31 Mar

Bruce Webster pnws j00!

Bruce Webster is a floor wax AND a cake icing. He’s a lawyer right now, but once upon a time he coded computer games. More precisely, Apple II games.

Or game.

Sundog.

sundog_a

Look, the plot isn’t in the way, but consists of the following. Your privateer uncle died and left you a beatup old ship called the Sundog. He had a commission to help defrost some colonists on the planet Jondd, in a place called Banville. Yes, defrost. They’re frozen, see? So there are various stages–at each stage you have to bring them stuff to help get them going. Stage one they need four things: wood/fibers, seeds/sprouts, grains/cereals, and fruits/vegetables. Anyway, you have to repair your ship, and run all over the local systems buying low and selling high to fulfill your commission.

Sounds pretty old and tired doesn’t it? Well, you’ve got to give Sundog some credit for being among the first to ever implement gameplay like that. And secondly, it’s very satifying to play. I never had an ST or an II, but I still pick this game up every once and a while and play a bit. I don’t really know why–I’m just attached to it.

Here’s the interior of the ship.

sundog_b

There are actually several stations here where you might have to repair ship’s systems with spares–such as during battle.

Here’s the warp drive system interface. Any one of those 16 components might blow. And there are also some high price items that can replace some of these and give you higher functions. Such as the Ground Scanner module, that will allow you to land at ANY city, not just a space port.

susundog_c

Here I am driving my “pod” around town. Helps keep you from getting mugged, as happens pretty frequently on foot. However, don’t forget to park in a secure parking lot–or someone will break into your pod and clean out all your stuff. (Don’t park in the street either, or you will probably get a ticket. No, I’m serious 🙂

sundog_d

Once, I played it most of the night in a server room watching software install.

There’s not much in the way of graphics (although the Atari ST version is much better–more in a minute), and there’s the odd barrier to smooth gameplay (why can’t I sell more than one thing to one person?), and what’s up with trade goods locations (does it make sense that urbanized planets only sell like woods/fibers and some little nowhereville has the highest tech stuff)? Oh, and the joystick-like control isn’t great.

But these are just nitpicks. The game, old as it is, is quite immersive. How it pulls it off, I’ll never know.

If you really want all the info on the game, go to http://www.lukin.com/sundog/

If you want to play it, well, that’s something different. You need an emulator. I suggest STeem, the ST emulator. You’ll need the Atari OS roms. And lastly, you’ll need an ST disk image. The one I have has Bubble Ghost on it as well. w00t.

Go here to get STeemed http://steem.atari.st/

Don’t forget the OS images http://steem.atari.st/download.htm

And lastly, from one of the best sites in the known universe, get Sundog itself http://www.the-underdogs.org/game.php?id=1429

Funny thing is, I tried to find an Amiga ADF version of Bubble Ghost and came up empty. My brother brought one up from Nashville once on a visit when I was about 14, but somehow he took all the game disks back with him and could never find that one again.

One thought on “Bruce Webster pnws j00!

  1. Thanks for the kind words, but I must clarify a few things. First, Wayne Holder was co-designer of Sundog (though I did most of the programming on the original Apple II version). Second, the Atari ST version was done by Wayne, Doug Bell, Mike Newton, and Andy Jaros (though it did make use of some of the original Apple II source code). Third, I’m not a lawyer, I just work for them from time to time (as an expert witness).

    And for more SunDog goodies, you can go to sundog.brucefwebster.com and sundog.sourceforge.net. There’s also more info in the Wikipedia entry (SunDog:_Frozen_Legacy). ..bruce..

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