Plasmatak was originally being developed in collaboration with Thalamus by Steve Collins (Herobotix fame), who actually almost finished this game, but sadly interest was lost, and Steve went to work at Pizzaland for the summer.
The game had a Paradroid type over-head scroller approach, which was in a proto-type stage of around 40-60% completion stage before it was scrapped. It was based on the Aliens saga, lots of eggs and fertilisation going on, and it was up to you to clean the place up.
The game featured some impressive particle system explosions, balls of flames to follow you down corridors when an explosion occurs. Overall the game had the same quality and look of Armalyte, and sadly just was never to be. The explosions in Dynablaster fashion, were one of the main highlights of this wonderful sounding game.
Recently, GTW got in contact with Steve, and he kindly gave his own record of events about the game, which can be read in his "Creator Speaks" page at the top. Additionally now in 2005, Steve has added some more notes and recollections of the game, including something VERY exciting!…
Steve found two tapes which may have had the remains of Plasmatak on. One tape is almost certainly the game’s charset graphics at least, but another tape contains the Tran game demos being pitched to companies. A little slip of paper with the tape suggests that Plasmatak is infact on the tape too!…
Sadly after examining the tapes, we couldn’t find any preview, but only remains of a charset/set of blocks of somekind for the first level. These seem corrupted, but then they could possibly form a set of graphics for the game. We aren’t too sure yet.
A big thanks though to both Ian Coog and TCE for salvaging the tapes which were originally corrupted (And also apologies for stupidly forgetting this credit in the rush of getting the update out with this info!)… Both guys helped salvage what little remained of the game and helped to display the information. Jazzcat also provided a helping hand in attempting to find out what the code was about.
The slip of paper in with the tapes do suggest that there is a preview tape somewhere, so we hope that Steve will find this sometime soon. From what Steve tells about the game, it sounds very impressive and one which will be worth trying to presever… Fingers crossed!…
Almost solved and found!… watch this space!…
Contributions: Jazzcat, Steve Collins, Ian Coog, TCE
Steve Collins speaks about work on Plasmatak...
"Plasmatak was about 40% complete I guess. I had the graphics completed, most levels designed, game mechanic completed (basically an intertial 8 way scroller with parallax), with lots of bouncing off walls and all that.
One of the highlights was an explosion propagation routine - the game was based on setting charges and then getting the hell out of there - a cross between Aliens (you were cleaning systems of invading alien species that spread) Braybrook's Gribbly's Day Out (inertial scrolling with env. collisions and stuff you don't want to collide with) and Bomberman (set the explosion and make sure you're out of its way).
Explosion propagation speed was tuned so in theory you could outrun it if you could control your droid well and planned your route. A lot of the game was based on planning where to set the charges, looking at cascading explosions and also identifying alien weak spots (i.e. getting the eggs is good but getting the fertilizing drones was better etc.).
Most of the AI was unfinished though... It did look nice (at least I thought so :-) ): graphics were very
similar to those that ended up in Thalamus' game Armalyte. In fact I approached Thalamus to publish the game, but instead they offered me a job which ultimately didn't work out for various reasons. I think this could have been a good game, and I regret not taking or having the time to complete it."
From Steve's site..
"Back to the Paradroid over-head scroller approach. This game was a proto-type system (about 60% complete) based on the Aliens saga. Lots of eggs and fertilisation going on, and its up to little 'ol you to clean the place up. I had some particle system explosions (hundreds of char. sprites) which could fill a screen. The balls of flame followed you down corridors if the explosion was particularly violent! Shame it never got finished. I hawked in around the U.K. for a while... got a bit of interest from Thalamus (Delta fame) but eventually gave up and ended up working in Pizza-land for the summer. "
From a recent discussion (4/2005)...
Now this is probably not worth the effort, but I dug out my old C64 archive and came across 2 tapes referring to the work on Plasmatak. As I think I mentioned to you before this was a demo of a game I was working on, and shopped it around, most seriously to Thalamus, but ran out of time and had to get a day job. Plasmatak was designed to be a cross of Aliens and Paradroid, with a little Gribbly's Day Out and a chunk of Bomberman!
One of the big grabs was supposed to be my plasma routine - which was an explosion system that would propogate nicely in 2d along the corridors of the game world. So you had to set bombs with timers and then make sure your exit was clear so you could get out fast enough. The plasma routine was very cool in the end - used a cellular automata routine to "grow" the explosions, with character block animation. You controlled a droid in a 2d overhead 8 way scroller with nice parallax etc. Basic premise was you were a maintenance droid keeping the piping/plumbing systems of a space station clear of alien scum. Aliens would arive and plant eggs that would hatch and sprout forth as more aliens. There was a system of "feeding" where eggs had to be maintained that you could interrupt by killing the feeding aliens - but this only slowed things down.
The scroller was very intertial (you were basically spherical) so much of the key of the game was learning how to use intertia to get quickly through the levels (bouncing off walls etc. - but taking care about your damage meter).
The demo consisted of the graphics systems, scroller, parallax starfield and the main character physics (with still one or 2 collision glitches left). I also had the explosion system but available but not integrated into the game. I had designs for the first couple of levels, and was basically looking for the funding to work on the game for about 4 months to bring it to a finish.
So why bring this up now? Well I found a few tapes, as I said, but I've no idea what's on them - and they may in fact be red herrings. One tape is a Tran demo tape, but a little slip of paper inside suggests it might also have the Plasmatak demo on it. Also, another tape has the character-set graphics used for the piping and level design. I'm happy to send these to you if you think its worth looking at. Big caveats though - the tran tape might just be that, a tran tape, and the other will just be a memory dump, so best you'll be able to get is a graphic of the character set.