16 April 2023

Tube amoeba

Encouraged by yesterday's entry here is another memory from the year 1993. This time it is a PC game written together with Csaba Biró (my friend and classmate in high-school) and Zsigmond Kovács (my little brother). The game was inspired by our teacher in informatics, Béla Pasek.

The game is similar to the classic Connect 4 game, its rules are the same, with the exception that the board size is 10x10, and there is a timer included. Since the game text is written in Hungarian, you may want to need some help on using it:
  1. On the first screen you can set the names of the players. The letters in the brackets correspond to the keys you need to press to set the names. The key ENTER finishes entering the name. The highlighted names (max. 4) will be used in the game. The names can be enabled or disabled by pressing the corresponding key. When pressing SHIFT as well, a name can be removed. ENTER and ESC continue to the next screen, but ESC will forget all settings and use the defaults (with no names).
  2. There are two intro screens. The first one is an artwork by Zsigmond. A couple of seconds is spent on this first screen. Then the second screen presents the authors. Pressing (almost) any key will take you to the Options screen.
  3. At Options (which is written phonetically in Hungarian, ha-ha) you can fine tune the operation of the program. In the original DOS version you needed to use the function keys F1-F7, but don't use them here, because they will cause problems. Instead, click on the crossed-out eye icon on the left part of the emulator, and select the mobile phone icon. You will see 7 buttons on the left part of the game area.
  4. These 7 buttons can set the following options: F1 is for the animation speed. The default setting is fine, but you may experience more fluid animation when using the at486 setting. F2 can select the player that uses the symbol X. If you entered names on the first screen, here you can select from the entered names. The same for F3, but for the other player with the symbol O. Here there are two more options: HT 1080Z and ZX81 are two machine players, with different strategies. F4 sets the first player (X or O or ? for a randomly chosen one). F5 can set if you want to use a 1234567890 or you prefer a 0123456789 one. (This is a keyboard only game, there is nothing to do with the mouse.) F6 sets the amount of time available. F7 can switch the X/O symbols to simple characters, instead of using Zsigmond's artwork.
  5. After finalizing the settings, ENTER will start the game. The number keys can select the required columns for the next move. ESC quits the game and the user gets back to the Options screen. When somebody wins, the ENTER key can continue to the Options screen, too.

Now, here is the game! Click on it to start playing and follow the steps above.

The game was written in Turbo Pascal 7.0. It was fun to write it, and we even won the 3rd prize at the famous Garay contest in Hungary in 1994. Also, we sold some copies of this program in the same year at a moderate price.

Further credits: The DOS emulator is a JS-DOS, a masterpiece of work.

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See also a filtered list of the entries on topics GeoGebra, technical developments or internal references in the Bible.

Zoltán Kovács
Linz School of Education
Johannes Kepler University
Altenberger Strasse 69
A-4040 Linz