Nighthawk - a journey back

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Original author
A copy of Jason Nunn's
last Nighthawk page

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Birth of a Paradroid

First, I must mention the original author:

By Jason Nunn

So, who am I, and why am I messing with Jason's code? That's what I'm here to explain. Jason Nunn had decided "this project has now matured" - only, I had some features I wanted to add to it. I asked for his permission to continue this project, and he gave his blessing. So don't get me wrong - I am only continuing a work, I have not started it. It remains Copyrighted to Jason under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

Aspects of the original Paradroid game which Jason removed for Nighthawk:

  • inertia - takes a bit of time getting up to speed. or to slow to a stop
  • only information for robot classes the same or below your own were available at the "terminal"
  • Ship plans were also available at the "terminal", as were plans of the current ship "level"
  • use of the same ship plan throughout, with the only difference being the robots that populated each ship.
  • Custom sounds were used for each ship level's background - i.e. engineering differed from Bridge
  • Stun from some 700 series robots - all robots within visual range got "hit"
These facets were either modified significantly, or never included in the nighthawk code by Jason.

Features added by Jason:

  • his own sound engine "FunkTracker"
  • simplified the level structure HEAPS, but gave each "ship" a totally different look
  • simplified the "robot battle" game - the "game-within-a-game" to transfer to another robot
  • reduce the level of information you could access at the terminal to robot information only
  • change the robots available
  • replaced the demo mode

Features added by me:

  • diagonal movement - means now you can dodge sideways around corners better
  • cleaned up the codebase very slightly so it compiles on a modern Linux distribution.
  • "GRAB" the mouse pointer, to make it (and therefore, the focus) stay within the window

Of all the minor issues I had with the game, the mouse pointer focus was my BIGGEST complaint - I'd accidentally move the mouse outside the window, only to miss the 719 I was trying to shoot at, having HIM kill ME instead! Oh NO!

Future ideas:

  • Convert the codebase over to use SDL instead - Jason is interested in this possibly for version 3 of NightHawk.
  • Change sounds - we need SOUNDS, folks! And we need them legally.
  • Look at 3d-ising the game - perhaps give these robots some shape.
  • Bring back the original Paradroid shiplevels as one of the levels you can play.

So now you no longer have to wait five minutes for the game to load. It's just a case of clipping in a modeline to your XF86Config line, installing nighthawk, and you're ready! Soon, you won't have to worry about the window being so small - it'll start using better graphics.

The best thing of all is: when you've exhausted all of the ten levels that there are, you can create your own! Yes! I did this already, and am quite satisfied with the results. You can take a look at what I did, and maybe even write your own levels

Special thanks to Adrian Bridgett
As for Debian .debs, nighthawk is alive and well in the Debian tree, maintained, as always, by Adrian Bridgett (bridgett at debian dot org) For a chance to play this game on your woody or sid, just apt-get install nighthawk. Currently, the Debian project will NOT include the changes I have made, but I'll be sending off a diff file to Adrian when I finally get a version built using other sounds. Don't worry that your version shows 1.0-14, it's just what they have decided to number the nighthawk at. Their reasons are that they didn't want to include the Star Wars FX, being copyrighted material. The same applies to nighthawk under Ubuntu, though they've at least included most of the 2.3 codebase, just removed the sound engine and sounds so they keep sweet. Once I include my own set of sounds, the restrictions will hopefully be removed.



Okay - news has shifted to here - get the news until I find a better place for it. The other place to look is the sourceforge news.


Document CopyRight © The Viking, 2004, soon to be under the Open Documentation License.

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