* Star Blaster User Guide *
Star Blaster is an educational math game that is an effective tool for kids
from fourth grade on up. I was a high school math teacher for seven years and
still find it a challenge on the hard level with advanced decimals.
The equipment you'll need is an IBM PC, XT, or AT compatible, 256K RAM, and a
CGA, EGA, Tandy, or VGA monitor. A microsoft compatible mouse is optional but
is only used for the menus which are easy to access with the keyboard. The
rest of the game is keyboard only.
There are several support files that need to be in the same directory as the
STRBLAST.EXE file. They are SOUNDS and SB.DAT. An additional file named SCORES
will appear after you've played the game. You can restart the high scores by
deleting this file.
*** The Menus:
Run the program by typing STRBLAST from the DOS prompt. The program will look
for an EGA card first and run in that mode if it's available. If you don't
have an EGA card, it will then look for a CGA card and run in that mode if
it's available. You can force it to run in CGA even if you have an EGA monitor
by typing STRBLAST CGA from the command line.
Once the program's main menu is on the screen, you'll have several choices.
The leftmost menu, called DESK, has an entry that gives you some information
about the program and an entry that lets you toggle the sound on and off.
The next menu, called OPTIONS, lets you tailor the problems to suit your
needs. The first entry lets you set the operations. You can have all addition,
all subtraction, all multiplication, all division, or a random mixture of all
four. The next entry allows you to set the problem difficulty. The third menu
entry lets you set the decimal type. You can set it to no decimals (whole
numbers only), common decimals (.25, .5, and .75), tenths decimals (.1, .2,
.3, .4, .5, .6, .7, .8, and .9), and advanced decimals (such as .15 and .65).
The next menu entry lets you set the hazard and journey difficulties. Hazards
are the UFOs that you'll encounter. Greater difficulty settings give you a
less time to reach the destination before the game ends. The other two menu
entries are Start and Quit.
The third menu, called SCORES, contains two entries. The first shows you the
score of the last game played. The next shows you a list of the high scores.
*** The Control Panel:
Before you play the game, you should look over the control panel.
Look first at the three rectangular areas labeled Fuel, Shields, and Ammo.
These show you the amount of reserves you have for these three quantities. The
blue region of these gauges indicates how much you have, black shows you how
much more you can fit in your tank.
There is a yoke in the middle of the screen. Look closely at the six black
rectangles. The inner four determine the direction (up, down, left, and right)
that you will take. The outer two are the left and right laser fire buttons.
Your viewing window is filled with lines and the title Star Blaster before you
play. Once you start the game, this will clear and you'll see the stars of the
At the bottom of the screen, there are three important areas. To the far left
is the Lunar Year indicator. When you first run the game it will say LY:00000.
This value will give you the elapsed time of your journey. On the easiest
level, you have 6000 to reach the target; on the medium level, 5000; and on
the hardest, 4000.
Moving to the middle of the bottom portion of the screen, you'll see a black
rectangle that will contain the problems when you are playing.
To the far right of the bottom portion of the screen is a map that will show
you your position and the position of your destination.
*** Playing the Game:
When you first start the game, you'll see two dots in the map at the bottom
right of the screen. The one to the left is you, the one to the right is your
You should also notice that there are ten rectangles from left to right that
indicate what effect a correct answer will have. The indicators appear from
left to right and correspond to fuel, sheilds, left laser, left yoke, up yoke,
down yoke, right yoke, right laser, up throttle, down throttle, and ammo. If
you answer a question correctly with the fuel, shield, or ammo light on,
you'll get more in those tanks. If you answer a quesition correctly with
either laser light on, you'll fire a left or a right laser. If you answer a
question with any of the yoke lights on, you'll be turning in that direction.
Lastly, if you answer a question correctly with the throttle up or down lights
on, you'll be increasing or decreasing the throttle setting.
UFOs will appear on the screen periodically. You can steer around them or
shoot them. Shooting them gives you points so that's better than going around
them. If you run into them, you'll lose points and your shields will be
depleted. If your shields are completely empty and you run into one, the game
Every correct answer gives you some more points; every wrong answer takes some
This game is ShareWare. If you use it, you should register. Once you register,
I'll send you three more educational games. They are: MathMagic, a four level
arcade style math game; Word Hunt, a text and graphics adventure; and TimeTeller,
an interactive game that teaches time and related skills.
To register, send your name, address, and a check for $15 to Richard C.
Leinecker, 309 Irvin Street, Reidsville, NC 27320.
Thanks, and good luck with your educational pursuits.