Announce: Scott Adams' Ghost Town Redux!

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Greg Boettcher

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Mar 27, 2007, 1:24:22 PM3/27/07
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Good news! I have just communicated by email with Scott Adams, and he
has given his permission for there to be an event where people can
write remakes of one of his games. It's not quite the same as we
discussed recently on rgif, but here is what Scott Adams has in mind:
the event is called Scott Adams' Ghost Town Redux. Basically, Scott
Adams tells me that he prefers not to give blanket permission to
modify just *any* of his games as part of this event, but would rather
restrict such permission to adaptations/modifications of just one
game. Ghost Town is his game of choice, because, as he says, "it was
one of my favorites and I think the contestants could have fun with
that one."

Here are the rules, then:

1. Participants should write a game that is a remake or adaptation of
Scott Adams' Ghost Town (either the whole game or any part of it).
2. There are basically no restrictions for what you can do in your
adaptation, as long as you follow the other rules here. As Scott
Adams, participants can "do it as they like for the contest."
3. Participants should send me their game by July 30, 2007. I will
release all the games as one compilation shortly afterwards.
4. There will be no voting on the games, and no prizes, but everyone
will be encouraged to play the games and write reviews of them.

If you're interested in participating, then you will surely want to
play Ghost Town. Where to get it? See these links:

Baf's Guide:
http://wurb.com/if/game/271

Scott Adams' web site:
http://www.msadams.com/downloads.htm

Some miscellaneous thoughts:

-- I will soon have a web page up for this comp. As soon as the page
up, I will announce it in this thread.

-- My preferred method of playing Scott Adams' games is to use one of
the interpreters available at if-archive/scott-adams/interpreters/
scottfree. But you may prefer the .z5 version or the Windows version
you can get from Scott Adams' site. When I put up my web page for this
comp, I'll see if I can provide more information about various ways of
playing the games.

-- A word of caution: if you play the game with an interpreter that
adheres to the original game's parsing, then you will not be able to
save your game simply by typing "save"; you must type "save game."

-- There's something I'm quite irritated about. I tried playing Ghost
Town with two different interpreters but was unable to complete the
game. The following is not much of a spoiler, but stop reading this
paragraph now if you want: in both of the walkthroughs I looked at,
you're supposed to walk around in a completely dark mine. Following
the walkthroughs proved fatal for me at that point, and I would
appreciate any reports about whether other people have problems with
this.

-- What if you miss the deadline? Scott Adams has not granted
permission for people to release Ghost Town remakes forever in the
future, *but only during this comp*. At least, that's my reading of
what he told me. Therefore, if you miss the deadline and want to
release a Ghost Town remake after July 30, you'll need to write to
Scott Adams and ask for permission. This isn't necessarily any kind of
catastrophe, as Scott Adams seems friendly and open to such requests.
You can find his email address at http://www.msadams.com/contact.htm.
The only hard part is getting through his spam blocker. If he doesn't
reply to you, then either resend your email or else write to me and I
can relay your message to him.

I guess that's all. I hope this is fun for all those who participate!

Greg

Daphne Brinkerhoff

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Mar 27, 2007, 7:00:58 PM3/27/07
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***Maybe a spoiler below***


On Mar 27, 12:24 pm, "Greg Boettcher"


<WRITETOgre...@gregboettcher.com> wrote:
> -- There's something I'm quite irritated about. I tried playing Ghost
> Town with two different interpreters but was unable to complete the
> game. The following is not much of a spoiler, but stop reading this
> paragraph now if you want: in both of the walkthroughs I looked at,
> you're supposed to walk around in a completely dark mine. Following
> the walkthroughs proved fatal for me at that point, and I would
> appreciate any reports about whether other people have problems with
> this.

In case anyone else runs into this problem: the game's error message
here is not very helpful. If the game says "It's dangerous to move in
the dark", and then kills you, you've gone the wrong way. But, if the
game says "It's dangerous to move in the dark", and says nothing else,
then your move was successful and you're in a new (dark) room.

Hopefully that helps.

--
Daphne

Joe Hagen

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Mar 27, 2007, 9:17:18 PM3/27/07
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On Tue, 27 Mar 2007 10:24:22 -0700, Greg Boettcher wrote:

> -- There's something I'm quite irritated about. I tried playing Ghost
> Town with two different interpreters but was unable to complete the
> game. The following is not much of a spoiler, but stop reading this
> paragraph now if you want: in both of the walkthroughs I looked at,
> you're supposed to walk around in a completely dark mine. Following the
> walkthroughs proved fatal for me at that point, and I would appreciate
> any reports about whether other people have problems with this.
>

Greg,

I noticed this with the Windows version of the
ScottFree interpreter (TRS-80 data file). In the
mine, you can light a match to view objects in
the room and determine the valid directions for exits.

If you move in a valid direction, even in the dark,
you'll be OK.

Lighting the match reveals these items for a
time delay. However, the delay is so short in
the Windows version that it is unusable. The
descriptions appear briefly, but cannot be read.
If you play the same file using the DOS version,
the delay is a few seconds and works as expected.

Joe

J. Robinson Wheeler

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Mar 28, 2007, 12:58:47 PM3/28/07
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Greg Boettche wrote:
> Good news! I have just communicated by email with Scott Adams, and he
> has given his permission for there to be an event where people can
> write remakes of one of his games.
> Ghost Town is his game of choice, because, as he says, "it was
> one of my favorites and I think the contestants could have fun with
> that one."

Oh, cool. That was the one I wanted to work on, anyway. I think
it was the first one I played on my Apple II. And then after I posted
the last time and started all this, I had a dream where I was
starting to implement a new game that was sort of based on
Ghost Town. Eerie...

Ghostly voice whispers, "Vain"...


--
J. Robinson Wheeler
JRW Digital Media

Greg Boettcher

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Mar 29, 2007, 4:20:19 PM3/29/07
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On Mar 27, 11:24 am, "Greg Boettcher"

<WRITETOgre...@gregboettcher.com> wrote:
> -- I will soon have a web page up for this comp. As soon as the page
> up, I will announce it in this thread.

Okay, the web page is up now. it's at:

http://www.gregboettcher.com/games/sagtr.htm

> Here are the rules, then:
> 1. Participants should write a game that is a remake or adaptation of
> Scott Adams' Ghost Town (either the whole game or any part of it).
> 2. There are basically no restrictions for what you can do in your
> adaptation, as long as you follow the other rules here. As Scott
> Adams, participants can "do it as they like for the contest."
> 3. Participants should send me their game by July 30, 2007. I will
> release all the games as one compilation shortly afterwards.
> 4. There will be no voting on the games, and no prizes, but everyone
> will be encouraged to play the games and write reviews of them.

Unfortunately, I left out an important rule. The rule is this:

-- Participants' games must be freeware.

The important reason for this is that, although in my haste I forgot
to mention this before, Scott Adams' permission only extends to
freeware games.

Besides, the usual idea with these comps is to make the entries
available for free forever at the IF Archive.

> -- There's something I'm quite irritated about. I tried playing Ghost
> Town with two different interpreters but was unable to complete the
> game. The following is not much of a spoiler, but stop reading this
> paragraph now if you want: in both of the walkthroughs I looked at,
> you're supposed to walk around in a completely dark mine. Following
> the walkthroughs proved fatal for me at that point, and I would
> appreciate any reports about whether other people have problems with
> this.

Many thanks to Daphne Brinkerhoff and Joe Hagen for clearing this up
for me.

And also, while I'm at it, let me thank Adam Thornton, who not only
provided information that persuaded me to do this, but also assisted
in contacting Scott Adams when it seemed that a spam blocker would
otherwise thwart my efforts.

And finally, big thanks to Scott Adams himself, without whom this
whole thing couldn't have happened.

Greg

J. J. Guest

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Mar 30, 2007, 1:32:34 PM3/30/07
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Excellent! Ghost Town is one of my favourites too, and was actually
the second commercial Text Adventure I bought and the first I
completed without help! I too had been thinking of doing something in
a Western vein.

Incidentally - does anyone know why the ghostly voice whispers
"Vain..."? Is it, do you think, a clue that there is something to be
done with the mirror? A pun on the mining term "vein"? Or is it a
reference that I'm not getting?

Jason


JDC

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Mar 30, 2007, 1:38:03 PM3/30/07
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On Mar 30, 1:32 pm, "J. J. Guest" <jason.gu...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Incidentally - does anyone know why the ghostly voice whispers
> "Vain..."? Is it, do you think, a clue that there is something to be
> done with the mirror? A pun on the mining term "vein"? Or is it a
> reference that I'm not getting?

I have absolutely no idea. My default response to the word "vanity" is
to think of Ecclesiastes, but that might just be me...

-JDC

Andrew Plotkin

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Mar 30, 2007, 1:51:22 PM3/30/07
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Here, J. J. Guest <jason...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Incidentally - does anyone know why the ghostly voice whispers
> "Vain..."? Is it, do you think, a clue that there is something to be
> done with the mirror?

That is what I think.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
It used to be that "conservatives" were in favor of smaller government,
fiscal responsibility, and tighter constraints on the Man's ability to
monitor you, arrest you, and control your life.

Glenn P.,

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Apr 2, 2007, 4:10:25 AM4/2/07
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On 30-Mar-07 at 10:32am -0700, <jason...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Incidentally - does anyone know why the ghostly voice whispers
> "Vain..."? Is it, do you think, a clue that there is something
> to be done with the mirror? A pun on the mining term "vein"?
> Or is it a reference that I'm not getting?

Not having played the game, I wonder whether it might not be a
reference to a weather vane!!! :)

-- %%%%%%%% "Glenn P.," <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> %%%%%%%%
===========================================================
"Ladies and gentlemen, I have a grave announcement to
make: both the observations of science and the evidence of
our eyes, lead to the inescapable assumption, that those
strange beings who landed in the Jersey farmlands tonight,
are the vanguard of an invading army from the planet Mars."
-----------------------------------------------------------
Orson Welles and The Mercury Theatre On The Air
"The War Of The Worlds" Panic Broadcast of 30-Oct-1938.
===========================================================

:: Take Note Of The Spam Block On My E-Mail Address! ::

Glenn P.,

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Apr 2, 2007, 4:19:14 AM4/2/07
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On 30-Mar-07 at 10:32am -0700, <jason...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Incidentally - does anyone know why the ghostly voice whispers
> "Vain..."? Is it, do you think, a clue that there is something to be
> done with the mirror? A pun on the mining term "vein"? Or is it a
> reference that I'm not getting?

Hey, dude! NEVER multi-post!!! Cross-post instead!!! I already replied
to this on r.g.i.f!!!

But -- to repeat myself -- my first impression on hearing of this (never
having played the game) is to wonder whether it might not refer to a
weather vane...

Glenn P.,

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Apr 2, 2007, 4:34:54 AM4/2/07
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On 02-Apr-07 at 4:19am -0400, <C128UserD...@FVI.Net> wrote:

> Hey, dude! NEVER multi-post!!! Cross-post instead!!! I already replied
> to this on r.g.i.f!!!

Ooops. Never mind!!! Ignore the above -- I somehow got confused. I could
have SWORN I saw this on r.g.i.f. -- but, apparently not! Sorry.

Apologies for the confusion! :( :( :(

Jeff Nyman

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Apr 2, 2007, 5:35:39 AM4/2/07
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"J. J. Guest" <jason...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1175275954.6...@p77g2000hsh.googlegroups.com...

> Incidentally - does anyone know why the ghostly voice whispers
> "Vain..."? Is it, do you think, a clue that there is something to be
> done with the mirror? A pun on the mining term "vein"? Or is it a
> reference that I'm not getting?

Just curious: why couldn't it just be like the Zork idea of a hollow voice
saying "fool"? Vain can mean "ineffectual" or "unsuccessful." So if this
message appears to come up at various times, as it does, sometimes even at
the start of the game, maybe it's just meant to be a bit discouraging in the
sense of "what you're doing will have no effect" or "what you're doing will
not be successful."

- Jeff


Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 2, 2007, 11:03:50 AM4/2/07
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Because neither Zork nor the Scott Adams games were into being
philosophical for the sake of philosophical? These were, at this stage
of the genre, puzzle games. They were made of clues. (In the case of
"fool" in Zork, a negative clue for an idea players were likely to
import from another game.)

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

Making a saint out of Reagan is sad. Making an idol out of Nixon ("If the
President does it then it's legal") is contemptible.

Jeff Nyman

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Apr 2, 2007, 12:32:02 PM4/2/07
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"Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> wrote in message
news:eur60m$84b$1...@reader2.panix.com...

> Because neither Zork nor the Scott Adams games were into being
> philosophical for the sake of philosophical? These were, at this stage
> of the genre, puzzle games. They were made of clues. (In the case of
> "fool" in Zork, a negative clue for an idea players were likely to
> import from another game.)

Maybe. I'm not sure it's all that philosohpical, though, one way or the
other. I thought it was just tradition, so to speak. To me the instance of
this in Zork didn't seem very puzzly or anything else. It just seemed like
someone's idea of a "funny" response to a largely non-sensical command (and,
yes, a tribute to Adventure). To me, the Scott Adams response seems like a
tribute of its own.

A hollow voice says "Fool."
A ghostly voice says "Vain."

Those seem awfully close in structure to me. That said, I suppose you could
work traditional-type responses into a puzzle or into a clue for a puzzle. I
suppose any guess is as good as any other, unless Scott Adams chimes in.

- Jeff


J. J. Guest

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Apr 3, 2007, 2:06:30 PM4/3/07
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On 28 Mar, 02:17, Joe Hagen <jdha...@NOSPAMchorus.net> wrote:

> Lighting the match reveals these items for a
> time delay. However, the delay is so short in
> the Windows version that it is unusable. The
> descriptions appear briefly, but cannot be read.
> If you play the same file using the DOS version,
> the delay is a few seconds and works as expected.
>
> Joe

I've opted to use a BBC emulator and a Beeb disc image of the game to
get around this problem. The tricky thing is going to be implementing
this behaviour in I7. Is it even possible to reproduce the split-
screen display without resorting to I6 code? I guess that since this
is a competition I shall have to figure it out for myself.

Jason


JDC

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Apr 3, 2007, 3:15:16 PM4/3/07
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On Apr 3, 2:06 pm, "J. J. Guest" <jason.gu...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I've opted to use a BBC emulator and a Beeb disc image of the game to
> get around this problem. The tricky thing is going to be implementing
> this behaviour in I7. Is it even possible to reproduce the split-
> screen display without resorting to I6 code? I guess that since this
> is a competition I shall have to figure it out for myself.

I don't think this is possible without using I6 inclusions. Using I6
inclusions, it is possible, but there are a few issues:

First, the implementation will depend on whether you are using z-code
or glulx. This would probably be more elegantly done with glulx, as it
allows you to create multiple windows. No I7 front-end is currently
available for creating multiple windows, though; I assume someone is
working on an extension for this, but I haven't heard anything
specific.

To do this in z-code, you would have to use the status line for the
upper display. The main annoyance here is that the status line will
not word-wrap automatically, so you would need to do this manually
(presumably printing to a buffer and then breaking lines according to
the screen size). This is what I assume was done in the z-code ports
of the Scott Adams games.

I don't see any issue with requesting coding help for competition
games; I certainly asked for and got help with a number of issues on
my IFComp game last year, as did numerous others. In fact, it would
seem entirely reasonable for someone to work up and make available an
extension for these multiple windows, as I imagine a number of people
would want to do this same thing.

-JDC

Joe Hagen

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Apr 4, 2007, 12:50:55 AM4/4/07
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On Tue, 03 Apr 2007 11:06:30 -0700, J. J. Guest wrote:

> I've opted to use a BBC emulator and a Beeb disc image of the game to
> get around this problem. The tricky thing is going to be implementing
> this behaviour in I7. Is it even possible to reproduce the split- screen
> display without resorting to I6 code? I guess that since this is a
> competition I shall have to figure it out for myself.
>
> Jason

Jason,

I've disassembled the sa-103.exe to see
why the delay is so short.

It looks like the call to Sleep was copied
from the original DOS version, which contains
this logic for a two second delay:

case 88:
sleep(2); /* DOC's say 2 seconds. Spectrum times at 1.5 */
break;

However, the Win32 Sleep function takes a parameter
in milliseconds. Thus the Windows interpreter is
yielding a 2 millisecond rather than 2 second delay.


Joe

J. J. Guest

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Apr 4, 2007, 9:58:51 AM4/4/07
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On 4 Apr, 05:50, Joe Hagen <jdha...@NOSPAMchorus.net> wrote:

> Jason,
>
> I've disassembled the sa-103.exe to see
> why the delay is so short.
>
> It looks like the call to Sleep was copied
> from the original DOS version, which contains
> this logic for a two second delay:
>
> case 88:
> sleep(2); /* DOC's say 2 seconds. Spectrum times at 1.5 */
> break;
>
> However, the Win32 Sleep function takes a parameter
> in milliseconds. Thus the Windows interpreter is
> yielding a 2 millisecond rather than 2 second delay.
>
> Joe

Well spotted! It looks like it should be fairly easy to fix!

Jason

msa...@msadams.com

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Apr 12, 2007, 6:48:01 AM4/12/07
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On Mar 30, 12:51 pm, Andrew Plotkin <erkyr...@eblong.com> wrote:

> Here, J. J. Guest <jason.gu...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> > Incidentally - does anyone know why the ghostly voice whispers
> > "Vain..."? Is it, do you think, a clue that there is something to be
> > done with the mirror?
>
> That is what I think.
>
> --Z


You got it right Andrew. I was hinting at the mirror (and also paying
homage to Zork's Fool at the same time!).

Scott Adams
Not Dilbert, Adventure!
www.msadams.com

REH

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May 21, 2007, 2:56:02 PM5/21/07
to

The ghost says "vane" as a clue to get you to clap when he plays the
piano.

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