So the Infocom source code base was just ‘released’.

https://twitter.com/textfiles/status/1118005126457888768

So I woke up to this incredible news. Jason Scott at the most excellent archive.org had just uploaded the old Infocom source code to github. It’s from the infamous ‘found hard disk’ that has been mentioned going back to the failed game ‘The restaurant at the end of the universe’.

So looking at the repos here, you can see the latest ones are all Infocom. It’s best to get them all via git for reason below:

git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/abyss.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/amfv.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/arthur.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/ballyhoo.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/beyondzork.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/borderzone.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/bureaucracy.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/checkpoint.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/cutthroats.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/deadline.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/enchanter.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/hitchhikersguide.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/hollywoodhijinx.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/infidel.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/infocom-sampler.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/journey.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/leathergoddesses-gold.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/leathergoddesses.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/lurkinghorror.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/minizork-1982.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/minizork-1987.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/minizork2-1988.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/moonmist.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/nordandbert.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/planetfall.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/plunderedhearts.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/restaurant.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/seastalker.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/sherlock.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/shogun.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/sorcerer.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/spellbreaker.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/starcross.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/stationfall.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/suspect.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/suspended.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/trinity.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/wishbringer.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/witness.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork-german.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork1.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork2.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork3.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zorkzero.git

NEW the ‘gold’ versions of various games, these are the ones with built in help systems

git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/wishbringer-gold.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/planetfall-gold.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork1-gold.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/hitchhikersguide-gold.git

The reason being of course that if there are multiple versions they are stacked. Now why is this important? Who cares? it’s all in ZILL which there is no compiler for, as the TOPS-20 tools are still lost?

Enter ZILF!

Written by Jesse McGrew in an apparent vacuum, this toolchain can Z3 machine based ZIL source code. Yes that’s right it’s a compiler!

I know Zork will get all the headlines, but back the 80’s I preferred Planetfall. I’m not even going to talk about the insanity that was the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.

Zilf is really only suited for Z3 compilation, and looking at planetfall there are two commits of note:

$ git log| tail -11
commit e85ca899aac575e74a4b3845f44d09a891c1563a
Author: historicalsource <[email protected]>
Date:   Sat Apr 13 21:35:51 2019 -0400

    Final Revision

commit 281bd3417faada8011397244d4bfaad562cb7bfc
Author: historicalsource <[email protected]>
Date:   Sat Apr 13 21:34:42 2019 -0400

    Revision 37 (Original Source)

The source for the Final version won’t build with ZILF. However the Revision 37 source will!

$ git checkout 281bd3417faada8011397244d4bfaad562cb7bfc
Note: checking out '281bd3417faada8011397244d4bfaad562cb7bfc'.

You are in 'detached HEAD' state. You can look around, make experimental
changes and commit them, and you can discard any commits you make in this
state without impacting any branches by performing another checkout.

If you want to create a new branch to retain commits you create, you may
do so (now or later) by using -b with the checkout command again. Example:

  git checkout -b <new-branch-name>

HEAD is now at 281bd34... Revision 37 (Original Source)

Ok, now let’s trash the directory! (you did backup the repo first, right?)

C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall>..\bin\Zilf planetfall.zil
ZILF 0.8 built 3/19/2017 1:34:17 PM
Planetfall

[warning MDL0417] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:509: ROUTINE: only 3 routine arguments allowed in V3, so last 2 "OPT" arguments will never be passed
  in INSERT-FILE called at planetfall.zil:14
  in IFILE called at planetfall.zil:25
[warning ZIL0208] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\SYNTAX.zil:143: preaction routine mismatch for 'V?ZAP': using PRE-ZAP as before
[error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:150: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name
[error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:315: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name
[error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:317: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name
[error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:319: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name
[warning ZIL0504] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\PARSER.zil:244: treating SET to 0 as true here
[warning ZIL0502] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\VERBS.zil:156: RETURN value ignored: block is in void context
[warning ZIL0204] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\VERBS.zil:1879: no such global variable 'WHERE', using the local instead
[warning ZIL0505] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\COMPTWO.zil:3035: COND: clauses after else part will never be evaluated
[warning ZIL0308] <top level>: too many parts of speech for 'PORT': Object (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:78), Adjective (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:224), Direction (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:11)
[warning ZIL0306] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:224: discarding the Adjective part of speech for 'PORT'
[warning ZIL0308] <top level>: too many parts of speech for 'BRUSH': Object (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:548), Adjective (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:549), Verb (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\SYNTAX.zil:283)
[warning ZIL0306] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:549: discarding the Adjective part of speech for 'BRUSH'
10 warnings
4 errors

C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall>dir *zap
 Volume in drive C is BOOTCAMP
 Volume Serial Number is 903B-72D4

 Directory of C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall

04/17/2019  08:32 PM           247,803 planetfall.zap
04/17/2019  08:32 PM           162,476 planetfall_data.zap
04/17/2019  08:32 PM             1,336 planetfall_freq.zap
04/17/2019  08:32 PM            40,495 planetfall_str.zap
               4 File(s)        452,110 bytes
               0 Dir(s)  238,542,704,640 bytes free

C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall>..\bin\zapf planetfall.zap
ZAPF 0.8
Reading planetfall.zap
Reading planetfall_freq.zap
Reading planetfall_data.zap
Reading planetfall_str.zap
Measuring..
Assembling
Wrote 121952 bytes to planetfall.z3

Sure it said 4 errors, but it compiled! Using a z3 or higher interpreter we can load up Planetfall

Planetfall!

At first glance it may look the same, but check the serial number. 190417. That’s today!

I’ve played it about 1/5th of the way though. There is a walkthru here.

There seems to be so much in flux about this source dump. replicate while you can!

Found more system16 source

It gets a little confusing as they are all version 0.82 the real way to tell them apart is the date

What is cool about these versions is that they do have some audio capabilities, although they are so old that they do rely on sampled sounds for:

  • Alien Syndrome
  • Altered Beast
  • Golden Axe
  • Shadow Dancer
  • Shinobi
  • Wrestle War

But it’s from 1999 and that was the state of emulation.

0.82 is basically where the project had left off, and was of course supplanted by MAME. There was preliminary work on AfterBurner 2, although there is from the looks of it a bad/partial ROM dump to blame for the most part. It’s unplayable but it sort of runs the demo.

0.82 does however emulate a strange version of OutRun. Namely that it lacks shifter support all together. So hold down the accelerator and take off!

Notable things is the inclusion of Neill Corlett’s Starscream for 68000 emulation, Neil Bradley’s Mz80, Jarek Burczynski’s YM2151. Which reflects many components of the era that would find their way into MAME.

Which of course speaks to another thing, that tracking down ROMs for these ancient pre-mame emulators is getting impossible with vague names, and no timestamps.

Btw, there is two excellent pages where you can get all the roms supported
by this emulator, these pages are :
http://www.davesclassics.com by Conjurer
and
http://www.emuviews.com by JoseQ

Which naturally, are lost to the mists of time.

I’ve been able to run it under DOSBox, Qemu and VMWare. For VMWare, be sure to enable Sound Blaster emulation, and set the BLASTER environment variable to:

SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H7 P330 T6

The video mode for the start screen doesn’t render on VMWare or Qemu, so in that case I just start it with the following batch file

system16 %1.gcs -notitle -old2151 -noarcade %2 %3 %4 %5 %6

And away it goes!

I don’t have the FPS stats as it’ll crash when going to the menu to exit, and I didn’t hack up the source that much at the moment (caught another flu…). But Qemu 0.90 feels a LOT more fluid playing outrun than VMWare or DOSBox on my 2006 Mac Pro. Although on my 32 core Xeon monster it plays great on everything. I guess if you have at least 3Ghz and your CPU is less than 8 years old it’ll be fine for running nested emulation along with emulating 2 68000’s a z80, and a ym2151. Or just run a native build of MAME! Or if you really want low lag Outrun, use Cannonball!

And thanks again to Thierry Lescot for letting me redistribute this

Wasting some cycles on FrontVM

Frontier!

A while ago I had chased FrontVM to moretom.net and found 2 links. One from 2003 which is a dead link, and the 2004 version which was archived by the wayback machine!

It was an interesting build, as it still used 68000 emulation from Hatari/UAE this pre-dates the 68000 to C or i386 ASM. However since it ran (mostly) the original code, it was more ‘feature complete’, although loading save games is broken for some reason (I think the decryption was not disassembled correctly). It was actually a stupid file mode setting. I just updated the source & put out a new binary, testing save games between Linux &Windows.

Anyways, it originally built on Cygwin, so I filled in the missing bits, and have it building on both MinGW & Visual C++

Parked outside Willow in the Ross 154 system

So yeah, it’s Frontier, for the AtariST with the OS & Hardware calls abstracted, still running the 68000 code under emulation. I think it’s an interesting thing, but that’s me.

I put it and the other original versions I found over on sourceforge.net

Download Frontvm

Oddly enough it’s already been downloaded, so go figure.

Elder Scrolls 25th Anniversary

For those who are interested in ‘free’ giveaway type things, Bethesda is giving away The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Just use the code
TES25TH-MORROWIND on their store thing here.

You have until the 31st!

Since I already have an account from the Fallout 76 debacle, no biggie for me.

Also for the MS-DOS fans out there, you can get Arena & Daggerfall with no registration required!

Enjoy!

Hypnospace Outlaw

Hypnos desktop

It’s an interesting twist on the typical point & click adventure game. How so? Well simply put it’s all based on web technology! With a big emphasis on that late 90’s vibe! Complete with ‘desktop pets’ animated GIFs, blinking text, and embedded MIDI (and even more sophisticated music).

While it’s obviously not real, the entire ‘web’ is stored locally (even in it’s own lore), it’s still fun to dig around in.

You play as an “Enforcer” basically it’s like back to the AOL days of walled gardens being patrolled by unpaid volunteers. Look for banned content and flag it appropriately. As the game progresses things go off the rails, near riots, helicopter crashes, amputations, culminating in a Y2K crash that kills people.

I totally missed out on this being a crowdfunded thing, and found out from Steam recommendations of all things.

Even for the aesthetic alone, I think it’s worth it. Some of the game play is too much wrapped up into it’s own lore, so paying attention is kind of important.

SharpShooter3D

When the best friend becomes an enemy, and the main villain becomes you yourself and blood flows like a river, someone will definitely have to answer the main question – Who is behind the awakening of ancient evil and is there still a chance for humanity?

PUBLISHER:Dagestan Technology
DEVELOPER:HeadHuntersGames

I saw this ‘gem’ pop up on steam for $3.50 HKD (so $0.50 USD?) and thought what the hell let’s try it out. SharpShooter3D is well, a DooM mod of sorts, but it also feels a lot like Duke3D with the inclusion of vehicles and ‘moving room/vehicles’ like train cars. At it’s heart is GZDoom 3.3.2 which states in the license:

Parts of the voxel code in the software renderer use code from the
BUILD engine by Ken Silverman and are used under the terms of the
GPL v3 with permission.

Well isn’t that cool! The best of Duke3D and Doom! All in one.

It captures the imagined feel of the eastern block, old factories, nuclear power plants, lots of guys in trainers & Adidas all over the place, along with copious alcohol and milk (yes milk is the health thing here!).

Not to mention the punk sound track is pretty good for such a seemingly ‘low end offer’. Had this come out 20 years ago, it really would have set the world on fire, and probably set off quite the few controversy, but today it’s a discount mod that no doubt the devs did put a bit of work into.

I have no idea if the game is 90% off for the rest of the world, but I’d say it’s worth a look at the price.

New Year! New Machine!

24 cores!

New format for stuff too!

I picked up an ‘interesting Chinese motherboard, a dual LGA2011 board, some DD3 ECC memory, and 2 of the cheapest ‘widest’ chips I could find, the 6 core E5-2620 v2. The board cost me $200 US, the memory was $90 and the CPU’s were $40. Although the board is E-ATX, and that means I’ll need to get a new case as it won’t fit anything I have lying around.

I think I finally got the hang of Vegas. It’s taken far too long to get here, but I was hoping to have received the board much quicker as it shipped from 30km from here, but they did their best to NOT ship to Hong Kong.

I know it’s far too long, and far too maranding. Oh well it’s late and I’m just babbling like crazy.

Test video of Fallout 76 on a 2006 MacPro

So, I thought my mic was working but yeah it’s not. I’ve shot a bunch a footage, and did some capture stuff too. Turns out the audio I though I had working isn’t. I should have started with a 10 second short to get things ironed out.

I’m using old crap I’ve had lying around in this case, software wise, I’m using liteCam Game: 100 FPS Game Capture, which I guess is ‘okay’ for video capture. It runs on my 2006 MacPro so that’s great, but the video compressor it likes to use, the RSUPPORT MPEG4 Codec isn’t understood by the video editor I’m using, VEGAS Pro 15 Edit Steam Edition.

So FFMPEG to the rescue!

ffmpeg.exe -i 20190107-122714.avi -t 00:05:00.0 test2MP4_.mp4

This gets me a 5 minute clip trans-coded from one MPEG-4 to another, but at least Vegas can read it now.

I used the great program myTube to clip audio from another video, and convert only the audio stream into something Vegas could deal with:

ffmpeg.exe -i DASH-Yakety Sax- Music.dasha” -vn -c:a copy Yakety Sax-Music.mp4

Editing was a fun time flailing around figuring out how to cut tracks, fade in/out add in other layers, and that’s when I noticed that my MIC wasn’t capturing anything. And I didn’t want to try to literally phone it in, so it’s a test video.

24 minutes to render a 5 minute video!

I was kind of crazy, and used the 2006 MacPro to make the video file. I should have known with the ‘blazing’ speed of 0.407x doing the trans-coding that this was going to be SLOW. Obviously dual Xeon 5130‘s @2Ghz isn’t really ideal for video editing today.

Clearly I need a bigger boat.

But just like running Fallout 76 on a 13 year old computer, it still runs. SLOWLY.

I wanted to some crappy branding/art things, but as I made a new channel I’m too much of a n00b apparently to set custom thumbnails. So I need to fluff it out or something I guess.

So here we go!

Consider it more of a process test, I need to get some lighting, and figure out what is up with my audio, maybe hit SSP and get an old audio board or something. Let me know how terrible it looks/sounds… I’m still working on transitions and stuff. I got Vegas on sale for a tiny fraction of the price, I guess it’s high time to use it.

Quake 2 for MS-DOS full playthrough

Playthrough by TheSlipGateUser

I was just alerted to this playthrough of Quake 2 for MS-DOS by TheSlipGateUser which showcases the game play under DOSBox.

Honestly I’m terrible at Quake, QuakeWorld and Quake 2, but it’s great to see someone who knows that they are doing, and more so that under emulation the game is holding up.

I know the MS-DOS port isn’t exactly the most popular in the world, although I suspect if it had been a thing in 1997 there would have been an audience with people that didn’t want to have Windows in the background as a distraction.

That said, any new people will of course want to check out the excellent (if I do say so myself!) series “Porting Quake II to MS-DOS“.

Fallout 76 on trajectory to be free to play by Christmas?

$34.99 on Amazon

Well I’ve been able to put a few hours into the game, and I can already say that finding people is super scarce, and when you do basically they are too busy doing quests and stuff at such a higher level they basically avoid someone like me at level 5.  With no NPC’s or real ‘vibe’ to the world other than isolation and loneliness people then tend to be, well isolated.

I never really played WoW that much, I found it was drowning in too many people that you couldn’t get 5 minutes alone without people bugging you.  And oddly enough the absolute isolation is unreal.

Looking that we are going to start the second week of retail release now, and the game is discounted from $60 to $35 at the moment doesn’t bode well at all.  The reviews came in over the weekend, and it was universally panned as an ‘avoid’ which means death for something that relies on the multiplayer part.

Really?

And then people are pointing out that not only does 76 re-use all the assets from Fallout 4 (which really doesn’t bug me that much) but that Fallout really is a twist on Oblivion

I found this tidbit on ‘It’s a Gundam

Although I did try to do this with NV onto Oblivion and really had no luck, but re-purposing engines to do different things isn’t all that un heard of.  There is that DooM mod where you can mow the lawn, or even add in the QuakeWorld multiplayer after all.

One thing is for sure, Fallout 76 is in major trouble.  I’ve read all too many times that after 40-60 hours that there is basically nothing left to do, and people that are enjoying it are leaving as they are ‘done’ which again does not bode well for an online game.

If Bethesda isn’t in crisis mode trying to make ’76 more WoW like, then they will have burnt through a lot of community good will, as they slide into Oblivion.  While so many people are decrying the engine, I think the real faults lie in the lack of engagement, which then lets people stare at the assets and then the whole dated look of Fallout 4 really becomes apparent.

Looking back, Fallout 3 was a break out game, and I thought it was an excellent transformation of the isometric world to an engaging 3d game.  The story was… well, not the best, I accidentally stumbled onto ‘dad’ pretty quickly and ended it far too early which initially made it feel cheap and boring, not until I saw the strategy guide, and was amazed that there was so much in there, so I set about exploring and finding more enjoyment in the environment, lore and interactions.

New Vegas had so much in common, both development team wise, and atmosphere from the original Fallout it was an incredible follow up to Fallout 3, however too many people were too critical of the tech & timeline that they had been given and focused on defects that were frankly out of Obsidian’s hands.  It’s a shame that the best one had the worst reviews, and destroyed the people making it.

Fallout 4 returned to the 3 story, expect it was the parent seeking their child, and the twist that their child was now elderly really wasn’t all that surprising at all.  Cutting down NPC interaction was a major problem, as it felt so much on rails.  There was nothing to really do to step outside of yes/no trees with groups, you couldn’t ‘sort of side’ with someone, or disagree.. And then there was the minutemen and their constant nagging that was the worst.  Even cheating and putting 100 turrets into a settlement did nothing to save it, I saw the super mutants fall from the sky in the middle and proceed to attack.  What good is perimeter defenses when your opponents are apparently airborne?

I was so bored by Fallout 4, I can’t even remember if I finished the story.  It really wasn’t all that engaging.

And now we enter ’76 which again I knew was going to be strange with no NPC’s which meant no connection with the world at all.  But as I’d mentioned that the number of people playing this online is going to sharply crash that if you wanted to experience this aspect you better be quick.  And after more game play, I can safely say it doesn’t matter.

It’s now $35, and this won’t save it.  I expect more $5 discounts per week, if not steeper, then before the holidays some kind of rebalance to encourage micro transactions, and ’76 becoming a Freemium game, with it eventually being shuttered some time mid ’19 unless something amazing happens content wise between here & there.

They never should have launched @ $60 that’s for sure, and looking at the assets this really ought to have been a DLC / addon for Fallout 4 for perhaps $10-20 and I doubt itd have had anywhere near the massive backlash.

The real shame is that once the servers go dark that this will be the end.  I don’t think Bethesda ‘gets’ that the ability to self host is why Minecraft/Quake etc were so incredibly popular in their heyday.  And more importantly why that they will be continued to be played for years (decades) to come.