Many issues back I raved in a
Diskovery article about how there
were many "program makers" out there
in Commodore land, as well as on
LOADSTAR. These are programs (or
systems) that allow users who don't
program to make programs anyway. I
said that I would be happy to publish
well-made games that came from one of
these program makers. One of the more
well-known makers was Bill Budge's
PINBALL CONSTRUCTION SET, and on LS
#177 there was a pinball game (MOJO'S
REVENGE) made with it.
Another maker of this sort is
FAST TRACKS, which makes it possible
for non-programmers to make classy
auto racing arcade games. On this
issue is a sample of what FAST TRACKS
can do, a nifty arcade game called
LANCASTER SPEEDWAY by Richard
Derocher of Lancaster NH.
Richard is a young programmer
who's had some things published on
LOADSTAR 128 and he's getting pretty
good at writing programs in BASIC.
When I was his age, I struggled with
a slide rule and never quite got the
hang of it. But even though he's a
good programmer, he's not up to
writing graphic arcade games with
dazzling sprite action and real-world
friction. I'm not either. In fact, I
doubt if there is anyone left in the
Commodore field with the knowledge
and patience to write flashy arcade
games like they used to in the old
But with the game makers, any one
of us can do it. The trick is to
design a good game, not just
something dashed off.
LANCASTER SPEEDWAY, apparently
named after Richard's home town,
seems to be a well-designed, tough
auto racing track. I admit that I
haven't been able to get my name on
the high scores list. In fact, I
haven't been able to complete a 5-lap
race without killing myself and
hopefully dozens of innocent
spectators. If I'm going to go out in
a blaze of glory, I want company!
The game works simply. You're
driving a red car which is controlled
with a joystick in [Port 1].
[NOTE:] You can tell a program is
pretty old when it insists on the
joystick being in Port 1. Since 1990
the standard is for the joystick to
be in Port 2 and the mouse in Port 1.
You can unplug joysticks with the
power on with no problem, but to be
safe, you should always have the
computer turned off when plugging or
unplugging a mouse. The mouse has
circuitry inside which can be
When the program starts you're at
the starting gate. You may press
RESTORE to go to a menu of three
options: SET THE NUMBER OF LAPS, SEE
THE COURSE, and SEE THE HIGH SCORES.
Use the joystick to make your choices
and you're back at the starting gate.
The joystick works as you would
expect. Push forward to go faster,
back to go slower. Right and Lefy
turn you that direction. Stay on the
road and watch out for other cars and
oil patches. That's the extent of my
The screen raster is messed up at
20 MHz so I added a boot which turns
your SuperCPU to 1 MHz. POKE53371,0
to turn it back on.
The file was 175 blocks as FAST
TRACKS made it. I wondered if Lee
Novak's PACKER would handle a file
that large and sure enough, it seems
to. It cut 64 blocks off the file's
size. Bravo, Lee!
And our thanks to Richard for
sending us this game and for doing
such a good job of it.