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SDL Sopwith FAQ
Q. What is this? What is sopwith?
A. Sopwith is a classic scrolling shoot 'em up developed in the early
1980s by the Canadian firm BMB Compuscience. In 2000, Dave L Clark,
the main programmer behind Sopwith, released the source code to
Sopwith. This is an updated version based on his released sources.
It is named SDL Sopwith as it makes use of the LibSDL multimedia
library to access the screen and the sound device.
Q. How well does it work?
A. As far as I know, SDL Sopwith should play just like the original.
Q. This is different to the original sopwith!
A. SDL Sopwith is based on the source to an enhanced "Authors Edition"
release that the Author, Dave Clark, made. As a result, there may
be some differences between SDL Sopwith and the widely distributed
Sopwith/Sopwith 2 binaries that you probably played.
Differences between Sopwith 1 and Sopwith 2:
* Single line for the ground (Sopwith 1 had solid ground)
* Extra objects: oxes, flocks of birds
* Enhanced AI
* Game speed not dependent on processor speed (can run on faster
* Different musical theme and sound is enabled by default
* Option for "2 players over an asyncronous line"
Differences between Sopwith 2 and the Authors Edition:
* Heat Seeking Missiles(!) (enabled with -x, extra bars on status bar
for missiles and flares)
* Wounded planes
* Splatted birds and cracks in the screen if you hit a bird or get
shot. If you fly into an ox your screen goes pink.
Q. Why is it called "SDL Sopwith" when there is now a Gtk+ port?
A. I originally designed it to use only SDL, but out of interest/
boredom I decided to do a Gtk+ port. Suggestions for new names
are welcome :)
Q. Does it have sound?
A. Yes! Sound is done through an emulation of the PC Speaker using the
digital output available on modern sound cards.
Q. Does it have network support?
A. Yes! Classic sopwith had support for network as well, but it used a
proprietory networking system (which sopwith was made to demonstrate).
Sopwith 2 also had support for "2 players over an asyncronous line",
presumably for playing over a serial cable, although this did not
seem to work either. I have replaced the serial code with code to use
TCP/IP. This means that you can play 2 player SDL Sopwith over a
LAN with TCP/IP or even over the Internet.
Q. What is a 'TCP Loop'?
A. In the ordinary networking mode, one client sets up in listen mode
and waits for the other client to connect. When it connects, the
game begins. However, this can be a problem if both clients are behind
firewalls which block incoming connections. A TCP Loop is a simple
server that relays data between all the clients connected to it. If
you are both behind firewalls you can connect to a loop running on a
third machine that acts as a relay.
There is code for a simple loop on my site in the 'tools' directory:
Q. What platforms does it run on?
A. I have only compiled it on Windows and Linux. However, as it uses
LibSDL for Video and Sound, it should compile "out of the box" on any
platform supported by SDL. Other platforms supported by SDL include
BeOS, MacOS, QNX and various other Unix flavours.
I use the GNU Compiler Collection (gcc) for compiling both in Linux
and in Windows (cygwin). I have not tried compiling in other
compilers such as MSVC.
If you have any success compiling/running SDL on other platforms or
compilers, please let me know!
Q. What is SDL?
A. LibSDL is a multimedia library designed for portability. Instead of
coding for a particular platform (such as windows, linux etc), you
use the SDL interface. Your program can then run many different
platforms with only minor changes. There is more information at
Q. What is Gtk+?
A. Gtk+ is a C GUI toolkit originally designed for The GIMP, an open
source graphics program. It is now being used as the base for
GNOME, an open source desktop environment, as well as many other
projects. There is more information at
Q. Will you make a DOS port?
A. Possibly.
Q. What license is this released under?
A. The original sopwith source code (as released by David L. Clark) was
under a restrictive license, but is now totally under the GNU GPL!