Java Applets & SABfx 1997-2002


“Write once and debug forever…”

The Internet was just getting popular and Java was in its 1st release. I looked at it for a bit and then decided that I could start my own Internet game arcade. Pachinko came to life in about 4 hours. It was a hit. In fact, all of the games that I released on the Internet were top rated at JARS and other Java review sites.

  • A-Train – A bullet train scrolling game.
  • StarJAM – A musical puzzle game where you place various given blocks on a grid which change the direction of the ball. When the grid is close to full, it sounds like “All along the Watchtower” with lead notes being played whenever the ball hits a block.
  • Alpine – A downhill skiing game with slalom flags.
  • AirRescue – A helicopter flying game where you drop lifesaving rings to drowning people in the water.
  • SurfH2o – a scrolling surfing game surfing Pipeline.
  • SABgolf – A beautiful 18 hole course with a course Editor to make or edit the holes.
  • SABbowl – An in your face bowling simulator.
  • SAB Baseball – Remember that arcade machine where it pitched steel balls from under a flap and you bat it into the targets or up a ramp for a Home Run? This one has the record for over 250,000 hits in one day. A very popular Java site posted it, I got a call from my ISP. I exceeded my allotted bandwidth by a factor of 100. I managed to talk my way out of upgrading to a much more expensive “web plan“.

Many of the games carried along web scores for comparing yourself to others on the ‘net. I marketed many of the games and continued to make custom versions of these games for clients.


SABfx

– Internet Toolkit

After coding all of these games and reusing all of the routines in its “bulk” form, I decided I was going to write a interpreted language using Java as a parser. SABfx was born. Simple plain text, no compiling, quick turnaround. I started coding games in SABfx and found out that I could create games quicker and with a smaller footprint.

  • GalaxyTag – Guide the orb into the beacon using the gravity center as the mouse.
  • Sleeper – Can you get everyone to sleep?
  • Tracers – Use the gravity mouse to guide your steel ball to victory.
  • Niners – The classic two dice and 1 to 9 flaps game. You close the flaps based on your roll. If you rolled a 12. You could close 1, 2, and 9 flaps. You keep rolling until you cannot drop a flap.
  • GridLock – A complex lock inserting random pieces into a 3×3 grid.
  • Guppy Races – One for the younger crowd. Guess which one will win!
  • Par 3 Solitaire – Play the deck and lower your score. The number of cards left on the green is your stroke count for that hole. 9 holes and scoreboard.

Webgammon

Webgammon – A 10 table backgammon parlor with chat and spectator “lurking” to watch others play to learn the game. Webgammon was the biggest Java game I coded. This was done using the CGI interface and Perl. Webgammon supported 5 languages. English, French, Greek, Turkish/Farsi and Spanish.

Many hours were spent figuring out which CGI interface to use with Java. After many games “died” in mid-game I just had to track down why. Simple answer, “Sending a data packet from one computer does not guarantee arrival at the other computer“. I saw about 1 packet in about 100 being “lost” stopping further gameplay. I decided on a simple solution. Send two packets with the same data and let the receiver’s software figure out dups. It worked like a charm and ALL games then were completed from start to finish.

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