My Win95 Game engine idea.

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Anon, E. mous

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Jan 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/19/98
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Hello there.

I'm in the process of making a simple Windows 95/ Windows NT "fighting
fantasy" type text game, similar to the "choose your own adventure" style
books in print today. (For those of you who don't understand what I mean,
this is an example:)

-----
You're at your computer, reading this message on rec.games.int-fiction.
What do you do?

A: Delete the post and read another?
B: Put this writer in your killfile?
C: Stay on and read this wonderful message?
-----

And depending on the option chosen, your character enters another
situation, which has its own options. The game also can set variables:
for example, if a player picks up two swords, the game can set the
variable SWORDS to 2, and later on in the game, check this variable to
determine which situation the player will go to next. It can also add to
and subtract from variables (e.g. if you lose a sword, it can subtract 1
from SWORDS). It also supports IF-THEN-ELSE statements, such as: If
SWORDS = 2 goto Situation 42, ELSE If SWORDS = 1 goto Situation 56 ELSE
goto Situation 109.

Would anyone be interested in the ENGINE for such a game? Although it's
not as versatile as TADS, ALAN and the other text adventure engines, it
will be nice and easy to work with, and games will be realtively easy to
debug. I'm thinking of releasing it as freeware when I'm done, so please
post what you think!

P.S. I considered doing it in HTML, but HTML won't support variables, and
I really do need to have something to show off at my Windows Programming
interviews, so I'm making it Windows 95 / Windows NT based.

Stuart Adair

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Jan 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/19/98
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Anon, E. mous wrote in message ...
>Hello there.


Hi.

>I'm in the process of making a simple Windows 95/ Windows NT "fighting
>fantasy" type text game, similar to the "choose your own adventure" style
>books in print today. (For those of you who don't understand what I mean,
>this is an example:)
>
>-----
>You're at your computer, reading this message on rec.games.int-fiction.
>What do you do?
>
>A: Delete the post and read another?
>B: Put this writer in your killfile?
>C: Stay on and read this wonderful message?
>-----


I could make a cheap gag here, but I won't. :)

>And depending on the option chosen, your character enters another
>situation, which has its own options. The game also can set variables:
>for example, if a player picks up two swords, the game can set the
>variable SWORDS to 2, and later on in the game, check this variable to
>determine which situation the player will go to next. It can also add to
>and subtract from variables (e.g. if you lose a sword, it can subtract 1
>from SWORDS). It also supports IF-THEN-ELSE statements, such as: If
>SWORDS = 2 goto Situation 42, ELSE If SWORDS = 1 goto Situation 56 ELSE
>goto Situation 109.


By "Situation", I assume you mean the page/paragraph number?

>Would anyone be interested in the ENGINE for such a game? Although it's
>not as versatile as TADS, ALAN and the other text adventure engines, it
>will be nice and easy to work with, and games will be realtively easy to
>debug. I'm thinking of releasing it as freeware when I'm done, so please
>post what you think!


It sounds interesting; I'd certainly be interested in playing around with
it. I might even do a port of "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain" :)

I could do a quick wish-list if you wanted; I used to be a huge fan of the
Fighting Fantasy series. I've brought Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series back
from home, and I'm determined to plough my way through them some time :)

--
_____________________
\_ .:stuart adair:. /___ dubstar::moby:::scrawn&lard::eddieizzard| "this
/ / stu...@bigfoot.com \____________ :::::::interactivefiction::::| is a
/ / stuart...@stud.umist.ac.uk _) :::bigbeat:::drum&bass::::::| fresh
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IF

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Jan 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/19/98
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This is precisely what I'm looking for! I'm trying to program a menu based game
like that, but running into problems. HTML would have driven me crazy because
it doesn't support variables or if-then statments and (notice my earlier post)
to do it in TADS I'd have to disallow every possivle verb. If you could let me
know more about this engine and where to get it I'd be eternally grateful.

Ian Finley
now a happy newbie.


Joe Mason

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Jan 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/19/98
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In article <69vuqr$cdr$1...@yama.mcc.ac.uk>,

Stuart Adair <stuart...@stud.umist.ac.uk.flibble> wrote:
>
>It sounds interesting; I'd certainly be interested in playing around with
>it. I might even do a port of "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain" :)

I started an Inform port of Deathtrap Dungeon, but it dies fairly quickly.
Actually, it died just after I finished copying out the intro.

BTW, I notice in a recent issue of PC Gamer a big two page ad for "Ian
Livingstone's DEATHTRAP DUNGEON". Wonder what that's about?

Joe

Neil K.

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Jan 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/19/98
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"Stuart Adair" <stuart...@stud.umist.ac.uk.flibble> wrote:

> It sounds interesting; I'd certainly be interested in playing around with
> it. I might even do a port of "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain" :)

Oh, God. I remember that one. I also remember a friend in grade 7 trying
to port it from paper to Applesoft BASIC. An endless spaghetti code list
of IF THENs.

I dunno. Personally I don't see the real point of this exercise. The
Choose Your Own Adventure books sell because they work in that particular
market. And since they're printed on paper they're totally static. Since
we can have dynamic interaction with computers, people are going to expect
a simple level of interaction beyond 1) for X and 2) for Y. Moving a
paper-based menu game to a computer seems to me to be bringing all the
disadvantages of that medium along without bringing along any of its
advantages. (no computer or electricity required, free integration of text
and graphics, cheap, portable, etc.)

- Neil K.

--
t e l a computer consulting + design * Vancouver, BC, Canada
web: http://www.tela.bc.ca/tela/ * email: tela @ tela.bc.ca

IF

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Jan 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/19/98
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Neil K. wrote:

> I dunno. Personally I don't see the real point of this exercise. The
> Choose Your Own Adventure books sell because they work in that particular
> market. And since they're printed on paper they're totally static. Since
> we can have dynamic interaction with computers, people are going to expect
> a simple level of interaction beyond 1) for X and 2) for Y. Moving a
> paper-based menu game to a computer seems to me to be bringing all the
> disadvantages of that medium along without bringing along any of its
> advantages. (no computer or electricity required, free integration of text
> and graphics, cheap, portable, etc.)

Ah, but the reason I'm doing it is for a reason that many people over look
in IF: ease of distribution. If what I'm writing was on paper, can you image
in the costs to print up all those pages, the near impossibility of getting it
to an audience. Whereas if you program it, you have but to upload it to the
archive and it is instantly and cheaply available to hundreds. Moreover, the
game I'm writing uses conditional statements in the choices so you can make a
choice at one point that affects text several choices later without having to
write up the complete text of two otherwise identical branches.

Ian Finley


Mark J Musante

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Jan 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/20/98
to

Actually, if that's all you're looking for, TADS has an "input()" function
which will read a line from the player. You can bypass the parser entirely
that way, and you won't have to eliminate verbs along the way.


-=- Mark -=-

Jeremy A.Smith (not affiliated with Rancid the Elf)

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Jan 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/20/98
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IF <mord...@ix.netcom.com> wrote in article
<34C394A1...@ix.netcom.com>...

> This is precisely what I'm looking for! I'm trying to program a menu
based game
> like that, but running into problems. HTML would have driven me crazy
because
> it doesn't support variables or if-then statments and (notice my earlier
post)

Then again, Javascript does. And would be very good for this sort of thing
(and fairly portable). I may write something Choose Your Own Adventurey in
it soon.
--
Jeremy A.Smith

To reply by Email, change the 'z' in lwtcdz to i

"I will not stop... I will not stop... I will not stop..."
Robert De Niro to Al Pacino in Heat.

*What the hell?
*Read the hell?
http://www2.prestel.co.uk/lwtcdi/all/
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http://www2.prestel.co.uk/lwtcdi/uninform/instruct.htm


HarryH

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Jan 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/21/98
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In article <empty-19019...@cr230-mac-17.colorado.edu>,
em...@colorado.edu says...

>Would anyone be interested in the ENGINE for such a game?

No. Except as an exercise. It's too easy to make. I can basically use The
Director to do that. But if it was me, I'd use HTML.

In fact, it's so easy that you should just do it! And show us the result.
We'll help you fine tune it.

>P.S. I considered doing it in HTML, but HTML won't support variables, and
>I really do need to have something to show off at my Windows Programming
>interviews, so I'm making it Windows 95 / Windows NT based.

Does too.
Cookies, JavaScript, CGI, Exhaustive method.

If you want to show off Windows Programming skills, I suggest you do
something with database engine, preferably real-time. But this is kind of
off-topic.

-------------------------------------------------------
Of course I'll work on weekends without pay!
- successful applicant


Angus McLaren

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Jan 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/21/98
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IF wrote in message <34C425F9...@ix.netcom.com>...

> Ah, but the reason I'm doing it is for a reason that many people over
look
>in IF: ease of distribution. If what I'm writing was on paper, can you
image
>in the costs to print up all those pages, the near impossibility of getting
it
>to an audience. Whereas if you program it, you have but to upload it to
the
>archive and it is instantly and cheaply available to hundreds. Moreover,
the
>game I'm writing uses conditional statements in the choices so you can make
a
>choice at one point that affects text several choices later without having
to
>write up the complete text of two otherwise identical branches.


But then your not reaching everyone. Your only reaching a select group,
those that have computers and are aware that the program even exists. Even
if you market it on the net your only telling those who have access to the
net. It really isn't worth it. Most people would prefer to go down to a book
store and buy the book. I think you will find that a book is cheaper than
the net. Not much but its cheaper. The only advantage that this would have
is as you said, you can get it to an audience right away and not have to
wait fore people to buy the book.

Angus McLaren
nee...@hydraz.com.au
(if you want to reply remove the z in hydraz)

Nothing beats the imagination of the human mind for entertainment!

Coach

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Jan 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/21/98
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In article <01bd252f$9fa01100$LocalHost@default>, "Jeremy A.Smith (not
affiliated with Rancid the Elf)" <jeremy...@lwtcdz.prestel.co.uk>
wrote:

>IF <mord...@ix.netcom.com> wrote in article
><34C394A1...@ix.netcom.com>...
>> This is precisely what I'm looking for! I'm trying to program a menu
>based game
>> like that, but running into problems. HTML would have driven me crazy
>because
>> it doesn't support variables or if-then statments and (notice my earlier
>post)
>
>Then again, Javascript does. And would be very good for this sort of thing
>(and fairly portable). I may write something Choose Your Own Adventurey in
>it soon.

(I'm not kidding here...)

Actually, the nature of the game seems to be the sort of thing that BASIC
would be good for. You ever taken a look at Chipmunk Basic? The core
language (text-only, really all you need) is available on Win32 and three
or four variants of Unix, and the full language (with some graphics and UI
capability) is available on MacOS.

http://www.nicholson.com/rhn

(Coach proceeds to meander, embarassed, out to the wings, followed by
gales of laughter)

/Coach

--
Brian "Coach" Connors conn...@bc.edu

Cinnte, ta fhios agam labhairt Gaeilge. Cad chuige?

HarryH

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Jan 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/22/98
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In article <fake-mail-200...@van-as-13a14.direct.ca>,
fake...@anti-spam.address says...

>
>har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com (HarryH) wrote:
>> Cookies, JavaScript, CGI, Exhaustive method.
>
> Er. To be pedantic... you appear to be confusing your terminology. HTML
>is the Hypertext Markup Language, which defines content on a page and the
>way it's to be presented. Cookies, JavaScript, CGIs and such are commonly
>used technologies that could generally be considered to constitute part of
>the back-end framework of the Web, but they are not HTML.

Excellent observation. This is why I've included "Exhaustive method" in
there. ;)
Not strictly variable in common sense, but it will achieve the effect desired
(assuming the finite state isn't too large).

Default User

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Jan 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/22/98
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First of all, let me thank you all for your responses!

HarryH wrote:

> >Would anyone be interested in the ENGINE for such a game?
>
> No. Except as an exercise. It's too easy to make. I can basically use The
> Director to do that. But if it was me, I'd use HTML.

What's "The Director"?Such an engine will be easy for me, but I'm sure they're
several people out there with little programming experience (or no Windows 95
compiler) that wouldn't find it as easy. Besides, some people on this thread
have already expressed their desire to use such an engine.

> In fact, it's so easy that you should just do it! And show us the result.
> We'll help you fine tune it.

Thanks :) I intend to do just that.

> If you want to show off Windows Programming skills, I suggest you do
> something with database engine, preferably real-time.

Thanks for the suggestion. Could you give me an example of such a project?
I've written SQL and QUEL programs, but that's pretty much it.

> -------------------------------------------------------
> Of course I'll work on weekends without pay!
> - successful applicant

Nice motto. If I ever need to hire someone, I know who to call!


Anon E Mous

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Jan 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/22/98
to

Stuart Adair wrote:

> >And depending on the option chosen, your character enters another
> >situation, which has its own options.
>

> By "Situation", I assume you mean the page/paragraph number?

Yes, I do.

> I could do a quick wish-list if you wanted; I used to be a huge fan of
> theFighting Fantasy series.

Please do! Post it to this newsgroup if you may (My E-mail address doesn't
work).


Anon E Mous

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Jan 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/23/98
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Thank you for all your responses. I've decided to go on with the project.
One question though - what format would be preferred?

OPTION A:
Releasing the (well-commented) source code of the game, along with
explanations. People can simply alter 1 procedure and compile to create their
own games.

ADVANTAGES:
- Less work for me! :)
- People can change the code and add fancier stuff if they so desire.

DISADVANTAGES:
- One needs a Windows 95 compiler (e.g. Visual C++ or Borland C++) to compile
it

----------------
OPTION B:
Create two programs: One that converts text files containing game data into
"game files", and another that reads the game data from the "game files" and
allows the user play the game.

ADVANTAGES:
- Easier for people to use?
- No compiler needed

DISADVANTAGES:
- Not much room for altering the code.
- Harder for me to do.

So - what do you think? Have I overlooked anything? Please post to the
newsgroup and say!

Thanks.

Francis Irving

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Jan 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/23/98
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On Fri, 23 Jan 1998 00:03:07 -0700, Anon E Mous <em...@colorado.edu>
wrote:

>OPTION B:
>Create two programs: One that converts text files containing game data into
>"game files", and another that reads the game data from the "game files" and
>allows the user play the game.

It would be good if it was as portable as possible - both the
authoring system, and the playing system.

It might make it harder, but I would suggest writing a C program which
takes a "game file" as input, and outputs Inform (without library)
source code. Then the final games could be run on any platform -
including a Java compatible web browser.

Maybe easier would be to write a new library for Inform, providing
just the infrastructure needed for CYOA types of game. Perhaps this
would be too intimidating for the target audience, however. And it
wouldn't be a Win95 programming project any more...

Francis.

Work: fra...@ncgraphics.co.uk Home: fra...@pobox.co.uk

HarryH

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Jan 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/24/98
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In article <34C83BA4...@colorado.edu>, defau...@domain.com says...

>What's "The Director"?Such an engine will be easy for me, but I'm sure
they're
>several people out there with little programming experience (or no Windows
95
>compiler) that wouldn't find it as easy. Besides, some people on this
thread
>have already expressed their desire to use such an engine.

The Director is a multi-media presentation program. It can be used to create
"Interactive Movies" either as stand alone or through the Web via Shockwave.

The engine is easy in that it's chapter 2 or 3 in most programming books.
Some may put it in chapter 4, but no more than that. So, I'm wondering: Will
the time spent learning the engine's idiosyncracies be more than learning how
to write simple programs?

If you release the engine as source code, then the answer will be yes! As
such, it's not a worthwhile project. However, if the engine simply reads data
(without authors doing compile) then it may very well be worthwhile,
depending on the format used. Remember: this project is for people who hate
programming and/or have little programming experience.


>> If you want to show off Windows Programming skills, I suggest you do
>> something with database engine, preferably real-time.
>
>Thanks for the suggestion. Could you give me an example of such a project?
>I've written SQL and QUEL programs, but that's pretty much it.

Supermarket inventory system or Airplane reservation system will make a good
project. Make sure it can handle large (thousands per hour) transanctions
well.

HarryH

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Jan 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/24/98
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In article <34C840AA...@colorado.edu>, em...@colorado.edu says...

>OPTION A:
>Releasing the (well-commented) source code of the game, along with
>explanations. People can simply alter 1 procedure and compile to create
their
>own games.

Who wants to hack somebody else's code? Certainly not non-programmers! I
doubt they'll even touch a compiler, much less reading C codes!

>----------------


>OPTION B:
>Create two programs: One that converts text files containing game data into
>"game files", and another that reads the game data from the "game files" and
>allows the user play the game.

This one is better. It's simple, easy, direct and I believe works best with
laypeople. Actually, why not just make one program that reads text file and
use that instead of compiling it separately? I'm sure there won't be much
overhead if the format is kept simple.

Heiko Nock

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Jan 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/24/98
to

In article <34C840AA...@colorado.edu>,

Anon E Mous <em...@colorado.edu> wrote:
> - One needs a Windows 95 compiler (e.g. Visual C++ or Borland C++) to
>compile it

You might use a GCC C++ compiler. They are available for most
platforms, so porting your program would be easier.

--
Ciao/2, Heiko.....

Erik Hermansen

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Jan 25, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/25/98
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On Thu, 22 Jan 1998 23:41:41 -0700, Default User
<defau...@domain.com> wrote:
...
>HarryH wrote:
...

>> If you want to show off Windows Programming skills, I suggest you do
>> something with database engine, preferably real-time.
>
>Thanks for the suggestion. Could you give me an example of such a project?
>I've written SQL and QUEL programs, but that's pretty much it.

Your engine will need to read the text and other game info from some
storable format. Put it in database tables and write your routines to
read from these tables.

You could have one table called "Situations" and another called
"Choices". One record in the "Situations" table contains the text of
the situation ("You've stumbled into a dark cave.") and the "Choices"
table contains descriptions of things you can do in the situations
along with their consequences--one record for each choice with a
foreign key pointing back to its corresponding record in the
"Situations" table.

Now if you write this in a language like Visual Basic, the database
part would be very easy.

E-mail me if you'd like any other help or suggestions about the
database stuff which is off-topic.

/* Deadly Rooms of Death - puzzling game of dungeon */
/* exploration for Windows. Easy to play, damned */
/* hard to win. Download from: */
/* http://webfootgames.com/catalog/drod.htm */

Stuart Adair

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Jan 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/30/98
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Anon E Mous wrote in message <34C83C8C...@colorado.edu>...


>Stuart Adair wrote:
>> I could do a quick wish-list if you wanted; I used to be a huge fan of
>> theFighting Fantasy series.
>
>Please do! Post it to this newsgroup if you may (My E-mail address doesn't
>work).


Ok. Off the top of my head, then, my (probably incomplete) wish-list. Many
of these are probably common sense, but I'm mentioning them anyway.

* Customisable player stats (up to ten, perhaps?)
* Customisable combat system (i.e. the standard Fighting Fantasy one can be
provided, which could be altered if desired)
* Inventory
* Character classes which affect stats and/or in-game choices (e.g the
Sorcery! series can be played as either a wizard or a warrior; wizards are
weaker, but are sometimes given a choice of spells to use instead of an
action, if they wish)
* Undo (perhaps only if a cheat mode is enabled?)

Erm, that's actually all I can think of right now. I did have more, but I
got your post a week late, and I've forgotten the rest. If I remember them
or think of any more, I'll post them.

Stuart

--
_____________________
\_ .:stuart adair:. /___ :dubstar::moby::scrawn&lard::eddieizzard:| "i'm
/ / stu...@bigfoot.com \_________ :bigbeat:::interactivefiction:| covered
/ / stuart...@stud.umist.ac.uk _) :terrypratchett::::drum&bass:| in
\ \/\ c.floor homepage back up! (_ /\ :zxspectrum::::fatboyslim:| beees!"
\__/ http://cfloor.home.ml.org [__)/ \_ :quake:kenickie:[frenzi]| -(e.i)


--
_____________________
\_ .:stuart adair:. /___ :dubstar::moby::scrawn&lard::eddieizzard:| "i'm
/ / stu...@bigfoot.com \_________ :bigbeat:::interactivefiction:| covered
/ / stuart...@stud.umist.ac.uk _) :terrypratchett::::drum&bass:| in
\ \/\ c.floor homepage back up! (_ /\ :zxspectrum::::fatboyslim:| beees!"
\__/ http://cfloor.home.ml.org [__)/ \_ :quake:kenickie:[frenzi]| -(e.i)


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