Secretive sages in their secluded sanctuary selected 'Ancient Technology' as the theme for the 36th [Ludum Dare] gamejam. I tried to create an oldschool thrust-like game over a weekend, intending to stay true to the limitations of old computer systems (and score theme points for use of 'ancient technology'). I restricted myself to a limited 8bit colour palette (for a total of up to 256 possible colours) and planned on midi of fm-synthesised music.
Unfortunately I failed to finish much more than the introductory stage of the game within the time allowed and did not submit :(.
Still, I'm pleased with the lo-fi look of what there is so far and have a solid plan for the rest of the game.
So rather than consign the game to the festering corpse pile of abandoned game prototypes, I have decided to finish developing it outside of the jam, but now using as close to actual 'ancient technology' as is practical: DOS era PCs.
I don't own anything from this period, but after an hour of coercion convinced a disused netbook to boot FreeDos. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any way to use the fairly modern sound hardware from DOS, so I have also set up a development environment within DOSBOX.
I'm using the last version of the Allegro game library with DOS support to handle the low level nitty-gritty of managing the video memory etc, and an old version of DJGPP to compile my code, written in the trusty setedit text editor.
Unfortunately there are some 'minor problems' with this toolchain. If I need to reference the Allegro library from more than one file (and life would be much simpler if I did), the linker throws a fit insisting that everything in the library has already been defined.
I haven't been able to reproduce this issue outside of this toolchain so would like to think it's something peculiar to my setup, but it's just something I'm going to have to live with for the duration of this project.