Spectrum 48K

I then eventually got a ZX Spectrum 48K, after being introduced to this system, from visits to my cousins, where we would play from waking to sleeping over the weekend visit. Trying to clock the highest score on Jetpac, never happened, speccy would always crash. And trying to work out what you were supposed to even do in the game Jungle trouble. 

I say eventually get a spectrum, as I remember only too well, receiving two zx spectrum games for christmas one year, Cookie and Tranz am. But alas, not actually receiving the spectrum. Sad times. Still hurts to this day. 

I eventually got one, "yeah!", but never got around to coding on it, as I had to keep returning it, problem after problem. I eventually got fed up of returning it. Persuaded my Mum to return the spectrum, and get an exchange to a different system altogether. She reluctantly enters the store, a battle of wills ensued, and they may even have been some physicality. Foggy memories. 

But! she  exits the store victorious, and thrusts the said system into my anxiously excited arms. And storms off into the sunset. "Thanks Muuum!"

The Commodore 64 

I did know that in doing the exchange, I wouldn't have any games to play as the system didn't come with a datasette for loading games. It would take many weeks for me to save the money for the datasette. Hard times. 

In the meantime, I would just input listings from magazines which I would change to my liking, to practice coding, but would have to eventually turn off the computer, losing everything. " Arrrghhhh! #@&$! " 

I quickly realised that basic on the commodore is not going to cut it, I would have to learn that magical language they call machine code (Assembly language). I used to peruse the books of machine coding at my local bookstore, I couldn't get my head around the scary looking language. Intimidated by the prospect of the brain aching torture it would inflict upon me. I put the book back and walked away.  

I buy a game creation program, probably called game creator, not sure just remember it had no sound capabilities, so I returned it.

 I dabbled with SEUCK a little. Made one tanks in the snow level.

The time has come I have saved enough to get me the Commodore 1530 Datasette, this is it, nothing can hold me back now. 

MANY MANY GAMES PLAYED, NOT MADE, LATER.

MANY MORE GAMES PLAYED, NOT MADE, LATER.

Systems owned over the next 17 years 

  1. Sega Master System.
  2. Sega Megadrive.
  3. Nintendo Snes.
  4. Atari Jaguar.
  5. Nintendo 64.
  6. Nintendo Gamecube.

17 YEARS HAVE PASSED.

What have I been doing. I've played hundreds of games, I've created non. It's now the new Millenium, the year 2000. It's time to have another go, at this game creating dream I've had all these years. 

I discovered some software for the PC, DIV Games Studio. Perfect! As I am a bit of a Div as it happens. 

Omg! I just googled said software and it seems to have made a return, when did that happen, I missed that one. And it turns out you can access the games that were uploaded all those years ago. 

ARACHNIDA

My first game created and submitted to DIV GAMES ARENA.

Brace yourself, it's pretty shocking. Actually having tried it out myself recently, it seems to be broken, hopefully it wasn't always like that. 

I do remember that I had uploaded the game without resetting the games fps back to its default setting, after testing how fast it would run with fps unlocked, oops. 

Although it looks like they had to recover a lot of their data from a damaged hard drive at some point, maybe that's what happened.

I happen to still have the code for this game, but I have lost all the graphics and sound, I should make it a side project to get it running again, and allow you to check it out properly.

ARACHNIDA

Was an arcade shooter like my current arcade project Ah 'ate those flocking birds.

In the game you had a spaceship you moved left and right, and the ship was equipped with a flamethrower.       ( I do hope people got to burn those spiders all those years ago, he he heee!!)

I think there were 4 levels and a Boss level as far as I can remember.

  1. Spiders moving in space invaders formation.
  2. Parachuting spiders, that swing from side to side.
  3. Spiders moving in vaders formation again, player could rapid shoot this time, like Phoenix.
  4. Not sure if I repeated the parachuting spiders again.
  5. Boss Level.

The Boss was a Big Spider, obviously. 

The Boss spider had stages. 

  • With two groups of spiders circling it and rotating around it to protect it. You had to shoot these,  to get to hurt it. They used to disappear after hitting them, but would return after a short while. So you had to keep the attack on. 
  • I remember there was a stage were it  would start chucking out egg pods, that would hatch if the player didn't kill them before hatching. Which hatched out a smart spider, that would be difficult to shoot, would dodge players bullets. It would have less chance if players acquired double bullets, which shot two angled bullets, making it hard for the smart spiders to dodge. The smart spiders would shoot webs at the player ship, and if hit would slow the player down.
  • In the final stage it would start spitting out swarms of baby spiders, and I think it would start disappearing up off the screen and randomly appearing again.

I also started a project called, "Blast from the Past". A remake of Jetpac, a ZX Spectrum game. I included a modern version of the levels that had picture backgrounds, some with water. I coded the water to ripple  on these levels. And I included a side scrolling space level. The player had to negotiate an asteroid belt, after the ship went off the top of the screen. I also have the code for this too, another side project maybe?

Another 21 years later

Here I go again, I've been chipping away at my current 3 projects for the last 8 years. A very long time I know, when I say chipping, I mean literally putting little bits of code together in my spare time. And many months would go by sometimes without having coded anything. But hopefully I've finally got all three games to a playable state. A pretty complete game, they're far from fully finished. And, they may possibly never reach my vision of that level, who knows. 

Thank you very much if you have reached this far. 

I look forward to receiving your future support. 

Your Sincerely

Carl.