Maybe I missed it
No mention of Sherlock??
Every few days, Veronika Megler gets email from a stranger. Some thank her for teaching them English. Others acknowledge her role as an influence in their decision to pursue a career in computing. Megler was never a teacher, nor a mentor, to those who send the messages. But her correspondents remember her fondly as one of …
this is purely out of curiosity, I couldn't find it anywhere. Wikipedia just mentions what it means, Google knows that what I really want is English so it will only show the results for that, no matter if I use + or "" before / around it, bing allowed me to search for that in the end, but didn't return any links that answered my question...
From the Wikipedia entry I believe it could other be "Input English" or "Interactive English", but I also have an unmatched talent at generally being wrong at things.
If nobody has an answer to this, I can cope with it... Cheers!
I was about to post sympathising about Google. It's maddening when they 'correct' your speling and absolutely refuse to believe you want to search for what you typed.
But then I tried it for myself, and got this on the first page of results:
Hope this helps.
You're a dead man, Vanni. I'm still scarred for life by that, since I discovered that you can put yourself into the chest in Bag End.
You see, if you climb into the chest then close it, the game very cleverly knows that it will be dark. Unfortunately, it being dark means you cannot see. So, despite being inside an unlocked chest, you can't get out again because you can't see it to open it. I spent far too long trying, and much if it went like this:
> THORIN, OPEN CHEST
Thorin ignores you.
> THORIN, OPEN CHEST
Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold.
> THORIN, OPEN CHEST
Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold.
In my next game, I discovered there is a very small chance that KILL THORIN will actually work.
Ah, yes---my first job out of uni I wrote Z-80 assembly, and indeed maintained the assembler.
My favorite story from that job, though, came from writing FORTRAN on an HP 2100 mini, and maintaining the compiler (proprietary, but we did get the source). About when my program started getting large enough to be useful, the compile started crawling. I noticed the speed went way up when I didn't ask for a variable listing, so I poked around.
They were using a O(n**2) sort. I.e., it would make one full pass over the symbol table for every symbol it emitted.
Ah, the early days, when even econ majors wrote code.
I thought it was a perfectly reasonable question, since earlier in the article she mentioned working in assembly, but not writing assemblers. Certainly she could have been writing assemblers - as others pointed out, it wasn't uncommon in days when 8-bit PCs roamed the earth to maintain one's own assembler - but there's no evidence elsewhere in the article that that's what she did. So the line in question could well have been an error.
The multiple downvotes for the original post are clearly from people who have difficulty with critical thinking.
Oh, and AC@18:43: You're an ass.
> For a lot of the old computers, a decent assembler was hard to get and we often had to write our own.
I remember that sort of thing. I typed in the assembler from INPUT magazine but don't recall ever getting it to work (it could have, in which case I lacked patience with it - and the commercial offerings we also had).
Ultimately, my machine code ended up finding its way into RAM courtesy of a short routine that read the target address/es and corresponding hex byte sequences from a BASIC program's REM statements ... and being small and simple, it ran from the printer buffer.
Only related by the fact it was a ZX Spectrum game also, but there was a feature in the game Valhalla, that if you entered a swear word a dwarf would run on and punch you while the legend 'Mary is not amused' was printed at the bottom of the screen, everyone presumed that it was a reference to Mary Whitehouse.
I was inspired by this game and a while afterwards decided to write a Lord of the Rings adventure on the commodore PET (because that was what I owned). The game had each character doing its own thing as you played the game and wandering around the map trying to achieve their own goals. I got quite far before running out of memory and realising that my design would never fit in 32K. The autonomous non-player characters also lead to some problems, but could be quite amusing. One of the first attempts at playing it worked well as I was progressing towards Weathertop, but every now and then I would get a description of the location followed by: "Here there is a dead Nazgul" then when I got to Weathertop I was greeted by "Here there is a dead Gandalf".
"Give lunch to elrond and say to elrond give lunch to snori and say to snori give lunch to thori and say to thori ... give lunch to thorin and say to thorin give lunch to gandalf and say to gandalf give lunch to me."
It was a huge amount of typing and you had to be very lucky, but sometimes the lunch went all the way round and got back to you.
Ah, the first adventure game I ever completed. I really loved it. . I also wondered at how they managed to fit it all into the 48k memory. But those were simpler times, when people really could get close to the device and make something useful without spending a grand on a compiler/ide/debugger.
I liked the fact that with "Inglish" the user could add to the atmosphere by adding in your own adverbs and adjectives, which would be repeated back: "You violently attack the vicious warg with the sword." I don't think it made any difference to the outcomes, but we could pretend.
This game stood up against many others created for 8 bit computers and still did up to 5 years later.
Such a wave of nostalgia you created with that article. Many thanks.
"without spending a grand on a compiler/ide/debugger"
Hum, back then I had to spend £30 on an editor/assembler/debugger, and £25 for a BASIC compiler that worked so badly it could be adequately described as a complete waste of £25. (I was 14. £25 was a LOT of money.)
Nowadays I can download all these things for nothing, from multiple sources, often including source code (although, in the case of gcc, you're better off not seeing that - c.f. laws and sausages).
Are you thinking of Visual Studio? That has a ticket price in the region of a grand, IIRC, although there are countless ways to get it cheaper (it comes free with an X360 dev system, for instance). And even without those, you've still got the magnificently crippled Visual Studio Express if you just want compiler/IDE/debugger.
Mind you, I'd gladly pay a grand for an XCode which was as good as Visual Studio.
I vaguely remember several, one involving making a tower with several characters carrying each other and the one at the bottom being killed meaning nobody else could get 'out' into the room and one involving barrels being thrown through a trapdoor.
I might re-enable Java and play it online, if I ever got time to waste...
I got stuck in the barrel room ;You got imprisoned in there, and to escape you had to get into a barrel and then dump it though the trap door into the river- do it without and you would drown. i threw the barrel out first one time, and could not proceed, so quit and reloaded from tape. This time when I was thrown into the room, there was no barrel, and it was never there ever after - this was without doing a game save- I have no idea what happened...
When I bought my copy for the Oric, you got a free copy of The Hobbit book, along with the tape.
I never actually finished the game. I got the ring, killed the dragon and got all the way home only to have [I presume] a bug cause whatever text was on screen as I traipsed my weary way home to suddenly have appended to it "... suddenly a poisonous spider drops from a tree and kills you. You are dead!" ...or words to that effect —it's been a while! Happened every bleedin' time. Most frustrating for a spotty young jackanapes.
Thanks to Dan 55 and Alex Galbraith for pre-empting my question about whether or not it was still available anywhere. Pity it requires Java though. T'would have been a fun thing to twiddle with on my iPhone.
I had a copy on my Oric I at one time (pirated, sorry), but playing it was frustrating because drawing of the images was horribly slow (like a minute for some of them). So I got too frustrated to get further than the Elf kings cave. The Spectrum version I saw at a friends was much faster, I wonder why.
But it is amazing that a game of such complexity could be crammed into 48K (and no disk accesses to help! Everything was loaded from the tape at the start).
Strewth, I hope that was an Atmos you had. Couldn't imagine anything more frustrating than a text adventure on the dodgy chicklet keyboard of the Oric 1. Having said that I did write a disassembler and got a fair way through a basic compiler on an Oric 1 before upgrading to a beeb.
I wasn't much for The Hobbit back in my Spectrum days. I didn't really get into adventures until the later part of the 80s. Rigel's Revenge was probably my favourite, as I preferred SF to fantasy.
But Penetrator was the dog's danglers, especially considering how early in the Spectrum's life it was written. I must have wasted weeks with the level editor, trying to create insanely narrow vertical canyons that were still navigable or seeing how many rockets I could get to launch at once into a confined space. The game was credited solely to Philip Mitchell on the loading screen, so knowledge of Veronika's contribution is new to me.
Still, The Hobbit. Imagine writing one of the most iconic games ever (one that probably helped launch a thousand careers in game design) and not knowing about its popularity until years later. Absolutely inconceivable now.
(Nuke for the final screen of Penetrator, which was bloody difficult even without ham-fisted level editing).
I'm with you on Penetrator. I remember my parents playing The Hobbit but it really didn't do anything for me. For it's time, Penetrator felt fast and furious and being able to design your own levels felt revolutionary. I was just getting into programming through the school computer club and code listings in magazines. But the graphics on games you wrote yourself were always crappy (even for a 8 bit home computers) so being able to design levels with the engine used in Penetrator felt amazing.
Seeing the graphics on The Hobbit was the inspiration for adding graphics to my own first commercial program, The Graphic Adventure Creator, and also a reminder of the pain of writing in hand-assembled assembler. Kudos to Veronika, and so nice to see her finally recognise the recognition she deserves.
You wrote the GAC? Respect :) Spent many months playing with that on my friend's Beeb. Although, being around 16 at the time, we wrote an adventure game about getting laid that's so embarrassing in retrospect I can't believe I just mentioned it. (It didn't have graphics, don't worry.)
Wow. Used to mess about with GAC loads on the BBC. Wrote some truly rubbish games and even thought at 14 my game may have been cool enough for Level 9 so sent it to them. They did reply but just said thanks for the effort but they couldn't load the thing. Probably a good thing!
Did write a game with it for a school project though. No one actually played it but got top marks for the effort.
Fantastic memories! I started with The Quill, Moved onto PAWS and then GAC (bows down). A few months ago I found my old Cassettes and rigged up some cables and managed to load a couple of the adventure games I wrote into a Speccy emulator... yep, they still loaded after a bit of tweaking.
I played something called 'Dragonworld' in what I remember as 1984, but IIRC it was on the Commodore 64. It had quite decent 320 graphics - on colour! - and I seem to remember the parser was quite good, although this might just be a fond memory now surrounded by the mists of time.
I think I'll start looking around for some emulators and dig up all those old classics.
Did you know the original Hawaii 5-0 and Mannix shows are now available on DVD ? I was amazed to discover they were actually in colour too !
One of the best games I ever played. I was a big Tolkien fan at the time and asked for this game along with my Spectrum for Christmas 1983. I eventually completed it a few times but I had to draw a map of the goblin caves because it was so easy to get lost.
BTW the pic on the first page of the article says "The splash screen for The Hobbit, circa 1992", you're ten years too late there unless that's when you actually took the pic!
At the black river it was possible to kill gandalf by getting him to drink from the stream.
If you then you continue on and complete the adventure, after putting the treasure into the chest at bag end, you get the following...
"A cheering crowd of dwarves, hobbits and elves appears. Led by dead Gandalf, they carry you off into the sunset proclaiming you hero of heroes and master adventurer."
Ah, that takes me back. Not that I ever completed it as a kid. I really must go back to it. I still tend to think "ope do" when opening doors, which is a bit worrying now I come to think about it.
After this, the Lord of the Rings game was a big disappointment, mostly because it barely worked (maybe I had an iffy tape). Although that's how I got my copy of Fellowship of the Ring, so it turned out all right in the end.
That's bizarre - I used to work at Beam/Melbourne House (amongst other things I worked on the ill fated buggy and badly reviewed sequel - The Lord of the Rings) not too long after The Hobbit came out, and I never realised The Hobbit wasn't written entirely by Phil. Not doubting - just surprised at my own ignorance.
The Hobbit: once I was working back late at night - 2 or 3 in the morning I guess - and the phone rang. I picked it up and a kid with an English accent said (with no introduction or preamble of any sort) "I'm stuck in the cellar and I can't work out how to stand on the barrel." or something similarly adventure-gameish. I presume he had obtained his parents permission before making an expensive international phone call.
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