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ztrack - simple curses-based pseudo-3D driving game


Ztrack is a simple curses-based pseudo-3D driving game. It's loosely based on an old LCD game, I think it was Casio's "Turbo Drive", that I used to spend far too long playing. As such, the graphics are fairly simplistic, but what do you expect from a curses-based driving game!?

You have to get as far as you can down an infinitely long three-track road populated with stupid, but dangerous, computer-controlled cars. You score most for doing it at your top speed of 150 MPH, but you can do it more slowly if you enjoy doing pointless boring things.
Cars can't crash into you from behind, but you can crash into them from behind, and you can also crash by moving into a lane already occupied. Though you can't directly see cars level with you (that thing down the bottom is your bonnet/hood in case you hadn't figured it out), the things which happen to look like square brackets are in fact the edges of your wing mirrors, and a blob appears in these when a car is level with you in the relevant lane.
You get three lives/cars, so when you've crashed three times it's game over.

Rather than holding a button to accelerate etc. which is clearly rather impractical, you instead set an acceleration mode. This can be any of 'accel', 'decel', or 'const'. The latter is basically a perfect cruise control. Q sets accel mode, A sets decel mode, and Space or Tab set const mode. O moves left a lane, P moves right a lane.

Ztrack needs at least an 80x24 screen. It doesn't bother aborting if the screen is smaller, and doesn't use any more if the screen is bigger.
There's no sensation of speed apart from the cars. This is a bit tricky to do much about.
The computer car logic is virtually non-existent. It gets sufficiently fast that this isn't too much of a problem, I think. :-)
Computer cars don't crash into each other, and even move through each other.
You can be really dull and not floor it if you want. I can't think of a reasonable way to fix this. Possibly remove const mode?
There should probably be a persistent high-score table based on average speed, then as a tie-breaker, on distance travelled.
There aren't any police cars, but I can't remember what they actually did anyway. :-(
The high score is only for the current 'session' - quit the program, and bang goes the high score. This reflects how meaningful the score is. :-)

Russell Marks

27rd October, 1995 Version 1.0

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