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Warship (New 32k game, old project)

Atarius Maximus

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Warship is a standard kernel 32k game, and it’s based on the unfinished “asteroid escape” game that I posted in 2016.  It started as an experiment in using the Cosmic Ark starfield effect.  The core game is complete, but as usual I may make some future tweaks, refinements and bugfixes.   Screenshots don’t really do this game justice as I managed some pretty cool multi-layered starfield effects.  Because that effect uses both missiles and the ball, I needed to come up with a game that only uses two sprites and the playfield – that was part of the fun (or challenge) of working on this one.  As of right now this is untested on real hardware, but Stella reports a steady 262 scanlines throughout the game.


The basic gameplay consists of navigating your ship through a moving asteroid field and ramming the enemy warships for points.  There are 10 stages of increasing difficulty.  The game is timed at about 30 seconds per stage, or about 5 minutes for the entire mission.  You will be given a ranking based on the number of ships destroyed, and your high score is saved to the savekey.

I’ve played this quite a bit in testing, but I haven’t really played a lot of complete games – so the ranking system may need to be adjusted based on how many ships can realistically be destroyed in 5 minutes. 😊


I spent some time with some kernel modifications too, it’s got a unique status bar as compared to my other games.  While it's a 32k game, I'm really only using about 20k of ROM.  A little wasteful, but it's nice to have the breathing room for future updates.  I hope everyone enjoys this, it was a ton of fun to make. 






A fleet of enemy warships is escaping through an asteroid field, and it’s your job as the commander of the star command’s elite fighter squadron to ram the warships as they try to escape.  They only thought the asteroid field would provide cover for their escape!  Destroy as many warships as you can during your timed mission.




Warship is a one player game with a single difficulty mode.  To complete your mission, you must navigate through 10 stages of warship fleets, and each fleet is increasingly faster.  There are over 100 warships trying to escape.


Each stage of the game will last around 30 seconds, and the entire game (should you survive until the end of the mission) is around 5 minutes.  Your goal is to destroy as many warships as you can in the allotted mission time.


Controlling your fighter ship


Your ship is outfitted with the latest in shielding and defense technology, specifically designed to ram and destroy much larger ships.  You start the game hovering below the asteroid field.  Push up on the joystick to make an angled attack up and to the right, and when hovering above the asteroid field, push down on the joystick to make an angled attack down and to the right.


Pushing the fire button will speed your ship up, and pushing left on the joystick will slow your ship down.


While below the asteroid field, push down for a blast of the afterburner to speed up even more quickly.  Similarly, when above the asteroid field push up for a speed boost.


Navigating the asteroid field


Asteroids will continuously fly by from right to left in a random pattern.  As your stage increases, the speed of both the asteroids and the enemy warships will increase.

If you ram an asteroid, you will lose a life.  You have three lives in the game.




Successfully navigate the Asteroid Field                       10 Points

Destroy Stage 1 Warship                                            50 Points

Destroy Stage 2 Warship                                            55 Points

Destroy Stage 3 Warship                                            60 Points            

Destroy Stage 4 Warship                                            65 Points

Destroy Stage 5 Warship                                            70 Points

Destroy Stage 6 Warship                                            75 Points

Destroy Stage 7 Warship                                            80 Points

Destroy Stage 8 Warship                                            85 Points

Destroy Stage 9 Warship                                            90 Points

Destroy Stage 10 Warship                                           95 Points            




It is much more dangerous to navigate the asteroid field as your move farther to the right side of the screen, as an asteroid may appear on screen before you’ve completed travelling across the gap. 


Anticipate when the next warship will appear on the left side of the screen and move just prior.


You receive points for navigating the asteroid field whether you destroy a warship or not.  Racking up the highest scores will mean traversing the asteroid field as much as you can.


Status Bar


The status bar will show your current score on the left, the number of lives remaining on the right, and the current stage you are on at the bottom.

When warping to a new stage in the game, the status bar will switch over to a display of how many warships you have currently destroyed.




After losing three ships or reaching the end of Stage 10, the game will end and you will be assigned a rank.

The ending screen will display your rank and medal, your current score, your high score, and how many enemy warships you destroyed during your most recent mission.


Your rank is based on the number of warships you destroy during your mission. 


Ensign                  1-29 Warships Destroyed

Lieutenant          30-44 Warships Destroyed

Captain                45-54 Warships Destroyed

Admiral               55+ Warships Destroyed


High Score Saving


At the end of the game your score will automatically be written to the SaveKey or AtariVox if you have one plugged in.  Note that only your point total is saved, the number of ships you have destroyed is not saved as part of your high score.  


To clear your high score, hold the joystick down when powering on the game.  Wait for the "SaveKey Check" message to appear.  If the screen turns blue, your high score was erased.





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I was playing today on real hardware and noticed a minor screen jump before and after the screen transitions starting at stage 7.  I enabled the 262 break on Stella to isolate the problem and it now seems to be resolved after several playthroughs.  First post will be updated shortly with the latest binary.

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ZeroPage Homebrew is playing Warship on tomorrow's ZPH stream LIVE on Twitch! Hope you can join us!




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