Spacecutter - Guide
Playguide for the Commodore Amiga
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Loading Instructions for Atari ST and Commodore Amiga
Atari ST or Commodore Amiga with minimum of 512K of RAM and a 3.5 inch disk
Atari ST needs TOS in ROM and a color monitor or T.V.
Commodore Amiga needs Kickstart version 1.2 or above.
Loading the Program
1. Switch off your computer.
2. Insert the disk into the disk drive.
3. Switch on your computer. The game will automatically load and run.
1. Users with Kickstart on disk should first boot Kickstart version 1.2 or
2. At the workbench prompt, insert the disk The game will then load and
Please note that the presence of any RAM expansion or non-standard hardware
may inhibit the correct operation of the game.
The Game - A Lightning Guide
Before you begin a fresh game, you are asked to enter your name. This
should be no more than twelve letters and once you have typed it in you
must press RETURN.
If you choose to enter nothing, you will be referred to as 'ANONYMOUS'.
You only have to enter your name once. On the second game, you can just
press RETURN during the identification procedure to indicate no change of
THE CONTROLS DURING ACTION
MOUSE LEFT BUTTON -fire missile
MOUSE RIGHT BUTTON -release chaff
MOUSE FORWARD -increase speed
MOUSE BACK -decrease speed
MOUSE LEFT -continuous left turn
MOUSE RIGHT -continuous right turn
MOUSE CENTER -no turn
ESCAPE -abandon ship
CONTROL -control panel up/down
DELETE -Music on/off
SHIFT -pause/continue game
THE DISPLAY CONTROLS AFTER GATESPACE TRANSIT
V -visual scan of ships you are about to encounter in next
sector (press once for each ship type)
P -perfect solids you still need to get
RETURN -return to sector map display
ENTER or LEFT
MOUSE BUTTON -enter the next eigenspace
Note that these controls only become operational after gatespace transit is
complete; they do not operate until the sector map turns red.
THE CONTROL PANEL
Fly through the center of the stargates to get to the next level.
The fuel and missile gauges darken from left to right as the level drops.
The depots screen displays a symbol for each depot to be found in the
sector. The radar map displays strategic information:
Your ship -yellow dot
Depots -blue dot
Stargates -white dots
Enemy ships cannot be plotted by your radar, which is primarily a
navigational aid. The control panel can be moved up or down by pressing the
control key. It is best to use it only when you really need it.
THE DEPOTS FUEL DEPOT - fly close to re-fuel
MISSILE DEPOT - fly close to re-arm
CHAFF DEPOT - fly close to re-chaff
THE SECTOR MAP DISPLAY
FUEL DEPOT 00 YOUR SHIP >
MISSILE DEPOT o0o CHAFF DEPOT :::
After a short journey across Gatespace, your ship arrives at the threshold
of the next sector. When this happens, the map turns red and you can enter
the next sector but until then all your ship controls are dead.
You should study the sector map carefully during your journey and try to
remember the location of whichever Stargate is next on your route. Knowing
where everything is can be vitally important to the success of your
PLAYING THE GAME
The game takes place within the 'Whirligig' which is a vast network of
mini-universes or 'eigenspaces' which are linked together by stargates.
There are over 4 billion eigenspaces in the entire network. Each stargate
is a form of black hole through which only one-way travel is possible.
Most eigenspaces contain a number of stargates leading to a variety of
other spaces. There is an overall pattern to the network of eigenspaces
and stargates but it is not trivial. The Technical Appendix gives a full
Five out of the 4 billion spaces in the 'Whirligig' have special properties
that make each of them a 'perfect'eigenspace or, for short, a
'perfectspace'. Each of the 5 perfectspaces contains one of the 5 perfect
solids, sometimes known as the Platonic sokids, and each perfect solid has
a ship close-by, guarding it.
These 5 solids are the key to ultimate success in the game. Each of these
solids has an attractor field surrounding it. By maneuvering your ship into
the attractor field, you can drag the solid along behind you providing you
don't twist and turn too sharply. Drag it through a stargate and you've
captured it. If you capture all 5 perfect solids, their combined power
opens a timegate back to Earth in it's golden age, 1988 AD: your mission
score shoots up to infinity and you've won the game!
The perfect solids and their eigenspaces are:
PERFECTSPACE 6 TETRAHEDRON 4 faces
PERFECTSPACE 28 CUBE 6 faces
PERFECTSPACE 496 OCTAHEDRON 8 faces
PERFECTSPACE 8128 ICOSAHEDRON 20 faces
PERFECTSPACE 33550336 DODECAHEDRON 12 faces
Don't be too dismayed by the prospect of having to reach perfectspace
33550336. It dosen't mean you have to get through 33 million sectors. The
way the Whirligig stargate network is organized allows you to make giant
leaps forward from some sectors (and giant leaps backwards from others!).
We have discovered a route that takes just 36 sectors to get from space 0
to space 33550336 and there may be even quicker route. Two of the routes
we've discovered are to be found in the Technical Appendix. Just so you
won't die of old age before you find your way to the 5th perfectspace!
Pilots who don't make it to the ultimate objective are given a mission
score. The maximum possible mission score (below the winning score of
infinity) is four billion, two hundred and ninety-six million, nine hundred
and sixty-seven thousand, two hundred and ninety-five. At this point, the
scoring stops, no matter how many more enemy ships you manage to
Your ship is a Meson Class Fighter capable of severe rates of turn and with
a dangerously high maximum speed. It is equipped with both missiles and
chaff pods. The other important thing it carries is fuel!
Flying at high speed most of the time, you won't want to keep looking at a
mass of gauges - you'll want to keep both eyes firmly on the action. In the
game, this is easy because the shape of the ship, quite literally, shows
you how ship-shape it is!
As your fuel runs out, the rocket motor at the rear of your ship gradually
slides into the main hull. As you use up missiles, the cockpit inches
forward. Finally, all 4 of your chaff pods are attached to the rear edge of
the ship's wings and disappear one by one as you loose them off.
Your ship's cockpit also behaves as an escape pod. You can abandon ship at
any stage of the game by pressing the escape key. When this happens, your
ship self-destructs. Your cockpit leaves real space briefly and attaches
itself to one of your stock of spare hulls. You then re-enter the same
sector but with a ship equipped with its full complement of missiles, chaff
and fuel. The same also happens if your ship is destroyed by collision or
You start the game with 12 hulls. When you have no hulls left, your
mission is terminated.
Fuel is only used up when you slow down, speed up or turn. Flying in a
straight line at a constant speed uses no fuel at all. So, if you have
nerves of steel and can fly on a steady course, you'll get a lot more
Likewise, if you run out of fuel, your ship dosen't just stop dead in its
tracks. Instead, it carries on flying in a straight line in the direction
it was heading. You won't be able to steer it, speed it up or slow it down,
although you will still be able to fire off missiles and chaff.
Usually you will end up crashing into something if you run out of fuel but
you should be able to score a few more points before you do so. If you're
lucky, you might slip down a stargate (but you'll still have no fuel in the
next sector). If you're very lucky, you might pass a Fuel Depot and get
Occasionally, however, you can find yourself endlessly orbiting a sector.
When this happens, there is only one thing to do - abandon ship by pressing
the ESCAPE key. After a short delay, you will reenter the sector with a
brand new fully-fueled ship
MISSILES (Left mouse button)
The missiles carried by your ship are all target-seeking missiles which
will home in on the nearest object within a certain range. This range is
slightly greater than the width of the screen.
So why don't you just fly along continuously pressing the missile button
blasting everything in sight? Unfortunately, your target-seeking missiles
are not very intelligent. They always go for a target and if there is
nothing else in range, that target will be your own ship!
In general, you will find the missiles very effective but they do have
their limitations. On occasions, you'll find that their flight ¶path to
their target takes them right through the middle of your ship. On other
occasions, you'll find that their rate of turn forces them into an orbit
around their erstwhile target. And of course, if you turn into their flight
¶path, you're just asking for trouble.
Although it's quite possible and often very easy to hit targets behind your
ship, it's much safer to line your ship up on a target you missiles will
get ₫here quicker too. You can have up to 3 missiles in flight at any one
CHAFF PODS (Right mouse button)
Your chaff pods are really defensive devices. Their speed and maneuverabil-
ity are much greater than a missile's and, what's more, their targeting is
First, they search for any objects within range. Then, they select one of
these with the following priorities:
Priority 1 -The nearest missile homing in on your ship
Priority 2 -The nearest enemy homing in on your ship
Priority 3 -The nearest object excluding your ship
These priorities ensure that chaff tends to home in on the most dangerous
object around. If the pod can't find a valid target, then the firing
sequence is aborted.
When the chaff pod is released, it homes in on its target with extreme
speeds and destroys it. When your ship is in great danger, you'll often be
able to get out of trouble by hitting the chaff button.
Of course, it is possible to use your chaff as an offensive weapon,k but
you only carry 4 chaff pods. It's usually best to save them for moments of
FLYING YOUR SHIP
Your ship is controlled by movements of the mouse. Moving the mouse forward
will increase your speed. Moving it back will decrease your speed.
Move the mouse to the left for a continuous left turn, move it to the right
for a continuous right turn and center it for straight-line flight.
The mouse has been programmed for a more sensitive left-right response at
low speeds and a less sensitive response at high speed. This allows you to
make emergency stops and rapid take-offs without veering wildly off-course
but also allows very tight turns at low speed.
Stargates are the links between sectors. Each leads to one particular
sector and they are all one-way links. You can't go back the way you've
come! Eigenspaces 0 and 1 each contain just one stargate but all other
sectors contain at least three. There are some eigenspaces with as many as
When you fly your ship through the center of a stargate (without colliding
of course) your ship and the rest of the immediate universe disappears down
a black hole and you enter gatespace.
Whilst your ship is crossing gatespace to the next sector, a map of the
next sector appears on your computer screen. After a short while your ship
arrives at the threshold of the new eigenspace. Then when you press ENTER
or the left mouse button, your ship pours out of another black hole into
the new sector and the action starts again.
Flying through a stargate is the most basic skill necessary in the game.
Before that is mastered, you literally get nowhere! It isn't outrageously
difficult but it does need some practice to perform the maneuver swiftly
You'll find eigenspace 0, the sector in which you start, the best place to
practice 'crashing the stargate' all the enemy ships that follow you down a
stargate do not emerge with you at the other end. So, if you're a good
pilot, you can use stargates to escape from enemies homing in on you or
Because of the time-space discontinuities, enemy ships that follow you down
a stargate do not emerge with you at the other end. So, if you're a good
pilot, you can use stargates to escape from enemies homing in on you or
THE TIMEGATE EFFECT
Each eigenspace is not just closed in space - it is closed in time as well.
It can only ever be entered at one particular moment in its own timeframe.
You will discover this whenever you re-enter the same eigenspace. Each time
you go back in, you'll find everything exactly as it was the first time you
entered it, no matter what terrible destruction you've managed to cause
In the perfectspaces, this fact has a strange result. One of the peculiar
properties of the perfectspaces is that each one contains a stargate that
leads back to the very same space. This seems fairly pointless until you
remember that every re-entry of a sector takes you back to the same moment
in time. These stargates that lead back to the perfectspace they are
located in, are, in effect, timegates!
There is one paradox of the timegate effect the perfect solids(which are
capable of existential discontinuity, amongst other things). When you drag
one of these down a stargate they do more than just leave that sector -
it's as though they never existed there in the first place. Return to the
sector and you'll find everything else just as it was but no perfect solid
and no ship to guard it.
From time to time, you will need to refuel, re-arm or re-chaff. To do this
you will need to find the appropriate fuel depot, missile depot or chaff
When you make a close fly-past of a depot. it will beam a full load of
fuel, missiles or chaff across to your ship. As it does so, the space
continuum flickers for a moment-white for fuel, yellow for missiles or blue
If you've already taken supplies from the same depot, you may have to wait
a minute or two before it's ready to beam you some more
Not every sector contains a depot but fortunately, they are fairly common,
with over 2 billion fuel depots, over 1 billion missile depots and over 800
million chaff depots in the entire Whirligig.
Starting with eigenspace 1 every 2nd sector contains a fuel depot, every
3rd sector contains a missile depot and every 5th sector contains a chaff
depot. Consequently, every 6th sector provides both fuel and missiles,
every 10th sector provides fuel and chaff, every 15th sector provides
missiles and chaff, and every 30th sector provides all three!
The enemy, are a mechanical race of intelligent ships which have managed to
enslave most of the human race. They infest the whole Galaxy and over 100
billion of them (and we're not exaggerating) are to be found in the
Whirligig itself. They will all do their best to terminate your mission.
The ships have a saying which, roughly translated, runs 'All ships are
intelligent but some are more intelligent than others'. This is
particularly true of those you will find in the Whirligig.
Many enemy ships are passive, possessing no missiles and these simply whirl
along fixed paths in their own chosen eigenspaces. The only danger from
them is accidental collision.
There are other enemy ships which follow fixed paths but which also have a
stock of missiles. Come to close to these and you're likely to get blasted.
Lastly, there are the ships-of-prey, the fighters, the destroyers and the
interceptors. These are lethal. They are usually at rest, but when you come
within range of their sensors (which may be at quite a distance), they lock
on to your ship and begin to home in on it. Then they will hound you
relentlessly, firing off missiles as they go.
Worse still, some of the ships-of-prey are actually invulnerable to
missiles or to chaff or to both! All you can do about these is to
outmaneuver them either to lose them entirely or to cause them to crash
into other ships.
LEVELS OF DIFFICULTY
The higher the number of the sector, the more difficult the sector is.
However, there aren't 4 billion levels of difficulty. The levels are as
level 1 -sector 0
level 2 -sector 1-9
level 3 -sector 10-99
level 4 -sector 100-999
level 5 -sector 1000-9999
level 6 -sector 10000-99999
level 7 -sector 100000-999999
level 8 -sector 1000000-9999999
level 9 -sector 10000000-99999999
level 10 -sector 100000000-999999999
level 11 -sector 1000000000-9999999999
Within a level, the sectors vary and some are easier than others but not
necessarily in numerical order. Between levels, however, there is a severe
difference in difficulty. The higher you go the more and more ships of prey
you will find and these get progressively swifter and more maneuverable.
THE SCORING SYSTEM
You have two scores, a mission score and a sector score. The sector score
is simply the total value of all the enemy ships destroyed whilst you were
in the last sector. Generally speaking, ships carry a higher score value
the higher the level of sector. A ship worth 10 points on level 1 will be
worth 100 points on level 10.
The mission score is the total of all your sector scores but with a special
bonus system. When you leave a sector, your sector score is added to your
mission score. Then the bonus is added. This bonus depends on which of the
perfect solids you have managed to capture:
TETRAHEDRON -Bonus-1xSector score
CUBE -Bonus-2xSector score
OCTAHEDRON -Bonus-3xSector score
ICOSAHEDRON -Bonus-4xSector score
DODECAHEDRON -Bonus-5xSector score
If you've captured more than one, the bonus multiplies even further. Let's
say you've captured the cube and the octahedron. On their own they would be
worth 2 times and 3 times your sector score. Together they are worth 2 X 3
X 4 X 5 times your sector score.
So, if you'd captured the last four perfect solids, your bonus would be 2 x
3 x 4 x 5 times your sector score - 120 times your sector score!
NOTHING IS RANDOM
There are no random numbers in the game. Everything that happens is a
predictable consequence of your own actions. Although the enemy ships move
according to their own logic, there is nothing random about the way they
move you act and they re-act. Even when they are out of visual range, they
are still moving about out there according to their individual patterns of
The enemy ships don't just pop-up out of nowhere either. When you enter a
sector, there are only so many ships. No new ones will magically appear, so
if you are fast and accurate, you can wipe a sector clear of the enemy.
EXPLORING THE WHIRLIGIG
The Whirligig is a vast and intricate network of different eigenspaces
which you can explore to your heart's content (if you can get past the
enemy ships). Finding the best routes to the perfectspaces is one task an
intrepid explorer might set himself-the best route is not just the
quickest; it should have plenty of depots on the way and hopefully not too
much opposition. Or, you might prefer just exploring for its own sake.
We have doubts, however, that anyone will ever manage to explore the entire
Whirligig. To spend a minute in each sector would take you eight thousand
one hundred and seventy one years of continuous play!
THE EIGENSPACE NETWORK
We haven't really got space to print a map of the entire network but there
is a precise mathematical pattern to the network of stargates and
eigenspaces, knowledge of which could help you find and plan strategic
routes, if you're mathematically inclined. So, here goes with the pattern.
Every sector is identified by a code number, which we'll call N. Every
sector N contains stargates linking it to the following sectors:
a) Sector N+1
b) Sector S, where S is the sum of all the divisors of N excluding N
c) Every sector PxN, where P is a prime factor of N. There may be up to 9
All sector numbers and links are calculated to the modulus 2(to the 32nd)
or, to put it another way, to 32 bit precision. Where the link calculation
would result in a sector number greater than 32 bits, the additional bits
are ignored - like a car's milometer, the sector numbers clock round
through zero again. So, you will find, for example, that the stargate
leading from sector 4294967295 to sector (n+1) leads to sector 0
In the Whirligig system, zero is defined as having no divisors and no prime
factors, so sector 0 leads only to sector 1. One, we know has no divisors
excluding itself and nor does it have any prime factors, so likewise sector
1 leads only to sector 2. All other sectors contain at least 3 stargates.
There is a further pattern superimposed on the eigenspace network. This
concerns the occurrence of fuel depots, missile depots and chaff depots.
Where N is a positive integer, they occur as follows:
Fuel depots in every sector 2N+1
Missile depots in every sector 3N+1
Chaff depots in every sector 5N+1
It is possible to use this information on the network pattern to work out
quick routes to particular sectors. For example, you can prove that any
sector P. where P is prime, always has just 3 stargates leading to sector
1, sector P+1 and and sector PxP. So, by going through a prime sector, you
can take a small step forward or a huge leap forward or end up almost back
at the start.
You also know that 31 is prime, so you can work out that sector 31 leads to
sector 1, sector 32 and sector 961. In addition, 31 is a number of the form
3N+1 and 5N+1 so it contains a fuel depot, a missile depot and a chaff
depot. A little further calculation will reveal that sector 961 does too.
Suddenly you've discovered quite a strategic sector.
THE PERFECT EIGENSPACES
In mathematics, a perfect number is a number that is the sum of all its
divisors excluding itself. There are only 5 such numbers below 4 billion
and the 5 perfect eigenspaces corresponding to these 5 numbers.
Since sectors are linked to the sum of their divisors excluding itself,
each perfect eigenspace therefore contains a stargate that leads directly
back to the very same eigenspace. This is the peculiar property of
perfectspaces mentioned in the section on the timegate effect.
TWO ROUTES TO PERFECTSPACE 33550336
Once you start exploring the higher levels of the Whirligig, you'll find it
very easy to get completely lost in the labyrinth. It's not too hard
getting to the high numbers. What is hard is finding a particular one.
We're sure you'll find your own way to the other perfectspaces but we're
not so sure about perfectspace 33550336. It's certainly unlikely that you'd
ever get there by pure coincidence. So, we now give you two possible routes
to perfectspace 33550336. We don't claim they're the quickest or the best
routes but they will at least get you there. The first route takes 36
sectors. The second route takes 3· but there are more depots along the way.
Depots are indicated by F for fuel, M for missiles and C for chaff.
THE FIRST ROUTE
THE SECOND ROUTE
THE SOUTHERN STAR for M.A.A.D.