Skywar Game

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Skywar was my first 360 degree scroller inspired by games like Zone 66. I used the xlib graphics library so I could get access to xmode graphics – 320×240 with at least an extra screens worth of buffer, which meant you could do really nice double buffering. With 320×200 you could even do triple buffering. The result was very nice smooth scrolling.

I designed and implemented both an enemy air plane type and also an enemy ground based turret type. The turret would simply shoot at you directly, which meant if you had any speed it would usually miss (I didn’t get around to making it lead the target). However with enough turrets around they filled the air with flak so it really restricted how much maneuvering you could do. The planes I designed were simple jet fighters that came after you with a front mounted gun. The jet fighters attempted to chase after you and would keep at it until you outdistanced them, you shot them down or they shot you down. In large packs the jets could be quite formidable. I didn’t arm them with guided missiles since I wanted it to stay fairly easy for the player.

To fight off these enemies there were four weapons. The simplest was a forward facing machine gun identical to the one the enemy jets were packing. You simply aimed the plane at the target and shot. It could only hit aerial targets. The second weapon was a guided air to air missile. All you had to do was shoot, and it would automatically acquire and chase after the nearest target, until it hit or ran out of fuel. It would also spew forth glorious smoke trails as it raced through the air. The third weapon was a dumb bomb, which you simply dropped as you went over a target. The bomb acquired some of your forward velocity so you had to judge how early to release it based on how fast you were flying. The fourth weapon was a guide air to ground missile. All you had to do was shoot, and it would automatically seek out the nearest ground target.

A typical aerial dogfight, with enemy jets closing in as we release guided air to air missiles. Note the radar map at top of screen showing the location of enemies.

A typical aerial dogfight, with enemy jets closing in as we release guided air to air missiles. Note the radar map at top of screen showing the location of enemies.

Another dogfight scene over open fields, with lots and lots of enemy jets.

Another dogfight scene over open fields, with lots and lots of enemy jets.

A clearer demonstration of the air to air missiles tracking in on the enemy jets.

A clearer demonstration of the air to air missiles tracking in on the enemy jets.

The great thing about guided air to ground missiles was that you didn't have to fly directly over the target to hit it. Here I am flying at high speed in a line parallel to the target, releasing guided missiles as I fly past the target. They can be seen tracking in on the turrets on the island.

The great thing about guided air to ground missiles was that you didn't have to fly directly over the target to hit it. Here I am flying at high speed in a line parallel to the target, releasing guided missiles as I fly past the target. They can be seen tracking in on the turrets on the island.

Of course there is always the thrill of flying in harm's way and trying your luck with some dumb bombs. Here I'm flying over a turret cluster and dropping bombs. The explosions of the bombs that have just hit can be seen, as can the bombs that are still in the air. You can also see an explosion on my plane where one of the turrets has gotten lucky.

Of course there is always the thrill of flying in harm's way and trying your luck with some dumb bombs. Here I'm flying over a turret cluster and dropping bombs. The explosions of the bombs that have just hit can be seen, as can the bombs that are still in the air. You can also see an explosion on my plane where one of the turrets has gotten lucky.

Attacking the planes with the forward mounted gun, and scoring a hit!

Attacking the planes with the forward mounted gun, and scoring a hit!

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