atc — air traffic
atc lets you try your hand at the
nerve-wracking duties of an air traffic controller without endangering the
lives of millions of travelers each year. Your responsibilities require you
to direct the flight of jets and prop planes into and out of the flight
arena and airports. The speed (update time) and frequency of the planes
depend on the difficulty of the chosen arena.
-loption, the default game is played.
atcexpects to find its private files. This is used during the installation of the program.
Your goal in
atc is to keep the game going
as long as possible. There is no winning state, except to beat the times of
other players. You will need to: launch planes at airports (by instructing
them to increase their altitude); land planes at airports (by instructing
them to go to altitude zero when exactly over the airport); and maneuver
planes out of exit points.
Several things will cause the end of the game. Each plane has a destination (see information area), and sending a plane to the wrong destination is an error. Planes can run out of fuel, or can collide. Collision is defined as adjacency, horizontal or vertical. A plane leaving the arena in any other way than through its correct destination exit is an error as well.
Scores are sorted in order of the number of planes safe. The other statistics are provided merely for fun. There is no penalty for taking longer than another player (except in the case of ties).
Suspending a game is not permitted. If you get a talk message, tough. When was the last time an Air Traffic Controller got called away to the phone?
Depending on the terminal used, the
screen will be divided into 4 areas. It should be stressed that the terminal
driver portion of the game was designed to be reconfigurable, so the display
format can vary depending on the version you are playing. The descriptions
here are based on the ASCII version of the game. The game rules and input
format, however, should remain consistent. Control-L redraws the screen,
should it become muddled.
The first screen area is the radar display, showing the relative locations of the planes, airports, standard entry/exit points, radar beacons, and “lines” which simply serve to aid you in guiding the planes.
Planes are shown as a single letter with an altitude. If the numerical altitude is a single digit, then it represents thousands of feet. Some distinction is made between the prop planes and the jets. On ASCII terminals, prop planes are represented by an upper case letter, jets by a lower case letter.
Airports are shown as a number and some indication of the direction planes must be going to land at the airport. On ASCII terminals, this is one of ‘^’, ‘>’, ‘<’, or ‘v’, to indicate north (0 degrees), east (90), west (270), and south (180), respectively. The planes will also take off in this direction.
Beacons are represented as circles or asterisks and a number. Their purpose is to offer a place of easy reference to the plane pilots. See The Delay Command under the input section of this manual.
Entry/exit points are displayed as numbers along the border of the
radar screen. Planes will enter the arena from these points without warning.
These points have a direction associated with them, and planes will always
enter the arena from this direction. On the ASCII version of
atc, this direction is not displayed. It will become
apparent what this direction is as the game progresses.
Incoming planes will always enter at the same altitude: 7000 feet. For a plane to depart successfully through an entry/exit point, it must be flying at 9000 feet. It is not necessary for the planes to be flying in any particular direction when they leave the arena (yet).
The second area of the display is the information area, which lists the time (number of updates since start) and the number of planes you have directed safely out of the arena. Below this is a list of planes currently in the air, followed by a blank line, and then a list of planes on the ground (at airports). Each line lists the plane name and its current altitude, an optional asterisk indicating low fuel, the plane's destination, and the plane's current command. Changing altitude is not considered to be a command and is therefore not displayed. The following are some possible information lines:
B4*A0: Circle @ b1
g7 E4: 225
The first example shows a prop plane named ‘B’ that is flying at 4000 feet. It is low on fuel (note the ‘*’). Its destination is Airport #0. The next command it expects to do is circle when it reaches Beacon #1. The second example shows a jet named ‘g’ at 7000 feet, destined for Exit #4. It is just now executing a turn to 225 degrees (Southwest).
The third area of the display is the input area. It is here that your input is reflected. See the INPUT heading of this manual for more details.
This area is used simply to give credit where credit is due. :-)
A command completion interface is built into the game. At any time, typing ‘?’ will list possible input characters. Typing a backspace (your erase character) backs up, erasing the last part of the command. When a command is complete, a return enters it, and any semantic checking is done at that time. If no errors are detected, the command is sent to the appropriate plane. If an error is discovered during the check, the offending statement will be underscored and a (somewhat) descriptive message will be printed under it.
The command syntax is broken into two parts: Immediate Only and Delayable commands. Immediate Only commands happen on the next update. Delayable commands also happen on the next update unless they are followed by an optional predicate called the Delay command.
In the following tables, the syntax [0-9] means any single digit, and <dir> refers to the keys around the ‘s’ key, namely “wedcxzaq”. In absolute references, ‘q’ refers to Northwest or 315 degrees, and ‘w’ refers to North, or 0 degrees. In relative references, ‘q’ refers to -45 degrees or 45 degrees left, and ‘w’ refers to 0 degrees, or no change in direction.
All commands start with a plane letter. This indicates the recipient of the command. Case is ignored.
The Delay (a/@) command may be appended to any Delayable command. It allows the controller to instruct a plane to do an action when the plane reaches a particular beacon (or other objects in future versions).
Planes are marked by default when they enter the arena. This means they are displayed in highlighted mode on the radar display. A plane may also be either unmarked or ignored. An ignored plane is drawn in unhighlighted mode, and a line of dashes is displayed in the command field of the information area. The plane will remain this way until a mark command has been issued. Any other command will be issued, but the command line will return to a line of dashes when the command is completed.
An unmarked plane is treated the same as an ignored plane, except that it will automatically switch to marked status when a delayed command has been processed. This is useful if you want to forget about a plane for a while, but its flight path has not yet been completely set.
As with all of the commands, marking, unmarking and ignoring will take effect at the beginning of the next update. Do not be surprised if the plane does not immediately switch to unhighlighted mode.
The Game_List file lists the currently available play fields. New field description file names must be placed in this file to be playable. If a player specifies a game not in this file, his score will not be logged.
The game field description files are broken into two parts. The first part is the definition section. Here, the four tunable game parameters must be set. These variables are set with the syntax:
variable = number;
Variable may be one of:
the number of seconds between forced updates;
newplane, indicating (about) the number of updates
between new plane entries;
width, indicating the
width of the play field; or
height, indicating the
height of the play field.
The second part of the field description files describes the locations of the exits, the beacons, the airports and the lines. The syntax is as follows:
For beacons, a simple x, y coordinate pair is used (enclosed in parentheses). Airports and exits require a third value, a direction, which is one of “wedcxzaq”. For airports, this is the direction that planes must be going to take off and land, and for exits, this is the direction that planes will be going when they enter the arena. This may not seem intuitive, but as there is no restriction on direction of exit, this is appropriate. Lines are slightly different, since they need two coordinate pairs to specify the line endpoints. These endpoints must be enclosed in square brackets.
All statements are semi-colon (;) terminated. Multiple item statements accumulate. Each definition must occur exactly once, before any item statements. Comments begin with a hash (#) symbol and terminate with a newline. The coordinates are between zero and width-1 and height-1 inclusive. All of the exit coordinates must lie on the borders, and all of the beacons and airports must lie inside of the borders. Line endpoints may be anywhere within the field, so long as the lines are horizontal, vertical or exactly diagonal.
# This is the default game. update = 5; newplane = 5; width = 30; height = 21; exit: ( 12 0 x ) ( 29 0 z ) ( 29 7 a ) ( 29 17 a ) ( 9 20 e ) ( 0 13 d ) ( 0 7 d ) ( 0 0 c ) ; beacon: ( 12 7 ) ( 12 17 ) ; airport: ( 20 15 w ) ( 20 18 d ) ; line: [ ( 1 1 ) ( 6 6 ) ] [ ( 12 1 ) ( 12 6 ) ] [ ( 13 7 ) ( 28 7 ) ] [ ( 28 1 ) ( 13 16 ) ] [ ( 1 13 ) ( 11 13 ) ] [ ( 12 8 ) ( 12 16 ) ] [ ( 11 18 ) ( 10 19 ) ] [ ( 13 17 ) ( 28 17 ) ] [ ( 1 7 ) ( 11 7 ) ] ;
Files are kept in a special directory, which can be shown by using
This game is based on someone's description of the overall flavor of a game written for some unknown PC many years ago, maybe.
The screen sometimes refreshes after you have quit.
|December 13, 2020||OpenBSD-current|