The V Prize

I am offering cash prizes to people who develop games for the Vectrex32. Currently I am offering prizes for two different games: a clone of Tail Gunner and a clone of Sega’s Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator. The requirements for the games are detailed below. If you have an idea for a game you would like to write instead, contact me and we can discuss it. Likewise, if you have any questions about the V Prize, contact me or post in the General Forum.

A Clone of Tail Gunner

A cash prize of US$500 will be paid to the first person who writes a clone of Tail Gunner for the Vectrex32. To win it, be the first to post BASIC source code for the game in the Game Swap forum at http://forums.vectrex32.com/. The game must be playable, reasonably bug-free, free for users to download, and you must give permission for it to be included on the cartridge in future distributions of Vectrex32.

The game must have the following features:

  • There are three different styles of enemy ships, roughly resembling the styles in the original arcade game.
  • The top of the display shows the player’s score, the number of ships that have gotten by him, and the shield power remaining. The shield power starts at 80 units, and every second that the shield is on uses 5 units.
  • Three ships fly towards the player at a time, each twisting and turning in three dimensions to make them a difficult target.
  • As the game progresses, the ships get faster and more evasive.
  • The ships have 4 different speeds. Points for destroying a ship are, from slowest to fastest, 7, 11, 17, and 23.
  • The player positions a crosshair with the joystick. Use an analog joystick for absolute positioning (i.e. the position of the joystick specifies the crosshair’s position on the screen).
  • There’s a button on the controller to fire. When firing, two cannon shots appear from the lower corner of the screen and move towards the crosshair. A sound effect accompanies the firing.
  • If a ship is hit, it explodes. The visual effect is that line segments fly away from the ship’s position and then fade away. There’s also an explosion sound.
  • There’s a button on the controller that turns on the shield. The shield is shown by a pattern of lines on the screen. While the shield is on, the number of seconds of shield time counts down. When there are 0 seconds remaining, the shield turns off.
  • If a ship hits the shield, it bounces off and moves in a straight line away from the player. The bounce has a sound effect that sounds like a crash. The ship rotates to expose its top or bottom to the player (making it a larger target). The ship continues to move away from the player for about a second before it disappears.
  • During game play, there’s a star field that appears to be moving away from the player.
  • After a set of three ships is done (i.e. they’ve either been destroyed, flown past the player, or bounced off the shield and disappeared), if any of the ships flew past the player, the star field rapidly moves away from the player for a moment. There’s an accompanying zoom sound.
  • The game ends when 10 or more ships have gotten past the player.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Use Vectrex32 version 1.15. It includes support for 3D graphics that greatly simplifies the 3D ships. If you have an older version, see http://forums.vectrex32.com/index.php/topic,53.0.html for information about how to upgrade.
  • Use a consistent, real-world scale for objects and distances. E.g., choose a size for the enemy ships, like 15 meters long, then think about how many meters away from the player they are when they first fly onto the screen and how fast they’re moving in meters per second. Adjust the camera’s focal length (the camera is a feature of version 1.12’s 3D graphics support) to make things look right.
  • When the player fires at a ship, the cannon shots head towards it in the X and Y direction. But the ships start far away and move closer to the player, so the shots also need to head towards the ship in the Z direction (into the screen) such that they collide with the ship at the correct distance. This means that while the user targets in X and Y, the program needs to automatically target in Z, and it needs to take into account the Z speed of the ship and the Z speed of the shot so that they both reach the same Z coordinate at the same time. (To make this easier, all three ships could be at the same distance from the player.)

A Clone of Sega’s Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator

A cash prize of US$500 will be paid to the first person who writes a clone of Sega’s Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator arcade game for the Vectrex32. To win it, be the first to post BASIC source code for the game in the Game Swap forum at http://forums.vectrex32.com/. The game must be playable, reasonably bug-free, free for users to download, and you must give permission for it to be included on the cartridge in future distributions of Vectrex32.

Sega Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator is an arcade game from 1983. See a video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZj9WLFe6cY. Read about it at http://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=9770 and http://www.arcade-museum.com/manuals-videogames/A/A%20Comprehensive%20Guide%20To%20Winning%20Sega%20Star%20Trek.pdf.

The game must follow the description on pages 4 through 6 of https://www.arcade-museum.com/manuals-videogames/S/StarTrek.pdf with the following exceptions:

The game need not have speech or color. It need not have anti-matter saucers, Nomad, mines, or 2-player mode. The original game’s rotating knob should be replaced with the joystick. The game need not remember high scores.

If you decide to include anti-matter saucers, Nomad, and mines, I will add $100 to the prize.

Suggestions:

It’s tempting to use Vectrex32’s 3D graphics features, but this might not be a good idea. The Klingon ship has a spherical piece at the bow. There’s no good way to define this in vectors so that it looks good from all angles. It appears that the original arcade game just had drawings of the Klingon ship from a few angles: front, side, rear, and a couple of intermediate angles (e.g. front-left and rear-left).

The mirror image of a ship can be made by magnifying the sprite by -1. E.g. if you define the shape of a Klingon ship’s left side, you can use the same sprite for its right side by magnifying the sprite by -1.

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