Remakes

Hey folks!

This morning, I had an urge to go back and revisit the first text adventure I ever played. Weird to think that my parents bought it from a computer shop, but five years after it was actually release. How many 5yo games do you see in the shops now?

Anyway, I failed to find any remakes, ports, or online versions. So now I'm playing it on an emulator, which took me more than an hour to get working.
And I find that the description for almost every item is "I see Nothing special". And I've already found more that a few grammar issues in the game (such as You ca‘nt do that, which is starting to drive me nuts.)

I'm thinking about remaking the game as I play it; a simple project that doesn't require me to think too much. But should I make it as close to the original as possible; or add descriptions to the items that don't have them, fix the grammar, and try to make it a little more polished?

(I'm seriously going to fix the big guess-the-verb thing at one point, because it's really dumb to have a verb that says "___ is not in my vocabulary", except for the one object it can successfully be used on. But would anyone care if I try to make the game a bit more polished? Is anyone interested in remakes of thirty-year-old games anyway?)


What’s the game?

And I honestly considered turning Leisure Suit Larry into a TA. Not sure if that’d be legal though. Lol


… and turns out one of the original programmer is on my facebook friends list, having met at a friend's birthday party. Never knew he was a programmer :p


The game is "Circus" (released 1983), number 7 in the Mysterious Adventures series, by Brian Howarth and Wherner Barnes. From various databases, it looks like Brian is always credited, but Wherner only on some platforms/releases.


I'd certainly ask the programmers permission to 'polish' the game up a bit. It could be that they were under memory constraints for the computer that circus was released for, hence the standard 'I see nothing special.' response.


Hi mrangel,
The two main games that I've implemented are remakes from the 1980s. One is also the first game I ever played: L, A Mathemagical Adventure, which has a write-up on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L_%E2%80%93_A_Mathemagical_Adventure.

When I started, my plan was just to implement the first half, partly as a way to learn Quest, but mostly find out if it was even possible to handle some of the puzzles involved as they involved sound and graphics. The original was implemented in Basic on the BBC Micro. Initially, I thought I would stick as closely as possible to the original but it progressively diverged. Some of this was to meet basic modern expectations. For example, the original didn't implement 'look at' except for a few special cases. I also found I couldn't implement a couple of the puzzles in the same way. There were no grammar problems (it's immaculately written!) but there were a few things I didn't like. For example, the second half of the game felt rushed and incomplete. So, when I started to implement it, I 'improved it'! A few people who played the original, have found the game on textadventures and tried it out, and so far no one seems bothered by my tweaks.

I have a lot more I could say, but overall, I found it a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience. Here is the result. Type ABOUT for more information.
http://textadventures.co.uk/games/view/e4hrqb_vpeo4np1a0jel9g/l-too-another-mathemagical-adventure


Well, the first thing I ended up doing is making "go" work the way it does in those games; being able to set an attribute on an object/room so that you can enter "go tent" or "enter tent" and it works without needing an exit (and "go out" works too).

(This mostly because of the web editor making it a pain to create non-directional exits. I ended up making "gointo" and "goout" verbs, which will never be displayed, but I'm using them as a shorthand for setting attributes on an object)


Heh… I couldn't come close to the original in terms of filesize.

My .aslx file is now 94618 characters, 8341 words, 2286 lines.
The original weighs in a little under 8k.

I'm trying to make it so that it's doable without excessive verb-guessing. So, for example, you can "FEED SEAL", or "GIVE FISH TO SEAL", or "USE FISH ON SEA LION".
Every "guess the verb" puzzle can be solved either using the "verb noun" phrase from the original, or an equivalent "use X on Y".

The only place where a "walkthrough" list of commands from the original game will fail is getting into the wagon.
If a door is locked, and you want to break it down with a crowbar, what command would you use?
"break door"? "force door"? "lever door?" "use bar on door"?

In the original, it's "open door", which automatically breaks it down if you have the crowbar. I think that's robbing the player of a puzzle, because they can break the door down without even knowing it was locked. I think that's a reasonable change?


If a door is locked, and you want to break it down with a crowbar, what command would you use?

My remakes have evolved over the past two years. Initially, I tried to stay close to the original but keep a modern look, e.g. no black background and up-to-date font. To avoid the verb-guessing problem, I ended up making sure "use A with/on B" in all circumstances and additionally put in "verb B" for whatever seemed appropriate at that time. So in your example, "USE crowbar ON door", "BREAK door"and "FORCE door" might all be available and have the same outcome.

Recently I added optional hyperlinks and game panes. In doing so I took out some of the verb alternatives, as switching on hyperlinks is now a form of hint (or cheat!) and presenting a list of equivalent alternatives looks wrong. Optional hyperlinks may, of course, be a step too far for you.


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