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Tape 1, side 1
Welcome to Arcade Creator
With Arcade Creator you can create machine code computer games of two different types, platform or chase and shoot games. You can choose
how many screens - you can play up to 40 - and you can choose between using the graphics which have already been prepared for you
or, as the user, you can define your own graphics. These graphics are known as "user defined graphics" and are referred to throughout this
manual as UDG.
Tape 1, side 1 is specifically concerned with these UDGs and on this tape you can design your own screens, your own sounds and your own
characters or, as they are referred to in computer jargon, "sprites".
On loading tape 1 you will be faced with the following chart:-
(1) UDG Designer
(2) Sound Generator
(3) Sprite Designer
(4) Screen Designer
(5) Save to Tape
(6) Load from Tape
(7) Verify Tape Data
You will find this chart, or menu, self explanatory. You will probably find
the best way to learn it is through trial and error and we do suggest you
experiment. However, to assist you we have detailed the various options
available to you.
Before you start, please note that if at any time you wish tci return to the
menu press the Break button as specified on the screen. However, if this
does not work press the Break and the cap shift button simultaneously.
1. UDG Designer allows you to design graphics which can be incorporated
into your screen designs. You can design these graphics by using the
cursor keys or joystick as a pen and the grid on the top left hand corner
of the screen as paper. Follow the screen instructions if you wish to
have a mirror image of your design, if you wish to rotate it or invert
it. To file your design away so that you can refer to it again later, press
the Enter button. Now you will be able to put your design in a file, all
you have to do is select the file you wish to use and press P. To alter
a UDG which is already filed press G, then select Enter and you will
find it has appeared on the grid.
2. Sound Generator is self explanatory. The sound you wish to design
is determined by three aspects; frequency, which itself consists of start
end and step, its length and the amount of times it is repeated.
Furthermore, there are two types of sounds you can create; a bleep,
which is selected by pressing the 2 key and a 'white sound' which is
selected by pressing the W key. You can toggle this white sound by
pressing B while white is displayed. We suggest that you experiment
with various permutations and that you press the R key to hear the
result. Once you have selected a sound press the Enter key and then
press P to file it.
3. Sprite Designer enables you to design various characters. You will see
a large grid. By using the cursor keys or the joystick and by using the
fire button or a o or 1 to fill , you can design a character. As with UDG
Designer, the R, Mand I keys enable you to rotate, mirror or invert your
Once you have designed a character, press the F key and a new screen
will appear. Under the heading " Current sprite", you will notice the
character you have just designed. You can file this character in place
of any of the sprites which are already filed . You can select the position
with the cursor keys or joystick. To file your sprite under this section,
press P To retrieve a character which is filed , press the G button and
it will appear under the heading "Current sprite". To observe your
character in an animated form , initially get this character from its file.
Then go to the beginning of the line which has four different illustrations
of your character; press the fire button or O key and whilst this is
depressed, move the cursor to the end of the line. Now press A and
you will see the animation.
To alter the colour, press C and follow screen instructions.
4. To design your own screen, you can use the UDGs which you designed
earlier. The UDGs are shown at the bottom of the screen and they are
filed under four sub-headings, 0, 1, 2 and 3. Press any of these keys
and observe the result. Each UDG is represented by a letter from A
to U. Press one of these letters and the UDG will appear on the screen.
The cursor keys, or joystick, will enable you to design the screen, but
it will be made up of UDGs which you select. Other important keys
are the space button, which enables you to erase and the Enter button
which acts as a normal carriage return key. If you wish to include
colours, press the X key. The description "Enter border colour" will
appear on the screen. You can select any of the eight colours available
on the Spectrum by pressing the 0-7 keys and the colour you will obtain
will correspond to the colour shown on the key. Choose the number
you require and press Enter. Continue to follow screen instructions.
Two important points to note here are; f irstly you should not alter your
UDGs once you have started to design screens and secondly, do not
change the UDG set after you have designed a screen, because the
printing routine will use your new UDGs instead and you will have
unrecognisable screens. When designing a string of UDGs, do not
suddenly change the colour without changing the UDG too.
Another important key, is the Z key. This enables you to access the screen
editor. If you press the Z key, a menu will appear on the bottom of the
screen. If you press the L key, you will see the titles of various screens
already designed. If you wish to see one of these screens, press G then press
the number that refers to the title of that screen and press Enter.
If you then wish to edit this screen, press Q and Enter. You can now alter
this screen by selecting a UDG and using the cursor keys. If you wish
to store a screen that you have designed, all you have to do is press the
z key then press P, select a position number, then press Enter. Once you
have chosen a name for your design it will be filed away and you can
recall it at will.
Some important points to bear in mind are that if a screen takes up more
than 1,000 bytes then your screen is too complicated and you will need
to edit it. Notice that in the filing section the headings are given even
numbers only. This is simply for ease of use and if you wish to intercept
a heading, between the headings already on the screen, you can do so
by choosing the appropriate odd number.
For sections number 5 and 6, to save your work make sure you have a
blank tape, and for both 5 and 6 follow the screen instructions.
Tape 1, side 2
On this tape is a simple arcade game which was designed using Arcade Creator.
Tape 2, side 1
Your own designs
Upon loading tape 2, side 1, you will be asked whether you wish to l~ad
a new set of characters, screen designs, UDGs or sounds. If you wish
to use the designs you created using tape 1, side 1, press the Y key, follow
screen instructions and use the tape upon which you saved your designs
as described in item 5 on the menu of tape 1, side 1. If you do not wish
to use original graphics, press the N key.
Your initial choices
Designing your game is very straightforward and you will find most of the
steps you need to take self explanatory. The best way to familiarise yourself
with the alternatives available is by experimenting. The first question you
will be asked is whether you will wish to use blank screens or not. The
choice is entirely up to you and when you have made your decision, press
Y, for Yes or N for No. If you do choose not to use any screens from memory
then the memory is cleared. This is an irreversible decision. The advantage
of using these blank screens is that less memory is used and in fact, for
a shoot!em-up type of game, you could store up to 40 different levels.
The second heading that will appear on the screen is "Title screen layout
of game name". This section enables you to enter the name of your game.
There are two alternative methods you can use. You can have up to 16
letters printed double size on one line or you can have two lines, each
of eight letters in length, printed in four times normal size.
The next heading will be "Enter your name". If you enter your name you
will see it displayed at the start of your game when it is loaded.
The next heading will be "Enter the number of screens in" your game.
If you are using blank screens, you can use up to 40. If you use screen
data from memory then how many screens you can use will depend upon
how much memory these screens use. However, you should be able to
find room for 20 screens.
You will then be asked to verify your selection. If you are satisfied with
your choice, press Y for Yes and then press Enter.
You will next be asked to enter the number of lives you wish per level.
Alas, we cannot offer you infinite lives but you can choose between three
and nine lives. If you like winning, you can make the game very easy for
In order to progress to the next level, you must reach a certain score.
The next section concerns the value of this score. Clearly, the harder you
wish the game to be, the higher you should make this score.
When you start a new level, you will be given a bonus value. This value
will constantly be decreasing as you play. The next section enables you
to choose the name of this bonus score. You can describe it as "Bonus"
or, for example, "Energy". If you choose Energy, then this means that your
energy level will be constantly decreasing.
The next section allows you to select the value you would like your bonus
score to start at.
You will then be asked if you want the player to lose a life, when your
bonus, or whatever you have chosen to call it, runs out. This is up to you.
You have now reached a stage in which your appropriate screens will be
displayed. If you are using blank screens, then you may select the
background colour or the paper colour. We have only provided the option
of darker shades here, as this gives depth to the screen and also simplifies
the sprite printing process.
For simplicity we have provided two types of game formats, chase 'n shoot,
or platform. In a platform game you have a player who must jump from
platform to platform and collect pieces of treasure. His score will increase
while he collects the treasure, but he must avoid aliens which will cause
him to lose a life if they catch him. You must decide the exact lay-out of
platforms, the position and appearance of treasure and distances to be
jumped and the type of aliens you must avoid. The permutations available
to you here are limited by one thing only: your imagination.
Using chase 'n shoot mode, you can design not only the traditional invader
type of format, but also any number of other formats, including commando,
scramble and rocket-pack.
Certain general principles may help to bring ideas to mind:-
1. The player always loses a life when touched by an 'alien' or a 'bomb'
from an 'alien'.
2. The player chooses whether he uses missiles. These missiles always
kill 'aliens' and can be set to destroy treasure as well.
3. Missiles can be set to destroy barriers, thereby releasing who knows
what, or allowing the player access to sealed loot or untold horrors.
4. The player always collects treasure when touched, but the score
only increases if you have set it to do so.
5. The player may be set to lose a life if it hits a barrier.
6. Aliens and treasure can be set to reappear after being killed or shot
7. Aliens can be made to disappear at barriers, only to reappear at
their starting point after a short delay.
8. Both player and aliens can disappear off screen left and right, and
then bounce back. Aliens always bounce off top and bottom screen
limits and likewise off barriers unless set to disappear.
9. It has not been possible to incorporate a scrolling screen option,
but continuity between screens is quite easily implemented.
Very briefly, this has given you an idea of the range of combinations
available. The best way to continue would be to start off modestly and
build experience gained into future games.
These are now displayed and are dependent upon the mode you have
|Mode O: ||Player
Although the names of the sprites are fixed it is by no means necessary
to think of their useage as unchangeable. For instance, you could design
a game called 'Wicked Witch', the object being as a Prince (player) that
you should try to kill the Witches (aliens) with your Fireball (missile), and
collect the Dragon's Teeth (treasure), all before the Witches sprinkle you
with Magic Powder (bombs) and turn you into a Frog (explosion).
|Mode 1: ||Player
Once again do not be restricted in your thinking by the names you are
The next section will require you to specify how many of the various sprites
you require. This is of course up to you. Once you have done this you
will be required to select the shape of your sprites. First of all you will
be required to select the shape of your sprite when facing left and then
when facing right. Select your sprite by pressing the T key. If you wish
to see what the sprite will look like when it is animated, press A. It is also
possible to make various other alterations to your sprite.
The first of the options that are available to you is turning on the multicolour
mode. To select this mode, depress the R key until the cursor is
over the multi-colour mode. Then to turn on the multi-colour mode, press
T. You will now find that during the game, the colour of the sprite's ink
will circulate through colours 2-5. This can be used to good effect for
higlighting colour, killers or particularly menacing aliens.
The other options available to you only apply if you have chosen a chase
'n shoot type of game. Again these options are selected by pressing the
R key and then pressing T. Reappear is useful if you wish aliens or treasure
to be returned to the screen in their original position, after they have been
killed or collected. If you select bombs, then they will be dropped by the
aliens. Missile and barrier relate to what happens if they are hit by the
sprite. If your sprite is an alien, you can make it explode or vanish if it
is hit by a missile or you can make it vanish or bounce if it hits a barrier.
Alternatively, if your sprite is treasure you can make it ignore a missile.
Once you have chosen the data for your sprite you must select its position
on the screen. To do this you use the cursor keys and once you have found
the position, press Enter.
Now you have selected the position of your sprite, you must choose the
direction it moves in. When selecting the direction it moves in, bear in
mind that in a platform game, when jumping, the player sprite will move
up three spaces and along six.
Once you have chosen the direction you can move in, you can decide
on whether or not the player will lose a life when he hits a barrier. You
will then be required to select the speed at which your characters move.
You can choose any speed from 12, meaning slow, to one.
When using colour, it is important that you bear in mind certain limitations
of the Spectrum. Even the most professionally produced Spectrum
computer game often has what is known as 'colour attribute' problems.
All sprites, even though they are designed within a 2x2 cell, have to move
around the screen within a 3x3 block. In other words, when a sprite
collides with another object the colours will be affected. In commercial
games, this problem is avoided by not allowing a sprite to move over
background screens. If you do not avoid these colour attribute problems
your game could become a riot of clashing colours. We would make a general
rule of thumb here, ensure a sprite's movement is such that there
is a minimum gap of three spaces between the sprite and barrier.
To help overcome these colour attribute problems we have designed aliens
so that when they move in an up/down direction they fit into a block which
is two spaces wide and three deep.
If you find that you have used up all or most of the memory and you still
have to design another level, a warning will appear on the screen. When
this happens you can continue by pressing C and make the most of the
memory you have left, or you can press S which will mean you will only
use the levels that you have already designed.
Once you have designed your graphics and game-play you will probably
wish to incorporate sound into your game.
Sounds you can create with the Spectrum are relatively limited and it is
beyond the scope of this program to create melodies to run throughout
your game. Also, action on the screen will freeze for the duration of the
sound. We have prepared a sound library which is divided into five
Sounds stored in section A are heard when you start a new level
Sounds stored in section B are heard when treasure is collected
Sounds stored in section C are heard when a player loses a life
Sounds stored in section D are heard when viewing a high score
Sounds stored in section E are heard when a missile is fired
There is one other section, F, and the sounds stored in section Fare heard
when an alien is hit. We have already programmed three options for this
section, any of which you can select. Option 1 is an explosion, option
2 a whine and 3 a squelch.
When you have finally completed the sound section, you should save your
work to tape, then re-wind it and then verify it.
Tape 2, side 2
This program enables you to prepare a tape ready for saving the data
which you have compiled, using ARCADE CREATOR. When it has loaded
you will be taken through the following sequence:-
A. Choose a title tune
B. Insert a blank tape
C. Enter game 'tape' name
D. Loading screen (Y/N)
E. Save game code and/or screen
A. Title tune
You may choose one of the three tunes below which will play in a loop
whilst the title screen of your game is being displayed. As soon as a
key is hit the game will start. You cannot hear those tunes yet. You
will have to take pot luck and wait for your game to load and run.
B. Blank tape
Insert a good quality blank tape into your recorder ready to save the
C. Game name
You must enter a shortened version of your game name if it is longer
than 10 letters. Remember that the Spectrum will only accept tape
names up to 10 letters long.
D. Loading screen
You have the option of having a screen displayed whilst the main body
of your game code is being loaded. If you choose to do this then follow
the instructions below carefully:-
1. Take the blank cassette out of the recorder, make sure that you
do not move the tape forward or backwards.
2. Load the screen you want displayed.
3. Re-insert the 'blank' cassette. Start the tape recording and hit
any key to save both screen and game code. Make a note of the
tape count immediately after your screen has saved. You will need
to rewind to this point to verify the Game code. You cannot verify
your screen data.
E. Save code
If you did not want a loading screen then the Game code will now be
saved. Note the tape counter for verification purposes.
YOUR CASSETTE IS NOW READY FOR USE WITH TAPE 2, SIDE 1.
DO NOT REWIND.