Sinclair User5th June 1991
Published in Sinclair User #115
3D Construction Kit
I know what you're thinking. "Twenty five quid for a computer game, you've got to be pulling my leg with a tug boat!" But don't be put off straight away, 3DCK is not your everyday piece of disposable software. Domark have created a masterpiece in the home computer gaming market.
3-D Construction Kit is a high-tech package that not only lets you create three dimensional worlds and interact with them, but also lets you create slick, professional-looking games.
The package gives you all the tools with which to build your own games world. Imagine building your own castle complete with secret passages, traps, drawbridge and moat. Perhaps you'd like to build an entire alien habitat or a carbon copy of your house and actually be able to walk or even fly around from room to room?
Over four years in production, 3DCK lets you dive into your dreams and bring them to the screen. A wise gamer once said "Don't condemn a game by the size of it's manual." And that's good advice here because this instruction book would not look out of place in the Old Testament! If you're the sort who refers to their manual when loading a 48k a on a 128k Speccy, then you're already fighting an uphill battle, but those thoughtful people at Domark have provided a step-by-step tutorial video that lets you build your confidence slowly.
On first confrontation with the main "world" window you will be horrified to find that their are 33 separate icons to click on. Many lead to another directory or fable, but don't panic. Most of the commands (Copy, Create, Shade, Delete etc) speak for themselves. The best way to tackle this apparent nightmare is to switch off the computer and turn on the video.
The kit is fashioned on the Freescape system (as used in Castle Master). All building work takes place in "areas'. You chose your shape from the table and it materialises in the window on the area's surface. Once in view you can edit the 3D form to suit your needs, squashing and stretching it until you're happy to move on to the next addition. For all the cowboy builders there is the option to back and make any amendments later. Practice, as they say. makes perfect.
Unfortunately in the Spectrum version there isn't any colour so we have to make do with shading our creations. This can be as good, if not better, as the colour option, just as black and white photography can be infinitely more dramatic than it's colour counterpart.
What really makes 3DCK exciting is the Freescape Command Language. With these simple programing commands you are able to interact with your world by picking up objects and carrying them or, by using the GOTO command, move to a different area. For example if you walked into a door, instead of bumping your head, you could pre-program the command GOTO into the memory. Once you reached the appointed pixel you would be placed safety on the other side. This language lets you shoot objects to reveal things, move objects around, open draws a infinitum, in fact just about anything you'd expect to be able to in a game you'd shelled out quids and quids for!
If you find that you're not as imaginative as the video would lead you to believe then there's a ready a shoot 'em up adventure for you to explore, but once you've discovered the awesome capabilities of 3DCK you won't want to spend too much time on that. The only limit is your imagination say Domark, my limitation is that there's only 24 hours in a day!
A stunning achievement on the home computer made even more impressive by it's ease of use, manual and video. 3D Construction Kit will nurture the beginnings of many a new programmer. So fork out for it once and you could be buying whole games designing career!
Label: Domark Memory: 48K/128K Price: £24.99 Tape, £24.99 Disk Reviewer: Steve Keen
Building your own games? The possibilities are endless and so's the fun. If you want to buy one product to keep you glued to your Spectrum for eons, then buy this one.