Before all the Summer stuff ended I had intended on picking up Syndicate on GOG. I don’t know why I hadn’t just bought it earlier last month but here we are. I was thinking back then there was no rush, after all the game is crazy old. But then I looked this morning, and poof it’s gone.
The killer is that on archive.org you can see it was even on sale 8th of August. So who knew this was the last chance?
I guess this means EA is doing a new Syndicate? Or they are going to start making their own retro store? Or perhaps it’s some kind of legacy divesture? I’m on the outside, but looking in something interesting happend to a much older EA published game, M.U.L.E.
Back when M.U.L.E. was published it came in this fancy almost ‘single’ vinyl sized folio. Very stylized and that 50’s into the 80’s vibe that was popular at the time.
So I’d been sleeping under a rock and missed the whole Epyx last last year had put a bunch of games onto steam! I’d just been talking to someone about Impossible Mission as I had no idea what was going on in the first one, but as a kid I’d actually beat Impossible Mission II! Oddly enough the Summer Games & Jump Man Jr are absent, perhaps some long standing deal elsewhere. But at prices between $12 & $28 ($1.55 & $3.61 USD) I was hyped and bought a bunch.
I was curious which system would they be for? Commodore 64? Atari 400/800? Commodore Amiga or ST?
Turns out there was an IBM PC version. I never knew, but back in ’88 I was still using my Commodore 64, and everyone else I knew had either an Amiga or Atari ST. School had those QNX machines but that was just a big missed opportunity from everyone an everything.
The steam/PC version. .. is certainly not right out of the box. As you can see from the box it supports CGA/EGA/Tandy/VGA-MCGA. And it’s configured for EGA by default. Strange, as the MCGA/VGA is the best of all platforms with it’s 256 colours. However here is where it falls flat very quickly is that back in ’88 they didn’t code for that big thing last year, the 1987 AdLib. Ooff! Even worse no IBM PCjr audio (same as the Tandy) either.
So yes it’s glorious PC SPEAKER. Yuck.
What went wrong?
The Cinemaware Anthology: 1986-1991 managed somehow to get an Amiga emulator that boots up from ROM disks and is so transparent it’s easy to forget there is any emulation.
So inside of the executable there is 20MB of data. let’s rip further:
28/10/2014 09:29 am floppy 24/10/2014 11:21 am img 22/10/2014 12:37 am maps 28/10/2014 09:30 am os 28/10/2014 09:30 am rlst 28/10/2014 09:29 am romdisk
floppies, rom lists, rom disks and an OS?
28/10/2014 09:30 am . 28/10/2014 09:30 am .. 03/07/2013 12:02 am 262,144 Kick12.rom 27/10/2014 09:45 am 1,794 rdd.rom 2 File(s) 263,938 bytes
Really? Did they get some kind of sweetheart deal?
I copied of UAE, and fired it up, and yep it’s v1.2
Pretty cool. And sad too as Pixel Games UK obviously couldn’t secure such a cool deal, and all we have is the sadly inferior PC versions. And that is the crux of it, on the one hand I want to support them, but the PC versions frankly are unplayable. Jump Man barely can pick up 2 keys at the same time so it’s almost impossible to run and jump. Maybe it’s a DOSBox thing, maybe its an ancient DOSBox, I don’t know. On the other hand the only one that really doesn’t suffer keyboard issues, is from it’s design and that’s Rogue.
so I’m really mixed on this. And 33 years ago someone should have told them at Epyx to get one of those ‘peanut’ machines and get the PCjr sound effects going or at the least get one of those new fangled AdLibs that Sierra Online kept harping about.
Infocom (1979-1989) is recognized as the all-time leader in Interactive Fiction, releasing top-selling games and products that dominated the sales charts and still extend considerable influence and memory on the gaming industry. At times they were half of the top ten games being sold and were considered a flagship of the game industry. And then they were gone.
As part of the 2010 documentary GET LAMP, director Jason Scott talked to creators, management, fans and academics about the Infocom story, and produced this 45 minute overview of this unique and wonderful company.
The other day I’d been alerted to this fantastic port of the BASIC game to Fortran 77 by Kidon, bringing it to mainframe and midrange machines of the 1970s!
You can read more information at it’s home page here, along with getting the source code and building it out.
Naturally I had to build it using f2c, and QuickC for Windows. Just some minor tweeks and it runs!
Although victory could have gone a bit better. I know it’s largely my fault trying to introduce a clean way to pause before exiting. Obviously there is tonnes of Fortran compilers out there, for many old platforms, so perhaps this will make the Oregon Trail the ‘DooM’ of machines with F77?! Give it a try, there is extensive build instructions, and a quick list of known good platforms, be sure to update with newer (older) stuff that is found to fun!
This was a bit more work than I had anticipated. However flygoat had done much of the legwork for me. The first thing to get is flygoat’s mc-loongson.zip. I made a local download as I suspect many will not have QQ or WeChat (Or don’t want to admit to the government that you are downloading this…).
I’m not sure if it’s a MIPS thing or a UOS thing, but it had Java 11.0.4 in by default, which is CRAZY slow
$ /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.11.0-openjdk-mips64el/bin/java -version
openjdk version "11.0.4" 2019-07-16
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 11.0.4+11-post-Debian-1deb10u1)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Zero VM (build 11.0.4+11-post-Debian-1deb10u1, interpreted mode)
I installed version 8, but they are ‘in parallel’ in different directories… I guess it’s the .net hell drift all over again. Although to be fair I’ve only dealt with vendor installed java on Linux where it’s all fixed to single versions.
One annoying thing is that it cannot find JavaFX over and over despite it being installed, so I had to manually add the ‘module-path’. This is the syntax for version 11, I’m not all that sure on the version 8 syntax.
$ /usr/lib/jvm/java-8-openjdk-mips64el/bin/java -version
openjdk version "1.8.0"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (Loongson 8.1.3-mips64r2-uos) (build 1.8.0-220.127.116.11-2deepin-b00)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.71-b00, mixed mode)
I changed the /etc/alternatives/java to point to version 8, which although causes the launcher to crash launching the actual exe, it’s trivial enough to change it to version 8. Although the command is… unwieldy but save it to a shell script.
I’m sure it won’t paste well, but here we go.. and it’s in my homedir sooo here we go!
Naturally you’ll need your own username, token, uuid..
One thing is for sure, setting the graphics to higher details gives better performance. I suspect that it’s a matter of pushing more of the rendering to hardware, out of software mode.
I have it set to Fabulous! graphics, render distance of 25 chunks, no vysnc, clouds fast, mipmap level 2.
While it does take a while to load up, join the server, and do the initial world loading, you can watch all 4 cores run at 100%, but once it’s loaded in, it’s down to a single core at 100%, and the other 3 are hovering around 10-25%. So once jit’d and loaded in it seems to run okay.
They are jackhammering downstairs and I could make this 1 minute clip in a brief moment of peace. This is before I figured out that the more acceleration you give Minecraft, the faster it runs with the GPU doing the heavy lifting (I think).
Is this the machine for the Minecraft enthusiast? Hardly, but Minecraft is the Java success story, where a platform like this, a fringe non mainstream platform will run a commercial app. This is where the real portability of binutils/gcc/libc and Linux prove to be the winning platform.
In the world of “If you can’t encourage an exclusive, buy it” here we are at this crossroad again. With the new MS console getting ready to be pushed out into the world, there is no doubt that we are not only in for a new deluge of Skyrim ports, but the much anticipated Starfield should be appearing on nextgen consoles, the best way to keep it exclusive is to just buy the beleaguered studio, and push onwards.
No doubt the fallout from … Fallout 76 has burnt a lot of people, so this may just further isolate their diminishing fan base, only time will tell. Or normies just don’t care about FO76 as it was some MMMMOOOORPG thing that normal people don’t care about, and all they want to do is kill dragons, and shoot lazzer beams from their hands.
One thing that is kind of fitting is that the culture of ‘release it and patch it in the field’ is in safe hands at Microsoft!
So yeah if you linked your bethesda.net account to your steam account it’ll transfer it over. I guess to their credit it links your saves and all that.
I loaded it, against my better judgement. And 55GB later they have finally updated it to have NPC’s! But it’s still online, and despite having a commercial internet connection with synchronous up/down it’s still super laggy, and suffers from the damage from after the fact artifacts on launch.
Seriously my internet connection isn’t that crap. No doubt I’m playing on servers on the other side of the planet, but of course you still cannot select what server to join.
Even with an i7 9th gen and a RTX-2070 the game still chops and texture pops.
I guess I missed all the excitement of the new DooM whatever, but Bethesda decided to dig up that N64 ‘DooM 3’ aka DooM 64. It’s a unique game unlike all the other console ports that were straight ports of the original DooM, although some like the 32x (Mars) or Jaguar versions that had a bunch of details removed from the levels to either spare the limited processors, and/or save precious cartridge space.
At $39 HKD, it’s $4 USD, so it’s a bit ‘pricy’ for something that is a 23 year old game, but at least I guess it’s out in the wild in a legal format. No idea if it made it to Bethesda.net as that whole thing collapsed quicker than Fallout 76 became a meme riddled disappointment.
Anyways I know I’m late to the party, but it’s all new to me.
On one of my later trips I picked up this fun title, Lemmings!
And looking at the back of the box, what fun it contains!
One interesting thing about 1995, is that with the rise of Windows 95, this marked the end of the specialized PC market in Japan. Just as WING/Direct X basically killed off the DIY driver/extender environment on MS-DOS, by being able to abstract the hardware it removed any meaningful difference between an EPSON PC vs a PC-98, FM Towns, or even the lowly IBM AT/386.
This being a Win32 includes both WING & Win32s. A perfect snapshot of an early Win32 commercial game circa 1995, as you needed to cater to that massive Windows 3.1 install base, although so many were rushing to Windows 95. Naturally this also means that the setup program is a Win16 app, once more again to preserve that bridge of the Windows 3.1 & Windows 95 world.
Well the obvious thing to do is just install it on a legacy 32bit OS, and what better than Windows XP?
Now to run it on something like Windows 10, it’s just a matter of copying the WINLEMM.INI into %sysroot%, along with placing a copy of WING32.DLL into the %sysroot%\SysWOW64 directory and you are good to go!
Sadly the character encoding in Windows is still really lacking and doesn’t render all that great. However that had me thinking as almost a decade ago I did find a demo of Lemmings for Windows. Could it be possible to just overlay the executables & DLL’s to produce an English commercial version?
Surprisingly the answer is yes. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s as simple as that!
The game is mostly playable, some parts are just coded to run as fast as possible, as no doubt nobody was imagining 1+ Ghz machines. So the intro, warp & suicide are almost instant.
It’s something to keep the kids entertained for a day in recent events. It’s been a LONG CNY.