NaniTron

[ Introduction | Screenshots | Playing | Download | Versions | History | Future ]

Introduction:
This is a 3D clone of the classic tron/lightcycles game that's been around for ages. If you have seen the movie called Tron, you probably remember the scene with the lightcycles - vehicles speeding around in a large arena leaving trails behind. This game puts you in control of such a vehicle. The goal of the game is simple - play, have fun and stay alive as long as possible.


Screenshots:
The pictures below should give you a clue of what the game is all about. Look here for more.


Playing:
Use the arrow keys to move around. Press UP to accelerate and DOWN to brake. LEFT turns 90 degrees to the left, and RIGHT turns 90 degrees to the right. Push SPACE to jump, the height depends on your current speed. When you are in mid-air you will leave a trail behind and can not collide with other trails. It is still possible to collide with a wall, however. You may also use the mouse to move around, the middle button accelerates while the left and right buttons turn.

You can play with an arbitrary number of computer players, the limit depends on how fast your machine is. Typically, 5-20 computer players are pretty fun to have. You can compete with yourself trying to achieve a high score or a high speed. There is a limit on how fast your lightcycle can move, but it is very difficult to reach it. The faster you go the more points you get. You also get an additional 1000 pts bonus if another lightcycle crashes into your trail.

The F1-F5 keys will give you different views. F1 is first person perspective view and supposedly the most fun to use. The other views were mainly added for debugging purposes.


Download:
The sources are licenced under the BSD licence and can be downloaded here:


Versions:
1.1 Minor tweaks. Command line flags for adding simple fog and visible walls. Also added some primitive internal speaker sound. Start with -h for help. Still a fun version without bloat slowing it down!

1.0 The first version, most of it written within two days in the summer of 2002. It's fun!


History:
In the early summer of 2002, after having spent an entire day out in the blazing sun under a cloudless sky reading fantasy books, I wanted to play a game of 3D tron. That is pretty difficult to do since I had no such game on my OpenBSD workstation. So, I decided to write my own version instead since I had nothing better to do.

The first session of programming lasted from 20:00 to 01:00, during which I wrote the main parts of the 3D engine, handling user input, detecting collisions, moving around. At the end of the day the game was fairly playable, although the computer players did not yet have any intelligence. The room temperature was about +30°C.

The second session of programming took place the next day and lasted from 21:00 to 01:00. This time I added some AI for the computer players, made it possible to jump, fixing some bugs with the collision detection, adding scores, and basically made the game playable and enjoyable. This version worked exactly as I wanted it to. This evening it was a bit warmer, about +31°C.

The name NaniTron came to be after I had spent maybe half an hour trying to find a suitable name that was not already in use. Finally I gave up and went to bed, and then the name "NaniTron" struck me. A run through the search engines returned 0 hits for this word, so I decided to use it. If you speak Japanese you can probably find some meaning in this combination of words. "Nani" also looks funny from a programming point of view when written in katakana, and "Tron" is simply an abbreviation of "TRails ON" - it has no connection to the movie you know...

The goal with this project was to write a fast and fun 3D game, without fancy effects that slow everything down and ruin the feeling of it. The game should run fine using only software accelerated OpenGL in X11, and there's no need for a fast processor either. Simple 2D tron games are fairly simple, and I intend to keep my 3D version that way.


Future: