I wrote Free Fall in 1982/3 for the BBC Micro. It was published by Acornsoft in 1983. I like to describe Free Fall as the first ever beat-em-up so as to claim, with tounge somewhat in cheek, to have invented two gaming genres.
Free Fall involes a humanoid figure punching and kicking the pixels out of nasty aliens all free falling inside a rotating Coriolis space station. The camera is fixed in the frame of the station, giving a "washing machine" view of events.
Free Fall pioneered pixel-based collision checks, novel beam-in and fragmentation effects, and a minimalist ambient soundscape.
I wasn't really happy with how Free Fall turned out. I unquestioningly implemented the game-design changes suggested by the publishers. They were, after all, the professionals. One notable mistake, i think, was decreasing the lethality of the alien toxins and fire as requested to the extent that the game can be left to play by itself. One friend used to complain to me that he had once again been beaten at Free Fall by his goldfish. One reviewer described Free Fall as "almost a great game" and i think that is a fair assessment.
The lesson i learnt from Free Fall was to ignore conventional wisdom and follow my instincts in matters of game design; and this may be why i was later so ready to ignore all those publishers who dismissed the "openess" of Elite, insisting on clearly defined "missions", and claimed that docking was way too hard for kiddies to master. Fortunately, Acornsoft's involvement with and suggesstions for Elite were on the ball.
Click Here to download Free Fall (14 Kbytes) - [Horizon compatible files]
Click Here to download Free Fall sources (44 Kbytes) - [BBC disk image containg BBC and Electron sources]
Prior to Free Fall, i wrote Reversi for the BBC Model A.