SPECTRA Game Designer

Jonathan Cauldwell has adapted his Arcade Game Designer utility to support the enhanced colour palette provided by the SPECTRA interface. The utility is run on the Spectrum itself and allows a wide range of arcade style games to be constructed using a configuration scripting language very similar to BASIC. Games created using the utility are stand-alone and so can be loaded back in without the need for the utility to be in memory. SPECTRA Game Designer supports the 8x8 SE mode which allows 64 colours on a black (or white) background, and this lends itself very well to the needs of most games.

A game is created by defining graphic blocks and constructing screens using them. Sprites and objects are drawn and allocated to each screen as desired. A fixed set of events exist, and these are automatically executed by the game as the predefined times. The developer writes scripting logic in these events handlers to respond to them as appropriate.

A selection of screenshots of the utility are shown below:

SGD menu   SGD Blocks screen   SGD Screen Layouts screen
SGD Sprite Images screen   SGD Event Menu screen   SGD Event Handler screen

The utility comes with a very simple 4 level example game, which shows the new colours in action. The example game must be loaded in separately using the 'L' menu option. The player must collect all the diamonds whilst avoiding the skulls. The game keyboard controls are keys 9 (left), 0 (right), 2 (up) and W (down). A screenshot of the game is shown below:

SGD example game (Enhanced colours)

When the game starts, it automatically checks if the SPECTRA display mode functionality is available and if not displays the backgrounds using the closest standard Spectrum colours, with all sprites and objects shown in white. A game created using SPECTRA Game Designer can therefore also be played on a standard Spectrum. The screenshot below shows the example game when played on a Spectrum without the SPECTRA display modes functionality:

SGD example game (Standard colours)

Note that it is not possible to load a game previously developed using Arcade Game Designer into SPECTRA Game Designer.

A useful source of information is the Arcade Game Designer forum, much of which will be applicable to SPECTRA Game Designer.

Paul Jenkinson has put together a set of tutorial videos on using Arcade Game Designer, most of which will also be applicable to SPECTRA Game Designer.

Click here to download SPECTRA Game Designer [V1.0] utility in TAP cassette file format (along with its instruction manual) from Jonathan Cauldwell's website.
Click here to download SPECTRA Game Designer [V1.0] utility in TAP cassette file format (along with its instruction manual) from this website.

I've create snapshots of the SPECTRA Game Designer for use with the ZX ROM Cartridge Creator to allow the utility to be transferred into a ZXC1, ZXC2, ZXC3 or ZXC4 ROM cartridge.

Click here to download SPECTRA Game Designer [V1.0] in Z80 snapshot format.
Click here to download SPECTRA Game Designer + Example Game [V1.0] in Z80 snapshot format.