Micromud

discuss text & graphic adventures for Acorns. level 9, robico & epic led this field
fuzzel
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Micromud

Postby fuzzel » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:49 am

I've just been reading a review, in an old Commodore User magazine, of a C64 game called Micromud, which was written by Jon Stuart and Paul McCraken on a BBC micro with 6502 second processor. It was never released commercially apparently due to the small market for 2nd processesor games. I wonder if this could be tracked down ? Perhaps it could be added to the "lost and found" archive ?
The game was a single player version of the original MUD multi user dungeon written by Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle at Essex University in the 1980s and played over the JANET (joint academic network). I remember playing a later version called MIST when I studied at Essex at the end of the 80's.

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lurkio
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Re: Micromud

Postby lurkio » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:26 am

Could you please link to the issue of the magazine, or provide details (issue number and/or year, etc.)?

:?:

fuzzel
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Re: Micromud

Postby fuzzel » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:37 am

Commodore User issue 53 Feb 1988 - page 93
Can be found here:
https://archive.org/details/commodoreuser-magazine

Great website !

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lurkio
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Re: Micromud

Postby lurkio » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:18 pm

Thanks. Here's the relevant section of the review article:

Image
Image

It sounds like the Beeb was used only as a dev system, and the target system (on which end-users would play the game) was always going to be the C64. So the only people who might still have copies of the "original" Beeb version are the developers themselves, Stuart and McCraken, I reckon.

The C64 version already seems to be available, but if you're really keen to find the "original" and fancy a bit of a challenge, then I'd suggest trying to track the devs down. It's worked for me in the past, very often with positive results: developers of old Beeb software are usually very pleased to find that their work is still remembered and/or sought out by anyone, let alone an international forum of Acorn fans!

:idea:

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fuzzel
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Re: Micromud

Postby fuzzel » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:24 pm

I'll see if I can track either of them down on the internet.
Does anyone know if they wrote any other games ?

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Re: Micromud

Postby fuzzel » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:16 pm

Looks like they wrote another game together called Harrier Mission or Jump Jet which appears to have had a BBC conversion. There are 2 games called Jump Jet on the Beeb, the Doctorsoft version is written by Shaw & Waltham but the Anicom version is uncredited.
It would appear that Paul McCraken wrote the game and Jon Stuart wrote the music, I wonder if they had the same arrangement for Micromud ? !

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lurkio
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Re: Micromud

Postby lurkio » Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:39 pm

@fuzzel, check your PMs.

:idea:

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lurkio
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Re: Micromud

Postby lurkio » Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:28 pm

Found another interesting note about using a Beeb+coprocessor to develop games for non-Beeb platforms (as with Micromud above):

Steve Wetherill wrote:Heartland was written from scratch (not based on Nodes of Yesod or Robin of the Wood) in Z80 assembly language. The code for the game was developed on a BBC Model B computer with the Z80 second processor running CPM. Under CPM we used the M80/L80 assembler/linker combination, and the Memo text editor. The Beebs had twin disk drives, so tools would run on one drive and game code would live on the other. In order to get code to the Spectrum, we’d use one of a variety of downloaders. At different times we used custom parallel and serial downloaders attached in various ways to the Spectrums (including Interface 1). Early on at Odin, some development had been attempted on Spectrums using MicroDrives, but this was quickly abandoned due to the unreliability of the Microdrive media.

The Beebs were really nice to use, though I seldom used the machine in actual BBC Micro mode. I think I might have spent a few hours playing Elite, having said that.

:idea:

EtchedPixels
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Re: Micromud

Postby EtchedPixels » Sun Nov 13, 2016 9:29 pm

The Micro version of MUD that was produced for the Commodore 64 with a floppy drive and I actually saw it running. It was painfully slow on the C64 as it used the floppy drive in part as a co-processor to fit it all in, but maybe would have been better on the BBC with the saner tube interface and faster disk I/O. The other players were sort of AI-ish. I don't believe a BBC one ever made release. Sadly it seems it dived sufficiently that nobody did an Atari ST/Amiga/Archimedes port where it would have run well if someone had added the mandatory by then graphics.

It didn't do well in the market, getting a mix of awards of cleverness and panned for playability. It was MUD, it was all of it and it seemed to be pretty complete when I played it at a show.

Some years later Level 9 did a game that was in part a fun poke at MUD (Knight Orc) and it actually caught the atmosphere of the game far better IMHO.

Quite a few of the early MUD games actually ran on micros - at one of the MUD events I got to see a multiplayer BBC game running, and Shades and Gods also used pretty low end hardware. You don't actually need much to run a bytecoded multiplayer adventure. A PC/XT was fine even without trying.

BBC's were nice for development. At Adventure International / Adventuresoft we used a (one singular for the entire company) biggish TRS80 with floppies originally but the later game system was BBC micro based. We did try the QL briefly --- very briefly 8)

Once 32bit processors appeared most development moved to the Amiga, with the PC ports done on PC.

I'm also an old MIST player. I usually only admit this from a distance because the conversations tended to go

'I used to hate XYZ, they always killed me'
(me)That was me
'and ...'
(me)That was me
'and ...'

Alan (Anarchy, Jennycide, Knknkqqkl and a few other MIST names)

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sweh
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Re: Micromud

Postby sweh » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:10 pm

EtchedPixels wrote:Alan (Anarchy, Jennycide, Knknkqqkl and a few other MIST names)


Code: Select all

E.      The users of the system hereby agree that they will reserve the names
        Anarchy, Bonzo, Potato, Aneirin, Debugiit, Hobbit for the game
        authors. If the names are not already in use, they may be created and
        given random passwords.


AberMud 5.21 license file :-)
Rgds
Stephen

fuzzel
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Re: Micromud

Postby fuzzel » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:39 pm

Was Knight Orc ever released for the Acorn range of computers ?
I've just checked my level 9 downloads folder and I don't appear to have it.

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lurkio
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Re: Micromud

Postby lurkio » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:44 pm

fuzzel wrote:Was Knight Orc ever released for the Acorn range of computers ?

Probably not for the Beeb, at least:

:idea:

fuzzel
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Re: Micromud

Postby fuzzel » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:29 am

I've been reading some of the posts regarding the beeb version of Knight Orc and it seems unlikely we'll ever get to play it (unless there are any beeb-mad cat burglars out there who'd fancy doing a job on the Austins' loft). I'd always assumed that Knight Orc was another compilation series like Time and Magik and Silicon Dreams, so the good news is that I get to play a brand new (to me anyway) Level 9 game today on my C64 emulator. Christmas has indeed come early! Maybe my idea of a crowdfunded plea to the Austins to write Lords of Time 2 can now be shelved, at least for a short while.....

fuzzel
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Re: Micromud

Postby fuzzel » Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:08 pm

While I'm off on a tangent discussing the non-beeb game Knight Orc, I've had a shot of it on the C64 emulator and got to the end of part 1.
However, the game is asking me for a word from the "sign of the orc" novella which comes with the game. The version on the net, unfortunately, has been OCR'd so of no use. I wonder if anyone out there has a pdf of the original novella they could post ? The alternative would mean buying the game on ebay which would set me back around a tenner and also waste valuable time.


fuzzel
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Re: Micromud

Postby fuzzel » Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:06 pm

That'll do very nicely, thanks Lurkio!

dakidski
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Re: Micromud

Postby dakidski » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:57 pm

I'd love to hear the whole story.
Wish I could pick your brain.
Do you blog about it anywhere? And let me know if you ever write a book about those days.

Regards.

EtchedPixels wrote:The Micro version of MUD that was produced for the Commodore 64 with a floppy drive and I actually saw it running. It was painfully slow on the C64 as it used the floppy drive in part as a co-processor to fit it all in, but maybe would have been better on the BBC with the saner tube interface and faster disk I/O. The other players were sort of AI-ish. I don't believe a BBC one ever made release. Sadly it seems it dived sufficiently that nobody did an Atari ST/Amiga/Archimedes port where it would have run well if someone had added the mandatory by then graphics.

It didn't do well in the market, getting a mix of awards of cleverness and panned for playability. It was MUD, it was all of it and it seemed to be pretty complete when I played it at a show.

Some years later Level 9 did a game that was in part a fun poke at MUD (Knight Orc) and it actually caught the atmosphere of the game far better IMHO.

Quite a few of the early MUD games actually ran on micros - at one of the MUD events I got to see a multiplayer BBC game running, and Shades and Gods also used pretty low end hardware. You don't actually need much to run a bytecoded multiplayer adventure. A PC/XT was fine even without trying.

BBC's were nice for development. At Adventure International / Adventuresoft we used a (one singular for the entire company) biggish TRS80 with floppies originally but the later game system was BBC micro based. We did try the QL briefly --- very briefly 8)

Once 32bit processors appeared most development moved to the Amiga, with the PC ports done on PC.

I'm also an old MIST player. I usually only admit this from a distance because the conversations tended to go

'I used to hate XYZ, they always killed me'
(me)That was me
'and ...'
(me)That was me
'and ...'

Alan (Anarchy, Jennycide, Knknkqqkl and a few other MIST names)

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lurkio
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Re: Micromud

Postby lurkio » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:05 am

Yet more use of a Beeb+coprocessor to produce code for non-Beeb machines -- this time it's the text adventure authoring tool The Quill by Graeme Yeandle and Tim Gilberts:

STEFAN: The first version of “The Quill” was created for the ZX Spectrum, a computer widely regarded as spawning the UK home computing scene in the early 80s. I assume plans for porting “The Quill” to other platforms originated very quickly, following the great success. Did you have a priority list and can you tell me in what order the ports occured? I’m also very interested in who was responsible for the ports. They all seem to be very well done.

TIM: Now you are asking – I spent hours searching archives to work this out: The Commodore 64 was next and Graeme wrote the 6502 code. I used that code to create the Oric 1 and Atmos versions. I think Graeme stuck then with the Z80 machines and produced the one for the Amstrad CPC and then the compiler based PCW one – he also converted my Spectrum Illustrator code for the CPC. Both of us had switched to using a BBC with a co-processor for our cross assembly work on CPM for both 6502 and Z80 by then.

... Unusually enough the BBC/Electron version was not based on the existing code base or work of the programmers but, on a separately developed program submitted to us by Neil Fleming-Smith.
:idea:


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