P014 – Text files included with the original MS-DOS version

As I was going through the files that are zipped up in the original MS-DOS version, there are a few text files there that I found both interesting, and amusing.  One is called ALIENS.DOC, and it's kind of the in-game documentation/instructions, you can access this through the menu, and scroll through it, the other is a READ.ME file with some instructions on loading the game, as well as a few utilities I found and used to make the game run a little faster on slower machines.

Contents of ALIENS.DOC


= Cosmic Aliens Version 1.9.7 5-24-89 =

= Cosmic Aliens documentation file.   =




Hi, and welcome to the exciting world of Cosmic Aliens !

   This program has come a long way since its early beginning in my

Basic 2 class at Prospect Hall College way back in March of 1988.

Since then, I have added all kinds of new features and stuff.

The game started on a monochrome PC clone and it was just a B.S. program

I wrote.  I told my friend I could make a space invaders game, and he didn't

believe me, so I started, first with the ship (the easiest), and all you

could do was move the ship left and right, then, I added the alien

(just one !) and it randomly drifted across the screen.. but before you

know it, I started incorporating all kinds of neat logic and features, making

the game more fun.

  I then  added the graphic title screens and such, I used "THEDRAW" an ansi

screen editor program, then saved the graphics in ascii format, which was

easily loaded into the Quick-Basic compiler, then I converted them into

strings that could be printed on the screen with different color patterns..

and from there, we have all the makings for a high-quality arcade game !

Loading the Program


  To load the game, type "ALIENS" from the DOS prompt.  The game will

start out with the introduction screen, which will contain any new

information about the particular version of Cosmic Aliens you are playing.

Press any key to go to the TITLE SCREEN.

The Title Screen:


  From the title screen you have a few options open to you.

Press "S" to turn the sound on or off, "Sound On" will be indicated by the

familiar "Star Wars" theme.  Also, the current movement device, either

Joystick or Keyboard will be displayed.  To Switch Devices, press "J" for

joystick movement and "K" for keyboard movement. If you are using the keyboard,

press the left and right arrow keys to move left and right, and the space bar

to fire lasers.  If you are using the joystick, move the joystick left and

right, to steer your ship, and press the lower button to fire.  If using the

joystick, the Joystick must be Calibrated.  This is a method used to read the

joystick values (left, right, and center). Different computers and game cards

all register different values from the joystick port, so this is done to

properly adjust your particular joystick set up.

  After you have selected the movement device, and the sound on/off,

you are ready to play the game.  Press a number key 0-9 to start on the

desired difficulty level.

  One other option available from the title screen and to be described in

further detail in the next paragraph is the Options Menu, press "O" from the

title screen to enter the Options Menu.

Options Menu


  The Options menu is entered by pressing "O" from the title screen.

From the Options Menu there are the following options available to you :

[D] adjust defaults

[R] Re-calibrate joystick

[M] modify Difficulty Level

[X] Exit from Options Menu

  Press "D" will bring you to the defaults menu, which will allow you to

change a lot of the default values used by the game, such as the number of

men, the points required for free men, the length of time before the game

speeds up,and other options.

  Option "R" allows you to re-calibrate your joystick, in case the initial

values do not cause the movement to perform properly.

  Option "M" will allow you to modify the number of aliens and their speed

for each of the 10 difficulty levels 0-9.  Do this by first selecting a level

you wish to modify, by pressing a digit 0-9, the level # will be displayed on

the top of the screen as well as the number of aliens and their speed.

Press the "+" and "-" to speed up or slow down the aliens, the speed is from

1 "fast" to 99 "slow".  Use the left and right arrow keys (or 4 and 6 on

your keypad) to in/decrease the number of aliens, from 1 to 30. when you have

reached the desired number of aliens and speed for that level, hit [ENTER]

to record your values into memory.  From there, either select a new level, or

hit the <ESCape> button on your computer to return to the options menu.

And, when you are done with the options, hit "X" to return to the title


How to play the game:


  Currently, there are three different phases of the game, in future releases

there will be added rounds and such, but as for now, let us discuss the

phases currently supported by the game.

The "ALIEN" Round


  The Alien rounds make up the game.. those are the rounds where shoot at the

aliens..  The basic strategy is to shoot at the aliens "[1]" and avoid

getting hit by their bombs.  Hitting an alien is worth 100 points, and if you

hit the bombs, they are worth 25 points.

  As the game progresses, the number and the speed of the aliens will

increase. On high levels, a "KAMIKAZE" alien attack may occur from time

to time..while in this mode, the normal alien attack will temporality clear

from the screen and one or two Kamikaze aliens will be frantically dropping a

rain shower of bombs towards you.  Try your best just to stay out of their

way.. If, however, you do manage to hit the kamikaze, he is worth 1000 points,

and if all Kamikaze aliens are destroyed before the Kamikaze attack ends you

will automatically clear that wave and advance to the next level.

  To offer bonus points, and to provide good target practice, alien UFO's

will zip across your screen from time to time offering 100-1500 points for a

direct hit. After you have shot all the aliens on the screen, you will be

advanced to the next round, and the game play will continue.

Asteroid Shower


  In some cases, before a new round can be reached, after clearing a previous

round, your ship will come across an "Asteroid Shower" during the hyper-warp

to the next round.. when this happens, you will be back on the screen.  This

time, your goal is to hit a given number of UFO ships in the middle of the

asteroid shower.. this can provide somewhat of a challenge.. the asteroids

are falling in a random rain-shower formation, causing both deflection for

the UFO ships, as well as an obstacle course for you to dodge..

  The asteroid rocks can not be destroyed.. your lasers are absorbed and have

no effect.  And, on higher rounds, you are required to hit more and more UFOs

before you can clear the shower.  The Asteroid Show round only last a short

time, and If you have not hit the required number of UFO's before the round

ends, you will loose one ship, and then be sent to the next round.

Bonus Round


Every 5th Round will begin with a "Bonus Round".  In this round, you will

have a given time frame to hit as many UFOs as possible.  You can not be

hit or destroyed in this round, it's only purpose is to offer you a chance

to gain more points and perhaps a few free men.

High Scores


  If you have played a great game, you will have a chance to enter your name

in the Cosmic Aliens Hall of Fame.

Pausing and Quitting the Game


  During any of the game phases, pressing the <ESC> key will put you in the

pause mode.  From the pause mode, you can either press "C" to continue the

game, Press "Q" to quit the game and return to the title screen, Press "E"

to exit the game to dos, or press "B" for the BOSS MODE, which is actually

a DOS shell where you can perform commands at the dos prompt, enter the

command "EXIT" to resume the game play.

Future Releases


  I have big things in the works for this game.. I am working on new rounds,

extra features.. support for color graphics, and even full stereo music

sound tracks on the Ad-Lib music card... but, I need your support..

  I know you've heard the plea a million times before.. but I feel this

program could grow to be something real big, with strong user support...

I always take comments and suggestions, and try to implement them.. I have

a large number of play testers/debuggers who play away.. then come back and

say "change this", "add this", "take out that", and with support like that,

and FINANCIAL SUPPORT, I can continue to let this game grow..

  If you would like to become a registered owner, entitling you to future

registered releases.. please contact me by phone or mail.

               Steve Strowbridge C/O

               Byte Shop Computer Center

               2160 W. Oakland Pk. Blvd

               Ft. Lauderdale, Fl 33311

               (305) 486-2983 - Broward

               (305) 945-1725 - Dade


What can I look for in future releases ?


  Extended support for networks (currently testing NOVELL and NTNX)

Super Hi-Res EGA and VGA graphics modes Ad-Lib 11 voice stereo synthesized

music Multiple players (2-4 maybe more, especially on networks !) Mouse

Support (don't hold your breath, that's a bitch right now) "SMART" bombs,

shields, hyperspace... and more.. more.. more !!!

  As you can see, I've got big plans for this baby.. please support this game..

I don't want to be forced to sell it to a company and make it copy right.. I

believe that with local user support, I can offer a fine product, without

charging like 30 bucks and adding copy protection.. so please... help out !!


                                                   Stephen R. Strowbridge, Jr.

Contents of READ.ME

Included in this ZIP file are two utilities you might want to include in your
AUTOEXEC.BAT file to enhance the performance of the game.. 
The QUICKCRT.COM file will speed up the screen I/O on color and monochrome
displays.. in most cases, it can be activated by typing "QUICKCRT/F"
if you have the old original IBM CGA card, or if you have "snow" on your
screen,type "QUICKCRT /S" (snow suppression) this program speeds up the screen
I/O quite a bit, and makes the graphics faster..especially on the slow XT !!
The Quickeys.Com file is one to speed up the keyboard repeat rate, if you
play the game with the keyboard.  Just enter "Quickeys" and the program loads
up.. it is best to leave this the autoexec file only.. because each time you
load Quickeys up, it speeds up the keyboard more and more.. I would not
recommend loading it more than twice, the speed increases will not be notable,
except in DOS, where you press one key, and get a string of them.. OK !!OK !!
enjoy !! 

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