Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Anything QL Software or Programming Related.
Derek_Stewart
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby Derek_Stewart » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:00 pm

georgeo wrote: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.


Akalabeth: World of Doom is Abandonware and I have found a web site with the source code, wriiten Apple Basic which is a dialect of Micrsoft Basic. Superbasic should be able to handle this.

Do you think it is worth porting the QL?

The version I downloaded looks to be a MS Basic convert, seems to run in GW Basic...


Regards,

Derek
tcat
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby tcat » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:57 pm

Hi,

I have started looking into `level-9' interpreter code, just to see If and whether at all I am up to doing anything useful with it.

Tomas


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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby RWAP » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:14 pm

vanpeebles wrote: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)?


Potentially, there was also a Spectrum screen conversion program in QL User, and of course there is SToQL if porting an ST version, and an MSX screen conversion on the QL Homepage - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/filetran/.

However, many of the adventure creation programs seem to use in-built commands to build the screen when you go to each location in the adventure - so it might be a matter of adding commands to a SuperBASIC program to interpret this data and draw the screen as you go.
Last edited by RWAP on Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.


RWAP
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby RWAP » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:23 pm

Derek_Stewart wrote:Akalabeth: World of Doom is Abandonware and I have found a web site with the source code, wriiten Apple Basic which is a dialect of Micrsoft Basic. Superbasic should be able to handle this.

Do you think it is worth porting the QL?

The version I downloaded looks to be a MS Basic convert, seems to run in GW Basic...


There is no such thing as Abandonware - however, the original programmer of Akalabeth (Richard Garriott) is easily found on line - https://richardgarriott.com/ so I have sent him an email to ask for his permission for freeware conversions to any platform.

Yes, I do think (that with permission) it would be worth porting to the QL as a classic game - especially if the sources were added to the SinclairQL github - where perhaps others could improve the game and add colour etc. It would also be worth looking at the Spectrum discussion as people have discussed on there how to improve the code for the Spectrum :)


georgeo
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby georgeo » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:20 pm

I'm very impressed with the Spectrum version, though should qualify by saying I haven't played any others and have just watched a couple of YouTube videos of the Apple II and C64 implementations (the latter looking frustratingly fast).

Battle Bunny has preserved the spirit of the original (in terms of aesthetics, quirks and humour), has kept as much as possible in BASIC, but has also made some sympathetically chosen improvements (as Kevin McCloud might say), such as a sneak preview of the world/ dungeon maps, reduced food consumption when travelling in the Overworld (which looks to have been a frustratingly easy way to die in the original), and enabling in-game saves at the refuge (which was almost certainly intended). It would be good to have a classic mode, which adhered to the original for the purists, but with the option to turn on the various fixes and improvements for greater enjoyment.

I really like this game, and am surprised it only got mixed reviews when first released. My impression is weighted by knowing it's in BASIC--if I'd not known that, I would have said it was too slow--but I'm amazed at how engaging it is. I've played for a few hours now and still keep finding new tricks and surprises (for example, I've only just realised that one of the enemies -- aptly named, a thief -- can actually steal gold from you, as well as attack). Perhaps small things for small minds...


tcat
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby tcat » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:35 pm

Hi,

Potentially, there was also a Spectrum screen conversion program in QL User, and of course there is SToQL if porting an ST version.


If the relevant article with convertor code could be scanned, I would like to type it up, test and share back.

Tomas


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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby RWAP » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:06 pm

tcat wrote:Hi,

Potentially, there was also a Spectrum screen conversion program in QL User, and of course there is SToQL if porting an ST version.


If the relevant article with convertor code could be scanned, I would like to type it up, test and share back.

Tomas



I think it was in a QL User with a picture of a Spectrum linked by wire to a QL and the code might have been written by Simon Goodwin.

However, I have found that the Spectrum2QL.zip file on Dilwyn's site includes what appears to be a Spectrum screen convertor in BASIC - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/filetran/


tcat
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby tcat » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:26 pm

Hi Rich,

Now I remember, it was discussed a while ago here.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=525&p=3651#p3786

The scan is there as well, so plenty to dwell on.

Tomas


Derek_Stewart
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby Derek_Stewart » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:40 am

RWAP wrote:There is no such thing as Abandonware - however, the original programmer of Akalabeth (Richard Garriott) is easily found on line - https://richardgarriott.com/ so I have sent him an email to ask for his permission for freeware conversions to any platform.


Hi Rich,

I only quoted the web site.

Here is the link to MS Basic version:

http://www.myabandonware.com/game/akala ... 3#download

If there a question of copyright, I can not bothered with the hassle.


Regards,

Derek
georgeo
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Re: Expanding the range of QL Adventures

Postby georgeo » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:20 am

Derek_Stewart wrote:
RWAP wrote:There is no such thing as Abandonware - however, the original programmer of Akalabeth (Richard Garriott) is easily found on line - https://richardgarriott.com/ so I have sent him an email to ask for his permission for freeware conversions to any platform.


Hi Rich,

I only quoted the web site.

Here is the link to MS Basic version:

http://www.myabandonware.com/game/akala ... 3#download

If there a question of copyright, I can not bothered with the hassle.


Okay, I've printed off a copy of the Apple II source code for Akalabeth, and am working my way through it. I believe this is the original version, so I'll start from there. It looks relatively straightforward to port (famous last words) and is only 13 pages of print-out. There are some long sequences of graphics commands that will need to be rescaled/ adjusted for the QL display resolution, which might be a little tedious, but otherwise looks not too bad.

(Excepting Rich discovering that Richard Garrot will not allow us to port the program) my plan is to reimplement Akalabeth, to be like the original though using modern software-development practice, and exploit the advanced features of SuperBASIC (e.g. procedures). Once I start coding, I'll check in to GitHub, so others can see code and help, if they wish.

It may be a little while, as I have a couple of Spectrum projects I'm going to wrap up before starting on this. Hopefully, I'll get some time to sketch out the high-level structure before the end of January. I'll also let Battle Bunny know. He has good current experience of the code, so will be a valuable asset, I suspect.

I'll kick off a new thread once I get going,
George.



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