ARKAPONG

NEWS UPDATE 2013! As of this month I'm doing a rewrite of this game for the android platform! I'm only a few days in development but look at the alpha version running on android already!

It's fun to see that allmost 15 years later it's not on the market yet and since we we're the original inventors of the game it's only right to actually make it happen now that Iphone's and Android markets are booming. Also I didn't do any optimization yet and it already runs more smoothly than it in the 90's on a desktop pc . Anyway this leaves room fro doing cool stuff with Box2D fysics engine etc. Which will give us more specials and a more versatile game! We might not have a space odessey but we'll have a pong game that's not so lame anymore .

Check out arkapong.com for updates etc.

Read all about how it was invented way back in the 90's when smartphone's only existed in our dreams and the desktop pc I owned was 8 times slower than the phone I carry in my pocket daily now

The year was 1998. The high end desktop pc I had at my dormetory was a pentium 166Mhz. We programmed in turbo pascal in those days and bit banged in mode 13H. Which had a whopping resolution of 320x200 with 256 colors. But it was easy a pointer to an adress in memory and just dump bytes in it which give you a pixel with that color on your screen. Using this technique we wrote a game one day which is a combination of Arkanoid and Pong and dubbed it ArkaPong.

It was the first real fun to play game I wrote together with Anthony Liekens. Anthony actually wrote most of the code of the 2 player mode and brought me into an OO experience inside pascal, yes we even had objects in those days! We used objects for the paddles, balls and bricks. Sam Tulfer another guy from my student league back in the days helped to think of game specials and jokes while drinking lots of beers and playing chess with himself. He had no programming skills or interests whatsoever because he was studying Physics at the time. But he liked the idea of us creating a game (or wanted to see if we could actually do it) so he tagged along. Funny how he ended up working in IT when he was older (maybe that magical saturday had something to do with that ). He probably claims to know a lot about programming now, like all managers do it with that saffy talk about MySQL, J2EE and UML. Anthony and me know better .

Here are some screenshots of arkapong running in Mac OS X (Download for complete Mac OS X package is below):

  • The opening screen. Recall we only could draw pixels. So we wrote code to display strings with a font that we generated using our own font designer. This designer then generated a large lookup table which we inserted in our source code so we had a single arkapong executable containing all graphics and was only 17K in size! That's less in bytes than just 1 of the screenshots below on this page .
  • Game in one player mode (I actually added 1 player mode myself a weekend later when I wanted to play alone. Also added the high scores saving and loading and added the closing screen .
  • In 2 player mode this game kicks! When you have the shooter special you can kill your oponents lives, now thats a laugh ;D. Anyway al sorts of specials and you just keep playing untill all balls are gone and the winner is the one with most points ofcourse.
  • Closing screen, ah man still remember that rainy saturday vividly. At the time we didn't know it but it would become one of those legendary saturdays :
  • DOSBOX_projects.zip : contains all files to run arkapong in Mac OS X including dosbox emulator (only 5Mb!). When you unpack the zipfile (anywhere, here it is done on desktop). Just open the directory DOSBOX_projects and click on the dosbox application and type arkapong [ENTER] to start the game!

  • Here is the sourcecode (warning this is ugly stuff) arkapong.pas. More pascal sources (like my 3d engine are on the pascal projects page here). And if you are running on a different system you should download a different dosbox executable.