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Calling in some help?

Posted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:10 pm
by Daniel Baines
Hi guys.

As you may know, I released the 'non beta' of the Vulcan expansion pack. OK so it ended up having a single minor, easily fixable bug. But that's neither here nor there. Point is, I programmed 120,000 memory addresses for it. Yes. 120,000. I understand a full 15,000 memory addresses of the programme, and spent 8 years learning. It is one of the biggest (and dare I say best?) Spectrum modding projects of all time.

I know you guys don't owe me any favours. But I have big plans for this if it all works out. And I need help. Like with the roads, sometimes its an unbelievably easy fix, and I was just missing something simple, that's all. Nothing like a little help from your friends.

People are downloading the Vulcan expansion pack. And enjoying it. But it can't go any further unless someone with some Spectrum programming knowledge can put their hand up and say 'yes, I will help.' It might take some hours of your time, not like a two minute flick through some code or vague advice.

I'm working on a massive multiplayer map. As usual, expanding the map size past 60 squares is giving me major headaches. I worked on the problems all day today and got no further forward. So its not like I haven't tried. If anyone can help, please contact me at I can give detailed advice on any problem if you need it, because although there are things I can't do, I understand the code better than anyone really. Even RT Smith has forgotten most of it, sadly. So I can co-operate with anyone willing to help, don't worry.

I've given up on AI, which is notoriously too difficult to reverse engineer anyway. The current plan is a massive multiplayer, which I can hopefully put online on its own website, eventually. The current problems are that supplies won't run down the roads, and appear in random places on the map. Also, collision detection still occurs every 60 squares instead of resetting after 133 (the current megamap size accross.)

You'll be surprised to learn I'm not a programmer, despite how much I know. I'm just a security guard. Just shows how much effort I put in myself really!

So, any takers?

Professional programmers with a few hours to kill?


Re: Calling in some help?

Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:55 pm
by IanB
I'm currently spending all my time in the bowels of the ZX81, and my Spectrum programming is rusty.

As a general point though, reading your intentions, I seriously wonder whether it would be easier to reverse engineer the program code- which probably effects fairly simple rules, then rewrite the engine in a modern high level language. Then if you like put a Spectrum-like graphics shell over the top. That way it would be much easier to change limitations that are "hardwired in" like the 60 squares width problem you've mentioned, and put it online if that's what you desire. Getting a real Spectrum online in that way, I don't know if that's even theoretically possible.

Just a thought.

Re: Calling in some help?

Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:23 pm
by Daniel Baines
All of what you've said is very true! However, as I'm not a programmer, and I only know 'Vulcan' (modding it just started by coincidence really) I can't really do the things you said. I want it to have its own website, with tips on how to play, updates, etc. Probably a meeting place and a rankings (which I'd calculate and upload if people send in a snapshot of their end screens) and a matchmaking. Or they could play online in a Java emulator box, and it would record results. Nothing fancy like VGA planets though, as I wouldn't know how to do it anyway. For now, I just want the 2 player map up and running really. Then I can go from there.

Re: Calling in some help?

Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:28 pm
by IanB
Have you considered learning to program? I'm not being facetious here; it's not hard once you get a start. You already understand computer organisation.

Re: Calling in some help?

Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:59 pm
Reverse engineering software is not an easy task - although most of my own programming skills were learnt from taking someone else's code, finding the bugs and then working backwards to fix the bugs.

Just a pointer - as this is a Spectrum program - can you please keep the discussion in the Spectrum section of the site :D

Re: Calling in some help?

Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:10 am
by IanB
I'm currently up to my neck in flowcharts, and that's just for my own code. :?

God help me with somebody else's!