The Single Button Joystick

Tag: Beneath a Steel Sky

Beneath a Steel Sky, a return?

by on Jul.04, 2012, under Amiga, PC, Retro, Short updates

Some exciting news from Eurogamer.

A grim view of our own future!

‘Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons plans to make a new, original adventure game with Beneath a Steel Sky and Broken Sword developer Revolution Software, Eurogamer can reveal’ The comic book artist will be involved in the creation of the game “from the ground up”, and will direct the look of it, Gibbons told Eurogamer in an exclusive interview at the GameCityNights event in Nottingham last week. Gibbons declined to reveal any solid information on the game, but he promised “it will look like a Dave Gibbons game”.

Beneath a Steel Sky is one of the few adventure games I finished without a guide. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Monkey Island and all the others of that genre, but Gibbons and Revolution made a beautiful looking game that had puzzles that MADE SENSE!

This project is a few years away, but I have something else to look forward to now.

Here’s a video of the start, incase you forgot already.

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HD installation…. in 1994!

by on May.13, 2012, under Amiga, IBM and Compatibles, Modern, PC, Retro

Charming and difficult to install.

You kids of today have it so easy. I’m not going to completely generalise here, but when it comes to getting games on to your computer, things have really moved in the last twenty years.

Being able to play a game out of the box is astoundingly easy today, especially with games from larger game developers. Compared to consoles, PC games need some rudimentary knowledge about the mysterious workings of the computer box, but it is no longer rocket surgery to INSTALL A GAME.

I shall explain it at length.

Beneath a Steel Sky was unlike most games I wanted, In that I didn’t have to wait a few years to get my hands on it. It’s a point and click adventure game, set in a dystopian future/police state. I thought it was very well written had a great simple interface and features handrawn style art by Dave Gibbons, by then well-known for The Watchmen comics.

After buying Beneath a Steel sky, some time in 1994/95, I found it a ridiculous experience. The graphics, sound, gameplay and plot

Disks return!

were all top quality, don’t get me wrong but Beneath a Steel Sky suffered from a problem that now, even to me seems quite alien. It was dreaded disk swapping. This came about when video games became too large for the medium that carried them. Amiga 3 1/2 inch floppy disks were 880kb, and by 1994 games were getting to be much, larger than this. Beneath a Steel Sky, though a 15-20 hour adventure game, managed to keep its size to less than 14mb. This might sound tiny, but in those days it meant FIFTEEN separate floppy disks.

Most games thankfully kept the swapping of disks to a minimum. BASS was one, by simply having the earlier disks for the start of the game and later disks for the areas near the end, so while swapping was inevitable it didn’t rule your experience. Well designed swapping or not, disk accessing was taking up a large chunk of my time and I wanted to end it. There was a solution though.

After much pleading, I convinced my parents to let me install the game to our new Hard Drive. Two Hundred Megabytes of raw space was waiting to be used and, thankfully I was allowed to. When it came to getting those fifteen disks on said Hard Drive, my computery skills

Sleek and attractive?

were of no use. Either the instructions provided with the game weren’t entirely clear, or I was just doing it wrong, and the installation path I tried to use wouldn’t work. I don’t doubt my unfamiliarity with typed commands (I never really had used DOS or a C64) contributed to this, but I never expected to spend a whole afternoon just on the installation. Maybe it was two afternoons, or a week, I’m not sure anymore. I do know it was a very annoying process!

It was worth it in the end, finally finding the right path to install the damned game. It made all the difference, reducing the loading/disk swapping time to less than a second from nearly a minute. The HDD had a transfer rate of under 4mb a second. This was about 50 times faster than what my Amiga floppy disk drive could do (I remember the guy at the shop saying so). Current hard drives are, about 300 or 400 times faster than that HDD. Oh, how quaint that once powerful machine has become.

Further information on my old Amiga Hard Drive can be found here GVP II Series

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Moving my Steam folder.

by on Jul.21, 2011, under Modern, PC, Short updates

Foolishly I put in on my C drive last time. So now I gotta delete things and move other things to the new destination. I am following the instructions at this location.

If it fails me and I have to download shit again…


Fallout New Vegas on floppy!

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