Trackball

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Screenshots - Trackball

Trackball atari screenshot
Trackball atari screenshot

Information - Trackball

GenreBrain - Logical / PuzzleYear1993
LanguageSTOS BASICPublisher[no publisher]
ControlsMouseDistributor-
Players1DeveloperSerious Software
ResolutionLowLicensed from-
Programmer(s)

McNaughton, Ross

CountryUnited Kingdom
Graphic Artist(s)

McNaughton, Ross

SoftwareEnglish
Game design

McNaughton, Ross

Box / InstructionsEnglish
Musician(s)

[unknown]

LicensePD / Freeware / Shareware
Sound FX

[unknown]

Serial
Cover Artist(s)ST TypeST, STe / 1MB
MIDIVersion
Dumpdownload atari Trackball Download / MSANumber of Disks1 / Single Sided
Protection

Instructions - Trackball

TRACKBALL
=========
(c)1993 by Ross McNaughton
Requirements: 1Mb ST/STE. Low Resolution. TOS 1.62 or lower. Mouse controlled.

TRACKBALL is a puzzle game which requires quick thinking and fast reactions. 
Coloured balls roll along a track, and the aim is to guide a set number of 
balls on each level to the appropriate targets by changing the settings of 
junctions on the track. You are allowed to make a limited number of mistakes 
(losing balls or guiding them to targets of the wrong colour). On the later 
levels, up to five balls may be in play at once.

CONTROLS
--------
Press the space bar to begin the game. A box will appear asking for a 
password, to start on the first level just press RETURN.

The game itself is mouse controlled. The mouse controls a pointer on the play 
area, and junctions are changed by clicking on them with the left mouse 
button. I've tested the response with a standard Atari mouse and with a 290dpi 
replacement mouse. The Atari mouse offered more precise control but was a bit 
slow for some of the later levels. 

THE SCREEN DISPLAY
------------------
The left-hand side of the screen is the playing area. A status panel on the 
right displays the following statistics:
     LEVEL: The number of the current level.
    TARGET: The number of balls you must get 'home' to complete the level.
   CHANCES: The number of mistakes you can make before the game ends.
     SCORE: Your score.
   HISCORE: The score to beat.

THE COMPONENTS
--------------
1)   Straights, corners and crossovers: These work as you would expect.

2)   Targets: These are shown as rectangles of the appropriate colour. If a 
ball of a different colour goes into the target, you will lose one of your 
chances.

3)   Ball Killers: These appear as circles of red spikes. Any ball passing 
over a ball killer will be destroyed, losing one of your chances.

4)   Junctions: These are the only components which you can control. They 
appear as T-junctions, with one branch of the T connected to the stem to form 
a corner. A ball coming in either of these directions will go around the 
corner, a ball coming in from the other branch will keep going straight. The 
branch to which the stem is connected is marked by a green light and the other 
is marked by a red light.

If the above doesn't make sense, try it out! Go to the first level and play 
with the junctions. Once you can get a ball into each of the targets, you know 
all you need to about the controls.

On some levels, junctions are linked so that clicking on one will change the 
settings of others.

5)   Colour Changers: These appear as coloured pads in the middle of the 
track. Any ball passing over the changer will change to the colour of the pad. 
On later levels, these get an extra property, but I'll leave you to work that 
out for yourself!

6)   Score Bonuses: These are white cards with a number on; guide a ball over 
one to pick up the card and score that number of points.

7)   Bouncers: Straights with white 'springs' in the middle. Any ball hitting 
a bouncer will bounce back in the opposite direction.

8)   One-Way Straights: Straights with a white arrow. A ball moving in the 
direction of the arrow will keep moving, a ball moving against the arrow will 
reverse direction as if it had hit a bouncer.

9)   Auto Junctions: These are normal junctions but without the lights. 
Instead of being controlled by the player, they change automatically when a 
ball passes over them.

10)  Switcher: Looks like a crossover with a diamond in the middle. Balls 
entering a switcher will leave in a random direction. These can be really 
irritating!

THE LEVELS
----------
Some of the levels are pure puzzles where the main requirement is to work out 
the correct route, others are more arcade-orientated, where the routes are 
more obvious but the challenge is to set them up quickly enough. 

Each level has a six-character password which is related to the name and theme 
of the level. Completing a level earns a score bonus and an extra chance, so 
even when you know the passwords, you may prefer to start from an easier level 
to build up a good supply of chances.

If you complete the final level, a large bonus is awarded for each of your 
remaining chances.

PLAYING HINTS
-------------
Balls don't interact with each other; they can pass over each other and move 
along together quite happily.

Many of the levels can be set up so that only one or two junctions need to be 
changed depending on the colour of the next ball. Once you find the right 
configuration, these levels become much easier.

You can often trap balls in loops. This is useful for keeping balls safe while 
you set up the correct route, or on levels with several balls at once, for 
taking some of them out of play altogether so you have less to concentrate on. 
One dangerous side effect of loops is that it is quite easy to end up with two 
balls of different colours on top of each other.

Ross McNaughton, September 1993.
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