Development 13 years ago

Back in 1994-1995 me and a friend wrote a game called Gravity Force 2 on the Amiga. It got very popular and we still get the occasional email about it. Some people have requested to look at the source code and now it is finally released!

This weekend I was unpacking two of the last boxes in my new apartment and I finally found my old Amiga 1200. Since it have been stored in the attic for a couple of years and in before that it was stored in the cellar, I decided that it was time to check if it was still working. It took me a quite some time to configure the TV(!) to correctly show the display, but everything else worked like a charm. It had not been booted for over 10 years!

Anyway I found the source code in some random folder, created an LHA archive, found an old floppy disk and using an USB floppy drive I managed to transfer the archive to my PC. Some facts:

  • The code had not been touched since march 1995
  • It is more than 12 000 lines of (more or less) undocumented assembly code mostly in a single file
  • The labels are things like s, s2, fl, bid, cnl2 and so on
  • We didn’t use a version control system. Instead all files were transfered on floppy disk between our computers

Yet we were still able to create a fun computer game that worked on all the different versions of the Amiga hardware. With todays powerful hardware, different programming languages, good IDEs and the large number of frameworks I simply don’t know where to start. Why is that?

Perhaps the fact that we were very focused on what we wanted to do and not interested in how, we were able to overcome the complexity and simply get it done.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This post might either be stating the obvious, or be a very personal view of things. But here goes;

    I find it is easier to be creative given a set of limitations, which can act as a foundation to base your solutions on.
    As you say, having too many options creates a world of choices having to be made before even getting to solving or implementing anything.

    It helps me to accept that sometimes it is better to just get started with something and adjust it later, than to be afraid of making the wrong choices.

    Also, I find it crucial to have clear goals and to define carefully what you are trying to achieve, otherwise it’s near impossible to filter out what best suits your task at hand.

    By knowing your task well you are emulating the foundation of limitations that comes somewhat naturally with hardware such as the Amiga, and your creativity will have something to work from.

    Personally though, I wouldn’t mind if you decided to simply develop for an Amiga emulator since you are obviously very talented with it.

  2. This is really cool! I know it is not the focus of the article, but I just had to google GF2… from Wikipedia:
    “[…] the magazine Amiga Power declared it the second best game of all time”.

    How cool is that?!

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