Ballblazer
Copyright/Publisher: Lucasfilm Games, Release Year: 1986, Genre: Weird Sport, Number Of Players: 1 to 5

AIM:
A thousand years in the future, the most popular game in the galaxy is the futuristic soccer-like game of Ballblazer. Strapped into your Rotofoil, you're ready to challenge for the galactic title...

GAMEPLAY:
The action takes place on a bare green and white chessboard- like field, with one goal at each end of the field. The aim is simply to blast the floating Plasmorb (or ball) into the opposing player's goal. Your Rotofoil is like a giant foot that can dribble and kick the ball, thanks to the magnetic field that surrounds it. Rather unsportingly, you can also use this field to "punch" your opponent away.

The field traps the Plasmorb when it's in proximity to you and allows you to dribble it. However, this slows your speed (allowing your opponent to catch up). Kicking is slightly tricky - firing the ball results in you flying off in the opposite direction, as per Newton's laws. Your Rotofoil incorporates an onboard computer to make sure that you always point towards the ball and, when you have the ball, towards the correct goal (which should make it harder to score own goals!).

You can play against a human or a computer player. A two player game uses a split screen display (player one at the top). Like the one player game, the match lasts three short minutes, at the end of which the player with the most points wins. The number of points produced by a goal depends on how long the shot was; an over the horizon shot is awarded the maximum three points.

Scenario:
The simplest, fastest and most com- petitive sport in the known universe. It grew from dark roots in an ancient space war to become king of all games among every lifeform within range of Interstellar ethercasting. In exactly three minutes, Ballblazer can make you ahero - or destroy a lifetime of dreams.

The year is 3097, and the place is a null-gravity nexus mid-space in the binary star system Kalaxon and Kalamar. Moments from now, on the luminous sur- face of an artificial asteroid, the final round of the Interstellar Ball- blazer Championship - the greatest tournament of all time and space - will begin, and history will be made.

For the first time a creature from the planet Earth has battled through the countless qualifying rounds and elimi- nations, enduring and then triumphing, across vast parsecs, to win the right tocompete for the honour of his planet andthe ultimate title any being can possess: Masterblazer.

The game:
You're strapped in a Rotofoil. So is your opponent. The screen is split, so you each have your own view of the game.You see your opponent's Rotofoil. Your opponent sees yours.

You face each other. One of you starts the game and the ball is fired. Go for it and get it before your opponent does.Now find the moving Goalbeams and blast the ball through for a score. It's totalspeed, power and points - one on one until time runs out.

The one with the most points wins. It's easy to play - difficult to master. But go to step one and find out yourself.

Joystick control:
Plug your joysticks into ports 1 and 2. The joystick in port 1 controls the top half of the screen, the joystick in port 2 controls the bottom half.

Quick start:

1. Demo game: Press the RETURN key to watch demonstration games between Droid players. Notice the split screen. Each half shows the view from one of the Rotofoils. Press any function key to stop the demonstration. And remember: The Interstellar Ballblazer Conference strictly forbids betting on Droid matches.

2. Choose game options: First press the F3 key. One of these options flashes: Top player (purple, left), game time (middle), bottom player (orange, right). Press again to change the option.

3. Change the setting: Press the F5 key to choose players: Human, Droid 1 (easy) through 9 (difficult), or to change the game time from one minute to nine minutes.

4. Start the game: Press F7 to start the game. The ball is fired into the middle of the Grid.

5. Push the joystick forward: Look at your half of the screen and keep moving forward until you reach the ball. Your ship will rotate if the ball goes out of sight to the left or right. Just keep on moving forward and you'll get to it.

6. Take the ball: Move forward - keep the ball in your view screen. Rush up to it. Your Pullfield auto- matically captures the ball and centres it in your view screen. Then your Rotofoil automatically snaps around to face your goal. You'll hear a sound and the ball will change to your colour when you capture it.

7. Blast the ball: Push your fire button.

8. Steal the ball: Go after your opponent, moving in from the side. When you hear a loud buzz, blast the ball away. Go after it - capture it.

9. Score: Find the Goalbeams. Line them up in your screen. Centre. Fire. And blast the ball through the Goalbeams.

10. Pause the game: Press the SPACE BAR. Press it again to resume.

11. Reset the game: Press the SPACE BAR, then press F1.

Forcefields:

* Imagine your Rotofoil is surrounded by a big pillow of energy - that's your Bumpfield, and objects, like other Rotofoils, bounce off it.
--> Bumpfield surrounds Rotofoil.

* When the Plasmorb gets close, your Pullfield is activated. It's as if the pillow caves in and captures the ball. The forcefield centres the ball on the goal side, as your Rotofoil snaps around to face it. Then you are ready to charge downfield and make a goal.
--> Pullfield draws ball in and automatically centres it.

* Finally, you activate your Pushfield with the fire button. It is as if the big energy pillow is suddenly pushing out. It only works when the Plasmorb is within ten metres. You can tell when the ball is close enough to use the Pushfield by listening for the buzz.
--> Pushfield blasts the ball forward. Rotofoil recoils backwards.

The playfield:

Grid:
* One square on Ballblazer Grid = 5 x 5 metres.
* Ballblazer Grid = 55 squares (275 metres) x 21 squares (105 metres).
* Curvature of Grid: An object 2 metres high may be seen at distance up to sixteen squares (80 metres).
* Electroboundary surrounds the Grid and keeps Plasmorb and Rotofoils within Grid field.

Goalbeams:
* Pure energy, in visible range.
* One set at each end of Grid.
* Motion: Approximately 5 metres/second.
* Initial spacing = 12.5 metres.
* Spacing shrinks each time goal is scored.
* Spacing after 7 goals = 2.5 metres.

Plasmorb:
* Diameter = 5/8 metre.
* Mass = 1000 kilograms.
* Floats 2 metres above Grid.
* Normal colour: Yellow.
* Initial velocity = 450 - 600 metres/second.

The Rotofoils:

Two metres high, with foot-pad 2.5 metres in diameter. Mass = 3000 kilo- grams. Two-axis thrusters; cruising velocity = 50 metres per second. Rotosnap: On-board computer auto- matically rotates Rotofoil 90 degrees toface the ball. Rotofoil rotosnaps to face goal when you capture the ball.

Offence:

Offence is ball control - learning the ways of the Plasmorb.

At the face-off, you have your stick forward, move out and capture the Plasmorb - it will change to your colourand you will rotosnap to face the goal. Do not blast the moment you capture the ball - wait for the rotosnap, get orientated and then wait for the Goal- beams - they'll be moving in the same direction the ball was blasted in.

Watch your screen. When the Plasmorb is blasted between the Goalbeams, blast. Ifyou're in close, you get one point. Further back, two. And if you can't actually see the Goalbeams - you get three. The Goalbeams narrow after each score, so go for two and three pointers first. If you get ten points, it's a shut-out, otherwise, the winner has the highest score at the end of the game. Ifyou are tied, you go into overtime, and the next score takes all.

Once you get the feel of it, try some angle shots.

Let the Plasmorb swing to one side of your view screen, then blast - it will go in that direction. To get around a blocker, use an angle shot off the wall.Bounce the ball off the electroboundary,past your opponent's Rotofoil, then rushforward and capture it again.

When you get good, try Pushfield dribbling. Keep your fire button down asyou approach the Plasmorb. Instead of catching it in your Pullfield - which uses 25% of your energy - just nudge thePlasmorb along in front of you. Then capture it when you want to blast a goal.

Defence:

Even the best Blazer doesn't have the ball all the time. When you don't, you're on defence and then you've only got two choices: Buzz-blasting and blocking.

If you're chasing your opponent down theGrid, don't get directly behind him - jam in from the side to buzz-blastthe ball away. Then you've got to grab that free ball for yourself.

You know you're within blasting range when you hear the buzz. The closer you are, the louder the buzz, the better the blast.

The hardest part of the buzz-blasting isknowing when you've rotosnapped to face the ball. Keep rotosnapping back and forth and listen for the sound of the rotosnap - that's how you know you've changed direction. Then, when you over- take your opponent, you've just got to remember which side you're on. It's easier to just do it than to try to talk about it.

Blocking is a tougher kind of defence. It means situating yourself between the goal and your opponent.

Keep him centred in your view screen. Try to keep yourself right between the Goalbeams.

Commentary on the final round:

Welcome ladies, gentlemen and variants, to the final round of Ballblazer 3097. I'm Slan Sterling, the Voice of the Void, and, ethercasting with me today isArboster Kipling, one of the great Masterblazers of recent times, now Governor of the Omega Colonies. Arboster, welcome. We haven't talked since you purchased the Omega Colonies with your tournament purse. How is it owning a planetary system?

Slan, it definitely beats working. On the other hand, there are times I'd liketo be back in a Rotofoil, working the Grids like any other Blazer.

Arboster, this is the first time an Earthling has made the final round of the Interstellar. What are his chances?

Frankly, I think he's in trouble. These Terrans are a young species - they were barely out of their atmosphere when the game was invented.

Which was when?
Centuries ago, Slan, at the end of the Great Madness - back when there was still war. For deep space dog-fights, you had to maneuver your vehicle under the incredible G-forces of close combat - reversing thrust instantly, sustaining plasma-torpedo blasts on yourenergy shield, that sort of thing. The G-forces during space combat would snap your neck like a toothpick.

And so a whole new breed arose, right? The thick necks, the shortened synaptic connections, the triple-walled lungs.

Exactly. Part of it was just old- fashioned genetic engineering, of course. But Ballblazing developed from actual military training exercises. Theyused vehicles like our Rotofoils, and forcefields to simulate sudden changes in direction and acceleration. Deadly stuff. They busted up ten recruits for every one that finally saw action in space. Praise Mind, the Great Madness isbehind us, and what we have left is the finest sport of all time.

Is it true that a Masterblazer such as yourself has the most highly evolved nervous system of any creature in the galaxy?

Oh, gee, Slan, I don't know about that. The Scylliac Venom Hunters of Trogon - the guys who actually grab the fangs - those are pretty fast boys.

Modesty aside, Arboster...

[Deep sigh.] Well, Slan, Ballblazing isn't just a sport. It's deep disciplinefor the nervous system. When the on- board computer rotosnaps you ninety degrees, just keeping a clear head can be the toughest part of all. But it's worth it. Once you have the pace of Ballblazing, dealing with the rest of the galaxy seems like vacation.

Excuse me, Arboster. Here are the two Rotofoils now, vectoring onto the field.Crockett, from Earth, is in the purple, and Xarta, representing the Minotaur system, is in orange. In the background,we're hearing the traditional "Song of the Grid". That's auto-improvised, of course...

Based on the contributions of former Masterblazers. It is really an honour to hear my own melody in there among those of the other Masters.

The musical essence of Masterblazers of old is heard, as each Rotofoil takes itsplace, ready for the first face-off. Andthe two best Ballblazers in the galaxy are staring down the Grid, meditating onthe "Song", waiting. Xarta attracted some attention, coming up through the preliminaries, didn't he?

Sure he did. That scaly Minotaur can shut-out a Level 9 Droid in less than a minute. But beating a Droid doesn't meanyou can beat a Human. Whereever you go in the universe, there's only one regu- lation Ballblazer game - three minutes, two players, one victor.

Stirring words, Arboster - and here we go! The Plasmorb blasts in from our left, and both Xarta and Crockett are already accelerating downfield. Each had full stick forward even before the orb appeared.

All these boys are hearing now is that freeball rhythm, driving, driving... All right! Crockett's Rotofoil has captured the orb in its Pullfield and now he's veering right, heading for the goal, trying to get around Xarta.

The goal is moving, of course, in the same direction as the ball is fired.

There you go. Crockett's sighted the goal, but he's reversing direction, backing up, faking out Xarta. He's back to where the Goalbeams must have alreadydisappeared over the horizon - but he blasts anyway. That's it! Three points for the Earthling with an early over-the-horizon shot!

And you do want to get those OTH shots in early, Slan, before the goal starts to shrink.

Arboster, you're often credited with perfecting the OTH shot.

Somebody had to.

OK. Here we go, second face-off, the ball blasts in from the right this time,with Xarta out in front. The Minotaur has it! And his Rotofoil rotates to face the goal.

Sign of a good player here is not losinghis orientation during rotosnap. Move forward, forward...

But Crockett is catching up alongside him now - part of the Minotaur's Rotofoil power goes into that activated Pullfield. But Crockett's not using his Pushfield yet.

Good play. You want to get in close, really hear that electromagnetic buzz inyour helmet before you blast. "Max the buzz", is what we teach the nestlings on my planets.

All right. Crockett blasts the ball awayfrom the Minotaur, but Xarta recovers. Crockett is blocking, but - there it is!Straight past the Earthling, into the goal, two points for Xarta.

Classic goal defence there by the Earthling - stay between your goal and the opponent. But it's no match for a good angle shot.

Arboster, we've seen some quick scoring here today.

That's right. These boys have been competing since age twelve. This is the Terran's chance to make a big splash in the galaxy, so a lot is riding on young Crockett.

And here goes the third face-off. Ball in from the right this time, the Roto- foils race down, and Crockett is there a microsecond before Xarta - but he doesn't immediately capture the ball. He's...

What we're seeing here is some fine Pushfield dribbling. Crockett knows thatif he captures the ball, he'll lose power, so he's keeping his Pushfield activated. Each time he gets near the ball, the Pushfield bounces it forward. Fine control there by the Earthling. Buthe has to capture the ball to score.

There - he captures, swings the ball to the left of his view and blasts - ...

... - and misses. The ball bounces off the electroboundary to the left of the Goalbeam. Xarta accelerates, captures...

Crockett is already moving back. He's going to try a block midfield, but Xartais out ahead.

The Earthling has the right idea - the key to active defence is to keep moving,keep moving.

Incredible! Xarta makes an angle shot, the orb bounces off the electroboundary and back into the Grid. He maneuvers around the Earthling, captures the ball directly in front of the goal - ...

... - blast! blast! - ...

... - and that's it! The horizon flasheswith the scoring electromagnetic pulse, and that's another point for the Minotaur. Comment, Arboster?

That score looks close, but i think it'sobvious that we're seeing an outclassed player here. I'd wager to say that a fewhundred million hearts are sinking on Earth now.

[As indeed there are. For the next two minutes, billions of Earthlings, scattered throughout their tiny solar system, bang on every word of the distant ethercast, hopes rising, then dimming, as face-off after face-off. Xarta from the Minotaur system holds the Terran to a handful of points.

Now, with fewer than fifteen seconds remaining, the Terran Crockett is behind nine to one and the face-off begins.]

And here we go with the last face-off; the clock is running, the orb blasts in from the right. Look at that Earthling move!

He's captured the ball and rushes the goal - but pulls back - catching Xarta by surprise.

And there are the first notes of the final countdown...

It's an impossible long shot...

[Long silence.]

Incredible! He made it! The horizon is flashing, the clock stops with just 2.5 seconds to run... Three points for the Terran push his score back to four points against Xarta's six.

lan, we're seeing history here. One more point and the score goes to five all. Then the game could go into sudden death overtime.

Face-off, the Rotofoils in front of the goals, the orb blasts in - 600 metres per second - the Terran rushes and...

One second, Xarta has captured the orb. He's backing up, killing time - ...

... - and that's it! The clock hits zero, the Terran's Rotofoil spins out inthe traditional loser's penance, the atmosphere over the asteroid glows with the orange colour of the victor from Minotaur.

One remarkable contest, Slan. I think...

Wait one microsecond. Xarta has remainedon the Grid, to accompany the Terran Rotofoil off the field. It's a gesture I don't think we've seen in this tournament for centuries! Arboster?

It's a brand-new Masterblazer's tribute to an up-and-coming species, Slan. I'd say that we're going to be hearing more about Earthlings. A few millennia from now, these Terrans are likely to be real contenders.

Thank you, Arboster Kipling. This is Slan Sterling, the Voice of the Void, returning you to your local ethercast. We'll see you here, next solar cycle, same place, same game. In fact the only game: Ballblazer. Three minutes, two players, one victor!

Interview with Xarta

S: An incredible match, Xarta.

X: Great Mind, I'm a wreck. Where in the Void did this Terran come from?

S: Little G-class star, nothing fancy, just off the Main Sequence.

X: What a Blazer. His neurons must fire at warp-speed.

S: But not quite fast enough. Xarta, by tournament law, you're now retired. Care to pass on a few tips to Blazers on the way up?

X: As long as it doesn't get back to the Earthlings.

S: Of course.

X: OK. Here's an old Minotaur trick for over-the-horizon shots. Shoot when you can still just make out the Goalbeams. The reaction of the blast knocks you back, over the horizon - and the score is based on your position when the Plasmorb actually passes through the goal. Best trick in the galaxy for turning two points into three.

S: How about the way you escaped the Earthling in the second minute?

X: Simple. I'm moving down the Grid with the ball, and I know he's right behind me. I can almost see his viewing screen, with me right in the middle of it. So I blast.

The ball goes forward and I recoil back right into him, blasting him back so I can get to the ball first!

S: Anything for close-in goal play?

X: Here's one I learned from Arboster. If you have the Plasmorb, but you're up against the boundary and need to move back to shoot, hold your stick forward and blast - you'll bounce back to three-points range, and you can catch the ball on the rebound.

S: How about for tyros, just starting out?

X: Go out on the Grid, and practice aiming just outside the Goalbeams. The Plasmorb bounces back, instead of going through the whole goal sequence. You get more practice in short time.

S: Anything else?

X: Yeah. Stay away from Earthlings. Something tells me those guys are really gonna be trouble.

Credits:

Ballblazer was created by the Lucasfilm Games division.

David Levine created the concept, directed the project and designed and implemented the screen graphics, physical dynamics, control structures, and mainline program.

Peter Langston, the Games group leader, designed and implemented the sound effects and practice Droid intelligence,composed and programmed the music, and helped devise the game play mechanisms and strategy.

David Riordan and Garry Hare of Search and Design contributed game design elements and game rules.

Charlie Kellner helped conceptualize game dynamics.

Ideas and support were provided by othermembers of the Games division:

David Fox provided aesthetic support andGary Winnick contributed to the Rotofoildesign and the introductory animation.

The game was converted from Atari Home Computer to Commodore 64 by K-Byte.

Special thanks to George Lucas.

Trademark and copyright 1985 Lucasfilm Limited. All rights reserved.

Activision, Incorporated, authorized user.


MAIN MENU --- Choose your destination!
Home / Main
News Archive
Links
The Genres
Games Archive
Game Infos
Wanted Games
Original Games
Manuals
Adverts & Covers
Reviews
Sids Archive
Info / FAQ
Hints & Tips
World Records
Collections
Sign Guestbook
View Guestbook
Discussion Board
E-mail S64


The C64 Banner Exchange
The C64 Banner Exchange