Back to main Mercenary page
Damocles demo for Atari ST
This is the Damocles demo that was released on the coverdisk of ST User magazine "Vol. 5, No. 04", June 1990 issue.
This is really a curious and funny thing when you know the final release! Note the (c)1989 ;-) Find the other differences!
Technical contents - from the MDDClone author
Produced in 1989 for inclusion on a magazine cover, this demo is a non-interactive demonstration of some of the early features of Damocles.
It consists of a simple TOS executable, that loads a loading screen and an executable image. The demo starts with an initial entry to the Gamma system, and then uses the autopilot feature to move around the system to show off some of the planets. It next enters the Eris atmosphere, showing off a few buildings. Finally it lands at a ground-floor building, and briefly walks around until taking off and activating the escape mechanism. This clearly indicates work in progress, and is indicative of a bottom-up approach to development. For example, at the heart of Damocles are the maths routines: while newer functions and data are included, certain functions were subsequently optimized then made subroutines as memory resources became tight.
Also in progress but near completion is the newer graphic system, including the luna-drawing circle functions and the horizontal line-draw functions used in the polygons. New palette management code is included. Use of the graphic functions is still to be developed, so for example there is only a single set of 64 vertices - not the 160 used in the final version. The coordinate system was not fully developed, using generic 32-bit coordinates which subsequently became 28-bit. Coordinates as displayed on the panel are also different to the final version. All the planets are present, with the exception of the void which presumably did not exist because neither do the transporters. A curious irony is that there is no Damocles animation code and Damocles has no associated comet tail. At this point the number of objects had been increased from Mercenary 1, however only a quarter of the objects were even defined. There is only
basic object drawing, and no object animation and interaction code.
There are 3 basic motion functions: moving in space, the dart on entry to Eris and walking. Some functions, such as for the car, are present but not used. The autopilot is implemented in such a way that it is on all the time, and is coordinated with a special demo Benson program. Curiously the Mercenary Benson program is also present but unused. The instrumentation panel is only partially used, and there is no implementation of the object control panel used to e.g. turn objects on and off. The actual city and complex data was still to be further developed, so none of the cities has a name e.g. such as Capital City. Certain other pieces of code, such as for the sights object, are present but clearly in the process of transition from Mercenary to Targ. Sound too was yet to be developed from the simple in-line PSG programmed blips in Mercenary to the VBL-driven sound processing eventually implemented.
Benson text from the demo
I HAVE JUST A LITTLE TIME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF
BEFORE I'M TAKEN OVER BY NOVAGEN'S PR DEPARTMENT
MY NAME IS BENSON - AT YOUR SERVICE
I AM YOUR NINTH GENERATION PC
WE MAY HAVE MET BEFORE - IN 'MERCENARY'
AND I'M BACK AGAIN - WITH SOMEWHAT MORE TO SAY
IN THIS LONG AWAITED MERCENARY II - DAMOCLES
NOW NEARING COMPLETION BY AUTHOR PAUL WOAKES
YOU'LL FIND ME INVALUABLE IN OUR NEW ADVENTURE
LET ME GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT WE HAVE IN STORE
I'M PRESENTLY DIRECTING OUR AUTOPILOT
IN FLIGHT AROUND THE GAMMA SOLAR SYSTEM
THERE ARE NINE PLANETS AND THEIR NINETEEN MOONS
WE HAVE THE BENEFIT OF TRAVEL AT A HIGH SPEED
APPROACHING THAT OF THE SPEED OF LIGHT
AND YOU'LL NOTICE OUR CLOCK COUNT-DOWN
RECORDING THE LAPSED REAL TIME OF OUR TRAVEL
ACROSS THESE MILLIONS OF MILES OF THE SYSTEM
AND TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE IN DAMOCLES!
OUR CONSIDERATE AUTHOR HAS ARRANGED THAT
WE MOVE AROUND SPACE IN A MINIMAL TIME SCALE
THIS WAY - IT DOESN'T TAKE AN ETERNITY
FOR YOU TO EXPLORE THIS COMPLETE SOLAR SYSTEM
BUT LET ME SHOW YOU THE BEAUTIFUL PLANET ERIS
ONE OF MY JOBS IS TO SLOW US DOWN
TO A SUITABLE ENTRY SPEED
NOW IN ATMOSPHERE AROUND ERIS
CONDITIONS IDEAL TO SUPPORT HUMANOID LIFE
PROCEEDING UNDER AUTOPILOT TO ERIS CAPITAL CITY
DIRECTING AUTOPILOT FOR A LOW APPROACH
THERE ARE SOME FINE BUILDINGS HERE
AND YOUR OBJECTIVE IN DAMOCLES:
THE COMET DAMOCLES IS ON A COLLISION COURSE
WITH THE SYSTEM'S FIFTH PLANET - ERIS
THIS WILL OCCUR IN JUST A FEW HOURS TIME
UNLESS - THAT IS - YOU PREVENT THE DISASTER
AND - NOT FORGETTING OUR MERCENARY ORIGINS
THERE'S PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY TO AMASS
A VALUABLE HOARD OF MEGACREDITS
I'LL NEED TO GET THAT AUTOPILOT FIXED!
LET'S HAVE A LOOK DOWN HERE
MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM THE NOVAGEN OFFICE
ACTUALLY THEY'VE BEEN TRYING TO GET THROUGH
FOR SOME TIME NOW
I THINK THEY'RE WORRIED THAT I AM GOING TO
HAND OVER FOR YOU TO PLAY THE GAME
CAPITAL CITY SPACEPORT AHEAD
MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM NOVAGEN OFFICE INCLUDES
A SERIOUS THREAT TO MY VITAL SYSTEMS
I HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO PULL OUT - NOW!
NOVAGEN SAY THAT
DAMOCLES IS SET FOR RELEASE PRE-CHRISTMAS
(THIS YEAR APPARENTLY)
ON AMIGA AND ATARI ST - AT 24.95 MEGACREDITS
THATS 2,495,000 ECU'S (ERIS CURRENCY UNITS)
US DOLLAR CONVERSION AWAITS MARKET MOVEMENTS
I DO LOOK FORWARD TO JOINING YOU IN DAMOCLES
YOU'LL FIND ME QUITE CLUED UP AND HELPFULL
I HAVE MASSES OF PROGRAMMING SECRETS
BUT IT WILL NEED YOU TO UNLOCK THEM
I'M SURE WE SHALL ENJOY DAMOCLES TOGETHER
AS IT IS - WE HAVE TO LEAVE NOW
WE'VE BRIEFLY VISITED ONE OF 30+ CITIES
THERE'S LOTS MORE TO SEE
IT SEEMS I AM PERMITTED TO SHOW YOU ROUND AGAIN
Back to main Mercenary page