Captain McLose - Defender of the Universe!

Episode 1 - Volumbiax 211

Episode 2 - The Graph-O-Mat

Captain McLose is a "jump and run" game I wrote together with a friend of mine during high school. We started out in 1993 after playing endless hours of DOS games like "Commander Keen" or "Duke Nukem" which we loved so much! Sitting together playing Commander Keen one afternoon after school we asked ourselves if our programming skills would allow us to write a game like that, and that's when the project started!

Game plot

Captain McLose is a freight ship pilot who's job is to deliver cargo to dark, unknown places in deep space! One shiny day traveling near a strange planet named "Volumbiax", his space ship is magnetized by a mysterious force, making Captain McLose use his ejection seat and stranding on the planet. Here his adventures begin!

In the first episode called "Vulombiax 211", help Captain McLose find his space ship again, which went down somewhere else! Travel through the valleys and mountains of Vulombiax and deal with the endangerments and aliens living on this world!

In the second episode called "Der Graph-O-Mat", help Captain McLose find the source of the mysterious force that kept him from doing his job! Find the gravitation machine and destroy it and free thousands of stranded people and ships that also were caught!

Download and run

Captain McLose is a DOS game. That is you must have a DOS environment to play it. I recommend downloading DOSBox. Do the following:

  1. Download and install DOSBox
  2. Download Episode 1 - "Volumbiax 211"
    Unzip the .zip file into a directory accessable by DOSBox and run "mclose.exe"
  3. Download Episode 2 - "Der Graph-O-Mat"
    Unzip the .zip file into a directory accessable by DOSBox and run "mclose.exe"
  4. Enjoy!

I'm planning to write an installer providing DosBox and McLose in one package so that you can install and play McLose with point and click. Let's see when that happens :)

Captain McLose used to be shareware. Since this game is quite old now we turned into freeware. Play and enjoy it of you want and just ignore the shareware hints that are in the game!

Some programming history

Programming Captain Mclose was done from scratch. That is there existed no graphics library, no sound library, no pre-existing songs we did use. We even wrote our own painting software. Captain McLose was deliverd on floppy disk. That's why we had our own disk copy software, beeing able to copy disks fast. Only for composing songs for Captain McLose we used a software called "Composer", which was a real good product that time.

We started by programming a sprite and scrolling library in assembler. This game had to run in a 286 AT computer and fit into 580K main memory! So better make things efficient and fast! We did a lot of experiments and hardware book studying to achieve that. The graphics card was programmed directly to do so and it was so interesting to see what hardware does if you tell it what to do by sending some data to a port. Step by step, a level editor and a painting program were added. After pushing the game forward we were able to play the first levels! That's when we noticed the the PC-speaker sound we added was just annoying. Therefore, a friend of mine sent me a Sound Blaster 16 sound card right in time as a present! Great! Of course I went into the book store to look for a book to learn how to program that thing! First we added some sound samples to make actions like shooting and collection items more interesting. After that we wrote library able to play fm synthezied music! But where to get the background music? Beeing interested in music on the side, the music was also composed by ourselves. Note by note, the music was entered into a composer program.

One day it happened that my hard disk crashed and of course we didn't have a copy of the latest source code of the game on floppy disk. That was a catastrophy! Months of work - all gone! In the end it turned out that only the file allocation table (FAT) of the hard drive was affected. That means the data was still there, but the operating system was not able to find it. That's why we spent some time collecting the pieces of source code spread out on the hard disk using a sector editor. Fun!

All in all, we spent so many hours slaving over some junks of assembly code after school, trying to find out why it didn't work. Yet, those hours were so exciting! And in the end we had our own jump and run game, happy that our programming skills sufficed to make it! :)