DSI: Space Invaders lives again!

If you’re old enough to fondly remember playing Space Invaders on a giant arcade kiosk or tabletop console, you’ll probably want to check out DSI, a classic Space Invaders clone. The game play is like that of the Carter-era video game, but with smooth scrolling and faster modern aliens and graphics, and a traditional high score sheet.

In DSI the game starts slow and speeds up after each of five levels. The challenge is to avoid bombs dropped by alien spaceships, and any stray aliens ships you don’t manage to shoot down. Because it’s open source software, you can tweak the game play via an editable pre-compile defs.h file.

British developer Damian Lajos Brasher began working on DSI in 2001 as a way to practice C coding for exams for a part-time degree course. He used Vim to write DSI on Mandrake 7 and Red Hat 7.2, along with the SDL libraries and cross-compile tools. He recently registered the project on SourceForge.net in order, among other things, to take advantage of version control software. “It generated immediate interest,” Brasher says. “A really skilled retired coder from the USA has worked with me to clean up and debug the code and bring it to v1.0.1 beta2 at a rate of knots! SF is the natural place to house, disseminate, and locate open source software. The facilities are great.”

Brasher says future releases will focus on game play adjustments and tuning. “The graphics are all in GIF format and located neatly in a ../data directory. There are instructions for non-coders to customize these graphics. So really, we need people to build and play the game and suggest improvements for game play. It would be nice to have alternative graphics sets to drop in place of the existing ../data set. I also need help with creating the initial distribution-specific packages, after which I will happily maintain them. Anyone interested can e-mail me.”

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