META is part of the DARPA Adaptive Vehicle Make program. I participated as lead software engineer for BAE Systems Burlington, MA. Our participation in the program lasted about 18 months and was the first time I’d interacted so broadly with academic participants.
Our team put together some pretty interesting ideas and demo’d software every 8 weeks.
The software we wrote for the project was done under a BSD like license per DARPA requirements, and so it is probably the largest amount of software I’ve written that I can not only show to people outside the project, but also reuse on other projects.
Here are the program deliverables, and my team’s specific contributions.
Note that I included MD5sums in the delivery, but DARPA chose not to post them that way.
Single Integrated Air Picture (SIAP) was the first project I worked on at BA; a great idea to have all participants share information on aircraft location and identification. Our task was testing the SIAP software, and there were some nice simulation tools running on an open source HLA RTI. But there was no visualization, nor were there any accurate complex aircraft models. Airforce guys would come in and ask how do we know if the we can follow an intercept, or how will it look to the AWACS and so on.
Source X-Plane Website
I had looked for a flight sim that supported an external API which X-Plane did. This allowed me to connect X-Plane to the HLA RTI sim and provide completely realistic flight parameters for aircraft like the F-4 and F-15 and F-22, as well as some tankers and sensor platforms.
I could pick a plane and fly the mission and either inject the data live, or record it for playback latter.
Even better I could take generated aircraft data and visualize the flight with X-Plane. Nothing like checking your rotation matrices by watching a plane bank and fly.
Using X-Plane also added the wow factor to some of our demos, and completely stopped the question of our using valid flight models.
Repton splash screen for C-64 version.
Repton was my first large program and commercial success. The idea came from my best friend Dan Thompson who was working then at Sirius Software and busy finishing up another game, so he invited me to do the programming for Repton.
I did the most of the programming work on the Apple II version in 1982, sharing in the game and graphics design with Dan. The software was about 10,000 lines of ASM written with the amazing Merlin Assembler. A full print out took about 6 hours on an Epson-100MX. I’d start it in the morning, go to school and hope when I came home hope there had been no paper jam.
Dan and I did Apple II, Atari 400/800, and Commodore 64 versions. All being 6502 based they shared quite a bit of the code.
We sold something like 40,000 copies total.