Brian Smith and Cem Ozkaynak, two Seniors
enrolled in ECE 476 at Cornell University, seek to rekindle the mood of
impending nuclear annihilation by distant ‘Evil Empires’ through
the classic 1980’s video arcade sensation Missile Command.
Given the harmonious state of international affairs today
and the resounding love for America
throughout the world, we sought to remind younger generations that there were
periods in history when ‘rogue states’ threatened the world with
nuclear annihilation. To recreate
the long-forgotten fear of these ‘Evil’ states that were often
geographically challenging for many to locate we chose to use the medium of our
generation – video games.
Missile Command is simple in concept and easy to pick-up. In our design, the player has five
cities that he would prefer continued to exist. However, the opponent rogue state,
signaling its distaste for diplomacy and its preference for the blood of the capitalist
West, launches its nuclear missiles at the player’s cities. The player attempts to defend the cities
against incoming waves of hostile missiles using interceptor missiles, which
travel from one of the cities to the target chosen by the player. The interceptors detonate at the target,
creating a temporary explosion area which destroys all missiles within its
radius. The player must choose the
targets wisely since there is a limit on the number of interceptors available
at any given time. Each successful
intercept adds points to the player’s score. The game continues, increasing in
difficulty by increasing the inbound missile speeds, until all of the
player’s cities are destroyed.
The only objective of the game is to surpass any existing High Score. In nuclear warfare there are no winners
– unless, of course, you’re a rogue state. Somehow impending nuclear annihilation
never deters those guys.
To implement Missile Command in hardware we have chosen to
use two Atmel Amega32 microcontrollers (MCUs). Both
microcontrollers are soldered on to separate prototype boards which have the
appropriate power input, mouse input, and video output connections. One microcontroller is used to generate
a NTSC B/W video signal that is transmitted to a state-of-the-art consumer
electronic 5” B/W Jensen television.
The second microcontroller interfaces with a PS/2 mouse and is
responsible for transmitting the relevant mouse parameters to the video
generation microcontroller. The
software on both MCUs is written in C using