DND1 – Debugging and first stab at mobile

Renamed variables
Renamed variables

Spent some time renaming all variables to their real meaning in order to be able to debug it… found some bugs while at it! (from the original :P) thanks again to dejayc and others in the SoTA forums for their work on helping devise together the usages for all variables and weed out critical bugs, special thanks to dejayc for his digested version; this has been quite a community effort!

Now that I know a bit more about the game whose source code we have, my plans have shifted a bit from a verbatim copy retaining all bugs to a slightly corrected version with no critical or obvious bugs (I can’t help but imagine how hard it was to debug a program back then, and this is the first iteration!), then produce an optional tweaked version with better user experience and gameplay balance.

I NEED YOUR HELP! Please test the game and let me know if any issues arise 🙂


 

Interface with touch soft keyboard
Interface with touch soft keyboard

Also, yesterday I also had my first try at a mobile interface, it works but it’s not optimal for smartphones because of the small onscreen keyboard size. I’m thinking on a more efficient interface if a bit of a departure from the original (I’m almost sure Richard didn’t design this for smartphones with touchscreens back them).

At least this version should be usable on tablet devices.

DND1 Further fun

Just for fun, I added a Reference Card and some adornments to the game today.

Some Ancient DND Artifacts
Some Ancient DND Artifacts, and the reflection of a developer.

I also took some time to observe Richard’s picture of the original DND1, which includes three paper tape rolls with the program (probably different versions?) as well as a beautiful, ages old sheet of paper containing original input from the program.

In making the transcription, I *think* I have discovered something useful; there seems to have been more than one version of DND1! the version whose output is printed on that page is definitively an enhanced version over the one whose source code we finally got, it’s possible that the final DND1 had indeed character based maps, similar to the sample on the contest entry!

But there are just fun conjectures, who knows?

 

Yet Another Project: DnD1 port to JavaScript

This game ran in a computer similar to this (the lower end is the microcomputer)

Richard Garriott, creator of the Ultima Series, posted a call for warriors all around the globe to recreate one of his first games, and possibly one of the very first computer RPGs, into a modern accessible format.

How could I let this opportunity pass? as scarce the time as it always is (and more-so in these times of my life), I delved into the project; not caring much about the contest per se, but rather the option to recreate such an interesting piece of history.

The moment I saw the post I started researching on the topic and stumbled upon this video, I immediately knew what I was to do.

I decided to structure the project in two parts, a JavaScript teletype emulator (JSTTY) and the JavaScript port of the game itself; the teletype emulator was mostly fun to work in, had some help from fellow jucarave, and will probably open source it soon.

The second part was pretty different, and not straightforward at all.

At first I started just translating the original BASIC program into equivalent JS, but once I started developing the input module for JSTTY I figured out doing blocking input in JS to emulate the INPUT statements was not going to be simple. Ultimately I ditched all my advanced and rebooted development under a different paradigm.

So, instead of doing a direct translation, I had to read thru the logic and change the control flow so that it worked based on callbacks for the input methods.

My DnD 1 port
My port, running on JSTTY

Richard posted a link to a 24 pages scanned version of his BASIC source code; thankfully, dejayc, one of the members of the SoTA community went thru several iterations and finally produced a flat text file which made things much easier. I also got the absolutely awesome PDP-11 teletype font from him.

The game itself, it’s interesting trying to trace all the development that went from this initial version, to Akalabeth, the Ultima Series and beyond; there are certainly some aspect from this game that served as a bridge between the Dungeons and Dragons PnP RPG nerds and the whole cRPG genre.

April’s Pet Project: My Brazil World Cup

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Bought the domain two years ago hoping it would be of any use. Didn’t know what to do with it until last weekend.

In http://mybrazilworldcup.net you can create a collection of pictures related to Brazil and the 2014 world cup, and share it with your friends.

Technically speaking, it’s a mobile optimized website built using JQueryMobile+JSP for the frontend and a Java+MySQL backend, using Slashware Web Framework.

I built it with simplicity in mind, knowing that the least I wanted was another project going off-control.

Continued building my JQueryMobile knowledge, a journey I began with the PX2 engine. I also integrated ads from both appia.com and google adsense, and used implicit internationalization for the first time (it works in English, Spanish and Portuguese).

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