Games! Games! Games!


Come on Sal, never miss a game!

Yeah! Over the MS-DOS collection over at archive.org is well over 2,500! Isn’t that great?!?

Well let’s take a peek at a few favorites…

Sadly DataEast’s greatest hit RoboCop doesn’t work correctly on the site, however if you were to do something evil like open up the inspector, and manually download the asset yourself it’ll load fine in actual DosBox. It’s a great side scroller, even 30 years later. Yes, 1989 was a long long time ago.

Buck Rogers – Matrix Cubed was a great fun SSI Action/RPG of the day, more of a maze crawler unlike Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday being more older style top down. And speaking of, for any SSI/Buck Rogers fans out there I hope you have checked out I am not a Monster: Complete Edition, which rides the fun line of homage & parody.

And speaking of SSI, Curse of the Azure Bonds and it’s ilk are available as well! I’m not sure how a board game company with a vast library (and IP rights licensed) could possibly fail so hard. Maybe the games were too difficult? Maybe they were too involved? I guess I’m guilty of it too, as I’m the uncleansed masses that preferred Fallout 3 to 1&2. Just as Diablo took off as it removed the clock, and turned it into action.

Project-X was a favorite shoot-em-up on the Amiga, although it being PAL was surprisingly significantly harder to play on my NTSC Amiga, with not being able to see all the screen, running faster, and the insane blinking of some timing with the sprites. I didn’t know there was a PC version, but yeah it looks pretty much like the Amiga version. And it was one of the larger issues that a 386 PC with VGA & a SoundBlaster really not only was as good as an Amiga, but was just plain better as PC hardware kept on improving while Commodore trapped in their downward spiral just didn’t innovate.

Rise of the Triad – The Hunt Begins, this was a soso shooter, but where it really shone was it’s multiplayer maps and combat. It was a awesome time waster on the LAN. I never tried it dialup, or even in modern times, but many fond memories of this game. And it didn’t need insane requirements, unlike say Quake. And it was surprisingly more fast paced than DooM. I wonder sometimes if they had released the source code to ROTT (2002) much sooner than ID released DooM (1997), or around the same time if it’d have achieved more retro popularity? Or was it more of as LAN game, and my experience with it kind of lacking in single player the prevalent feeling?

MechWarrior was at first this incredible 3D game where you could pilot a battle mech in the 31st century! How awesome! It changed the world from the table top rules of BattleTech – The Crescent Hawk’s Inception into something action based. Amazingly the genre for some reason never seems to get the massive appeal I always felt it should have. Although Mark Kern is trying to do something with Mechs & Kaiju over at Em-8er.

3D games like NASCAR Racing arriving in 1994 were really pushing the boundaries of what you could realistically do in MS-DOS with 3D. And of course Quake basically drew the boundary of MS-DOS into Windows with the primary reason being better and uniform 3D drivers. You need a STRONG MS-DOS machine for this, so for me at least DosBox in javascript on a 2006 Mac Pro just wasn’t really up to the task.

Turbo Out Run, a SEGA classic game. The graphics are … well caught in a world between 1987 and 1990. I guess they either didn’t want to push the PC too hard, or accidentally release a superior game on a non SEGA platform? It could have looked better. It should have sounded better. It’s ‘fine’ but I kind of call shenanigans. Golden Axe is way better.

So this is by no means an exhaustive list, I left out a LOT, as 2,500 is way too much to give any reasonable review without it turning into a book, but I scanned the first hundred or so and picked out what caught my eye.

Happy Friday Gamers!

I figure I may as well embrace the whole ‘games site‘ thing, so what the hell.

Since I do love some good SEGA I thought I’d pass along the information that the Dreamcast collection on Steam is 85% off! What a bargain!

I’d say my favorites here is Crazy Taxi & Jet Set Radio. While Nights was fun when the Saturn was fresh and new, it’s so annoyingly on rails, and without the special controller it’s just klunky. Sonic DX.. yuck. It suffers from all the 3d control issues that plauged the first gen 3d, although the worst ones are the PlayStation megaman, and that horrid ‘tank’ control of Resident Evil.

I’m thinking of doing something with the worst rated games on steam. So many people chasing the best, why not dive into the worst. Although I’m not AVGN but why not?

What is so bad about games anyways?

Seriously some people need to take life a little less seriously.

I ran into one of those weird things I’ve done before and needed the fix, and got this nice error from a customer site, ironically while they were talking about the latest South Park. Kind of funny TBH

Naturally my file archive is wide open. Go figure.

Yay pitiful censorship! And I’m not even talking about the Disney, Apple, Vans, NBA & Blizzard/Activision.

AVGN reviews Chex Quest

Okay that was funny. I never thought of even trying Brutal DooM + Chex Quest. Sounds awesome.

Although I’d played a little with Chex Quest before, I never tried it on the DooM source. Oddly enough it’s Ultimate DooM. In d_main.c you can do some simple test for chex.wad and pass it off as the ‘retail’ version.

	if ( !access (chex,R_OK) )
	{
		gamemode = retail;
		D_AddFile (chex);
		return;
	}

Or you can simply just rename chex.wad to doom.wad or doomu.wad. Many of the strings for DooM are compiled into the EXE, not taken from the WAD file (although it could have been, I guess it was to prevent people from making overtly cheeky mods?).

So firing up the wad under my crappy DooM port thing to MS-DOS (for the sane people just use some other Win64/OSX/Linux thing like zdoom), and when selecting an episode you’ll see the Ultimate DooM levels.

Chex Quest, Thy Flesh Consumed!

Wait? What? I though Chex Quest was a ‘total conversion’ WAD. Well it turns out that it is, and it isn’t. They replaced a lot of the default stuff from a retail version of Ultimate DooM. And what they didn’t replace, well it’s still there. And yes that does mean everything outside of the first 5 levels are the original DooM levels. And that includes the music as well!

E2M2 from Chex Quest

Well isn’t that surprising! And yes that means that it’s possible to just replace the first 5 levels with the default DooM levels and have that reverse conversion. In the same way the menu screens are very Chexy too:

It certainly gives that kid like feeling to it. Although the replacement Barrons of Hell are a little too big so they do look kind of silly.

E1M8

So as always I’m late to the party. I’m sure someone out there didn’t have the retail version of DooM and instead used Chex Quest for those LAN games. Although it does detect that the WAD has been modified so I don’t think it would just be all that fine.

Not that finding the original WAD files, or source to the maps, and just compiling them yourself is all that difficult, but I guess it is something else to load up.

Ion Fury released!

So I’ve been busy with the day job stuff, and although I had ordered this I haven’t had time to play Ion Fury until today.

And yes, I’m sure you’ve seen video of it all over, and it’s so out of place, as it squarely belongs in 1997. And it’s great. The musical oddity is using samples much like a MOD, instead of the full synth or CD sounds. But it’s all the more era appropriate that I’m sure with a 90MB data file it would have been on CD-ROM, although I guess in the day it’d have audio tracks that would be quickly lost in the mists of time like the Quake 1/2 soundtrack.

I’m absolute crap, but it was fun enough to play. Although I did get ‘lost’ in the fan service, I didn’t realize I could make those jumps between the giant fans in the ventilation area.

So yes, this being a 3-D Realms experience means it’s not on rails. And the maps feel absolutely massive, and just look so great.

$109 HKD or $13.89 USD!

And it’s pretty cheap too! Although I think that is the local pricing for Hong Kong. For just under $110 it’s a steal.

From the sales blurb:

· While Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison earned her codename defusing bombs for the Global Defense Force, when evil transhumanist mastermind Dr. Jadus Heskel unleashes the members of his cybernetic cult onto the streets of Neo DC, she knows it’s time to start causing explosions instead of preventing them.
· Her quest to slay Heskel leaves a trail of carnage throughout huge, multi-path levels filled with gigantic explosions, more secret areas than we can count, and inhuman foes behind every corner. There’s no regenerating health here; stop taking cover and start running and gunning.
· Shelly’s crusade to take down Heskel’s army will see her leave destruction in her wake with a wide arsenal of weapons, complete with alternate fire modes and different ammo types. Her signature revolver, the tri-barreled Loverboy, brings enemies pain and players pleasure with both single shots and Old West-style hammer fanning action. Who needs a regular shotgun when you can load buckshot into your grenade launcher? Violent, over-the-top Bowling Bombs rip enemies apart with ease.
· Ion Fury laughs at the idea of mandatory checkpoints and straight paths through shooting galleries. But, just because this is a true old-school first-person shooter doesn’t mean we’ve ignored all the good new stuff the last two decades have brought. Headshots? Hell yeah. More physics and interactivity? You betcha. Widescreen, controller support, and Auto Saves? 3D Realms and Voidpoint have taken the best of both worlds and cooked it all into a bloody stew.
· The true successor to classic shooters such as Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, and Blood. Experience the original BUILD engine on steroids, pumped up and ready to rock again after 20 years! Duck, jump, climb, swim, and blast your way through 7 exciting zones packed with multiple levels of mayhem!
A beautiful game world assembled from thousands of hand-crafted textures and sprites An awe-inspiring arsenal of devastating weapons, including multiple ammo types and alternate fire modes. Tri-barreled revolvers, grenade launchers, and heat-seeking smart bombs are your best friends!
The classic ’90s FPS action you love, meshed with modern inventions like locational damage and seamless level transitions ZERO PROCEDURAL GENERATION. All levels are hand made and full of multiple paths, cool effects, and complex set pieces!
Thumping soundtrack comprised of true tracked module music, in authentic FastTracker 2 format Easy access on to level editor and other development tools on day one, plus Steam Workshop support

For any Duke/Blood/Nam/TechWar fans really how could you pass Ion Fury by?

Bethesda DooM for the PC

$1.70 USD!

With all the excitement regarding the DRM, disapearing Xbox versions and the terrible music in the Unity port, I thought I’d check out the PC version that is thankfully on sale on Bethesda.net. I really have lost track the number of times I’ve bought this game, but here we go again. The last time I went through this was back in 2014, with the aptly titled: “Just how ‘original’ is the Ultimate Doom on steam?” story.

And much to my surprise they use the same version of DOSBox, 0.71, and have the same AdLib pre-config, along with the missing SETUP.EXE to allow you to change it.

HOWEVER, there is one big difference, the WAD file.

The steam version includes this wad file:

c4fe9fd920207691a9f493668e0a2083 doom.wad

Where the Bethesda.net uses this wad file:

e4f120eab6fb410a5b6e11c947832357 doom.wad

And looking on the DooM Wiki, that means that the wad file is from the PlayStation Network version.

Now with extra hell!

And it’s true they really did change the cross to a pill for the medical kit, per the red crosses request:

iD DooM on the left, Bethesda DooM on the right.

There is a few changes here and there but overall it looks pretty standard to me. Am I missing anything else?

Running SWGEmu Core3

You probably don’t want to do this. Unless you enjoy giant empty islands. Maybe you just want to play it on an inaccessible network. Maybe your social anxiety is so bad that you like the idea of playing a MMO alone. It’s probably not a good idea to do this, in that at the end you’ll get bored quickly, but here we go!

Using Ubuntu 16.04 the steps on github.com/TheAnswer/Core3 got me running quick enough. It is rather intense to built, and for the most part it’s pretty easy, although running documentation seems to be … elsewhere. I’m sure it is somewhere, but I have no idea where.

The big thing to do is update the galaxy binding in the mysql database to reflect either the LAN address for local play, or the WAN address if you are natting/hosting on the internet.

mysql -uswgemu -p123456 swgemu -e “update galaxy set address=’192.168.13.128′ where galaxy_id=2;”

And for the heck of it, I thought I’d build swgemu for both 16 (swgemu-binary-Ubuntu_16.04.6_LTS_x86_64.tar.gz) & 18 (swgemu-binary-Ubuntu_18.04.2_LTS_x86_64.tar.gz). Keeping in mind for 18, that mysql was dumped for mariadb, so you need different packages. For a fresh 16 server, it’d go something like this:

apt-get install openssh-server mkdir /tre chown swgemu:swgemu /tre (from a client machine) pscp *tre [email protected]:/tre apt-get install mysql-server screen libatomic1 libmysqlclient20 liblua5.3-0 tar -zxf swgemu-binary-Ubuntu_16.04.6_LTS_x86_64.tar.gz cd swgemu ./sqlstuff.sh mysql -uswgemu -p123456 swgemu -e "update galaxy set address='192.168.13.128' where galaxy_id=2;"

For version Ubuntu 18, you want the package mariadb-server & libmariadbclient18 instead of the mysql versions.

Make sure to set the TrePath!!!
vi conf/config.lua

Run the server, either under screen (./run.sh) or directly ./core3 if everything is going well, the [Core] will come up initialized..

(27 s) [AuctionManager] bazaar Checked 0 auction item(s) and updated 0 item(s)
(27 s) [AuctionManager] Bazaar terminal checks completed in 0ms
(27 s) [AuctionManager] Checking 0 vendor terminals
(27 s) [AuctionManager] vendor Checked 0 auction item(s) and updated 0 item(s)
(27 s) [AuctionManager] Vendor terminal checks completed in 0ms
(27 s) [AuctionManager] loaded auctionsMap of size: 0
(27 s) [FrsManager] ERROR - Unable to initialize frs manager, yavin4 disabled.
(27 s) [StatusServer] initialized
(27 s) [Core] initialized

After that, you can add the new server as a login server from the swgemu launcher, and start it up. By default it will allow anyone to create a user with any password.

self hosted swgemu!

And here we are, all alone.

Just picked up a sealed copy of Captain Blood!

31 years old!

It’s from Italy, and apparently was originally boxed for the Amiga, and then re-purposed for the Commodore 64. Compared to American ‘big box’ releases of the era, it’s a tiny box. A few of my SIM games are behind, it along with some DVD cases I picked up in China.

29,900 Lira?

I guess the price makes sense if the final exchange rate of the Lira was
1,276:1 USD
back in the winter of 1988, making this copy $23 USD. Although I’m pretty sure when I bought mine I had to pay some $40 CAD. Yay.

I don’t think Captain blood really made it to tape, so it’s really not all that surprising then that this disk version has sat in it’s box for so long. Every time I’d seen anything Commodore in Italy or even the EU it was always tape. Such a shame too, as that means no Infocom.

Normally I wouldn’t even bother with something like this, as I have images for every release there was, but this is a sealed copy. Apparently there is a poster inside of many of the European releases. Although I’m unsure if this one does. It’s been sealed for some 31 years so far. Although it’d make a great poster to frame.

I’ve been trying to clean up the Mega ST I have, but it appears to be dead. Nothing seems to be on the video out, and it’s not lighting up or spinning the disk. I guess this means I’ll need some kind of logic probe. Well after I find my volt meter to see if I’m getting the correct voltage. The Atari doesn’t seem so complicated so I guess an ATX power supply can be rigged to output the 5/12v.

After tracking down the library source, I’ve focused my GCC stuff on version 1.30 as it’s the same base version that was used in the x68000 port, and didn’t suffer from any struct packing that I remember. And of course the never ending stress of day jobs.

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 Date: Sat Apr 13 21:35:51 2019 -0400 Final Revision commit 281bd3417faada8011397244d4bfaad562cb7bfc Author: historicalsource 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 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] : 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] : 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!