Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 5, NO. 4 / AUGUST 1986

Game of the Month


by Eddie Carstens

Part Lunar Lander and part Joust; Bumblbee is an intriguing flying game that you'll find a lot trickier than it seems. This BASIC program works on all 8-bit Atari computers of any memory size, with disk or cassette.

Buzz, buzz, buzz! You are a Bumblbee-a flower-eating mutant bumblebee-and your straightforward goal is to remain airborne forever.

However; your food intake has drastic effects on your ability to keep flying. Lose too much weight and you'll go to bee heaven. Gain too much weight and you'll probably end up in the other place. You must maintain a delicate balance and a reasonably good sense of direction while avoiding poisoned flora in order to keep alive and buzzing.

You'll need a joystick to keep the bee away from the top and bottom of the screen, from which it will bounce like a jai alai ball. You get only three bounces before the bee dies and the game is over. And don't think you can take refuge in the sides of the screen either-they're flypaper.

It's easy to tell a good flower from a bad one. The red ones are nutritious-you'll be awarded 10 points per meal (and an extra bounce off a side for every 50 points), but you'll gain an extra gram of body weight. The green ones are toxic, and contact with them makes a bee giddy. Toxic nectar changes your direction, reversing both horizontal and vertical velocity. You could easily be thrown into other green flowers if you aren't careful. Hit a green flower on your last bounce and you're one dead Bumblbee.

Your Bumblbee can only buzz hard enough to support 10 grams. In fact, three to six grams is the optimum weight for flight control. Above six, you'll be fat and difficult to maneuver. And below three, you could starve. You don't want to float away like a helium balloon, but you. certainly don't want to hit the surface at any great speed either.

Lunar Lander fans will be on familiar ground with Bumblbee. The kind of control between eating and weight maintenance is the same as that between rocket thrust and the moon's gravity. The joystick button produces a flapping noise, and the function is similar to the rocket thrust in that it makes the bee hover and prevents it from falling.

Type in Listing 1, BUMBLBEE.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN it. Choose one of the five speeds by pressing the [OPTION] key and one of the 10 levels of bee metabolism by pressing the [SELECT] key. Now press [START] and you're off.

The gravity algorithm in lines 250-340 works by simply adding G (grams) to the velocity of the Y coordinate. Horizontal movement is adjusted by adding G to the velocity of the X coordinate. The weight decreases at the metabolism rate you choose before the game starts.

I came up with Bumblbee by accident one day while I was trying to simulate Joust by using a dot in Graphics 7 to represent the rider. It looked more like a bee to me. I then introduced "food" and "obstacles," which soon became the red and poisonous green flowers.

To create the Graphics 0 line at the top which contains the score, high score, number of bounces and weight in grams, I POKEd a 66 (64+2) into the fourth byte of the display list. To print characters on this line I first had to POKE 87,0, then PRINT, then POKE 87,7. Once I had added speed selection, sound, drawing and scrolling "Game Over," the program was finished.

Eddie Carstens is a high school Senior from Rolla, Missouri. Bumbibee's acceptance by Antic caused such a local stir that a story about it appeared in his hometown newspaper

Listing 1: BUMBLBEE.BAS Download