Freebooter was a strategy title that was in production by Paul Clansey, just before he started working at Active Minds. It was actually submitted as a playable demo to EA at the time.
The game had you running programmable robot war on a mining asteroid. The player controls a freebooter, who has a squad of droids. After landing on an asteroid, he has about 10 minutes to hijack as much ore as possible before the megacorps fighter groups respond.
You could buy and construct different droids to help you complete your task, and the game would have come with different view points represented by 4 visual windows. More details from Paul can be found under “Creator Speaks”.
The game was only 30-40% complete and had no publisher in the end (where EA presumably turned down the project). It got cancelled when Paul went to work for Active Minds and went to work on the likes of Gazza 2.
In 2016, Paul was sorting out his notes and materials to help with a magazine interview, when he uncovered a disk of a demo sent to EA at the time. This was sent to GTW and fully preserved, and now with Paul’s permission we are able to present the final version of the game as it stood. Load the main file, and enter SYS2304 to start.
At the moment, we don’t fully understand what it is you have to do or what all the controls are, but Paul will hopefully shed some more light soon when he’s had chance to play through and work things out again. It does indeed look like a promising strategy game, and could have been a success considering Paul’s work on Alien.
More soon, but enjoy a piece of history preserved…
Contributions: Paul Clansey
Paul Clansey gives more details about his game:
This one got as far as a playable demo that was submitted to EA. The documentation that accompanied the demo is dated 25/8/88 and began-
By the year 2027, droid mining colonies had been set up on many mineral-rich asteroids, to exploit the large deposits of Dalacite ore which is unique to the Asteroid Belt. Only the multinational megacorps could provide the finance and organisation for such hi-tech operations- there were, however, openings for individuals too to make their fortunes. Equipped with only a single ship and a small team of droids, the freebooter could storm a mined asteroid and help himself to the Dalacite ore- but only after he had taken care of the resident mining droids.
The player takes the role of freebooter who has a squad of droids. After landing on an asteroid , he has approximately 10 minutes to hijack as much Dalacite ore as possible before the megacorps fighter groups respond to the intrusion. Until then, he must contend with up to 16 mining droids, some of which are heavily armed. Between raids, he may sell ore to re-equip his droid squad.”
A droid consists of a base unit, on which are mounted modules for different weapon systems, ammunition, energy cells and ore.
Droid Construction Screen
- drive types- wheeled, tracked, hover, leg
- weapons types- minigun, railgun, missile, howitzer
- energy capacity
- load capacity (to transport mining equipment, ore, weapons/ammo, or recover other inoperative robot)
Droid Programming Screen
separate movement and combat programs, each consisting of a sequence of icons controlling the movement, mining and combat behaviour of each robot, to specify type of action and the conditions under which it would be triggered (e.g. if enemy X within range Y, attack it with weapon Z).
4 configurable windows, each of which can show one of:
- Local overhead view of a specific droid
- Specific droid’s-eye view of combat
- Map of asteroid with location of friendly and rival robots and ore mines marked on it
…I think I’ve still got my (Atari ST?) development machine disks for this somewhere.
30/09/16 – Remains of the game found and fully preserved!