Here’s an interesting GTW, this time mentioned from its coder Craig Kelsall. Future Bike Simulator was being developed for Alternative Software back in 1988. It’s main mention in the press was in Crash issue 51 which depicted a top down racer that was being coded on the Spectrum primarily by Dave Thompson.
Very strangely the game never surfaced, but 2 years later the game did surface – but under the Hi-tec label and as a completely different style of game. Where as the original was a top down based racer, the new version was changed into a Outrun based perspective. The C64 version was done by Al Dukes and released.
But what of the original? … Well, Craig had a few problems with the game and had to stop work – and it was forgotten about. The Spectrum version was believed to be mostly complete, but Craig’s version wasn’t too far behind. Craig’s C64 version had graphics for one level, consisted of the basic mechanics like bike movement, weapons, enemies ramming and avoiding you and the main explosion sequence which was very R-Type’esq.
Basically everything disappeared on the screen to make use of all 8 sprites for the explosion (Craig wasn’t sure how to do multiplexers at the time). The bike movement was quite good in that it had momentum, and not just a basic left right movement – which you could transfer during a ramming movement. Craig believed that the coding was horrible, but it worked – however the collisions were a bit of a pig. If the objects didn’t move far enough apart, they’d register a second collision and then all hell would let loose before the bikes eventually fired apart.
It seems in 1989 also was a time of transition, and Dave Palmer (Who was at Alternative at the time) created a new company called Hi-Tec. We believe that Dave Thompson must have followed Dave Palmer and took the Future Bike game with him, but for some reason decided to give things a face lift for the new company – and so the final version was born.
But with Craig’s version sadly it seems that it no longer exists. Craig long ago got rid of all his disks, so any copy being found will have to rely on someone who may have had a preview given to them by Craig. The Spectrum version is more likely to be findable, though that is probably a job for the guys at World of Spectrum.
We’ll keep looking though – as you never know. In the meantime, does anyone have any screenshots from a magazine?
Well, Jarrod Bentley got in touch and confirmed that he did C64 backgrounds with sprites by Dennis Mulliner. Thanks to Jarrod, we’ve been able to add photos of how the game looked. Jarrod remembers creating a moon surface style of level, but sadly sold all his C64 stuff a very long time ago. It could well therefore be completely lost to time.
Contributions: Craig Kelsall, Jarrod Bentley