Sunday, 19 January 2014

Homage to the Commodore Pet: Ouranos aka Weather War

Another source of good Basic programming ideas is the Commodore Pet.  One of the games I came across while researching the programs available for that classic 8-bit computer was "Ouranos" by Kathy Higby.  Here is one of the videos I viewed:

"Ouranos," the Greek weather god, is the official name of the program.  But most people seem to know it as "Weather War", or by its subtitle "Take the enemy by storm!"  It is a charming and unique variation on the "Duelling Cannons" theme.  I thought I might be able to port the program from Pet Basic, but I couldn't find any source code that I could easily lay my hands on.  On one of the videos the videographer tantilizingly breaks and lists the program and I thought perhaps I could obtain some insight into how it worked by capturing stills of the video.  This is the kind of thing I was able to obtain:

Unfortunately, the video only showed a partial listing and all the embedded control codes just intimidated the heck out of me.  Also, someone mentioned in their description of the game that Higby had to use a special machine language routine to get the flashing lightening effect, so I decided just to do a complete remake of the program myself.  I had to watch a bunch of videos to try to get the full gist of it, as well as read every description I could locate.  I think I've been able to recreate all the aspects of the program including the flashing lightening effect by way of the MC-10's POKE49151,64 and the Coco's SCREEN 0,1 command.  Here's a video of my son and his friend playing it:

One thing I changed was the title of the random weather event from "Act of Nature" to "Act of God," which seemed more appropriate to me since the latter is how my insurance policy refers to such events.  If anyone who has played the original could let me know if I've left anything important out I would really appreciate it.  I've now ported it to the Coco ( and Dragon 32/64 (


  1. Wow, you're doing some great work! Impressed with how many games you've created in a short amount of time. You must have a good set of reusable subroutines.

    I haven't made it all the way through your site yet. I'm hoping that you have an entry showing your tools and workflow.

    BTW, I'm another Canadian, and I own 2 MC-10's. Love them, but I don't have much free time lately.

  2. I have a directory (G-Soft/utils) on the Yahoo Group for the TRS-80 MC-10 ( where I have stored some of my most used routines. I have routines for word wrapping to 32 characters, randomizing the random number seed, etc. I also have a host of routines, such as for polling the keyboard quickly using an 255 element array, peeks to memory and ON/GOTO, etc, which are simply in my head because of continuous re-use. I've been posting many of these programs at least since 2006 in various ways on the net, but some of them I've been working on since 1983/84, so they're not all strictly speaking "new." Nice to hear from another Canuck MC-10er. Ta for the kind words.