MazeVR Dev Log – Day 1

Back in 1982, my college roommate (Skull) had been awarded the Darin Scholarship at RPI. As part of the scholarship, he was given a state of the art IBM PC. While I am sure there was considerable scholarly work done on that PC, a great amount of time was spent playing the game “Snipes”.

The description on the “MyAbandonware” site is very accurate:

Imagine yourself a big maze. You’re alone, completely alone. The only thing you now is that you must conquer the maze by killing all your enemies, the snipes. And not only the snipes, but also their hives. Strategy, fast thinking and sharp reflexes are the key to victory. The only key.

The game is, as mentioned earlier, pretty simple. You control your creature with the arrow keys and shoot with A, W, D and S in the appropriate directions. And when you panic, press the spacebar for some extra velocity. How much easier can it get? But not only simplicity is an important aspect of a game. Replayability is another great thing.

In Snipes this is achieved by letting the computer generate a new maze every time. You specify the amount of snipes, hives and difficulty before you start and of you go. Because you can configure everything there are a total of 26×9 difficulty levels. Ranging from A1 (easy, nothing special, 3 hives, a maximum of 10 snipes and five lives) to Z9 (hard, reflecting bullets, electric walls, ghosts, 10 hives, a maximum of 150 snipes and two lives). What more do you want?

While I loved Snipes on the PC, I wondered if it would translate to the world of VR. I like the idea a programmatically build maze that can add to replayability. And it clearly would not need much in the way of graphic arts.

And while I don’t think I will be able to make much use of David Ellsworth‘s reverse engineered code on Github (referenced in the Wikipedia article), it may help me better understand the “A-Z:1-9” level definitions. Actually, in his blog post he suggests he would map out the levels.

I hope to document my journey building (or at least experimenting) with this in VR.

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