Trying to find a procedurally generated text adventure I may have Imagined - Billion?

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Destroid
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Trying to find a procedurally generated text adventure I may have Imagined - Billion?

Post by Destroid » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:49 am

I'm going absolutely bonkers trying to find any trace of this game online. As far as I remember, it was called Billion and the gimmick was that it procedurally generated an adventure making it different each time.

It was obviously very simple but atmospheric in the way a lot of modern twine games are. Some recurring puzzles involving giving money to a corrupt politician, melting an ice wall, Anne I think giving a sandwich to a homeless person. I'm only certain about the politician though. There was also regularly a fortnin the distance. There may or may not have been basic artwork.

There were quotes and excerpts from poems throughout. I seem to vaguely remember the red B icon but I could be wrong on that. I don't remember where the game came from, it was just always there. As far as I remember it was its own thing and not inform - I remember we had this, curses and adventure.

Anyone have any clue? Have I hallucinated this?

Phlamethrower
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Re: Trying to find a procedurally generated text adventure I may have Imagined - Billion?

Post by Phlamethrower » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:44 am

You didn't hallucinate it (unless it was a shared hallucination!). I think it was distributed via magazine cover disc back in the day (mid to late nighties). I'll track it down when I get home tonight (unless someone else beats me to it).

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lurkio
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Re: Trying to find a procedurally generated text adventure I may have Imagined - Billion?

Post by lurkio » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:00 am

Dunno much about the Archie, but I do know that the game you’re looking for is Billion by William Tunstall-Pedoe:


It’s an ingenious game written in BBC BASIC (for the Archie). I once tried listing it to see how it worked but I was foiled because Pedoe had encrypted all the text strings...

He went on to create Crossword Genius and Anagram Genius, which was apparently used by Dan Brown to generate anagrams for The Da Vinci Code. And he founded the company that developed the voice-assistant technology now used by Amazon. So it looks like Billion was probably the most benign thing he ever did. :wink:

Billion was released as public domain, I think, and it can be found in one of those libraries of Archie software that are online somewhere, if I remember right.

:idea:

EDIT: Here's a zip of the app folder, FWIW. Don't ask me how I got it to run! My Archie foo is weak.
Last edited by lurkio on Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Destroid
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Re: Trying to find a procedurally generated text adventure I may have Imagined - Billion?

Post by Destroid » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:59 pm

Omg thanks so much! This was a big part of my childhood along with curses(which I never finished) and Advent.

Why is it that there's almost no record of it online when it's such a unique game?

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lurkio
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Re: Trying to find a procedurally generated text adventure I may have Imagined - Billion?

Post by lurkio » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:35 pm

Destroid wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:59 pm
Omg thanks so much! This was a big part of my childhood along with curses(which I never finished) and Advent.
Inform, Advent, and Curses, for the Archie, are available here:

Destroid wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:59 pm
Why is it that there's almost no record of it online when it's such a unique game?
Maybe because it was a public-domain release and got little publicity? Also, by 1990 text adventures were generally considered old hat (though I realise that Billion is much more than your bog-standard text adventure), and the Inform-driven revival hadn't really got going yet.

:?:

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