Electron Dance
14Apr/15Off

Side by Side: Duel

Side by Side is a video series on local multiplayer games. This is episode 15 of 17.

This week Joel Goodwin of Electron Dance and Gregg Burnell of Tap-Repeatedly tackle head-on a game called Duel written by relative unknown Joel Goodwin. Uh, what? Did we just actually cross an ethical line there? Gregg and Joel are "reviewing" their own games now? Brilliant! I bet you can't wait for the next episode where they shill for Satan.

In Duel, two players have to ram each other into oblivion - if they get the timing right. And if they can see each other. Watch the video here or direct on YouTube.

The series theme is the delightful "Adventures in your sleep" by The Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra.

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  1. Dee-lightful video — I love this series — and such a fascinatingly simple-but-complex game, like Atari’s classic Combat. The permutations of fog and obstacles allow different skills to rule each arena, but as Gregg said, the key to Duel is reading the other player and mastering a sense of time. Like many of the games you’ve covered here, this one is actually a lesson about game design hidden as a game. Timing, controls, precision, physics of movement.

    This was Atari… 800 did you say? What language did you use? Tell us about the program itself. How long? How many lines? How much testing, both back then and now? And why not give it a polish and submit it to Greenlight?

  2. Ha, God, Steerpike, I don’t know how many lines it is. It starts on line 10 and finishes in the early 10,000s, but there are lots of jumps in the line numbers. There’s no easy way to count the lines, I’m afraid. You can have a look at the listing yourself if you follow the emulator instructions on the Duel page linked above. It’s in BASIC with several machine language routines I had developed at the time (memory copy – I think I made the fastest memcopy for the Atari 8-bit through some real hardcore rulebreaking – and also sprite management). There was a lot of testing but by myself. I never really had anyone to play with when I was developing it, which makes it all the more remarkable that it works as a 2P experience. I can see a lot of scope for tightening things up, offering quickstart modes that I know are fun instead of offering all the parameters to the players, and also procedurally generated playfields, for example.

    I think submitting to Greenlight is out of the question unless I redevelop the whole thing from scratch, but thanks for the sentiment Steerpike :)

  3. Well, that does seem like a bit of an undertaking, redeveloping the whole thing from scratch. Of course, my BASIC knowledge is limited to this:

    10 home
    20 print “poo”
    30 goto 20
    40 end

    so I may not be the one to ask. But it looks like a fun game.


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