Duck! Me? – A text adventure in PunyInform – Call for beta testers

development and releases of new/rewritten text adventures
EdwardianDuck
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Duck! Me? – A text adventure in PunyInform – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

I’m asking for beta testers for my first adventure, provisionally entitled “Duck! Me?” This is a traditional (or, if you prefer, old-fashioned) text adventure, so you can die and put the game into an unwinnable position (just like real life).

If anyone is interested, please try it and report back bugs, annoyances, recommendations, spelling, grammar etc. I’m aware the text needs another read through by me for consistency, but I wanted to get it out before the evening’s virtual ABUG meeting.

The struck through notes below applied to the original 6502 implementation, what remains still applies in the rewrite.

A few points:

  • It’s for a Master 128 only and requires all 4 banks of SW RAM. There won’t be a Model B version; I’ve used 65SC12 specific instructions.
  • You have SAVE and LOAD as well as RAMSAVE and RAMLOAD.
  • Use VERBS to get a list of implemented verbs and abbreviations.
  • Objects may be disambiguated using optional adjectives, although there are only a couple of instances in the game where this is useful.
  • It starts up in 80 column mode, but once you’ve read the blurb, you can switch to 40 column mode using the CO40 command.
  • Despite the identity of the protagonist, it’s not suitable for children.
  • It doesn't use a fixed number of characters to match words. You will need to enter sufficient characters (at least 3) to uniquely identify words. There is at least once instance where you'll have to use the full word.


Enjoy
Jeremy
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ADV1-Beta-15-20210729.zip
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ADV1-Beta-15-20210729.ssd
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Last edited by EdwardianDuck on Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:50 pm, edited 13 times in total.
melchett
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by melchett »

Looking good so far @EdwardianDuck - hopefully have more time this weekend to delve a little deeper. Initial reaction is that I like the verbose descriptions and seems to be well written. And the 80 column format on my big monitor works satisfyingly well.
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by lurkio »

EdwardianDuck wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:47 pm
I’m asking for beta testers for my first adventure, provisionally entitled “Duck! Me?”
First impressions are that the engine is really well put together. Is it entirely hand-rolled in assembler?

I notice that the text data that's loaded into SWRAM is uncompressed. Do you think it would fit into a Model B with compression (and reworking of 65SC12-specific code)? Not a criticism; just wondering...

=D> =D>
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by catventure »

Hi EdwardianDuck and lurkio,

If I wanted to take a look at this which is the best emulator for PC Windows to use to run the .ssd file?

Thanks,
catventure
Catventure.

( Author of TAB for Windows: Retro text adventure creator similar to QUILL/PAW/GAC. Visit http://tab.thinbasic.com )
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by lurkio »

catventure wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:38 pm
If I wanted to take a look at this which is the best emulator for PC Windows to use to run the .ssd file?
Try the latest release of BeebEm:

https://github.com/stardot/beebem-windows/releases

Use the menus to switch the Model to Master 128.

:idea:
Last edited by lurkio on Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
EdwardianDuck
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

Thank you both for taking the time to look at it and for the encouraging comments.

Yes, it's entirely in assembler (CA65 + a lot of macros for the data. CA65 has a very good macro capability IMHO) and I've put rather a lot of effort into the engine, perhaps to the extent of over thinking a few things. I guess that's why it's taken so long to write one smallish game. However, the effort will pay off in subsequent games.

Compression is something I have to look at. My initial analysis of the text being naively compressed using a dictionary for common words didn't generate much compression. I need to revisit that. Having said that I do like the speed of response from not having compression and not having to access the disk all the time.

Also, for me personally, 80 columns is a must as is verbose text (I firmly support calling a spade a "manually operated agricultural tilling device"), hence the decision to go Master 128 only.

There's a lot of use of STZ addr and that would have to be replaced by PHA, LDA #0, STA addr, PLA so that's a 4 byte overhead per STZ replacement and the equivalent for LDA (zp), so moving to a Model B is going to make the engine even larger.

So, no real plans for a Model B version.

Jeremy
Last edited by EdwardianDuck on Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

@catventure or you can use B2 https://github.com/tom-seddon/b2 which is what I've used for development.

Jeremy
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by lurkio »

EdwardianDuck wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:45 pm
Also, for me personally, 80 columns is a must as is verbose text (I firmly support calling a spade a "manually operated agricultural tilling device"), hence the decision to go Master 128 only.
Please don't ever get rid of the option to switch to MODE7, which, for me and I'm sure many others, will forever be the classic Beeb screen mode for text adventures. The font in MODE7 is clearer and more readable, especially for ageing eyes!

Just a suggestion/wish. You are of course entirely free to do whatever you want with your own game!

:idea:
EdwardianDuck
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

Don't worry, MODE 7 is baked in. I'm aware that I'm the outlier preferring 80 columns. There is an item on the to do list to allow start up in MODE 7.

Jeremy
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by fuzzel »

Hi EdwardianDuck, congratulations on writing your first adventure. I've downloaded it and got it working - looking forward to playing it when time permits. It's very fast being in assembly language and I haven't spotted any wordwrap errors so far. Roughly how many locations, objects and puzzles by the way?
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

@fuzzel

There are 36 rooms, 74 objects but I haven't counted the puzzles.

Jeremy
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by ash73 »

Shame there wasn't a 80 column teletext mode on the Beeb, using just 2k of memory. Would have been perfect for a vast array of text adventures as well as word processors, spreadsheets etc.

Might be worth thinking about a version for the B/B+ with shadow memory, or even the rPi co-processor, I expect a lot of people using real Beebs have upgraded to that.

I've had a quick play and it looks very slick, only thing that irritated me so far is having to use examine, rather than look. Typing those few extra letters adds up. And I can't carry much, but there might be a fix for that... if only my meal hadn't disappeared in the microwave!
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

X = EXAMINE or EXA or EXAM ...

Jeremy
Last edited by EdwardianDuck on Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

LOOK = redescribe room
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

It might be possible to alias LOOK {object} to EXAMINE {object], so long as I can do it without breaking other uses of LOOK.

Something to ponder.

Jeremy
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by ash73 »

EdwardianDuck wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 2:24 pm
X = EXAMINE
That I like!

I've had a good explore, lots of interesting locations and items. I've hit that usual point in text adventures where I get stuck, and my patience isn't what it used to be, but that's no fault of the game! Maybe add some hints, here and there?

The game feels slick and professional, and original too.

Couple of tiny bugs:
no confirmation of take/drop/put - I'd suggest add "ok"
objects get lost in containers (microwave, drawer) - they're not mentioned if you examine the container, but you can still take them back
typo on the certificate - "by a the Martian..."
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

(Just to manage everyone's expectations anything non-trivial probably won't get fixed until the weekend.)

@ash73 Thank you for the feedback.
  • Lack of confirmation. Actually I had that in an earlier iteration, but as I was returning a specific message for each verb, it started to get a bit messy and was generating a lot of short messages. If the consensus is that "OK" will suffice for all confirmations, that's easy enough to add back in. Note to self, obviously not when there is an After{Verb}{Object} handler implemented in the game as that will/should provide it's own confirmation.
  • Containers. Noted, I hadn't throught of that. In the short term you can also LOOK IN {Container}. Note to self, I can't just chain to this code after examine because of output formatting, but functionally it works. Just needs tidying up. Note some containers are open, always open (like a bucket) or transparent, so code needs to allow for that.
  • LOOK {Object} can be mapped to EXAMINE {Object}. LOOK on it's own is still "redescribe room"
Jeremy
EdwardianDuck
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

I've uploaded Beta 2 to the top post (hopefully that's acceptable practice).
  • EXAMINE {Container} now appends a variant of LOOK IN {Container}.
  • LOOK {Object} is mapped to EXAMINE {Object}.
  • Confirmation is a work in progress, there's a lot of code to work through.
  • MODE 7 startup. This can be forced by changing the first line of !BOOT to read

    Code: Select all

    A%=7
    Yes, it's a bit of a hack, but it will do for now. Any other value equates to 80 column mode. The side effect of this is that I had to make a small change which impacts saved files, so any existing saved positions won't load anymore. Sorry about that, but it was best to make this breaking change early.
  • Typo corrected.
Jeremy
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by Arcadian »

EdwardianDuck wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:50 pm
I've uploaded Beta 2 to the top post (hopefully that's acceptable practice).
Yes, of course.

I like how you've kept the previous version in the post too, it's always nice to see the history/development of a game preserved...
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by ash73 »

load, quit and restart do not work when it's too dark to see.

Is there a hint sheet?
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by tricky »

The text in my games menu is all compressed with a pointer to the beginning of each screen. Use cursor left and right to see how fast it prints, using the OS for a change. I think it compresses to about half, but could be easy of and would need to check. I can't even remember it it has a dictionary per page or one for the whole thing.
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

ash73 wrote:
Wed Jan 20, 2021 10:12 pm
load, quit and restart do not work when it's too dark to see.

Is there a hint sheet?
There are also some other verbs which should work in the dark, I'll add that to the to do list.

There is no hint sheet, but if you either PM me or post a question here (please use ROT13 to obfuscate and avoid spoilers) I'll point you in the right direction.

Jeremy
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

Beta 3 uploaded to the top post (also beta 2 reloaded because of incorrect file name).

Fixes in beta 3.
  • "System command" verbs QUIT, WAIT, VERBOSE, BRIEF, RESTART, CO40, CO80, VERBS, RAMSAVE, RAMLOAD, LOAD & SAVE now work during the dark and don't count towards the dark move limit. In theory SCORE would work, but this game doesn't implement scoring.
  • LIGHT {Object} is also allowed during the dark. This existed before as game specific logic, but this has been made generic and moved to the skeleton.
  • Fixed a macro problem which caused one some initial data to always be zero. This was only used in one place and went unnoticed. As a result EXAMINE ME / SELF now works again.
  • Fixed one typo and added some text to the letter.
If anyone wants a hint, please PM me or post a ROT13 encoded question here.

Jeremy
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by ash73 »

EdwardianDuck wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:09 pm
If anyone wants a hint, please PM me or post a ROT13 encoded question here.
I'm probably being really thick, but...

V pna'g svaq n eryvnoyr yvtug fbhepr

and

V pna'g svaq n qevax, arrqrq gb guernq gur arrqyr
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

@ash73

No, you're not being thick at all. You've identified a couple of the main puzzles.

Gur frnepu sbe n eryvnoyr yvtug fbhepr erdhverf lbh gb fbyir fbzr bgure chmmyrf svefg, ohg gur gbepu'f ynpx bs eryvnovyvgl pna or znantrq.

And

Ntnva, gung'f bar bs gur znva chmmyrf. Lbh arrq gb znxr fbzrguvat gb qevax.

To get you started, have you?

Sbhaq naq rkcrevzragrq jvgu n ung. Ab, abg gung ung, gur bgure bar.

Jeremy
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by ash73 »

EdwardianDuck wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 4:07 pm
To get you started, have you?

Sbhaq naq rkcrevzragrq jvgu n ung. Ab, abg gung ung, gur bgure bar.

Jeremy
Lrf V yvxr gung chmmyr, V xavggrq zl cnffjbeq!

Couple more possible bugs:

items seem to just disappear when you mnc gurz va gur zvpebjnir
zrffntr haqre gur ebpx is shown in every location you pick it up
cannot examine the machine in the lab (think it worked before?)
other verbs need confirmation (bar va cnegvphyne gung arrqf gb or qbar erthyneyl) - a general 'ok' is reassuring
Last edited by ash73 on Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
EdwardianDuck
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

Microwave. That's not a bug. :D Creuncf n penpx grnz bs nivna ratvarref unir zbqvsvrq vg?

Zrffntr haqre ebpx - yes, that's a bug

Machine (+ some other objects) - yes, that's a bug introduced by an earlier fix.

Confirmation, that's going to take a while to work through all the cases, so hasn't been finished yet.

Jeremy
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by ash73 »

I did wonder about that.
Last edited by ash73 on Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by ash73 »

I'm going to write to the Ministry of Adventure Games and complain about the sheer number of harengs rouges in this game, and when they get back from their socially distanced business lunch they're going to write a very stern letter. It will probably be left in the apparently pointless milk bottle adjacent to the stream I can't drink from.
Last edited by ash73 on Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
EdwardianDuck
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Re: Duck! Me? – A text adventure – Call for beta testers

Post by EdwardianDuck »

Just to note that a number of bugs have crept in as a result of the EXAMINE {Container} fix earlier this week. Sorry about that, but it's going to take some time to resolve them. So no new beta release tonight.

However, none of the bugs are microwave or milk bottle related!

Jeremy
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