Year of publication:-
128K Sinclair Spectrum
Design & programming:-
War Cars Construction Set started
life as Car Wars Construction Set. I closed a contract with the
publisher Firebird, a subsidiary of British Telecom. I recall that
they had a very impressive office in Oxford Street in central London.
We closed a contract quite quickly and Firebird released it on their
new £2.99 label. Just before going to production, I got a call
from me asking to switch the first two words of the name of the game.
I believe they had be warned of possible legal action from a business
already using the two words, Car Wars. Of course, I did as my
publishers asked, though felt that the words Cars Wars were not
exactly legally enforceable.
I belive that the conversion to
the Amstrad CPC was quite faithful to the original, but the C64 was
This was the last game of mine
that was published for sale in the shops.
War Cars Construction Set offers a
truly computerised simulation of slot car racing. All the thrills and
spills of a Grand Prix championship combined with the aggressive
competition of a stock car rally. The frustration of building tracks
that don't work has been taken away to leave you with hours of
Within the gigantic roadway system
of the WAR CARS ARENA both you and your, computerised opponent seek
the special flags located around the track, in order to collect as
many points, while losing as few lives as possible. Each flag is
worth a minimum of 100 points, if after collecting six flags you have
more flags than your opponent you will be given a 100 point bonus for
every extra flag you posses.
To assist each player, you start
with two boulders which can be used to block your opponents path for
a short time. Press FIRE to release a boulder, but only at a
junction. Each player may only release a single boulder at a time
until their count down counter runs out.
THE CONSTRUCTION SET
Included in the CAR WARS
CONSTRUCTION SET is a built in track designer that allows you to
create up to five new tracks. More of this later.
The Flags you must beat your
All flags give 100 points. This is
a bonus flag with an extra 100 points.
The all important Chase flag. When
you collect this, go for a head on collision, you are invulnerable
and the computer car will lose a life. But hurry, you only have a
limited time and maybe the computer car will collect a chase flag,
then it is time to get out of the way. When you hold an active chase
flag, your opponent will drop a rock at a nearby junction and do a U
turn. Get him on the straight track - so much for computer artificial intelligence!
The Rock flag. Collecting this
will replenish your ability to drop rocks at a junction up to a
maximum total of two.
A Bonus flag worth 100 points.
The extra life flag. You want
this, don't let your opponent get it. The only way for you to
progress to the next level is to get your opponent to run out lives
before you do! (Pity that your computerised opponent gets a full five
lives on the next level, boy, you will need to be ruthless!)
The game status panel including
the right hand radar panel
Notice the direction and countdown
(27) of the chase arrows above. The computer is chasing you in this
example and is invulnerable if you collide!
Your score and status is the
right hand score above.
Simply drive your car around the maze to collect bonus
awards on the track, while avoiding crashing into the AI car on the
other screen. Both players lose a life when they crash, unless one is
holding the crash flag. The Crash Flag counts down toward zero,
unless another Crash Flag is collected. The object of the game is to
beat the score of the AI car.
By default, War Cars Construction
Set 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. 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
Q,W,E,R,T,Y,U,I,O (Not P, this is for Pause)
Keys in addition to movement and fire
Pause (within game)
Rotate track piece anti-clockwise
I (within track design)
Rotate track piece clockwise
O (within track design)
Back to choose track style
P (within track design)
If the Keys are not working, this
is because the Emulator has inadvertently met the test my program
makes for a Kempston Joystick connected. When I designed my games I
wrote a single input routine that runs a test to see if a Kempston
Joystick is connected and if that it true, then it disregards the
keyboard (Except for the extra keys detailed). In this case, you need
to select a Kempston joystick in your Emulators settings, so it can
actually use the joystick.
Try to beat the AI car to the
Flags. Collect 6 of them first for bonus points. Don't crash into the
AI car unless you are holding the Crash flag (holder don't lose a
life). (The pointer of the crash flag in the control panel shows
which car is being chased.) If the AI car runs out of lives first,
you will go to the next level and the game continues. You have 5
rocks which you can drop under your car on a corner. Press fire, then
move in the direction that you want to go in and the AI car can't
follow you. An ideal move, if the AI car is chasing you when it has
the Crash flag. The number of remaining rocks is shown in the control
panel, as is their countdown to expiring.
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© Clive Brooker 2001-2012,