BLACK BOX is based on an original
board game which I once purchased several years ago but which now
no longer seems to be on sale. I felt that it was a good game for
computerisation and decided to write a version for the Atari to
enable me to play the game once more. The resulting program was
written entirely on New Years Day. What a way to start the year!
The game seems at first sight to
be quite complicated but a study of the 'rules' and a few practice
games should make things clear. The object is to deduce the position
of four 'ATOMS' placed at random on the grid, by firing 'RAYS' into
the box. The ATOMS will affect the RAYS in one of three different
ways depending upon their position on the grid and the position
of an ATOM can be deduced by the path the RAYS take which is indicated
by entry and exit points. The movement is similar to the actual
technique I used to determine atomic structure.
Use a joystick in port 1 to position
the green cursor on the perimeter of the box at a point where you
wish to fire a RAY. Press the joystick button and watch for the
exit point of the RAY if there is one. The RAY may be affected by
the ATOMS in any of the following ways
1) DEFLECTED off an ATOM (Path
2) ABSORBED by an ATOM in a direct
collision (Path 2)
3) REFLECTED back along its path
(Paths 3 & 4)
Markers will appear on the perimeter
of the grid depending on the action occurring. ABSORBTIONS will
be shown by a red asterisk at the entry point only. REBOUNDS are
shown by at white asterisk at the entry point and a coloured symbol
will indicate both entry and exit points for a RAY which exits from
a different point.
Once you think that you know where
an ATOM is placed you may move the cursor inside the grid and press
the fire button to mark the position. There are four ATOMS in all
and once you have marked four positions you may press START to see
if your guesses are correct. A yellow ATOM will indicate a correct
position whilst any ATOMS you failed to find will be shown in blue.
Any markers incorrectly placed will remain red.
SCORING. The object is to
obtain the lowest score. One point is scored for each RAY marker
and five points for each incorrectly placed marker. A full game
consists of 5 rounds.