Cecco’s Log

Stardate: 15 November 1988

A couple of incredibly boring programmer people have suggested that I ought to talk more about the technical aspects of programming Stormlord, rather than waffling on about things in general. Well, as I aim to please everybody, here goes...

A six t-state enhancement to the scroll routine has allowed a sillisecond (0.00000000000000003 sec) more raster time in which to process the omni-inertial, fractal based, sprite by-pass counter-break in the main control segment. As all intelligent people know, the counter-break method of coding really does need a zerofied two millisecond output pulse to even out the rough Zen frequencies generated by the processor... (All queries about this should be addressed to Andrew ‘the programmers see me as a friend’ Hewson.)

Raf Cecco, the Ed, Hugh Binns, Nick Jones

Stardate: 18 November 1988

I am informed that Nick and I (it’s always Nick and I) have been invited up to CRASH Towers in far away Ludlow. I think it’ll be nice to see that lot for once.

Stardate: 21 November 1988

I’ve started coding up the part of Stormlord that will handle all the object manipulation in the game. I only have a rough idea exactly what sort of objects will be in the final game, but that isn’t really important at the moment. All that needs to be working is a system whereby object A can be picked up or swapped with object B, and object A can be used to trigger an event like removing object B from the game map. A bit later on, I might, for example, decide that object A is a hammer and object B is a bottle. (He’s getting a bit technical again — Ed.)

Stardate: 2 December 1988

At the speed of light in Nick’s Metro, we set off from Reading for the CRASH offices in Ludlow. Having been assigned as chief navigator, I scrutinize the map closely and tell Nick to go due up and left a bit for about 150 miles.

After a couple of hours into the journey we’re feeling very bored and tired with numb bottoms and dead legs. To bring a little cheer to our uncomfortable predicament, I invent a game. The objective is to try and lock the inertia seat belts by violently jerking our chests forward. Nick had a distinct advantage as he could hold onto the steering wheel for extra leverage. This was all jolly good fun, but we decided to stop when the internal bleeding started. (Please don’t try things at home, folks. Programmers are a special breed of person — Ed.)

On arrival in Ludlow we pick up graphics guy Hugh ‘Err, yea, hi’ Binns from Ludlow station (platform) and make our way to CRASH Towers. We all barge up the sixty billion stairs to the CRASH office. On the door is pinned a vehement (RCLWD) No Smoking sign (I doubt that anyone who smokes could actually climb all those stairs).

We all barge in. You know those sort of plush offices with Habitat furniture and glamorous, model-girl secretaries and receptionists? Well, the CRASH office is nothing like that. Instead we are greeted by good old Dominic ‘insert superlatives here’ Handy, who promptly barges us back down all those stairs to grab some lunch.

I comment on how ‘quaint’ Ludlow is, as this seems to wind Dominic up no end (quaint, quaint, quaint, QUAINT!... Ha ha!). Negotiating the ingenious ‘free for all’ road junctions that exist in Ludlow, we make our way to big bad Dom’s favourite (and Ludlow’s only) restaurant. As we begin to order the most expensive things on the menu, Dom’s credit card squeals in dismay. (But what do you expect from programmers who’ve become accustomed to extremely luxurious and glamorous lifestyles?)

After lunch it was back to CRASH Towers to show off Stormlord and take a few more silly photographs for the Log. Someone had the ingenious idea of popping over to Ludlow Castle and taking a picture of me being thrown off a very high wall by Dominic and his burly minders. Luckily they didn’t get a photo of me landing on my backside. (What more Dominic? Raf being fired out of a cannon? Raf leaping under a bus? Raf getting his own back — snarl!)

Hewson’s Action Man making a prat of himself again.

Stardate: 5 December 1988

It’s time, I think, to put the ‘front end’ of the game in. This is the part of the program that you see as soon as it has loaded. I’ve opted for a very decorative mixture of a lovely character set drawn by Hugh and a smattering of some of the graphics that are in the game. I think the end result looks very pretty and effective. To this I have added a credits screen in which I mention everybody that has contributed to the program in terms of graphics or ideas.

Stardate: 19 December 1988

It’s eight in the evening and Andrew ‘Kind at heart’ Hewson has popped over to pick up (for a nominal charge) one of the kittens for his kids at Christmas (isn’t that nice?). (No, not really. You’re not supposed to give pets for Christmas... But seeing as it’s Andrew... — Ed.)

Stardate: 22 December 1988

A disk full of graphics arrives from Hugh. As it turns out, most of the stuff is for Nick and the C64 version of Stormlord. As well as more general background graphics, Hugh has started designing the objects that will be used to complete the adventures in Stormlord. He has begun with the obvious ones like keys, axes and knives — the more cryptic ones will follow later.

It’s pretty much all downhill now as far as programming Stormlord goes. All the hard stuff is more or less out of the way. I can now concentrate on putting the actual ‘game’ together as opposed to just mucking about with the technical aspects of the program.

Apparently this could conceivably be the last log as Stormlord is pretty near to completion (that’s what you think — Ed). If it is, then may I wish you my fondest regards and I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into a programmer’s life (awful isn’t it?) Stormlord, in all its majestic, super-smooth, scrolling glory (sorry), will be available around February time.

(Ha, ha. Revenge is mine. We’ll just have to find out about a programmer’s Christmas. So just one more month? Please, pretty please, Raf — Ed.)