Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 6, NO. 5 / SEPTEMBER 1987

Game of the Month

Be the Eggman

Dodge those birds or get knocked out of the sky

By Wade Marshall

Be The Eggman is an intriguing, non-war game that appeals to players of all ages. You'll fly a jetpack to the top of a tree and collect the rarest eggs in the world--if the dangerous, protective birds don't knock you out of the sky. This BASIC program works on all 8-bit Atari computers of any memory size, with disk or cassette.

Tired of collecting stamps or coins? Why not collect eggs? There could be big bucks in it for a hotshot Eggman.

You have just discovered the rarest eggs in the world at the top of a very high tree--slippery elm, so you can't climb it. Even more dangerous, the protective Gloot birds are flying overhead. You must levitate to the very top of the tree and bring the eggs back down again, using only your hi-tech jetpack.

It seems simple--get an egg by reaching the top branch of the tree and safely return to the pad at the bottom. (The excitement of taking possession of an egg will make you change color.) If you collide with a Gloot bird, you'll lose one of your five lives. But if you get all three eggs, you'll advance to a higher level where you'll be forced to fend off more birds.

After the flapping "BIRD EGGS" title screen appears, press [START] to begin the game. If this is your first trip of the day, your screen will be somewhat dim until your jetpack is fully warmed up. When the screen brightens, you're ready to go.

To fly your jetpack, just press the joystick in any direction. Gravity will pull you down.


Type in Listing 1, BIRDEGGS.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN it.

If you have trouble typing the speciai characters in line 5027, don't type them in. Listing 2 will create the hard-to-type line for you. Type in Listing 2, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN it. When RUN, Listing 2 creates a disk file called LINES.LST. To merge the two programs, type NEW and then LOAD BIRDEGGS.BAS and ENTER LINES, LST. Be sure to SAVE a copy of the completed program before you RUN it.

CASSETTE OWNERS: Before you RUN Listing 2, you must modify line 70. Change "D:LINES.LST" to "C:".

The Gloot birds, the eggs and the background are made of ANTIC 4 characters. The eggs, for example, are redefined asterisks.

ANTIC 4 (GRAPHICS 12 on XL and XE computers) is a four-color medium-high resolution character mode. In this mode, each pixel of a character can be in any of four different colors. For an example of this, LIST line 6060 and change each 84 into a 244. This switches the color of the lower left half of the egg character.

Moreover, ANTIC 4 characters are treated as GRAPHICS 0 characters. This allowed me to PRINT a series of [INSERT], [DELETE], and [DOWN ARROW] characters to move an entire line of birds.

I stored a series of these characters in the variable string PATN$ for easy switching of the movement patterns between the different levels of birds (see line 20). Intermediate levels can be seen by changing the variable LEVEL in line 5017 to any number in between 1 and 10. Level 10 has 25 birds (50 moving characters) coming at you.

I found that young children like to watch and play this simple but challenging game. Older players also like this game because you don't need to be a wizard with the joystick in order to reach the higher levels. Patience and anticipation are more important.

Canadian high school student Wade Marshall is 17 and lives in Leduc, Alberta. This is his first submission to Antic. He has been programming the 8-bit Atari since 1983.

Listing:BIRDEGGS.BAS Download