C o d i n g O n N e t a d e l i c a
The text file for the game says that I wrote it partly because there seemed to be no other versions that tried specifically to replicate the original as authentically as possible. In January 2002, I came across InvaderX, written by Andy Miles, that is an absolutely fantastic version. It's miles better than mine, and I recommend you get his instead of mine if you want to get as close as possible to the original (short of emulation). InvaderX is at this page, and requires DirectX. It's difficult to believe that it is all original code with no emulation, it's so good, but Andy assures me that's the case. Hats off to him!
A friend and I wrote two commercial games in that monitor. My friend wrote Grid Warriors, a top-down, Tron-style light cycles game with scrolling window. I wrote Dominator, a left/right shoot-em-up with lots of levels of swirly aliens. Both games were accepted by top software houses of the day - Grid Warriors by Severn Software, Dominator by Tansoft. Unfortunately, during the latter stages of negotiations, the company that made the Oric went bust and the Oric boom was over. Grid Warriors was taken up by another company, and my friend went on receiving royalty cheques for 36p for years afterwards. To my horror, all my cassettes got corrupted (I used to leave them on a loudspeaker - duh!), and Dominator was lost forever. Boohoo! I didn't get over that for quite a while and lost interest in computers.
In the first year at college, Atari STs were the thing, so I blew most of student grant on one. It was all rather disillusioning. I was used to computers like the Oric and the BBC which were well-defined, easily- understood machines. The ST was far more complex and it felt like a big effort learning the complex internals just in order to be able to launch a bit of machine code. I persevered, learned 68000 and wrote some stuff, but never really got gripped by it.
I gaily abandoned computers in my life when I started my placement year (which was, of course, a year of programming). No computer in the house - how grown up! It was a liberating experience, and the first time I'd separated work or study from home life. The placement job was great, writing schools software for the then-new Acorn Archimedes for Newman Software, part of Newman College in Birmingham. The BBC magazines reviewed my programs, and the Times Educational Supplement even said of one program I was particularly proud of something like "every school should have this program". Gosh.
After finishing college and starting work, I didn't have a computer in the house for several years, and spent my time doing grown up things like drinking and discussing the human condition. I couldn't resist forever, though, and acquired a 286 PC soon after buying a house (a Big Thing). That PC was useless for programming (GW-BASIC, Hercules graphics) but it got me onto the Internet with a DOS port of KA9Q. I accepted that computers and coding was in my genes and reverted to type. A few PC upgrades later, and here I am, writing this. Tada!
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