Acorn BBC flashback – Thrust

Super Transball 2

There were a couple of games I’d seen before; a teacher booting up a 5 1/4 inch disk of Elite being the most memorable [this is how long ago it was, none decimal measurements in fractions], on a BBC Micro
BBC Micro
However the first game I had the privilege of playing, and becoming a trial, was Thrust

Thrust is a 1986 computer game released on most home computers. The perspective is two dimensional platform-based and the player’s aim is to manoeuvre a spaceship by rotating and thrusting, as it flies over a landscape and through caverns. Gameplay of Thrust was heavily inspired by Atari’s Gravitar.

So how stoked am I to find Super Transbal 2 on the Ubuntu software library, free of charge 🙂

“Super Transbal 2” is the sequel of “Transball” and “Transball 2”, Inspired in THRUST type of games (and concretely in ZARA THRUSTA for the Amiga 500). In each level of Transball, the goal is to find the SPHERE, capture it and carry it to the upper part of the level. The main obstacle is the gravity, that impulses you towards the ground. But many other obstacles, canons, tanks, doors, etc. will try to make difficult your journey…

This so takes me back to my childhood lunch breaks, and is an amazing reproduction of what I remember as the original.

The download is tiny… although detrimentally so is the game play window, but everything else, including the tough challenge is as awesome as the original

Shattered Pixel Dungeon

Select your Hero
I don’t really play games on my phone, guess not having Google Play limits those titles that are available. However earlier in the week I came across Shattered Pixel Dungeon on F-Droid

It’s described as: Traditional rogue like game with pixel-art graphics and simple interface.

Hard to believe that in all my years of gaming I’ve never played a ‘rogue like game’… but I’m very impressed with this perma-death Android title

The game begins by choosing an hero, from the traditional classes of Warrior, Mage, Rogue, and the unlocked bonus of Huntress… apparently awarded after defeating the third boss, I haven’t found the first one yet!

The dungeons are randomly generated on each load, each level containing monsters (rats and crabs early on), chests, and generic RPG goodies e.g. coins (can I use them?), a variety of potions, scrolls, seeds, weapons, and armour… and did I mention that the scrolls and potions are randomised, where blue once healed who knows now WTF it will do 😀

Your Hero takes damage from encounters, that can be healed in a variety of ways, gains experience points to level up, and becomes hungry over time; starving if not fed.

The source code is also published to GitHub. I’d be telling fibs if I said I wasn’t tempted to modify the difficulty a little, but I guess that it’s all part of the fun, and “one more try” compulsion.

I’ve found a the Pixel Dungeon wiki, this may help prolong my time exploring 🙂

Ah reading the wiki it seems like I’m playing the modded version of the game, the vanilla being simply Shattered Pixel

Shattered Pixel Dungeon is a game based upon Pixel Dungeon’s Open Source. it is posted with the permission of Watabou, the original dev of Pixel Dungeon. Its aim is to make Pixel Dungeon the best game it can be, with reworks to existing content and tonnes of new stuff as well!
Both Pixel Dungeon and Shattered Pixel Dungeon belong to the roguelike genre. The dungeon and items are randomly generated, so no two play sessions are the same. Roguelike games are difficult and feature permanent death (no loading a save to try again!). While you may try and fail many times, this makes winning all the more satisfying.
Here are the current differences from Pixel Dungeon:
– Texts and boss/quest encounters in the sewers completely reworked!
– Rings completely overhauled, 6 totally new rings!
– New item class: ARTIFACTS! unique utility items that do not need scrolls of upgrade!
– New food item/plant added, you’ll have to find it!
– Many potions/seeds/scrolls tweaked to be more useful, a few nerfed as well.
– Rogue starting ring has been replaced with an artifact.
– Dew vial no longer autorevives, but can now bless an ankh.
– Nerfed health potion farming from fly swarms.
– many balance tweaks and bugfixes
Shattered Pixel Dungeon is constantly being updated, so expect this list to grow!
It is of the utmost importance that Shattered Pixel Dungeon still feels and plays like Pixel Dungeon, if you encounter any bugs or issues please contact me and I will try to sort them out. If something seems out of place or overpowered/underpowered, let me know and I’ll look into it.
Shattered Pixel Dungeon is open source under the GPLv3 Licence. It is currently using v1.7.1c of Pixel Dungeon’s source, and will be updated when new source is available. You can find the current Shattered Pixel Dungeon source here:
If you would like to do any work with this source code, please contact me first as a courtesy.

The wiki has some cool tables too, this takes me back to the old days; remember pencil and paper RPG’s 😉

Read that there’s also a ‘night mode’: that the difficulty is increased between the hours of 00:00 to 07:00… as it wasn’t enough of a challenge to stay alive already!

Saying that my biggest challenge seems to be hunger, off to read the wiki for survival clues.

I’m finding it a great way to pass a short game session, and you can quite out at any time and save your current game. I can see this been on my phone for a while.


starting guide
– sleeping heals HP’s – great on early levels
Little-Known Tactics and Tips
11 tips from a veteran
Rating: ★★★★☆

A link to Bookmark for Retro Fans

Classic Arcade Games
The Internet Archive Now Lets You Play 900+ Classic Arcade Games In Your Browser

Retro fans need this link: Internet Arcade

A great source of all the classics, and so much easier than downloading each MAME ROM 🙂

The Internet Arcade is a web-based library of arcade (coin-operated) video games from the 1970s through to the 1990s, emulated in JSMAME, part of the JSMESS software package. Containing hundreds of games ranging through many different genres and styles, the Arcade provides research, comparison, and entertainment in the realm of the Video Game Arcade.

The game collection ranges from early “bronze-age” videogames, with black and white screens and simple sounds, through to large-scale games containing digitized voices, images and music. Most games are playable in some form, although some are useful more for verification of behavior or programming due to the intensity and requirements of their systems.

Pro tip from Techcrunch:

It can be a bit weird to figure out a game’s controls in MAME some times. The 5 key lets you insert a coin; the 1 key is usually the Player 1 start button. Arrows are usually used for directional stuff, with CTRL/ALT/SPACE used for the three primary buttons. Beyond that, you’ll have to mash buttons a bit to figure it out [or hit TAB to dive into the key configurations])

Favourites I’ve found so far:

0 A.D. Alpha 17 Available For Download

I only got into 0AD a couple of months back, and here’s a serious free update 🙂

Full details here: webupd8

Notable changes in 0 A.D. Alpha 17 “Quercus”:

  • Major Core Combat Rebalance:
    • if you send only one unit type to battle, it fares poorly against regiments of the same size that mix more than one type, e.g. melee and ranged units;
    • technologies as a whole have been made more expensive and unrelated technologies have been “unpaired”;
    • some stats have been adjusted to make training some units viable
    • buildings are now a bit easier to destroy;
    • formations were removed temporarily, but they will be reimplemented again some point, in a more balanced way.
  • Naval map support: the computer opponent now uses transport ships to colonize other islands and attack enemy bases, but naval combat (i.e. ships against ships) is not yet implemented;
  • Units On Walls: Units can be garrisoned in wall segments, and appear on the walls at predefined prop points;
  • Users can now view profiles of other players from within the lobby;
  • 2 new maps: a Oasis (skirmish map) and Schwarzwald (random map);
  • Implemented triggers: A “trigger” makes an action occur in the game if a specified event takes place;
  • A new Mod Selector allows users to enable or disable mods, save them or just restart into them to test them out. This way, it is a lot easier to test and play mods. This can be reached at: Main Menu -> Tools & Options -> Mod Selection. Also, modders can now easily make small changes to the game without having to copy and modify many files.

0 AD A free, open-source game of ancient warfare

As a break for my aged fingers from Street Fighter, today I installed 0 AD, described as A free, open-source game of ancient warfare, on Ubuntu.

I’ve been a fan of Civilization, in each incarnation, so I’m quite excited to try this high quality open-source title.

Feature of the 0 AD, from the site:

0 A.D. (pronounced “zero ey-dee”) is a free real-time strategy (RTS) game of ancient warfare. Lead a civilization set in the imaginary year of 0 A.D., develop a thriving city, raise a mighty army and contend with rivals for hegemony of the world. History is yours for the taking!

Check out some of the most exciting features in 0 A.D.:

Intense Gameplay

  • Cross-platform: 0 A.D. is set to run on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
  • Unique civilizations: In 0 A.D. each civilization is unique in its appearance and gameplay, including units, structures, and technology trees.
  • Citizen soldiers: Some infantry and cavalry units can not only fight, but also gather resources and construct buildings, making them substantially more versatile than in typical RTS games.
  • Combat experience matters: The more time your citizen soldiers spend fighting your enemies, the higher they go up the ranks. With each rank, they become stronger, but they also get worse at civilian tasks.
  • Technology tradeoffs: Some technologies are arranged in pairs, and within each pair, you can only research one technology at most in each game. This choice is irreversible, so choose carefully!
  • Unit formations: Arrange your units in historical battle formations from the Phalanx to the Testudo and gain bonuses, such as increased armor. However, beware the costs that may come with them, such as lower speed! (As of August 2012, this feature has not been implemented yet.)

Realism and Authenticity

  • Real world map realism: Random maps are based upon real geography of the ancient world with realistic plants, animals and terrain.
  • Authentic historical details: Designs of units, buildings and technologies all reflect the hallmarks of each civilization. We even give them names in the original ancient Greek, Latin, Punic, Celtic, etc.
  • Lifelike naval warfare: Ships will be on a much larger and more lifelike scale than seen in other games. They will move more realistically and even be able to ram other ships. (As of August 2012, this feature has not been implemented yet.)

Create Your Own Worlds

  • Powerful map editor: Draw landscapes with a palette of hundreds of terrains, build majestic cities and set the position of the sun in the Atlas Editor, your tool to design intricately detailed maps in 0 A.D.
  • Excellent moddability: From new computer opponent behaviors to extra civilizations, easily create your own modifications (mods) of 0 A.D. by editing game files, all freely available in standard, open formats.

I’ve just as a mess about with the Britons, getting used to the Basic Gameplay. I think this could be a promising way to waste time while waiting for downloads in the future.

Android Offline office first impressions


I wanted to love AndrOpen, and I do!

But it’s not as usable and slick as Kingsoft Office

I’m not going to be doing anything too complicated on the N7 phablet, but it’s nice to have the full Open Office option there if I need to.

Kingsoft also responded better to voice input, where AndrOpen got more words incorrect and duplicated some.

Another bonus of Kingsoft Office is that it can open and save to G docs… wonder if the software house will be bought out in the near future? 😉 + a fluid pinch zoom!

My only criticism of both is how large the keyboard is