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Flash Attack is the first of a new series of multi-user "Flash" games. These games work by way of a downloadable program that each player runs in his or her own PC, while connected to a multi-user bulletin board running Th
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FLASH ATTACK V2.2
by Tim Stryker
Copyright (C) 1989 Galacticomm, Inc.


Introduction
------------

Flash Attack is the first of a new series of multi-user "Flash" games.
These games work by way of a downloadable program that each player runs in
his or her own PC, while connected to a multi-user bulletin board running
the Entertainment Edition of The Major BBS. The action is full-screen,
window-oriented, and blindingly fast. Up to 6 people can play together in
one game, and up to 10 games may be in progress on one system at one time.

Players begin on an island covered with mountains, forests and lakes. Each
player runs a military base, hosting an array of tanks, lasers, "neutrons",
and "seekers". Each tank sports phasers, mines, and "pods". The objective
is to destroy all of the other players' bases. While you are in the game,
you see only the immediate environments of four of your tanks, as well as
your own base -- split second decisions are crucial as your tanks roam over
the island, since at any instant another player's tank or base may come into
view in one of your tank windows, or you may find your own base under
attack. Minefields, decoy bases, "neurubble", and the spirits of defeated
players all come into play. There is even a fundamentally new type of pre-
and post-game multi-user "chat" built in.



Note to Whiz Kids
-----------------

If you are an experienced computer gamer (or less than 17 years old), almost
everything you need is built into the program help screens. There are only
a few non-obvious aspects of the play action that wouldn't fit:

1) Taking a tank back to the center of its base restores all supplies
and repairs all damage.

2) Angles are measured from due north, increasing in the clockwise
direction.

3) Lasers go in a (digital) straight line until they hit a mountain,
which they reduce to rubble; anything else in their path (including
rubble from a previous shot) is vaporized.

4) Record a key-macro by hitting CTRL and a function key, then hitting
some game keys, then hitting CTRL and the function key again to stop
recording. Play back the macro by hitting ALT and the function key.

5) In 3-or-more player games, you can repair a base pod that has been
hit, as long as you are still in the game. Just move a tank into
the pod rubble (moving into rubble works 1/8th of the time) plant a
new pod there, and move away.

6) In 3-or-more player games, the whole idea of being a ghost is to
shorten the game by giving aiming directions to the remaining
players. The ideal job for a ghost is that of "artillery spotter".
Of course, the affected player(s) may "jam" your transmissions!



Playing SOLO
------------

For a quick look at what the game is like, issue the command FA22 SOLO at
the DOS prompt. This starts the game in single-user mode. You can use this
for practicing with the cursor keys and just generally getting familiar with
your various weapons systems.

The computer "opponent" in SOLO mode is completely inert. You can seek it
out and destroy it, without worrying about its tanks coming to destroy you.
The only challenge in this mode is to see how quickly you can win. It is
intended strictly for offline target practice.

For details of operation in SOLO mode, you will not need to get connected or
enter Flash Chat. You can skip ahead in this document to the section titled
"Beginning Play".



Getting Connected
-----------------

To play Flash Attack against other actual human beings, you will first need
to select a BBS to call. Any system running The Major BBS Entertainment
Edition, Release D, or higher, will work. Here are a few of the systems you
can call:

Metro-Net ............. 205/859-2311
Pro Star Plus ......... 206/941-0317
The Baud Walk ......... 212/721-0334
City Lights BBS ....... 212/645-2176
Hot Chat BBS .......... 215/887-6600
Robin's Nest .......... 305/341-5550
High Society BBS ...... 305/652-4237
Moonshae Isles ........ 305/928-1640
Somewhere Online ...... 313/928-9353
Viewline .............. 403/467-8509
Atlanta Chatline ...... 404/922-2937
Inferno ............... 408/395-3721
Line-Tap .............. 416/772-5420
Metropolis ............ 416/292-8757
The Palace Gates ...... 516/698-6182
Sho-tronics ........... 602/495-0000
Shoreline BBS ......... 604/736-2197
Farwest BBS ........... 604/381-3934
Heartland BBS ......... 614/846-9913
Argus ................. 617/229-2345
Quicksilver ........... 702/384-8503
Computer Connection ... 702/734-8724
Multi-Comm ............ 702/362-9224
MEDCOM Info Systems ... 714/996-6666
LiveLine .............. 718/332-1330
MEGANET ............... 813/447-4625
Nitelines BBS ......... 815/282-1494
Magic Gateway ......... 815/877-0061
USA-Link .............. 818/358-6968

Call the desired BBS with your modem, and log on. You can use any baud
rate: 300, 1200, 2400, or higher. We recommend at least 1200 baud for best
results. Remember to set your computer to 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop
bit.

You can place the call using any popular terminal communications package, as
long as the package has the ability to "drop to DOS" once the connection is
established. The idea here is that you will call the BBS, log on, enter the
teleconference, and then drop to DOS and fire up FA22. FA22 can then carry
on from that point. You can hit function key F9 to enter "Flash Chat" on
the teleconference channel you have selected. Once in Flash Chat, you can
return to ordinary "TTY mode" (the usual display with scrolling messages,
etc.) by pressing F9 again.

To drop to DOS from ProComm, hit ALT-F4 (hold down the ALT key and press
F4). From Telix, hit ALT-J. In GT Powercomm, hit ALT-1. From QMODEM, use
ALT-R. If you know of other terminal emulation programs that can do this,
let us know and we will document them here.

Once you have dropped to DOS, enter the command FA22 COMx, where COMx is
COM1 if your modem is configured as COM1, COM2 if your modem is configured
as COM2, etc. Your screen should clear, and a confirmation of your current
teleconference status should appear. You may now continue your session, or
hit function key F9 to enter Flash Chat. Only hit F9 while in the
teleconference... at any other menu or prompt in the system, hitting F9 may
have unpredictable results.

There is an alternate method you can use to call a BBS if you don't have a
terminal emulation package such as ProComm or Telix. Use the DOS command
MODE to set your COM port to the appropriate baud rate, parity, data bits,
and stop bit. For example:

MODE COM2:2400,N,8,1

This sets COM2 to 2400 baud, no parity, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit. If your
system uses a different COM port or a different baud rate, make the
appropriate substitutions. Then, after the MODE command has been issued,
enter FA22, with the same COM port specified. For example:

FA22 COM2

Then, try to dial out with your modem to a BBS using the ATDT command (or
whatever dial-out command your modem supports). For example:

ATDT 1-305-928-1640

This calls the Moonshae Isles BBS, long distance, using touch-tone dialing,
on a standard Hayes or Hayes-compatible modem. Consult your modem manual
for details if this type of dialing method does not work. Once connected,
log on and go into the teleconference in the usual way. Then press F9 to
enter Flash Chat.



Flash Chat
----------

In this mode, you can "talk" with up to 5 other people. Press any standard
letter, digit, or punctuation key, and that key will instantly appear in
your horizontally-scrolling display window, where it will be visible to all
of the people in the Flash Chat with you.

To exit Flash Chat and return to standard teleconference mode, press F9. To
flip your function-key orientation from the 2x5 layout to the 1x10 layout
and back, hit F2. To indicate your readiness to play the game, hit F7. The
game will begin only when everyone in the Flash Chat has hit F7. To
withdraw your "READY TO PLAY" indicator, just hit F7 again, or hit any other
key. You can flash your "READY TO PLAY" indicator on and off by pressing F7
over and over again.

Any time that any player either joins or leaves the Flash Chat, everyone's
"READY TO PLAY" indicators are turned off. You can turn yours back on by
simply hitting F7 again.

If you are the only one in the Flash Chat and you press F7, then a practice
game will begin. This game will be very much like the SOLO mode, in that
your computer opponent is nothing but an inert "target". The only challenge
in this mode is to see how quickly you can win. It is intended strictly for
online target practice.

If you are playing a game and someone else joins your Flash pool, they will
remain in Flash Chat until your game is finished. If they type on their
keyboard, you will hear the standard Flash Chat key sound, even though you
are in the game. This alerts you to their presence. You may either end the
game early (by shooting your own base, or whatever), or continue playing
until the game ends normally. Once the game is over, everyone returns to
Flash Chat, and when the next game begins everyone present will be included.



Beginning Play
--------------

When you first enter the game, the left side of your screen contains your
base window, along with base weapons, disposition, and communications data.
The right side of your screen has four distinct instrument clusters, stacked
vertically, each cluster containing one tank window together with that
tank's weapons and disposition data.

The island on which play takes place is picked at random each game. There
are 65536 different islands. Some are large, some are small. Some are
thickly forested, some are not. Some are interlaced with hundreds of
mountains, others are practically bare. Some have lakes or bays in them,
others don't. A few are even segmented into disjoint parts, so that tanks
cannot cross from one part to another without drowning.

Your base and tank windows each show a small rectangular portion of the
island. Your base is immobile, and always stays at the center of your base
window, so it always displays the same portion of the island. Each tank
always stays at the center of its corresponding tank window, but tanks can
move around the island. You generally use your tanks to explore the island,
laying mines and searching for enemy bases. When you locate a base, you may
be able to shoot it from a tank if you are quick enough, or, you may decide
to fire your lasers or neutrons at it.

All windows are constantly updated, so that you can see exactly what is
happening around your base and tanks in real time. The other indicators on
your display show how much you have left of various resources (laser and
phaser shots, fuel, "seekers", etc.), your "condition" colors (condition
GREEN for starters, YELLOW means damaged but not critical, RED means deeply
endangered, and GONE says that's all folks), and your base and tank X and Y
coordinates. Coordinates may range from 0 up to 190 in the X direction
(horizontally), and from 0 to 70 in the Y direction (vertically). X
increases from left to right, Y from top to bottom. The origin (0,0) is off
the upper left of the island, in a spot guaranteed to be ocean.



The Object
----------

You win if and only if you have the last fully intact base. In a two-player
game, this means that the game ends the instant you destroy any one of the 8
pods () forming your opponent's base. You can do this with your tank
phasers, your base lasers, or a neutron.

In a game with more than two players, a player may lose some number of base
pods and still remain in the game. In a 3-player game, you are not
eliminated unless less than 7 base pods remain to you (i.e. until 2 or more
of your base pods are destroyed). In a 4-player game, a minimum of 6 base
pods are sufficient to keep you alive. In a 5-player game, you can go as
low as 5 base pods, and in a full 6-player game, you may have as few as 4.

As players are eliminated, the game has less players, so the minimum number
of base pods necessary to stay alive goes up. This means that a "ripple
win" is possible, where one player being eliminated raises the standards,
which may eliminate another player, which raises them again, and so on. It
is also possible (but very unlikely) to have a game with no winner, if all
players have some number of base pods missing and a ripple process winds up
eliminating them all.



Selecting Tanks
---------------

You will find that most of your efforts in the game center around making
your tanks do various things: protecting your base, laying mines, searching
out enemy bases, building decoys, etc. You can control just one tank at a
time, or any two, or any three, or all four at once. Most people control
just one tank at a time, but the option for more is available, as you grow
more and more skilled at the game.

To select a single tank for subsquent actions, press the 'T' key and then a
digit 1, 2, 3, or 4. The little reverse-field tank-select indicator ()
will point to the tank you have selected. The tank will stay selected until
you change it.

To "gang up" another tank with the one you have previously selected, hit the
'T' key twice and then another digit 1, 2, 3, or 4. The tank-select
indicator () will now show both tanks selected. To "gang up" another one,
do 'TT' again and type the third tank digit. To select all four you can
either do this for each tank, or, as a shortcut, type 'TA'.

Your selected tank defaults, at the start of each game, to tank 1.



Tank Motion
-----------

Make sure that NUMLOCK is off. The numeric keypad keys move the selected
tank(s) horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, all centered around the
digit 5. For example, the 8 key moves a tank up one square, 4 moves it to
the left, 3 moves it down and to the right, and so on. The 5 key does
nothing.

Hitting a motion key consumes one unit of fuel, no matter whether on a
diagonal or vertical or horizontal, and no matter whether the motion
actually takes place or not. Several things can prevent tank movement:

1) trying to move into a mountain (), pod (), neurubble ( or ), or
another tank ();

2) moving into regular rubble () has a 1/8 chance of succeeding on any
given try;

3) running out of fuel; or

4) when in condition RED, movement commands are unsuccessful about 50%
of the time.

Trying to move into neurubble ( or ) not only doesn't work, it takes your
tank down a condition notch, i.e. from GREEN to YELLOW, or YELLOW to RED, or
from RED to out of existence entirely.

If you move into water (), there is no resistance to motion, but your tank
drowns immediately afterward.

Moving into a square containing a mine (+, or it may appear blank if an
enemy mine is there) explodes the mine and takes you down two colors in
condition... i.e. from GREEN to RED, or from any other color to GONE.

If your tank is destroyed, another will be brought out in its place, unless
you have used up so many tanks that you have less than 4 left. When you run
out of replacement tanks, losing a tank will cause its window to turn red
and the corresponding position to be unusable for the rest of the game
(unless you become a "ghost", see below).

If your tank is merely damaged but not destroyed, you can have it repaired
by moving it back into either of the two central squares of your base.
Doing this will take its condition back to GREEN, and completely refuel and
re-equip it as well.



Mines
-----

To place a mine with your tank, hit the 'M' key and then move away from the
position. You will see a mine that you have placed appear as a red
plus-sign (+), but on your opponents' screens the square will appear blank.
Each tank can hold only 14 mines, but can return to the center of its base
for a fresh supply as many times as you like.

Any tank that runs over a mine will be reduced by two condition colors, i.e.
from GREEN to RED, or from any other color to GONE. For this reason it is
often good to arrange mines in a double-deep line across the mouth of a
canyon, or in a ring around your base. This way, enemy tanks will be
eliminated, rather than just crippled, if they try to muscle their way
in. Naturally, you must be careful to replace any exploded mines, since
otherwise your opponent could just follow the same path again and get
through the second time.

Another tactic is to place mines at random all over the island as you
explore. You can use them as private placemarkers, visible only to
yourself, and give unwelcome little surprises to your opponents from time
to time.



Phasers
-------

Tank guns are fired by entering digits 1 through 9. Normally you use the
numeric keypad for this, with the SHIFT key held down. The same directions
of firing apply here as in the case of tank motion: 5 is the center, and the
other 8 digits permit firing horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
Phaser shots go in a straight line until they either hit something or they
reach the edge of the tank window in the specified direction. Either way,
they then blow up.

Getting hit by a phaser shot will take a tank down one notch in condition
color, i.e. from GREEN to YELLOW, or YELLOW to RED, or from RED to GONE.
This means that you should shoot more than once in a tank-vs-tank battle.
You must land 3 hits in order to take a fresh tank completely out. You are
likely to sustain some damage yourself in the process. Return to the center
of your base to repair the damage and stock back up on phaser shots (or
don't, and continue attacking, it's up to you!).

Phaser explosions have no net effect on mountains (), rubble (), neurubble
( or ), and water (). Trees () hit by phasers are destroyed in their
entirety. Phasers also destroy pods (), converting them to rubble. The
phaser explosion makes a special noise when hitting a live base pod, a kind
of yelp! This is one way you can tell the difference between a decoy base,
constructed from pods, and a real one.

Mines (+, or blank if laid by another player) are buried in the ground, so
they will not stop a phaser shot short of the tank window edge. However, if
a mine happens to be located at the window-edge square where the shot
explodes, the mine will be destroyed in the explosion. This fact can be
used to good advantage for "minesweeping": you can shoot ahead of yourself
as you move, clearing the mines from squares you will be moving into later.
The disadvantage of this is that you cannot shoot around corners, you may
need a long "running start", and it is expensive in terms of phaser shots.



Pods
----

To place a pod with your tank, hit the 'P' key and then move away from the
position. A pod placed in this way looks just like a piece of a base, and
has several possible uses:

1) Decoy bases: build a group of 8 pods in this pattern...
your opponents will not be able to tell it apart from
a real base until they succeed in destroying it, which
might take a while, especially if you mine the direct
approaches to it but make it visible from the far side of a
long mountain chain or something.

2) Concealment of your real base: make a checkerboard pattern of pod
pairs encompassing your base. This makes your opponent's job much
harder, at least as far as tank attacks on your base are concerned.

3) Interleaved wall/mine rows: a wall of pods, lined on the inside with
mines, is not vulnerable to the method of "minesweeping" outlined
above. The enemy tank can shoot a pod and reduce it to rubble, but
it cannot shoot past the rubble to destroy the mine on the other
side. Once it moves into the rubble square, it can shoot further,
but now it is too close to the mine and the phaser shots will pass
over the top of the mine. The only way that the enemy tank can
clear a mine protected this way is to run over the mine and explode
itself.

4) Repair of your real base: in a 3-or-more player game, the game does
not end as soon as one pod of one player's base is destroyed. You
may have a part of your base destroyed but remain alive in condition
YELLOW or RED. You can repair a damaged base as good as new by
placing pods with your tank in the damaged position(s). Keep in
mind that you must be able to move your tank into the position in
order to drop a pod there... if the position has become occupied by
a mountain () or neurubble ( or ), this may not be possible.



Lasers
------

Lasers shoot out from the center of your base, in the direction given by
your Angle register. Laser beams have unlimited range, and they vaporize
everything in their path, except that they stop when they hit a square
occupied by a mountain (). If they are stopped by a mountain, the mountain
square is reduced to rubble (). Shooting the laser in the same direction
again will vaporize the rubble, and the beam will continue on until it hits
the next mountain in its way. There can be only one laser beam in the air
at a time.

To set the Angle register, press the 'A' key. The cursor will begin
blinking in the Angle register box. Type in a series of digits. Angles are
measured clockwise from due north; i.e. 0.0 is straight up, 90.0 is directly
to the right, 315.0 is up to the northwest at a 45-degree angle, and so on.

Hit the letter key 'L' to fire the laser. You may do this up to 24 times
per game. It is not necessary to enter a new angle each time you fire the
laser -- each time you hit the 'L' key, the laser will fire in whatever
direction happens to be in the Angle register at that moment.

Since it is not possible to draw slanted lines using character-cell
graphics, lasers are represented by streams of red asterisks (*). The
streams go from square to square in discrete jumps, so shots at angles other
than 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees will look a little funny. Not to worry,
they are still highly effective.

Watch out for the aspect ratio of the PC display... squares are much taller
than they are wide, so an angle of, say, 45 degrees, will look much more
nearly vertical than you are used to seeing in real life. Nonetheless, the
angles are mathematically accurate even if they look a little strange. This
means that you can compute an arc-tangent based on the X and Y differences
between your base and a target, and rely on the result. Another outgrowth
of the aspect-ratio mismatch is that bases are, in terms of coordinates,
twice as wide as they are high (this makes them look roughly symmetrical on
the display), so you do not need to be as precise when shooting vertically
as you do horizontally.



Neutrons
--------

Neutrons blow up an area roughly 11 squares horizontally by 5 squares
vertically, centered at the square targeted by your Angle and Range
registers. We say "roughly" because the explosions are distributed randomly
throughout that rectangle, so it is possible that a particular square may
come through unscathed.

To enter the angle that the neutron will shoot at, press the 'A' key. The
cursor will begin blinking in the Angle register box. Type in a series of
digits. Angles are measured clockwise from due north, i.e. 0.0 is straight
up, 90.0 is directly to the right, 315.0 is up to the northwest at a
45-degree angle, and so on.

To enter the range that the neutron will travel before exploding, press the
'R' key. The cursor will begin blinking in the Range register box. Type in
a series of digits.

Hit the letter key 'N' to fire the neutron. A high, falling whistle will be
heard, followed by an extended series of explosions as it hits. While the
whistle is falling, all aspects of the game are still operational, i.e.
tanks can still move and shoot, lasers can fire, etc. This means that it is
possible for you to win the game while another player's neutron is still in
the air, even if the neutron would have obliterated your base when it hit.

Neutron explosions completely destroy whatever they hit, including trees,
mountains, pods, tanks, rubble, mines, old neurubble, or whatever, and they
leave behind a random assortment of empty land, new mountains, and neurubble
( and symbols).

The angle and range of a neutron are subject to the same aspect-ratio
weirdness of the laser, as discussed above. Calculate angles and ranges
based on the coordinate differences, not the way it looks on the screen.



Seekers
-------

Seekers specialize in close-range base protection from tanks. If an enemy
tank is visible within your base window, you can press the letter 'S' to
shoot off a seeker at it. The seeker spirals out from your base in a
gradually widening pattern until it either hits a tank, or leaves your base
window. Each base has only 9 seekers per game, and only a single seeker may
be in the air at one time.

A seeker does not distinguish between friendly and enemy tanks. Therefore
it is important, if you plan to use your seekers for defense, that you keep
your tanks out of their line of fire. This means either removing all of
your tanks from your base window altogether, or moving them in so close to
your base that they are "inside" the seeker's spiral pattern. The two
center squares of your base, and the eight squares on the "shoulders" of
your base are all inside the spiral:

****
**
****

The ten squares marked by asterisks here are all safe from your seekers.
However, keep in mind that enemy tanks will be safe from your seekers in
these locations too!

One mistake that novices often make is to let off seekers prematurely. It
is possible for a tank to outrun a seeker, if it has enough warning. Also,
by setting off a seeker you make clear to the enemy tank the rough location
of your base, even if it has not seen your base directly. Be careful to
reserve the use of your seekers for those cases where the enemy tank
presents a clear and immediate threat to your base.

Also, it is possible for a tank to scoot inside a seeker's path by timing
the move just right. Since the seeker spirals around and does not cover the
whole perimeter of the base at any one time, a tank that is just on the
verge of getting zapped may be able to step one square closer to the base at
just that moment, and step inside the seeker's flight path. Since only one
seeker can be in the air at once, this means that the tank may have a second
or three of freedom to move in for the kill, before another seeker can be
launched.



Defensive Shields
-----------------

The label "DS", toward the right of your base control panel, stands for
"defensive shields". You can protect your base from anything your opponents
are throwing at it, for a period of about 2 seconds, by hitting the 'D' key.
During these two seconds, your base turns a blinking blue color, and nothing
can harm it. This is particularly useful if you think you are about to be
obliterated by a neutron... at the very tail end of the falling whistle
sound, you can hit 'D'. Or, to conserve shields, you can wait until you
actually see neutron explosions beginning to appear around your base and hit
'D' at that point, hoping that you are not hit in the fraction of a second
before the key takes effect. You can use shields 8 times per game.



Communications
--------------

To transmit on the radio, simply hit the letter 'C' and then type what you
want to say. You remain in communications mode until you hit the Enter
() key. To receive on the radio, you don't have to do anything... you
will receive anything that anyone else chooses to transmit. Note that this
opens the possibility of "jamming" (i.e. typing a slew of garbage characters
or backspaces) if you detect communications activity that you would just as
soon did not take place.



Sound Effects
-------------

Press ALT-V to toggle the speaker on or off at any time. Usually the sound
effects are very helpful, as in the following cases:

1) You hear other players tanks moving; in a two player game, if you
are roving around the island and your opponent's tank sounds
suddenly stop for no apparent reason, it may be that you are visible
in his base window and his finger is hovering over his seeker key,
waiting to see if you have discovered him or not.

2) The falling whistle of an incoming neutron is essential to knowing
when to activate your defensive shields.

3) The sound of a seeker can alert you to note your tank X and Y
coordinates, or to start taking evasive action, before the seeker
becomes visible in your tank window.

4) When you shoot off a neutron or laser, the faint hint of either a
"yelp" or the "boop" of hitting a base with defensive shields up
can tell you whether you are on the right track, or have missed the
base you were shooting for completely.

5) Hearing the water-splash sound very shortly after the game begins
may mean that your opponent(s) are right on the shore, so your
search efforts may not need to cover the interior of the island.

On the other hand, if you are playing late at night and others are bothered
by the constant noise, you can turn the sound off with ALT-V. Actually, the
ideal solution is to install a volume-control knob in your speaker circuit.
Try a range of resistances in series with the speaker on the order of 10 to
50 ohms or so.



Ghosts
------

In 3-or-more player games, players other than the last two in the game
become ghosts. Being a ghost means that you have lost that particular game.
However, you are able to float around over the island with all four of your
tank windows (now "ghost windows") and see whatever you like. You can watch
the other players' tanks moving around, discover where their bases are, and
so on. In particular, your movement is not at all affected by mountains,
water, or anything, and you cannot be shot at or further damaged in any way.
You may also communicate with the other players and ghosts over the standard
radio. You become truly a "disembodied spirit"!

The purpose of ghosting is to solve what would otherwise be a major problem
in 3-or-more player games: the tendency for the last two (or three, or
whatever) players to let the game drag on forever so that players eliminated
early on get bored and go away. As a ghost, you are expected to help hasten
the end of the game by giving advice and information to the players left
playing. Typically, this takes the form of communicating over the radio the
relative locations of various players' bases, and coaching people using
neutrons or lasers ("Up a little! Ok, now to the left about 10 units!").
As a ghost, you may not even know which base is whose exactly but it hardly
matters at that point, all you may care is that the game be over so that you
can play again.

All kinds of strategems and counter-strategems can arise from this simple
premise. Players may team up, with one of the team agreeing to become a
ghost for the benefit of the others. Or, you may fight against someone
all-out but agree in advance that if either of you becomes a ghost, the
ghost will try to help the survivor against others. Or, you may just begin
helping people at random if you become a ghost, or leave them alone to fight
it out for your spectatorial pleasure. Or, you can actively mislead people
as a ghost, or pretend to be a ghost when you're not!

Further, players can actively seek spiritual assistance over the radio,
giving the ghosts details about their surroundings so that their bases can
be identified. Or, they can try to jam hostile ghost transmissions, or,
they can listen in and take the advice but with the angles reversed by 180
degrees! The idea here is that you need not just sit back and get bored if
you become a ghost.



Post-Game Review
----------------

At the instant that someone wins, the whole playfield freezes. Animation of
seekers, lasers, and explosions abruptly stops, leaving the action in the
exact state it was when the final shot was taken. Then each real base is
labelled with the User-ID of its owner, and the winner's User-ID blinks. A
message appears on your screen, "Game Over, Hit ESC to Review". Hit ESC,
and you are back in Flash Chat, but with an important difference: you have a
chance to display the island full-screen. You get to see where the other
players' mines were, since enemy mines appear at this point as red
plus/minus signs (). You can discuss the game with the other players via
Flash Chat while simultaneously looking over the whole island.

The numeric keypad (with NUMLOCK off, still) may be used to scroll around
the island at will. Horizontal movement occurs in jumps of 10 squares at a
time, and vertical movement in jumps of 5. The diagonals work too.
Reticles appear at the top and side of the view, so that you can refer to
areas by X and Y coordinates. Any ordinary letters, digits, or punctuation
keys that you hit are transmitted out to everyone's screens, just like in
the initial Flash Chat. (Anyone that came into the Flash Chat while you
were playing is not able to see the island you played on, so don't expect
them to react if you type "Check out my minefield around 85,25!" or words to
that effect.)

To play again, press function key F7. To return to the regular
teleconference (TTY mode), press F9. To exit FA22 altogether, hit F10.



Macros
------

You can "record" up to 10 commonly-needed sequences of keystrokes and make
them "play back" on demand. The CTRL key, if held down when a function key
is pressed, toggles the recording of that key on and off. To play back a
recording at any time, hold down the ALT key and press the function key.

Up to 1000 keystrokes may be recorded in any one macro. Your macro
definitions are stored on your local disk automatically so that you do not
have to record them again each time you play.

For advanced applications, you can "nest" macro calls, or make one macro
record one or more others, or have one macro turn the recording of another
on or off. There is also a special feature for appending additional keys to
the end of an existing macro: if the first key hit after entering record
mode on a given macro is the playback of that macro itself, then the
playback will be recorded key-for-key as it is played back, and you will be
left still recording at the end, so that you can add more keys to it.

It can get pretty confusing if you try to nest macros very deeply, or create
complex conditions in which macros record each other or modify each other's
recording status. However, it can be handy. For example, you could make F1
set up your base defenses and then turn on recording of F2; F3 could turn
off recording of F2, then do an ALT-F2 to play back what had been recorded!
This way, after setting up your base defenses with ALT-F1, if you stumble
across an opponent's base while roaming over the island but he zaps you with
his seeker, ALT-F3 would return you to the immediate vicinity of his base
right away.

If you get all tangled up in macros and want to stop whatever playback
and/or recording may be in progress, hold down the CTRL key and press the
letter 'C'.

Your macros reside on your local disk drive in a file called FAMACROS.BIN.
To give someone else your macros, then, just copy this file to their disk.
You could even have several macro files laying around, and copy the one you
want to use to FAMACROS.BIN just before firing up FA22. (The macros are
read from disk just once, when FA22 begins execution, so fooling around with
the contents of FAMACROS.BIN dynamically, using a TSR or whatever, will have
no effect.)



Cyborgs
-------

There is no such thing as "cheating" in this game. Anything you are
physically capable of doing over the phone lines is considered fair play,
because everyone has an equal opportunity to try anything. (This does not
extend to things outside the game such as cracking people's passwords, which
is against federal law. It also does not extend to game action outside of
the telephone network, such as setting fire to your opponent's house as he
plays.)

In particular, you are entitled to augment your playing powers with computer
programs on your end of the phone line in whatever way you see fit. You can
write your own Flash Attack "Cyborg" programs to intercept special ALT or
CTRL keys to do special things, such as instantly calculating angles and
ranges, given your base coordinates and those of your target. Your program
could even pick your base coordinates directly off of your screen, if it
were clever. You could make it lay entire minefields, or cover whole
suspicious sectors of the island with neutrons, at a single keystroke. You
could have it control multiple tanks at once, doing something mindless but
useful, while you carry out the main attack with your primary tank.

The possibilities are endless, with each tactic followed by a counter-tactic
followed by a counter-counter tactic. You could even sell a well-written
Flash Attack Cyborg program on the open market. Galacticomm would not mind
this at all.



Registration
------------

Feel free to copy this program and documentation and spread them around.
Please do not modify either the program or this documentation in any way.
If you like this game, or you play it more than once or twice, please send
your registration fee of $29.95 (Florida orders: $31.75, non-U.S.A. orders:
$57.95) to:

Galacticomm, Inc.
4101 S.W. 47th Ave., Suite 101
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314

If you would like to operate a multi-user BBS capable of operating as the
center of activity of Flash Attack, write to us at the above address. The
software you want is called the Entertainment Edition of The Major BBS and
you can get started with as few as 2 users for only $208 (plus sales tax and
shipping). You can operate this software on any 512K PC, XT, AT, or
386-compatible with ordinary Hayes-compatible COM1/COM2 modems.

Versions of this software are also available for 4, 8, 16, 32, or 64
simultaneous users. You can operate a system like this, for profit or
otherwise, out of your home or business. You can charge hourly fees or
monthly subscription rates to your users. You can become a central player
in the growing industry of online data communications services.

Write to Galacticomm at the above address for more information.


 December 31, 2017  Add comments

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