matanza: What’s the opposite of ‘pretty from far, far from pretty’?

A second game intended for networked play today, and this time it’s an old-fashioned, no-quarter, duel-to-the-death in space.


matanza gets the “quite unusual” moniker from me today, not only for being another networked game that will require a few more players than just your lonely self, but also as a game that tries to incorporate the aa– and bb-style image rendering into its play.

First things first, let’s get the game going. The only source code I could find was, again, in the Debian repositories (yes, yes, all hail Debian, the savior of ancient software๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ ), but wouldn’t compile in Arch.

If you extract the binary that matches your architecture though, the Debian executable will run just fine. Barbaric, yes, but I am not beneath stealing executables to get an ASCII game working. If it bothers your conscience, use deb2targz. Now don’t interrupt.๐Ÿ˜‰

Start that file, and nothing will happen. And that’s okay. It will provide you with a port number, and you connect through telnet. So if you just want to see what the game looks like, you can use telnet localhost 1234, or whatever port it gave you.

From there, the game title screen should start. Offer up a name, and you are thrown into the fray. Asteroids are a danger to you, and so are other players. You have missiles at your disposal, as well as a projectile gun you can trigger with the spacebar.

Navigate with the cursor keys, and keep in mind that matanza’s physics are simple, but accurate. Your ship will spin or cruise indefinitely until you correct it. And if you want to reverse directions, you better turn hard and blast forward in the opposite direction. Flying alone can be a challenge.

At its best, matanza’s graphical attempts are quite impressive. Asteroids are just asteroids, but up close, your ship’s graphics are distinct as it turns and shifts. The starfield grid flickers as it moves. Missiles and projectiles are a little less detailed, but still faithful.

You can zoom in and out with the plus and minus keys, and that will no doubt help in your battles. Unfortunately, it also means you lose a lot of detail as your ship is reduced in size, and that’s where things start to turn ugly. Zoom too far out, and the only way you’ll know which direction your ship it pointed will be to fire. Zoom too far in, and things will pounce on you from the edges of the screen.

So it’s a tradeoff. You can have a small measure of detail that’s necessary for navigation, and still enjoy some of the graphical effects if you get the zoom level just right. Work at it, it’s worth it.

I’m willing to give matanza bonus points for just about everything I mentioned here, and still having the potential to be a rousing network free-for-all. If I had a friend to challenge, perhaps I could be more convincing in that assessment though. …๐Ÿ™„

3 thoughts on “matanza: What’s the opposite of ‘pretty from far, far from pretty’?

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Actually I’ve tried Alpine and it’s very good. If I remember right it was intended for embedded systems and is quite compact as a result. I should take a another look; it’s been a while since I used it.

      1. Ander GM

        They are changing the default ยตlibc to musl libc.

        Yep it’s for embedded stuff, but for a terminal only system, is ideal.

        If it had the same package base a Debian…

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