fuzzel wrote: ↑
Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:49 pm
Brilliant work iainfm, your dogged perseverance has finally paid off! I've been following this thread with interest because Bird Strike was one of my favourite games as a kid, not in terms of playing for hours and hours racking up huge scores (like Chuckie Egg), more along the lines of going back frequently to it along with Arcadians when I fancied a quick shoot-em up to while away half an hour or so. It's hard to pin down what the appeal was, I suppose I liked the novelty of the tune that gets composed as you kill the birds and the gravestones that appear in the churchyard as you shoot down the airplanes. There's also a hard to define precision in the way you move and shoot that appeals (is tight the right word?) I've been trying to work my way up to the bug level but I'm only about half-way at the moment. Incidentally I've lost track of what level I've made it up to and I can't see from the screen what level I'm on. Am I missing something? I never encountered any bugs as a kid but maybe I got killed or got bored before I reached that level. It's a bit disappointing that Firebird didn't spot the bug before releasing it, they must have played the first few levels, liked it then said yes to publishing it. Would you expect the author to have spotted it when writing it or do games developers never like playing their own games?
Thanks very much! Yeah, I liked it for all those reasons too!
No, there's no level indicator on the screen anywhere. If you're running in an emulator that has a debugger you can query memory address 1D5C, which stores the level in hex. There's not a whole lot of point in storing it (it could easily have been stored as 0, 1, 2, 3 repeating) as there's no change to the difficulty or anything as the levels progress. Working through the code, there do appear to be a few indications that other features were planned (or removed), so maybe this was one of them. It probably wouldn't be too hard to add a level indicator, either on screen or a pop-up when levels start.
Software testing...probably wasn't (as) much of a thing back then. As for the programmer, I can only imagine how much harder it would have been doing this without a proper editor or debugger. Having said that, setting a key to increase the level (or other things) when it was pressed would have been straightforward enough to implement. He could have done that and seen how his game behaved as the levels went up.
I think it's more that programmers should never test their own code, but as I alluded to, software testing has progressed a bit since 1984!