Pioneer Plague, The - Manual
OUR STORY SO FAR.....
Every second of every day, some genius is planning on making your life even
more miserable than it already is. A case in pint: Pioneer Probe Mark IV,
the devil's own answer to overpopulation. It was going to be our friendly
servant, advancing the cause of colonization throughout the galaxy.
Colonization was a big issue back then, perceived to be the answer to
humankind's most pressing plaint: the shrinking of our backyards. More and
more of us were living vertically, unable to raise enough green to buy our
own green, condemned to listen to each other's taste in music, forced to
smell each other's air and four each other's water -- listen, it was
The Pioneer was going to change all that. It was a self-replicating
spaceship, a robot that would spread throughout the galaxy, terraforming
each planet it found into a paradise. When the slowboats of colonists
arrived, they would find fresh air and potable water waiting for them,
cities and suburbs, banks and fast-boot restaurants... It was so clever, it
even put demographically correct curtains in every window.
When it was all done, it would build copies of itself and disperse, like
dandelion seeds in a high wind. Sooner or later the entire galaxy would be
one big campground for the human race. Instant space, instant wealth for
everybody. We thought it was the hottest invention since indoor plumbing.
Now, several centuries of carefree living later, we know what was wrong
with the idea. Like all self-replicating entities, mutation is a very real
danger. One bad bit in the genetic code -- or the programming -- and you've
got a new bug. That new bug, in replicating, propagates the mutation.
Pretty soon you've got a whole swarm of new bugs with new ideas.
If you're lucky, the mutation is benign. If you're unlucky.....
The first aberrant strain we noticed was a family that had lost its
variety. From coast to coast, it built massive, insufferable cities.
Colonists landing on these planets spent a lot of time tearing up pavement
and planting grass.
The newest mutation, however, is much worse. The piece of code that checks
the planet for prior habitation has been lost. This strain no longer cares
if you're bot your planet the way you like it; it's going to terra-form it
for you anyway!
And this strain is heading towards your home system.
Earth's Research and Development staff wants you to know that they are
very, very sorry.
Getting Into The LifeStar
Kickstart your computer, if that's what you usually do, but don't go to the
Workbench. Turn right at the Sign of the White Hand and go directly to the
Control Room: insert the Pioneer Plague disk.
WARNING: If you have a 512K system with two disk drives, do not stick a
disk in your internal drive. It will eat vitally needed memory.
In a memory you'll be staring at the central console, wondering which
button to push. Relax, nothing will happen to you while you're in the
LifeStar; time flows slowly here. Look around.
Take a look at the four monitors in front of you:
1) The one on the left will take you to your AirShip, waiting in the hanger
below. The LifeStar will take you from planet to planet, but the AirShip is
your attack vehicle.
2) The second monitor from the left gets you to a map of your home system.
It lets you move the LifeStar to another planet.
3) The next monitor gets you into the Drone Programming Simulator. Your
AirShip carries two drones; you can program them to carry out special
missions while you're wreaking havoc.
4) The rightmost monitor is for saving and loading drone patterns.
You select the monitors with the mouse. Position the pointer and click the
left mouse button over the monitor you want. But don't start just yet,
we've got a little more to cover.
The AirShip Control Panel
At the top of the screen, you'll find your AirShip controls. Right now, you
just need to worry about three instruments:
1) The bar gauge in the upper left corner shows your shield strength. As
long as your shield strength is up, you're invincible. When you hit zero,
you can get damaged.
2) The gauge in the upper right corner shows how much fuel you have. when
you hit zero your main engines shut off, and you have to bet by on the
Svenson Ironic Impulse Engines. (Svenson names them himself, because he
thought it was ironic that such a fine example of high technology could be
such a dog. If you feel your ship's handling get all mushy, you know the
Svensons have kicked in.)
3) The green screen in the center is your threat display. It shows:
a) The sky hatches on the planet (in black).
b) The sky hatches currently launching a Pioneer Probe (in red.)
c) Your AirShip position (in white).
d) The LifeStar (flashing).
A Trial Run
The LifeStar is already positioned over a planet that's been invaded by the
pioneers. It's too late to save this world; every living creature has
already been converted to raw materials for the city. Your job is to
prevent the Probes from infecting any other planets in your system.
To do that, you must wipe out all the Sky Hatches, with particular
attention to the ones that have emerging Probes.
You may control your AirShip from the keyboard, or from a joystick plugged
into your second port. If you're using the keyboard, the arrow keys control
your direction, (to get diagonals, press both at the same time). The
spacebar is used for the "trigger button."
The trigger button has three functions, depending upon what you're flying
1) TO FIRE PHOTON MISSILES: Press the trigger.
2) TO BLOW UP A SKY HATCH: Position yourself over the hatch and press the
trigger. The flight computer will sense that a hatch is below, and it will
use the flame-thrower instead. if you see a photon missile fly, you weren't
close enough to the Sky Hatch for the computer to notice it.
3) TO PICK UP MORE FUEL: Locate the fuel tanks which are miniature versions
of the oil refinery tanks you see every day. Here the resemblance ends as
these particular fuel tanks are ringed with flak emplacements. Position
yourself over the fuel tanks ad press the trigger. The computer will use
the matter transporter to suck up fuel. You have to be very accurate about
your positioning to pick up fuel.
"Why," you may ask yourself, "would I need to use photon missiles?" Well,
there's something else about the Pioneer Probe that we've been meaning to
tell you...Earth's exceedingly clever designers provided the Probe with
A.M. (Artificial Malevolence), so that it could deal with unforeseeable
circumstances that might frustrate its mission. One of those unforeseeable
circumstances is the existence of your ship. The Probe's response to such
irritants is to design and build a family of robot ships to remove the
offending object -- with unfortunate consequences to your health.
Pilots from previous missions have described three (perhaps four) classes
1) Star Shark Fighters: Big nasty red things, always on the prowl, armed
with Air-To-Air missiles. You can wipe them out with your photon missiles,
or your drones. The Star Shark attack is coordinated by control towers. Be
sure to read the paragraph on control towers located further in this
2) Homers: Variously-shaped robots that home in on your ship in predictable
patterns. If they collide with you, they pack quite a punch. They can also
be destroyed with photon missiles or drones, but if they collide with your
drone they will scramble its programming, forcing it to return to your
3) Air Mines: We keep hoping we'll find a way to deal with these, but our
experimenters never return. We do know that they come in two varieties,
Single-Pinging Dumb Mines and Multi-Pinging Smart Mines. Their charge will
take your shields down in a hurry if you run into one.
4) ??????: We have also received some garbled reports about a "Boxer", but
we're not sure what the pilots are talking about. They always seem too
preoccupied to give us much useful data, and the transcripts are often
Control towers are not friendly installations. They are ringed by flak
emplacements in a square formation. A square strip of the city surrounds
the central flak emplacements but this strip is surrounded by even more
flak emplacements. If you see a control tower on the screen, it definitely
sees you and the Star Shark Fighters protecting it are apt to get a little
nervous. Be forewarned.
To destroy the control tower, fly over it and press the trigger. if you
blow up a control tower, the communications of the Star Shark Fighters
will be disrupted for awhile and no new ones will appear but you still have
to destroy the ones attacking you.
One other thing before you give it a try: to release your drones, press the
keys A (F1), S (F2), D (F3), F (F4), or G (F5). (The keys in parentheses
are alternates if you prefer not to use the keys in the middle of they
keyboard. Do not try to save a pattern to F1 if you have already saved it
to the A key. These are one and the same to the computer.) Each key will
cause the drone to run a different pattern. Until you train then, they will
have relatively simple patterns. For now, just use the default patterns A
(F1) and S (F2) to protect yourself.
When you start to run out of shield strength, release a drone with the G
(F5) key. It will suck the power from the city blocks beneath it, then
return the power to you.
If both of your drones are already flying and you need strength fast, you
can cause them to return by pressing the [Return] key. When the drones
re-dock, you can send them out with a different pattern.
If you get hit while your shields are down, you may get damaged. The green
panel underneath your fuel gauge will show you what's damaged -- your
trigger button, or your ability to fly in any of the four directions. The
lights are arranged to represent the positioning on a joystick. A white
light means that the corresponding function is damaged. (Your Threat
Display may also be damaged, but won't need a light to tell you about it.)
If you get damaged, fly back to LifeStar to get repaired.
If you are hit while your shields are down, your transit computer will
probably be damaged. you will have to use your Emergency Manual Navigation
Kit to move to a new planet. See instructions at the end of the manual.
To enter your AirShip and begin the mission, click the mouse over the
leftmost monitor in the Control Room.
When you appear over the planet, fly your ship away from the LifeStar, then
release your drones. When you've destroyed all the Sky Hatches, dock with
the LifeStar again. (If you need to get back to the Control Room without
finishing all of the Sky Hatches, dock with the LifeStar, then press the
To pause the action, press the [P] key. Press [P] again to un-pause it.
Programming the Drones
Your drones can protect you from attack, down your enemies, recharge your
shields, and wipe out flak emplacements. If you program them effectively,
they'll go a long way towards insuring your survival.
Click the mouse over the third monitor (counting from the left) on the
central console to enter the Drone Programming Simulator. You'll soon see
your AirShip hanging over the image of a circuit board. To program a drone,
you simply fly it in the pattern you want it to travel. The drone will
remember all your moves and play them back. You can store 5 of these
patterns, using the A, S, D, F, and G, keys on the keyboard (You only have
to program one drone. Either of the drones can use the patterns you
Press the [L] key to put the drone into Learning mode. The drone will
appear over your Airship, and the "L" light on the left side of your
control panel will light up. Using the joystick or the arrow keys, fly the
drone around your ship for awhile, then press the [Return] key.
The drone will return to your ship, and you will see a row of five lights
flash at the bottom of your control panel. The computer is asking you to
decide which key to store the pattern in. Press one of the keys [A (F1), S
(F2), D (F3), F (F4), G (F5)]. Now, each time you press that key, the drone
will replay the moves you just recorded. Try it.
If you don't want to watch the whole pattern being replayed, you can press
the [Return] key at any time, and the drone will come back to your ship.
The drone has a limited amount of memory, so if you try to record a very
long pattern, it may suddenly return home on its own. That means it can
record no more, but the pattern you recorded up until then is fine, if you
want to store it.
HINT: You can get longer patterns. The drone remembers your patterns as a
series of events. The more often you change directions, the quicker you will
fill up its memory. You can record very long-lasting patterns by moving to
a new position and waiting, for example.)
If you record a pattern and then decide that you don't want to store it,
you don't have to. Just press the L key again to start recording a new
Saving Your Drone Patterns
To save your drone patterns to disk, you must have a formatted data disk.
(There isn't much room on the game disk.) If you're new to the Amiga,
please refer to your operating manuals for the formatting procedure -- you
will have to restart the computer with a WorkBench disk to do the. (If you
have a drone pattern that you just can't bear to lose, find a disk that you
know isn't completely full and temporarily store the drone patterns on
that. The patterns don't take up a lot of space.)
In the Control Room, click the mouse over the fourth monitor screen to get
to the disk options. You should see a picture of a disk with three labels
on it: Load, Save, and Play Game. Click the mouse over the option you want,
and a requester will appear asking you for the file name you want to load
Remove the game disk and insert your data disk into the internal floppy
disk drive (Drive 0), then click the mouse over the input box and type the
file name. If you only have a 512K system, do not use the external drive.
When you're ready, click the mouse over OK. If you've changed your mind,
click the mouse over CANCEL. It should take only a few seconds to load or
save the drone patterns. When the computer is finished, it will ask you t
replace the game disk in Drive 0. Remove the data disk, replace the game
disk, and then press [Space] to return to the Disk Utilities menu. You can
then select "Play Game" to return to the game.
NOTE: You should only remove the game disk during this procedure. If you
remove the game disk while you're in another portion of the program, you
may cause the computer to "hang up" when it tries to read something from
the disk. If this happens, re-insert the game disk.
Drone Tracking Mode
Your drone actually has two sets of thrusters on it. One set takes care of
replaying the patterns you just recorded. The other set is slaved to the
thrusters on your AirShip, so that whenever you thrust to the right, the
drone's Svenson Slave Thrusters also fire to the right.
The net effect of this is that if you move your AirShip, the drone will
follow you, even as it plays out its patterns around your head. you become
a moving centerpoint for the drone pattern. This is called Tracking Mode.
Your drone always starts out in this mode. If you press the T key, you will
disable he Svenson Slave Thrusters, and the drone will then ignore your own
movements. With Tracking Mode turned off, the drone can be left behind to
carry out its own mission, then return to you when its pattern runs out.
Don't worry if the drone disappears off the end of the screen: it will find
you when it's time to come home. Pressing the T again will turn Tracking
Mode back on. Each press of the T key flip-flops the Svenson Slave
Thrusters on or off. These keypresses are also recorded, so a single pattern
can turn Tracking Mode on or off as often as it likes.
To tell whether or not your drone is currently in Tracking Mode, take a
look at the drone's status lights. There is a set of status lights for each
drone, labeled "TRCK HOM FLY RET" If the light is on, this tells you that
the drone is (TRCK) in Tracking Mode, (HOM) Home, or docked with your ship,
(FLY) Flying, or (RET) Returning Home.
These lights also operate while you're doing battle, so you can see what
your drones are doing. It's easy to miss them when they return, for
example, so you can check the "HOM" light to see if you have any drones to
Next to drone status lights, you will see two small power gauges. When the
drones have their Tracking Mode turned off, the Svenson Engines are used to
pull power from the city blocks below them (using a process popularized by
UFOS). If you're in the Drone Simulator, you will see a chunk of the
circuit board change color. If you're over a planet, you will see the city
black out. The power is collected in the drone's batteries, until it can
re-dock with your ship; the gauges show how much power the drone currently
has in its batteries.
HINT: If you need Shield Strength desperately, you can let a drone collect
just enough power to make it worthwhile, then recall it early with the
ANOTHER HINT: When Tracking Mode is off, the drones burn out the flak
emplacements that protect the fuel tanks.
The ability to destroy incoming missiles, fighters, etc. is not affected by
To leave the Drone Programming Simulator, press the [Esc] key.
The Remaining Instruments
At the bottom of the instrument panel, under the drone status lights,
you'll find five small lights that indicate which drone patterns are
currently being run. The lights correspond to the position of the A (F1), S
(F2), D (F3), F (F3), and G (F5) keys.
To the right of the Threat Display, you'll find a triangular arrangement of
lights. These indicate the stage of the current Pioneer Probe launch wave.
When the top light is lit, the Probes will start launching. When all the
Sky Hatches have been destroyed, all the lights will flash in unison.
Next to it, you will see a small computer monitor. This will display, in
green numbers, how many Sky Hatches you have left. It will also show how
many Pioneer Probes have escaped in red numbers.
Moving To A New Planet
From the Control Room, click the mouse over the second monitor (counting
from the left). This will bring you to your Home System Chart.
Planets that have numbers flashing next to them have already been infected
with the Plague. The number indicates how many active Sky Hatches currently
exist on that planet. If the number is zero, you have eradicated all the
Hatches on the planet, but the planet is still spoiled. If all the planets
become spoiled, you have failed your mission.
The planet that is flashing indicates your current location. Clicking the
mouse over this image (or pressing the ESC key) will get you back to the
Control Room. If you click the mouse over another planet's image, you will
select that planet as your destination for Sub-Euclidian Space Travel.
The titanic forces that formed our galaxy left giant fissures between
planets. You must use these fissures, or Wormholes, to travel from planet
to planet. If your computer is functioning properly, you will automatically
enter Sub-Euclidian space and travel towards your chosen destination. If
however, you were hit while your shields were down, it's likely that your
transit computer is damages. in this unfortunate case, you will have to use
your Emergency Manual Navigation Kit. Please refer to the section at the
back of your manual entitled Using Your Emergency Manual Navigation Kit.
Passing Through Sub-Euclidian Space
This is much faster than normal space travel, but it still takes an
appreciable amount of time. The longer you are in Sub-Euclidian Space, the
more Sky Hatches will be built on the planets.
To get out of Sub-Euclidian Space, you must spear a Gravity Well with your
Prion Beam. The Gravity Well is represented on your screen by a green
wire-image drawing of a planet. Aim the Prion Beam with your mouse; press
the left mouse button to fire it. As soon as you've fired the beam you may
move the mouse without disrupting your aim.
Unfortunately, the Pioneer Probes have mined the area with Tractor
Missiles. If you let a Tractor Missile get by you, you will be pulled back
towards your starting point. The Prion Beam, however will destroy the
Using Your Emergency Manual Navigation Kit
Your Emergency Manual Navigation Kit can be found in the clearly marked
envelope in your game box. It consists of Wormhole Charts of Dimensions 6
though 9 and transparencies of the four Sub-Euclidian Planes. The
LifeStar's computer will search all the possible combinations of
Sub-Euclidian Planes and Wormhole Dimensions and will display the
combination that contains useful Wormholes for your destination. Now it is
up to you to enter in the coordinates.
Open your envelope and pull out the Wormhole Chart and the Sub-Euclidian
Plane Transparency that your computer specified. Position the transparency
over the chart so that the boxes line up. See if there is one Wormhole that
travels between your current planet and the planet you want to reach. if
not, rotate the transparency and look again. When you find a Wormhole
between the two planets, look in the lower left-hand corner fo the chart.
You will see a number that indicated the angle of rotation: this number
will be 0, 90, 180, or 270 degrees. Click the mouse over the input box on
your computer screen until the number matches the rotation angle.
Now you are ready to begin the Collapsar Sequence. This sequence is times
so you may want to read the next section before you begin. Click on the
"OK!" box when you're ready.
The Collapsar Sequence
The Sub-Euclidian Planes are made up of White Hole/Black Hole sequences.
you need to align your ship with the correct sequence to reach your chosen
destination. The LifeStar computer will display a row of five squares at
the bottom of the screen. These squares are wither empty (White Holes) or
have a dot in them (Black Holes). Quickly memorize the 5 square pattern,
then scan the chart from left to right to find an identical sequence. There
may be more than one. Type in the letter that corresponds to the first
(leftmost) box in the pattern. (If the sequence begins on a box lettered
"F", for example, press the "F" key.) The computer will use that entry
point to open a full-sized hole into the Sub-Euclidian Plane.
The act of opening a hole into the Sub-Euclidian Plane takes a prodigious
amount of energy. The more quickly you can identify the pattern and type in
the first letter, the more energy you will gain for your shields.
If you type an incorrect letter, you will still enter Sub-Euclidian space
but will not be properly aligned and most likely, will not reach your
Provided by THE SOUTHERN STAR for M.A.A.D.