Max Fighter

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. System Requirements
  3. Menus
  4. How to Play
  5. License

Please send questions, bug reports and any other feedback to

1. Introduction

You have a bad feeling about this: For only one brief moment you let your attention slip, and suddenly, you find your spaceship heading right into a vast asteroid field. Though it does not seem very dense at the outskirts, your board computer readouts make you doubt you will ever see the other side of it - and did your radar just pick up traces of pirate activity!?

Welcome to Max Fighter - an old-fashioned, vertically scrolling shoot'em'up that focuses on gameplay and excitement instead of hiding a boring game behind tons of effects. Yet, the game also features state-of-the art graphics, modelled and rendered by Paul Guerrero, as well as a rousing, original score by Christian Afonso.

Keep control of your spaceship as you go ever deeper into the asteroid field and the gameplay reaches breakneck speed. Shoot asteroids and containers and collect power-ups, shield energy and special weapons. And last but not least - beware of the pirates!

2. System Requirements

Max Fighter was written in a platform-independent manner. Binary releases are currently available for Microsoft Windows and Intel GNU/Linux platforms. A Mac OS X version may follow. You can also download the source code from the homepage and compile the game yourself for your platform of choice, though only the systems listed here are actively supported.

Microsoft Windows

The Windows version of Max Fighter should run on any reasonably modern Windows installation, provided that your video drivers support OpenGL (most do). All necessary libraries are included in the installer package.


To run the binary GNU/Linux distribution provided on the Max Fighter homepage, you need an i386-compatible system with a working GNU/Linux installation as well as X-Windows with OpenGL support.

In addition, the following shared libraries have to be installed on your system:

If you have a Debian-based system, you can find .deb packages on the Max Fighter homepage which should take care of the necessary dependencies. These packages have been built and tested with Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake).

If you want to play Max Fighter on a non-i386 GNU/Linux system, you may try to build your own version from source.

Building from Source

The Musgit Games Source Code page provides full source packages for Max Fighter which you can use to build your own distribution. To compile the game, you need a working C++ compiler environment and the SCons build system. Details and a list of required libraries can be found in the readme included with the source package.

Main Menu

Single Player A

Starts a single player game in Mode A. This is the standard way to play Max Fighter.

Single Player B

Starts a single player game in Mode B. This is an alternative way to play Max Fighter. Your spaceship is unarmed in this mode.


Starts a two player game. Both players play simultaneously on the same computer. For multiplayer games, only Mode A is available.


Shows the settings menu which lets you change video and audio settings and reassign keyboard and joystick controls.


Displays the game credits and copyright information.


Leaves the Max Fighter game.

Note: If you leave the main menu running for a while without pressing a key, Max Fighter will display the current high scores and a brief overview of the foes and extras you will encounter in the game.

Settings Menu

This menu lets you change video and audio options and customise your keyboard and joystick controls. Every part of the Settings menu is also available from the in-game menu.


Toggles between fullscreen and windowed modes.

Sound & Music

Shows a menu which lets you change sound and music volume settings. At a volume of 0, no sounds or music are played.

Single Player Controls

Shows a menu which lets you change keyboard and joystick assignments for single player mode.

Controls - Player 1

Shows a menu which lets you change keyboard and joystick assignments for player 1 (who starts on the right) in multiplayer mode.

Controls - Player 2

Shows a menu which lets you change keyboard and joystick assignments for player 2 (who starts on the left) in multiplayer mode.


Returns to the main menu.

Controls Menu

The control menu lets you change keyboard and joystick assignments for the game controls. It shows a list of all available controls (Left, Right, Up, Down, Fire, Shield and Timewarp). Next to each control, the current keyboard (in the middle) and joystick (on the right) assignments are displayed. Select a control to change its assignment. A popup window will appear asking you to press the new key (or joystick button or axis) for this control. Pressing Escape at this point will close the popup without changing any settings, while pressing the backspace key will remove all keyboard and joystick assignments from this control.

4. How to Play

The objective of the game is to survive as long as possible in an asteroid field, and achieve a good score along the way. With each level, the asteroids become faster and more numerous.

Game A

Game A is the regular way to play Max Fighter. Your ship is equipped with laser cannons and all extras are available (though some will only appear in later levels). The game consists of a series of levels, and each new level brings more and faster asteroids. Twice each level, and all 5000 score points, an extra container appears. Shoot the container to release its extra, and then collect it to upgrade your ship.

Later levels will also contain more robust asteroids which have to be shot several times before they explode. From time to time, a pirate ship may appear on the left or right side of the screen. The pirate is immune to your ship's energy shield, but can still be destroyed with quick reflexes. In later levels, it takes more hits to destroy a pirate than in earlier levels.

Game B

Game B is an alternate way of playing Max Fighter and is only available for single player games. In this mode, your ship is unarmed, and the only extras available are speedups and score crystals, which appear at regular intervals. Also, there are no levels; instead, the game progressively quickens. As you cannot destroy asteroids (except by colliding with them), your score steadily increases in brief, regular intervals. Collecting score crystal will of course further increase the score.

Controlling your ship

The ship's controls are completely customisable through the Settings Menu. This section will explain how to control the ship with the default settings for single player games.

Use the cursor keys to move the ship around the screen. If you have an analogue joystick connected to your computer, you can control the speed at which the ship moves, as well.

To fire your laser cannons, press the right control key. Keep the key pressed for automatic repeated firing. The fire rate depends solely on the number of Fire Rate upgrades your ship has collected. Particularly, your fire rate will not increase by repeatedly pressing the fire key yourself. Press the space bar and keep it pressed to activate the shield; release the key to deactivate the shield. If your ship is equipped with a timewarp weapon, you can activate timewarp by pressing the right shift key.

In multiplayer games, both players have separate sets of controls. In particular, player one may use different settings for single and multiplayer games, as the Settings Menu lets you change controls for both game modes separately.

During a game, press the Escape key to pause the game and display the in-game menu. This menu lets you change the same settings as the Settings Menu which is available from the game's title screen. Additionally, you can continue or quit the current game.


The Head-Up Display (HUD) shows the current upgrade and energy state of your spaceship. It will change whenever you collect (or loose) extras.

This displays the number of speed upgrades your ship currently holds. The more speed upgrades you have, the quicker your ship moves.

Fire Rate & Laser Type
This displays the number of both fire rate and laser type upgrades your ship currently holds. The fire rate level is shown "vertically", while the "horizontal" pattern of lines in the display represents the laser type level.

Shield Energy
If your ship has shield energy, you can activate a force shield which will protect you from all damage. While the shield is active, no collisions will harm your ship, and most objects will be destroyed when they come into contact with your shield. An active shield continously consumes shield energy and will collapse when your energy runs out, unless you deactivate it before this happens.

Your ship can carry a maximum of two timewarp weapons. Activating a timewarp weapon will slow down time for a few seconds, allowing you to escape from dangerous situations or inflict more damage in a brief timespan. In multiplayer mode, timewarp will also slow down the other player, unless he/she also activates timewarp.


In Game A, an extra container is spawned every 5000 score points, and twice every level. Destroy the container to release the extra it contains, then collect the extra to upgrade your ship.

In Game B, no extra containers appear. Instead, speedup and score extras appear at regular intervals.

Container types

Upgrade Container
Contains speed, fire rate and laser type upgrades. May contain a score crystal if no upgrades are available at the moment.

Energy Container
Contains shield energy upgrades. May contain a score crystal if your shield energy gauge is full.

Weapon Container
Contains timewarp weapons. May contain a score crytsal if you already have two timewarp weapons.

Extra types

Speed (Upgrade)
Increases the speed an maneuverability of your spaceship.

Fire Rate (Upgrade)
Increases the velocity and rate of your ship's laser cannons.

Laser Type (Upgrade)
Upgrades your ship's laser cannons. The higher your laser type level, the wider an area your laser cannons will cover.

Shield (Energy)
Increases your ship's shield energy.

Timewarp (Weapon)
Adds a one-time timewarp weapon to your ship's armament. You can carry a maximum of two timewarp weapons at the same time.

Score Crystal
Increases your score by 500 points. The score crystal extra will appear when there are currently no other updates available.

5. License

The Max Fighter code is released under the GNU General Public License v2.0 (GPL). The game content (images, sounds, music etc.) is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. This means that you may freely copy and redistribute the game, and even modify it as long as you make the source code of your modifications publically available.

For details of the GPL, please see the GNU homepage.

To view a copy of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Game code copyright © 2006 by Marian Schedenig.
Game graphics copyright © 2006 by Paul Guerrero.
Menu and HUD design copyright © 2006 by Maximilian Rieger.
Music copyright © 2006 by Christian Afonso.