The Splat! Development Diary

Resurrected from, here it is in all its 1998 glory:

Anyone here remember Splat!?

Well, me, I do. Splat! was written originally by I Andrew and I Morgan of Incentive Software, on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. As video games go, it was – shall we say – odd. It looks like this:

Anyway, the aim of the game was to stay alive by running around the maze until the percentage (beside the level on the bottom left) reached 100. Touching the red wall on the outside would kill you, as would bumping into spikey things. Plants and Plums and snakes give you points.

Just one drawback.

The maze doesn’t scroll with you – it scrolls independently of your movements, and at random. Hitting the red wall becomes a bit more difficult to avoid when you’re stuck in a U shape which is rapidly scrolling off the top of the screen.

It was perfect on the Spectrum, so why am I bothering? Well, the answer to that can be found on Andy’s Manic Miner Page .

The game is being written in C, using DJGPP and the Allegro library. It will be for the MS-DOS platform. I may be convinced to port to Linux.

Well, this is the first draft of this page – I daresay it’ll improve as the game does.

Where are we at?

05 February 1998

Did the home page (such as it is). Started prototyping various structures in the game. Basically, each level will be composed of 56×32 20×20 blocks, in 16bit colour (probably). First job needs to be a level editor.

06 February 1998

By Golly. Finished the level editor, and designed the development level (working under the principle that if one level works, they all will). Did some really ropey graphics to get me started – I hate doing graphics. Worked out a level saving format – finally decided on 50×32 instead of 56×32, with a visible window of (checks notes) 14×8. Remember folks – this games is brought to you by djgpp and emacs (well, in fact, by GNU).

07 february 1998

Thanks go to the olympian might that is Andy Noble – he has kindly ripped the graphics from splat and coloured them in, with no regard for his own personal safety, for which I am forever in his debt (I really hate doing graphics 😉 This is what we have so far (aside from me rapidly developing a habit of typing grapihcs instead of graphics – I need a new name for my array)

Splat Graphics
08 february 1998

Hoo hoo – started the fun stuff. Currently, I’m working on the static area of the game screen (ie, the bricks (that get ye), score, status, and so on.). It’s starting to look pretty good – I should be able to stick up a screen shot in a day or two. One minor hiccup, the allegro library links in at about 450k – ok, so it does graphics, sound, etc, but it’s still a bit big….

Splat Screenshot 1 Splat Screenshot 2

Intriguingly enough, most of the game is now written, although I haven’t done things like level layouts, scoring, lives, you know – all the stuff that turns a program into a game ;-). Mind you, you wouldn’t believe (You would not BELIEVE!) how sticky it was to get a decent “Random scrolling thingy wotsit” going. The blob thing skips along quite merrily, though. I had to put in some *serious* slowdown code – I’ll be interested to hear from people with 486’s to see how it runs…..

Still, getting there, I expect I’ll be harassing Andy into betatesting fairly shortly.

11 Feb 1998

Gaaaaahhhh. Nasty time at work -lots to do. I need beer. Anyway, did the scoring routine in about 8 seconds. Andy popped a bitmap of the original levels in an email, which is handy. I’m considering re-implementing the level editor so that it runs in a plain text format, and polishing it a bit so it can be distributed with the game (right now, it’s horrible).

23 Feb 1998

Done nothing – been seriously busy. Going to do something tonight – honest!

1st March 1998

Ooohhooo! Well, happy March (!) to you all (sorry – a little self indulgent Stuart nicholsism there). Having finally decided on a neat and tidy way to store the levels, I’ve finally started the grunt work of designing them and (!) storing them. A joyful task, let me tell you (yawn). A few other things have cropped up, in the line of duty – I have a sneaking suspicion that the finished article may be subtly differant from the original (well, there’d be little point in doing a *straight* copy, would there?) Still, it’s starting to look good (and silly).

8th March 1998

Good News! The noble Bjorn Lynne has given permission to use a couple of his General Midi songs in Splat. For those of you unfamiliar with this outstanding artist, I urge you to visit his home page. It’s almost all falling into place – not much longer…..

21st March

Game’s done (mostly). Just need to bolt on a front end, write the obligatory scrolly message and stick it here. I’ve fired it off to Andy Noble who’s kindly agreed to beta test for me, and his initial responses seem favourable.

23rd March 1998

Here’s a little pressy for you – the first Alpha of Splat-PC. There are still some known bugs in here, but I’d appreciate some feedback on any you find. You can download it here. Have fun.

6th April 1998

D’oh! Snakes don’t kill you. Gaaaahhhhh. Well, there’s an interesting one. I’ve had virtually no bug reports in (does this mean there are no bugs?) even though there have been 178 downloads. Perhaps the time has come to get it finished off and released. I’m aiming for a release date of this weekend so that I can get on with Knight Lore.
Anyone who really wants to contact me can get me at

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