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The following FAQ was prepared by Mike Perry way back in August of 1995. Though it's unlikely any additions will be made to this guide, Mike may be reached at mj-perry@ux4.cso.uiuc if you have any comments or queries.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Abuse FAQ v0.2.0 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Maintained by Mike Perry <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Construction Note: 

The construction of this FAQ is currently in progress.  There are numerous
sections of the FAQ that have not been filled in yet.  I have tried, in the
best of my ability, to provide enough information suffient for an initial
release of the FAQ that could be released in conjuction with the release
of the DOS beta of Abuse.  If you find any glaring errors or information
that is incorrect, please mail me at the address at the end of the FAQ. 


Hello and welcome to the first public release of the Abuse FAQ (v0.1.0).
This FAQ contains answers to (f)requently (a)sked (q)uestions about the 
computer game Abuse.  In actuality, most of the questions are not actual
questions that I have been asked but are questions that, if I were totally
new to the game, would want to have answers to.  I have tried to provide 
answers to questions that would be asked by newcomers, intermediate and 
advanced players.  

If you feel that there is a question or feature of the game that has not been
properly addressed, please e-mail me so that I can review your question for
possible inclusion into the FAQ.  If you already have the answers (or a good
description of the feature you want to have included) please mail those also.
Include your name and e-mail address so that I can give you proper credit.
If you happen to create a document pertaining to Abuse let me know and I will
add it to a list of supplementary documentation in the FAQ.  And now prepare
to be abused.

Overview of Contents:

Construction Note
Overview of Contents
     I.  What is Abuse?
         A.  General Information
         B.  What is the Plot?
         C.  Who Wrote Abuse?
         D.  What Kind of Game is Abuse?
         E.  Was Abuse Written Entirely in Lisp?
         F.  How Long Did it Take to Develop Abuse?
    II.  Can You Tell Me a Little Bit More About Crack Dot Com?
   III.  Who and What Are the Main Characters/Objects in the Game?
         A.  Weapons and Ammo
         B.  Power-Ups
         C.  Health Boosters
         D.  Nick Vrenna
         E.  Enemies
         F.  Tricks, Traps, Harmful Objects and Other Interactive Objects
         G.  Scenery
    IV.  What are the Main Components That Comprise a Level?
     V.  Which Dialect of Lisp Does the Lisp Interpreter Implement?
    VI.  What Constructs are Missing From the Lisp Interpreter? 
   VII.  What Multiplayer Abuse Variants Exist?
  VIII.  Where Can I Learn More About Level Editing and Game Alteration?
 VIIII.  What Channels Exist on IRC for Discussing Abuse?
     X.  What Newsgroups Exist for Discussing Abuse?
    XI.  What Mailing Lists Exist for Discussing Abuse?
   XII.  How Can I Get Abuse?
  XIII.  FAQ Change History
 XIIII.  Credits 

 Copyright Recognition

I.  What is Abuse?

A.  General Information

Abuse is the first game to be released by the budding new computer
game company Crack Dot Com.  Abuse is an action game that pits you --
assuming the role of Nick Vrenna, resistance fighter -- against ruthless
alien killers, called ants, that have taken control over humanity.  The game 
an engine that allows modification to the stock game through such means
as a built-in lisp interpreter, external game-object lisp code, a windowing
system, multiplayer support through IPX or TCP/IP protocols and network
file support.

B.  What is the Plot?

Here is the plot from the finger info at

   The Ants were fearless, efficient killers.  The Unified Underground's
   only opening was that the Ant defense systems were designed by engineers
   too arrogant to consider the threat of an individual.  It was enough to
   justify the covert Abuse Missions.

   On August 31, 2021, eight bytes were zeroed in a computer, and Nick
   Vrenna's identity was erased.  A suit of armor cradling a smoking auto
   rifle stood in shadows appreciating the stench coming from the first
   retired Ant of the day.  The armored soul feared the effort would end up
   as pathetic as the Terran Surrender Terms, but humanity had nothing

C.  Who Wrote Abuse?

Abuse is engineered by the game company Crack Dot Com.  The programmer behind
the game is Jonathan Clark.  The artwork was created by Doung Dai Nguyen and
Murray Macmillan.  Rounding up the cast is Bobby Prince (sound effects) who
also designed the music and sound effects for Doom, and Dave Taylor 
(funding and beating), programmer at iD software -- creators of Doom and the
upcoming Quake.

D.  What Kind of Game is Abuse?

Abuse is an 2D side-scrolling shoot-em up action/puzzle game.  Although the
game borrows features from many genres of games it best fits under the 
platform category.  The Abuse game engine boasts many features with a 
built-in Lisp interpreter (for modification and extension of the game world)
most likely being the most promising and exciting feature.

Here are the features of the game engine that are listed in the finger
information at

  This is THE game to see.

        - Beautiful shaped, point-source lighting
        - Engine has built-in Lisp Interpreter.  You can
          add code into the game, or create a whole new
          game which is instantly ported to many platforms,
          has lighting, sound, mouse/joystick, network,
          hi-rez and window support.  You will be able to
          licence copies of the engine to sell as your own.
      * - Multi-player. IPX and TCPIP
      * - Server/client.  Start your game as a server and people can
          join in/leave later, automatically downloading the current
          level and state of game.
      * - Built in Network File System abilities.
          When you start up net games, just connect to the server and
          access files like they were on your computer.  Connect to
          a "pacman" server and automatically download art, sfx, and
          lisp code.  Game compiles and starts running.
        - Color matching system ensures you will see perfect graphics
          even if your moniter is miscalibrated.
        - Animation rendered with in-house vector animation CAD (VCAD).
        - Explosions and special effects rendered with in-house PART (particle
          animation rendering tool).
        - Artwork is editable by users with Satan Paint (free with CDROM
          version). (beta available now at
        - Weapons, weapons, weapons.
        - Hi-rez support with VESA drivers
        - Ports for DOS, Linux Console, Linux X11;  *(348,486,Pentium Linux)
          SGI has graciously given us a Indgo II to port abuse
          other ports to be announced.

* Not in initial release (we didn't have time to finish & test it as well,
  as it should be).  Look for a patch shortly after release.

E.  Was Abuse Written Entirely in Lisp?

This has the unfortunate possibilty of becoming a well spread misconception.
While the external entity code that you will write for modifications and
additions (or total reconstruction) of the game will be in Lisp, the game
engine was written in C++.  There is also a small amount of 80x86 assembly
in the DOS version.

Here is the wc (word count) output on the source code.

Lisp code:   5374     16377    142220 total
 C++ code:  67904    185889   1717174 total
 Asm code: (negligible)

Approximately seven percent of the game engine and Abuse combined is 
Lisp code.  The rest is C++.  There 5044 lines of Lisp code distributed in
the 0.3.2 version of the Linux version, so you are seeing _all_ of the Lisp
code (the difference is likely due to some lisp net Abuse code that hasn't
been finished yet).

F.  How Long Did it Take to Develop Abuse?

After the game engine was completed the development of Abuse took approximately
four months.

II.  Can You Tell Me a Little Bit More About Crack Dot Com?

Crack Dot Com is a budding new computer game company owned by programmers 
Dave Taylor (of iD software) and Jonathan Clark.  

Abuse will be Crack Dot Com's first published game but it is was not the first
game that they worked on. 

III.  Who and What are the Main Characters and Objects in the Game? 

A.  Weapons and Ammo

Laser Rifle

   The laser rifle is the most basic weapon in the game.  It shoots red
   laser pulses (ala Star Wars) in the direction in which you point the rifle.
   You can use the laser rifle even without the proper ammunition because if
   you couldn't shoot, as JC puts it, that would suck.  Having ammunition for
   the laser rifle is still a crucial item to have as a loaded laser rifle 
   fires considerably faster than an unloaded laser rifle.  The laser rifle
   does not care whether the rifle ammo count is 1 or 1000 -- it will still 
   fire at the same rate.
Grenade Launcher

   This weapon launches grenades in a realistic parabolic arc.  Realistic that
   is if you ignore the fact that the game world would have to be a vacuum in
   order for the trajectory of the grenade to be that perfect.  You will
   probably be too busy watching the pretty explosions inflict your opponents
   with massive damage to notice anyway.

Guided Missle Launcher

   The guided missle launcher is Abuse's version of the second most popular
   weapon in Doom (the shotgun is almost unarguably the favorite weapon of 
   Doomaholics everywhere).  The highly manueverable missles that this weapon
   launches will follow your opponent to the ends of the Earth.  That is, if
   you don't overshoot.
Firebomb Rifle

   You might have a hard time distinguishing this weapon from a flamethrower.
   However, this weapon is projectile based an produces a trail of flaming
   particles that follow each other like the cars of a train.  Since the
   weapon is particle based, the projectiles _are_ affected by gravity and
   you do not have to fire straight at an opponent in order to hit them.
Plasma Gun

   Another weapon found in Doom, this plasma gun produces a burst of plasma
   that looks more like the maximum energy burst that you can shoot in the
   game R-Type.  This weapon is available only in the commercial release of

Death Frizbee

   This weapon is available only in the commercial release of Abuse.  Maybe
   someone will design some Tron modifications to Abuse.

Laser Saber

   You've always wanted one and now you have it.  The Star Wars weapon is
   a reality in Abuse.  This weapon is available only in the commercial
   release of Abuse.  

B.  Power-Ups

Fast Power-Up 

   This power up looks like a giant IC emblazoned with a lightning bolt.  
   When you run over this power-up you gain robotic legs that allow you to 
   run twice as fast as normal, jump higher and climb ladders much more
   quickly than normal.
Fly Power-Up

   This power-up gives you the the ability to fly.  It is only available in
   the commercial version of Abuse.

Health Power-Up

   This power-up ups the players health maximum from 100 to 200.  It is
   available only in the commercial version of Abuse.

Sneaky Power-Up

   This power-up allows the player to become partially invisible.  It is
   available only in the commercial version of Abuse.

Visor Power-Up

   I swear that I caught mention of this somewhere.  I would guess that it
   turns off lighting effects or provides the user with a high beam headlight.
   It is available only in the commercial version of Abuse if at all :)
C.  Health Boosters

Health boosters increase your characters health as the name would imply.  They
take the form of miniature hearts and when you move over them your health is
raised by a variable number of points depending on the difficulty level.
D.  Nick Vrenna

This is your character.  Its Nick's job to exterminate the Ants and free
humanity from certain slaughter.

E.  Enemies


   The ant is the enemy that you will meet most frequently.  Much more deadly
   than the insect variety, these ants will _REALLY_ spoil your picnic.  
   Straight out of _Alien_, these creatures will gnash, claw and shoot their
   way to a chance to dine on your tender flesh.  Ants are somewhat 
   intelligent predators in that they will use their ability to walk on
   ceilings in order to avoid your attempts to destroy them.  Beware: ants
   often travel in packs.

   There are seven varieties of ants in the commercial release of Abuse and
   four varieties in the shareware release.  Each type of ant is a different
   color and fires one of the seven (or four) weapons provided in the game.


   These giant robots have in their possesion an unlimited number of grenades
   and they aren't exactly conservative with their supply.  Some models of this
   robot are immobile while later models will walk towards your character in
   order to get a better shot.  Juggernauts are quite tough and can take a lot
   of direct hits before they shatter to pieces but unfortunately you usually
   aren't given a choice to run away.

   These agile robots have the ability of flight.  Flyers never stand still
   so they are often difficult to target however a steady stream of laser 
   pulses or guided missles usually do the trick  

F.  Tricks, Traps, Harmful Objects and Other Interactive Objects


   Bombs are explosive devices which can kill a player if they are within
   the blast radius.    


   Boulders are gigantic spiked metal spheres.  They are affected by gravity
   and will fall when if in the air.  When they hit the ground they will 

   A boulder will cause damage to a player when it collides with them.  
   Boulders can also damage aliens and other objects that can be hurt.  
   When a boulder is dealt enough damage it will break up into smaller 
   boulders which will then explode on contact with the floor.

Concussion Mines

   These small mines will cause damage to the player upon contact.  They can
   be found in the air as well as on the ground.  Sometimes they even move.  

Force Fields

   Force fields are walls of energy which prevent the user from moving
   through them.  Force fields may be as high as one screen.  


   Lava tiles will do constant damage to a player while they are in contact
   with the lava.

Shock Pulses

   These objects intermittently shoot out pulses of electricity which deal
   a healthy amount of damage to the player.
Spray Guns

   Spray guns are turret-like guns which will rotate in a left-right-left
   fashion shooting out sprays of shots.  Spray guns may fire any type of

Tunnel Robots

   This large robot can chase a player down a hall, forcing the player to 
   either destroy it or to die a horrible death within the robot's spinning

Track Guns

   Track guns are similar to spray guns except that track guns will track
   the motion of a player.

Trap Doors

   Trap doors on the floor can be activated by sensors and switches.  Watch
   where you chose to take a breather when playing net Abuse.

   Abuse contains both switch activated and sensor activated doors.


   Springs provide a player with an upward boost when they player comes in
   contact with one.

   These state changing devices will hopefully activate something beneficial
   to your player like a trap door with more ammo.  If you aren't so lucky
   you might unleash a pack of ants.  

   Abuse contains both select-activated switches and shot-activated switches.


   Platforms are moving tiles that can lift and move you to different floors
   and sections of a level.


   Pushers are objects that will give your player a push in the direction of
   the arrows on the pusher.  Pushers have varying strengths so it may or
   not be a futile attempt to avoid going with the flow.

G.  Scenery and Graphics 


  The foreground scenery is made up of the floor, ceiling, wall textures and
  other graphics components that your character interacts with.  Foreground is
  created using combinations of tiles that you choose from a foreground 
  palette.  When you place an object in the screen it is placed in the
  foreground as well although it can be moved and manipulated as a seperate

  Abuse comes with a large palette of predefined foreground tiles that include
  floor tiles, walls, ceilings, ramps, cavern textures, forest textures, 
  ladders, pipes and more


   The game engine that Abuse is based on allows for two levels of parallax
   scrolling.  Using the background palette one can make a background which
   can be set to scroll at a defined rate in order to add the feeling of 
   depth to the level.

   Abuse has background tiles that can be used to construct a city skyscape,
   forest backgrounds and cavern backgrounds.  

IV.  What are the Main Components That Comprise a Complete Level?

[Objects, Links, Messages, Lighting, Dimmers, Sounds, Weapons/Ammo, Enemies,
Sensors, Force Fields, Respawners (both kinds), Logic Gates, 
Save Game Stations]

V.  Which Dialect of Lisp Does the Lisp Interpreter Implement?

Common Lisp is the dialect of Lisp that is understood by the built-in 
Lisp interpreter.
VI.  Which Constructs are Not Supported by the Lisp Interpreter?

Structures and Objects are the two main Lisp constructs that are not
implemented by the built-in Lisp interpreter.

VII.  What Multiplayer Abuse Variants Exist?

Currently no multiplayer variants exist because the net code has not been
released.  Dave Taylor says to expect the network patch one or two weeks after

VIII. Where Can I Learn More About Level Editing?

A.  General Level Editing Information and Guidelines

Duong Nyugen's documentation of the built-in level editor is the best place to
start if you are totally new to the editor. It is not a tutorial, regardless 
of the title (Tutorial Number One), but it does document the features of the 
built-in editor and lists all of the objects available an describes their 
purpose and usage thoroughly.  

[Insert guide to general level editing tutorials.  Point out that Doom level
editing is a good place to get a feel for the general needs of a level in
a level based action game such as the proper use of lighting and distribution
of enemies and ammunition.  It is also a good place to get a feel for what
is needed to make a good multiplayer cooperative or deathmatch level]

B.  Level Editor Documentation

Currently the only documentation on the supplied level editor is the abuse.doc
file that comes with the beta version of Abuse.  

C.  Lisp documentation and tutorials

Guy Steele's definitive description of the Common Lisp language, _Common Lisp
the Language_, second edition, can be accessed through the World Wide Web.  
The address is

A brief tutorial that covers some of the basics of the language is available
as the tutorial packaged with the Linux version of CLisp ( possibly
obtainable elsewhere ).

VIIII.  What Channels Exist on IRC for Discussing Abuse?
#Abuse, the official Abuse discussion channel will be the main IRC channel
for discussing the game.  You will probably be able to strike up a 
conversation about Abuse on #Doom as well.  Dave Taylor (of iD Software and
Crack Dot Com) makes appearances quasi-frequently on #doom and if we're lucky,
he will pop into #abuse from time to time.

X.  What Newsgroups Exist for Discussing Abuse?
Currently there are none but often has
posts concerning Abuse although they are mostly messages asking when the
game will be released

XI.  What Mailing Lists Exist for Discussing Abuse?
There are no mailing lists as of yet.  Firehawk of #abuse is looking into
starting one, however.
XII.  How Can I Get Abuse?

You can get ordering information by fingering or by
checking out Crack Dot Com's brand new web page at  The
game will also be carried in stores but you most likely won't get the

XIII.  FAQ Change History

Version 0.1.0:  First public release of incomplete FAQ.  Sections involving
                level entities and objects incomplete.  Made available
                on August 31st, 1995, the DOS Beta release date.

Version 0.1.1:  Fixed misspellings of Crack Dot Com employees.  Added
                FAQ Change History list.  Updated revision number (which 
                was labeled incorrectly in the header).  

Version 0.2.0:  Added credits section.  Fixed minor errors.  Finished
                descriptions of scenery components and tricks/traps/objects.

XIIII.  Credits

Thanks go to:

-- Jonathan Clark, author of Abuse, for providing me with detailed
   information on the exact amount of Lisp code in the game in respect
   to the size of all of the code in the game and information and for
   stopping by #abuse on the eve of the DOS shareware release and answering
   a barrage of questions from Hank Leukart and myself.

-- Dave Taylor, John Romero and Shawn Green, again, for stopping by #abuse
   on the day of the DOS shareware release which generated a lot of activity
   in the channel.

-- The crew at Crack Dot Com for giving us such a great looking game that
   plays so smoothly.
Copyright Recognition

_Abuse_ is a registered trademark of Crack Dot Com.
_Doom_ and _Quake_ are registered trademarks of iD Software.
_Star Wars_ is a registered trademark of Lucasfilms.
_Tron_ is a registered trademark of the Walt Disney Company.

This FAQ is the intellectual property of the author, Mike Perry.

I cannot keep anyone from copying this FAQ and editing it for
redistribution nor can I lay claim to any of the underlying
information on this page other than its wording.  There is no
copyright on this FAQ registered with the copyright office however
I have placed a copyright notice at the bottom of the FAQ for dating


The information and ideas conveyed in this FAQ are not guaranteed to be fact.
The author of the FAQ dismisses all responsibilty for any financial loss and
for any physical or emotional damages caused by any placement of faith upon
the ideas and answers contained this document. It is up to the reader to decide
what he or she contends is fact.  Should the support of any product, software
package or add-on mentioned in this document cease or if an upcoming software
release becomes vaporware, the author must not be held responsible for that
 ---  Abuse FAQ v0.2.0 Copyright (C) August 31, 1995 Mike Perry ---
 ---  mj-perry@ux4.cso.uiuc (Riff on #doom and #abuse)          ---

Bill Lachance

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