closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

Does anyone besides me remember that old game that came with Windows 95 called Hover!? I first played it during my freshman year of high school when my dad got a new computer.

Since then, I have searched for it online from time to time, but you try doing a Google search for “hover!”.

On Saturday, I finally found it.

There are only three mazes, the graphics suck, and if your resolution isn’t 256 colours, it yells at you (yes, even if you’re set to use =more= than 256 colours), but damn is it still fun!

Apart from its obvious drawbacks, I find it annoying that I can’t create new mazes or textures. The files in question are .maz and .tex files, but I haven’t found anything that will open them so I can create my own (possibly higher-res) graphics.

What I would love is for someone to take this game and remake it with better graphics, better audio (although, the audio that’s currently there isn’t all that bad), more mazes and multiplayer capabilities. So, all you programmers out there, this really doesn’t seem to be that complex of a task, I just don’t have the necessary skills.

Anyone want to take a stab at it? I’d be willing to work on the graphics, audio, and anything else within my realm of abilities. I’d even be willing to learn how to do some of the necessary programming.

UPDATE: I was just playing Hover! and I got up to level 29 with 2,019,000 points; a new personal record.

UPDATE: Here’s a mirror.

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  1. For some reason, this popped into my head:

    [into a mirror]

    Travis Bickle: You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here. Who do the fuck do you think you’re talking to? Oh, yeah? Ok.

    [whips out sleeve gun]

    Travis Bickle: Huh?

    I don’t know why. I haven’t even ever seen Taxi Driver yet.

    Anyway, about Hover!:

    Even if you could modify the .tex files (which is probably not _too_ difficult; I can’t imagine they’d encrypt it, so you just have to find the boundaries. You know the color depth is 256 (1 byte), so run through powers of 2 squares (maybe 256×256? Hmm, variable-sized textures would be a pain) with a variety of header/filler sizes until you find the right match, the biggest hang up would be compression [scratch that, just looked in small.tex and the texture names are still plain-text, so the textures themselves could be raw as well.]), you couldn’t make _higher_ resolution graphics. The engine isn’t designed for it.

    The .maz files would be much more difficult, but not impossible. However, it would be MUCH easier (and probably more beneficial, long-term) to write an engine from scratch (or adapt an open-source one) rather than trying to reverse-engineer the old crappy one.


  2. Which was pretty much what I wanted to do anyway.

    As you say, the engine wasn’t built to handle graphics any better than the ones already there.

    I do like the current engine, however, and at the very least would like to be able to create new levels (since there are only three) and new textures (since the ones that come with the game are pretty sad).

  3. Wow, and I thought I was geeky… I guess I am safely entering post-geek land. Or maybe not… since I’m still reading about Hover, if not playing it.

  4. Yes, this is the sad life I lead.

    I mean, how geeky am I that I felt compelled to update my post with a mirror to a second site where Hover! could be found? Man…

    On the other hand, Isaac, you made a point to wander around the grocery store and take pictures of superheros (et al) that are featured on food (it’s true, see his blog entry for Wednesday, April 13, 2005).

  5. I made it to level 13 with 452,925 points, and couldn’t play anymore. You really, really want to remake this game? It’s THAT fun? Where are the weapons? Where are the explosions?

    Though, it doesn’t look too bad if you turn up the detail all the way. I had never played it before, and wanted to see what kind of engine it would need. It’s basic enough that you could probably re-make it in GameMaker 6 pretty easily.

  6. You have to remember that I liked Myst.

    But because it’s as dull as it is, with the potential to be so much better, is why I want to remake it. One of the things I would add are some weapons, but probably not the kind that cause explosions. I think a large amount of fun could be derived from a multiplayer version of the game, where teams of players could compete in a big game of CTF.

  7. I liked Myst, too, when it came out 35 years ago. It’s hard to still love a game that was basically hypercard. I never played the sequels or the remake. Of course, I was a bit disappointed when I beat the original Myst in three days, after hearing how supposedly hard it was (including collecting enough pages to see all three endings). But, I digress…

    I was playing Mario Kart this weekend, and, yeah, multiplayer battles in cars are indeed quite fun. 🙂 In fact, part of my frustration from Hover! might stem from playing Mario Kart recently beforehand.

    What exactly do you foresee your remake being? I need details!

  8. Yeah, I felt the same way about Myst. I, too, beat it with absurd speed. I played Riven (which was fuck all hard) and that was it. Which reminds me, the Cyan offices are just down the street from my parent’s house. I should call them and see if I can get a tour.

    As for my remake, I imagine a game that, at its core, is very similar to the original. I like the bubble powerups and the “pads” on the ground. I like the idea of being able to play against drones if you want to play on your own.

    As I mentioned earlier, I’d like to see higher-resolution graphics and better audio (the SFX in the original aren’t too bad, but the music is crap).

    I’d like to see more user-controlled features. The ability to jump, place walls, and be cloaked are all nice, but I’d like to take some of the other features of the game and make them user-controllable. Why not be able to drop those magnetic pads? Or the pads that shoot you off in some random direction? Or those pads that cause the other team to lose one of your flags?

    Speaking of which, the drones seem to rarely, if ever, be affected by those pads, which is quite unfair.

    I’d like to see different levels of drone “smartness”. I’d also like for the drones to have the ability to pick up and use the powerup bubbles.

    And, of course, the whole thing should be CC licensed for anyone to do with what they want.

    I’m sure there are more things I have floating around in my head, but I can’t think of them right now (plus, I’m fairly distracted by the TV. I really should turn it off, but the glow is so warm…).

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