The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

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TMD2003
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The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Postby TMD2003 » Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:00 pm

There a few days of the year to run, but one thing has been abundantly clear since May: for 2021, I will be running the comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition. I have officially launched the "preview" on Spectrum Computing (and on World of Spectrum, which gets less attention these days), and I'm not going to repeat the bulk of the post - read it there.

But, to keep things short (ha, famous last words!): it's 25 years since the first CSSCGC in 1996, and also, because 2019 went without one, this is the 25th edition of the competition. For this fortunate collision of two ways of seeing a quarter of a century in business, I'm pushing the boat out far, far into the ocean of dubious-quality programming. Because, for too long, the Spectrum has dominated the competition - it was 2004 before any other machine had any entry of any kind, and I'm going to make this a big party in which all members of the Sinclair family are welcome - as well as strange cousins like the SAM Coupé, Jupiter Ace, and the "next generation" versions such as the Next.

In order to make this party go off with even more of a bang than it would already have done, then this is where you, the people of The QL Forum, come in.

If anything, the QL is an excellent candidate for a machine to write Crap Games on. With its late delivery, incomplete ROM and wonky microdrives, it was a two-letter byword for Sir Clive's erratic decision-making. I might even try to argue that it has even more Crap Credibility than any of the Spectrum models, or the ZX81, or the ZX80.

And yet, in the entire history of the CSSCGC, there has been a grand total of TWO entries for the QL. One of them was "More Tea Vicar", a very, very crude version of the phone-in game from The Big Breakfast's early days, and which took up less than a kilobyte of memory. It was part of an effort in 2008 by Gavin Callard to release one game on as many formats as possible - the QL version was the final remake of a ZX80 game that was converted for the ZX81, Spectrum, Jupiter Ace and Z88 as well.

The second entry was submitted... as late as December 2020. It was only just reviewed last night. And it's one of my efforts from this year: "Big Clive's Supergayrainbow Exploding USB Power Supply Game", based on a competition run by everyone's favourite electronics-obsessed hairy bear on YouTube. There's not much of a game, I admit, but I've gone all out to show the QL's colour-clash-free graphics at as close to its best as I can.

I've made them both available on my collection of QL type-ins.

Image Image

So that's it. The entirety of the QL's CSSCGC entries can be seen in two screenshots. THIS WILL NOT DO. THERE MUST BE MORE.

And that's why I made that type-ins archive. Really, this whole project is why I signed up here in the first place - to get involved with the world of the QL and hope for some kind of reciprocation. There have been some attempts over the years to define "what is a Crap Game?" And I say: it's something that could just about have been worth a public release, but wasn't going to trouble the computer tape shelves of John Menzies or WHSmith (or, in the case of the QL, microdrive cartridges rather than tapes, obviously). Magazine type-in programs are ideal, and some of those that were published were... bare-bones affairs, to say the least. Neither "More Tea Vicar" nor "Big Clive's Supergayrainbow..." would ever have been seen in the pages of Popular Computing Weekly in 1984, but that's because the concept behind them both didn't exist at the time. If it did, and I was the editor of PCW, Sinclair User, ZX Computing or any other magazine that published QL listings, I'd be grateful for any submission.

The worst submission ever was in 2004 and was merely "10 PRINT 7" on a Spectrum. It was a blatant piece of trolling. I would assume you're all above that.

I don't care for finnicky rules and regulations such as "bad programming techniques". I will not throw a screeching fit if I see a GOTO or a GOSUB in a QL listing. All I'm looking for is some QL SuperBASIC listings that actually do something. You could even write a utility or a graphics demo if you really want - the CSSCGC has had such things in the past, even though they're rare. In fact, one of the best regarded programs of the original 1996 competition was a UDG definition utility, and it's not as if the Spectrum hadn't had its fair share of those already.

I'll be interested to see what those who live outside the CSS / WOS / SC bubble can come up with - it's not going to be an endless stream of "Advanced / Super (something) Simulator" programs or in-jokes from the 1990s that refuse to die. As long as I get something that runs on the newly-registered QemuLator I now have, the chances are I'll take it and review it.

Something I have opted for is a series of challenges: none of them are particularly aimed at the people of this forum, except possibly "program a computer you've never tried to program before". Say, a Jupiter Ace (which only speaks FORTH) or a SAM Coupé (which seems to have been developed by bolting on the best of the QL's features on top of Spectrum BASIC). There is also a "recycling challenge", in which you can take an existing CSSCGC game and convert it for a different machine. There are over 1000 Spectrum programs, quite a few of which could be given a QL conversion if you're running short of ideas. I intended to lead by example on this front, but I got stuck... I will eventually get through this. I was converting Dr. Ian Collier's Einstein, from the 1996 competition. It's a Spectrum version of one of those "Hi-Q Puzzles" I had when I was a nipper - they'd been around in various forms, usually made by Ideal Toys, since the 1960s or there abouts, even if what I had was clearly a 1980s version. I went as far as building the screen, and here are the two for comparison...

Image Image

Ian Collier's code that actually works the game is quite condensed and convoluted, and I've been trying to remove every GOTO from it. I probably shouldn't bother. I am not ashamed to admit there are a couple of GOTOs in "Big Clive's Supergayrainbow..." and I did it BECAUSE IT WORKS, and every way I tried to get round it didn't.

Before I finish this post, some of you may say "but this is a technical forum, we're mainly interested in how the circuit boards work, how to rebuild knackered microdrive cartridges and how to recap a Gold Card and so on and so forth". Well, in that case, see programming a game as a technical exercise - particularly if it's on a machine that you've never tried to program before, which is another of my official challenges. Over on SC we have Ast A. Moore who's generally regarded as a genius; he doesn't have much interest in games, but still wrote A Yankee In Iraq to show off his trick with the floating bus on the +2A. I have no idea what it means - maybe you do - but the game is smoother than a baby's bottom. And it is far above and beyond what I expect for a Crap Games Competition!

The competition will open on the stroke of midnight (UK time) on 1st January 2021, and will close at two minutes to midnight on 30th November, to allow time to sort out any dangling loose ends, such as multiple entries tied for the winning post.

I'm after "maximum effort, minumum attainment" - so take basic, half-baked ideas, turn them into a playable game of some sort, and then embellish that with anything you see fit. Make a loading screen that'll appear in a new window that's loaded in with LBYTES, redefine the entire character set (make sure I know whether it's a Toolkit II version or the "Wild West" style, though!), write extensive instructions and a backstory, make an inlay card for... whatever external packaging the microdrive cartridges were shipped in... really, anything to give a Crap Game something above and beyond what it deserves!

Here's the official website. It contains all the contact details.

I'll call back whenever I need to - I might make a monthly digest of non-QL submissions, but if I get one for the QL, it'll be published here without delay.


Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Postby TMD2003 » Fri Jan 01, 2021 12:06 am

Jools Holland has called it. THE COMPETITION IS OPEN!

Get your entries in! You do the programming, I'll do the rest, I'll even work out this QLPAK malarkey if I have to. Make this the best year for the QL there has ever been in the CSSCGC! I know that's not exactly difficult, but I'm counting on you lot. Make your favourite computer proud, make Sir Clive Sinclair... very annoyed! Or write some utilities if you want and make the great man proud again.

I'll be waiting!


Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Postby vanpeebles » Fri Jan 01, 2021 12:08 am

When is the deadline?

30th Nov!


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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Postby TMD2003 » Fri Jan 01, 2021 9:41 pm

Crikey! Never mind the end of the competition, how's this for fast?

Alexandre Colella has sent P.P.S. - Pixel Perfect Shot for the 16K Spectrum... on the first day of the competition! And to think that my original plan was to open it in February.

I wasn't going to post reviews every time they come in here, but this one was so fast that I thought it best to publicise that someone, even in far-away Brazil, is wide awake.

So, when am I going to get my first QL entry? When I do, I'll even post a screenshot.


Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Postby swensont » Fri Jan 01, 2021 11:20 pm

I was thinking of doing a ZX81 game, but it would require the sz81 emulator. As far as I know, it is the only one that supports saving zx81 memory to/from disk. But the rules only mention using EightyOne, so scratch that idea.

Tim


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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Postby stevepoole » Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:52 am

Hi Folks,

Here is THE ultimate crap game for 2021 : PRINT RND(1 to 7).

'Craps' is a yankee casino game : Throw two dice to score a total of seven. Intellectual, no ?

But 'crap' (singular), would require one seven-sided dice. Impossible ? The QL can do it, as seen above.....

So, the QL broke the bank this year, <To owe to one> the prize.... GEDDIT ?

Best '2021' Wishes,

Steve.


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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Postby TMD2003 » Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:25 am

swensont wrote:I was thinking of doing a ZX81 game, but it would require the sz81 emulator. As far as I know, it is the only one that supports saving zx81 memory to/from disk. But the rules only mention using EightyOne, so scratch that idea.

EightyOne is the emulator I'd test it on. As long as the final program it can be saved as a .P file, it'll work on pretty much anything.

So un-scratch that idea! Or be like HubNut and improvise with whitening toothpaste instead.

stevepoole wrote:Hi Folks,
Here is THE ultimate crap game for 2021 : PRINT RND(1 to 7).

The shortest listing ever submitted was in 2004 and it was merely 10 PRINT 7. There it is, I've reproduced an entry in its entirety in two seconds.

The late Jim Langmead gave it short shrift, but his shrift was a mile long in comparison to what I'd give it...

A QL Craps game - done with a bit more than two RNDs - would be very welcome, if it can pass the "would I publish this as a type-in in 1984?" test. Why not define two windows and then use CIRCLE and FILL in each one to show the faces of the dice?


Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Postby TMD2003 » Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:56 pm

END OF WEEK 1:

Just the one game so far. The 2020 competition had three by now. Obviously there are none for the pre-Spectrum machines.

The UK is now crushed underneath yet another lockdown, that I predict to last until the end of March, thus providing extra time in front of a computer. Under those circumstances - in fact, UK-based or not, MUSH! *cracks whip*


Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Postby TMD2003 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:05 pm

END OF WEEK 2:

We're up to two entries, so it's one per week so far. 13th January saw Mr. Don't! by Dave Hughes added to the Spectrum pile.

Still there is no sign of any entry for Sir Clive's wonderful rectangular business machine, either from here or from adventurous Spectrum programmers who want to try something new. Will there be? Time will hopefully tell in the positive.

Incidentally, I've been having a look through Dilwyn's software page, and right at the top of it, there's a SuperBASIC version of 2048 that was programmed in 2014, soon after the original browser-based version was released. Something like that would be ideal, if you want more inspiration than just my QL type-in games archive.


Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Postby TMD2003 » Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:43 pm

END OF WEEK 3:

So far, a 100% success rate in posting these weekly reports! Only 45 to go, probably, and some tying up of loose ends in December. At this rate, with one submission a week, I'll almost get to 50, but of course I WANT MORE.

We are now up to three entries: on 19th January, CSSCGC veteran Paul E. Collins sent ASMR Eye Examination for the 48K Spectrum. This has counted, not entirely intentionally, as an entry for the Magenta Challenge to include obscure and little-used commands and functions. But, mainly, it counts as the Red Challenge to make a game based on a YouTube personality, this time Heather Feather, who Paul describes as "lovely" and who I can barely hear. And even for someone my age and musical history, my hearing is relatively pin-sharp.

This does mean that I am still looking for entries to other challenges! And, other than beavering away on some type-in-standard QL programs (because some of you are, right?), the 2020 competition has finally seen the review and unveiling of my final entry for the year, Resistance is Futile, for the SAM Coupé. One thing I found was that programming the QL for some parts of last year helped me understand the SAM Coupé better than I might have done, seeing as it looks like someone at Miles Gordon Technology must have owned a QL and decided to incorporate the best bits of SuperBASIC into the SAM's larger-than-the-Spectrum ROM. The extra colours, and no colour clash, are a sight to behold. Remember: I've got a White Challenge to write a game for a machine you've never tried to program before, and this would be a start.


Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!

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