That 8-Bit Feeling

So I’ve been following The 8-Bit Guy, David Murray for many years on his superb YouTube channel, he’s probably my favorite when it comes to retro computing and tech – I love his style of filmmaking, easy, casual, a bit (but not too much) nerdy and really interesting.
He has a really great educational and engaging approach to things.

I couldn’t help get excited when Murray announced his home-brew Planet X2 game, a real-time strategy game for the original C64, while we lately have seen quite a few home-brew games for both the C64 and other old-school home computers this project really caught my attention, firstly because I really like The 8-Bit Guy, I love the C64 and love games like Dune 2 and later on Command and Conquer and WarCraft but also by the fact that I don’t really know of other real-time strategy games for the C64 platform.
Murray has since made an excellent making-of video which can be seen on his YouTube channel here.

While Planet X2 was done in “secrecy” in 2017, Murray’s next endeavor Planet X3 was something we all luckily could take part in. A Kickstarter campaign was launched in 2018 and over 2500 backers, me being one of them, pledged a total of almost $115.000.
Planet X3 would this time around be developed for MS-DOS computers (after a Facebook poll where people could vote between different systems) and would support many of the early graphics modes like CGA, PCJr/Tandy, & VGA.
Developing for MS-DOS would give a whole new set of challenges, for while the Commodore 64 stayed pretty much the same throughout its lifespan, the IBM/PC and compatibles would evolve over time with different graphics cards, processor speeds, etc. Murray decided his target platform would be the Tandy 1000 EX, which to me (as a part-time developer) is pretty exciting, while we nowadays always strive for the best hardware to develop our software on, Murray really didn’t wanna compete against all the other great RTS titles released in the 386-486 VGA era and therefore chose an older system which clearly would give its own sets of challenges.
Please watch Murrays Planet X3 for MS-DOS development on his YouTube channel it’s really great and as always filled with interesting facts, engaging stories, and a great insight into the project.

I haven’t had too much time to play planet X3, which was released digitally in December 2018, but I’m planning to dig into it in the coming weeks. The same Kickstarter update which provided the download link Murray posted the following:

  • I have 1682 boxed copies to ship. 813 of those also include Planet X2.
  • So that’s 2495 boxes to fold and assemble.
  • Each box is two halves.  So, really it’s 4,990 boxes to assemble.
  • I have 1682 disks to make.  But wait, each box includes 5.25″ and 3.5″ floppy.  So that’s really 3,364 disks to copy and apply labels. (fortunately, most of the Planet X2 disks are already made)

It really shows all the hard work which has to be done even though the game is complete – Hats off.

Today the physical items from the Kickstarter campaign arrived at my doorstep and wow.
The quality of the boxes and artwork is just superb and as beautiful as the content. I’m really blown away by the sheer quality, these items ooze passion and love.
As a collector, I always get excited when new items arrive but I must admit I haven’t been this excited in a long time – Thanks David and the rest of the team.

Below a few pictures of newly arrived Planet X2 and Planet X3.

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