Anyone could he forgiven for thinking that balancing a country's economy is a difficult enough task, especially in terms of a world market. But Bug-Byte's new game pushes the player to previously unknown limits of mind-boggling supply and demand in this new 'galaxian' commodity trading game.
The game, known as Star Trader, features eight planets, each running an economy, and each relying on the others for trade. So it's the task of the player's alter-ego - manifested as the last remaining extra- terrestrial trader - to help these planets maintain vital supplies by making sure the goodies get from a place of plentiful supply to a not-so- fortunate neighbour. But, be warned, if you fail to trade with a planet in need, the price of the required commodity will rocket (sorry!). And if all that isn't enough, there are space pirates who demand a share of your profits (taxes); you can choose to fight them instead of paying, but in that case you'll need to buy some weapons. The game should he available mid-July.
Another project currently under wraps at BB is a, so far, unnamed little number where the player guides a person through a 3D world and views a variety of passing objects through their eyes. Says BB's Trevor Hall, "We don't know what the storyline will be yet. It could be an adventure, or perhaps like Manic Miner, where you have to pick up objects." But whatever the theme, the word is this game's real attraction will be its ability to show objects getting larger as they are approached, and diminishing as our character moves away from them.
One other project on BB's software mind at the moment is a program called Twin Kingdom Valley. It's an adventure game with over 175 different locations that's been available on the Commodore 64 for some time. The plan is to convert it to run on the Spectrum, but BB's Mr Hall isn't too optimistic. He says, "the graphics may not he possible".
ARTIC GETS THE HUMPThose funny folk over at Artic have come up with three games, all based on a character called Humpty.
First of the trio is Humpty Goes Walkabout, and basically it's a new approach to a maze game. Instead of Humpty doing the running around and working himself into a bemused
RUMBLESOur man behind the software scenes, Ron Smith, gets to grips with the gossip on all that's new from around the houses.
lather, the screen moves - and
this causes the bugs and any
other nasties to tumble around
in haphazard fashion. Next
comes Humpty in the Garden, where our hero's task is to
make the flowers grow before
the weeds strangle them. You
achieve this by moving Humpty
round the garden taps so he can
water his precious blooms.
Third and final in this set is Humpty the Engineer. He has to operate all sorts of different machinery with his spanner, but unfortunately the butter- fingered buffoon keeps dropping his tool (or should it he wrench?) on to various conveyor belts. In this game of skill and timing, Hump' has to retrieve his spanner in order to keep things spinning. All three games should he coming into the shops about now.
DURELL GETS THE CHOPDurell Software, as reported last month, recently despatched a team of programmers to Westland Helicopters to get the feel of flying in a Combat Lynx - which just happens to he the name of its latest shoot-em-up game. Well, the programmers have returned safe and sound, and are busy working out the action - a sort of cross between the usual blast-out and simulated helicopter flight.
Says Durell's Robert White, "the idea is to whizz around, laying mines in order to slow down the enemy tanks. But there are other considerations - such as not getting yourself blown to bits in the process; the combat can be either ground- to-air or air-to-air. To succeed you must he careful about weapon selection, especially as this is affected by the amount of weight a chopper can carry."
Other features include a memory-mapped battlefield containing such essential info as how high the land is at any given point, the position of the tanks and the location of the chopper. And there's also a panel at the bottom of the screen which presents various pieces of flight data to help you in your task. Watch the shops around August, when the program will he available for the 48K Spectrum, as well as the
The story so far - a screen from Durell Software's Combat Lynx. They've only managed to get the scenery scrolling so far, the helicopters and tanks still have to be implemented. Watch this space for further developments ...
Commodore 64 and Oric
IMAGINE GETS CHAUVINISTAnother company with new releases on its corporate mind is Imagine, and this time it's out to rough it with the women's libbers out there. A new game called BC Bill has a highly animated caveman who's frantic to perpetuate the species, but for this he needs a woman - any woman! So, out of the cave he goes, club in hand, to begin his quest and according to Imagine's Tim Best, "The game shows women being dragged around by their hair as Bill tries to fulfil his basic ambitions." He, Tim Best that is, also fully expects, "the Greenham Common women to take up residence outside the Liverpool-based company in protest." No doubt Imagine would welcome the publicity (yuch!).
And then, of course, there's Imagine's completely new range of 'Megagames'. Supposedly, the software will he similar in style to the glittering packages offered by some American houses and will feature large, well-defined characters on-screen. They will be an environmental experience, where the player will take part in role playing games. Although Imagine is still being less than forthcoming about the finished packages (presumably because they're not forthcoming), it does seem as though there'll be all sorts of goodies like toys, tokens, posters, etc, that'll accompany them. These will appear in limited editions and probably become collector's items. The cost of this bracing experience will he in the £20-30 region - watch this space for further news.
CRL GETS TV TIMESTwo new programs are on the way from CRL. The first is aimed at that army of people who are always in front of you doing 25 mph - learner drivers. Surprise, surprise, it's to he called Highway Code and the promise is it'll be "good fun and very enjoyable". Hmm. Then there's a strategy number called Tripz - a two-player game written especially for the Spectrum, and not just adapted from a board game version. The aim here is to surround your opponent's king or crown - chess anyone?
CRL is also in negotiations with one of the TV companies about adapting a children's program for the Spectrum. Obviously the company's not saying anything until the deal is signed, just in case any disclosure should prove prejudicial. Perhaps it's the same outfit who are talking to Dk'Troniks, whose people seem to be equally cagey. When asked if they were following the TV trend, Dk's spokesman would only say that his lips were firmly sealed. We shall see!