The best BBC game ever?

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Garrettimus
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The best BBC game ever?

Post by Garrettimus » Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:32 am

Dear BBC friends,

I am new to BBC Micro and thus I´d like to know please what is the best BBC game ever. I guess that´s a tricky question...

I heard the 128 Kb version of Elite is fantastic, maybe the best Elite version. I heard Exile and Repton are cool games too.

What do you say guys?

What game should I load first of all into my BBC Master when it arrives?



Thanks!

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Dreamland Fantasy
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Post by Dreamland Fantasy » Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:17 pm

Technically I would have to say Exile is the best game ever on the BBC that I have played. If you do decide to play it just make sure you get a copy of the instructions so you know what they keys are.

I'm really enjoying playing Arcadians at the moment! :D

Kind regards,

Francis.
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Post by Garrettimus » Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:55 pm

Dreamland Fantasy wrote:Technically I would have to say Exile is the best game ever on the BBC that I have played. If you do decide to play it just make sure you get a copy of the instructions so you know what they keys are.

I'm really enjoying playing Arcadians at the moment! :D

Kind regards,

Francis.
Cool. Exile looks a bit like Exolon (Speccy). What about Elite 128?

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Post by Dreamland Fantasy » Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:06 pm

I tried Elite 128, but I preferred the original version.

Kind regards,

Francis.
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Samwise
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Post by Samwise » Tue Feb 13, 2007 5:08 pm

Elite - original unexpanded disk version.

'nuff said.

Sam.

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Post by GarethW » Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:35 pm

Elite for me - without a doubt

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Post by Yrrah2 » Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:04 pm

Elite, for sure 8)
But you should take some time for it to play it all.

Cheers

Koen

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Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:29 am

I liked the extra colour of the Master version (never saw the 2nd processor version), but I have no idea why they changed the laser fire sound effects from the original version. The old ones were much better, and very "Elite"!

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Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:07 am

Oh, by the way, my vote goes to Exile too.

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Post by sorvad » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:12 am

My vote goes for Elite. I played it to so so much on my Elk but by the time I got my Master I never really played it much even though I had a copy, so cannot comment on which version on that platform would be best. I remember envying the extra colours though when I played it on my Elk.

So what made the original version better than the 128 version (besides the laser sound effect) ?

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Post by CMcDougall » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:15 am

Boffin 1&2, Repton 1,2,3+, Revs, Crazee Rider, Chuckie Egg,
3D Pool, Moonraider, Monsters :wink:

never got into elite or exile, but looked nice :roll:
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Post by GarethW » Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:37 am

Elk version of Elite was really basic - no suns, reduced ship set, no colour, no fancy docking sequence, no missions.

BBC disk version (the 'definitive' version) has missions, extra ships etc.

Mind you, the Elk version was the first version I had and the one I have to fondest memories of.

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Post by sorvad » Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:53 am

GarethW wrote:
Mind you, the Elk version was the first version I had and the one I have to fondest memories of.
Same here, it was still such a wow factor even on that machine. I dabbled with the Beeb version and I did really like that auto docking sequence (alas missing on the Elk, it just put you into the space station).

I understand the no suns thing (due to processing power etc.) but I've never quite understood why some the elements that just depended on memory were omitted. i.e. the missions and extra ships. The available memory on an Elk was about the same as a Beebs wasn't it (give a little take a little).

My guess would be that they used up some memory on extra maths look up tables to get the speed of Elite on the Elk OK. Anyone know for sure what the reason was ? Richard TW you usually know all the technical ins and outs of the games, any ideas ?

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Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Thu Feb 15, 2007 2:39 pm

My guess is simply that 2k was lost due to the Electron not being able to customise its screen modes. Elite on the Beeb uses an 8k (horizontally shrunk) version of Mode 4. I don't think the Electron was able to do this, so immediately you lose 2k's worth of blank screen at the edges, which is certainly enough for a few extra ship designs and even some mission code. Remember too, that the disc version of Elite loaded new code overlays at various points, so there was no need for it to fit all at once. The Beeb tape version I think is also very limited, and doesn't have missions or the auto docking sequence.

I can imagine that suns were omitted on the Elk because, as you say, it's less than half the speed of the Beeb, and it probably couldn't cope with it. However I doubt there was enough spare memory to put in lookup tables to speed up the maths. Interestingly though, the C64 version of Elite, which runs on a 1MHz 6502 with 64k of RAM, *does* have enough extra memory, and uses log and antilog lookup tables in order to replace all the multiplication (slow) with simple adds. This takes up quite a large amount of memory though - I think it actually reserves a whole 16k RAM bank for this!

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Post by sorvad » Thu Feb 15, 2007 3:14 pm

That sounds right, never thought about the split mode/special display that wouldn't be available on the Elk.

Thanks Rich for a great answer. :)

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Post by AJW » Thu Feb 15, 2007 3:18 pm

But what did the Master or Tube versions have apart from colour and/or speed? There were no extra missions AFAIK nor ships. What a waste!

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Post by sorvad » Thu Feb 15, 2007 3:59 pm

Tube had that scrolly "Star Wars" text at beginning :) Not sure about anything else. Even that still ran too slow with the Tube.

I agree, doesn't seem like a lot was done.

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Post by Samwise » Thu Feb 15, 2007 4:44 pm

AJW wrote:But what did the Master or Tube versions have apart from colour and/or speed? There were no extra missions AFAIK nor ships. What a waste!
Methinks Messr has forgotten about the Cougar aka Cloak and Dagger ship ... !

Sam.

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Post by Garrettimus » Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:09 pm

Thanks, guys. I see there are cool games for the BBC. I also see there's a great number of Speccy games on the BBC as well, such titles as Knightlore, Nightshade, The Hobbit and others.

Are they exact Spectrum ports for the BBC or are there, let's say, more colours and sounds?

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Post by Samwise » Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:50 pm

I'm not sure how many of those can be described as ports - as they were released across multiple formats from day one.

That said, it's been a while since I played the Ultimate games, but IIRC they were a bit better technically on the Beeb, which handles detailed colour graphics a little better, without flicker. I think the games themselves were pretty much identical, tho.

As for The Hobbit - I think the beeb version was actually first, and was a text-only affair which suffered from many legendary bugs. The ZX Spectrum release was slightly less bug-ridden and added graphics for each location.

Some time later, a disk version was release for the bbc which (I think) added graphics as well ... this may have required a Tube, tho (can't remember),

Best way to find out, tho - is to download an emulator and try them out!

Sam.

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Post by AJW » Sun Feb 18, 2007 7:54 pm

samwise wrote:
AJW wrote:But what did the Master or Tube versions have apart from colour and/or speed? There were no extra missions AFAIK nor ships. What a waste!
Methinks Messr has forgotten about the Cougar aka Cloak and Dagger ship ... !

Sam.
Yes but ONE more ship?! Come on, the Master had shadow RAM and at /least/ 16K SRAM as standard. Generation ships, dredgers and a couple of mystery missions would have been better.

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Post by AJW » Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:28 pm

samwise wrote:I'm not sure how many of those can be described as ports - as they were released across multiple formats from day one.

That said, it's been a while since I played the Ultimate games, but IIRC they were a bit better technically on the Beeb, which handles detailed colour graphics a little better, without flicker. I think the games themselves were pretty much identical, tho.

As for The Hobbit - I think the beeb version was actually first, and was a text-only affair which suffered from many legendary bugs. The ZX Spectrum release was slightly less bug-ridden and added graphics for each location.

Some time later, a disk version was release for the bbc which (I think) added graphics as well ... this may have required a Tube, tho (can't remember),

Best way to find out, tho - is to download an emulator and try them out!

Sam.
Sam - I don't think the Ultimate games were better colour wise on the Beeb paradoxically. ISTR seeing a screenshot of Spectrum versions with more colour - presumably because of the greater memory. I'm told that it's possible to mix colours on the Spectrum but it's a technique that isn't feasible for games.

The Hobbit graphics just required a disk drive although I didn't find this out until a couple of years ago!

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Post by Samwise » Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:01 pm

AJW wrote:Yes but ONE more ship?! Come on, the Master had shadow RAM and at /least/ 16K SRAM as standard. Generation ships, dredgers and a couple of mystery missions would have been better.
Have you tried Elite-A by Angus Duggan? Apparently, it adds a lot of new stuff and still works on an unexpanded BBC B with disk drive. Pretty impressive, considering it was made before Ian Bell released the source code.
AJW wrote:Sam - I don't think the Ultimate games were better colour wise on the Beeb paradoxically. ISTR seeing a screenshot of Spectrum versions with more colour - presumably because of the greater memory. I'm told that it's possible to mix colours on the Spectrum but it's a technique that isn't feasible for games.
It has been far too long for me to comment on this with any accuracy, but it wasn't the actual number of colours I was thinking of, so much as the lack of flickering etc. I could be wrong, tho - I was never much of an Ultimate fan.
AJW wrote:The Hobbit graphics just required a disk drive although I didn't find this out until a couple of years ago!
err .. yes, for the later disk version! Isn't that what I said?!

It's the original tape release that I don't think came with graphics ...

Still, could be wrong ... memory of beeb releases is getting hazy ... ;)

Sam.

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Post by AJW » Sun Feb 18, 2007 11:06 pm

Yes Elite-A is nothing short of amazing which just proves how below the mark and effectively money-spinning the Master and Tube versions were!

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Post by Moist_Mog » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:27 am

Hmm... think I'm going to go against the weight of opinion and go for the Repton series... or Repton 3 if it's got to be one particular game... easily the one that took up the most of my time, some of which was designing new levels (see me thread below... I will definitely get round to sorting my levels out soon)... :)

For me Elite was just too bloody hard... maybe it was cos I was just an impatient little sod at the time but I could never get anywhere and to this day never managed to dock without crashing... arggghhh!!! etc... but it was definitely one of the most advanced.

I did get into the Arc version... much easier with a mouse and... err... a docking computer from a mag coverdisk... :)

Really loved Chuckie Egg as well... I'd also put Frenzy right up there for addictive quality... it was very basic technically though and came out in about 1984 I think.

Sure I'll think of some others soon :)

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Post by Samwise » Wed Feb 21, 2007 11:58 am

Moist_Mog wrote:For me Elite was just too bloody hard... maybe it was cos I was just an impatient little sod at the time but I could never get anywhere and to this day never managed to dock without crashing... arggghhh!!! etc... but it was definitely one of the most advanced.
Yeah, I read somewhere that Messrs. Bell & Braben intended the docking to be the function that separated the men from the boys ... ;)

That was why they scaled it so you couldn't afford to buy a docking computer until you'd learned how to do it manually.

Chuckie Egg, eh? I've heard a bit about that game ... :)

Sam.

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Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:59 pm

Ooh, just thought of another one:

Mr. Ee!

I could honestly play this for hours (and have done!). I think it´s one of the finest arcade game conversions on the Beeb.

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Post by PeterScott » Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:03 pm

Ah yes, I loved Mr Ee as well. Superb game. Chuckie Egg still just about takes the biscuit as the most playable game ever anywhere on anything. Graphics weren't too hot, animation poor, sound and music OK but the thing played like a dream.

Obviously we can see the split between those using a technical milestone or a playability milestone as the definition. I opt for the latter. To me Elite was a stunning technical achievement but not a stunning game. The endless ferrying about to get money to buy cool things was somewhat yawnsome. And if the quote about the manual docking/men from boys thing is true... well, it seems a bit harsh to spend twenty quid on a game and then be stuck as manual docking was random at the best of times.

<GRUMBLES SOMEONE WHO ONLY DID IT BY FLUKE>

Now Revs, there was a superb technical achievement and also a very playable game.

And, needless to say, I think I tried to focus on making nice-to-play-and-look-at games as my technical abilities weren't anywhere near many of the other programmers on the Beeb.

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Post by Samwise » Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:06 pm

Regarding Elite docking, I think if you had the original Beeb analogue joysticks, it was far easier than trying to achieve it with a keyboard or digital stick.

Once you had it, though - it really wasn't very random at all. Doubt you'll agree, tho ... :)

Sam.

P.S. And I didn't suggest Elite as a technical milestone - if I had, that would probably have gone to Exile ... or Elite-A ... :)

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Post by Dreamland Fantasy » Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:13 pm

After a lot of practice I eventually got quite adept at docking in Elite using just the keyboard (many moons ago, I doubt I could do it now!).

I eventually got a docking computer, but still on occasion managed to crash the ship while trying to dock. If my memory serves this was due to another ship coming out at the same time I was trying to go in. :shock:

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