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This page last updated:
08 Jan 2016

      Well, not famous as such, more like completely unknown actually. In my youth, as I've already mentioned, I got very into programming my TI99 and had a couple of my programs published in Home Computing Weekly. Later I also had a C64 program published by them, and a few very small Atari 8-bit programs that I wrote for Atari User. I still have the original magazines that they were all published in and some of the correspondence from those magazines about the programs.

Texas Invaders for the unexpanded TI99/4A
      This was the first program I had published and the thrill of seeing my name and my program in a computer magazine was unimagineable! It didn't matter that I got paid peanuts (£12.00!) for the hours and hours of work that went into it; I was published! It appeared in Home Computing Weekly number 33, dated Oct 18-24, 1983.

      This was how it was described by them:

You're alone . . . and here come the invaders

Earth is under threat again. Armed with a laser cannon, you face hoards of ememy fighters. Type in Eric Liddell's game for the TI99/4A before we're conquered.

    Waves of invaders are on their way to conquer the planet. Only you, armed with a laser cannon, can fight them off.
    My Texas Invaders game runs on the unexpanded TI99/4A.
    To ensure the game is fast moving, the invaders do not move and sound is kept to a minimum.
    But if you do happen to miss an invader you lose one of your three lives.

      The actual listing of the program followed these paragraphs, which made it sound an awful lot better than it was, along with several box-outs which HCW liked to include with every listing giving details of how the program worked, a list of variables and hints for converting to other versions of basic.

      If you'd like to try this out in an emulator you can click the link below to download a text file of the program listing.

Texas Invaders Text File

Texas Invaders Revenge for the unexpanded TI99/4A
      Light headed with success, I submitted a few more programs to HCW, but they were rejected as not being good enough for inclusion. This was a bit demoralising, as I'd put a lot of work into my programming and thought they were better than Texas Invaders. Presumably the HCW editor had other ideas. Undaunted though, I wrote a sequel to Texas Invaders called, unoriginally, Texas Invaders Revenge. I submitted this one and it was accepted! Fame again! All my hard work was worth it (HCW thought it was worth £20.00 this time). Sadly, this was the last TI program of mine to be published in HCW.

      This is how it appeared in Home Computing Weekly number 48, dated Feb 7-13, 1984.

It's your turn to save the world . . . again

Do you remember Eric Liddell's Texas Invaders program in HCW? Here's the follow-up, a more sophisticated program called (guess what?) Texas Invaders' Revenge. It runs on the unexpanded TI99/4A.

   Are you ready to save the world again? Texas Invaders' revenge is a more sophisticated follow-up to my earlier program, published in HCW and called Texas Invaders (what else?).
   It runs on the standard TI99/4A.
   You control a laser base at the extreme left of the screen and you can only move up and down.
   The invader starts off on the right and moves up and down at random, slowly advancing on you.
   It is under the protection of it's mother ship which occasionally takes pot shots at you with one of it's two powerful lasers.
If you get in it's way it's tough luck, the world's doomed. But you can always play again.
   Your laser has an automatic range adjuster so the invader is never out of range.
   If you score a hit you get 10 points and the invader returns to it's side of the screen and starts again. If you allow it to reach the same column as you then it's tough luck for you.
   Keys E and X move up and down respectively and you fire with the full stop or greater than symbol keys.

      If you'd like to try this out in an emulator you can click the link below to download a text file of the program listing.

Texas Invaders Revenge Text File
8x8 Character Designer
      I wrote this in 2002 when I was rediscovering the TI99/4A as a programming exercise for my own amusement. It's something I wish I'd written back in the day when I was trying to program my own games. It would have saved me loads of time as I was designing characters on graph paper and looking up the character codes in the manual before transcribing them into my programs. I think this would have been a publishable program too, back then. I offer it here for free for anyone who wants to use it.
Character Designer Text File
Sincere thanks to Ciro Barile, of the TI-99 Italian User Group, who kindly converted my programs from the original cassettes into both text files and disk images. I have linked to the individual text files here as it was easier for me to simply copy the text and paste it into an emulator. A link to the TI-99 Italian User Group can be found on the links page.
Those Magazines...
Front cover of HCW 33 in which Texas Invaders was published. Click image for larger view.

TI99/4A software reviewed in this issue:
Walls And Bridges/Zombie Mambo by Stainless Software. (Actually three full, linked games so not as expensive as it first seems).
Caterpillar by Firefly.
Copter Captive by Byteware.

Front cover of HCW 48 in which Texas Invaders Revenge was published. Click image for larger view.
TI99/4A software reviewed in this issue:
Diver by Warwick.
Bouncer by Extended Software.
Beetle by Stainless Software.
Spudz by Christine Computing.
TNT by SP Software.

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