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The Icon Bar: News and features: WROCC June 2024 meeting - Mark Moxon dissects Lander
 

WROCC June 2024 meeting - Mark Moxon dissects Lander

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:45, 6/6/2024 |
 

Wakefield's June speaker was Mark Moxon looking at Lander. Previously he has documented other games such as Elite.

Lander is the 'prototype' for Zarch and what David Braben did next after Elite (Mark's previous project to document). It was a 3D scrolling shooter which was released free with the Archimedes and the first game for the Archimedes and was written over 2 months in 1986/7. Lander does actually have some unique features not in Zarch such as hoover mode.

The Lander documentation project covers how the program works. Code was a binary, disassembled using Gerph's Python script. USed this to create a build pipeline with vasm and Python. Documented code on website

Memory still tight on a A305 (84K for modules, fonts, RAM disc, sprites) so still lots of tricks used keep down memory footprint. Landscape uses procedural generation which Mark stepped through in great detail along with the drawing code and objects. The drawing of particles as particularly impressive!

Flying by mouse is a tricky skill to master and Mark explained how it works - there is a lot of Maths.

Lander was written on an ARM1 and then moved to ARM2. So misses ARM2 multiply instructions and uses shift-add algorithms similar to Elite. Whole games uses on 21 different instructions.

Big lander is a version which takes advantage of modern processor speeds to increase the tile size used for landscape. 121x121 tiles playable on a Raspberry Pi. Tile size is a build variable.

Everything you need is on the website.

After this very awesome run through, there was time for questions.

 


 
  WROCC June 2024 meeting - Mark Moxon dissects Lander
  nytrex (10:06 8/6/2024)
 
Alan Robertson Message #125647, posted by nytrex at 10:06, 8/6/2024
Member
Posts: 109
It was a great presentation. Lots of very interesting information on how Lander was written (everything from screen rendering, objects, particle physics, the works).

Huge thanks to Mark for his work, and for sharing it all with us.
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The Icon Bar: News and features: WROCC June 2024 meeting - Mark Moxon dissects Lander