Ferret: Old kid on the block

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Ferret

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Oct 8, 2009, 9:52:04 AM10/8/09
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Inspired by Zork, a game called Ferret was created in the 1980s. It
existed only on Data General computers and was consequently little
known. It has recently been ported to the DOS platform (text-based
games don't need the huge expense of GUIs).
The ethos of the game was full information, i.e., no hidden things,
secrets or specialist information. The data needed to solve puzzles is
either present in the game or generally available. This doesn't mean
it is any easy game!
Useful features are that the game is extendable and has the ability to
use command scripts and combine them with save games to minimise
searching time, etc.
The game is available for free from http://www.jugglingsoot.com.
Have fun.
Ferret

Victor Gijsbers

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Oct 8, 2009, 10:11:41 AM10/8/09
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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Ferret wrote:
> Inspired by Zork, a game called Ferret was created in the 1980s. It
> existed only on Data General computers and was consequently little
> known. It has recently been ported to the DOS platform (text-based
> games don't need the huge expense of GUIs).

I'm trying to run it in DOSBox, but I get an error: "This program cannot
run in DOS mode".

Are you sure this is a port to MS-DOS, and not a port to MS-Windows?

Regards,
Victor
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SteveG

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Oct 8, 2009, 1:58:59 PM10/8/09
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Victor Gijsbers wrote:
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> Ferret wrote:
>> Inspired by Zork, a game called Ferret was created in the 1980s. It
>> existed only on Data General computers and was consequently little
>> known. It has recently been ported to the DOS platform (text-based
>> games don't need the huge expense of GUIs).
>
> I'm trying to run it in DOSBox, but I get an error: "This program cannot
> run in DOS mode".
>
> Are you sure this is a port to MS-DOS, and not a port to MS-Windows?
>
> Regards,
> Victor

The download package contains a couple of DLL files which would imply
it's a Windows, not an MSDOS, executable. And website history pages says
'redeveloped for the PC, courtesy of Visual Age PL/I for Windows'.

So, yip, looks like a job for Wine rather than DOSBox.

I fired up the game on Windows XP. Opening screen says this:

Dark Room
You appear to be lying in an exceedingly small dark room and you feel as
if you have been sleeping for ages. You are very drowsy, your body
appears to be quite heavy and feels partially numbed. There don't appear
to be any exits from this room.
->

Katzy

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Oct 8, 2009, 2:21:06 PM10/8/09
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Hello.

SteveG wrote in message ...
>Victor Gijsbers wrote:

>> Are you sure this is a port to MS-DOS, and not a port to MS-Windows?
>>
>> Regards,
>> Victor
>
>The download package contains a couple of DLL files which would imply
>it's a Windows, not an MSDOS, executable. And website history pages says
> 'redeveloped for the PC, courtesy of Visual Age PL/I for Windows'.
>
>So, yip, looks like a job for Wine rather than DOSBox.
>
>I fired up the game on Windows XP. Opening screen says this:
>
>Dark Room
>You appear to be lying in an exceedingly small dark room and you feel as
>if you have been sleeping for ages. You are very drowsy, your body
>appears to be quite heavy and feels partially numbed. There don't appear
>to be any exits from this room.
>->

It's DOS, see the (DOS) icon above the screen in Windows.

Bye, Katzy.


Peter Pears

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Oct 8, 2009, 5:58:11 PM10/8/09
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Windows Console. Not the same thing as DOS. Pity, because it doesn't
look as good as actual DOS when fullscreened.

Peter Pears

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Oct 8, 2009, 6:28:24 PM10/8/09
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Gameplay at the beginning is weird enough to make me wonder if it's as
buggy as it seems. Even if the following transcript is the correct
solution, feedback *looks* like a bug.

S
P
O
I
L
E
R
-
S
P
A
C
E

Dark Room
You appear to be lying in an exceedingly small dark room and you feel
as
if you have been sleeping for ages. You are very drowsy, your body
appears to be quite heavy and feels partially numbed. There don't
appear
to be any exits from this room.

-> stand
As you attempt to stand up, the lid of your room bounces up due to the
impact of your head.
-> x lid
I don't know the word 'x'
-> examine lid
It looks like a lid.
-> open lid
You can't open that.
-> push lid
You manage to move the skeleton slightly before the shifting sands get
a better grip. Your necrophilica actions have uncovered a battered old
tin laying in the sand.
-> examine skeleton
I can't see anything like that around here.
-> examine sands
I don't know the word 'sands'
-> get tin
I can't see anything like that around here.
-> examine tin
I can't see anything like that around here.
-> l


Dark Room
You appear to be lying in an exceedingly small dark room and you feel
as
if you have been sleeping for ages. You are very drowsy, your body
appears to be quite heavy and feels partially numbed. There don't
appear
to be any exits from this room.

-> push lid
You manage to move the skeleton slightly before the shifting sands get
a better grip. Your necrophilica actions have uncovered a battered old
tin laying in the sand.
-> lift lid
Lift what?
Twilight Room
Your eyes appear to have adjusted to the light. Beyond your shell-like
cover you can see a number of machines, dotted with switches and
readouts.
-> push lid
You manage to move the skeleton slightly before the shifting sands get
a better grip. Your necrophilica actions have uncovered a battered old
tin laying in the sand.
-> lift lid
You can't lift that.
Resuscitation Chamber
This room contains...

Daphne Brinkerhoff

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Oct 8, 2009, 10:42:34 PM10/8/09
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On Oct 8, 12:58 pm, SteveG <sg-ismyemailaddr...@xtra.co.nz> wrote:
> I fired up the game on Windows XP. Opening screen says this:
>

<snip>

I must be doing something wrong. I have WinXP, but I can't get the
thing to run at all. I keep getting an error "fatal error: load of
message file failed". I tried manually extracting things, I tried
running the included "setup.exe", and nothing. Any advice?

--
Daphne

Peter Pears

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Oct 9, 2009, 3:49:33 AM10/9/09
to

Theoretically, just double-clicking ferret.exe or ferret.bat should do
the trick. Try running it directly from the command line: Start menu -
> Run -> "cmd".

Though it sounds like a file's missing. The readme lists the necessary
files, are you sure they're all present and accounted for? And all in
the same folder?

Ferret

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Oct 9, 2009, 4:47:56 AM10/9/09
to

Apologies guys, I should have been more explicit. The game runs in a
DOS Command Box as, indeed, Visual Age PL/1 needs Windows "present" in
order to run. The issues in the Dark Room are indeed bugs - the game
is quite large and difficult to exhaustively test, though you can
solve all the puzzles (the scripting feature is as useful for testing
and for playing the game). Please report any further bugs which will
be addressed. You have already made good progress (by exiting the Dark
Room) which takes some people quitre a long time on its own.
Thanks for your interest.
Cheers
Ferret

Katzy

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Oct 9, 2009, 10:44:18 AM10/9/09
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Hello.

Peter Pears wrote in message
<86543a3a-117c-45e0...@g3g2000vbr.googlegroups.com>...


On Oct 8, 7:21 pm, "Katzy" <ka...@noname.at.all> wrote:
> Hello.

> It's DOS, see the (DOS) icon above the screen in Windows.
>
> Bye, Katzy.

>Windows Console. Not the same thing as DOS. Pity, because it doesn't
look as good as actual DOS when fullscreened.

When typing 'help' in the game it displays:
Ferret converted to the (wonderful?) world of DOS.

Bye, Katzy.


Peter Pears

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Oct 9, 2009, 10:38:23 AM10/9/09
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On Oct 9, 3:44 pm, "Katzy" <ka...@noname.at.all> wrote:
> Hello.
>
> Peter Pears wrote in message
>
> <86543a3a-117c-45e0-8f44-f8724a465...@g3g2000vbr.googlegroups.com>...

> On Oct 8, 7:21 pm, "Katzy" <ka...@noname.at.all> wrote:
>
> > Hello.
> > It's DOS, see the (DOS) icon above the screen in Windows.
>
> > Bye, Katzy.
> >Windows Console. Not the same thing as DOS. Pity, because it doesn't
>
> look as good as actual DOS when fullscreened.

Really? Must be something wrong with my definitions, or
configurations, or something. I'll look into it. Thanks-

Poster

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Oct 10, 2009, 1:15:50 AM10/10/09
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In article
<86543a3a-117c-45e0...@g3g2000vbr.googlegroups.com>,
Peter Pears <peter...@hotmail.com> wrote:

Yeah. For those of us on OS X, we have to use emulation.

For the record, it works under React OS, which is a from-the-ground-up
open source implementation of Windows, but geez -- all that for being in
a dark room unable to see? Man, I feel ripped off.

--
Poster

www.intaligo.com I6 libraries, doom metal, Building
sturmdrangif.wordpress.com Game development blog / IF commentary
Seasons: fall '09 -- One-man projects are prone to delays.

Richard Bos

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Oct 10, 2009, 3:56:38 AM10/10/09
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"Katzy" <ka...@noname.at.all> wrote:

> SteveG wrote in message ...
> >Victor Gijsbers wrote:
>
> >> Are you sure this is a port to MS-DOS, and not a port to MS-Windows?

It's a Windows console executable.

> >The download package contains a couple of DLL files which would imply
> >it's a Windows, not an MSDOS, executable. And website history pages says
> > 'redeveloped for the PC, courtesy of Visual Age PL/I for Windows'.
> >
> >So, yip, looks like a job for Wine rather than DOSBox.

> It's DOS, see the (DOS) icon above the screen in Windows.

I don't see any (DOS) icon above any screen in Windows. Even if I did,
any Windows program can set whatever icon it chooses for itself. If I
wanted to, I could write a Windows program, even a Windows console
program, that shows a Z5 icon - and that would not make it a ZCode
program, either. What's more, I _do_ see text inside this executable
claiming that it cannot run in DOS mode. Conclusion: it's a Windows
console executable.

Richard

Katzy

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Oct 10, 2009, 6:53:07 AM10/10/09
to

Poster wrote in message ...

>For the record, it works under React OS, which is a from-the-ground-up
>open source implementation of Windows, but geez -- all that for being in
>a dark room unable to see? Man, I feel ripped off.

I'll help you out...;)

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

*
*
*

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

lift lid
lift lid
push buttons

You can get the box and open it to reveal a sphere and take that.

What's next??? I don't know yet.

Bye, Katzy.


Ferret

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Oct 12, 2009, 7:02:13 AM10/12/09
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Version 8.11 is now available from http://www.jugglingsoot.com/download.htm.
This corrects the message problem concerned with the lid. It also
supports the use of "x" as short for examine/inspect/look at.
Cheers
Ferret

Dave Silberman SFO

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Oct 12, 2009, 9:31:01 PM10/12/09
to
I've got version 8.11 running under Windows XP but I'm finding this
game extremely frustrating, and not in a good way. The parser doesn't
seem to recognize most of the objects in the game (the panel, the
plinth, the dials, the machines, the pipes, etc.), giving generic "you
can't do that" and "looks alright to me" type responses to all my
efforts to investigate the initial two rooms. So far I've found two
ways to die from breathing in toxic substances but I'm unable to make
any progress once out of the dark room. Is there any sort of online
walkthrough or hints file?

Dave Silberman SFO

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Oct 12, 2009, 10:51:56 PM10/12/09
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Never mind; got it; I was pushing when I should have been pulling.

Reiko

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Oct 13, 2009, 4:52:00 PM10/13/09
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On Oct 8, 5:28 pm, Peter Pears <peter_pe...@hotmail.com> wrote:
<transcript snipped>

Great transcript. That was very similar to my experience too, except I
never found the correct command. Why would "lift" be different from
"push" in this case? Guess the verb strikes again.

~Reiko

Peter Pears

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Oct 13, 2009, 5:28:54 PM10/13/09
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Guess the verb definitely, yes. It's an issue I've come across before,
and it was only because of that I tried to "lift" in the first place.

Also, the fact that until he saw my transcript the author didn't think
of implementing "x" as a synonim for "examine"... one wonders whether
it wouldn't have been better just to use an existing authoring tool
instead of a homebrew.

But I rather like the "all the information is there" concept. Haven't
played it again, but I liked how the solution to the first puzzle
hinged on a discrete clue in the room description, so discrete you
wouldn't take much notice of it again until you reread the text,
carefully, come across it and go "Wait a minute...". It was rather
elegant, and simple.

As I said, I've yet to play the rest. I hope it follows suit. If it
does, this should be an interesting game.

Ferret

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Oct 27, 2022, 2:34:54 PM10/27/22
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Version 10.01 is now available from http://www.jugglingsoot.com/download.htm. This version features a new verb "test" which should address the "guess the verb" syndrome.

Anthk

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Dec 8, 2022, 8:51:08 AM12/8/22
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Any plans to port it to Inform6 for instance? Or maybe transpile PL/I
to Fortran/C...

If the game was rewritten with Inform6, it could be run in nearly any
machine from the 16 bit era and beyond.

Ferret

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Dec 9, 2022, 5:42:31 AM12/9/22
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Thank you for your interest. No plans for conversion or translation. As it runs on Windows, Linux and Mac any development effort will be directed towards maintenance, enhancements or new phases as that delivers the most benefit for the time invested.
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