(Level 9 Computing)

Snowball is a big adventure game. It has over 7,000 locations and has
taken 9 months to produce. It's probably unique among adventures in
having a realistic, planned background and being set aboard a star-
ship that could actually work.

You play Kim Kimberley, secret agent extraordinary.

Your mission: to safeguard the interstar transport, Snowball 9, as a last
resort following catastrophic accident or sabotage.

Thus when your modified freezer-coffin wakes you with the Snowball
still in transit, you know that something must be very wrong. You're
weakened and disorientated from lengthy hibernation, but the fate of
two million passengers is in your hands!

To play the game, turn to the middle pages for loading instructions and


Snowball 9 started its journey to the stars from the EEC's Ceres base,
one of fifty colony starships launched in the 2190s. It carried the first
colonists for Eridani A.

First to be despatched were the ten giant passenger disks, rotating
ponderously to provide internal gravity. Each was towed gently by a
cluster of small tugs and floated into the void with 200,000 sleeping
colonists on board.

Then the Snowball's engine unit followed, accelerated rapidly by the
spectacular flares from its four great fusion motors. Like previous
launches, and the link-up with the disks some weeks later, this was
holo'd worldwide ... though few people bothered to watch.

Looking like a necklace of sparkling beads, Snowball 9 headed out
into deepest space, and into a century of obscurity.

But the major part of the launch was yet to come. And it happened
quietly, out of the glare of publicity. The chains of accelerators,
beyond Pluto, burst erratically into life throughout the following
three years. firing ten-tonne blocks of ammonia-ice at precise speeds
after the receding craft. Once reeled in by the Snowball's skyhooks,
the ice was built into a huge hollow shell around the linked passenger
disks. When complete, this shielded the disks during the voyage; until
the ice was finally needed as fuel for the ravening fusion drives.

The ice-shell, which gave the Snowball series its name, formed most
of the mass of the completed craft. And without the accelerator/
skyhook system of "in-flight refuelling", realistic-time interstar
voyages would not have been feasible.

As with life, the first thirty years of Snowball 9's journey were the
most interesting. The computers and crew had to catch as much ice as
possible before it flew past. But even then there were never more than
six active crew at a time.

Then the starship was left to coast until its destination was near, the
crew hibernating with the passengers. A brief flurry of activity to
start deceleration, and back to autopilot. Even allowing for the great
resilience, and hence low sophistication, of the Snowball's machine
intelligences, they are quite capable of running everything unaided.
No further crew members were woken until a year from journey's end.

The plan from here on was to continue deceleration, shed the remains
of the ice-shield (by now eaten away to insubstantiality by the needs
for fuel), and dock with the target planet, Eden, in geostationary orbit.
Finally the passengers would land by glider-shuttle ... a process taking
many years to get everybody down, and necessitating the retrieval of
grounded gliders by sky hook: the same gliders being used many times ...

This was the plan, anyway.

Meanwhile in the Eridani star system, the robot descendants of the
original survey craft that scouted Eden have been hard at work. The
original crude waldroids, directly controlled from the survey craft's
computers, were good for little other than routine manual work. But
they have long been superseded by a host of specialised robots, highly
intelligent and suitable for any task.

Indeed, in the outer reaches of the planetary system the first
accelerator chains are already being built. It will not be long before
colonists can leave Eden for remoter stars.

The colonists have taken over a hundred years to reach Eden, but the
robots can obtain information and programming at light speed. They
are immeasurably ahead of their future "masters" in knowledge and
technology. Even if Snowball 9 arrives safely, it is by no means certain
that the passengers will be able to cope with the sudden outdating of
all their experience.

The physical well being of the colonists is, however, assured by the
robot's diligent work. Condos, paveways, PVTs, holo nets, pre-
ordained work ... everything necessary for civilised life will be
provided. After all, why risk further disruption of the social fabric
resulting from a manifestation of the so-called "pioneer spirit"?

All you, as Kim Kimberley, have to do is rescue the Snowball 9. The
task of helping the colonists cope with the city that the robots have
built can be tackled in the sequel to this adventure: "Return to Eden".
Neither will be easy!


Kim is 1.7 metres tall, weighs 55 kilos, is fairly intelligent, athletic,
and has brown eyes and fair hair. Now aged 22, or 25, or 131 years
depending on how you calculate these things.

Born on September 29th, 2172 AD, of Jorel Cowans and Alice
Kimberley, Kim was raised by the Hampstead Creche. This was a
peculiar place, set amongst decaying buildings, and heavily reliant on
a mix of relationship-engineering, behaviour conditioning and Hell-
Fire religion. It was finally closed in 2185 for breaches of the Android
Protection Acts. It seems to have done Kim little harm however,
though possibly contributing to a tendency towards introversion.

Then to the Milton Keynes School of Life; a fine, residential establishment
situated (despite its name) in Malta. The staff were, in effect,
Kim's family. (This type of situation, by the way, was far from unusual
in the late 22nd century. Advances in entertainment and travel, plus
the sexual revolution resulting from AI, partho and cloning
techniques, made a family up-bringing the exception.)

Kim returned to England for National Service before progressing to
Oxford (being not quite bright enough for Cambridge). Kim proved a
good student, and established many close relationships, though
nothing permanent.

It was during National Service that the event central to the Snowball
mission took place, though it went unremarked at the time. Kim was
approached, discretely, to do security work. Initially this simply
involved training, and occasional surveillance of possible subversives
(Unionists, Americans, members of racial minorities etc) but it soon
developed into counter-espionage (e.g. arresting Russians who used
the public reference libraries).

And then, when the Snowball project got under way, Kim was
approached to volunteer for the stars. The Snowball craft were as near
automatic as possible, and carried a trained crew in case anything
went wrong. But suppose something happened to the crew?

What was needed were one-or-two trained people, carried without
the crew's knowledge, who could emerge and take over if something
went really wrong. And, with the Snowball 9, it has ...

The Game

Snowball is a full scale adventure game, with well over 7000 locations,
700 messages, about 60 objects etc etc. You will have to solve a large
number of puzzles while finding your way to the main control room
in the engine unit - and saving the starship.

To play Snowball, load it from the cassette and then simply enter
English phrases to tell the computer what you want to do (e.g.
act as your eyes and ears to describe your surroundings.

As with all proper adventure games, Snowball is very easy to play -
you don't need to be able to type rapidly, or blast aliens by reflex. But
don't be too surprised if it takes weeks (or months) to complete.

The best way of playing is probably to use the program in short
sessions, stopping if you seem to be totally stuck and resuming if you
come up with an idea that might work. Making a map will probably
help, though I advise against trying to show all the rooms! Remember
that you can use the SAVE and RESTORE commands to save the
current state of play and restart later - they are quite quick.

If you have any problems with solving the game, please use the hints
card included. You're welcome to enclose it with a letter if you like,
but hint-requests may well not be answered unless the card is

If you have any problems with using the game program, please tell us
which computer you have (and, for cassette problems, which cassette
recorder you have). Please help us to help you!

How to load and Start

Snowball is a 32K machine code program which uses up most of the
memory of a 48K Spectrum. There's a copy on each side of the cassette

To use it, enter LOAD"" (press J; SYMBOL-SHIFT + P; SYMBOL-
SHIFT + P; ENTER) and the game will automatically load and run
when you play the tape.

Snowball is copyright (c) Level 9 Computing 1963.


The program asks "What now?" whenever it expects you to enter
another command. Simply type an English phrase to tell it what you
want it to do and press RETURN (or ENTER). The program will act on
your request, ask you for the next command, and so on.

The program knows an extensive vocabulary of English words (over
200) and it looks at your entered command, picking out the words it
knows and "guessing" your meaning from these. Only two or three
words are used for each phrase, so you are advised to keep
instructions simple.

In practice you should find it is simple to state what you want to do,
but if the program does not understand just rephrase your request.
Snowball provides great freedom in possible commands but, to help
you get started, some possible instructions are summarised below:


These are only a small sample of the words known by the program. To
save typing, words can be abbreviated (e.g. EAST to E, NORTHEAST
to NE, and AGAIN to A).

The command analyser used by Snowball is even cleverer than that
used in our "Middle Earth" trilogy of games. For example:

* Word order is less important. For example "GIVE THE ROBOT A
DRINK" is the same as "GIVE A DRINK TO THE ROBOT".
* You can take or drop EVERYTHING.
* As well as compass directions for movement, LEFT, RIGHT,
FORWARDS and BACKWARDS are allowed.
* AGAIN repeats the previous command.
* Snowball understands IT, and IT can save you time. Use IT if you
want to act on the same object as in your last command - but please
keep IT simple.

You should know three special commands:

QUIT Abandon the game. You can start again if you like.
SAVE Keep the current state-of-play on tape. Start your
recorder on RECORD, with a blank tape, first.
RESTORE Load a SAVEd position back from tape.


There are no "treasures" in Snowball: you don't score points for
finding things and storing them away as in many games.

Instead, points are scored for doing things that are steps on the way to
the eventual goal for getting to the main control room and rescuing
the starship from its fate.

For example, you need to get out of the freezer coffin, where you are
at the start of the game, and subsequently need to assemble a working
space-suit. Both these activities score points.

On the debit side, if you're caught by the Nightingales you lose points.
And if you manage to get killed you lose more.


Buyers are entitled to a free clue each, and a hints card is enclosed for
this. Put it in an envelope, with another stamped, self-addressed
envelope, and send it to the address at the back of this instruction
booklet. We will do our best to reply as quickly as possible. Don't use
up the clue too soon!

Answers will be truthful, but partial answers may be given to
questions which take too much work. (e.g. "Please list all words
understood by the program' or "What are the functions of all the
objects"). We'll try to be fair and help you to progress.

* Everything in Snowball has a purpose.

* Remember that the adventure is set in the starship described in this
booklet. It is logically designed and there is no "magic". However,
some of the technology used might be described as magical in 1980s

* North means towards the front of the starship and the other
"compass" directions are relative to this. Up and down, on the other
hand, are determined by local "gravity".

* At the start of the game, you are in the lowest level of a passenger
disk. You need to go "up".

Terran Expansionary Phase, 2120 - 2210

The late 21st Century saw a great increase in space travel within the
solar system.

Fusion power was not yet feasible, conventional fuel sources were
close to running out, and the energy needs of the industrial nations
were ever-increasing. The solution lay in space. Solar reflectors, if
made large enough, could easily concentrate any amount of
energy ... and beaming it back to Earth was simplicity itself.

What was not simple was to transport enough material for thousand-
mile reflectors into space. Indeed, it was much more efficient to use
what was already there ... and thus the first accelerator chains[2] were
set up to boost asteroid material from beyond Mars into Earth orbit.

By 2120, thirty percent of Earth's energy came from the space
reflectors and the proportion was steadily rising. And, to supply the
colossal requirements of the orbital industries, the whole Solar
System was linked by accelerators.

Then workable fusion power was perfected. And it was very cheap.

The whole space sector of the economy was redundant. And a lot of
politicians risked looking very silly indeed.

Thus a use for the accelerators, space reflectors and orbiting factories
had to be found ... and Stellar Colonisation was it. A lot of voters/party
members read SF, after all. And colonies are always popular (at first,

So the accelerators were linked up and fired out of tens of thousands
of small exploration probes in all directions. These robots would coast
through space with only one mission - as each flashed past a star it
would report back the existence of Earth-sized planets. Unmanned,
they could continue for centuries.

[2]Electro-magnetic accelerators: Linear-motor guns. The payload was
slowed down again by sky-hook (a docking unit connected to the main
space station by a very long, elastic strand).

Ten years behind came larger survey craft, each clutching a great ball
of ammonia ice to power its fusion motor. If one was lucky enough to
be following a successful exploration probe, it had just enough time to
decelerate (from its coasting speed of 0.3 C) before reaching the star.
Once there it would scout the system and if there really were
habitable planets (or even ones requiring controlled climate domes as
long as the ground was solid) it would radio the information back to Earth.

Then, while waiting for the first colonists to join it, decades later, the
survey craft would proceed to prepare a world for them to live in.

First came a long, slow, painstaking period of asteroid mining -
assembling the necessary materials to build its first robot-production
line. The first robot would take ten or twenty years, the next ten or
twenty days and the thousandth would take minutes.

By a process of careful boot-strapping, highly-intelligent space
factories were built ... and colossal dish receivers to collect the
constant stream of technological data from Earth.

Next came the landings on the target planet, city building and making
ready for the colonists. And, at the same time, preparations for
launching more probes and survey craft.

The Terran Expansionary phase was scaled down as time passed, and
eventually stopped - as far as Earth was concerned. Domestic political
pressures changed, and politicians became more concerned with the
quality of life for the so-called Free Nations than with space
exploration. But the starships were in flight, and the foundation of the
Human Empire was assured.

Geopolitical Summary, 2195

To generalise, nations can be divided into two groups: the Big 5 super-
powers, and the Free Nations.

The Big 5 (China, EEC, Pacific, US Empire and USSR) are fully
urbanised, dependent on sophisticated technology, and despite their
much-publicised feuding they have reached de-facto compromises to
prevent war. Politically, they are neither true democracies nor
dictatorships. Most of their populations live in luxury (though the
man-in-the-street would never admit this).

The Free Nations are, in effect, the former Third World. No significant
improvements have taken place in living standards or technological
infrastructure, though populations are higher than ever before.
Communications are excellent, however. The people know that they
are kept in poverty and resent the fact, and ironically this is a major
reason for the Free Nations' poor development performance. Other
reasons are: proxy wars, wealth disparity combined with ready
supplies of weapons, poor infrastructure, reduced world market share
due to automation elsewhere, excess imports to ruling cliques, skill-
drain, population growth, endemic disease and climatic instability.

In the near future the Big 5 will finally decide to help the Free
Nations, but in the 2190s they are chasing stars.

England, Kim's "birth" place, is a minor part of the EEC. Very
prosperous, 50% built-up and with a population of 70 million.

To the evident astonishment of its citizens, who consider it a most
boring place, the major industry is tourism. In summer, you can't
move in London for the waldroids shuffling around: foreigners
soaking in the sights through every gleaming lens.

The biggest employer of labour, however, is the Experience Industry.
The Dream Palace of Wigan and Reveline of Bucks churn out epic
"adventure games" for the enjoyment of billions worldwide - and for
the 30 million unemployed at home.

Housing is good, robot slaves are plentiful, and most people are
quietly happy in the belief that their country is best.


Snowball is written in Level 9's own super-compact adventure
language known as "a-code". This gives machine-code speeds and is
much smaller. Additionally, text messages have been compressed to
about half size (by the automatic extraction of the most common
strings - such as "the" - and their replacement by single characters).
Additionally, the coding is rather cunning in places.

Thus the game needs much less space than it ordinarily would - and
we can cram in much more detail than others do.


Game Design: Pete Austin
Implementation: Pete Austin
Transport to your Computer: Mike Austin
A-code Compiler and System: Mike Austin
Data Compiler: Pete Austin
Additional Expertise: Ian Buxton

Instruction Booklet: Pete Austin
Artwork: Tim Noyce and Pete Sherwood
Typesetting etc: Crowley Graphics
Miss Kimberley's Costume: Spider & Jeanne Robinson (Stardance)
Inspiration (in part): Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
(The Mote in God's Eye)

Level 9 Adventures
Our current range of adventures is:

1) Colossal Adventure "Middle Earth" Trilogy
2) Adventure Quest
3) Dungeon Adventure

4) Snowball "Silicon Dream" Trilogy
5) Return to Eden (late 1983)
6) The Worm in Paradise (early 1984)

7) Timelords (late 1983) A great time-travel game

Details of all Level 9 Computing products are available from:

Level 9 Computing, 229 Hughenden Road, High Wycombe, Bucks.