Larsoft

discuss classic text/graphic adventures for the bbc micro & electron
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fuzzel
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Larsoft

Post by fuzzel »

Flicking through some past adventure columns from BBC Micro User and Electron User I notice that Larsoft adventures were rated quite highly.
I've never played one before (none were in circulation at my old computer club back in the 80's) so I wonder if anyone out there familiar with that label could recommend one ? As I recall Geoff Larson was a regular contributor to adventure columns before he started writing his own games using the quill.
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lurkio
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Re: Larsoft

Post by lurkio »

Have you consulted the Hatter?:
The Mad Hatter wrote:Geoff Larsen produced a number of adventure games, first for the Acorn Electron, and then he included the BBC Micro in his repertoire as well. These adventures were developed with the help of the utility program The Quill, were priced at budget levels and acquired a loyal following; among his best were Hex and The Puppet Man. If you can find any of these tapes, though, you won't be disappointed.
https://mocagh.org/loadpage.php?getgame=advgamersmanual

:?:

And all the Larsoft games are here, of course:
:idea:
Last edited by lurkio on Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Larsoft

Post by fuzzel »

Hi Lurkio, thanks for the reply. I've plumped for Wychwood first after consulting The Mad Hatter ("an entertaining romp" - Mar-87 TMU) and Pendragon (If this is an indication of things to come I will have no hesitation in buying all of their future releases" - Jun-87 EU). I wonder if he did ? Also it would appear to be one of their first (if not the first) games.
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Re: Larsoft

Post by fuzzel »

I've just finished Wychwood after playing it for the last few days but am a little confused at the ending.
The message at the end on examining the wad of notes is "They are old pound notes, no longer legal tender. Any reward for recovering them would be offset by my theft of the car. My only consolation is that I have completed this Adventure! END OF GAME." As I'm on the run from the police who presumably will still apprehend me when the clock strikes 10 this is a rather anticlimactic conclusion. I've checked the CASA solution and it pretty much follows what I've done too. Unless Geoff Larson is into red herrings in a big way I wasn't able to use any of the following objects: piping, clapperboard, cloak, diary, bowl of fruit, cigar and book of occult. Also Pendragon mentions in his review that the mannequin and clapperboard had him foxed for hours (I only examined the mannequin to find an object) so presumably he did find some use for them. Has anyone out there played this game and, as I suspect, there is more to it than my (and CASA's) solution ?
Last edited by fuzzel on Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Larsoft

Post by fuzzel »

I think I'll look through the code and see if I can find a routine to print the locations / messages / objects etc. That should allow me to see if there's anything more to the game than I've discovered so far.
Perhaps Geoff had the intention to include some extra narratives / puzzles to the game (supernatural and spying themes are present) but maybe ran out of room before being able to implement them fully.
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PJ-1978
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Re: Larsoft

Post by PJ-1978 »

I know this is an old-ish thread, but as I'm determined to try and come out of lurkdom a bit thought I'd throw my thoughts in - I can highly recommend 'The Puppet Man', still got my copy from 30-odd years ago. Great text adventure which literally drips atmosphere. Anyone looking for a good starting point with Larsoft games, or just for a decent text adventure in general, I can recommend this one (also, I was proud to beat it, with no help, when I was about 9 years old). I always longed for the other titles in the series, it's only in recent years thanks to the internet I finally have.

(I had a go at Wychwood last Christmas, seems I'm one of many who got stumped by the slab which you have to "push" open(!). I should put some time into finishing that one, though seem to now have more fun on trying to crack the adventures that have never reportedly been solved yet).
fuzzel wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:37 pm
I think I'll look through the code and see if I can find a routine to print the locations / messages / objects etc. That should allow me to see if there's anything more to the game than I've discovered so far.
Perhaps Geoff had the intention to include some extra narratives / puzzles to the game (supernatural and spying themes are present) but maybe ran out of room before being able to implement them fully.
It's funny you should say that because I've always felt exactly the same with 'Puppet Man'. It's the sort of game where there certainly are some red herrings, but there are quite a few things in the game, particularly in the latter stages, which do feel like they were for other puzzles which were never implemented for some reason (I remember when playing all those years ago being disappointed by the slightly rushed ending with quite a few things unresolved, but still a great game). Maybe again it was due to memory restrictions or publisher deadlines.
With the various interviews that are appearing nowadays in various sources, would be fascinating to read one with Geoff and his series of games (unless there is one and I've missed it).
...Should have put more thought into thinking of a clever user name!!
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8bitAG
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Re: Larsoft

Post by 8bitAG »

I think he might've been on the Classic Adventurer list, because I know Mark likes the cover artwork... but I don't think Geoff could be tracked down. I've been tempted to port some of the BBC-only Larsoft games to other platforms... They always looked interesting.
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lurkio
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Re: Larsoft

Post by lurkio »

PJ-1978 wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:12 pm
fuzzel wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:37 pm
I think I'll look through the code and see if I can find a routine to print the locations / messages / objects etc. That should allow me to see if there's anything more to the game than I've discovered so far.
It's funny you should say that because I've always felt exactly the same with 'Puppet Man'.
With my new-found Quill-hacking skillz, I dumped the Puppet-Man database for you. But first I had to convert it from tape-Quill format to disc-Quill format:

Btw, @PJ-1978, have you had a look at fuzzel's new game yet?:
:?:
Last edited by lurkio on Mon Jun 15, 2020 6:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
fuzzel
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Re: Larsoft

Post by fuzzel »

lurkio wrote:
With my new-found Quill-hacking skillz, I dumped the Puppet-Man database for you.
That's seriously impressive! Was Aussie Suds written using the Quill because I got stuck in that one a few months ago, presumably near the end.
I'll dig out my notes and try to finish it.
btw I've just had a go playing Gnome Adventure, very frustrating when you have exits to virtually all the compass directions and end up back where you were from each one. What's that all about?
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Re: Larsoft

Post by fuzzel »

PJ-1978 wrote:
seem to now have more fun on trying to crack the adventures that have never reportedly been solved yet)
You may find the attached useful. I got a copy of the CASA database for the BBC Micro in excel format showing which games hadn't been solved yet.
I then added (hey, I had a few days spare) a list of all the reviews from the Micro User and Electron User so I could find the odd bit of help when I needed it. It also gave me some info on which were the most popular BBC adventure games (by hint requests or offered solutions).
BBC Adventures.xls
(473 KiB) Downloaded 37 times
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PJ-1978
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Re: Larsoft

Post by PJ-1978 »

fuzzel wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 6:49 pm
PJ-1978 wrote:
seem to now have more fun on trying to crack the adventures that have never reportedly been solved yet)
You may find the attached useful. I got a copy of the CASA database for the BBC Micro in excel format showing which games hadn't been solved yet.
I then added (hey, I had a few days spare) a list of all the reviews from the Micro User and Electron User so I could find the odd bit of help when I needed it. It also gave me some info on which were the most popular BBC adventure games (by hint requests or offered solutions).

BBC Adventures.xls
That is certainly of interest, as I'm always up for a good adventure and a good challenge - and it should whittle down those that haven't been completed, with respect, for good reason ('cos they're kinda rubbish!) :lol: I shall browse it and pick out a few candidates to tackle.

Re. Gnome adventure, at first I thought it was part of a puzzle that when solved would take you out of the loop, but I tried all those years ago and tried all day yesterday, and nope, nothing (even made a map, rather useless). The listing suggests there's more to do inside the Union HQ which would progress the game but I'm now fairly becoming certain the game is just bugged and unsolvable. From what I can see there's no author on it (beyond 'Model B Computing' that can even be asked about it. But that's all probably for the other thread! :lol:
...Should have put more thought into thinking of a clever user name!!
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Re: Larsoft

Post by fuzzel »

Before attempting one of the unsolved adventures, I'd check on CASA adventure solutions first, just in case yours truly has already completed it!
The CASA information is over a year old so some of them are bound to have been completed. iamaran was also working his way through them.
lurkio wrote:
Btw, @PJ-1978, have you had a look at fuzzel's new game yet?
http://bbcmicro.co.uk/game.php?id=3453:
Are you plugging my game or your website? :D
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lurkio
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Re: Larsoft

Post by lurkio »

fuzzel wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 8:15 pm
lurkio wrote:
Btw, @PJ-1978, have you had a look at fuzzel's new game yet?
http://bbcmicro.co.uk/game.php?id=3453:
Are you plugging my game or your website? :D
Ha! Both, of course! :D

Btw, for new members and anyone else who might not know, I should probably mention that the website bbcmicro.co.uk is the result of a joint effort by lots of people and draws on a number of different collections/archives.

See the bbcmicro.co.uk section of this forum, where you can read more about the site, make suggestions, report bugs, etc.:
:idea:
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Re: Larsoft

Post by iamaran »

I'd like to add that (if you're interested) 103 of the 496 "official" games remain unsolved (though some were never released and are therefore unsolvable). That's still over 20% and not good enough! Submit your maps and solutions!
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Re: Larsoft

Post by fuzzel »

I've just been reading an old Micro User and came across a review for Hex by Larsoft. It sounded like a bit of fun for an Easter weekend so I'm having a go at it, Quill based games generally not being that big. I've downloaded the version from the Complete BBC Micro Games Archive (http://www.bbcmicro.co.uk/game.php?id=1661) but slightly disappointingly it loads in Mode 6. Does this mean it's an Electron version? Incidentally I tried CTRL-V and 7 and it rather obligingly switched to Mode 7.
Here's a review:
Hex by Larsoft Review EU Jun88.jpg
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lurkio
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Re: Larsoft

Post by lurkio »

fuzzel wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:24 pm
I've downloaded the version from the Complete BBC Micro Games Archive (http://www.bbcmicro.co.uk/game.php?id=1661) but slightly disappointingly it loads in Mode 6. Does this mean it's an Electron version?
I have a vague sense that the only machine that Hex was ever officially released for was the Electron. (The same may be true of all the other Larsoft adventures too.) See "Stated compatibility" on the following webpage, for example:

http://8bs.com/elecgame/hex.htm

fuzzel wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:24 pm
Incidentally I tried CTRL-V and 7 and it rather obligingly switched to Mode 7.
Good tip! Funnily enough, I think pressing Break has the same effect. But CTRL-V 7 might be safer.

:idea:
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8bitAG
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Re: Larsoft

Post by 8bitAG »

Looking at Geoff's Facebook page, it seems like Arcadian has been in touch with him recently. Hopefully he can be coaxed into talking about his games.
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Arcadian
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Re: Larsoft

Post by Arcadian »

8bitAG wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:52 pm
Looking at Geoff's Facebook page, it seems like Arcadian has been in touch with him recently. Hopefully he can be coaxed into talking about his games.
Yes he's emailed me back, I'm going to reply tomorrow, still on today's ABug event which has been running since 9am(!)
For a "Complete BBC Games Archive" visit www.bbcmicro.co.uk
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Re: Larsoft

Post by 8bitAG »

Arcadian wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:20 pm
Yes he's emailed me back, I'm going to reply tomorrow, still on today's ABug event which has been running since 9am(!)
Very cool... I was literally just about to message him last night, to ask about the Spectrum versions of hi titles, when I noticed your comment on the page so I thought I'd wait and see what your correspondence revealed.

It'd be great to learn more about the story behind his games and maybe find out if the abrupt endings in some of them was down to running out of memory... and how they would've finished otherwise. Definitely a very unique set of adventures... and the artwork was glorious too.

I think Mark Hardisty, having started out as an Electron owner, would probably be interested in talking to him for Classic Adventurer, if Geoff could be tempted.
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Re: Larsoft

Post by fuzzel »

8bitAG wrote:
Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:40 am
Arcadian wrote:
Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:20 pm
Yes he's emailed me back, I'm going to reply tomorrow, still on today's ABug event which has been running since 9am(!)
Very cool... I was literally just about to message him last night, to ask about the Spectrum versions of hi titles, when I noticed your comment on the page so I thought I'd wait and see what your correspondence revealed.

It'd be great to learn more about the story behind his games and maybe find out if the abrupt endings in some of them was down to running out of memory... and how they would've finished otherwise. Definitely a very unique set of adventures... and the artwork was glorious too.

I think Mark Hardisty, having started out as an Electron owner, would probably be interested in talking to him for Classic Adventurer, if Geoff could be tempted.
Geoff wrote a very interesting article in May 1988's The Micro User about how he found the inspiration to write his adventure games. You'd be well advised to read it. He also mentioned that he was in discussions with the O'Leary brothers at Robico about writing a game for them, I'd love to know how far that progressed (I suppose it's too much to hope that we could have a potential lost game to discover?)
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Re: Larsoft

Post by fuzzel »

Geoff Larsen's Micro User article from May 1988 (pp 40-41):
gl1.jpg
gl2.jpg
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