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Scorch - full game for Atari 800 and up


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Silly Version 1.00

This is an official Silly Venture Atari 50 release. The game reached version 1.00.

The game manual is available at https://github.com/pkali/scorch_src/wiki

All 48KB+ 8-bit Atari computers are supported.

Thank you @Pecusx and @Miker for your hard work over the last few weeks - I was almost entirely absent because of the real-world attack.

Most important changes:


And now the new adventure begins!

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Version 1.10

My hovercraft is full of eels.

This release brings a swath of gameplay updates and a generous dose of a new silliness. English and Polish language manual drafts are available in the repository. Please help us with the English one as we are not native speakers. Version number bump reflects number of unreleased versions and amount of changes.


  • Defensive weapons can be activated before the round to make for the unbeatable aiming precision of the robotanks.
  • Fixed bug with Long Schlong activation taking one Schlong too many.
  • Smoke Tracer not disappearing smoke fixed.
  • Bug allowing for infinite shooting outside the screen fixed.
  • Tank colors and P/M sequence as devised by Adam, the gfx artist. Tanks differ more and look better. #119
  • New item in the shop - loot box "Buy me!" with a surprise inside. #97
  • Tank names can have s p a c e s now! #120
  • Tanks are mobile now thanks to the new defensive option - Hovercraft #52
  • Main atari library switched to a more standard version based on Mapping the Atari
  • Huge memory optimizations to allow for the new features.
  • Narrow screen in shop / inventory (many bytes saved).
  • Explosion range corrections for a rare event of non-lethal Nuke explosions.
  • Pressing [A] jumps into defensive weapons activation directly.
  • Elusive randomize force error causing rare hangups for Tosser fixed.
  • Activation of defensive weapons moved to front.
  • Additional SFX for new weapons.
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Version 1.11

A release lollapalooza.

The silliness indicator crashed. What are we doing?



* A very silly buffer overflow bug fixed - it allowed for infinite (well... to the point) lengths of tank names, or rather for overwriting code with arbitrary values.
* Gamefield walls added #50. Choosing a different wall effect from the main options menu allows for a sophisticated tactics change.

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Version 1.12

What is going on? Are we getting crazy or what?


* Background color indicates the type of walls. This is very useful when the rand option is selected.
* XEGS users requested that console keys are used when no keyboard is attached! We delivered! [SELECT] to select an offensive weapon, [OPTION] to jump into inventory, defensive section, [START] + [OPTION] - immediate Game Over (no confirmation for you keyboardless folks)
* A very silly bug detected by our young testers fixed - the game crashed when you built a very high mountain using Dirt Balls :)
* Boxy infinite bounce bug fixed.
* Funky bombs bounce off the walls!
* The first letter entered for a tank name was inserted in the wrong spot. How did it work at all? Magic.
* [ESC] now correctly exits the purchase screen.

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###### Version 1.13

Getting ready for porting the game!

Several heavy optimizations and code cleanups in preparation for an unexpected port.

* Overhaul of AI - Cyborgs, Spoilers, and Choosers aim much better.
* Cyborgs prefer to kill humans.
* Fine tuning of AI purchases makes the difficulty level aligned with the robot level.
* Fixed a very difficult and elusive bug that was causing tanks to freeze when falling close to the right edge of the screen.
* Updated music by @Miker
* It is now possible to enter tank names with a joystick - all essential game functions are available without touching the keyboard!
* Manuals updated with AI strategy information and more.

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Version 1.14

Minor bugfixes and optimizations. This is a small update to allow for more testing and fun before the more extensive release.


* Numerous optimizations require a solid test. Please have fun and report issues!
* Small DrawTanks fix.
* Bouncy Castle bounces as it should.
* Tracer and Smoke Tracer are not causing defense weapons to trigger anymore.
* In rare cases, a direct hit was not accounted for correctly.
* Manuals updated.

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  • 1 month later...




The official release of our game for the Atari 5200 SuperSystem. Grab the `scorch.bin` file and burn a cart!
This is all thanks to @miker who supported us all this time of uncertainty and despair. 
Cramming the game into a 32KiB cart and 16KiB RAM was a big task - it required a rewrite of the RMT player, a crazy number of size optimizations, and counting each byte.

The release is not perfect - we have a number of glitches and improvements to the 5200 controller procedures to work on, but the game is playable.

* numerous, but not very visible

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  • 2 weeks later...

Scorched Earth was one of my favorite games back in the day. I played it all through middle school and then when we had computer classes in high school, I'd take it up there and play it against other people. I bet some of my classmates remember that.


That said, on this version, the computer keeps using nuclear winter every turn. I get maybe one shot off and then I'm covered in dirt and have to use tracers to avoid killing myself while hoping the computer commits seppuku. I wish it would stop that crap and fight like a man. Other than that, this version seems great and reminiscent of the original.

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Hello @Kenshi,

Thanks a lot for trying! I have also noticed this problem ONCE and was not able to replicate it. @Pecus fixed an important bug that MIGHT cause this problem, but if you could go to our develop branch and try the new version, we'd be really happy. It is here: https://github.com/pkali/scorch_src/tree/develop . If this version works for you, we might fixed it.

We have another idea for an improvement of a wonky code, but this will have to wait till the weekend, I am afraid.


To be clear, Nuclear Winter should not happen at all, robotanks cannot purchase or use it for some reason I do not remember now ;) This is a bug.

Edited by pirx
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So far, it has only happened when I set the computers to random. It doesn't matter if I'm playing against one computer or several, but once I started choosing their AI type instead of going with random, I haven't seen it once. I haven't played enough games yet to be confident this is the issue, but I think I tried three games with random opponents and it happened followed by three games with various AI types (not random) and it didn't. I'll try it a few more times. I think they do it every single turn unless they use another defense weapon like a shield, so it doesn't take long to verify.


Edit: Yep, I confirmed it. Any computer set to random will use nuclear winter if not using another defensive weapon. If I set one computer out of several to random, just that computer will do it. The new version does it too.


Now that I've figured it out, at least I can work around it and play the game. I love it and I can't wait for the network support. The PC version was going to have network support in the next version, but that version never came out.

Edited by Kenshi
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###### Version 1.18

Possibly the final single-player version of the game, unless our dear players find another breaking issue!
* 5200 keypad works as it should. You can now press these finicky foils to your heart's desire.
* "Unknown" type Robotanks were attacking with Nuclear Winter every time. Fixed!
* One of the variables was declared as a byte but used as a word that might cause some rare instabilities.
* Page zero variables are cleared prior to the game start to eliminate rare issues in some software/hardware configurations.
* The new version of music in NTSC eliminates issues with tempo (not that anyone but the artist noticed that, but still it is an improvement!)
* You can now wrap around inventory and shop to faster access these options far down below.
* Visual improvement of the main menu and fixed some color issues with the title headers.
* Hovercraft was always flying to the top of the screen, it was not intended, it is now hovering just above the mountains!
* The main menu does not blink now when changing options. This was a very minor thing but it bothered me to some extent. Fixing it required a complete rewrite of this portion of the menu.

Edited by pirx
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@pirx Nice!  Not played the last few releases. Just quickly played v1.18. I really like the different music in game and in the menus, (at times a nicely paced background repetitive tune). Also the event music, (eg end of game message comes with a nice little fanfare of sorts).


This is a very small observation and maybe it' is not possible to implement  - especially because of memory contraints - but I'll mention it anyways. I wondered what you thought of being able to turn music on and off, or selecting different music tracks - or even being able to turn on/off sound effects (eg a whistling bomb dropping effect)? 








Edited by Beeblebrox
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hey, just discovered the glory of the full version & played it with my kids. Thanks for the release, was lots of fun!


Haven't yet tried the novelties, so there's still an element of discovery in upcoming games regarding bouncy castle et cetera...


Biggest deviation from the original is that parachutes can't be active with shields, you have to make a choice which ones to use. Could be seen an improvement from the original, depending on your strategic point of view :)


Also, the only instance I used laser it backfired on me... I think that's something which happens in the original, too - but I never figured out what was the logic! I think in the original it may have had something to do with force shields?

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