Drone is a 3D graphic simulation game which takes place inside your computer. You are equipped with an MK type datatank, which can accelerate, brake, super-thrust, fire dual-logic cannons and pulse laser, through an optional on-screen sighting system.
Your mission as a free system warrior is to seek out and destroy the evil Rom guardian. Search for him as you race through the countless memory tunnels and grid zones. Avoid the error bugs and defend yourself against attacks from the guardian's drone fleet.
TROFF the talking Robot
Machine Code presentation and subroutines
Datatank Operations Manual
Optional Printer output
The Free System
The system is made up of two types of zones, the open grids and memory tunnels. The grid zones are where most dangers are encounted, but each must be successfully travelled through in your search for the Rom Guardian. Grid zones can vary in length and width, so care must be taken not to stray too far left or right into a zone wall.
When you reach the end of a grid zone, the D.R.A.G. will locate the nearest memory tunnel and steer the tank in. Once inside a memory tunnel you are lockaed in a central position to avoid contact with its walls, but may use your thrust, boost and brake. Memory tunnels vary in length and in the effect that they have on your tank (You will notice that some slow you down).
As mentioned above, you may use your Boost and Thrust controls in a tunnel, but beware - some are blocked and have to cleared with logic probes fired from your cannons.
The main screen projects an image received from sensors mounted above your cockpit, and are angled upwards for maximum scanning.
P1CM - Meaning Priority One Combat Mode: informs you that a drone attack is imminent and that power has been directed to the weapons systems.
COGR1 - Condition Green One: displayed when a drone has been destroyed and indicates that power is available for the drive unit. Will also be displayed if power has been absorbed from a fallen "BIT".
B.U.G. - Indicates that an Error Bug is in your current grid lane.
MALFUNCTION - Displayed in the following circumstances:
Laser Out due to overheating, or lack of power cells;
Sight Out when the sighting system develops a fault;
Erom Launch Aborted if an Erom is not launched shortly after being armed.
Inform you of the direction that your weapons are being brought to bear.
Displays a computer simulation of your forward view, and is your "windscreen" for driving the tank.
Gives a visual indication of the number of grid zones travelled through. Each mark indicates three zones.
Keeps count of drones destroyed.
Power Cell Meter
Informs you of power cells used by laser, but will give a false reading if "overarming" has occurred.
Flashes the word "INTERFACE" when the D.R.A.G. is ready for connection to the system grid. Once connection has been established "INTERFACE" will be displayed and the tank will start moving.
Inform you of impending contact with a zone wall. They have a very short range scanning ability, so evasive action must be taken immediately after the visual and audible warning has been given.
Automatically operational during a P1CM and indicates that the weapons system is ready for use. Providing that the laser is armed, a visual and audible signal will also be given when a drone is in range and weapon system interlocked. This rangefinder option can be turned off by pressing L.
Can be turned on or off during a PC1M. A Drone in a central position will be in range: beware of limited operational life.
Thrust - Connects the D.R.A.G. to the system grid and increases speed.
Brake - Reduces speed. Too much braking will cause a loss of grid interface and reconnection will be necessary.
Boost - Used to obtain immediate maximum speed once the tank is moving.
Shift Left & Right - Will steer the tank to avoid Bugs, Bytes and Zone Walls.
Weapons Direction - Aims the cannons and laser in all four directions.
Logic Cannons - One cannon mounted each side of the tank with unlimited ammunition. Normally fires shells but will automatically switch to probes when clearing blocked memory tunnels, and shooting Bits.
Pulse Laser - Dual-beam single fusion point weapon with a limited number of power cells. Pressing ARM LASER will load one power cell and activate the target scanners rangefinder. Care must be taken when arming to ensure that only one cell is loaded, or power will be wasted and you may malfunction the weapon.
Pressing Fire Laser will activate the beams and fire the laser. Again, care must be taken not to fire before fully armed, as a chain reaction may occur, wasting power cells and damaging the arming mechanism.
Erom Sytem - The Erom is your most powerful weapon and is used when reaching the Rom Guardian's Tower. Pressing Arm Erom will allow you to see through his tower defence shield and judge the best time to press Launch Erom. Once an Erom is armed, it must be launched shortly after or you risk a malfuntion. This will allow Rom time to energise another defence shield, and you will have wasted one Erom. Your supply of Eroms is limited by the distance travelled to the tower, and your luck in shooting Bits.
Drones always attack from the left hand side, and will be seen on your main screen. They must be destroyed using the weapons available before that have time to take aim and fire a Power Line, which will de-rez your tank.
If you successfully explode a Drone, its comanion Bit will try to return to the Rom Guardian's tower and inform him of your progress through the zones. You must attempt to shoot it down, using your logic cannons, before it realises what is happening and flies down. When a Bit is show down, its power is absorbed into the system grid and may provide the D.R.A.G. will the opportunite to rez-up an extra Erom. Unfortunately not all Bits carry enough power and more than one may be needed. Shooting Bits is very hard and more a matter of luck than judgment.
Bytes float above the grid floor and will be attracted to the metal surfaces of your tank if you drive too near them. They can be seen on your main screen, and be avoided by steering your tank round them. If you get too close they will attach themselves to you and cause a total D.R.A.G. crash, terminating your mission.
Bugs live in the open grid zones and survive by feeding on power drawn from the system grid. Direct contact with a Bug will cause an error in the operating system of your tank and render it useless. Extreme care should be taken not to drive into a Bug, and when taking evasive action remember that there may be more than one in any sector of the zone.
(To be read if in despair)
Words of Wisdom
When in open grid zones, try to remember that their width may vary, and that constant shifting in one direction will result in a zone wall collision
When a bug appears in your grid lane, always assume that there may be more than one
If a bug can be seen in your central monitor after a P1CM, shift around it as you interface. The same applies to bytes that are spotted just before a P1CM is initialised.
Always remember that the faster you are travelling the less time you have for evasive manoeuvering, and clearing blocked memory tunnels.
During combat with a drone, try not to let it manoeuver out of your on-screen sight: this will give you more time to aim and fire.
Note that if you malfunction your laser through overarming, or lack of power cells, you also lose your rangefinder - and then if your sight develops a fault...
Assume a policy of "Destroy and run" in your mission. If you are stationary too long the drones will attack with an increasing frequency, and eventually with your range and exact location pre-computed, defence is made almost totally impossible.
On reaching the Rom Guardian's Tower, be aware that he will sense your lack of training if you have incurred too many Erom Launch malfunctions, and may decide to detach you from the system.
The Dragon 32 is not a dedicated arcade machine and has a relatively slow keyboard. In this respect, best results will be achieved by pressing rather than jabbing the keys when using your turbo, brake, shift left, etc.
After the titles and machine code has been loaded, follow the instructions given by the program.
If you have a printer connected to your computer, turn it off during the game and on when the Rom Guardian has been hit and starts to rotate.
If you want a faster game, and your computer will accept it, load the program in the following way:
154 POKE 65494,5:MOTOR ON:AUDIO ON (ENTER)
176 POKE 65495,5 (ENTER)
If you require the printed end of game hard copy, insert POKE 65494,5 at the beginning of line 295.
This game was mentioned in the following articles: