Search for the Lost Orb

discuss text & graphic adventures for Acorns. level 9, robico & epic led this field
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Kevin Edwards
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Search for the Lost Orb

Post by Kevin Edwards » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:07 am

Hi,

Whilst sorting through a load of disks I found a disk based adventure called 'Search for the Lost Orb'

Has anyone heard of it before? I've no idea who did it or where it came from...
lostorb1.jpg
lostorb2.jpg

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leenew
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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by leenew » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:13 am

Hi Kevin,
That's a new one on me.
It isn't listed on the adventure game solutions archive either.
What machine is it running on?
Could you upload the files?
Thanks,

Lee.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by Kevin Edwards » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:48 am

Hi Lee,

It's for the Beeb AFAICT.

Here's the disk image. Can't tell you any more about it i'm afraid.

CH."B.SEARCH"

Hope it's of interest to someone!

Cheers,
Kevin.
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lostorb.ssd
(200 KiB) Downloaded 72 times
Last edited by Kevin Edwards on Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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leenew
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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by leenew » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:49 am

Thank you,
I will see what I can find out about it (if anything)...

Lee.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by fuzzel » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:12 pm

Just done a few searches including The Micro User and can't find it anywhere. I'm assuming it's an amateur production as there are no copyright messages in the initial loader file or on running the game proper.

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leenew
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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by leenew » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:08 pm

Hmmm... I can't find anything either.
It does look quite professionally done to me though..

Lee.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by lurkio » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:11 pm

Calling CASA...

Come in, CASA...

:?:
Last edited by lurkio on Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by fuzzel » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:39 am

I've just started exploring the game and you're right lurkio, it is very professionally done. Most locations have a decent amount of descriptive text. The colon at the command prompt reminds me of some of the earlier Acornsoft games by Peter Killworth - Doom, Philosophers Quest and Castle of Riddles.
I'll continue to explore and maybe I'll find further clues to the authorship.
Kevin, can you remember where you got the disk from ?

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by fuzzel » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:37 am

I've now explored this mystery game for a few hours and mapped the first 30 odd locations. I've collected a handful of objects, met my end in several interesting ways and solved my first puzzle ! The presence of a ram save / load function (STORE / RESTORE) suggests it was made around 1987 or later (this function was adopted by the big boys (Level 9 and Robico) from around that date). I think Central Computing also adopted it.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by fuzzel » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:23 am

Very sneaky this game. There are a couple of locations in the main section of the game where there's an object hidden in the main description.
Reminds me of What's Eeyore's and the bread in the King's Orchard - I needed help to find that one.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by Kevin Edwards » Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:34 am

Hi guys,

I've done a bit more digging and have remembered a bit more about the disk.

I knew a lot of people who developed Beeb games and a Cambridge connection is quite possible - Acorn / Acornsoft? I travelled to Cambridge and London quite a bit during 1985-87 so i'm guessing I picked it up during one of those trips. It was on a disk with some utilities that a friend of mine ( Andy Bray ) wrote so there is a chance he or one of his friends wrote it. Andy worked as a contractor for Acorn and knew many people in the Beeb world too.

It certainly is a professionally produced product, but i couldn't see any name or information about the authour. It obviously wasn't published as someone would recognize the game. I can only conclude that it was an abandoned title that just never made it to market.

Enjoy!

Cheers,
Kevin.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by tautology » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:22 pm

Interesting - it's not one I've heard of - I can add it to CASA.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by lurkio » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:16 pm

tautology wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:22 pm
Interesting - it's not one I've heard of - I can add it to CASA.
It's already there. All you have to do is call. :wink:

Kevin Edwards wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:34 am
I've done a bit more digging ...
Thanks for the upload and the info, Kevin.

=D> =D>

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by fuzzel » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:47 pm

Thanks Kevin, you'll be pleased to hear I'm enjoying the game immensely. I've managed to escape from the first section of the game but have got a bit stuck in the second section. I keep dying of thirst due to the bucket I'm carrying around having a hole in it. Never mind, I shall persevere. Would your friend Andy Bray be the same guy who co-wrote the Advanced User Guide ? If so perhaps it was he or one of his co-authors Adrian Dickens or Mark Holmes who wrote it.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by Kevin Edwards » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:42 pm

Yes, Andy co-wrote the AUG. IIRC The authors were all at Cambridge, but at different colleges when they wrote the AUG. This adventure was several years later i believe when Andy worked for Acorn as a contractor around 1986/7. Sadly, I lost touch with him shortly afterwards so can't ask him if he knows any more about it. I still believe that this could be the work one of the established adventure writers from Acorn / Acornsoft, or possibly Andy himself. Jon Thackray, who wrote Acheton, was also one of the coders who worked on the Beeb's OS in the early days. Could he be a candidate? I'm guessing that each adventure creator has their own style that can be recognised by those that play their games?

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by tautology » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:42 pm

I randomly found this sitting on my desktop and have done a bit of reverse engineering on it - extracting all the messages and locations.

That's the good new.

The bad news is that there are absolutely no clues as to the author in the message base, and not much space in files to have a hidden signature.

It's a very large game: 203 rooms but somewhat light on objects

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8bitAG
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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by 8bitAG » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:58 am

Are there any clues in the system/programming techniques being used? Is it similar to any other games out there?

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tautology
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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by tautology » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:43 pm

Not really; it's pretty standard 6502 adventure code.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by fuzzel » Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:51 am

Anyone familiar with a linguistic technique called stylometry ? It can be used to analyse the words and phrases used by an individual as a sort of fingerprint and was in the news earlier this week when linguists who had used the technique announced that they believed Beowulf was the work of one person.

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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by tautology » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:26 pm

Attached is a dump of the messages and rooms (it's not perfect as I didn't bother with punctuation and capitalisation). Plus the python code I used to dump in.
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Re: Search for the Lost Orb

Post by Kevin Edwards » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:36 pm

Thank you for your hard-work. Sorry I couldn't provide any more information. It looks like the author will remain a mystery!

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