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Ransack game for ABBUC Software Contest 2014

José Pereira

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Hi to all.

Me and Xuel want to kindly show you our game contribution for this year ABBUC software contest.

We didn?t had much time to create a totally new game but we still had much work in having this working.

The original game comes from BBC/Electron in the 80s but their version was all done in bitmap mode similar to ours GR.15 so we decided that to give A8 justice we should use our charmode GR.12/ANTIC4 5colours, DLIs, ours PMGs so we had to:

  • Ported the BBC Micro 6502 code for the game and the OS?s sound routines to the A8;
  • Create a new status bar;
  • Redesign some enemy pixels and changes their bit-pairs so that they look different and coloured different from eachother(s);
  • All levels have different colours and the terrain distinguish from the buildings;
  • Hi-Scores screen new text and coloured text;
  • Added ABBUC and PMGs to coloured the loading screen and add a white losding progress bar;
  • (?)

So many new things and ended up in many/most of the game code and gfxs had to be redesigned.

Lots more we could say but most important is that you like it.

Here?s some screens by now:









Xuel is preparing a video but he?s busy now working with the final small things in the code to send ABBUC?s the game. Soon you?ll see it?

Best regards.





P.s.- Ah! And this year the game is FINISHED! :grin: (O.K. maybe we do some music after the contest that we hadn't time now)

Edited by José Pereira
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Game play video:



Blog post here.


Original BBC Micro game description here.


The trick to this game is that you can't control your vertical movement, so you have to move horizontally and time your weapon usage to avoid as many baddies as possible.

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Glad you got it ready in time for the competition! Well done to all.


I'm glad there were a couple of top secret entries, I was a getting concerned there would not be enough games this year. Now we wait for the disks to pop through the letter box in a few weeks [or download]... consider joining abbuc everone , there are some very decent games here... which are well worth the small charge alone ... and one from me :-o :grin:

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OOOH.... I am so happy with my Abbuc Membership. Can't wait to play these awesome contributions again.


I must say that I'm playing a lot of those Abbuc contest games. A few of my favorites are:


1. Ocean Detox

2. Rolltris

3. Yoomp

4. Assembloids XE

5. Eckn (still love this simple, but very addictive game)

6. Battle Eagle

7. Ridiculous Reality

8. Mighty Jill Off

9. Jewel Bits

10. Animal Party


It's GREAT! Thanks for all contributions, and this new one!



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  • 1 month later...

Ransack executable:




Thanks to ABBUC for hosting this fun competition again this year!


Some notes for NTSC:

  • The game auto-detects NTSC and skips updating the screen every 6th frame to adjust the speed back to PAL. You can toggle this by pressing OPTION which might make the game smoother but it's really fast. :)
  • On NTSC, the game often bogs down in the title screen when you press SELECT due to a timing bug. It will eventually fix itself after several seconds. You can fix it a little quicker by holding down trigger or START.

A tip:

  • You have to bounce off of the large moving ship on the bonus stages to stay alive and get the bonus points.

Reminder on input (from my blog post):


Space - Start / Bomb
Trigger - Start / Fire
Joystick - Left / Right
Escape - Leave current game
S - Turn on sound (hiscore screen)
Q - Turn off sound (hiscore screen)
Keyboard - Hiscore Entry

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Thanks again guys for creating the Atari version of Ransak :thumbsup:


Some feedback:

I wasn't sure about the game at first but the more I play the more I like. Nice sound and graphics. The levels having the same patterns means you can learn them and the controls are good - you can pick off the baddies nicely after a while. The three difficulty levels are all playable, perhaps on easy the bonus stage is a bit tricky. The skill is to get the best weapons and keep them often by destroying other weapons. Having the joystick right next to the space bar is a must for bombs (sorry to my 130XE!) whack!


The scrolling base seems too fast to enjoy it. Did you conisder having him fall down the gaps like in Robix? - perhaps this happens on the higher levels? How many levels are there?


I thought I noticed the game had keyboard control too - return for fire & z/x for left and right.


Minor niggles(!)

How about a bl***dy pause key guys :)

It's hard to tell when you are damaged, the sound is lost in the sound of the baddies exploding - perhaps a colour change or more noticable sound would improve this.

Sometimes you seem to run out of energy for no reason - does it just deplete or is there something aon the floor that causes damage?

Not sure about the graphic for the lives, what is that?! ;)


I think on another year Ransack may have won the contest. Ransack offers some long term play and will feature in the HSC soon :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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@therealbountybob Thanks for the feedback!


First, I should say that all credit for the the game play must go to Peter Scott since this A8 version uses the exact same 6502 code for the game play as his BBC Micro version. That being said, there are some subtle timing differences. The drawing code on the Beeb mostly attains 50FPS but slows down when there are lots of enemies on screen and in the bonus stage. I optimized the code a lot to get a consistent 50FPS on the A8 so the game is actually a little faster in some spots.


There are eight levels. I agree that it seems like your robot "AI" should die if you fall in cracks. There are several levels where it looks like you are supposed to jump over voids and hit small platforms to stay alive. Perhaps that feature was removed after play testing found it to be too difficult or it was just never implemented. I didn't find any vestiges of such a feature in my disassembly and annotation of the source code.


You're right that there are keyboard controls that mimic the control system on the Beeb but I should have used Shift and Control for fire and bomb so that they could be detected independent of the left/right keys. Currently as soon as you hit Return or Space, you stop moving left/right since the Atari keyboard can only detect one key at a time.


Apologies for the lack of a pause feature. The Beeb version has it but I didn't hook it up in the A8 version. Here's a new version that uses P/O keys for Pause/Unpause:
There is a subtly different sound for receiving damage vs. enemy explosions but I agree that it can get lost in the shuffle sometimes.
Any section of the terrain that alternates between black and light colored pixels is "electrified" and will drain energy from your robot if you hit it. Examples:
Some sections will only sometimes drain your energy if you hit them while moving left or right:
The number of lives graphic is supposed to be a miniature version of the robot. :)
Edited by Xuel
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