D-Zone Game Re-written

April 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Destruction Zone, or D-Zone is a computer game written in 1992 during high school. Months after distributing it as Shareware I was receiving distribution legal contracts and over five hundred registrations, mostly from the USA, from enthusiastic D-Zone players. I received an even larger number of letters with wonderful suggestions about what should be included in the next version. I stopped working on the game in 1993.

D-Zone is a tank battle game that allows up to three players and up to six robots to fight through rounds and accumulate money and points. Players shop for new weapons and tools every three rounds. The enormous number of weapons and tools with well balanced prices and properties made the game very addictive. D-Zone became very popular in the early 1990s, back when the fastest PC machine was the Intel 486.

As computers increased ten-fold and eventually one-hundred-fold in speed, the time came when the game began to run too fast. I could not correct this simple problem because the source code was believed to have been lost for many years.

As I was packing up things in my house to move from Adelaide to Melbourne, I went through all of my old 3.5″ diskettes in untouched corners of my cupboards and to my surprise one of the many disks contained a file – s_dzone.zip. A wonderful feeling passed through me, and then as I unzipped the file I found that it was indeed the entire source code (version 1.3 of the game).

Upon re-writing the game for modern computers I actually took none of the original source but retained the same game-play. I improved the AI significantly, wrote my own 3D engine from scratch (I was perhaps a little bit paranoid about making sure the game would now be future proof) and tried to keep the original game-play intact. Writing a game is a bit like writing a musical composition – one small change (such as the shopping price of a weapon) can affect the game as a whole and so it is a kind of art to keep everything incredibly well balanced. You can download D-Zone from here:

D-Zone II for Windows XP/7 Download Instructions for Windows
Just un-zip the files to a new folder and then click dzone.exe (icon with two swords)
D-Zone II for Mac OS X Download Instructions for Mac OS X
Un-zip the download and click ‘Destruction Zone’
D-Zone II for Linux Download Instructions for Linux 

  1. Download D-Zone for Mac OS X and unzip. This version of D-Zone includes dzone.jar which will work on Linux.
  2. Install the Java run-time environment JRE 6.0 (also called 1.6) or higher if not already installed.
  3. Copy the file jl1.0.jar into the /jre/lib/ext folder of the JRE installed above.
  4. Visit the Console and then go to the folder where dzone.jar is located and type “jar -Xmx500m -jar dzone.jar”.
D-Zone II Guidebook Download (100 K)

System Requirements

CPU of at least 1.5 GHz, 384 MB RAM, Windows XP, Windows 7, Linux with Java installed or Mac OS X.

If you are new to D-Zone then you may wish to read the D-Zone introduction or view screen-shots.

By Sancho Lerena, posted 2004.08.10 

I’ll waiting for Linux version…. XP is too hard for me😉

By Rob Macnee, posted 2004.09.19 

I played the original for countless, countless hours with friends and family, and
have many fond memories associated with playing it, but I never registered. Now I
think is my chance to rectify that, now that I have a job and money of my own (I
played D-Zone mostly back when I was 12-14). You may remember I emailed you a few
years ago asking for the original source code, when I was curious about game
programming. Now I’m glad I didn’t get it, because D-Zone 2 is out, and I can get
my fix from that. To tell you the truth, the wave of nostalgia that accompanied
the shareware message for DZ2 was overwhelming.

Anyway, thanks for sticking with it, I’m sure my reaction and story is a lot like
that of many others. D-Zone will always mean a lot to me, and corny as that
sounds, it’s true.

Sincerely,
Rob Macnee

By robert zoccoli, posted 2004.10.16 

Dear Julian,

I thank you for your letter, it was probably the single best piece of mail i have recieved this year. me and my friend loved D-zone and hated the fact that even on it’s slowest setting it ran to fast on my comp. i think i will greatly enjoy this as me and him have spent many hours on the first one. thank you again for letting me know and i’m glad my letter encuraged you to complete this game.

Sincerely,
Robert Zoccoli

p.s. i wonder if you reused your master registration code? couse that was the one you gave to me in 1998 possibly due to loss of the others. By robert zoccoli, posted 2004.10.16

Blast it, you weren’t kissing about the system reqs huh? oh well gotta upgrade my comp, been putting it off too long

Robert Zoccoli

By robert zoccoli, posted 2004.10.16 

p.s. i wonder if you reused your master registration code? couse that was the one
you gave to me in 1998 possibly due to loss of the others.
By robert zoccoli, posted 2004.10.16

Blast it, you weren’t kissing about the system reqs huh? oh well gotta upgrade my
comp, been putting it off too long

Robert Zoccoli
By robert zoccoli, posted 2004.10.16

bah, ment to type kidding. man i’m bad🙂.
By Darren Chan, posted 2004.10.25

Thanx for the letter Julian.. will chk out D-Zone II.. it’s been a looooong time
mate!!

DC.

By robert zoccoli, posted 2004.10.16 

Dear Julian,

I thank you for your letter, it was probably the single best piece of mail i have
recieved this year. me and my friend loved D-zone and hated the fact that even on
it’s slowest setting it ran to fast on my comp. i think i will greatly enjoy this
as me and him have spent many hours on the first one. thank you again for letting
me know and i’m glad my letter encuraged you to complete this game.

Sincerely,
Robert Zoccoli

p.s. i wonder if you reused your master registration code? couse that was the one
you gave to me in 1998 possibly due to loss of the others.

By Baldwin Yen, posted 2004.12.18 

Dear Julian,
Just spent the last year in Iraq, was going through mail at my parents’ house when I came upon the letter from you.
Opened the letter, and the first thing I saw was who it’s from, and the first
thought that struck me was, “Hey, it’s the Australian guy who’s the author of D-Zone!”
It being a cherished memory, I ran upstairs and got the original reply letter I received from you, which I had kept in a desk in my old room. Talk about nostalgia.
In anycase, it’s great to know that you’re continuing to work on D-Zone, and I’m downloading D-Zone 2 even as I type. Thanks for the great games and the great memories.
Bobby Yen

By Sansara Giovanni, posted 2005.02.21 
What’s up?

I must tell you, I’ve been waiting in deep silence, listening, and trembling
for the last 6 months.

I AM (not was) a great D-Zone fan. I even have an old computer for playing
such games as Arkanoid, Centurion and D-Zone…

But it’s beggining to fail. I have more & more computer crashes and my new
AMD XP@1800 is running under windows2000

What can I say… terror, anxiety, pain…

Are you still working in D-Zone? Am I biting my nails unnecesarily?…

Anyway, cm’on… some of US are STILL waiting for you!!!

Sansara.
losened_self AT hotmail.com

By Merc, posted 2005.02.21 
Hello Julian

a quick email from Perth: I *love* dzone, I *love* the fact that I can
finally run it now on my fast computer, and I Would *love* to see dzone 2
on my computer🙂

As soon as you release Dzone 2.0, I will register, no matter what the price
would be – that’s a promise!

When do you think you’ll release it?🙂

Thank you and bye!!!

Merc.
mobily@mobily.com

By Drew Davis, posted 2005.02.22 

DZone is back! W00t! Time to pwn!

By Peter van Hardenberg, posted 2005.06.05 

D-Zone on LINUX. I would very much like a copy, because how else will I get my electro-buds on?

C’mon…

By robert zoccoli, posted 2005.07.06 

Blast it, you weren’t kissing about the system reqs huh? oh well gotta upgrade my
comp, been putting it off too long

By Darren Chan, posted 2005.08.11 

By Darren Chan, posted 2004.10.25

Thanx for the letter Julian.. will chk out D-Zone II.. it’s been a looooong time
mate!!

DC.

By Julian Cochran, posted 2006.09.10 

After playing D-Zone for five hours with my friend last night I decided to continue with some upgrades. I’ll soon prepare D-Zone version 2.2 for public release with the following upgrades:

1. Red dots introduced (they were in the original version) so that when you cannot fire the currently selected weapon a red glow appears in the middle of the tank.

2. If you try to fire when out of weapon energy there is a special sound effect with emotional impression of trying to fire when you cannot. Combined with 1 this gives a solid feeling that pressing fire lots of times isn’t how the game is played.

3. Music now playing as mp3 and new music included for the title page (my Prelude No. 4, a recent composition).

4. The entire zone is brighter – there was simply not enough light in the game in the first release.

5. Robots don’t fire in the first four seconds – unless you fire yourself in which case they start as soon as you fire. Adds to suspense.

6. Game-play slightly faster.

7. A circular barrier has been added around the entire D-Zone playing field.

By George Ujvary, posted 2006.12.27 

Hi Julian,

Love the game. I remember hours playing with you at your house when we were kids after you wrote it. It seems so weird that so many other people shared the same experiences.

And that stupid message. ‘This message is here to annoy you!’. I remember you laughing about that as a kid as well.

A really good trip down memory Lane.

Well done.

See you soon.

George Ujvary

By Hendell Firehammer, posted 2007.01.08 

I first played D-Zone in 93 and 94 as a friend of mine was distributing the free version that played out an add for where to send money to get the full version, one, slow, character, at a time each time you booted it up. Mind you this was on a 8086 computer in my Computer programing class, an amazing game from any era, well done game play, and hopefully duplicated entertainment as I too am downloading D-zone two as I type this. It is good to see that it not only still exist in a findable way but has an upgrade.

Hendell Firehammer Old school gamer

By Bill Torsky, posted 2007.05.21 

Uh, is this a joke? Why does this game require so much juice to run? I exceed all the requirements but it still runs slower than molasses. I can hardly play the thing. The first one was awesome but I am not digging this new slow-mo version. I am curious as to what could be causing the massive bog down, and by curious I mean it’s the lighting.

By Andrew Airmet, posted 2007.06.18 

I played D-Zone a long time ago. I remember registering and receiving the programs on a disk. They were the two other extra programs that stayed fun the longer you used them. The roots one was a bit hard, and the solar system one was a bit strong in the physics for me. I really enjoyed D-Zone but it’s been awhile since I’ve tried to play it. It was a LOT of fun.

By keith stackhouse, posted 2007.07.21 

I would like to say that me and my friends had a great time playing D-zone against each other growing up. It is a great game! I would like to know if/when d-zone 2 is coming out, or if it is already out, do you know where I can get it at? Thanks for your time.

By Kurtis Kurtis, posted 2007.09.12 

Just wanted to say, great game back in the day. I remember when I was young, around 9, and my dad and I downloaded the demo of this game off of a BBS from the Dayton, Ohio region… I remember saving up money for months to be able to buy a copy of it but I ended up getting some game called “Jetpack” instead. Your game definately was hours and hours of fun. Great job.

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