DevelopmentThe original Supaplex programmer Philip Jespersen about the game's development (from his personal homepage, January 1996):
The Amiga Fever extended into my first "serious" project, which turned to be a computer game called "Think!" which was a BoulderDash inspired game. "Think!" which was eventually released europe-wide by Digital Integration as "Supaplex" and was written 100% in Assembler and featured many nice programming tricks and high speed graphics. Digital Integration (Robin Heydon) also ported the game to MS-DOS, but I still prefer the Amiga Version, as its controls are better. As a requirement set by Digital Integration "Supaplex" had to run on any 512KB RAM Amiga machine, which turned out to be a serious problem, which only could be solved by writing own direct floppy disk read/write code (MFM coding was quite quite difficult as there was hardly any documentation available at all). I also had to setup my own stack management, because as the boot code of the floppy got loaded, no "official" stack was created by the operating system, which in any case got completely wiped out anyway by "Supaplex". Hence no Harddisk Version was ever released, although nowadays in would be no problem no all, as everybody today seems to have gigabytes of RAM (well, maybe a bit or two less)...
A complete copy of his site can be downloaded under http://www.bd-fans.com/Files/Classic_Supaplex/Philip_Jespersen.zip
It also contains another .zip with photos of Philip Jespersen, Michael Stopp and Robin Heydon.
The game was originally designed to run on XT/AT machines (before the days of the 286 even). The speed was supposed to be 35 frames per second, which was achieved because the game waited for the vertical refresh (monitor update) which is 70 frames per second in VGA, but the game calculations were slow enough to make the game wait for two retraces.
Since the game was mostly popular on 286 and higher machines, almost everyone played (and plays!) the game at twice the intended speed.
Herman Perk disassembled the code and updated it to make the speed variable, resulting in the first SpeedFix. This was later extended to enable hidden features in the game and fix some bugs.
Though the game didn't come with a level editor, some people seemt to figure out the files the levels were saved in (wasn't that difficult I guess) and made some great level editors. You can get them from http://www.elmerproductions.com/sp.
Here is the background story of Supaplex told by Michael Stopp, the brains behind the game with Philip Jespersen --from Mr. Stopp's homepage (http://www.eye.ch/~stopp/index.html):
In the age of the Commodore 64 there was a game called 'Boulder Dash'. Me and my schoolfriend Philip Jespersen adored it. We also adored the capabilities of Commodore's Amiga. But unfortunately we couldn't play 'Boulder Dash' anymore. In summer 1988 we stopped the mourning and decided to make our own Amiga-version, at that time called 'Think!'. We added a number of new elements and gravitation. And we decided that there should be a lot of levels: 111 (but it still had to fit on a floppy disk!). Since Philip did the programming somebody had to construct the levels...guess who! The first 50 levels or so weren't too difficult, but there was still a long way to go; so this kept me on my toe for the next months. But what was even worse, was the fact that you had to play all those levels, to see if they were possible. Every little change of code meant that you had to play them all over again. And there were constant changes... With 100 or more levels this meant playing to the point where it became difficult to distinguish between game and reality (you'd always feel as if there was a pair of scissors chasing you...). Eventually the game was finished and we had the silly idea that we might try to earn money with it. Surprisingly, the guys of Digital Integration thought the same and so they bought it from us. Due to a trademark conflict, it had to be renamed. That's how it became Supaplex.