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Robotron like game


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Hello everyone,

For the past few days, I kept wondering about having some game that uses both Intellivision controllers and plays like a twin stick type shooter, such as Robotron 2084.  I honestly don't know if anyone else has done something like this, but I figured I would see how fast I could whip up a very simple game as a proof of concept.


The game is pretty rough, as I've only put an hour or so into it, but I thought others might get a kick out of it.

On the title screen, you can switch between using a single controller or twin controllers by pressing 1 or 2, and then the top left button to start the game.


In single controller mode, the top left button shoots in whatever direction you are moving, and bottom left button locks the shooting direction for sidestepping.   

In the twin controller mode, controller 1's disc moves, and controller 2's disc shoots.  I only have 8 directions currently, but would like to spend more time figuring out using all 16 directions.


The goal currently is to destroy all the "robots" , and you can pick up money for extra points.  Every level beaten adds more to destroy and collect.


Source code is included for those interested, although it is a bit poorly written, and not documented too well.

robo01.bas robo01.rom

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Microsurgeon is the only twin disc shooter. I hope you implement 16 direction move and shoot in your game. 


Although you'll lose resolution, I'd like to see smaller objects.  Getting more than eight moving objects is always a problem.  You can implement background animation for shots like they did with intellivision commando.  Might help make shooting more robotron-like.  Overall, it's tough to do with intellivision limitations, but as long as your game is fun it doesn't really have to be robotron.


Also, in twin disc mode, have an option to hold the controllers upsidedown.

Edited by mr_me
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Oh I certainly would consider Tron Deadly Discs and AD&D Cloudy Mountain to be twin stick like games.   However, with a single controller, you can't quite register certain number presses and disc directions at the same time, limited how fast and frantic the game can play.  Also I was trying to emulate the manic, claustrophobic feeling of Robotron;  being surrounded by a ton of enemies at once.


I still haven't investigated the controllers enough, but am hoping the 16 direction control and shots should be able to be implemented without too much effort.   I will also look into adding inverted controls as well.


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Here is a newer version.  This has 16 direction movement and shooting, as well as inverted controls.  To use inverted controls, press 3 on the title screen.   I also added the second controller disc as a means to start the game, point multipliers every 4 levels, added some explosions when shooting enemies, and fixed some game breaking bugs.  There is still one possible game breaking issue I have not figured out, but it is infrequent and I haven't seen it stop the game like previous bugs.  Sorry, spoke too soon, the game can stop progressing, and shows an enemy remaining that is not on the screen.


I also wouldn't mind adding a way to earn extra lives, and something that retains the highest score.


I also keep pondering different mechanics, such as requiring collecting all the items to make an exit appear as opposed to destroying all the enemies.   Of course, maybe that could just be a different game mode.  

robo03.bas robo03.rom

Edited by skywaffle
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3 hours ago, fdr4prez said:

If only someone would 3D print a holder that has the two controllers side-by-side...

Never happen ;-)


There is a serious (painful almost) design flaw I never got around to addressing, it does work great with the game engine I designed that was the inspiration for the holder's design. Maybe I'll finish it some day before 2030.


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  • 1 month later...

I haven't uploaded a build in a while.  This is the version that I had posted on Youtube.   On the title screen, it defaults to single controller mode, on that, one button shoots and the player stays stationary, the other button shoots and locks the aim in the direction pressed.   At the title screen, pressing 2 or 3 will switch to dual controller mode, and dual inverted controller mode (for holding the controllers upside down), and pressing a direction on controller 2 will start the game.


Keep in mind this build still is buggy, but the game no longer stalls.  I just never tracked down why occasionally an enemy will remain on the screen when the level ends.


Edited by skywaffle
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