Abandonware DOS title

Laserwars manual

                          LASERWARS DOCUMENTATION

                             Rod Derousseau &
                               Chris Stewart

                      Last Updated: November 4, 1994

Legal Notices

     The authors hereby disclaim all warranties relating to this
software, whether expressed or implied, including without
limitation any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness
for a particular purpose. We will not be liable for any special,
incidental, consequential, indirect or similar damages due to
loss of data/damage to hardware or any other reason, even if we
have been advised of the possibility of such damages.

      This program is released as "shareware" by the authors. It
is copyrighted and all rights and ownership are kept with the
author. You may use it indefinitely. You may distribute this
Shareware copy of Laserwars freely as long as it
is distributed in its entirety, no modifications are made, and it
is not sold!

                             TABLE OF CONTENTS

OVERVIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1

COMPATIBILITY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1

THE MAIN MENU. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1

CLIPBOARD - SECOND ICON. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2

GRID TOOLS - THIRD ICON. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2

SETTINGS - FOURTH ICON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3

PLAYING THE GAME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     Selecting Players . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     Sequence of Play. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     Icon Functions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
     Other Game Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6

GAME STRATEGY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6

FINAL COMMENTS AND THANK-YOU'S . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6

     Laserwars is mainly a game of strategy. Luck may be involved
depending on the options that are set.
     The game is played on a square grid. There are two players.
They can be any combination of human or computer players. The
objective is to kill the other player by hitting him with your
laser. Each player has a ship which he can rotate and move. In
addition mirrors are placed on the grid to deflect the lasers.
Each mirror that is hit amplifies your laser, therefore allowing
you to get closer to your enemy and kill him. There is also an
option to play with bombs and blocks, which make the game more
interesting. There are many parameters that may be set for varied
gameplay. The game is mostly mouse driven, with a few text
prompts here and there.
     The easiest way to learn the game is to just play for a
while. You will soon get the hang of it.

     Laserwars has been played on several different machines. It
has functioned well under OS/2, Windows 3.x, Windows NT as well
as its native DOS. To play using the computer player at level 1
or above we recommend at least a 386.
     Laserwars will only run on 286 machines or higher. It WILL
NOT run on a machine earlier than a 286.
     Laserwars requires that a mouse driver be loaded at run
time. It also requires at least a VGA card and monitor.

     From the main menu there are 5 selections that can be made.
You may make a selection by clicking the left mouse button on any
icon. This is true throughout the game. By hitting the left mouse
button, you always select the icon your mouse cursor is under.
Following is an explanation of each of those items.

Green Light - First Icon:     This icon begins a game of
                              laserwars. Several screens follow
                              asking for information.
Clipboard - Second Icon:      This icon takes you to a list of
                              the players stored on disk, and
                              their stats.
Grid Tools - Third Icon:      This icon takes you to the Grid
                              Editor. Here you can make your own
                              preset grids and save them for
Settings - Fourth Icon:       This icon brings up the Laserwars
                              configuration screen. Here you can
                              change settings affecting game
Exit Door - Fifth Icon:       This icon exits from Laserwars!

     When you select this icon, a list of currently stored
players is brought up. There are two useful icons here. (The
third icon takes you back to the main menu.) The first one, 'Add
Player', adds a new player to the list. This way you can use this
player in all your games so that a record of his wins, losses and
other stats are saved. The second icon, 'Kill Player', will
delete a player that is currently on the list. Note that the
prompts are case sensitive, so if use you use capitals to enter
the name, you will need to use capitals to delete it also.

     When you select this icon, you are first prompted for a grid
file name. A list of the available files appears on the left. You
may click on any of these file names or type in a new one. If you
select a file already there, that grid file is loaded and you may
modify it. You may also just hit enter from the prompt, and in
that case a new file is created for you, allowing you to create a
custom grid.
     A row of icons appear at the bottom of the screen. These are
used to create the custom grid. On the right are a few boxes.
Click on the box below 'Red Tank' or 'Green Tank' to select the
respective tank color to place and rotate on the grid. The active
tank color will flash.
     The first two icons are mirrors. When you click on either
one, you may place the cursor on a grid location and hit the left
mouse button. This will place the mirror of your choice on the
     The next icon over is the remove mirror icon. Use this icon
to remove a mirror you have already placed on the grid.
     The next icon is the move icon. Use this icon to place the
players' ships. The ship you are placing depends on which tank
color you have selected by clicking on the boxes on the right.
After clicking on the move icon, click on a grid location and the
ship will appear.
     The next two icons are the rotate icons. They rotate the
ship of the currently selected color. That ship will change its
direction according to the direction of the rotation.
     The next icon is the show laser icon. Use this icon to turn
on or off the players' lasers.
     The next icon is the show grid icon. This icon turns on or
off the grid.
     The exit icon exits the edit grid screen. You are asked to
confirm. When you confirm to exit, you are prompted for a name to
save your grid under. You may just hit enter if you wish to
discard the grid you just made.  If you wish to keep it, enter a
file name (without the extension). If it already exists you will
be prompted to replace or not. Answer the prompts accordingly.
     The last two icons let you place bombs and blocks
respectively. Just click on the grid to place the bomb or block.

     This icon brings you to the Laserwars configuration screen.
Here you may click the left mouse button on any of the settings.
When you do, you are prompted to enter a new value. You must
enter a valid value that is within the limits provided. If you do
not, the program will continue to prompt you for a value until a
valid one is entered. Each of the settings is described below.
     The save icon can be used to save the current configuration
to disk. The load icon is currently inactive.
     The original settings as we have them, are a good basic starting
point for playing LaserWars. This is the 'classic' game of LaserWars.

of starting mirrors -    This is the number of random mirrors
                         that will appear when you choose to play
                         with a random grid.

of starting bombs -      This is the number of random bombs that
                         will appear when you choose to play with
                         a random grid.

of starting blocks -     This is the number of random blocks that
                         will appear when you choose to play with
                         a random grid.

Starting energy -        This is how many grid squares you laser
                         will travel without hitting any mirrors.
Energy gained
per mirror -             This is how many extra grid squares your
                         laser will travel for every mirror it
Random mirror
percentage -             This is the percentage chance that a
                         mirror will appear on any given turn.

Random bomb
percentage -             This is the percentage chance that a
                         bomb will appear on any given turn.

Random block
percentage -             This is the percentage chance that a
                         block will appear on any given turn.

Time limit
per round -              This is the amount of time a human
                         player will have to make a move on his
                         turn. Enter '0' if you wish to play
                         without time limits. This value is
                         entered in seconds.

lookahead level -        This is the number of moves the computer
                         looks ahead. '0' means the computer only
                         looks at the current move. '1' means the
                         computer looks ahead one move, and so
                         on. (A 486 is recommended when using
                         lookahead 1 or 2!)

skill level -            This is the skill level the computer
                         plays at. When set to '0', the computer
                         is as good as it can be. (The computer
                         is imperfect to begin with!) The higher
                         the setting, the more likely it is that
                         the computer will make mistakes and/or
                         make bad moves.


     Selecting Players
          When you select the 'green light' icon from the main
     menu you must answer a few questions. First you select
     attributes for Player 1. You are first asked if the player
     is human or computer. Click on the desired icon.
          If you selected human, you are shown the list of
     available players. You may click on any of these if you
     wish, in which case their respective records will be
     updated. If you which to enter a new name (which will not be
     saved to the records) click on the lower right box, and type
     a new name. You can then select the ship you wish to use by
     clicking on it. (The ships are all identical with respect to
     playability. They only differ in appearance.)
          If you selected a computer player, everything else is
     set automatically. There is no need to enter any more
          You then do the same for Player 2. When you are done
     that, you are asked if you wish to play with a random or
     saved grid. Click on the desired icon.
          If you select random, you are now ready to play! A
     random grid will appear on the screen and you may begin
          If you select saved, a list of available grid files
     appears at left. You may click on the name of the grid you
     wish to use. (Do no use extensions) The grid will be loaded
     and displayed and you are ready to play!

     Sequence of Play
          The game is played in turns. Each player may make one
     move, then it is the other player's move. When both players
     have gone, that is one turn. Any actions performed using any
     of the icons described below except 'laser on/off' and 'grid
     on/off' count as one move.
          If the time per round setting is anything but zero, you
     will only have the allotted time to make your move. If time
     runs out before you make a move, you lose your move. The
     other player then gets to go.
          If you have the bomb, block or mirror percentage higher
     than zero and no computer players playing, a bomb, block or
     mirror may appear in between player's moves.

     Icon Functions
          The icons available at the bottom of the screen during
     gameplay are the same icons as in the 'edit grid' option.
          The first two icons are mirrors. You may click on the
     icon and then click on a location on the grid. This will
     place the chosen mirror on the grid.
          The next icon removes a mirror previously placed on the
     grid. A player may only remove mirrors that are the same
     color as he is. He may not remove mirrors belonging to the
     other player, and he may not remove mirrors that are blue in
     color. There is a way to destroy other player's mirrors. You
     can do so by moving your ship into them.
          The next icon will move your ship. Click on the icon,
     and then click on a grid location a maximum of one square
     away from your current location. You will be moved there.
     Note you can only move one square away from your present
     location. (Diagonal moves are possible.) You may move onto a
     square that contains a mirror. If you do, that mirror will
     be destroyed. You may also move into a square which contains
     a bomb. If you do, the bomb will disappear permanently.
          The next two icons will rotate your ship counter-
     clockwise and clockwise, respectively. When you click on
     either of these two icons, your ship rotates, and your move
     is over.
          The next icon turns on or off the players laser.
          The next icon turns on or off the grid lines.
          The last icon exits from the current game. You are
     prompted to verify.

     Other Game Concepts
          Bombs -   Bombs appear randomly on the grid. They will
                    not appear on a square that is occupied by
                    either mirrors, players, or a laser path.
                    When you hit a bomb with your laser, the bomb
                    explodes. The bomb explodes two squares in
                    every direction except diagonally, where it
                    explodes only one square. Anything within
                    that radius is destroyed except for blocks,
                    including a player. If another bomb is within
                    that radius, that bomb will also explode.

          Blocks -  Blocks are indestructible. Your laser will
                    not go further if it hits a block.

     Since hitting mirrors increases your laser's length, it is
important to make you laser hit as many mirrors as possible so
that you may reach your opponent. There are many moves a player
may make. You must be aware of all of them so that you may defend
yourself, as well as plan offensively. Remember that you may
place mirrors, remove them, move your ship, and rotate your ship.
This gives you many options on any given turn. It will take a
while for you to learn all the strategies and use them
     Defensively, you should always do one thing every turn.
Always follow the four possible paths away from your own ship.
This way you can trace where any possible opponent's laser may
come from. (Think about it - you can only get hit from any of
four directions.) If you can do this at the beginning of each of
your turns, you will be guaranteed not to get hit. Of course, you
have to realize what moves your opponent can make in order to get
that laser to go down any one of those four directions. Once you
recognize that your opponent can hit you, you must make a
defensive move.
     You have many choices. You can place a mirror in his laser
path to block him, you may move over a square, you may remove one
of your mirrors, or you may be able to make a move which will
kill him on that turn. There are advantages and disadvantages to
every strategy. We will let you discover them.


We have worked on this game off and on for a long time. The code
is crappy and we're getting tired of working on it. But we wanted
to put it out as shareware anyway just to see if people would
like itl. The game was originally played without bombs or
blocks. They were added later just for fun. The computer player
is also just an afterthought. If you know how to beat it,
it becomes fairly easy. Anyway, enjoy!

If you have any comments, or if you discover any bugs in the
program please e-mail either of these two internet addresses:


We would like to thank the following people who aided in the
design and programming of Laserwars either directly or

     Rod 'I don't recall this from the lectures' Derousseau - for

     Chris 'Its too windy' Stewart - for more programming.

     Mario 'I've got to go home for the weekend' Filipas - for
     his car.

     Bryan 'I've got a knife' Hunt - for his cartoons (and his

     Ali 'Worst impressionist in the world' Murtaza - for
     being someone we could laugh at indefinitely.

     Chris 'I've got too many CDs' Flaman - for not being

     Cam 'I've got a synth' Macereth - for teaching me Piano.

     Ben 'I've got a band' Coulson - for endless play testing
     while I wanted to go to bed.

     Anil 'Disc jockey' Rhemtulla - for changing the CDs (once or

     Dreeni 'I'm allergic to everything' Geer - for increasing my
     win percentage.

     Wes 'I wanted to work an extra term anyway' Root - for play
     testing while he should have been studying.

     Jeff 'That game sucks, man' Ng Thow Hing - for the movies and for the
     consistant complaining about PC's.

     Mike 'I'm better than you' Cutler - for ridiculing this
     project (and his car).

     Professor 'Yes I know the lab takes 24 hours' Barby - for
     delaying this release by one term. (And for failing our friends)

     Spike 'Its just like your stereo' - for giving us indispensible insight
     about how to do our labs.

     The guy who invented computers - It's bitchin' what these
     things can do...  [From Under The Pink by T.A.]

     Our brains for not having any run-time errors.

     UW Computer Engineering - for an education and shortening
     our life expectancy.

     Future thanks to all those that illegally plagiarize this
     product and lose their law suit.

     (The preceding was intended to be solely humorous. Any
     similarity to anything serious is completely coincidental.)
     (If you don't get the inside jokes - don't worry you weren't
     supposed to.)

     This game is dedicated to,

        Rod: My friends that failed out. (At least it wasn't me.)

        Chris: My Father - I miss him...

  Laserwars is copyrighted 1994 by Rod Derousseau & Chris Stewart