Patrolling the Skies with Sky Patrol
By Scott Stilphen
The playing area is 2 screens high and 27 screens wide.
Base/launch(?) – you start the game here. There is one screen to the left, and 25 to the right.
Balloon – you start one cloud level up directly over your base
Clouds – each level has a different wind speed and direction (left or right). Faster winds blow at higher altitudes. The sky has 9 levels of clouds/wind currents. 5 are visible at the start.
Trees – all 3 parallax-scrolling levels worth
Tanks – presumably meant to be a hazard for players to avoid. They currently cannot fire and remain stationary, although the treads show otherwise.
Factories(?) – purpose unknown.
They are currently 'active', as evident by the activity in the windows.
Hangar(?) – purpose unknown
Mystery object - purpose unknown. A destination base/landing? The man constantly waves his hands.
In looking through the code, I found there are some unused graphics that appear to be meant for Sky Patrol (that don't appear during the game):
Trees (these are found in the code with the graphics for the other trees)
This is a rendering done by Imagic artist Michael Becker showing what the game was to have looked like. If you notice, many of the objects shown here (hangar, tank, factory, ack-ack gun) are in the game. The biplane and enemy dirigible/Zeppelin weren't yet implemented. It's also possible the right set of "storm clouds" (above) are actually parts of the enemy dirigible.
Also notice the train graphic to the left of the score counter. It's the same train that appears in Imagic's Shootin' Gallery game (shown at left)! What's even more strange is that ALL of the graphics from Shootin' Gallery are in the code (everything from byte offset $0af0 to $0fee is the same in both games)! Brad doesn't recall why this was, but it's possible he used parts of Shootin' Gallery when starting on Sky Patrol. Other programmers have done this, in an effort to save bytes and help cut down on development time.
Below are screen shots from the PBS show, Enterprise, which showcased Imagic in one of their episodes (click on photos for larger pictures). Near the end of the show, there is footage showing programmer Brad Stewart and Imagic president Bill Grubb discussing some ideas for the game (including storm clouds) while riding in a hot air balloon!
Here's the PBS Enterprise show:
Here's my interview with Brad Stewart.
Return to main menu