Oscorch

oscorch-title-screenA gaming classic set in the Ostudio universe, the mother of all games returns to scorch some Oatillas off the face of the Earth. There can be up to 10 tanks on the battlefield custom selected from 9 hard-coded teams each represented by their unique colours with well known and never-before-seen character names.

With no story and minimal customisation options, nothing distracts you to enjoy this hot-seat multiplayer artillery experience. With carefully selected unchangeable weapon arsenal, each team has an almost equal chance to achieve victory in every round of play, depending only on their skill and their pre-defined position. Tanks take their turn from left to right, and every tank has a small chance each turn to receive a special weapon drop with the game’s most powerful weapon: the Nuke. Terrain is generated randomly each turn with 4 selectable roughness and 3 erosion values. Weapon damage can be multiplied up to 3 times strength to make games shorter if desired.

You can play on 3 different terrains over 3 selectable backgrounds. With its 640×480 high resolution graphics and 256 stunning colours, this game is sure to impress everyone with beautiful gradient backdrops, subtle terrain noise, advanced explosion and bullet-time effects.

Weapons

oscorch-screenshot2Oscorch features 7 weapons, with 6 of them available to every player each turn in varying amounts. However, the Nuke can only be received by the luckiest players as a special drop. Every tank starts the match with 100 hit points, damage taken can vary depending on distance from the impact. The following weapons are available (starting quantities are in brackets):

  • Bazooka (unlimited): Basic weapon without any extra features, aim and fire, direct hit does 30 damage in 20 pixel radius.
  • Grenade (unlimited): Basic weapon which bounces twice before detonating, does 30 damage in 25 pixel radius.
  • Cluster Bomb (5): Upgraded granade which splits into 5 when starting to fall, each bomb does 35 damage in 30 radius after bouncing twice.
  • MIRV (3): Multiple warhead missile splitting into 3 when starting to fall, doing 30 damage in 30 radius.
  • MX (1): Experimental multi warhead missile, splitting into 10 warheads doing 50 damage in 30 radius each. Make sure your comrades are not caught in the blast.
  • BB-Grenade (1): Big bouncy granade bouncing 50 times. Useful for targets in valleys, after settling it detonates for a massive 60 damage 50 radius.
  • Nuke (none): If you’re lucky enough to get one, handle with care. This ultimate tank killer weapon can kill multiple targets instantly, causing 200 damage in its 100 pixel blast radius.

Development

oscorch-screenshot1The project started out as a tech demo in 2002 while I was trying to re-create the falling terrain of Scorched Earth using an integer array. Each pixel was represented by one bit in the array. I developed a fast algorithm which implemented the falling pixels using simple bit operations, which could easily be applied to the whole array each frame.

As the final exam for our computer programming studies were coming up, we decided with Kapa that we should make it into a game as our exam project. And so Oscorch was born.

It is a fully turn based game with no real time element. As the falling terrain could have caused performance problems with live action, it has unique “bullet-time” effects. First, projectiles fly through the air. When an explosion occurs, everything freezes during the animation. When all projectiles exploded, the terrain falls down, then damage is evaluated for each tank. Finally, each tank falls to the ground and explode if lost all hit points.

As the source code had to be published and as our programming skills were far better than a few years ago, this game has the cleanest and best developed codebase of all Ostudio’s published games to date, having the least amount of buffer overflows making it actually work in DOSBox properly. As we had to write extensive documentation for it, it holds another record of being the best documented code we released, detailing every object and algorithm totalling to about 100 pages with the source code included. As we wanted to keep the use of third-party libraries to the minimum, this is our only released game with no sound effects, but our only game where the menus are navigated using a mouse. The readme for the game also received a nice text-mode documentation reader with links and colours by applying some hideous markup that’s not too easy on the eye, and so the OTX format was born (not used anywhere else).

Reception

The game was never published officially and was provided free of charge to anyone interested. We did have a few fun gaming sessions with it though.

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3 comments on “Oscorch
  1. kapa says:

    If I recall those times, I was not of much use in this project. My coding skills were so much in their infancy that it was better not to let me write any serious code at all :).

    Have I done anything useful for this one?

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