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Messages - lance.ewing

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1
My current active projects:

  • An AGI interpreter written in C#: It's also about learning C# because I didn't know it before starting out. I'm spending a lot of my spare time on this at the moment.
  • When I finish the C# AGI interpreter, the plan is to help out with the Visual AGI IDE. I haven't yet contributed to this, but the C# AGI interpreter does make use of it's AGI Library, to which I have made some additions in my fork, such as LOGIC resource decoding.

AGI/SCI projects currently on hold:

  • Continuing the work on Dr Zoltan's Java AGI interpreter/viewers. I moved a copy of this to my github account and started adding some AGI v1 support to the LOGIC, PICTURE and VIEW viewers.
  • Investigating the content of original AGI and SCI game disk slack space. Originally the idea was to see if there was any original SCI source code but that goal kind of went away when Omer released the original SCI documentation and many examples of the original SCI syntax.
  • Version of PICEDIT written in Java. This is already usable and available but I had many plans for taking it further.
  • The Ruby Cast

AGI project ideas simmering away in my thoughts:

  • Writing AGI interpreters in other computer languages. This would be mainly for learning those languages but would be good for keeping my AGI knowledge fresh.
  • Building an AGI IDE in Javascript that uses an interface similar to Scratch with Visual Programming. Desktop apps written in Javascript are getting quite common these days, so the idea would support running standalone or on a website.
  • An AGI-like interpreter for the VIC 20. If that proves difficult (due to its resources), I might switch the idea to the C64.

Projects unrelated to AGI or SCI:

  • A VIC 20 emulator written in Java to run on desktop and Android. This currently doesn't have sound but the rest works quite well. I sometimes play old VIC 20 games on my phone using this.
  • Building a VIC chip (MOS 6561) test board on a large breadboard. This is to experiment with some of the lower level behaviour of the video chip used in the VIC 20. I've got five of these video chips. Had an idea about mixing the video output of three of these together to see what would happen.
  • Reversing the schematic of the VIC 20's video chip from photos of the silicon.
  • Building a 4-bit home brew computer. I have all the components; just haven't put it all together yet.
  • Participating in the annual Javascript 13K game contest (js13kames). I've entered it twice. This year I'm thinking about submitting a graphic adventure game. Will be a challenge.

2
I've now checked the MT DB backup and can confirm that all three of those threads are in that backup.

We have confirmation of the "consumption" in the following osdev.org thread from last year:

http://forum.osdev.org/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=30895

First reply says this:

Quote
Briefly: one of the two (or three?) fora that were eventually merged into OS-Dev was a forum on a message board called Mega-Tokyo, originally hosted on Geocities IIRC. It was primarily a site for supporting an FOSS reimplementation of the AGI and SGI game interpreters originally used by Sierra Online in the mid-1980s. I am not sure how it came to host an OS forum, but I assume that one of the mods had an interest in the subject.

Reading on it would seem that it was a merger of the osdev forums on MT and the osdev.org forums:

http://wiki.osdev.org/History#Timeline_of_the_OSDev_Community

Quote
Oct 18 2006: The two largest os development forums, Mega-Tokyo.com and OSDev.org, are merged in to one single forum creating the single largest community of operating system developers working on different OSes. The original OS development newsgroups are eclipsed by several orders of magnitude in traffic.

3
I'd have to check to be certain but I suspect some of the non-AGI/SCI specific forums were consumed as you suggest may have happened. I have a db backup of the whole of the MT forums, so could search for those posts later on; unless someone else beats me to it.

4
AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: April 17, 2017, 03:55:28 PM »
I did go through periods of nostalgia, where I would search around, but could rarely find more than broken mirrors, especially after the "Ultimate AGI/SCI" site moved and became less a thing. It was a few years back that I did find a playthrough of TLP on YouTube, and a running copy on archive.org, but it was never the complicated mess of a solution I remembered best, and only this past week found *that*, setting right a bit of memory.

A couple of months back I discovered that The Ruby Cast demo was on archive.org as well. Amazing what turns up on there, and great to know now that The Ruby Cast is preserved in that form.

Still deciding if I'm "back" but tools and such are definitely familiar. While I know I could try SCI instead, it does feel like i've got unfinished business with the state of my past AGI gamey stuff.

Well I guess you are "back" whenever you post a message on here. That's kind of how I view it. I got lost in a bit of VIC 20 nostalgia at the start of last year. I spent literally 6 months staring at a microscopic photo of the silicon layers of the video chip used in the VIC 20 and was trying to reverse engineer the schematic. Made quite a bit of progress while I was at it, perhaps covering about a sixth of the surface. I guess I was away from the AGI community over that time but made another return in the second half of last year.

The Ruby Cast is certainly unfinished business for me. I will eventually focus enough to continue working on that.

5
It should definitely be possible to create it more like SCI and have the prompt and text input within the window. That is what I got working with that screen shot I posted earlier in this thread.

Yeah, it seems that losing the first key is an issue though, unless you were to do as you say and have a key that opens the dialogue. Var 19 does store the last key entered but get.string doesn't allow you to pass in a starting value. You could add it to the prompt parameter I guess, which would mean that the entered key is displayed but it would then be a permanent part of the entry and couldn't be deleted. The original AGI interpreter source code shows that the GetString function calls a GetLine function that does support passing in an initial value for the string but unfortunately GetString clears the string before calling the GetLine function. If only it didn't do that (would be easy to hack the AGI interpreter so it didn't clear the string but that wouldn't be AGI anymore).

6
AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: April 17, 2017, 03:22:33 PM »
Lance, but what's not to love about nostalgia? I think all of us spend time on nostalgic stuff to some degree.

Totally agree.

I've been a gamer since I was about six or seven, on the Atari console. I'm 40 now and I'm the father of a six year old boy and a toddler, so I don't have too much spare time for gaming, but, man, I love it.

I've been an adventure gamer since about the age of 11, originally on the VIC 20. I'm nearly 42 and the father of two girls aged 14 and 10. When the toddler grows up I'm guessing you'll find a bit more time. That is how it is with me. The girls keep themselves busy a lot of the time.

Unlike many of you who have a background in engineering, computer science and programming, I'm a freaking journalist, which means that what most of you can do in 10 minutes takes me 3 hours or more. I'm also a Chilean, so my mother language is Spanish. My name is Patricio Abusleme.

It takes me a long time as well. Perhaps not the coding, but an AGI picture can take me many hours, and I wrote the picture editor I'm using! , so I should really be able to make it easier for myself.

But since I love this, I try to fight my limitations and overcome my lack of technical skills. In 2013, I build a gaming computer, quite an enjoyable experience for me. I enjoy games like shooters and what they call "action/adventure" games nowadays, like the "Assassin's Creed" saga and the "Batman: Arkham" games. Oh, I also love RPGs, like the "Dragon Age", "Mass Effect" and "The Witcher" sagas.

I built what would probably be classed a gaming machine a few years ago. I don't play a lot of games though, and certainly not games that require the kind of power I'd put in to the machine. Graphics adventures are about the maximum demand its going to get.

I became a big fan of Sierra and LucasArts' adventure games in the mid eighties and early nineties, but I came to the AGI fan scene a little late, around 2005, when many people were already migrating to AGS. Last night I played the demo of a game called "Kathy Rain" and I found it quite decent. Back in the day, I also translated "Conquest of Camelot" into Spanish and collaborated with two guys from Argentina to translate the VGA remake of "Quest for Glory I" into Spanish.

I've never played Kathy Rain but I've been thinking about getting it on my phone for a while now.

When I found the AGI tools, I became particularly interested in the coding of the games. Three or four years ago I managed to program a 3 room "game" as kind of a greeting card to my wife as a birthday gift (I actually completed it about two months after her birthday) and I can't believe I don't have a copy of it. I had it on a flash drive that I seem to have misplaced.

Yeah, it's so sad to lose AGI creations like that, as I described in a post to another thread earlier today.

Anyway, I'm trying to learn some programming basics through courses on Internet now. I'd still like to make an AGI game someday. Fooling around with AGI Studio and WinAGI, I've found that I can manage sprites fairly well. Of course, I might need more help and dedication to make the rooms, music and coding.

Something that has been simmering away in the depths of my mind for a while is a way of programming AGI Logics using something similar to the Scratch programming blocks. Actually what I had in mind was an online visual programming environment like Scratch that was very, very similar to AGI in what blocks it provided and the main goal would be to support an export to AGI feature. I was thinking that this would be the best chance of creating some interest in AGI again. Things like Scratch, Snap, Hopscotch and Tynker are quite popular for kids and are now included in a lot of school computer science lessons. Wouldn't it be great for an animated adventure game visual programming web site that has an AGI based design to reach that kind of popularity? If it was done right, it could well be possible. People seem to have a thirst at the moment for visual programming tools that target children.

7
AGI Development Tools / Re: King's Quest VI AGI remake!?!?!?!?
« on: April 17, 2017, 03:02:47 PM »
Wow! I wish that had been released. Has anyone been in contact with the author? How do we know that it probably won't be released?

Back around 2000 I was quite a bit through creating an AGI version of Scott Adams' Secret Mission / Mission Impossible adventure game. I'd spoken to him and he'd given me his blessing to create the conversion. But when I got distracted by life's big events, I somehow managed to lose the source for it.    :'(   Really upset about that. There is a part in that game where you "get saboteur", which means that you've essentially added a dead man to your inventory. I obviously couldn't pretend that he was in ego's pocket (which perhaps a Lucasfilm game might get away with), so I had the animation of him dragging this dead body around between the different rooms. If you pressed the left arrow to move in the left direction then he put his back to that direction and pulled the body along with him (you needed his face to get past a security camera). It was going to be awesome. I remember creating the visitor's information room (those who have played the game will know what I'm talking about) and I had the animation for the projector screen coming down. Sad days when I realised I didn't have it anymore.

Anyway, I'm just hoping that this guy hasn't lost his KQ6 AGI conversion.

8
AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: April 13, 2017, 03:19:41 PM »
(I'm really into time travel stories and paradoxes and meeting past/future versions of yourself etc) and the art was fantastic. And the game starts you off right away with this plan to use your time machine for the first time.

I'll have to check that one out. I'm also very much in to time travel and time loop stories, i.e. movies, books, and games. One of my favourite graphic adventure games on the mobile is a time travel one. Have you tried The Silent Age? I love time travel puzzles, like in Day of the Tentacle.

9
AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: April 13, 2017, 03:11:41 PM »
For me, my 'return' to AGI honestly is driven mostly by moving from 'kids in the house' to 'kids in college, and eventually on their own'. I wonder if that might be true with some of the rest of you. Anyway, after a long hiatus, I've been spending a lot of time relearning what I used to know, and remembering how much I enjoyed it. I never did write an AGI game myself, but it's still on my to-do list.

My return was back in 2010, although I have encountered a few busy periods along the way. I seem to be able to find spare time a few evenings each week these days. My kids are still home, but it probably was after they grew up a bit that I started finding more time. Also a change in the type of employer I work for. No such thing as overtime at the moment.

I get the feeling that you might be older than me then. Someone asked how old everyone was on here back last year some time. I think I was the oldest to reply to that thread. See if you can find that thread and confirm.   :)

I'll post a link to a beta version of WinAGI 1.2.1 soon.

Looking forward to it.

10
AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: April 13, 2017, 03:01:35 PM »
A while ago, I managed to find and download "King's Quest IV" AGI version. I always thought that was one of the darkest and more complex games in the series and I like to see their logics to learn a little bit more about its programming. Another great game to "dissect" in order to learn is "Gold Rush!".

Yeah, those two AGI games were always the two I admired from a technical point of view.

I like point & click games, but AGI games have such a charm for me... Maybe it's just nostalgia, I dunno. Anyway, it's great to see that there is still some interest in the AGI engine and games!    :)

Definitely nostalgia for me, but I love nostalgia. Everything I spend time on these days seems to be nostalgic.

I like a lot of point & click games as well. I was thinking about this recently, with the 30 year anniversary of Maniac Mansion in mind, and spent a while reading up on and looking at the original Commodore 64 version of Maniac Mansion. It wasn't controlled by a mouse but rather by joystick and/or keyboard. So basically those that didn't have a joystick (which would have been rare, but I'm guessing a lot of people chose not to use the joystick with this game) would have been moving the cursor around with keys on their keyboard. The feel and appearance of the movement of the cursor in this mode isn't much different from how the Manhunter games work. They're basically point and click games. - Made me start to wonder whether an AGI port of Maniac Mansion could be written. If it could, using the cursor movement technique in Manhunter, then AGI could have produced a game like the C64 Maniac Mansion well before the release of Maniac Mansion.

Obviously the screen scrolling is the big thing missing from AGI though.

11
Hey, so it does. That's pretty cool. What version of the original interpreter does it use? I tried dropping in 2.936 but the SCI-like interface didn't quite work right. It opened a window (as shown in the attached picture below), but as you'll notice, the text prompt appeared down in its normal place. Also I had typed in "look". The first letter seems to be ignored.

12
AGI Community How To's & Tutorials / Re: Official AGI Documentation
« on: April 12, 2017, 04:42:35 PM »
Yeah, that is exactly right. I wrote quite a lot of the fan made AGI specs, and from memory I think it was based mainly on 2.9XX and above. I don't remember ever having the DDP game at that time, which is our closest match to the official Sierra AGI doc.

13
SCI Development Tools / Re: A question about .rol files
« on: April 12, 2017, 04:35:45 PM »
Okay, I was holding back on attaching some of the other ROL files until there was some feedback on the first. For those that have heard them, they tend to say that that first one is the best. But personally it isn't my favourite. I quite like the last part of the ROL file that I've named MOVING in the attachment below. The start isn't anything great, but even though I composed this tune, the ending of this one still affects me. There is so much going on in every voice.

14
AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI is Back
« on: April 12, 2017, 04:29:21 PM »
...and really great to see you here as well pabuslem. It's fantastic that the AGI scene is starting to build up again.

I think we need to entice a few more AGI fans to this site. I have a feeling that a lot of the old names don't realise that there are active AGI forums in this day and age.

15
AGI Community How To's & Tutorials / Re: Official AGI Documentation
« on: April 09, 2017, 03:39:30 PM »
Quote
have.key()
True if a key is waiting to be read. Note that if a 'prevent.input()' has not been done, the likelyhood of this being true is minimal -- virtually all input will go to the input line.

The above from the original AGI documentation (which we believe to represent version 2.000) appears not to be true of the later AGI 2 versions. I've done testing with accept.input active and the have.key command still evaluates to true. What you seem to get is the character being added to the user input line but have.key also tests as true. So this would seem to suggest that it isn't about a key press waiting to be read but rather that a key was already read in the current cycle. The original AGI source seems to support this. The code for have.key shows that it will evaluate to true if var 19 (i.e. the LAST_CHAR variable) is not zero. Var 19 holds the last character to have been read. So if have.key is checking the value in that variable as its first check, then it obviously isn't telling us that there is a key waiting to be read. If var 19 is 0 then the code for have.key goes on to check if there is a keypress waiting, but then it sets var 19 to the value of the key press that is waiting to be read before returning true, which means that it is no longer waiting to be read. It's all about a key that has already been read and prevent.input/accept.input has no impact on this at all.

I wonder if the behaviour of this test command changed over time, perhaps when var 19 was introduced.

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