Chimera C64 iMessage Sticker Pack


You’ve had a Chimera remaster and let’s face it, you want the remake, not a slightly better 1985 game. I haven’t nade any further progress since I started working on Logos. You might have seen an early Unity screen shot using the original maps.


The next thing I was going to work on was bringing the “robot” to life. (It was actually supposed to be a spaceman, but now I’m not so sure.) I’m also trying to get a basic build running in VR as a testbed.

If you have an iOS device running iOS 10, you might be interested in the sticker packs I’m releasing to commemorate my 31-year-old (crikey!) game. The first version will contain graphics from the C64 version. I’ll do a Spectrum version soon after.

All of the animated objects from the game feature, as do all of the static blocks, a couple of screenshots and some text. If it does reasonably well (I don’t expect to become a sticker millionaire with 1980s graphics) then the update will follow soon after and contain screenshots for every screen in the original game and lots of customised text. If it still does well, I’ll add the sampled scream and “Chi-me-ra!” speech. The former will remind you of why the game scared the living crap out of you and the latter will take you right back to 1985 audio quality. And then you’ll be glad that you’re in 2016.

The Chimera C64 iMessage Sticker Pack is currently awaiting review (for a beta build) and if all goes well, should be in the App Store next week.

I hope you’ll like it and I’ll be very happy to update it (and the following Spectrum version) in any way you’d like!


I didn’t have jumping in the original Chimera. Why not? After all, I’d done jumping before in Jet Set Willy and in Baby Starts Walking, so why not in Chimera?

It wasn’t that it was difficult to do in 3D, it’s just that I had run out of impetus and I just wanted the game out. There was no point at which I thought the game was done as such, there never was in those days. After all, I’d submitted an earlier, crappier version of the game to Firebird and they turned it down. Had they turned down the second version and asked for jumping, and some jumping-based puzzles, I might just have put that in. Might have taken a couple of weeks.

A few nights ago I put jumping into the Unity build of Chimera that I’m experimenting with. It was so weird and jarring, but also so exciting, like a door that a prison guard had inexplicably left open. And it took a single line of code and a handful of drag and drop operations.

I feel extraordinarily liberated by the technology available. I’m like Morgan Freeman’s character “Red” in The Shawshank Redemption, asking permission to go to the toilet while working a packing shift in the supermarket. The world has changed from under me and the cars I had to hand build myself are now so abundant that I have to watch out for them running me over on the street as I gawp at the wonder of the structures built in my absence.

Chimera 30th Anniversary

2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the creation and release of Chimera. I’m still attached to this game, and part of the reason for that is because so many people I know in the video games industry seem to have fond memories of Chimera too.

This blog represents a series of fractured discussions over the last five years over some kind of remake or sequel. I think that some kind of short “Annual” type book, with pictures and some potted history and dare I say it, perspective would be fun to work on, so that’s what I’m going to work on, beginning this week.

I’m going to need your help:

  1. Please sign up to the Chimera mailing list. I don’t overuse this and you can unsubscribe at any time.
  2. Send me your thoughts and memories, or any images or photos around your experiences of Chimera, or memories of the time in general. If you liked the game, I’d love to know why.
  3. Let me know what you’d like to see in this book project, which questions you’d like answered and so on.
  4. My blog looks ugly and I want to improve it. It’s WordPress based. I used to be a WordPress wizard. Please offer suggestions on how I can improve it.
  5. I need some advice from someone who understands art techniques: I want to convert all the pixels into vector outlines, so that I can scale the images to any size, so that they can be either coloured in by me or by the readers of the book. I’ve got an Adobe Illustrator subscription, so I’m happy to use that, but I need precise instructions and the more automated, the better.

Feel free to email me at any time on, or discuss Chimera with me on Twitter, where my handle is @shahidkamal

I’d really appreciate your support in helping me fulfill the potential of my decades old project and to help encapsulate a 30 year old piece of video games history in a fun book!

Chimera 1.2 – Some Build Notes

Screen Shot 2014 08 17 at 17 57 37

Move: WASD keys and cursor keys

Space Bar: Take, use, drop, combine

‘M’ key: Map

Shift key: Activate Teleport view.  Experimental. While holding down the shift key, you get a view of the room you’re facing if you’ve visited it. If you haven’t, you will get a random mess and if you then hit space bar to activate the teleport, you will die. If you are going to land in a room you have previously visited, then so long as you are not going to land in a block, the teleport will be successful. You’ll be able to cover large distances pretty quickly this way. Note, activating the teleport view uses up a lot of energy.

Energy and coolant are constantly running out

More load and movement depletes energy and coolant faster

Radiators and missiles deplete coolant very fast

Loaves of Bread and Mugs of Tea restore energy and coolant respectively

Terminals give some basic hints


Debug Mode: Tab key (toggle)

Place 4 missiles to activate self destruct, then find the green room to escape.

You can do lots in debug mode – pressing ‘e’ replenishes coolant, ‘c’ coolant

Also in debug mode, WASD moves you around the map

I won’t give too many other things away on debug mode


Combine weird objects to create missiles. The Spanner needs to be combined with a Bolt. The Bolt is hidden near the bottom of the map, behind an electric fence.


This build is a lightly modified 1985 game sitting on top of a much more modern engine. If you look in the Configuration folder, you’ll find lots of JSON files. Fiddle with these at your own risk, but you can change an awful lot, including the graphics, rooms, puzzles, etc.


This build is somewhat buggy, but I’d really appreciate you reporting everything you see in the comments on this blog. Please also sign up for the newsletter. It’s infrequent and it’s going to be about notifying you about important updates.

Chimera 1.2 Mac Release

Screen Shot 2014 08 16 at 21 00 06

A build of Chimera is attached. It’s my second remaster of the 1985 original. Note, this is not Chimera 2, the reboot. This just reflects some of the work I’ve done on underpinnings that will allow me to dramatically scale up the original game to something that actually has some gameplay in, has much more depth, replay value and yet still be quirky. Chimera 2 will be build on top of the new underpinnings. This is 1985 clothing on top of a much more modern game engine. There is still a lot of work to do.

I’d love your feedback. Please post it in the comments below. 

If you’re at all savvy with the Mac, you can open the package and alter all of the files in the configuration folder if you’re brave, starting with config.json – this will even allow you to change the graphics to the C64 version (without palettes, so it’s a pretty dull look) using the “Images File” tag. Change it to “images_C64.json” or “images_Spectrum.json” depending on your preference. Lots of other variables for you to play with. All that good stuff is in the Assets folder. Play around with it at will. The most fruitful immediate gains will come from playing with the Configuration files.

Chimera 1.2 for Mac can be downloaded here

Biggest obvious change to 1.1 is a teleport feature. Hold down shift and you will see an overlay to the room you’re facing, but only if you’ve visited it. If teleport will get you to the same position in the facing room without hitting a block, then hitting the action key (space) will get you there. The more you visit a room, the clearer it will become in teleport view. You can cross long distances with two or three hops using this. So, hold shift, then space when you’re ready. If you teleport into a block or a room you haven’t visited, you’ll die. 

Another smaller change is that you can drop objects that aren’t energy or coolant.

WASD or cursor keys to move. Enter debug mode by hitting Tab, but try to avoid it if you can.

Space for action (pick up, drop, use, teleport)

You can see a map by pressing ‘M’

Known issues:

  • Missile rooms are a bit messed up. 
  • Collision is glitchy
  • Character sometimes keeps walking regardless of input
  • Doesn’t seem to work on OS X Yosemite (10.10)
  • Possible to drop objects into blocks

So, Chimera 1.2 for Mac can be downloaded here

Please do leave feedback below.


Chimera was meant to be an homage to Knight Lore. I had two motives to make Chimera back in December 1984.

  1. I was 18 when Knight Lore came out having recently released my C64 version of Jet Set Willy. I was young so I thought my budding “career” was already over. It was another video game for me, or bust. And when I say bust, I mean bust for life.
  2. Knight Lore was a glimpse into the seemingly impossible. The naïve young me saw it as a challenge. I had to know how it was done – and I had to do it myself. Only a handful of games have had the same effect on me. They include Star Raiders, Ultima Underworld and No Man's Sky. I really cant think of any more right now and if I'm ruthless, it's really only Knight Lore and No Man's Sky. I was inspired. Deeply, indelibly inspired. How often do games come out that not only take their place in the pantheon of greats, not only do they inspire a generation, but they divide time into “before” and “after”.

After I made Chimera on the first four 8-bit platforms, I think I lost my way a bit. I had so many options. I just didn't make the right decisions. I was young. I didn't know what I had until it was gone.

This is perhaps recklessly honest, but I don't want to do “this” the easy way. I want to write the follow-up to Chimera the best way I can. That means C++. Everything from scratch. As close to the metal as I can get these days.

A lot of people, quite rightly and logically have suggested that a man with a day job as demanding as mine should use all the help he can, perhaps using a tool like Unity or GameMaker. I like both of these tools, they're incredibly empowering, I would recommend them to most people, and I will use them for other projects — just not for Chimera.

I want to go as hardcore as I dare. I want to drink deeply from the pool of OpenGL and seek wisdom from the gurus of GLSL. I want to make this game look fantastic and play in a way that affects people. Only then do I want them to say “not only was this game made by one man, but he did it with ridiculous constraints”. If I'm shameless, I want a young, aspiring developer to look at what I've done, and without knowing anything about me at all be inspired to make a game like it, or better.

There is no better way to live and yes, it's the only way I know.


Taking a Step

Screenshot 2013 10 28 20 05 19

The version of Chimera I wrote last year was a C++ rewrite. It had a few minor changes, like Knight-Lore style collision with room exits, and a map, but it was essentially the same game. 

As I lay the groundwork for the sequel, some of the assumptions of almost three-decade old game have to be discarded. There was no saving or loading, so I didn’t have to worry about intermediate state. I wrote the remaster with that assumption in mind. So now I’m stripping the guts of the game out to allow saving and loading of arbitrary rooms. For this I’m using XML. I will probably switch to JSON at some point, but XML suits me just fine for now. I’m also redoing the Entity class to allow it to be regenerated from “DNA”. This means I don’t have to save the entire state for the object, much of which is unnecessary anyway.

I previously had the concept of a “RoomObject”, which differed from “Entity” in that it had some redundant extra information and pointed to an Entity object. Its only purpose was to allow non-background block objects to be manipulated more easily. There was no reason this couldn’t be an Entity, so that’s the first big change. No more RoomObject structs, everything is now an Entity. Even a Room is derived from the Entity object. The change has been made, but now no objects are being displayed at all, so that needs to be fixed.

A minor problem that I’m sure will be fixed soon is that the Cinder library I’m using is not displaying text under OS X Mavericks.

I’m smoking Ashton’s Smooth Sailing in a Parker pipe I bought from eBay. I was planning on listening to Led Zeppelin, but I’m going silent this evening.