Back in 1988, as a sixth grader, I had my first encounter with a computer. For those who don’t know ─ it was DWK-3M. with an integrated black-and-white display and two five-inch disk drives. But it’s not about him now. My first acquaintance was with games from ASP corp. ─ A trio of software guys who specialized in computers of the DWK family
Some enterprising people installed a pair of DWK-3Ms in our school and fixed the rate at 1 Soviet ruble per game hour. We were saving for lunch, and some were begging their parents for money to play Star Patrol, Tetris, Zona, Cat, Garden, Sheriff, and of course LAND after school! I’ve had sentimental feelings for everything related to those games and computers ever since, just like John Connor to Terminator Model I.
A particularly popular game was LAND. It was such a variant of Lode Runner, but we were thrilled! Many years passed, these computers were hopelessly outdated and no longer found in the wild, but nostalgic feelings occasionally made themselves felt and there was a desire to remember childhood and play.
The goal of the game LAND is to collect all the chests in a given level and get to the door to the next level. Beware of demons and biomass. You can run, climb ladders, destroy brick walls by shooting at them. Note that destroyed bricks are rebuilt over time. Demons cannot be killed. If a demon dies from being hit by a biomass, a new one appears at the top of the screen.
I wanted to make a Windows version for a long time, but I never got around to it. The first thing I did was to try to contact the authors of the game, hoping to get at least the sprites and timings of all the actors. I was able to get in touch with the hubraiser Alexander Grechishkin. the author of the game, but unfortunately no source code has survived. The game was written in 1986 in assembler, so even having the sources would hardly help me. I want to warn you in advance, that I will not go deep into technical details.
After some thought, I made the decision to take screenshots of the UKNC emulator. (DVK-compatible Soviet microcomputer), cut sprites yourself and transfer levels of the game manually, drawing them in a text editor.
As a platform for the development of the game was chosen XNA framework 4.0. It is no secret that Microsoft has refused the further development of this framework, but its open source implementation MonoGame lives and thrives. I would add that despite some minor bugs in MonoGame, I successfully translated my project from XNA to MonoGame in 10 minutes. Also XNA turned out to be a very simple and clear thing as far as 2D is concerned.
I processed the screenshots from the emulator in Photoshop, enlarging the sliced material by a factor of 2. The project contains 2 sets of identical sprites, under a white and black background, as was done in the original game.
Location maps are an array of 50 x 16 characters. All maps are stored in text files and, if necessary, can be edited in a text editor with a fixed-width font. I also added the ability to generate your own sets of cards and connect them to the game. To do this you need to create your own map bank in the folder Content/Maps and fill with maps from the template file map.template, which lies there, too. The game includes 2 sets of maps from the original games, which are found on the Internet.
In fact, the whole game is a display of a time-varying copy of a level array, and the actors – room, biomass, demons, bullet, and hero – affect the state of that array. Only demons, bullet and hero move independently.
The timing of the actors had to be adjusted by hand, "by eye". But it was close enough to the original.
Controls are simple, as in all such games :
- Cursor keys – the movement of the hero;
- Z, X – shot left and right;
- Q – start the game from the beginning;
- R – start the level from the beginning with the loss of one life;
- ; – next level;
- F10 – switch to the next set of cards;
- F12 – play in full screen;
The sources can be found at github or download installer with the assembled game ( please do not pick on the sources, it was written by Just4Fun ).
Well, now I invite everyone to be nostalgic with me.