Sunday, 30 September 2018

Day Thirty - It's Game Over In A Good Way!

The 30 days are up and I have a complete text adventure! Over 50 locations, plenty of items, puzzles and hopefully an engaging story. It's a text adventure with some graphics and sound thrown in their too.

So when will it be available? I need to get some end to end play testing done on Dragon and Tandy. Also there is that matter of the MC10 port.

I'd like to say thanks to the RetroChallenge organisers for running this event and anyone who has popped by this little blog. Thanks for dropping by! For now enjoy a little video of the start of the game.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Day Twenty Nine - How is it looking?

I think we are going to make it! Today was a mix of new items, puzzles and locations. For a change of pace, I worked on merging the 'win screen' into the game. Tomorrow I need to complete two puzzles and connect a couple of rooms then that is a version ready for testers. Well once cheats are disabled... :-)

This CAT has been working hard this month!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Day Twenty Eight - Running

Worked on the end game screen and fixed on a bug that made all objects too heavy. Still a few puzzles to go but think I can hit the Sunday deadline!

Sneak Peek - not giving much away!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Day Twenty Seven - Not Every Square

Locations and puzzles for a new area have been added. The map is a 8 by 8 square but I probably won't need every square for the game. For the end of the challenge, I aiming for a completeness and quality to send out to volunteer testers. Fingers crossed!

Need a cassette inlay style GFX for this text adventure!

Day Twenty Six - Nothing Done

Yep - day 26 was no progress. A little frustrating when so close to the deadline!

Zero Day

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Day Twenty Five - Location Dynanism

Today's little increment of the game was a location description that changes based on what the user is carrying. Wasn't planning on it but it fitted in nicely to the scenario.

Guess when the Title screen was shared on FB!

Monday, 24 September 2018

Day Twenty Four - Instructions and Avoiding Creep

First task of the day was to sort out some proper instructions. It would be nice to have the verb list appear in game too but I am trying not to add any non-essential features in the final week!

Keeping the instructions to the point!

Day Twenty Three - Heavy Things

Added a new type of item (common in text adventures) that is too heavy to lift! Usual bunch of tweaks as well. In a more advance game, it would be fun to have weights on the object and give the player RPG style strength. Maybe in RetroChallenge 2022!!

Heavy stuff!

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Day Twenty Two - Title Screen Reveal

Happy to be sharing the finished title screen as we enter the final week or so of the challenge!

Today's coding was merging this into the code. I made the common mistake of thinking this would be a short task. Took a little while fiddling the DATA statements and some ordering of the code. Tomorrow I'd like to get back to more gameplay features.

Final Title... maybe...

Day Twenty One - The Intro

Slow day for progress. Some text written for the introduction, very important to get the player into the setting and plot, and converted into code. Oh and may be changing the title yet again! So much tweaking of text.

Intro To The Story

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Day Twenty - Title Troubles

Bit worn out so having a relaxed session tonight. Working on an important point of the game so good to take time over it. It involves updating the players location and removing an object from the game. Good job the cheat is in place!

This game doesn't have a name yet. I've title it several times in my head and then forgotten my idea! Currently have a two word title which does seem to fit in with the era. Savage Island is taken though!

Rejected Title No. 47

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Day Ninteen - Location Locations

Locations today - first drafts of the descriptions. Also bit of set up for the next puzzle.

More Locations! Thanks for popping by.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Day Eighteen - I Was Surprised!

Today's evening coding session took a twist when I realised there were some flaws in the VERB NOUN interpreter. Mostly around checking if the player has the object they are trying to use. I did some refactoring and reduced some duplication. Good responses to the user makes such a difference to the feel of the game. Trying not to create spaghetti code, I would so love structured BASIC on the Dragon/Coco and call nicely named functions. Maybe the next one will be BASIC09...

Finished off by adding a cheat to get all items (to save time when testing) and fixing some screen update issues. So another day of progress despite the unexpected twists!

The Inconvenient Truth

Monday, 17 September 2018

Day Seventeen - TODO Done

As planned, I created a big TODO list which will inevitably grow. After that it was onto a short interstitial sequence which will break up the text scenes. Good fun to play with sounds and music!

Things TODO

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Day Sixteen - Final Rooms

The day's work can be summed up as maps and puzzles. There's one area needing some puzzles and details but the final rooms for the player are all set out. Definitely want a more satisfying ending than 'WELL DONE! PLAY AGAIN Y/N." ! Tomorrow's goal is a TODO list for the remaining two weeks.

A Case Of Mistaken Identity By Gitlab

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Day Fifteen - Halfway

I am usually optimistic about how much time I can get free on a Saturday! Today real life stuff kept me busy but I was able to do some testing on the game, add some tweaks and items. On 30 day / 1 week challenges, the most fun days to me are where you get the balance just right. At the halfway point I am not anxious about getting the coding done but there is a bit of the map/story I am uncomfortably fuzzy about. So tomorrow is probably going to be working on pen and paper and thrash it out!

A Little Debugging Information (Location Number) Speeds Development Along!

Day Fourteen - Back To The Map

Yes back on the map - planning out the next section. Finding that identifying locations soon brings puzzles to mind. Getting more difficult to do a daily blog post without spoilers so don't look too closely at today's photo!

Semi-obfuscated map. Cut and Paste in real life...

Thursday, 13 September 2018


The first two puzzles in place is today's step forward. Keep things interactive, there were a few YOU CAN'T responses and the computer referring to itself as 'I'. Today's Siri and Alexa don't seem to have advanced much in conversation!

A sneak peek at the title screen - organic blocks

Day Twelve - The First Zero Day

It was inevitable that at least one day would be missed and that was twelve days in. Not feeling panicked about it and resting the creative energies is probably a good idea!

The experience so far has been good - definitely appreciating the art of the text adventure a bit more. Quite a kick to create a little world and walk around it. This foray into adventure authoring may not be the last...

Duck Egg - 0

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Day Eleven - Reduce to 16K Later?

Big mix of small tasks today with planning for expanding the map with new locations, puzzle planning, title screen and music teaks. Added a LOOK and EXAMINE commands together with details on objects.

In a slight change of plans, I am thinking of requiring 32k for this game. Being constantly concerned with memory is a pressure I'd like to lose! Fairly sure the final version could make it down to 16k with some work.

Testing out the Examine Command

Monday, 10 September 2018

Day Ten - Text and a Plugin

I had a meeting tonight so I spend lunchtime on some text for the game. First up was an introduction to the game to set the scene. The other was some instructions (command list). I also found a Color Basic plugin for VSCode - quite unexpected! Seems to work well.

Visual Studio Code Plugin

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Day Nine - Puzzle Anxiety

Yesterday's refactoring paid off - adding the DROP verb was straightforward. The rest of day nine was misc tweaks with updates to the main screen display, title screen and inventory listing. Anxious to get my next puzzle coded ASAP!

Block divider for room screen layout

Day Eight - Sunshine Day Structure

An unexpected spell of sunshine meant a real world day of gardening instead of constant coding!

In the evening, I took a look at the code and decided to paused and restructure the VERB handling and it is now more expandable. Less spaghetti always helps. It would be great to have more structure - I may look at BASIC09 for future projects.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Day Seven - Bugs Before Puzzles

First real debugging session tonight - who knew picking up objects would be so troublesome! Oh well it has been a long day. Tomorrow's goal is dropping items and a start on puzzles.

My Little Library Of Adventure Inspiration

Thursday, 6 September 2018


Today was the day the reality of this being a 30 day project kicked in! Managing about 1 productive hour a night so far and don't feel like I need a weekend 'catch up' session.

The main focus was on objects and inventory. Mostly implemented - it was one area I had not really thought through so I hit a few books for inspiration. Finished off with a few tweaks to the music!

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Day Five - First Chapter

At the last count, the first 30 rooms are in the game. Without giving anything away, this chunk is a definite 'first chapter' of the adventure. Tested on the Coco tonight (in XRoar) to avoid any Dragon bias - I think the title music runs faster but that could be my imagination. Some code fixes before the MC-10 testing is possible (using INSTR for now). The game currently takes around 8k - some squeezing could be required to get it into 16k.

Thinking how awesome it would be to have the game complete in 2 weeks time and then spend the remainder polishing the text etc. Could happen with some hard work!

Running on an emulated Coco

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Day Four - Oh No You Don't!

The next logical step in the game is to allow the N,S,E and W commands to work. It was great to be able to walk around the game world and wander off the 'edge' of the map (?BS ERROR) so I quickly added a check for valid exits. Next was a little tidy up of the display and remove the CLS when the location updates. Much smoother!

Tomorrow is definitely more map work. Items the day after all being well.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Day Three - Bringing It Together

Data data data! More location and array work tonight. Slightly distracted by the Timberman event on YouTube but still got code written and tested. You can now run up the game and you are at the starting location - no code to let you move yet but that's probably next.

For a bit of fun at the end of my coding session, I tried out some title screen music.

Day Two - 64 Locations

Today's time was spent on map work. Mostly it was updating the paper version. The map CSV was updated and I decided to go for an 8 by 8 map.

I'd love to share a photo but it would probably spoil the game for any potential players! 😀 So for today's picture I offer a picture of the beach where I do some retro thinking. There's also a few beach locations in the game so it's appropriate.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Day One - The Map

The first day went well! I managed to fine some (appropriately retro) green lined fan-fold printer paper for a large map. So I scaled up my initial sketch for the first chunk of the game and added some annotations and some colour.

On the digital side, I installed a Tandy MC-10 emulator and ran some BASIC from text files. One little hitch is that the MC-10 is missing the INSTR command. Hopefully find a reasonable workaround.