|Written in||Written for||Language||Graphics||Published||Size|
|Apple II+||Apple II+||Applesoft BASIC||Hi-Res||N/A||208 sectors|
The First Big 'Un
Bricklayer was the very first "big" game I wrote. At the time, I was learning AppleSoft BASIC at a furious pace and was getting a better feel for hi-res graphics and at the same time I was addicted to Chuck Somerville's excellent Snake Byte game. So, in true form I decided to make a game like it.
My previous games had levels of difficulty but they were all internal to the game. My goal for this game was to have multiple files for the different buildings in the game and each building would have a certain number of levels in it. When you complete one building, you move onto the next building - the next BASIC program that holds the next set of levels.
You'll notice, if you dare play this game, that I had lots of problems with dirty graphics and collision detection. It was many years before I thought of keeping track of on-screen data in an internal matrix. So for years all my collision detection was done with the pixels on the screen - Ugh. I mean, even the game programming books back then were teaching this style of collision.
My! What Big Files You Have!
This is the directory of the Bricklayer disk, called a CATALOG in Apple II parlance. You'll notice that at this time I learned how to change the disk volume label and I made it an abbreviated form of Capitol Ideas Software, my little software "company". Of course, the company was all in my little head back there since I never incorporated.
The main file, BRICKLAYER, is the short 3-item menu you see when it boots up.
I used to be impressed by games like Nasir's Gorgon when it speed-booted and the screen filled with garbage...as if the game were hiding something from me. It was all so mysterious. So to instill a shadow of the mystery I felt when booting copy protected disks, I created a hi-res screen full of garbage pixels and saved it out as a full screen image (MESSPIC1) and purposely loaded it up at the start of BRICKLAYER.
Anyway, you can also see that the four buildings of the game are in the files BRICK1-4. The DEMO.BRICK file is the demo mode of the game. The DEMO1-4 files are short intermissions between the buildings. If you LIST the programs, you'll see my lame attempt at protecting the listing - it doesn't stop you from listing the code because I made an error when I typed the first line of the code. Just before that PR#6 was supposed to be a CHR$(4) which in DOS 3.3 would execute the text following it as a command. PR#6 would boot the Apple II. But I didn't type the CTRL-D (which is CHR$(4)) properly so it failed. Sigh.
This was the first game I had written that had an instruction page in graphics. The text is a little humorous - just keep in mind that I was 14 years old when I wrote it. Well, I guess you could tell I was young by the year I made the game.
Back during this time I was doing a lot of drawing and I really loved all the cardboard folders that the early games had - the artwork on them was just great and I wanted to do the same thing for my games. Even the disks sometimes had neat artwork on them. So I tried my hand at doing it myself and Bricklayer was the first game I did this with.
The disk says "version 3.1" on it - I actually had revised the game several times before finishing it. Perhaps a higher version number would fool the consumer into buying such a refined piece of garbage?
You're the Bricklayer - you must build your walls and pick up your boxes of bricks to continue building your wall. But don't build yourself into a corner and hit your own walls!
I, J, L, K. You can define your own controls.
There are many levels and intermissions after completing a building. There are also many bugs such as (1) whatever movement key you pressed last is the direction you'll go when you start the level again (2) sometimes the brick box will appear inside a wall, impossible to grab.