Last month was a real challenge, which once more ended up with me just about getting the playable-ish version out in the nick of time. Thankfully, this month, 7, is shaping up to be a lot easier. Mined Out, a Sinclair BASIC game by Ian Andrew, pre Incentive Software, published by Quicksilva, and rumoured to be an influence on the classic Windows Minesweeper no less.
I’ve decided to take a different approach to document this one, as it’s relatively easy, I’m going to do a video recording of the entire development, start to finish, and publish on YouTube as a sequence of time-lapse videos showing the progression.
Fortunately, being BASIC, and an early release before all the very clever loaders and protection systems were popular, it’s quite easy to get hold of the original BASIC code. Though Ian did put some tricky bits in there to try to prevent nefarious folks tinkering with the game, “protection by annoyance”, he’s used Sinclair BASIC keywords in various places, in both upper and lower case, as variable names, to obfuscate and prevent a simple text transfer. I’m sure this was a reasonably useful tactic back in the day when people had to use the extremely limited Spectrum BASIC editor on a rubber-keyed machine, but it’s no match for VIM!