Archive for the ‘crowtheradventure’ Tag

Observations about Crowther’s original Adventure (1975)   5 comments

A long held-belief about Crowther’s Adventure was that it was designed as a “cave simulation” and it was Woods who came along added magic and treasures and turned it from interactive simulation into interactive fiction.

We know, from the hard work of Dennis Jerz locating the original source (before Don Woods started modifying it) that this is not the case: the original Adventure included puzzles, treasures, and fantasy. However, it never answered the question that seems to follow immediately: how does it play? (Past this point there are spoilers.)

(Click the image for a full PDF map.)

The map is much smaller than the Woods-modified game, although many of the iconic locations like the Hall of the Mountain King and J2 are there. However, one gets the strong sense this was an abandoned work in progress. The bottom level (with Bedquilt and the Swiss Cheese Room) has exits that don’t work, and one that crashes the game. The area even has a sign that says: ‘CAVE UNDER CONSTRUCTION BEYOND THIS POINT. PROCEED AT OWN RISK.’ I first took this sign as an signal of danger in the in-game universe, but instead it appears to be Crowther’s marker that the code is unfinished past that point.

There’s a long featureless hall to the west leading to nothing. Nearby is the twisty maze of passages, all alike, although it’s different here than in the Woods version:

There’s no items and no point in entering the maze (other than noting it is rather less twisty than the one Woods came up with!).

There are three puzzles (grate, bird, and snake) and five treasures (marked at the end with an exclamation point, like THERE ARE MANY COINS HERE!) but they are all distributed very near the Hall of the Mountain King, as if Crowther had just started scattering them. Besides that, there’s no score, and no special message or ending if all the treasures are brought back to the brick building.

Other items worth noting:

* Upon dying, there’s an option to continue playing:

YOU FELL INTO A PIT AND BROKE EVERY BONE IN YOUR BODY!

PAUSE GAME IS OVER statement executed
To resume execution, type go. Other input will terminate the job.
go
Execution resumes after PAUSE.

It works just like an UNDO command would.

* TAKE ALL doesn’t work (not surprising) but INVENTORY doesn’t either (!), so the player is forced to keep track of their inventory separate from the game.

* Going down the grate is a one-way trip. However, “PLUGH” works in the Y2 Room to get the player back to the brick building.

* XYZZY also seems to be in (it is described in the text and parsed) but I was never able to get it to work. (ADDED: It works just fine, see my followup post.)

* The axe-tossing dwarf is in, although there doesn’t seem to be anything the axe is usable for. More dwarves can come later to throw knives, but the only recourse seems to be ATTACK (verb only) and randomly kill one (while they randomly kill you back, although the undo feature mitigates that).

* Typing out NORTH and WEST and other directions in full will eventually yield the message:

IF YOU PREFER, SIMPLY TYPE W RATHER THAN WEST.

* Swearing is recognized.

* There’s a dynamic hint for the bird puzzle in the source code, where the game ought to print:

ARE YOU TRYING TO CATCH THE BIRD?

whereupon you should be able to type YES and get a hint. However I wasn’t able to get it to trigger, it could be the code is buggy here.

* The source also mentions the crystal bridge, but again, I haven’t been able to get this to trigger and suspect it might be buggy. (ADDED: I was able to get it to work, see my followup post.)

Posted March 7, 2011 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Extra comments about Crowther’s original Adventure   6 comments

* The LAMP in the game can be referred to as a HEADLAMP. In other words, the proper visualization is not this

but this:

* WEAR is understood as picking something up.

* The game is in a “semibrief” mode of sorts where a full room description is displayed upon first entering a room and then once every five turns (in case someone flails around trying wrong directions, I suppose?).

* XYZZY works after all. Mea culpa.

* The solution to the bird puzzle is spoiled in the HELP response, again seriously suggesting the work-in-progress nature of the game (since it is only one puzzle out of three).

* The bottle of water lets you pour it on the ground.

* There are two ways to get “stuck”: 1.) you can use XYZZY to teleport without the lamp, and then can’t go anywhere without breaking your neck in a pit or 2.) you can kill the bird, blocking the ability to solve a later puzzle.

* The response to GET MIST:

MIST IS A WHITE VAPOR, USUALLY WATER, SEEN FROM TIME TO TIME IN CAVERNS. IT CAN BE FOUND ANYWHERE BUT IS FREQUENTLY A SIGN OF A DEEP PIT LEADING DOWN TO WATER.

* Also of note:

blast
BLASTING REQUIRES DYNAMITE.

* After more toying I’ve gotten the crystal bridge to appear; it requires the same object but a different verb than the 350-point version.

* Unlocking the grate and getting by the snake also have dynamic hint messages associated with them, but I haven’t been able to get them appear (but given my experience with the crystal bridge, they may still be accessible somehow). I suspect it possible Crowther planned for every puzzle to have a corresponding dynamic hint.

Posted March 8, 2011 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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A History of Early Versions of Adventure   14 comments

I have been trying to detangle the history of Adventure — the Crowther / Woods game — so I know which ports I should be playing in which order for the All the Adventures project. This turns out to have been very complicated as information is spread over a tangle of websites and not all of it is accurate. This is my best attempt to sort everything together.

This document will likely get edited as I tangle more things out. Looking at the full list of modifications gives a small glimpse into the insanity.

Adventure Family Tree, by Nathanael CJE Culver based on work by Russel Dalenberg

advchart

I link to sources whenever I can.


1975

In the 1975 academic year Will Crowther starts what we know as Adventure. [Source.]

All Crowther family testimony is consistent with the 1975-76 date range. Responding to a direct request via e-mail, Crowther (2001) dated his original “Adventure” to 1975, “give or take a year.”
— Dennis G. Jerz

1976

Will Crowther stops work on Adventure. The game is noticeably incomplete (there is a sign mentioning maintenance in a lower section of the cave where advancing further causes the game to crash). [Source.]

The most likely timeline places Crowther ceasing work on his original game in early 1976.
— Dennis G. Jerz

Original source code here

Windows compiled version here

1977

Starting March, Don Woods discovers the source code and starts working on it. He produces a 250 point version [source] on his way to finalizing a 350 point version several months later.

I’m relying solely on memory which tends to be fallible (see above: the dwarf ‘vanishes’, not ‘disappears’) but my best recollection is that ADVENT.EXE first appeared on the PDP-10s at ADP (the old First Data in Waltham, Mass.) in 1977. It was an incomplete version which only had about 250 points worth of treasure. I seem to recall that there was nothing past the troll bridge but an ‘under construction’ sign or some such. I believe our copy came from WPI, but word at the time was it was developed at Stanford. Two or three months later we got the full 350 point game.
— John Everett

This version is then ported, in a fairly literal way, by Jim Gillogly into C. [Link to source code.]

The original 350-point version is separately ported July 1977 by Kent Blackett. [Source]

ADVENT.FOR: C REV. 17 ADVENTURES MODIFIED BY KENT BLACKETT ENGINEERING SYSTEMS GROUP DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORP. 15-JUL-77 ORIGINAL VERSION WAS FOR DECSYSTEM-10 THIS VERSION IS FOR FORTRAN IV-PLUS UNDER THE IAS OPERATING SYSTEM ON THE PDP-11/70″.

This is followed by Bob Supnik, circa October (date given in his own source code). It has 366 maximum points and the cumulative efforts of Blackett and Supnik (probably) represents the first modification of the game past the Woods version.

Stephen Lidle’s version of Bob Supnik’s code modified for modern compilers, based on a SCOPE version by “R. Emerson, W. Wirth, S. Hobson, W. Hein, S. Connard”, et al.

There’s also a version of Bob Supnik’s port on if-archive, although I have been unable to confirm if it is exactly the same as the 1977 code.

Source code of Bob Supnik version

Kevin Black’s compilation of Bob Supnik’s source for DOS

1978

Gordon Letwin made a 350 point version available by August 1978. It was the first version available on a personal computer — the Heath. [Source] It was not a literal port. [Source]

The version I played was written in FORTRAN. One of the treasures was an African gray parrot in a pirate aviary, accessible by a rubber raft. There was also an office of some kind with the words “how do you spell relief?” on the wall, and after you read the message, you could use “Rolaids” to teleport to and from the well house. I think the magazine at Witt’s End might have been a copy of Byte magazine.
–Carolyn VanEseltine

While this version has been lost, there is a downloadable Osborne port which may be derived from the same source although I have been unable to test it as of yet. The actual 1978 version seems to be a this archive.

Don Woods expands upon his own work, producing a 430-point version with 5 new difficult-to-find treasures.

David Long at University of Chicago starts on his own modification of Adventure (a process which goes on until at least 1980), although no versions from this year exist.

Peter Luckett and Jack Pike finish “Adventure II” by the end of 1978. [Source and executables]

1979

George Richmond (“with the support of Mike Preston”) makes a 500-point version of Adventure in Pascal. [Information source] [Source code]

David Platt writes yet a different modification of Adventure into a 550-point version. [DOS version]

Microsoft Adventure is released as a commercial game for TRS-80 computers, with both v1.0 and v1.1 dated as June 1979. Gordon Letwin, who wrote the Heath port from 1978, is the one responsible. [Info from the Game’s Manual] It includes some slight modifications which mirror the 1978 Heath version somewhat. [Downloads for v1.0 and v1.1]

This year has a “501 point” version of David Long’s code (“Version 5.2/2, October-79”) although it rather confusingly this might be a “side release” by an anonymous contributor. Even more confusingly the version might actually be intended as 500 points (?) and the vanilla compile goes to 496 points (??) although the version online is fixed to be at 501. [Source code] [501 point version compiled for online]

The David Long story gets very messy past this point into the 1980s and I’m not going into every variant from his code, but I should mention the last version from David Long himself was at 751 points. While this version was playable on Compuserve for a while, it now appears to be lost except for a remake by Carl Ruby into QBASIC.

Posted August 8, 2016 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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