Games/Adventures by Others
My Own Creations
Way way way long ago, in a high school computer lab far far away...
I used to create computer programs. On Radio Shack TRS-80 computers, perhaps you remember. I wrote them in BASIC programming language. I wrote a lot of them. I created a total of three Interactive Fiction / Text Adventures.
Adventure/Game #1 - Palace of the Silver Princess, Part 1
I was into many things at the time, one being "text adventures" AKA "interactive fiction (IF)". I was also into D&D. We were playing the early modules, Keep on the Borderlands, Palace of the Silver Princess, etc. So I decided to create my own text adventure derived from the beginning part of Palace of the Silver Princess. It's essentially what came to be known as a style called "choose your own adventure".
I still have most of my programs' printouts. Dot matrix, tractor feed printer paper, yep!
One of my long-standing goals is to re-code (recreate, resurrect, port...) this silly little thing (and the other two). About 240 lines of code over four sheets. I chose Twine as the most appropriate modern IF language. In 2022 I finally got around to it. I used Twine, a modern story-telling and logic programming platform/language. The learning curve is fairly fast and within a couple of days I had it ported.
The resulting game is a single HTML file that runs in any browser. I have yet to post/publish it anywhere, so it's available upon request.
Adventure/Game #2 - Xanadu
Originally written in 1983.
I loved the IF games by Scott Adams (simple environments and two-word parser/commands) and Infocom (rich writing, large environments, and full sentence parser). I was also into D&D, so after I created an initial choose your own adventures style game based upon the D&D module Palace of the Silver Princess, I decided to kick it up a level. I wanted to have free-form command entry, which would require parsing out the commands. A more open environment for character exploration. Objects/inventory. A big leap in complexity. I liked coding challenges.
I still have most of my programs' printouts: dot matrix, tractor feed, greenbar printer paper, yep! And, one of my long-standing goals is to re-code (recreate, resurrect, port...) these silly little things.
The second IF game I created is called Xanadu. It combined my love of interactive fiction, Rush, D&D, Scott Adams two-word command-driven IF games, and Infocom, mainly the Zork series. Themes are based upon Rush's Xanadu song (recommended to be playing in the background while playing the game). Some object concepts are homages to (and borrowed from) Zork and it's all fantasy with lots of familiar objects/puzzles from the world of D&D.
The original source code is about 430 lines of code. Back in 2012 I started the conversion using INFORM 7, a modern and prolific natural language for creating such things. I made progress but ultimately ran into challenges - even though it's pure English "coding", there are very specific words and order of sentences that affect the interpretation. A large "recipe book" exists as reference. I ultimately got frustrated as the debugging feel more like research, copy/paste, and trial and error rather than good old eyeballing, logic, and puzzle-solving when symbolic languages are involved. The effort fizzled out.
In 2022 I return to the task once again. This time I chose Adrift at first, which is a graphical user interface used to build your environment, descriptions and puzzles. It became frustrating after awhile since there was a lot of clicking around, a large amount of default content that I tried to carve away and eventually "broke", bringing me to the crossroads of either starting all over or spending a lot of time undoing my actions and debugging to get back on track - both were deflating. I decided to shift gears. I selected another toolset to start learning: TAB (ThinBASIC Adventure Builder) which is a combination graphical user interface and scripting. It took the better part of three days (highly focused) to learn the tool/scripting and recreate the entire adventure. It brought back the old days - staying up late into the night in a flow state, REM dream states that seemingly continued work and developed new ideas to be applied upon waking.
The original did not have score-keeping, but I always enjoyed that type of progress indicator when playing IF so I added it in this recreation. It's not a richly detailed environment, and not a lot of personal creativity in the puzzles, but it stumped my classmates and made me an early '80s IF parser programmer. The developer of the TAB system was kind enough to playtest and guide through a few final hurdles. He ultimately asked permission to publish and host it on the affiliated Catventure site.
In the following year I wrote a third and final IF game which was completely unique and where I expressed my creativity fully...
Adventure/Game #3 - My House
Originally written in 1984.
In 2022 I started on this final one to recreate. Initially I started using TAB since my skills were fresh from just having completed Xanadu. Then I paused and thought I should force myself to stretch my skills and experience a different platform, so I chose to explore the Quest platform/language, open source with C# underpinnings. It's both simple and powerful, allowing for detailed-level scripting when necessary. I found the learning curve a bit steeper than I wanted. The logic of this game is a bit complex at times and I was already deep in the weeds just trying to recreate the first room/puzzle. Before I got too invested, and in hearing more and more about INFORM being widely used for modern games I decided to give it another try. I switched to that platform, got started, and made some progress. Still, I found the abstraction of wordplay is still a challenge to get things working correctly. I stalled out again and remain uncertain of how I will proceed. Perhaps more brute-force, logic-flag based, symbolic coding is the way I should go again.
This adventure is the most challenging and wholly unique of my creations. It takes place in my childhood home, the environment exact in layout, details, and actual objects of my house. The tagline is: "Stuck in your own adventure, you must escape from your own house."
As a teaser, here is the introduction/start of the adventure: