Maintained by Paul Thompson

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the homepage of Gamebase ZX, a brand new database front-end for Spectrum games! The single goal of The Gamebase ZX Project is to be the ultimate offline database of Spectrum games ever compiled. The ZX Spectrum has in excess of 10,000 software titles, most of them games. As you can appreciate the gathering and compiling of such a number is a huge task and is likely to take some time. I therefore ask everyone to bare with me while I reach that goal.

Gamebase ZX allows any game to be readily available to play in the emulator of your choice by just clicking on the game name, thus removing all the fuss of manually loading the emulator and game by hand. Gamebase ZX's interface allows you to browse the games in your database. When you click a game, you get to see a two or more screenshots of the game in action, along with options to play the game and listen to the game's music. Various fields in a Gamebase database hold information on the games, such as Publisher, Year Published, Musician, Programmer, Genre, Number of players.

There are numerous versions of many Spectrum games available on the web and in individuals' collections. It is for this reason the GBZX will use, were possible, only perfect TZX files of games and hopefully help to do away forever with those hacked versions. There is a place for the Z80 and SNA formats but these belong on peoples hard drives as they help you progress through a game. It may seem to some that the only way to get things like infinite life, time, and energy is to use hacked versions, but all this can be achieved with Pokes and Gamebase ZX will have an exhaustive list of Pokes built into it!

FEATURES

Supports virtually any Spectrum emulator!
Many Spectrum emulators are very easy to setup to auto-run games. Some, however, are not. GameBase uses a simple yet powerful scripting language called GEMUS (Gamebase EMUulator Script) to enable the support for virtually any emulator. GEMUS includes functions to set an emulator's command line parameters and write to their config or ini files. GEMUS can also be tailored to run emulators differently depending on the game. In most cases, a GEMUS script is already setup when you add an emulator to GameBase (the default script), so you don't even need to type a thing! GEMUS comes with extensive documentation which includes a "Quick Start" guide for those who don't want to learn it all! By implementing a scripting language such as GEMUS, almost any emulator can be supported, past present and future.

Manages Games, Music, Docs, Screenshots, and more!
Each game in a GameBase stores more than just a game. It also stores a music file, game docs, screenshots, and really any other files you wish (these are referred to in GameBase as Extras). For example, each game-entry in the database could potentially store not just the game file, but also a AY music file, game docs, a magazine review, a cover scan, an mp3 remix, a link to a web site... the list goes on. All these Extras are conveniently accessible via a simple drop-down menu directly under the game's screenshots.

Create as many databases as you want!
With GameBase, you can easily create multiple databases to go alongside the Spectrum database. For instance, you could create a SNES database, a C64 database, a MAME database and an Amiga database. You could also create a single database to manage multiple systems. Switching between databases is as easy as choosing the database to load when GameBase starts, or by selecting it from a menu within GameBase.

Import from RomCenter/TOSEC datafiles!
If you do not want to use the Gamebase ZX database, you can import the data from any RomCenter v2.00 datafile into a GameBase database. If the RomCenter datafile is TOSEC (TNCv1) compliant, GameBase will extract the extra data from the filename (such as Publisher, Cracker etc) and fill in the appropriate GameBase database fields! GameBase performs a CRC32/Filesize rom scan and updates your database accordingly.

Extensive Database Search Engine!
An extensive database search and filtering engine is included in GameBase, meaning you can create your own permanent or temporary "Custom Views" to show, for example, all games by Ultimate, all available games, all games programmed by Mathew Smith, all Platformers, all Breakout clones or all games for 3 or more players.

Link games to their Precursors and Sequels!
When viewing a game, simply clicking on a small icon next to the game name will instantly jump you to that game's precursor, sequel or a related game of your choice! For example. easily jump between all Monty Mole games!

View multiple images/screenshots per game!
GameBase has the ability to show multiple pictures or screenshots per game. This comes in handy in Gamebase ZX where it's possible to view two or more screenshots at the same time! The GameBase Picture engine comes with a scroll function to scroll through all available pictures, and a zoom feature to see the images up close!

Multi-language support!
Via a simple ini file, you can change all the text within the GameBase interface to say whatever you like, in whatever language you like! If you don't like the default keyboard shortcuts you can change these in the ini file too!

Completely customisable interface!
As well as changing all the text in the program, you can also customise the look and feel of the interface to your hearts content! Virtually all the images and sounds used in GameBase can be substituted for your own, you can hide the screenshots, hide the game details, resize the window, change the game-list font and colours, and even create your own splash screens for any extra databases you create!

REQUIREMENTS

IBM compatible PC with a 32-bit version of Microsoft Windows. Gamebase has been tested on the following systems (Windows 95, 98, 98 SE, 2000, XP, XP Pro). If anybody has tested this software on Windows ME or NT systems then please let me know!

To run games within Gamebase you will also need one of the currently supported Spectrum emulators, at the present time either Spectaculator or Spin. Extras such as Instructions Adverts, Inlays, and Maps use Windows file associations, and so a text file will typically open in Notepad, image files will open with your default viewer or even a paint package.

SCREENSHOTS

The Gamebase ZX interface

Personal Settings

Changing Databases

Game Selector

Screenshot Selector

Adding Extras

Emulator Properties

IMPORTANT NOTE

Due to the enormous size of Gamebase ZX with all the extras included (adverts, inlays, game maps, etc). It has been deemed totally impractical to offer it for download with all these extras included. To reduce the size only the screenshots come with downloadable versions of Gamebase ZX. All other extras will be released in a CD-Rom version. I am sorry about this but even now the extras come in at well over 100MB, I am sure you understand why it is not practical to include them.

As mentioned Gamebase ZX will be eventually released on CD-Rom or DVD. This release will come with all freely distributable games, music, instructions, tips, solutions, adverts, inlays, game maps, and photographs. In keeping with the current spirit of Spectrum emulation I will make no money from the CD versions, only the price of the CD and posting will be passed on to the buyer!

If you have anything you wish to contribute to Gamebase ZX then please do not hesitate to contact me at: paulrtgb@yahoo.co.uk

FAQ

Q: How does Gamebase ZX store all this information about games?

A: All information is stored as a Microsoft Access database file, you can easily load this file into Access and change it if you wish! This should however be left to experts.

Q: I Have SPIN installed on my system but Gamebase ZX always wants to use Spectaculator, how do I change this?

A: By default Gamebase ZX uses Spectaculator! To change this simply go to the GEMUS pull-down menu and select 'Manage Emulators', a dialogue box will be displayed with all the emulators supported by that version of Gamebase ZX. Select SPIN and use the arrow key pointing upwards to move it to the top of the list. Please note that Gamebase ZX expects SPIN to be in 'C:\Program Files\SPIN.

Q: When I run a game in Gamebase ZX the emulator starts but it just displays the Sinclair copyright notice.

A: Please turn auto-loading on in the emulator, and while your there turn on fast-loading so that games can start faster!

Q: Spectrum 128k games do not work, it get so far then hangs, what's the problem?

A: Switch to 128k mode in the emulator and try again, likewise if a 48k game does not load a game then switch your emulator to 48k mode. When using TZX or TAP files it is impossible for the emulator to know what memory model the game uses and so you need to switch the model of the Spectrum yourself. I have tinkered with idea of telling the emulator what mode to use for a game but the only way of controlling Spectaculator is through the registry and I don't won't to touch that for obvious reasons. In any case having a start-up script for every game in the database is impractical!

Q: I have installed the Project AY music files but Gamebase ZX still does not see them?

A: Please install the music files to 'C:\Spectrum\Music' and not to the default location that Project AY uses. Alternatively tell Gamebase ZX were the music files are on your system by selecting the Tools pull-down menu and selecting Paths, then select the 'Music' tab and then click on the path area to that you can browse to the location of the music files!

Q: I downloaded the TAP file of the game Batman and copied it to 'C:\Spectrum\Games' but Gamebase ZX does not recognise it. Surely I'm doing everything correctly?

A: Afraid not! In 95% of cases Gambebase ZX is setup to use TZX files of games, so please download that version and install it to 'C:\Spectrum\Games\B'. To know for sure which file type to download simply go to version information of the game in Gamebase ZX, there it will tell you if it's a TZX, TAP, or even a Z80 file. If you want to change Batman to use a TAP file then right click on the game in Gamebase ZX and select 'Game File' and then simply use the file-selector to choose the TAP file.

Q: I downloaded Jet Set Willy game and unzipped it into C:\Spectrum\Games\J but Gamebase ZX refuses to recognise it. What now?

A: Please do not unzip any games or change their names in any way, Gamebase ZX is setup to use these files the way they are downloaded!. if you really must do this then follow the steps outlined in previous answer!

Q: When will my favourite game be added?

A: Please wait for the next release! I am doing all the popular games first so hopefully the wait should not be too long. If the game is obscure then it is likely that it will take some time for it to be added. In this case you could always try adding it yourself!

Q: Will we ever see Utilities, Demos, or Educational Software added in the future?

A: GamebaseZX will include all these in the future as seperate databases that can be chosen at startup or switched on-the-fly within Gamebase. from V0.5 there is a 'Utilities' database with just 12 entries to give everybody an idea of the concept.However, this will not be expanded further until the games are finished!

DOWNLOADS & LINKS

Download the complete Project AY music files from: http://www.worldofspectrum.org/projectay/

Download V0.5 of The Gamebase ZX Project (26 Feb2004): GBZX_Project_V05  

Gamebase ZX requires the Gamebase front-end system that you can download from: http://www.bu22.com  

New in this Release:

Discuss, complain, and meet other Gamebase users at the forum!
AKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Many thanks to James Burrows for his excellent Gamebase!

Many thanks also to Martijn van der Heide for the 'World of Spectrum' website from witch much of the database material and information was gathered. I would also like to thank him for hosting Gamebase ZX!

To all the fans of the Spectrum who have contributed to the 'World of Spectrum' web site over the years, especially the TZX Vault team! Without such people Gamebase ZX could not possibly exist.

Lastly, thanks to Sergey Bulba for MicroSpeccy which is used for playing Spectrum AY music in GBZX.