The game was being built for Palace Software by John Menzies and John Cassells and was a horizontal scrolling SEU with bitmapped backgrounds and a sprite plex. The game used VSP to scroll the screen, which was a risky technique to use, as it wasn’t stable on some C64s.
Jason Kelk actually had the soundtrack on his disks, composed by Sean Connolly when he was still in Pulse Productions (complete with sampled drums). This was dug out and recovered for this GTW entry and can be found in the download below.
The game itself is amazing for its time, and even though it was created pre-90’s, you can see just how much this game could have done well for Palace. Featuring wonderful backdrops and creatures to blast, also with a impressive set of weaponry.
John Cassells got in touch with GTW and informed us that the game was cancelled as they could not guarantee that the scroll routine would work on every C64 machine. A huge disappointment, and something which we had thought could probably be improved/fixed these days due to breakthroughs with VSP. Raistlin/G*P however confirmed that although Safe VSP was available, due to the nature of how Touchlight works, it would be impossible to use to fix the issues.
Thankfully, a rather large preview of the game has long been out there, cracked by Babygang, featuring pretty much all of 5 levels, apart from the final two which only really have the background graphics. So check it out for yourself!
Next we hope to get hold of John Menzies to learn more about its development and before we close the case on the title. We assume that the leaked preview is all that ever existed.
Contributions: Jason Kelk, The Collector
John Cassells speaks about work on Touchlight…
“Cor.. just checked your site again and it would appear Touchlight is out there anyway! I’ll write a more structured potted history of the game (from my point of view) which you can use on the website as soon as I get some time to sit down but in the meantime…
Touchlight was to be published by Palace Software, not Cascade. Jonathan (which he very much preferred to his nickmane of Sparky) Menzies and I erm, parted company with Cascade when we were still developing the FLD routines. They objected to us discussing leaving and setting up our
own devco, and alledgedly using work machines after hours to tinker around on. Still unsure as to how they found out…
The game was never finished because we couldn’t guarantee the FLD scrollerwould work on any machine. Pretty much all we ever did seems to have already been leaked. No idea where it came from though (although damn handy as the only time I’ve seen it recently is when I stumbled across an old VHS tape we made for selling the game)”