For the love of Pascal

I don’t make much of a secret of it, but while I was in high school, and the first year of college, I loved Pascal. And not just any Pascal, but Borland Turbo Pascal 5.5 .

While in highschool, we used these Unix “like” work stations, the “ICON” running QNX. Since it was another one of those built by Canadians for Canadians type thing we couldn’t use Borland, instead we used this knockoff called Turing. While the bootleg floppy I had of Turing gave up the ghost (bad sectors, argh!) I recall that it was strictly interpreted, and they did have a version that ran on MS-DOS..

Anyways, fast forward and I moved to the United States, and of course we didn’t use weird knockoffs, we used.. Borland Pascal.

And it compiled.

Oh, and it could build TSR’s!

Man it was AWESOME. I even could coax it to run in protected mode, along with dosx.exe, the dos extender bundled in Windows 3.1 . Although much to my dismay, only ‘tiny’ or programs restricted to 64kb could run in this mode, as the libraries were not even slightly protected mode safe. In my opinion between the industry at the time holding so dearly to the brain dead 80286, and charging a FORTUNE for protected mode tools, it really did drive people mad.

Anyways I eventually had to come to terms with C, but I’ll admit, for the first while, I used EMX under OS/2 and p2c (GNU p2c Pascal), as a great crutch.

So while browsing around, I came to some bbs source code page, And I was surprised to see a few things… An early BBS for Unix SYS III, another one for Xenix, and WWIV when it was all in Pascal, ported from version 3.0 to 7.0. And they (among all the others) include SOURCE CODE!

Then searching with a ‘known known’, I turned up this excellent resource in Russia,, which has a good amount of pascal source.

A while back, I did take the Pascal source to TradeWars 2001, and port it to C, so maybe I’ll do something with this wealth of Pascal source…

And of course, for anyone feeling retro, don’t forget, that Turbo Pascal 5.5 is free! (like beer), and runs under DOSBox.

Some random updates…

I just got back from a trip, so here is a quick shot of the 8″ diskette of Zork 1 for CP/M… I put it against my keyboard for some sense of scale.. It’s MASSIVE.

Zork 1 on an 8" floppy disk

Zork 1 on an 8″ floppy disk

I also found this Infocom interpeter written in Turbo Pascal, written by Martin Korth. It was written for Turbo Pascal 4.0, but I’ve built it with 5.5 and 7.0 without issues.

A friend of mine pointed me towards this new emulator PCE that looks very promising.. It boots off real IBM ROMS! Right now it’s 8086/80186 capable, but it’s still VERY cool.

Word is the author is working on Sparc32, ARM & PPC emulation… It looks very cool.

Thats about it for me!

Boring weekend…

Ok so I had a boring weekend…. And it’s spilled over to today.

I’m getting burnt out but what happened is I found out that Turbo Pascal 5.5 is now FREE!

Which I thought was VERY cool.. So after a while of googling around for neat & interesting Pascal stuff, I came across this BBS door game, called TradeWars, that included the source!

While going through the source it seemed it could be easily ported to C so I started late Friday (or was it Saturday AM?)…

Anyways I’d feel safe with a tentative ‘public’ release of the source..

My C is based on the Pascal, which is in turn based on the BASIC code.. I’ve tried to keep it true to the pascal so there is a LOT of 2 letter variables, and a lot of WTF’s? BUT I did add comments as I was going through it.

It *SHOULD* be somewhat portable C, and I haven’t included binaries just yet… It’s still a work in progress, but I wanted to let out a WIP thing…

You can find the project here:

Oh and a screenshot:

Trade Wars C 0.7 on Windows 3.0

Trade Wars C 0.7 on Windows 3.0

It builds on both 16bit & 32bit machines… Once I get it far more fleshed out & running then I’ll sanitize the data as for now it’s using the same data & message files…