Design Spin

The Berks Will Be Coming Back

By Jason Foster - Wednesday 21st Febuary 2018


Way back in 1985 I was the proud owner of a Commodore +4, not really acknowledged as anything special by a lot of my friends who were owners of a Spectrum or at that time amazing Commodore 64. 

The Commodore +4 was in fact supposed to be the Commodore 64's successor apparently, but I believe Commodore may have messed up a bit in the audio department and lack of sprite capabilities!

That aside, there was one game in particular for my much-loved machine that could always get my attention, Berks 3. Berks 3 was actually a part of a series of games, Berks, Major Blink and Berk 3. I had them all, but it was always the last one of the series that would get my time.

The game was originally published by CRL group and I believe there was also a version released for Amstrad. If you're not familiar with the game, which you may well not be if you were a proud Commodore 64 owner, take a look at a fan's video on youtube.

Making Games

Last year I released my first game Ballistic Defence to the IOS app store. I love making games and it was something I did on my home computers many years ago, but since making Ballistic Defence I have become hooked again! So what's next?

I already have one racing game in development, but I see this as a long-term project due to its complexity, so I wanted to start on something I could complete in a relatively short amount of time.

The game I mentioned, Berks 3, I thought was seriously brilliant for its time and I wondered if there was any possibility I could re-create it for iOS. After a little research on the internet, I discovered the publishing company of that game was now defunct. When a games publisher is no longer in business the copyright usually goes back to the author.

So when finding this out I started researching the original author, Jon Williams. To cut a long story short, after many hours of digging around online I managed to get in touch with Jon. But best of all, Jon confirmed that with the CRL publishing company being out of business the copyright does in fact, go back to him and he would only be happy for me to go ahead with my project. Thanks Jon, you're a legend! Seriously he is, check out some of the games he wrote back in the day - Jon's Games

Early Days Of Development

So I have in fact made a start on the game, I am developing the game with Swift, using Spritekit and Gamekit. I have already mapped out all the levels, have the tank working. The Berks have been added, but are a little on the silly side at the moment, this is due to the physics engine and the way I have assigned physics bodies to the tiles. Using individual squares as physics bodies for edge tiles causes the berks to get trapped where they join. I was thinking about how I could get around this, and I believe the solution to be using Moore's neighbourhood algorithm, I'll be re-working that soon.

Here is a very early video of my progress so far.


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