A great looking preview by all means.
Metal Wars features bitmap scrolling, and looks really nice and detailed in this SEU. A lot like the graphical qualities of IO by Doug and Bob.
The preview which has been out there for some time, features about 4/5 levels worth of scrolling, with very little in the way of attack waves etc. Its graphically mostly done, but lacking on the playability side of things.
The game was being created by Henk Dekker and Robert Tan, who were big fans of SEU’s such as R-Type. They wished to create a space SEU which was as good looking as possible. The only problem is that although it looked like a work of C64 art, it lacked unpredictable attack waves. After what was a huge effort to try and complete, and for what needed a lot of work to be made great… Henk and Rob decided to call it a day on the awesome looking title.
The crew were also known for their Amiga activities, as mentioned in the preview note. This is what happened, and both guys moved onto that machine.
Had the game been completed, Henk tells GTW that they would have sold it to a company. If this had been finished, it certainly would have raised a few eyebrows.
So is there more to this game?… Sadly not, this is it. Henk has confirmed this version of the game to be the most complete. So check out a piece of C64 history and dream of what could have been…
A sad loss…
Contributions: Hein Holt, Henk Dekker
Henk Dekker speaks to GTW about work on Metal Wars...
"When we started developing Metal Wars, Robert and I were inspired by those addictive shoot'em up arcade games like R-type with their giant animated end-of-level bosses. We both had some rough ideas of what the game should look like. Robert did the graphics, and I did the coding for the game. We figured that music and sound-fx could be added later, so those were ripped from some other game for the time being. Metal Wars was not the first game that we started. Before that we had been working on another shoot'em up - which we also never completed - called "A.B.C." for Automatic Battle Computer.
We wanted the graphics in Metal Wars to look as nice as possible, so we used bitmapped graphics instead of the traditional character screen that we used in A.B.C. As far as I know, at that time we were the first to do a bitmapped scroller. Scrolling a bitmap costs lots of cycles on the C64 and was simply implemented using double buffering. Since the speed of the smooth-scroll was fixed at only 1 pixel per frame, there was an 8-frame period for updating the background.
The gameplay however was not too interesting yet because the enemies simply followed some pre-programmed paths and did not interact in some intelligent way. If we were going to complete the game, we probably had to make that part a lot more interesting.
If we would have managed to complete the game, we wanted to sell it for release by a software house. But we never completed it simply because we lost interest in working on it once we proved that the basic ideas of bitmapped scrolling and huge end-of-level bosses worked. We were not motivated enough to design lots of levels and to work on an interesting gameplay.
After the C64 I did some coding on the Amiga, but I never released anything useful. I just played a little bit with 3D gfx and other nice Amiga features, but it didn't take long before I got bored with the Amiga.
Nowadays I don't do any spare time coding projects, since I already have a full time job developing embedded software. Especially DSP-related applications are very interesting to me.
I have a great admiration for the people that can find the time and perseverance to still be active on the C64. Even today they manage to keep the C64 spirit alive.
Jan 12, 2005"