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"Space War"

Floppies_only

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Feb 15, 2008
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Gang,

How many of us remember "Space War"? It might have been the first shoot-em-up computer game, written in, I think, the sixties. In the seventies there was a really cool arcade game with awesome sound. Here is a link to a Java version of the game:

http://spacewar.oversigma.com/

I have had this program for an IBM 5150 and it's 8088 CPU. But I think that the problem was that that version (published in Byte - check your local library) was written for the 8085 running at a much slower speed. You can play against the computer but it wins every time in about one second. I mean, you've barely figured out where your ship is and the computer has fired three shots at you.

I was just wondering, is there anybody who would be interested in slowing this game down for the IBM PC? Perhaps making the delay factor user-selectable, so that it could run on any PC by using the machine language equivilent of a for-next loop?

Another idea that I thought would be really neat would be to make it so that two players could play via modem or via the internet. Although that sounds hard by comparison.

Anybody interested in making this happen?

I have Borland's assembler on 360k disks and a couple of books that have a link to an assembly language "environment". I think that's what he called it - it is a program to make the process of writing code easier.

Thanks,
Sean
 

hargle

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I'd be happy to take a look.

retrofitting this type of thing is right up my alley:

http://www.oldskool.org/pc/jumpman
and
http://www.oldskool.org/pc/BCW

are two games I disassembled, added delays and re-assembled to work on any speed computer. This work takes months if you don't have the original source code, but if you've got the source too, it should be really easy to update. If not, I'd suspect this game to be fairly small, and should be pretty easy to do.

I'm quite fluent in x86 assembly programming-been working with it for years.
 

barythrin

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There were a lot of different ports of it so I'm not sure which one you have. The one I played was on my Zenith 8088 which had gravity options, and the sun option (sun in the middle of the screen and if you hit it you explode).

The original "SpaceWar!" was written on/for the pdp-1.
 

hargle

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minneapolis, MN
Just try a standard slow down program like "Mo' Slo". You can configure one of those programs until the game runs exactly the way you want.

tough to do on an 8088.
mo'slo uses the real time clock to do its slowing, so 286 or higher only. (actually-just looked at the moslo website-386 or higher only)
I'm actually amazed this is too fast on an 8088-verrrrryy few programs fall under that category. ;)
 
Last edited:

billdeg

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Landenberg, PA USA
There were a lot of different ports of it so I'm not sure which one you have. The one I played was on my Zenith 8088 which had gravity options, and the sun option (sun in the middle of the screen and if you hit it you explode).

That's the one. Try it for yourself (link in previous post)
 

barythrin

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Maybe I'll check it out tonight, but yes that does look like it could be the same native port one I had. lol Sopwith is one of my other favorites.
 

per

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Floppies_only

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I'd be happy to take a look.

retrofitting this type of thing is right up my alley:

This work takes months if you don't have the original source code, but if you've got the source too, it should be really easy to update. If not, I'd suspect this game to be fairly small, and should be pretty easy to do.

I'm quite fluent in x86 assembly programming-been working with it for years.

It looks like somebody is already doing the work. He has made his source code available, it's on this webpage:

http://www.digisys.net/users/cogs/spacewar.htm

He plans to add network play.

The version of Spacewar that I had did allow you to play against the computer. This one doesn't. But I have played this game on the TRS-80 (for like, a whole summer) and liked the gravity options on that version, which this one has as well.

Sean
 

DoctorPepper

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It looks like somebody is already doing the work. He has made his source code available, it's on this webpage:

http://www.digisys.net/users/cogs/spacewar.htm

He plans to add network play.

The version of Spacewar that I had did allow you to play against the computer. This one doesn't. But I have played this game on the TRS-80 (for like, a whole summer) and liked the gravity options on that version, which this one has as well.

Sean

Looks like he/they re-engineered it in C++. I was hoping it was still in assembler. Oh well. :-(
 

Floppies_only

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Hey, no biggie. I am just getting back into an 8086 Assembler kick, and thought it would be cool to peruse the asm source code for Spacewar. :)

Is it really that hard to program a dis-assembler? I mean, for a company to create and market one?

If there was such a thing, could you compile C++ code into machine language and then disassemble it into assembler?

Or, is it the original programmer's notes that go with source code that are so valuable to a programmer?

Thanks,
Sean
 

DoctorPepper

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Palm Coast, FL
Is it really that hard to program a dis-assembler? I mean, for a company to create and market one?

If there was such a thing, could you compile C++ code into machine language and then disassemble it into assembler?

Or, is it the original programmer's notes that go with source code that are so valuable to a programmer?

Thanks,
Sean

Yes, you can "disassemble" or decompile pretty much any assembled or compiled program, with varying success. The resultant code will never be quite the same as the original source, and of course, you won't have the comments the original programmer(s) put in, to help THEM understand what they had written ;-)

I mainly like to look through the asm code other people have written, to see how/why they wrote their code the way they did. I don't like to disassemble or decompile executables, because it makes me feel dirty, kind of like I'm peeking in their bedroom windows at night. I guess this is one of the reasons I really love open source software :)
 

Floppies_only

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http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ibm/programs/

I used to play this version of "space war" a lot on a PC. It's not exactly what you've linked to in your original post, but it's been designed for original PC speeds.

Bill

I found a source for Space War on floppies for people who don't have a way to get the program from the internet to their legacy computer. It's at:

http://www.oldsoftware.com/ibm2.html

Control-F for any part of "Arcade Games 5 GM0020 Rockets, Sneesno Snake, Xonix, Nemon & Spacewar. CGA"

Here's their phone number and phone ordering information:

http://www.oldsoftware.com/Policy.html#anchor265813

Sean
 
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