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Messages - lance.ewing

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Everything-Else / Re: I'd just like to take a moment...
« on: December 30, 2018, 04:08:11 PM »
...and say that I still really appreciate that this community and this website is still here. After it went down a while back I feared it was lost forever. But we got it back and it's still kicking, as are all of you. It's just awesome. Thanks for being here. And Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy New Year.

Thanks Brandon. And thanks to everyone else for being here as well. Happy New Year to all!

Love it. And now we are having some of the original people in the AGI community find their way here, too.

I've just checked and I've apparently been on these forums for just over 8 years. I know it's not as long as most of you, but feels like I've been here for a while. I know a lot of you spend time in other 3D adventure game related forums, but for me this is pretty much the only one I've spent any prolonged amount of time on. It's a small but great group of people.   :)

I'm also happy to see others from the original AGI community starting to arrive here over the past couple of years. Does anyone know what happened to Joakim? He was one of the original people in the AGI community along with Peter and I. I think he started the Visual AGI project, is that right? It would be great to get him involved again if we can track him down.

AGI Development Tools / Re: C# AGI Interpreter
« on: December 28, 2018, 11:19:33 AM »
Seems I have a bug in there somewhere, because it then falls over when I try to restore it. Should be easy to track down. I suspect that it is incorrectly keeping track of the number of saved games and doesn't account for the limit. Something like that. I'm going to fix that first then continue on with playing KQ1 through to the end. I'm about two thirds through the game I'd say.

Turns out that there were two bugs in there. One bug exposed the other one. Both are fixed now, and saving and restoring games seems to be fully working.

And I just finished playing through to the end of KQ1!    :)

The strange thing is that I've noticed a few issues when playing my Ruby Cast  demo. I'll have to check those out. I'm surprised I didn't see similar issues in KQ1. They are the kind of issues, to do with sentence recognition, that I would have thought would have affected KQ1 as well. But maybe Ruby Cast is more broken than I thought. I'll have to try it in the original AGI interpreter and compare.

AGI Development Tools / Re: C# AGI Interpreter
« on: December 27, 2018, 06:19:48 AM »
I've finally managed to get to the top of the beanstalk in KQ1, with the help of the saved game functionality. Even with it it took me about 15 minutes to get to the top.  :)

So this is now as far as I've got through playing KQ1 with the new C# interpreter. In the process of climbing the beanstalk, I exhausted all the free saved game slots and wrapped around to overwrite the first one again. Seems I have a bug in there somewhere, because it then falls over when I try to restore it. Should be easy to track down. I suspect that it is incorrectly keeping track of the number of saved games and doesn't account for the limit. Something like that. I'm going to fix that first then continue on with playing KQ1 through to the end. I'm about two thirds through the game I'd say.

Here are some samples from a few AGI games:
The syntax is game specific and defined in their source.

Thanks Omer. Yeah, looks like coders defined what they liked, although LSL appears to be the odd one out.

I've just remembered that you also provided a PDF with the original AGI programming documentation used by Sierra, and that it is attached to a post somewhere here in the forums. That document would also answer the question about syntax. Peter would no doubt be interested in that as well. Let me see if I can find the post...

Found it:

I feel somewhat tempted to do a rewrite of AGI Studio in TypeScript that would allow it to run on all platforms via Electron, and also via a web browser. Currently my full time gig is working on interpreters/compilers + web-based IDEs so it seems like a good time to revisit AGI tooling again. Largely it's going to be a matter of whether I could find enough spare time to do it, but also what level of interest there might be in such a project.

Anyone think this is a good idea? I'd love to see more fan games being made and existence of more modern tools esp. with good support for Mac/Linux as well as Windows might help that.

If I were to go ahead with this I'd use which provides excellent facilities for language tooling like error highlighting, autocomplete etc.

I would certainly be interested in such a project. I was considering something similar. My thoughts were about creating something like the Scratch online programming "IDE" that is used a lot in school these days. I've played around with Scratch a bit (my daughters have both used it in school, and my younger daughter likes building Adventure-like games in Scratch on her ipad). It struct me that such an online environment would be great for an AGI IDE. If we could define a similar palette of blocks that could be dragged and dropped to build scripts, similar to how Scratch does it, then I think that might go down well, not only with AGI fans, but also in schools. And that is where I think it gets interesting. If the AGI/SCI community were to build something similar to Scratch but for building AGI games, then it could very well become adopted by some schools and our exposure could be greatly increased.

So if your plans were to create something online like that, then I think it would be fantastic. I've seen "block" like programming demos (Google's Blockly) where you can switch between the code and the blocks, where changes in one reflect in the other. That might be quite interesting as well.

I never thought I'd get to see any of the original code. My main interest is in the syntax and structure; the language AGI Studio uses is an educated guess partially based on some code samples that came from a book somewhere (it might have actually been the one Charles posted about).

Yes, it was definitely the same book. I bought a copy of this book back in the 90s, from a local store in NZ, and that is what I used when I created the SHOWLOG application, which I think is what you used as the basis of the code syntax in AGI Studio. So indirectly the AGI Studio syntax is based on the example code in the Donald B. Trivette book. I would expect it to be fairly authentic, given it was in that book, which is why I'm surprised a bit that the LSL1 source code is different.

I always wondered what it _really_ looked like, e.g. how variable names were handled, whether there were local declarations used for specific rooms or everything was global, whether messages were embedded or in a separate file etc.

I'm hoping Omer is going to provide some samples from other games for comparison (the more games, the better, even if it is only one script from each  ;) ). It could be that they had multiple different syntaxes, which if true would make it difficult to make a tool like AGI Studio or WinAGI more authentic.

If I were to go ahead with a new version of AGI Studio, I'd love to have it support the original syntax, for authenticity. I understand there's legal restrictions on the original sources for the games, but I'm sure we could put together a brand new template and/or examples which conformed to the original syntax without problems as that would constitute our own work.

Don't know if you know, but there is something like 75% of the original AGI interpreter source code available as well. There is a topic on these forums with an attachment that has the code. Apparently it was found in the floppy disk slack space from one of the games. It has been invaluable in my work on the C# AGI Interpreter.

AGI Development Tools / Re: C# AGI Interpreter
« on: December 26, 2018, 01:33:07 PM »
I've been making some progress on the C# AGI interpreter. The sounds are now playing. I went down the route of using some SN76489 emulation code to generate 16 bit  sample data at 44100 samples per second. The SN76489 is the sound chip used in the IBM PC Jr and therefore what Sierra coded the original AGI interpreter to output to. As you probably know, all the AGI sounds had four part sound as a consequence of this, the fourth voice being noise. I found some SN76489 emulation code already available on the Internet written in C#. It was part of a VGM Player written in C#. The author had ported the code to C# from another project. I thought I'd see if I could make use of it in this C# AGI interpreter. Seems to do the job well. When an AGI sound is played, the interpreter now uses the raw SOUND data to feed into the SN76489 emulation to produce the samples, then wraps it up with Wave file headers, and then plays it as a Wave file memory stream. I've tried playing the generated Wave file data with three different media playing libraries. One is the built in C# SoundPlayer, which works but isn't as flexible for checking whether the background sound has finished playing. I've also tried the NAudio and CSCore libraries. CSCore seems the nicest from what I've seen so far.

So its coming along. I'm now starting to play through a few games to pick up more bugs. Found a few already. I'll keep doing that for a few weeks I think.

Some things that I noticed right away:

 - commands are not in the 'dot' format; looks like they used CamelCase. Which is interesting because the debug scripts all used lower case, with a dot separator.
 - looks like they set aside flags and variables from 200 and above as 'local' flags and variables; for example, 'nearJukeBox', defined as 'lf3', decompiles as f203
 - reserved flags and variables have values different than what is currently used in fan based games (for example currentRoom vs room_num, haveInput vs input_received)
 - in 'said' commands, they didn't use quotes around words; and they used dollar sign ($) for space

Perhaps if Omer has scripts from other AGI games, he could post one or two more for comparison with LSL.

If memory serves me right, the AGI code shown in the Donald B. Trivette book might have shown comments like that.

Having said that, i think this is really unfortunate news, and means we may never get to see the original sources to Larry or Sierra's other titles. The only circumstances under which I could see them becoming public is if Activision could somehow be convinced to donate the sources to the Internet Archive for the purposes of preserving an important piece of gaming history - but I think any such efforts are unlikely to be successful.

Hi Peter !   :)

Really great to see you join the forum. Hope we see a few more posts from you. It's been a long time. Any thoughts on doing anything in the AGI community again?

I've been dabbling with a C# AGI interpreter recently, in fact Collector will be happy to know I've got tired of working on my Vectrex emulator and decided to switch back to the C# AGI interpreter. Currently working on playing sounds.

Saw this in the Youtube comments a short while ago:

Quote from: thejobloshow
A few people on the Sierra Gamers Facebook group reached out to Al and said it was because Activision sent a cease-and-desist. Activision doesn't own the IP for Larry but was compelled to act because some of the source code might also be used in King's Quest and Space Quest, which AV does own. Al stated that AV is wrong but doesn't want to take legal action because it will cost more than what the source code is going for.

And this quote from the mentioned Facebook page:

Quote from: Britton Mathews
I called Al yesterday to ask him.
He received a letter from an outside law firm hired by Activison that ordered him to take it down. He said in the letter Activison understood they don’t own the IP to LSL but that the source code probably contained shared code to Kings Quest and Space Quest. For that reason they sent him the letter.

Al and I agreed that he was right, but by the time you hire an attorney to prove you’re right, it would have cost more than what he would have got from the auctions.

If I had to take a guess, this is one of those scenarios where Activison is compelled to act. You can’t pick and choose when to enforce IP rights. If they chose not to go after Al and then someone else releases source code that they actually care about, attorneys can point to ALS scenario and say Activison is being partial and selective in their enforcement of their IP rights, which you can’t do under US law.

Probably a good thing that Al didn't yet start the KQ3 and PQ1 auctions, which apparently he was intending to do.

Except I would love to see the real source, especially the comments, etc.

The disk slack space would be interesting as well. I hope that whoever wins it thinks to look at that. Still 8 days to run and its already over $8000. Why are they pushing it up so quickly?

It's not that strange. Back when SCI Studio was still relevant, I contacted Mr. Lowe via email about permission to develop a Larry 4. Shared a concept and everything, and he gave me basically the same spiel -- I had his blessing to make Larry 4 - The Missing Floppies, but I was to absolutely not name it Leisure Suit Larry 4 - The Missing Floppies. He could only permit me to use the Larry Laffer character, not the LSL name. Which was about what Kon-Tiki and I'd expected.

Yeah, I guess I'm not so surprised that Al is doing this, since he has always supported the fans. I'm surprised that he is allowed to do this though. Obviously we've had access to the AGI "source" for Larry 1 since the first fan made AGI tools came out, so its not like its selling a secret part of the intellectual property, but I'd be surprised if the current owners of the IP weren't frowning a bit at these auctions. Still, wish I could afford a bid on them. I wonder who is bidding so high and if they have an interest in the technical side.

I can't believe he's actually selling this stuff...

It does seem strange, especially given this:

Realize that, while you’ll have my data as of the day of Larry 1’s creation, you will not own the intellectual property rights to the game, the code, the art, or anything else. Nor do I. The I. P. rights were sold over and over again, until they are now owned by a German game company.

It is crazy how much the bidding is up to already.

AGI Development Tools / Re: C# AGI Interpreter
« on: November 05, 2018, 02:17:43 PM »
Yes, I think you did send it to me, and I have got it somewhere. I will probably take a look at it to get some ideas.

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