One Man and His Droid II © Clive Brooker 1991 2001

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One Man and His Droid II, the sequel to the 1985 best selling One Man and His Droid, is coming to a computer near you .............not soon, but right now. This game was designed for the 128K Spectrum (not 48K), so why not also download the excellent ZX32 Spectrum emulator to play it. Until 5 August 2001 this almost complete version of the 1991 game has only been seen by half a dozen publishers. "For fans of the original, this free unpublished sequel is an absolute must and nostalgia-fest" (Clive Brooker 5 August 2001, slightly biased comment)

Title screen of the unpublished One Man and His Droid II

Click on image to play online from The World of Spectrum

One Ramboid just sent home

Click on image to play online from The World of Spectrum

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Download Game .....NOW (TAP)!!!

Download Game .....NOW (TZX)!!!

 

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One Man and His Droid II Links
Background
Scenario
Gameplay
PC Keyboard
Hints Tips and Cheats

NEXT GAME

Spectrum and cassette games

Other Game Links
Knight Driver
The Empire Fights Back
One Man and His Droid
Lap of the Gods
War Cars Construction Set
OMAHD II (unpublished)
Spectrum Games Home
Autolaunch Home
email

Publisher:-

Clive Brooker

Year of design:-

1990-91

Original Computer:-

128K Sinclair Spectrum

Sales:-

Free Internet

Design & programming:-

Clive Brooker

Year of release:-

2001

```Background

It was only recently that I managed to track down a sample tape copy that I sent to publishers (unsuccessfully) back in April 1991, so it's around 10 years since I last looked at this game. Considering that my last published game, War Cars Construction Set, was released in 1987, I am at a bit of a loss to explain what computer programming I did in 1988 - 1989, as development of OMAHD II did not begin until 1990. Come to think about it, I did write a Spectrum version of a cutting optimisation program (see Autolaunch home for PC version) and wrote some production software (for louvres) on a borrowed PC.

By 1991, unknown to me, software for the Sinclair Spectrum was no longer selling, as Commodore Amiga's and Atari ST's, as well as game consoles, had pretty much completed their take over. My feedback from what then had become, Virgin Mastertronic, was that the game would have to be quite exceptional, then they would convert it to the other formats, but certainly would not release it on the Spectrum. For mass market, the machine was all but dead. A sad day for what had been a hugely successful computer in its time, though of course, the computer lives on today on all those (and this) retro computer sites.

With a view to staying ahead of the game, I concluded that the IBM PC would become the dominating format of the future and invested in my first PC, an Amstrad 286, though, as it turned out, I would never write another game.

The Droid in OMAHD II got a makeover

Back now, to 1990 and my decision to write another game. With ideas coming thin and slow, or to be more precise. none, I thought it would be good to redo the original OMAHD. This time around I could address some of the deficiencies with it. Most of the original mazes had a similar look and it could be difficult to work out where you or the Ramboids actually were.

Hey presto, add a small scale scrolling full maze map and lots more graphics. Also add background graphics, just to brighten things up. For good measure, all 128K Spectrums had a music chip, so create and add some in game music + title & demo tracks.

Scrolling small scale map of maze

Scenario

You have flown to the planet Andromadous with your Droid to capture Ramboids, a male form of alien sheep. They only have an active life of twenty minutes, so to teleport them back to Earth in a suitable form you will have to move fast. The top right hand status panel shows a large copy of the the correct Ramboid to be coerced into the teleport receptor. Four or more Ramboids teleported in the CORRECT ORDER will allow you to move to the next cavern, after the sixth sought Ramboid has been teleported. Beware of the white female mutant Ramboids, you really want to leave these in their chamber, they only succeed in sapping your energy should you teleport them.

Being a bit stupid, the Ramboids only move in a certain pattern, either up right bump, down left bump, or vice versa. However, whilst they maintain this pattern, they will naturally drop down any chutes before climbing again in their predetermined direction preference. In OMAHD II this allows the Ramboids to climb over the Droid - getting a little too playful these Ramboids. It's a good thing that the Droid has up to 5 Rocks that can be placed, to coerce the over playful Ramboids into the teleport receptor. The hi tech Droid also has another trick up his sleeve, by changing to follow mode to discover where the current Ramboid to find, is hiding.

Gameplay

The concept of the game is quite simple, coerce at least four of the six male Ramboids into the teleport receptor and go to the next chamber after the sixth is installed. (Avoid the white Ramboids, they don't count)

With a simple concept, these Ramboids can be a touch unruly in going where you don't want them to. Hints and tips explains in more detail how they react and strategies to adopt to be a successful player and the game even has a Chamber Designer. (Yes in-built in OMAHD II is a maze creator from scratch, or the option to edit the existing maze, more of this later.)

PC Keyboard Controls explains the precise keys to use. The game itself uses only the four direction keys and a fire button throughout.

The main menu options which are self explanatory are:-

START GAME

Yes, here we start the game

CHANGE CURRENT CHAMBER

Use password to change the current Chamber

EDIT CURRENT CHAMBER

Delete objects backwards from the last installed, then reposition the start positions of the Ramboids and Droid

REDO CURRENT CHAMBER

Create a new chamber from scratch. A 10 second countdown first, allowing the option to fire to abort. Once this option is chosen, the original maze is deleted, ready for your own new masterpiece.

SAVE ALL CHAMBERS

Sorry, this part was never programmed

LOAD ALL CHAMBERS

Sorry, this part was never programmed

128K MUSIC ON/OFF

Music toggle switch

Use the up and down direction controls then press fire to select the option that you want.

Options within the game

During the game this is the status game panel.

The game status panel

The energy decreases as the game progresses and it is wise to change the Droid's mode to FALL, which gives a little more time. Correctly teleporting Ramboids adds a little energy, whereas the opposite is unfortunately true for wrong ones.

Up to five blocking rocks the same size as the Droid can be placed anywhere in the maze. It it wise to move in the direction you wish to move in after PUT ROCK, as it also becomes an obstacle for the Droid as well. To the right of the status panel is a full scale map of the entire maze with red showing the clear movement areas. Centre of the panel is the chamber number (1-10) and its password (BEGINS in this example). Pressing fire whilst playing the game brings up the in game menu options which are mostly self explanatory. Use the up or down direction keys then press fire on the selected flashing option.

The in game menu options, press fire to access menu

PAUSE

Press fire to return to game

FLY

The Droid stays in the air and uses a little more energy

FALL

The Droid naturally falls unless the up direction is used. Preferred Mode

PUT ROCK

Press fire here, then move in desired direction to leave rock behind

RUB ROCK

Press fire here to erase all rocks and restore the maze

SEE RAMS

Press fire here to see a snapshot where each of the Ramboids are

FOLLOW

Press fire here and the Droid is replaced by the current Ramboid to teleport. When in this mode, press fire again to take control of the Droid. This mode is ideal to establishing where exactly the current correct Ramboid is and learn his movement pattern.

RESTART

Press fire here to reset the current Chamber. This is the option to choose if 3 Male Ramboids are put in the wrong order, as a least 4 are needed to progress to the next level.

SCORES

Press fire here for a brief look at the high scores

QUIT

Press fire here to abort the game and return to the main menu

Use the up and down direction controls then press fire to select the option that you want.

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The Ramboid Status Panel

The right hand status panel initially shows a large version of the correct Ramboid to teleport, above a Chamber statue. As Ramboids are teleported, their images fill in over the area with the statue (one is shown in this example). Ramboids teleported in the correct order flash, so that you always know how many more are needed to progress to the next level. Remember, At least four of the six male Ramboids must be correct to progress to the next level. (All six correct gives a whopping energy boost of over 50% a full tank!) Please also remember that the white female Ramboids do not count and only serve to make life a little more difficult and detract energy if they are teleported. It is much better to leave them behind. (Before being accused of being sexist, this is all just a little bit of fun that occurred to me whilst writing these notes.)

The right hand status panel

Using the in-built maze designer and editor

One Man and His Droid II includes an in-built maze and scenery designer. Earlier games that I developed needed manual graph paper and co-ordinates to create the different mazes for the screens. This was all rather tedious and time consuming. It was better to create some programming that would simplify the task and I ended up leaving it in the game. Had I found a publisher for the game, there would have been a restriction on being able to modify the current level, but as it stands there are no restrictions.

There are two options for the maze designer, either delete the existing maze and start from scratch or edit the existing maze. Here is a brief overview of the maze design screen which explains the various elements.

The maze design screen located in the teleport area for the first maze

Brief overview of the screen elements

The maze design screen located in the teleport area for the first maze

There are 3 operational areas to this screen. Firstly, top left shows the visual current location plus the boxed grid areas that have not had any graphics inserted. The lettered grid helps you find your way around a blank design. The top right hand column shows the remaining memory bytes that can be used for new objects The status of the current object, ie. is it solid (Ramboids cannot pass it) or is scenery, as vertical leaves (Ramboids and Droid ignore them). Finally, this column shows the current object that will be inserted, in this example, it is the statue base. The bottom horizontal third of the screen gives the menu options for the maze design.

Operational menu options

Details

INSERT OBJECT

Insert an object

Location of insert position changed

Multiple inserts of the same object

Pressing Fire when the selected (flashing) menu option is Insert Object, places the current object centre screen and gives an additional line of text advising, PRESS FIRE TO INSERT OBJECT. Before doing this, the movement cursors allow you to scroll the location of the insert position, to get the item exactly where you would like it. To demonstrate this point, this example will cursor down to under the platform, then fire will be pressed.

We are now ready to insert the object, but we do have a few more choices. Simply pressing fire, will insert the single object and return you to the main menu for the design module. However, there are also two further options. Copying right and down allows the single object to be repeated, all in one easy step. This mode is most beneficial with objects suitable for creating long platforms. The final option to abort insert, does just that.

In this example, the cursor right arrow was tapped three times. By using cursor right and cursor down, a single object can be repeated as many times as you like, but there is one caveat. If you cursor down, such that a part of an object would be inserted within the bottom cyan and green bricks, the insertion is aborted and you return to the main menu. This is a fail safe to prevent insertion occurring outside of the permitted memory area.

CHANGE OBJECT

Change the current object to insert

A new object to insert

Choosing CHANGE OBJECT from the design menu, replaces the bottom text menu with a series of graphics that can be inserted.

Using the left and right cursors, moves the current selection that is displayed. This is shown at the extreme bottom left and at the bottom of the right hand status panel.

For the second example shown, the left cursor arrow was tapped three times making, the large multi colour plant the current object.

Notice how the status of the object is referred to as a scene object (scenery, Ramboids and Droid can pass through it).

When the correct graphic is shown in both locations, press fire to return to the main design menu.

MOVE AND VIEW

Choosing this option allows you to scroll the maze to another viewpoint. Press fire to return to the main design menu.

MOVE AND TEST

Move and test with the Droid

This option is similar to move and view, but the Droid is now centre screen.

In this example, the Droid is buried in a solid object which will prevent movement left, right, or down. Thankfully, we can move up, then out.

This mode is very useful to test running the Droid around the maze to make sure that there are no unintended restrictions.

Press fire to return to the design menu.

DELETE OBJECT

This option removes the last object (or multiple repeated object) that was inserted. It will progressively step backwards through all the objects that have been inserted.

FINISH & EXIT

Postion the start locations of the Ramboids and the Droid

Finish and exit does just that, but first you will notice that one of the Ramboids is centre screen and the cursor arrows move the maze. It is now the time to choose the game start positions of the Ramboids and the Droid.

Simply move the Ramboids then press fire. The six Male Ramboids are installed first, followed by the five female Ramboids and lastly, the Droid itself.

DESIGN TIPS

Title screen of the unpublished One Man and His Droid II

E (erase character), statue base & Ramboid Chute

Typical objects, with the E (erase) charcter sellected

From the main game menu, EDIT CURRENT CHAMBER, allows you to amend the current maze and set the start locations for the Ramboids and Droid.

From the main game menu, REDO CURRENT Chamber, erases the current maze ready for your new masterpiece.

If you need to remove an object placed many insertions ago, one option is to delete backwards all the way. However, it is simpler to lay a new graphic over the top of the problem area. Choose the tiny E (erase) character to remove unwanted bits. The E character will not be displayed during the game.

The statue base is handy as a Ramboid blocker. On their own, they cannot climb over it, unless they interact with themselves or the Droid.

Only Ramboids can travel down Ramboid chutes. Indeed they will always drop down a Ramboid chute, regardless of their direction mode.

 

PC Keyboard Controls

By default, One Man and His Droid II tests to see if a Kempston joystick is attached. If it is then whatever keys your emulator uses for a Kempston joystick are the ones to use. For example, within the Emulator ZX32, the PC INSERT key represents fire, with the cursor arrows for movement. JX-Speccy, the on-line Java emulator is similar, though uses the Tab key to represent fire.

However, if the emulator does not recognise a Kempston joystick, then both of the two following strategies are adopted.

Sinclair joystick emulation:- using the keys 6 - 0

Keyboard controls if a Kempston joystick is not detected

LEFT

X,V,N

RIGHT

C,B,M

UP

Q,W,E,R,T,Y,U,I,O,P

DOWN

A,S,D,F,G,H,J,K,L

FIRE

1,2,3,4,5

Important Note. If your emulator recognises a Kempston joystick, both the Sinclair option and the standard keyboard controls are disabled. Using these programming strategies avoided the need to offer a choice of control method.

Hints Tips & Cheats

Understanding the movement logic and strategy of the Ramboids is the key to mastering One man and His Droid II. However, just before we approach this subject, here is a way to make up for the missing programming code that would have dealt with loading and saving the mazes and it is so easy. All you need is an emulator that can save the entire 128K memory and ZX-32. linked from this sitecan do just that, with the file extension .Z80 Simply redesign your mazes, go back to the main menu and from ZX32, save as filename.Z80. When you reload the Z80 snapshot, the program will start from the point where it was originally saved. Please remember that this publishers almost complete version of the 1991 game, only has the first 3 mazes designed, so, for levels 4-10 its up to you! Also remember to run your emulator as a 128K (or higher) Spectrum. The program will crash if run in a 48K emulation.

Ramboids movement strategy

Each Ramboid will move in one of two set patterns, either:-

Left and Down - Stop - Right and Up

or:-

Left and Up - Stop - Right and Down

 

However, there are loads of caveats to this, please note below!

A Ramboid with a down bias, will nonetheless climb up, if his horizontal direction would create a Stop AND there is a platform above that he can climb to. This platform could also be another Ramboid or the Droid itself. Sometimes, the Ramboids will congregate at a Statue Base (Ramboids usually Stop and reverse here) interact with each other and one jumps over. Because of this additional rule, A DOWN Ramboid can still climb an upward step or even over the Droid. To use the Droid to force a Stop (and hence, reverse), you must dance up with him until you both reach a ceiling, then he is out of options and a Stop - Reverse is forced. (Under these conditions the Down element is not allowed, or you would both be dancing up and down all day!)

 

A Ramboid with an up bias, will travel horizontally but always seeking a platform above. This platform also includes other Ramboids and the Droid itself. A reverse will be forced when horizontal travel is not possible and there is no platform or Ramboid above. IE the condition is a STOP so reverse to a down bias and opposite horizontal direction.

One Man and His Droid II Links
Background
Scenario
Gameplay
PC Keyboard
Hints Tips and Cheats

NEXT GAME
TOP OF PAGE

Spectrum and cassette games

Other Game Links
Knight Driver
The Empire Fights Back
One Man and His Droid
Lap of the Gods
War Cars Construction Set
OMAHD II (unpublished)
Spectrum Games Home
Autolaunch Home
email

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© Clive Brooker 2001-2012