Alien Carnage Freeware Release Notes - May 2007
Halloween Harry is (c)1985/1993/2007 John Passfield
This game was deleted from Apogee’s product back on April 21, 2000, and was re-released as freeware on May 24, 2007. The rightsholder to this title is John Passfield, one of the original creators of the title as published through us some time ago. John participated in our “Legacy Interview Series” from 2006, and at that time Alien Carnage was not released as freeware. It has been now, and for this release, there are a few issues you should be aware of.
1) We offer no support in helping to getting this running. YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN HERE. If you still ask us after reading this, your request will be brutally ignored. ;)
2) This game was released before Windows 2000, XP, & Vista were released, and as such, these more modern operating systems have issues in running the game. A third party program called DOSBox has been known to have been helpful in getting the game running, and is in fact strongly recommended. You can obtain DOSBox here: http://dosbox.sourceforge.net; it’s free. You should use at least DOSBox v0.70 with Alien Carnage.
3) This game is released as freeware. That’s not to be confused with public domain, abandonware (which is illegal), or releasing something under the GPL. This is a freeware release, which means full legal rights are retained to the title and it’s materials. You are free to play the game as we’ve released it, but not free to “do whatever you want with it”, which includes selling it or otherwise using the materials in other projects.
4) The game is being released as “Alien Carnage”, as that was the most advanced version of the game in terms of bug fixes when it was discontinued. There was some thought given to releasing it as Halloween Harry, or even both of them, but we decided to release it as it was when it was discontinued. This is the same policy we’ve used on all our other freeware releases, so it made sense to continue with that policy.
5) This freeware release is not exactly as it was when we discontinued the game. In 2006, the DOSBox guys sent over a patch that fixed three problems with the game, and that “patch” has been included here. The first was a Run Time Error 200 problem. The other two problems they fixed were related to temporary file usage in regards to screen distortion and a missing save game problem. A big thanks go out to the DOSBox guys for that.
That’s about it - before we go, we’d like to leave you with a few thoughts on this release by both John Passfield & Scott Miller of Apogee.
Enjoy Alien Carnage!
– Apogee Tech Support, May 2007
Halloween Harry, the tough as nails marine from Alien Carnage, is 22 years old this year. He was the star of a game I wrote on the Australian Microbee computer system and released commercially in 1985. I was still in high school at the time and was super excited to have sold my second computer game (the first was called “Chilly Willy”, a clone of the classic arcade game, Pengo).
I left school, studied computer science at university, and then got a “real job” as a programmer at a telecommunications company. That lasted just over two years before the computer game bug bit again. Now I was developing for the Amiga computer and had started work on a re-make of the Halloween Harry game I made as a kid - the game that would eventually become Alien Carnage!
With the help of a local comic artist we cooked up a demo that had great graphics and the core of a cool game. Through sheer luck I then hooked up with two other programmers who were making PC games. They were “coding demon” Robert Crane, and “graphics wizard” Tony Ball. We joined forces and Robert took over as lead programmer while I took the reigns on design. In no time we had a very addictive game on our hands.
Then, through sheer luck, we hooked up with Scott Miller and George Broussard from Apogee and before we knew it, the hottest shareware publisher on Earth was publishing us. Back in 1993 when Alien Carnage was first released, we had the honor of being one of the best selling shareware games of the year - an honor that we held on to until a little old game called “Doom” was released a few months later!
It’s been almost 15 years since Alien Carnage was released, and the guys behind it are all still involved in making games. Robert Crane is preparing to release his first casual game from his site www.rocketbunny.com, while I’ve just released my second casual game, Brainiversity, which you can download and play from www.passfieldgames.com.
Well, I hope you enjoy taking a trip down memory lane with Alien Carnage.
Halloween Harry was a project I particularly liked because games with both flame throwers and zombies were few and far between back in the early 90’s! This was also our first project working with a team in Australia, the country where I grew up during my high school years, so this project re-established my connection to my favorite country outside the States. (We would later work with two more teams in Australia, riding the roiling wave of their fast cresting development community.)
The people we worked with on this project were creative, professional and collaborative, and many (maybe all) still work in the game industry today. It cannot be underestimated how important it is to work with collaborate creative types, where the best ideas win. And that was definitely the case with the Halloween Harry team.
We later changed the game’s name to the unfortunately generic Alien Carnage because sales for Halloween Harry were below expectations, and we feared that people thought this was a seasonal Halloween game. Looking back, probably the real killer was Doom, which clearly set a new standard for shareware games, a standard that took a few years for everyone else to catch up to. Still, this was a well polished, fun game that deserved a wider audience, and even today is worth a try.
Scott Miller, founder & owner
Apogee Software, Ltd.