Chapter 8 PAGE 1 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
8.1 The TORpedo Command
Now that the ship can move around, let us develop the
program for one of the weapon systems so that we can destroy the
enemy as we travel around the Galaxy. The Photon Torpedo
function is chosen first because the software uses many similar
functions to that of the Move function. It is in fact possible to
combine the subroutines into one complex unwieldy routine if you
wish to save memory. For such an example see Appendix .
Photon Torpedoes are projectile anti-matter weapons. The
Enterprise can carry ten of them at any one time. They are fired
at the enemy in battle situations. Should they enter a sector
containing a Klingon, they will lock onto the enemy ship and
destroy it when they hit it. A Klingon however does have a small
probability of dodging the missile. The Federation has
superiority in Photon Torpedo technology so that if you hit a
Klingon with one, you will always destroy it. On the other hand
if a Klingon hits you with a torpedo, the shields will cope with
most of the blast and the sub-system closest to the point of
impact will suffer damage.
It is also possible that the torpedoes will also enter
sectors containing starbases or stars. If one hits a star, the
star will absorb the torpedo. If one hits a starbase, in real
life the result would depend on whether the Base has its shields
up or not. If the Starbase had its shields up nothing would
happen. If not, some damage would occur including most probably
loss of life. In this simulation the Base will be destroyed by
the torpedo, a very improbable real life occurrence. However
this is a training simulation one object of which is to teach the
Starfleet Academy student care in the aiming and firing of
weapons. The destruction of the Base by a Photon Torpedo is thus
a penalty for making a mistake. If the student happens to
destroy the only base in the simulation, (ie. the player destroys
the only base in the game), too bad.
The Torpedo command function can be described by the flow
chart shown in figure 8.1. The PHOTON.TORPEDO function first
tests to see if the Torpedo sub-system is usable. If it is
damaged a message is displayed to that effect. If it is in
working order, the software tests to see that there is at least
one available to fire. If none are left a message is displayed
to that effect.
Assuming that there is a torpedo available. The computer
asks the player for the direction in which to fire it. Once that
is established a loop begins which lasts as long as the torpedo
is in the quadrant and has not hit anything.
The torpedo is moved one sector in the desired direction. A
test is then performed to see if the torpedo is still in the
quadrant. If it has left the quadrant, a "MISSED" message is
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Chapter 8 PAGE 2 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
displayed and the loop terminates. If it is still inside the
quadrant, the contents of the new sector are checked, because if
the sector is occupied, the torpedo has hit something. If the
sector is not occupied, the loop continues.
Once the torpedo enters a sector that is occupied by some
other object, the routine tests to see which object. If it is a
Klingon, and the Klingon is hit, it is destroyed. The Klingon is
deleted from the quadrant, the sector and the game status. A
message is displayed that the enemy has been destroyed. We also
allow a small probability that the Klingon will escape the
torpedo. If this does happen, the sector is treated as a blank
as far as the passage of the torpedo is concerned.
If the torpedo enters a sector containing a star and hits
it, the star absorbs the torpedo. If the torpedo does not hit
the star it is deflected due to the gravitational field around
the star. In either event, a message is displayed accordingly.
If the torpedo hits a starbase, it destroys it. If the torpedo
returns to the sector containing the Enterprise, a message to
that effect is displayed.
The BASIC language implementation of the flow chart could
take the format shown in figure 8.2. The subroutine begins as
usual with a REMark in line 1000. Line 1010 determines if the
torpedo tubes are working by testing the torpedo status in the
damage control array. The statements
'IF D(I) > 0 THEN PRINT "TUBES BLOCKED : GOTO 1210'
first test the I'th element in the D(I) array (Photon Torpedo
status). If the contents of the element are greater than zero,
then by definition, some time is estimated to pass before the
sub-system will be operational. In this case it must be due to
the fact that the Torpedo Control in damaged. A "TUBES BLOCKED"
message is accordingly displayed on the screen and the program
counter is advanced to the last line of the subroutine, namely
Line 1020 next determines if there are any torpedoes left.
The Enterprise can only carry up to ten at a time. At this time,
we don't care how many are aboard so line 1020 just tests to see
if there are any at all. The number of torpedoes on the ship is
stored in the variable 'P'. If the value of 'P' is zero, then
there are none on board, and a message is displayed accordingly.
The last statement of the line then advances the program counter
to line 1210.
The dialogue to determine the desired course in which the
torpedo is to be fired takes place in line 1300. The statement
'INPUT "DIRECTION (1-9) ";C'
both prompts the player to supply the direction and indicates the
range expected for the reply. This is another example of
"friendly' prompting. The reply is assigned to the variable 'C'.
The second statement on the line
'IF C<1 OR C>9 THEN 1030'
verifies that the input was within the desired range of less than
Copyright (c) Joe Kasser 1989
Chapter 8 PAGE 3 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
one (<1) or greater than nine (>9). If the value of 'C' is
outside that range, the program line counter is reset back to
line 1030 to phrase the question again.
Line 1040 sets up the vertical and horizontal vectors of the
direction of travel. The row co-ordinate is assigned to the
variable 'Y1' and the column co-ordinate to 'X1' just as in the
MOVe operation. This is done by the statements
'Y1=S1+.5 : X1=S2+.5'
which set the co-ordinates of the sector containing the torpedo
equal to that of the co-ordinates of the sector containing the
Enterprise. The numerical direction is converted to an angle by
and the row and column vectors of that direction are determined
by the statements
'X=COS(Y) : Y=-SIN(Y)'.
The last item on the line displays the heading for the tracking
Line 1050 begins by decrementing the number of torpedoes
aboard the ship using the statement 'P=P-Z'. The loop that moves
the torpedo through the quadrant is then begun using a FOR/NEXT
construction by the statement 'FOR J=0 TO E0'. The parameter
E0 or 4000 is used as the upper loop limit to give the torpedo
plenty of chance to bounce around the quadrant and be deflected
off a number of stars. The intermediate co-ordinates (Y1 and
X1) are then computed by adding the row and column vectors to
their last value, and these intermediate values are converted to
their integer versions (Y2 and X2) in the same manner as the
Enterprise was moved across the Quadrant, by the statements
'Y1=Y1+Y : X1=X1+X : Y2=INT(Y1) : X2=INT(X1)'.
Line 1060 tests the new co-ordinates of the torpedo to see
if it is outside the sector using the now familiar statement
'IF X2<0 OR X2>7 OR Y2<0 OR Y2>7 THEN '.
If the torpedo is outside the quadrant, it has missed its target
and a message to that effect is displayed by the statement
'PRINT "MISSED" ',
and the program counter is advanced to line 1210 bypassing the
rest of the subroutine. If the torpedo is still inside the
quadrant, line 1070 displays the co-ordinates using the statement
'PRINT Y2+Z;",";X2+Z' before determining if something has been
hit. The contents of the sector that the torpedo has just
entered are examined by the 'ON' statement in line 1070. The
integer values of the contents of the sector array S(I,J)
represent the contents of the sector where an empty or blank
sector is represented by the number one, a two represents a star,
if it contains a three, that means that the Enterprise is located
in the sector. A four identifies the presence of a Klingon and
if there is a starbase in the sector, its presence is indicated
by the number five. The 'ON' statement can thus be used to
vector the program line to the required line to process the
events associated with the torpedo hitting something.
Copyright (c) Joe Kasser 1989
Chapter 8 PAGE 4 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
At line 1080 the torpedo has entered a sector containing a
star. The first thing it does is display that fact using the
statement 'PRINT "STAR "; '. Notice the space character inside
the quotation marks and the semi-colon after the quotation marks
which inhibits the cursor from advancing to the next line. When
a torpedo enters a sector containing a star, one of two things
happen. The torpedo can hit the star and be absorbed, or it can
pass close to the star and be absorbed by it. Which of the two
events is determined purely at random by the statement
In other ways if a random number lying between 0 and 0.99 is less
than 0.5 the test passes and the star is deemed to have absorbed
the torpedo. A message to that effect is then displayed and the
program counter advanced to the last line of the subroutine. On
the other hand, if the test failed, a message stating that the
star has deflected the torpedo is displayed by line 1090, which
then goes on to set up a random direction and its vertical and
horizontal vectors before bypassing the remainder of the loop by
advancing the program counter to line 1200 using the statements
'Y=Z+RND(Z)*8*.785398 : X=COS(Y) : Y=-SIN(Y) : GOTO 1200'
If the torpedo has entered a sector occupied by a Klingon,
there is a probability that the Klingon can evade the torpedo. A
random number is again selected using the built in RND(Z)
function. There is a ten percent probability that the Klingon
will evade the torpedo, or a ninety percent probability that it
will hit the enemy ship. Line 1100 takes care of the evasion
occurrence by using the statement
'IF RND(Z)>.9 THEN 1200'.
On the other hand if the Klingon was hit, line 1110 displays that
event using the statement
'PRINT " KLINGON DESTROYED" '.
Having destroyed a Klingon, the particular Klingon in the
quadrant has to be identified. This is done by the FOR/NEXT loop
of lines 1120 and 1130. As there can only be up to eight enemy
ships in the quadrant, the loop limits are 0 and 7. The loop
tests the position co-ordinates of each Klingon (K1(I) AND K2(I))
to see if they are identical to those of the sector that the
torpedo has entered. The statement
'IF Y2=K1(I) AND X2=K2(I) THEN 1140'
does the job, advancing the program counter out of the loop to
line 1140 when a match is found. The loop should only terminate
normally when something goes wrong. An error message to that
effect is displayed by the last part of line 1130. This should
never happen when the game is played. Line 1140 deletes the
Klingon from the quadrant by setting its energy level to zero.
The energy level of the Klingon K3(I) is used as a flag that
states if the Klingon is active or not. If the Klingon has
positive energy it is alive and can hurt you. Once the
energy/active flag has been cleared, the Klingon must be deleted
from the simulation. The subroutine starting at line 1220 is
then called to perform that operation and the program counter is
advanced to line 1180.
If the torpedo has entered a sector containing a starbase,
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Chapter 8 PAGE 5 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
the program picks up at line 1150 by displaying a sarcastic
message. The number of bases in the quadrant (B) and the number
of bases in the galaxy are then decremented, and the values of K8
and T9 are then reset to penalize the score by reducing the size
of the multiplier. The contents of the quadrant are contained in
the quadrant Q(I,J) array. The starbase is represented by the
tens digit. To delete the base from the quadrant, the tens digit
must be adjusted. The sign of the contents of the element in the
array will depend on whether the quadrant has been scanned into
the computer or not. Remember, the Enterprise can be operating
in a quadrant, whose contents are not entered into the galactic
map because either the computer is down or the relevant sensors
have been damaged and are not working. Anyhow, if the sign of
the quadrant is negative (unscanned), the a value of ten has to
be added to the value stored in the Q(I,J) array, and if the sign
of the quadrant is positive (scanned) a ten is subtracted from
the contents of the quadrant. Line 1160 performs this operation
using the statement
IF Q(Q1,Q2)<0 THEN Q(Q1,Q2)=Q(Q1,Q2)+10 ELSE Q(Q1,Q2)=Q(Q1,Q2)-10.
If the player has destroyed the last base in the game, the value
of B9 will be zero. Line 1170 detects that condition and
displays a nasty message to that effect.
Line 1180 sets the contents of the sector to a blank using
the statement 'S(Y2,X2)=Z' and then advances the program counter
to line 1210.
Meanwhile if the wandering torpedo has been deflected by a
star and returns to the sector occupied by the Enterprise, line
1190 displays a message to that effect. The loop counter is
incremented in line 1200 and the next iteration is allowed to
take place. The subroutine then ends at line 1210. In the
unlikely event that the J loop ever times out and the loop exits
in the normal way, the subroutine will still terminate in the
normal manner. If you like you could put a message to the effect
that the photon torpedo has run out of steam and the loop has
terminated at the end of line 1200.
The subroutine that clears the Klingon from the simulation
begins at line 1220 with the usual comment. A subroutine is used
to do the job, because it is done in both the torpedo and phaser
functions as well as possibly any other functions to be
identified later. Using a subroutine ensures that the job is
done identically and correctly by the same lines of code whenever
the job is to be performed. Line 1230 begins by decrementing the
number of Klingons in both the quadrant (K) and the galaxy (K9).
Remember that the value stored in K9 is the number of Klingons in
the galaxy multiplied by a hundred. If the value of K9 has
reached zero, then all the Klingons in the game have been wiped
out and the game can end. The game-over flag (F9) is then set to
five signifying that the player has won the game. Line 1240 then
deletes the Klingon from the quadrant array by subtracting a
hundred from the value stored in the quadrant array associated
with the quadrant that the action is taking place. The exact
mathematical operation performed depends on the sign of the
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Chapter 8 PAGE 6 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
quadrant, namely if it has been scanned into the ship's computer
or not in a similar manner to line 1160 using the statement
IF Q(Q1,Q2)<0 THEN Q(Q1,Q2)=Q(Q1,Q2)+100 ELSE Q(Q1,Q2)=Q(Q1,Q2)-100.
The subroutine ends with the 'RETURN' statement in line 1250.
Copy lines 1000 to 1250 from figure 7.7 into your program
and the newest version. Debug the program by moving around the
galaxy to locate the enemy. Shoot at everything as you move,
note how the score goes up as you kill Klingons and then down as
time passes. Test what happens when you hit Starbases and stars.
Is the torpedo deflected by stars, what happens when it comes
back into the sector occupied by the Enterprise? In other words,
test every possible condition in which the torpedo hits
something, or every branch in the flowchart. When you have
finished and all the "bugs" are out of the program save the
updated debugged version and read on.
8.2 The PHASERS
Phasers are offensive energy weapons. They are locked onto
targets automatically, and subject the target to an intense burst
of energy. They can only be used to attack enemy ships.
Anything else in the quadrant will not be harmed by the use of
The flow chart for the Phaser function is shown in figure
8.3. The first thing performed is a test for the presence of
Klingons in the Quadrant. If there are no Klingons in the
quadrant, then by definition there is no target in the quadrant
and a message to that effect is displayed. If at least one
target is present, then the state of repair of the Phaser Banks
is checked. If the phasers are not operational they cannot be
used and a message to that effect is displayed. If the phasers
are usable, then the state of the Short Range sensors has to be
checked, because if they are damaged, the phasers cannot be
locked on to the target and Mr. Sulu will have to use a manual
'best guess' technique which of course is not as accurate as
using the computer. In that condition a message is displayed to
Energy is next allocated to the phaser banks by the player.
Phaser control then equally divides that amount of energy by the
number of active targets in the quadrant and fires a burst at
each Klingon. The amount of energy hitting the enemy's shields
is computed. The hit is deducted from the shield energy of the
Klingon, and a message is displayed stating that a 'hit' took
place. If the shields were beaten down to less than zero, the
Klingon has been destroyed and is deleted from the quadrant and
the game status parameters are updated. If the shields were just
beaten down to a low value, the Klingon captain may decide that
his position is hopeless and self-destruct or even surrender. If
the Klingon self-destructs, it must be boarded before being
deleted from the game. If it self-destructs it must also be
deleted from the game. A bonus score is awarded in either case,
to compensate the player for being damaged by the Klingon while
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Chapter 8 PAGE 7 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
trying to get it to surrender or self-destruct. If the Klingon
can still fight on after the hit, the loop finds the next active
Klingon target in the Quadrant and tries again.
The BASIC language implementation of the flowchart can take
the form shown in figure 8.4. It begins with the usual REMark
statement in line 800. Line 810 then checks the number of
Klingons in the quadrant. If there are none present, by
definition there are no targets and a message is displayed
accordingly. Line 820 then tests the state repair of the
Phasers. If they are damaged, represented by a positive ETR
value in the Damage Control / Command array 'D(I)', a message
stating that they are "OUT OF ACTION " is displayed and the
remainder of the subroutine is bypassed by the 'GOTO 950'
statement which advanced the program line counter to line 950.
If the Short Range Sensors are not working, then the computer
cannot lock the phasers onto target so the program has to
determine if they are operational. Line 830 thus looks at their
state of repair, represented by the '1' element in the Damage
Control / Command Array in the usual way. If they are damaged, a
message to that effect is displayed, and Mr. Sulu announces that
he will use his best guess to locate the targets. The statement
used to display the message combines two strings in the same
"PRINT' statement as follows
'PRINT D$(1);"are not working, will use best guess settings" '.
The D$(I) string array contains the names of all the Commands or
sub-systems. The program has been laid out so that they are the
same. D$(1) is thus 'SHORT RANGE SENSORS'. The semi colon then
ensures that the cursor stays in place after the string is
displayed, and the rest of the message contained in the string
constant is then displayed.
The dialogue to allow the player to tell the computer how
much energy to allocate to the phasers begins in line 840. The
'INPUT "READY- how much energy do you want to fire "; X : IF X<=0 THEN 950'
prompt the player for an input while indicating what exactly is
to be input. The input is assigned to the temporary variable
'X', and then checked to ensure that is has a positive value. If
it does not have a positive value, the program counter is
advanced to line 950. The player can thus enter a zero in
response to the prompt to bypass the phaser firing operation.
Line 850 then makes sure that the ship has enough energy on
board to allow the phasers to fire it. There is no point in
allocating 500 units of energy to the phaser banks if the
Enterprise only has 400 units at that particular time. If the
player tries it on, line 850 catches it and displays a message to
that effect. The last statement on the line redirects the
program counter to the prompt statement in line 840 so the player
can enter a correct value. It is possible at this time to
display the actual amount of energy (E) remaining on the ship to
tell the player, but this version does not so as to penalize the
player. The test for available energy is 'IF X>(E-E1) ' because
the amount of energy to be fired must be less than the total
Copyright (c) Joe Kasser 1989
Chapter 8 PAGE 8 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
amount of ship's energy excluding the amount in the Shields
(represented by the variable 'E1'). Line 860 starts off by
subtracting the amount of energy to be fired from the ship's
power. The number of Klingons is then stored in a temporary
variable (Y). This is done because when firing the phasers in
line 880, the amount of energy that was allocated is divided by
the number of Klingons in the quadrant. If line 880 used 'K' to
represent the number of Klingons, what happens when one is
destroyed in the middle of a round of fire ? It is thus
mandatory to use a temporary variable to keep the number of
Klingons the same at the end of the round as at the beginning, at
least as far as the firing sequence is concerned. The
decrementing of the number of Klingons in the quadrant is
performed in the subroutine beginning in line 1220 in case you
are searching for it in the listing in figure 8.4 and haven't
found it. A loop is then begun to locate and shoot at each
Klingon in the Quadrant. The 'FOR/NEXT' construct is used. The
limit on the loop are 0 and 7 because there can only be, by
definition, eight enemy ships in the quadrant, and their
parameters are stored in the arrays K1(I), K2(I) and K3(I). The
last statement on the line tests the amount of energy allocated
to the Klingon. If it is positive, the Klingon is active and the
test fails, the program flow continuing on the next sequential
line. If the Klingon has negative or zero energy, it is not
active and the program counter is branched forward directly to
the NEXT statement of line 940. Line 870 then samples the state
of repair of the Short Range Sensors represented by the 1'th
element in the Damage Control / Command Array D(I). Note this is
really the 1'th element, not the first element, because the first
element is D(0) which represents the state of repair of the
engines. If the Short Range Sensors are damaged, Mr. Sulu will
have to use his best guess. The statement 'X = X*RND(Z)'
performs that operation. A random number is generated by the
random number generator built into BASIC using the 'RND(1)'
function. The result is then multiplied by 'X' to give a random
percentage of the original value of 'X'. This random percentage
is then stored back in 'X' and is used as the basis for
determining the amount of the hit. Mr. Sulu's best guess has
thus been implemented using the random number generator. The
actual amount of energy that hits each enemy is computed in line
880 by the statement
'H = X/(Y*(SQR((K1(I)-S1)^2+(K2(I)-S2)^2)^.4))'
which divides the amount of energy to be fired by the number of
Klingons in the quadrant (Y) multiplied by a factor representing
the distance between the Enterprise and the particular Klingon.
The distance between the Enterprise and the Klingon is calculated
using Pythagoras's theorem. The last statement of the line
subtracts the amount in the hit from the amount of energy in the
Klingon. The array variables K1(I) contains the row co-ordinates
of the Klingon, corresponding to the S1 co-ordinates of the
Enterprise. K2(I) contains the column co-ordinates and K3(I)
contains the energy quotient of the Klingon.
The first part of line 890 displays a message announcing
that a hit was achieved on a Klingon and adds the co-ordinates of
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Chapter 8 PAGE 9 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
the Klingon. Since the computer stores the co-ordinates in the
range 0 to 7, while the player reads them as from 1 to 8, the
conversion is contained in the PRINT statement by the
'K1(I)+Z;",";K2(I)+Z;' which also formats the display. The last
part of the line displays the amount of energy left in the
Klingon if the Short Range Sensors are working. The format of
the statement used is
'IF D(1)=0 THEN PRINT "(";K3(I);"Units left)" ELSE PRINT'
because, if the sensors are damaged, the PRINT following the ELSE
advances the cursor to the next line without displaying any
message. Other versions of the game indicate the amount of the
hit on the Klingon. This can be achieved by adding 'H;"Unit' in
front of the word 'Hit' on line 890. If you do that, then the
amount of the hit will be displayed whatever the state of the
Short Range Sensors. That is not "realistic", thus if you want
the amount of the hit displayed, you may change line 890 to take
the state of those sensors into account.
Line 900 first tests to see if the Klingon was destroyed.
It detects that the Klingon was destroyed by checking to see if
it has any energy left. If it does not have any, then by
definition it has been destroyed and the program continues along
the line. If the test failed, the program counter advances to
the next line number in sequence. In the event that the Klingon
was destroyed, a message stating that fact is displayed. The
contents of the element in the sector array that contained the
Klingon are then rest to reflect a blank sector by the statement
'S(K1(I),K2(I)) = Z'.
The subroutine starting at line 1220 is invoked to completely
clear the Klingon from the game and the program counter is
advanced to line 940 to increment the loop counter. If the
Klingon was not destroyed the program continues at line 910 which
decides if the Klingon is going to self destruct or surrender.
The line thus starts with a test to determine if the Klingon is
alone in the quadrant (IF K>Z) or if the Klingon has only a small
amount of energy left (K3(I)>E1/100). The test to determine of
the Klingon is alone is a simple test to see if the value of 'K'
is greater than 1. If it is, then obviously there are more than
one Klingons in the quadrant, and the target is not alone. The
energy test compares the amount of energy that the Klingon has
with the amount of energy in the Shields of the Enterprise. If
the Klingon has more that a hundredth fraction of the energy in
the shields of the Enterprise, it is deemed to have sufficient to
fight on. The last part of the test also adds a random
probability of sixty percent that the Klingon will choose to
fight on even if the other conditions are met. Note that the
test is phrased 'RND(Z)>.4' which means that the test fails if
the probability is less than forty percent and the test in this
line passes if the Klingon is to fight on. The random number
generator is used here to determine the probability of an event
occurring. The random number generator returns a random number
between 0 and 0.99. Comparing that number with a preset threshold
level can thus provide a probability level saying that an event
will only happen if the number is greater or less than some
value. In this case, the Klingon fights on if any one of the
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Chapter 8 PAGE 10 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
tests in line 910 pass and the program counter is advanced to
line 940 bypassing the surrender/self destruct section of the
The Klingon has to be removed from the game in the event
that it self destructs or fights on. Line 920 performs that
operation. the first statement on the line clears the Klingon's
energy. The second clears the Klingon from the quadrant by
setting the co-ordinates of the sector it is in to the blank
state. The subroutine starting at line 1220 is then invoked to
clear the Klingon from the game. The line then continues by
using the random number generator to determine if the Klingon has
surrendered or destroyed itself. There is a seventy percent
probability that the Klingon captain will decide to destroy his
ship rather than be captured. Klingons as a rule don't surrender
and rarely take prisoners. The probability of them surrendering
is thus small. It happens from time to time because the captain
and the officers may be killed, or the self destruct mechanism or
other parts of the ship may be damaged or for any one of a number
of reasons. In any event, this simulation sets the probability
of surrender at about thirty percent. If the Klingon did not
surrender, the last part of line 920 is performed. A message is
displayed stating that the Klingon exploded. There is no need to
test the state of the Short Range Sensors at this time because
the explosion of a Klingon ship is so powerful that it can be
detected by visual means alone. The number of Klingons that have
committed suicide represented by the value stored in the variable
'K5' is incremented and the program counter is skipped forwards
to line 940. The variable 'K5' is used to provide a reduced
bonus on the player's score because the player usually suffers
damage trying to get the Klingon to surrender and should be
compensated accordingly. It is much easier to wipe out the
Klingon completely than to try and make it surrender.
In the event that the Klingon surrenders line 930 displays a
message to that effect. The number of Klingons that have
surrendered represented by the variable 'K4' is incremented. If
a Klingon surrenders it provides a multiplied on the player's
score. A time penalty is thus inserted at the moment of capture.
It takes half a stardate to board the enemy, secure the prisoners
survey the ship, transfer a prize crew and take care of any other
outstanding matters. During this time however, Damage control
have not been idle and have been busily working away on any sub-
systems damaged during the battle. Line 930 thus first sets the
temporary time variable 'T1' to the value of the time 'T'. It
then subtracts half a stardate from that time and calls the
subroutine starting at line 1800 to update the state of repair of
the ship after the passage of half a stardate.
Line 940 reiterates the loop counter and line 950 terminates
Carefully copy lines 800 to 950 to your program and save the
latest version. Debug them by using the Phasers in all possible
conditions. Try firing them with no enemy ships in the quadrant.
Copyright (c) Joe Kasser 1989
Chapter 8 PAGE 11 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
Try to get the Klingon to surrender or self-destruct. If you
have a problem getting an event to occur, change the probability
temporarily so that you can debug it properly. When it is
completely debugged save it again and read on.
8.3 The SHIELDS Command
The Shields command allows the player to set up the amount
of energy in the Shields of the Enterprise. The shields protect
the Enterprise against the effects of Klingon phaser blasts as
well as Klingon Space Mine explosions. If the shields are
damaged, they will function normally but the player will not be
able to change the amount of energy allocated to the shields.
The flow chart for the SHIELDS function is straight forward
and is shown in figure 8.5. It begins with a test to determine
if the shields are damaged. If they are, a message to that
effect is displayed and the routine terminates. If they are not,
some dialogue takes place to determine the amount of energy to be
allocated to the shields. The player can lower the shields by
allocating zero units or can raise the shields to the full amount
of energy carried by the Enterprise. The usual value set in the
shields at any one time is about 400 units. If the player tries
to allocate more energy than the Enterprise has, an error message
will be displayed. Once a valid amount of energy has been
allocated, it is put into the shields, and the sequence ends.
The BASIC language implementation of the Shields function
could be as shown in figure 8.6 with the usual REMark statement.
Line 2710 begins the action by testing the state of the 'docked'
flag (C$). If the Enterprise is docked, the player is not
allowed to raise the shields by definition. The shields are
lowered automatically by the docking process. there is thus no
further need to raise the shields while the Enterprise is docked
at a starbase. Operationally this means that when un-docking,
the player must move away from the base using impulse power (at a
speed of less than Warp One), then raise the shields by putting
some energy into them before changing to warp speed to depart for
distant quadrants. The last statement on the line advances the
program line counter to the end of the subroutine. Line 2720
tests the state of the shield element in the Damage Control /
Command Array (D(I)). If they are damaged, a message to that
effect is displayed by the
statement before the program counter is advanced past the rest of
the subroutine by the ' GOTO 2770' statement. If the Shields are
fully operational, line 2730 displays that fact by generating a
message notifying the player as to how much energy is allocated
to the shields at that particular time. Notice that line 2720
uses a plus sign to separate the two elements to be printed,
while line 2730 uses a semi-colon. Line 2730 first displays
D$(I) which in this instance is "SHIELDS " and then displays the
following items. There are four things being displayed in the
line. The contents of the element in the Command String Array
D$(I), the string constant, the contents of the variable 'E1'
Copyright (c) Joe Kasser 1989
Chapter 8 PAGE 12 STARTREK THE COMPUTER PROGRAM
which contains the amount of energy in the shields, and lastly,
the string constant "Units". Line 2720 on the other hand
contained the statement 'PRINT D$(I)+"DAMAGED" ' which added two
separate strings together at the same time as they were printed.
The statement could just as well have been written as
'PRINT D$(I);"DAMAGED" '.
The dialogue to allocate the energy to the shields begins in
line 2740. Again the 'INPUT' statement is used together with a
prompt message telling the player what is expected as the reply.
The number of energy units to be allocated to the shields is
temporarily stored in the variable 'N' until it has been
validated. The first validation test is performed at the end of
line 2740. It ensures that the amount of energy to be allocated
to the Shields is not a negative value. If the player input a
negative value the last item on line 2470 ensures that the
question is asked once again. this technique is known as
'trapping'. The negative response is trapped at this time and
blocked here before it can cause trouble later. An alternative
action would have been to state
'IF N<0 THEN N=0'
which would also trap negative values but in a different way.
The alternative ensures that all negative values are converted to
zero values. The method used here inhibits negative values, and
uses the zero value to signify that the shields have been
The second validation test is on line 2750. It ensures that
there is enough energy in the dilithium crystals aboard the
Enterprise to allocate the desired amount to the shields. If the
amount of energy on the starship is less than the amount the
player wants to allocate to the shields, then a nasty message to
that effect is displayed and the question is asked again. Once
the entry has been validated, the contents of the variable 'N'
are copied into the variable 'E1' which represents the contents
of the shields by the statement on line 2760 and the subroutine
terminates at line 2770. If the temporary variable was not used
to store the desired allocation of shield power before validation
the previous amount of energy in the shields would have been lost
when the erroneous entry was input. In this application that
would not have mattered, because the routine is not allowed to
terminate until a valid amount of energy is allocated to the
shields. In other cases however, that construction may not hold
true and the use of a temporary variable is mandatory.
Copy the lines listed in figure 8.6 into your program and
debug them by trying the Shields (SHE) command. Try to allocate
more energy than the Enterprise has. Try less, Damage the
shields and try again. Test all possibilities. When you are
satisfied that the shields are operational, save the program and
Copyright (c) Joe Kasser 1989