Ad Lunam

People are still making stuff for the Sinclair related machines. Tell us about new games and other software that runs on the Spectrum, ZX80/ZX81, Pentagon and Next.
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Alessandro
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Ad Lunam

Post by Alessandro »

Hi folks,

here is my latest effort: Ad Lunam, a simulation/management game created with ZX-Basic inspired to the Lift Off board game and the Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space PC-DOS title. Your aim is to reach the Moon with a manned spacecraft and safely return to Earth within 1976. Although it is not completed yet, I would like to distribute it as an evaluation version because today it is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing and this is my way to celebrate it :)

This is my first ever project made with ZX-Basic, and as such, I regard it as a sort of proof of concept. I would say the game is roughly 75% ready, almost all of the main characteristics are present. It still lacks planned features, for instance:
- Sound
- Graphics, apart from the two small US/Soviet flags
- Save/Load
- Unexpected events (good or bad) at the end of each turn
- The computer AI is still rudimentary and needs to be expanded

Also, bugs may be present. So beware!

Notwithstanding this, I designed a loading screen for it, based upon the famous Time magazine "Race to the Moon" 1968 cover.

Image

For the first time ever, I am also enclosing the sources. Please note that comments are in Italian; only captions have been translated in English. The documentation was (very quickly!) written directly in English instead. (Documentation and game in Italian will be distributed later; other languages will follow.)

Bug reporting, comments and suggestions are welcome; I'd be especially grateful if someone can find a way to optimize my listings and make them occupy less space after compiling, the game should run on a 48K Spectrum and RAM is running dangerously low...

Instructions on how to assemble the game from the sources are the README.TXT file included.

For the archive maintainers: maybe it is not needed to specify this, but I wish the game not to be included in the archive before it reaches at least version 1.0.

For subsequent versions, the downloading link remains the same. So here it is. Enjoy!

http://www.alessandrogrussu.it/zx/AdLunam.zip
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Ralf
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Re: Ad Lunam

Post by Ralf »

And if somebody missed it, we have 50th anniversary of landing on the moon today. So I guess we have here
some kind of homage from Speccy community. And I understand why it was released today as version 0.1 ;)

Management games aren't my cup of tea but I checked this one and it's very nicely performed. I like real names of
pilots, spaceships, modules etc.
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R-Tape
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Re: Ad Lunam

Post by R-Tape »

Wow. Not that a lunar module contains any, but this looks like a breath of fresh air. Given that detail and research are your stock-in-trade, I bet you have a LOT of background knowledge on this subject.

It'll be interesting to see how (if) you add graphics and sound to this, especially given that memory is already becoming an issue.

This will need a lot of play before I can say much about it.
For the archive maintainers: maybe it is not needed to specify this, but I wish the game not to be included in the archive before it reaches at least version 1.0.
Don't worry Ale, we're going to wait six weeks after release of v1.0 to allow for the usual 10 or so updates :P
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Alessandro
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Re: Ad Lunam

Post by Alessandro »

R-Tape wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:58 pm
Wow. Not that a lunar module contains any, but this looks like a breath of fresh air. Given that detail and research are your stock-in-trade, I bet you have a LOT of background knowledge on this subject.
True. My interest in space exploration even predates my interest in the Spectrum and is as avid as the latter, therefore it was unavoidable that the two things would connect with each other :ugeek: The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing was the opportunity to do it.
R-Tape wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:58 pm
It'll be interesting to see how (if) you add graphics and sound to this, especially given that memory is already becoming an issue.
I have considered the possibility of completing the 48K version including the main features in it, and later release an expanded 128K version with more bells and whistles. I can fully understand now why so many management games back in the day were as deep and complex as minimal regarding to visuals and sound...

However I have not grasped how memory bank management works with ZX-Basic. I even thought about creating several distinct programs dealing with the main parts of the game, each taking care of certain functions - e.g. pilots and material management, mission control etc. - and wrapping them up into an housekeeping program, more or less as I did with my arcade titles like Sophia or Seto Taisho. This would require a precise knowledge of where ZX-Basic put things like variable values in memory, which is something I am examining these days.

For now, I would like at least to finish the 48K program. Again, it's acting as a proof of concept and learning tool to me, but I hope users will find it interesting enough as a game
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Re: Ad Lunam

Post by Kweepa »

Looks very interesting!
"Materials" is a misleading term. Something like "Technologies" would work better, but it's not perfect either. Tricky...
(There are some places where a key press is enough to navigate, and others where you have a cursor and have to type a number and then ENTER.)
((It would be funny to have a TIMEX magazine logo on the loading screen.))
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Alessandro
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Re: Ad Lunam

Post by Alessandro »

Today, I did a fair bit of bug-squashing and fine tuning for all the aspects of the game that I feel are close to their definitive form. There's still lots to do however before the release of v0.2.
Kweepa wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:01 pm
Looks very interesting!
Thank you! :D
Kweepa wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:01 pm
"Materials" is a misleading term. Something like "Technologies" would work better, but it's not perfect either. Tricky...
Unfortunately I lack a better word to indicate all of the things you can research and use in the space programs, from rockets to EVA suits. "Materiel" is limited to military equipment so it is unsuitable. On the other hand, "materiali", for instance, is fine in Italian.
Kweepa wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:01 pm
(There are some places where a key press is enough to navigate, and others where you have a cursor and have to type a number and then ENTER.)
Sure, that's when you have to enter a certain value, other than choosing from a list of options to navigate through a menu. I tried to integrate the two things in order to make the user interface as friendly as possible.
Kweepa wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:01 pm
((It would be funny to have a TIMEX magazine logo on the loading screen.))
Honestly, I prefer it the way it is. :)
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Kweepa
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Re: Ad Lunam

Post by Kweepa »

It may be form affecting function, but I would break it into two menus, Programs and Tech.
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RMartins
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Re: Ad Lunam

Post by RMartins »

I haven't experimented with the game yet, because is not my type of game, but I might give it try.

Just try to shorten that yellow guy arm.
It's so long that it hurts just to see :D
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Alessandro
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Re: Ad Lunam

Post by Alessandro »

RMartins wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:41 pm
I haven't experimented with the game yet, because is not my type of game, but I might give it try.
I'd suggest you to wait for v0.2, I plan to release it within this week. Bug fixes, fine tuning etc.
RMartins wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:41 pm
Just try to shorten that yellow guy arm.
It's so long that it hurts just to see :D
You should ask Mr. Robert Grossman about that :mrgreen:
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Alessandro
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Re: Ad Lunam

Post by Alessandro »

Hi,

after a week of hard work, Ad Lunam v0.2 is now available for download.

- Tons of bugs fixed
- Memory usage widely optimized
- Game mechanics overhauled
- Tape save/load enabled
- Opponents' AI enhanced
- User manual revised, expanded and in PDF format

Some notes about this release:

The game should now be completely playable, although there are some planned features still missing, like possible unforeseeable events at the end of the turn.

To limit memory usage, I had to cut some corners. For instance, you can recruit a maximum of 10 pilots instead of 15.

It is still completely silent, but I prefer to give priority to gameplay features. I will squeeze a few sound effects in if in the end there's some room left for them.

Tape saving and loading was a feature I wished not to put aside. I would like to underline that all of my games are designed to be played on real hardware first. Ad Lunam is the most complex of my titles to date, and giving the user the possibility of recording the game state to tape to continue it later, even using a PC as a virtual tape player/recorder, was essential to me.

Still available in English only. I had no time to write the Italian user manual, let alone start translating the whole lot into another language (Spanish would be following).

As with the previous version, the game still needs a lot of fine tuning and testing, and bugs might still be present. So beware!

Next week I have to start working on another project I promised to develop for the next few months, so work on Ad Lunam will not be as intense as it was this week. Anyway, this does not mean it will be cast aside.

Feedback is always welcome. Enjoy!
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