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Starfighter 3000 re-release: How the 3D combat game came to be

By Chris Williams. Published: 6th Dec 23:38:17 | Permalink | Printable

Ug, computer games. You either love 'em or hate 'em. Unfortunately, Drobe is not a games orientated portal so don't expect to see here a review of the much acclaimed 3D air-combat Starfighter 3000 game, (see the contacts section towards the end for a link to a good independant review). Instead, the Drobe editors went in search for fresh meat, which happened to be what developer Nathan Atkinson had to say for himself regarding the Starfighter 3000 re-released at the RISC OS Midlands show.

Nathan is the Starfighter project manager and a member of the RISC OS games developer group Visions Of The Impossible, (voti for short). The Starfighter saga is a twisted and eventful story, finishing with a happy ending that coincided with the 2nd December Midlands show. Once upon a time, two games designers got togther and formed Fednet. They developed a number of games including the all mighty Stuntracer 2000. However there came one fateful day when Fednet closed and the coders moved away from the game genre. At the time, Fednet were working on a 3DO version of Starfighter but when Nathan was dealing with the acquisition of the game materials for coders to update the game, he hit major problems resulting from the absence of original lead designers.
A few months ago, Nathan accquired the full game code and information as well as the machines on which the game was first developed. Now things could really start to get cooking. It must be noted that Chris Bazley had being doing quite a lot of work on disassembling Starfighter, however Nathan at the time was concerned by the project's progress, (or lack of), and decided to feed the project enough sugar, shall we say, to make a dead parrot do Warpspeed Nine.

In essence, Nathan focused Chris Bazley into stablising the game through the employment of patches and enhanced areas of the game that failed to work on the newer top-spec RISC OS machines:

  • The viewing distance of polygons has been increased so you can see things further into the distance
  • Certain levels had polygon and colour problems, these are fixed
  • Starfighter should work on all the machines it was released for and now recent machines, including RISC OS 4.
  • Apparently, superb artificial intelligence from enemy craft.
  • Loads of missions with increasing difficulty.
  • Upgrade your ship with new engines, better weapons and more....
  • Redefine your control keys for easier piloting.
  • Improved sound on RISC PC computers.

Included with the Starfighter 3000 CD you can find three other games: Voti's Sunburst, Air Supremacy and Elite. iSV products are publishing the CD, which can be bought for the tidy sum of 15.

Thanks go to Nathan Atkinson for his help in writing this article.


iSV Products: www.isvproducts.co.uk
Starfighter website: starfighter.acornarcade.com
Nathan Atkinson's study of RISC OS games: www.acornarcade.com/features/columns/nathan.html

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