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Storm Impact


From 1989 to 1997, David Cook and Tom Zehner, along with help from Dan Schwimmer and Dave Friedman, wrote video games and utilities for the Apple Macintosh in a company called Storm Impact, Inc. The games were initially licensed to a third-party publisher, just like most independent development houses do today on the Wii, Playstation, Xbox, and so on.

This was a wonderful time in our lives. Thank you to all the kind people that purchased our products and played our games!

This page contains some of the original content from the Storm Impact website.

There are still some old Mac archive sites that allow you to download our software. However, many sites don't have the last released versions. So, as a public service, this page now includes downloads of the final versions of each product. (I used ZipIt 1.4 for the Mac. However, it should be possible to unzip the files using other decompression programs.)

The software was written during the period of Mac OS 7.0 to 8.1. Theorectically, any computer running or emulating those OS versions should be compatible. Earlier (6.0.x) and later (9.x) Mac OS versions *might* be compatible.

Since these programs are shareware, you can experience the nostolgia of many levels of entertainment without a registration number. You can likely find bootleg registration numbers on the Internet, although you need to watch out for some of those types of sites because they try to inject malacious code when you visit them.

For a $10 PayPal payment, David will email you registration numbers for all of the products. But, unfortunately, manuals and technical support are unavailable. (But, if enough people buy the registration numbers, I'll try to convert the old manuals from Mac Draw Pro to Adobe Acrobat PDF and then post them online.) Therefore, it is recommended that you first download the programs from this page, install them, and play them for a while to make sure you are happy with them AS-IS.




TaskMaker


TaskMaker is an exciting sword and sorcery game where you battle vile monsters and complete tasks under the watchful eye of the TaskMaker. Both beginning and experienced players enjoy exploring over one-hundred million pixels of dungeons and villages.



The program begins with an extensive, interactive, graphic tutorial, which teaches all the basics of the game.

Will you escape the clutches of evil by land, sea, or magic?
Can you grow to be leader of the land?

And in case of an untimely demise -- never fear! You can fight your way out of Hell (a randomly generated maze with four possible exits) to restore your player to life.



New features include:
  • Color!
  • System 7 compatibility
  • A built-in, extensive, interactive tutorial
  • New weapons and spells
  • New dungeons with improvements to existing ones
  • Improved interface
  • New artwork
  • Multi-channel sounds
  • Removal of the instruction manual based copy protection
  • and more!


Download TaskMaker_v224.zip
Version history: TaskMaker-Read-Me.txt



The Tomb of the TaskMaker



In The Tomb of the TaskMaker, you are the leader of the land and the protector of the people. Messengers come to you with word of innocent people in need of your help. In each task, you explore dungeons, battle vile monsters, and disarm traps to remove the implements of evil.



Featuring ten tasks and over twenty dungeons. Watch for teleports, treasure chests, Chills, The Staff Of Creeps, secret passages, ships in bottles, crystals, The Mask Of Evil, guards, gold, traps, and treachery. Walls open and fall before you, fire springs forth, and floors bite at your feet.



You can choose to be either male or female, and can choose one of three professions. The choice of professions makes a big difference in how you approach different tasks.



This game is the sequel to TaskMaker, but neither knowledge of the original game nor any previous adventuring experience is required. The built-in, interactive tutorial teaches you everything you need to know, so you can relax and enjoy the game.


Download Tomb_of_TaskMaker_v100.zip
Download the untested next version: Tomb_of_TaskMaker_v101a3.zip
Version history: Tomb-of-TaskMaker-Read-Me.txt




MacSki



MacSki is a fantastic skiing game for players of all ages.



MacSki v1.0 won the Macworld Best Sports Game of the Year, and was inducted into the Macworld Game Hall of Fame.



MacSki features:
  • Highly animated, smooth flowing graphics
  • Over three-dozen courses of seven major types: Timer only, Slalom, Giant Slalom, Downhill, Penguin squashing, Snowmen bashing, and Stonehenge!
  • A really easy to use, click-and-drag course editor
  • Adjustable weather conditions
  • Nine different types of skis
  • Six pages of built-in illustrated help
  • Trees, rocks, fences, igloos, snow bunnies, moguls, photographers, wounded skiers, snowmobiles, snowballs, ski wax, sign posts, and several types of small animals
  • And a Saint Bernard who comes to your rescue

Download MacSki_v172.zip
Version history: MacSki-Read-Me.txt





Asterbamm



Dogfight in a sea of asteroids and come home a hero!

The dark boulders bear down on your ship. You swing away, scream, and fire a few potshots -- promising yourself you'll get them on the next pass. The asteroids can shield you when you need relief from the enemies' blasts, but hug them too closely and your ship becomes nothing more than a tiny tin cavity on their cold, scarred surface.

The Asterbamm fleet is our greatest effort to confront an alien enemy that has a stranglehold over the earth's manifest destiny. The asteroid field that approaches the alien's front line appears innocent enough, but with you at the helm of a shadowed space-fighter, they're in for a big surprise!



With stunning 256 color and black & white graphics, easy to use interface, digitized sound, and action that never quits, Asterbamm will entertain you for eons.


Download Asterbamm_v101.zip
Version history: Asterbamm-Read-Me.txt




Technical Snapshot



Dramatically improve technical support!

The next time you contact a company for technical support, save yourself a lot of time and frustration by including a snapshot of your entire system. Technical Snapshot is easy to use, whether you're a Macintosh novice or a power user.


Just look at all the things it checks for automatically!
  • Checks all disks for damaged desktop files and for soft-locked or nearly full disks.
  • Checks the System Folder for damaged, locked, open, unstable, or invisible extensions.
  • Checks the Preferences folder for damaged, locked, or invisible preferences.
  • Checks the entire parameter RAM (PRAM) for garbage or abnormal settings. Including:
    • Too low or too high disk cache
    • 24-bit memory mode
    • SCSI startup settings
    • Mouse tracking speed and double-click timing
    • Keyboard autorepeat settings
    • IIfx and 68040 compatibility modes
    • Power saver settings
    • Highlight color
    • Too long network name
  • Checks the "focus" application or document for problems. Such as:
    • Resource damage
    • Damaged preferences
    • Invalid custom icons
    • Incorrect bundle bit settings
    • Invisible, locked, or inappropriate attributes


In addition, every snapshot...
  • Lists all system extensions and control panels.
  • Displays memory and disk space.
  • Lists the entire contents of parameter RAM (PRAM).
  • Provides information on important system capabilities.
  • Describes video (monitor) and printer settings.
  • Focuses on any program you're having trouble with.

When registered, Technical Snapshot includes...
  • Advice on how to correct specific problems!
  • Context-sensitive glossary and reference notebook.
  • Noteworthy items highlighted in various colors in each snapshot.


Download Technical_Snapshot_v202.zip
Version history: Technical-Snapshot-Read-Me.txt



Commentary by David Cook, Lead Developer

Virus and Hacker Protection

One thing I really liked about all Storm Impact products is that they included built-in virus protection. Any attempt to add, delete, or modify the code or resources was met with an error alert. This stopped viruses and most hackers.

The key to this was that the dungeon or other internal data was encrypted with a checksum of the program (object code and resources). Even if you hacked out the error alert, the program could not run because it didn't know how to decrypt its own data.

A number of customers were being attacked by viruses and didn't know it until they contacted us (a game company!) for technical support. Most people didn't believe us at first. Strangely, very few people subsequently thanked us -- even after using a third-party commercial package to verify and remove the viruses.



Built-In Compression

Another geeky feature was that all the products had on-the-fly decompression of large resources. This significantly reduced download time and disk space, both of which were significant issues back then. Since the decompression occurred transparently and didn't require any third-party utilities, the user was never inconvenienced. Hackers using ResEdit couldn't spoil the adventure by viewing the pictures, because they were compressed with our proprietary algorithm.


Sales

MacSki had the largest commercial success as a published product.
TaskMaker was by far the best seller as a shareware product.
Both Asterbamm and Technical Snapshot were sales bombs.

Technical Snapshot was the best software I'd ever written to that point. It was incredibly robust and could speak, fax, print, save, or copy/paste any of the contents of its screens. It demystified and de-mythed “zapping the pram”, which was the litmus test of voodoo technical support at the time. Tom Zehner's artwork was gorgeous. We both thought this was going to be a breakthrough product.


Epilogue

A number of forces led to the demise of Storm Impact:
  • Macintosh market share declined significantly.

  • Computer people entertained themselves by browsing the Internet rather than downloading and buying shareware games.

  • Certain companies were bundling together unlicensed shareware and selling CD collections. Purchasing the CD consumed the discretionary budget that most people would have otherwise spent on buying the software. Essentially, the CD companies used our own products to compete against us. Although we sued and won (yea!), the lawsuit consumed cash and time that otherwise would have created new products.

  • Video games became very complex (3D and online multiplayer), requiring a large amount of capital to produce a competitive product.

  • Video games age quickly. Our shareware distribution model meant that we received orders years after a title was released. To support that, we had to keep the software up to date and compatible, rather than a 6 month to 1 year sell-and-dump strategy.

  • Rather than hire people to take orders and ship the product, we did it ourselves. This meant that the uniquely talented programmer and artist were not developing new products.
In other words, we loved doing it, but we were undercapitalized and the market changed.

The products are still covered by intellectual property rights, including copyrights. We've chosen not to give that away, because one day we would like to put out modern versions or perhaps something for phones or PDAs. If you're a wealthy entrepreneur that would like to buy the rights and put out the games yourself, that's cool. But, otherwise, recognize that requests for us to freely release the source code or intellectual property rights will be politely declined.

Again, thank you to all the kind people that bought our products and enjoyed playing our games!