Download for Bob’s fury

This week, after much time thinking about it, I decided I’d finally offer my old school platform game, Bob’s Fury for download. I originally wrote it in Qbasic back when I was 14 with the help of my younger brother who did some of the graphics, levels and helped play test it. The idea for making my own platformer had grown out of playing two of my then favourite games, Xargon and Hocus Pocus.

VGA Screenshot

VGA Screenshot

I originally had much larger plans for it, I had wanted to make water levels and puzzles like those in Xargon and run and gun sections like those in Hocus Pocus. At this stage I was still using gwbasic and I found that it was difficult to store enough graphics and tile information for one screen, it seemed like I wasn’t going to be able to build anything at all when I discovered Qbasic on the school computers.

Qbasic had many advantages, it supports a better graphics mode which allowed 256 colours at 320×200, then a common resolution for most PC games. The interpreter also had roughly twice the memory available to it which allowed me to use many sprites and get two screens per level. It took me roughly a year to build the engine and most of the levels. It was still quite limited in many aspects and didn’t live up to the original dream, but it was still a significant achievement.

Later in high school I had a computer studies teacher who did a bit of programming themselves. I know it seems odd, but not that many teachers of computer studies could actually program in those days. Anyway I was lucky enough that he gave me a copy of Borland Turbo Pascal 6.0, which was to be the first compiler I’d get to use. It was a bit of a learning curve, but I managed to learn pascal much quicker than either basic. I decided I wanted to port Bob’s fury as Pascal was a much faster language and wouldn’t be as limited as Qbasic.

EGA Screenshot

EGA Screenshot

I had a few problems however when I learned the graphics library. Firstly I hadn’t encountered pointers before, and they were required for bit mapped graphics. So I experimented with some simple vector graphics at first. Also Pascal didn’t have any support built-in for the graphics modes I wanted to use. So I put off making a port until I could learn more about the language.

Shortly after I went to University and got internet access I was able to solve some of these problems. I practised and learned how to use pointers in general and I found files that provided support for the graphics modes I was after. By 1999 I had built much of the tools and libraries for graphics and a few ancillary libraries needed. I’ve been working on this port sporadically since then.

I’ve been reluctant to release it for a few reasons. The first one being it’s quite unfinished. I haven’t really made enough new levels, I’m only really half way through making the first episode. The bulk of the levels are actually from the original Qbasic version, which are obviously quite limited. I’ve built a system for playing Adlib music, but haven’t made any music yet, appart from tracks for testing the software anyway.

CGA in game.

CGA in game.

So why am I releasing it? Well because despite the limitations it’s pretty cool, and I have fun playing it. (one of the reasons progress has been slow!) I want to motivate myself to get busy making more levels, now I realise there will probably be little interest in it, but stuff that I post about on my blog tends to get worked on. So having it here is a great motivation for doing more work and perhaps reporting progress as I get more done.

I’ve put a ZIP file on my download site here.


3 Responses to “Download for Bob’s fury”

  1. November 13, 2014 at 6:08 am

    You certainly did better then me and my friends Qbasic efforts. we decided to make a Wizardryesqe type RPG. The farthest we got was a Intro cutscreen and the first town complete with item /weapons shop. my friend that was helping me ended up going on away for a few months and the project just kind of fizzled out. The file may still be on some random floppy disk at my moms though odds are the disk is corrupted by now. It was kinda fun now that I think about it. I’ve always been horrible with numbers and programing but now that I’m older and have more patience for such things I should give that stuff another go. I remember when you left the town the main villain showed up to taunt the player. we wanted him to teleport away but his image was made of several parts and we couldn’t figure out at the time how to make them all dissapear at once so he ended up teleporting away in pieces, legs, arms, torso. finally we had his head kind of implode on itself. It was actually really amusing. I remember we were real proud of making “lightning flash” by making the screen change white very quickly, like it was some great accomplishment.

    • November 13, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Sounds like that was a fun idea. Games that didn’t require lots of high speed action could work quite well programmed with Qbasic. Sometimes the limitations also make for charming features such as the teleport that you mentioned. I remember making similar “discoveries” when learning programming to, they don’t seem like much nowadays, but the fact that we had the creativity to think up ideas like that is pretty cool.

      It’s sort of a shame that a BASIC interpreter isn’t a part of modern operating systems and computing anymore. It was such a great way for kids to discover computers in a imaginative and creative way. There are some nice tools that do similar things now, but some are web based and most are designed to hide the programming away from young eyes as if they can’t handle it.

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