Robotron Clone for Vectrex

26th July 2003

I have been developing a clone of the Williams arcade machine "Robotron: 2084" for the Vectrex.

This has proved an interesting experience.

I have worked on it for an hour or so here and there for many months. Only now have I got enough to put up a screenshot.

Robotron is an arcade machine played with two joysticks, one to move the main character, another to control firing direction. This unusual feature means that the player can easily move one way and fire the other. It also makes for a very comfortable playing experience as the chunky arcade joysticks are light to handle - much more pleasant than banging fire buttons.

I plan to replicate this dual joystick feature by using the Veccy's two controllers. However I'm not sure how to emulate the arcade feel, to do this would require some sort of holder so that the two controllers don't move around ont he table.

I first played Robotron at Retrovision in September 2002. However I had previously played Jeff Minter's animal-related clone, "Llamatron" in the early 90s.


Click for larger image

Roboclone screenshot

Current features

Not very much I'm afraid

  • Title screen (not pictured)
  • Controllable main character
  • Border (may be got rid of if I need the cycles for something more important)
  • Robotrons (obviously!)
  • 8-way firing via combinations of the four controller buttons
  • Collision detection between bullets and Robotrons

To do

Well, pretty much everything:

  • Make enemies move
  • Collision detection for player
  • New kinds of robotrons
  • Random level generation
  • Scoring
  • Sound
  • Other control systems, including dual joysticks like the arcade machine
  • Menu, instructions screens

At the current rate, it will probably be approximately finished some time in 2004... so don't hold your breath.

Possibly © Mark Robson 2004-2006