In 1985, Martin invested in a Sinclair QL computer - the 16-bit successor to the ZX Spectrum. The QL featured Motorola's M68008 processor, an 8-bit data bus variant of the powerful M68000 family of processors, together with a fixed palette of 8 colours, and a digital RGB output.
The QL (Quantum Leap) computer was not a commercial success, and was initially deliberately not marketed as a platform for games. The intended market was that of the small business user. At that time, the small business market was occupied by the IBM PC and the newly-launched Apple MAC. The QL was considerably less expensive than both of these competitors, but at its launch the QL was too expensive to be considered as a mass market games machine.
Nevertheless, Martin set about designing and developing an epic isomorphic 3D adventure game, taking full advantage of the advances that had been made in the machine's hardware, compared with its 8-bit predecessors.
The game features a spaceman on a quest through a surreal landscape of corridors, rooms, and outdoor locations.
The main character can turn, walk, jump, and climb stairs. He can reach other rooms via doors and archways, and even fall through voids in the floor.
Some of the rooms were even designed such that the spaceman will fall through several rooms at once, passing through the holes in the floors of successive locations.
Martin produced all the in-game graphics and room layouts for the game, including the global room map. Martin also developed a QL sprite editor for the game, and other custom graphics tools to aid in designing and assembling the graphic blocks that constitute each room.
Following the continued lack of commercial success of the QL computer, Martin shelved the project before its completion, and switched research and development attentions to the newly launched Atari ST, which featured enhanced colour abilities, a built in floppy disk drive, and a full 16-bit data bus M68000 processor.
Copyright © Martin W Ward 2015 - 2021