Nereid

Philippe Lesire

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Thanks to Jazzcat for highlighting this one, but on Philippe Lesire’s website, he mentions working on a game called Nereid which sadly didn’t quite make it.

Nereid was to be some kind of space game, and Philippe produced a series of graphic screens for the game, including charsets and bits and pieces. Sadly when he loaded everything together, he found that he didn’t have enough memory or the required skill to make the whole thing work.

The game was to be developed in BASIC, but we were unsure about exactly how the game would have played. Philippe kindly got in touch though and informed us that the game would have been a maze based game with graphics looking like something of a mix of Dan Dare 2 and Citadel.

Sadly Philippe got into technical difficulties with the game and had to stop work on it as a result. BASIC was just not the right language in the end, which was a shame for Philippe and his game. Check out Creator speaks for more details on the game.

We may possibly find more remains of the game to show people and complete this entry, though sadly nothing playable will ever be found. Phillipe has recently found his tapes so we should be seeing some bits and pieces soon!

Case almost closed…

Supporting content

Philippe Lesire speaks about work on Nereid...

When did it all begin?

My name is Philippe Lesire. I live in Belgium (the french speeking part of it).
I'm afraid I have a poor memory for dates (err... make that bad memory for anything). I really don't know for sure, but as you will notice further on it could probably be somewhere in 1989 while reading the Martin Walker diary of Citadel in the Zzapp! 64 magazine. That's my best guess, at least.

Here's the story behind the game.

Nereid is a satellite of Neptune. Our hero is an adventurer who roams its surface in his spaceship. Not a fancy spaceship actually, because it desn't seem to be able to fly very high above the ground. And that's really too bad because the horizon ahead is barred by a tall cliff. Our traveler soon finds a narrow passage in the wall and decides to follow it, hoping it would lead to the other side of the cliff.

The game was supposed to be a maze game, seen from above. The player would need to navigate through it in his ship, finding money and objects on the way. He would on occasion enter a shop, using his money to buy other objects required to unlock some passages guarded by characters. At the end, he would finally reach the exit and escape to the other side of the cliff. No shooting planned.

My main inspiration sources were Dan Dare 2 for the background tiles and Citadel for the maze (and hopefully the metallic design).

So what part of it was done?

I had already drawn the title picture depicting the cliff and a planet rising on the horizon (should be Neptune I guess). I also had drawn the end picture showing the ship escaping. Those pictures were supposed to be loaded separately from the main game. I had designed most of the background tiles, the ship sprite, and presumably one or two other sprites. I had begun the programming part, but didn't go very far because of technical difficulties.

So what went wrong?

I could only program in BASIC at the time. I knew how to load charsets and sprites in memory using DATA and POKE. The plan was to execute one or more bogus BASIC programs to initialize all graphics, then start actually coding the real thing in BASIC. Sadly, I missed some important knowledge, like how to switch memory zones (I'm not sure how it was called), so I had to put all graphic data in memory zone 0. Lots of graphics and sprites meant very little space left for the BASIC program. Then it happened : the program code collided with the graphic data. That was it. I didn't know how to fix it, so I left the whole project as is.

What's left of it?

You have already found both the title picture and the game complete picture and added them on your page. The bogus BASIC programs that were meant to load the charset and sprites in memory are still on an old tape I think. I'm afraid the color information is nowhere to be found, because during testing, I did it all by hand using the keyboard. The main program might be on the same tape, but that is doubtful.
At the time, I designed a lot of things on sheets of cross-ruled paper (charset, sprites, code), but I'm afraid there's nothing left of that.

Philippe Lesire.

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