Perpetual calendar

Today I wrote a Perpetual Calendar program for my BBC Master 128.

The calendar calculates the dates of Easter, as well as indicating the date of Christmas and Halloween.  Obviously, calculating the date of Easter was much harder(!)  I have managed to get somewhere with calculating the full moon phase as well, but I didn't quite finish this bit.

Perpetual calendar running in the BeebEm emulator, showing the date of Easter for 2017.  By the way, the date of Easter 2018 is 1st of April - NO JOKE!
I am grateful for the following contributions.  The basic calendar function was first published in BBC Acorn User magazine in July 1987, written by Paul Skirrow, and was published in their 'Hints and Tips' section.  I have modified it so that the calendar displays interesting days in colour. It also picks up the current date from the CMOS RAM, so this program will only run on a BBC Master 128, or otherwise a BBC computer fitted with an internal clock and battery.  You can emulate this in BeebEm, but it might struggle to pick up the correct date without some configuration.

The awesome teletext font first appeared in BBC Acorn User magazine in November 1990 and was written by Martin Osborne.

The current functionality allows you to skip forwards or backwards in time in steps of months or years using the cursor keys, or you can go to a specific month by pressing f0 (f10 in the emulator).

In future versions I would like to be able to enter 'red letter' days - ie let the user enter appointments, either recurring appointments like birthdays, or one-shot reminders for the dentist etc.  As it stands the program is only a rebuild of the existing perpetual calendar which I wrote about here.

You can download the SSD single-sided disc image here.  This will run in the BeebEm emulator, but you will get much better experience running it on vintage hardware using the DataCentre add on.

A sample of the help file supplied on the disc.

Introducing Weekend Warriors

This August I have been working on a new game: Weekend Warriors.

Weekend Warriors is a strategy text game of spell-casting and problem-solving. You play the part of a wizard protecting your kingdom from the endless hoards of computer generated enemy horror.

You have at your disposal over sixty unique spells from which you must choose those that will defend your kingdom. Some spells will summon creatures to do your bidding, whilst others represent magical objects, places and enchantments that will aid you in your quest.

At each turn you must defeat the hoards of your enemy by matching symbols on your enemy cards with powers generated by your own creatures.

Facing your first enemy: The Baby Giant Slug, adept at killing noob wizards, this monster requires 2 points of combat power and 1 point of defence power in order to be defeated, however there is a short cut - just one point of fire power will toast this slug to death.
Spells are cast by spending either gold (generated by defeating enemies) or mana points (one point is generated each turn).  The more powerful spells cost more to play, and sometimes they are delayed one or more turns, so you need to think about what you will need in advance.

Unlike many games of this genre, you have access to every spell in the game, which you can access at any point in the game by opening your spell book.  There are currently over sixty unique spells to choose from, with more coming soon.  It is recommended that you study each spell carefully and weigh-up their costs against what you require to win. Some spells reward you for having already cast other spells, for example, the spell Bloodlust gives you combat points equal to the number of warriors you have in your battlefield, so it would be a good strategy to spend precious resources building up your army of warriors.

The spell book showing some of the available spells.

Weekend Warriors allows you to play the game however you want, and you are rewarded for knowing the spell book inside out.

Each turn consists of two phases.  In the first phase you may look through your spell book and choose spells to cast. You may wish to examine the creatures and objects already on your battlefield for activated abilities or to 'rest' creatures you do not need.  In the second phase your creatures spend their 'stamina' points generating powers for you to use in defeating the computer-controlled enemies.  In this phase it is too late to rest your creatures, although you may still cast new spells and organise your armies.

Viewing an item in your battlefield.  Here is the battle axe, which is just waiting to be equipped to a suitable dwarf.

Weekend Warriors is ready to play in public beta form.  There are probably a few bugs still to iron- out, and undoubtedly the game-balance will need tweaking based on feedback.

All constructive feedback is welcome.

Further updates in the future are planned, with more spells and enemies to keep you going.  What is even more exciting is that there is planned original artwork for each spell and enemy in the game coming soon from the talented artist Pob, who worked with me on Spellunker. You can check out Pob's artwork for Spellunker here.

One of the creatures in the spell-book view, showing (from left to right) name; 'summoning' button; spell class and types; description; placeholder for artwork (coming soon); flavour text; casting costs; stamina; abilities; links to other spells that work well with this one.
To get you started with Weekend Warriors, I've created a short tutorial.  Just press the 'Help' button in-game and choose a help topic.

Weekend Warriors tutorial running on my Lumia 950.

If you have enjoyed this post, then you may like this post from last year's game Have Spell Will Travel.