Orbital - finally played the original!

reminisce about classic bbc micro and acorn electron games here
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Webbo
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Orbital - finally played the original!

Post by Webbo »

Back in 1989 I saw an advertisement for Orbital by Impact Software in Electron User Magazine (looking back at the archives I think it was in the February 89 edition). Never having played the game I set to see if I could make a version - even copying the level designs that appeared in the advert (but making up the rest!)

I cheekily submitted the game to Electron User as a type in which surprisingly they accepted and was published in the November '89 issue. I think the only change they made was to the name of the game to "Octavia" - my original of "Orbitel" was a little too close to the original. I seem to remember I received about £80 - a fortune to my 17 year old self.

Looking back I can't believe they published a game that was such a blatant clone of one by an advertiser nor that I had the guts to submit it to them in the first place.

Finally 32 years later I played the original version - certainly a lot smoother than my version. Apologies to Impact software for any lost sales!
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nicolagiacobbe
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Re: Orbital - finally played the original!

Post by nicolagiacobbe »

Well, I suppose the right one is the original isn't it? A point for you is that they seems very close. Is there a digital version of your code? I'd like to browse it.
joachim
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Re: Orbital - finally played the original!

Post by joachim »

Octavia actually plays very differently from Orbital. As far as I remember Octavia is the usual Crystal Castles-style (indeed Pacman-style) game where you wander around avoiding randomly-moving monsters, whereas Orbital is very tightly designed, the monsters have set routes and there is generally exactly one correct route for you to avoid them and not run out of time.

This story reminds me of Tim Tyler's story about Repton: he'd read a review of Boulderdash but never seen it played (http://www.acornelectron.co.uk/eug/64/a-rept.html). (In his case he went in the opposite direction, though: Repton is more planned and less improvisatory than the game that inspired it.)

Micro User also published a ripoff of Orbital at around the same time, "Crystal Sea" (http://bbcmicro.co.uk/game.php?id=956).

(Nicola: Octavia is also on bbcmicro.co.uk, http://bbcmicro.co.uk/game.php?id=1057, so you can conveniently browse the code with the "Explore Disc" page there.)
nicolagiacobbe
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Re: Orbital - finally played the original!

Post by nicolagiacobbe »

Nicola: Octavia is also on bbcmicro.co.uk, http://bbcmicro.co.uk/game.php?id=1057, so you can conveniently browse the code with the "Explore Disc" page there.
Thanks. Just now checking, very convenient indeed.
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Rob_hawk
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Re: Orbital - finally played the original!

Post by Rob_hawk »

Perhaps one for season 17!
ivor_the_injun
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Re: Orbital - finally played the original!

Post by ivor_the_injun »

I always wondered what the bloody hell had happened there - kudos on doing it!
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sa_scott
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Re: Orbital - finally played the original!

Post by sa_scott »

I remember the Octavia game, it was a nightmare to type in, as around this time, Electron User (and indeed, The Micro User) were changing their typesetting method for publishing listings. There was some mangled code in the listing. I remember this with The Wishing Wells game in a later issue of the magazine. I had to give up typing/debugging them, as I couldn't fix the bugs caused as a result.

It was a pleasant surprise to be able to play both games on the archive this year!
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