Retro Bits: StarBall on the Atari ST

StarBall is a game with real balls.   —  Nick Peers   —  ST Format #63

Growing up if there was one game that was going to make w=me late for school it was going to be the pinball game StarBall.

For me this game has a big place in my heart, below you will find some details and I highly recommend you give it a go, or if you have played it before leave a comment and share your thoughts.

The Facts

DeveloperVolume 11
GenrePinball
ProgrammerDave Oldcorn
Graphics AssetsAndy Pomianowski
MusicThe Lost Boys (David Moss)
Released1994

ST Format Review

Issue 63 of ST Format gave the game a huge rating of 96%.

atari-st-format-issue-063_64

The Intro

With the exception of the Another World intro the StarBall intro was one of the best! Especially that tune by The Lost Boys (David Moss)

Game Play

Here is a little bit of me playing (badly)

The Features (Version 1.61) – From Read Me

  • Playing area of 204,800 pixels
  • More than 24 screen colours
  • Three sets of flippers
  • Stunning sound effects (for an ST)
  • TT, STe and Falcon sampled sound (with extra files and 1M memory)
  • No PSG music (so you can enjoy the good CD rather than than dodgy ST tunes)
  • Over 32 sprites on screen
  • 3 amazing bonus screens
  • 1 amazing secret barking mad bonus screen
  • LED Scoreboard
  • Rolling intro
  • Lots of surprise bonuses
  • Real-time SuperFlip Technology (on > 512k machines)
  • Quality sound tracker introduction
  • More than 1.2M of compressed data
  • Largely O/S cooperative
  • High score saved to disk
  • Just about fits in a normal 520ST (in an AUTO folder)
  • Hard-drive installable
  • Source code available
  • Falcon compatible with Enhanced Falcon Features:
    • Ultra-smoth 50 frames per second operation
    • Compatible with VGA monitors
    • Soudtracker music at 50 and 25 kHz during play, your choice of music!!
  • and….
  • 25K of readme file!

Version History

I love how they wrote the version history, all my code is going to follow this standard from now on.

“The universe began. Then Dave was born and he did create Starball version 1.10 and 15/6/96, which later transpired to be insufficiently perfect, and so he made it anew in version 1.20 which worked off HD on TOS version1.02, 1.2 and 1.63 and Mega STe’s, and did verily recordeth high score information in an extended high score table too. Then he didst succumb to the pressure exerted by mere mortals with the links to their deity known to the uninitiated as Email Accounts and lo, there was sampled sound as well, in version 1.40. Verily didst one of these mortals known as Thomas Binder supply him with some debugging information from a crash, and changes were made to reality to improve matters producing version 1.60. Further play testing revealed a flaw in reality, and 1.61 was made perfect.”

Wasn’t that a bit more interesting than normal version histories?

Links

Download version 1.61 from Atari Mania

Download version 1.10 from Atari Mania

2 thoughts on “Retro Bits: StarBall on the Atari ST”

    • Thanks for your work to make such a great game, it truly is one of my favorite games to this day.

      This game and a few others set me down a path to wanting to become a game developer. Along the way I discovered to really enjoyed working in IT Infrastructure. But I don’t think I would be were I am now if it wasn’t for games and the hundreds of hours of my teen years I spent coding and trying to create something as cool as what I was playing. Learning some computer science and gaining a passion for computers and IT as a result.

      Have a great Christmas
      Phil Eddies

      Reply

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