Expanding the range of QL Adventures

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RWAP
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Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby RWAP » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:23 pm

With many early adventures released using a few different 'engines' and I was wondering whether there might be interest in getting together to create some interpreters to run the datafiles for these adventures on the QL.

I know there is the excellent infocom routines (including the ZIP interpreter) on the Sinclair QL Homepage - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/games/index.html
This can be used to run Infocom based adventures, such as the ones famously written by Scott Adams for Adventure International.

Another common file format was the A-code used by Level-9. There are interepreters complete with source available from http://www.ifarchive.org/indexes/if-arc ... evel9.html and perhaps the Amiga version could be converted to run on the QL.

There is also the wealth of adventures written using Quill (or later the Illustrator or PAWS) for the Spectrum and other computers.

There is already a version of Quill for the QL, which, is still sadly protected by copyright, but you could probably adopt the "Adventure Utiltiies" written by Alan Pemberton for extracting Quill data files and converting them to SuperBASIC for compiling with Turbo or Q-Liberator (in the same manner as his fantastic Voyage of the Beano game). Whilst finding the offset of the Quill data within (say) a ZX Spectrum TAP file might seem an arduous task, I have seen a few Windows utilties (32-bit only) which offer to extract the data from a Spectrum .SNA or .Z80 snapshot (UnQuill and UnPAWS).

Alas I only have 64 bit windows which refuses to run these 32 bit programs, so cannot say if they work under Windows 10.

The main issue is how to deal with the various graphics formats used - but I guess the graphics could be possibly disabled for starters so that at least the text aspect was working fully.

Dilwyn - I wonder if the adventures section of the QL Homepage needs to be split off from the general games section?


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dilwyn
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby dilwyn » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:54 pm

RWAP wrote:Dilwyn - I wonder if the adventures section of the QL Homepage needs to be split off from the general games section?


Interesting idea. I'm not a gamer myself but adventures were always popular on the QL. I'd certainly be prepared to do this, it shouldn't involve too much work. The Games page is growing too big for comfort as it stands.

Somewhere on the BASIC Programs page http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/basic/index.html on my website there is a document showing how to convert MS BASIC programs to QL BASIC. If someone has some experience of this, it might be an idea to write a QL program to automate conversion, that way, all the old M$ BASIC listings out there could be upgraded to QL BASIC.

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/basic/detokenize.zip

Count me in!


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Derek_Stewart
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby Derek_Stewart » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:24 am

Hi Dilwyn,

I have converted many GW BASIC programmes, Superbasic makes the process very easy to do.

I converted a 3D Wire Frame cube wit hidden lines in the 1990s from weekly computer magazine, the resulting Superbasic programme was 40% smaller than the DOS based BASIC version printed in the magazine.


Regards,

Derek
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby tcat » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:02 am

Hi,

I am greatly interested in these adventure conversions. I only have recently discovered `zmakebas' tool, converting plain text ZX basic source into audio .TAP file.

As the author has kindly provided the sources, they may be possibly used as an insight into TAP format.
https://derekbolli.wordpress.com/2012/1 ... -zmakebas/

Perhaps off topic, there is also some discussion going here on Sierra Online Series.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=78&p=307&hilit=king+quest#p307

Tomas


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vanpeebles
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby vanpeebles » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:54 am

With the gfx, would it not be possible to screenshot them running in the original emulator and then convert to a QL scr (after colour conversion etc)?


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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby tcat » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:15 am

Hi,

To be honest, I apologise, I only now realised I do not know what `gfx' stands for.
I only guess..
[1] a graphical game format,
[2] a tool to convert screens captures,
[3] what platforms it runs on
[4] what QL h/w config is required
?

EDIT
I found this page, giving some info on `The Pawn' and a reference to Infocom, QL platform seems missing in action there.
http://msmemorial.if-legends.org/games.htm/pawn.php

Tomas
Last edited by tcat on Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.


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vanpeebles
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby vanpeebles » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:20 am

Just a short form for graphics :)


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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby tcat » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:27 am

Hi,

I wonder how `gfx' can be created also what game engines (interpreters) support this sort of format?

EDIT
Magnetic game engine and .gfx mentioned here:
http://msmemorial.if-legends.org/magnet ... c_v2_2.txt

Tomas
Last edited by tcat on Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.


georgeo
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby georgeo » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:31 am

I recently discovered a graphics adventure game, called Akalabeth [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akalabeth:_World_of_Doom], which was written in BASIC for the Apple computer in 1979. I learned about it on the World of Spectrum forum [https://www.worldofspectrum.org/forums/discussion/53083/akalabeth-game], as someone has recently ported it to run on the ZX Spectrum. It's a fine game (for a BASIC game) and I've got quite addicted to playing it/ helping debug the Spectrum version. I've also thought of porting this to the QL as an excellent way to showcase the power of SuperBASIC. However, it's quite a long program, which relies on Spectrum BASIC graphics commands and screen resolution/ attributes, so would need some effort to complete (and I'm also conscious that I have other 'projects' in my to-do list and very limited spare time).

The port to the Spectrum has struggled with memory, and so has had to compromise on software-engineering good practice. Ideally, this good practice could be reinstated in a QL version, and I think it would make an excellent game that would rekindle fond memories for many a retro gamer.

There is some question mark about licence. I believe the Spectrum port is reverse engineered from a public release of the Apple II BASIC listing, though I also believe there are other versions that are closed-licence. It would be good to get clarity as to whether a port could be made without breaching any copyrights/ licences.


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vanpeebles
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby vanpeebles » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:13 pm

I still live in hope that Steve Sutton reappears, and we can get ACT out to the masses. I'd love to set up an ACT coding/gaming club on here.



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