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Games Computers Play, Inc. - Multiplayer Online Game


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#1 Fletch ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:25 PM

Does anyone remember this? I was cruising through some old Antic magazines and came across an ad for what could be the very first graphical MOG. I remember wanting to try it, but asking mom for $6/hr to play a game online at the time didn't sound like a smart move. Anyway, it looked like it was probably pretty cool. Maybe we need to dig the server out of a landfill :)

http://www.atarimaga...sComputers.html


Fletch

By the way, its funny seeing this question in ad.

CAN I DOWNLOAD PUBLIC DOMAIN PROGRAMS? Yes, CGP has a public domain archive in its Post Office with about a Megabyte of Atari programs you can download.


Kind of made me laugh that a megabyte at the time was a huge deal.

Edited by Fletch, Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:46 PM.


#2 evilmoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:40 PM

I believe the client is available here:

http://www.atarimani...VERSION_ID=3040

I think it would be cool to write a server for this... Now if I could finish one of my other nutty projects.

#3 Fletch ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:45 PM

That would be really something. Sadly I'm sure this is lost to the annals of time.



I believe the client is available here:

http://www.atarimani...VERSION_ID=3040

I think it would be cool to write a server for this... Now if I could finish one of my other nutty projects.



#4 Shawn Jefferson OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:42 PM

I remember seeing that and wanting to join it, but at $6/hour plus long-distance charges, it wasn't going to happen. Too bad that the computer is probably gone. They say that it was running on a minicomputer. With today's fast machines, it could probably be emulated and put online for access via telnet. That would be sweet!

#5 egoods OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:15 PM

Would be awesome if we could bring this back! I'd be happy to supply the necessary hardware (I have lots of 'old' computers that could emulate it). So, begs the question, where do we start? I would assume most of the server software is toast, but could we reverse engineer it from the client?

#6 nathanallan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:34 PM

The very first thing you would need is a Unix box with about a 900mhz processor, that can handle it. The more processor the better (as in faster) but 900 would work and they're cheap. Can't really comment on the software side, though, but I bet it's sitting in a box in someone's closet (like pigsinspace's 2700) that used to work there.

Nathan

#7 Cybernoid OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:50 AM

Yeah, I remember seeing this ad and wanting to log in...

#8 Fletch ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:22 PM

I wonder what sort of data the server actually held. I'd imagine at 300 baud not much more than other players positional data and chat messages were handled on the server side. The client software must have been where all of the programs were loaded.

I suppose I am just curious about it because people are so into online worlds these days. Games like World of Warcraft and virtual worlds like Second Life owe quite a bit to programs like this. It would just be neat to see it in action.

I'd imagine if someone could dissect the code somebody could bring this back from the dead. I wish I had the a clue how to program more than the basic of BASIC programs.

#9 a8maestro OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:28 PM

Games Computers Play was a lot of fun for a bit. Running around town, going into stores and places, playing games, messaging, don't remember if there was chat.

But, the LD cost kept me from doing much.

To start resurrecting the system, you'd need to replace a modem driver with a null modem one, that pretends to connect to tymnet, then the server. Any computer would be fast enough to handle a new server for this, unless you want to add multi user via the internet to make it more fun.

I don't remember log in. But most of the environment is on 4 floppies.

The link on atarimania is only for the Lords of Space game.(correction below)

Rick D.

Edited by a8maestro, Thu Nov 6, 2008 10:16 PM.


#10 a8maestro OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 4, 2008 9:48 PM

I found my GCP package. I have scanned the front and back of the disk holder.

Rick D.

gcpcvr_frt.jpg

gcpcvr_bak.jpg

#11 evilmoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 5, 2008 12:57 AM

The link on atarimania is only for the Lords of Space game.


If you unzip the download, you will see three GCP disk images as well as a Lords of Space image.

#12 Heaven/TQA OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 5, 2008 1:42 AM

20 years before WoW, Spore, Sims & 2nd Life.

#13 a8maestro OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 5, 2008 2:32 PM

The link on atarimania is only for the Lords of Space game.


If you unzip the download, you will see three GCP disk images as well as a Lords of Space image.


Ah. O.k. I was just going by what the page itself said, not the download.

Rick D.

#14 ThumpNugget OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 2, 2008 9:38 PM

I remember seeing adds for GCP and wanting so much to join but i was a bit young at the time... When I read this forum topic I decided to do a little bit of research and was able to locate the two people that started the company. One of them was the main programmer of the host side and the other the programmer of the client side. The bad news is that the source code for the Atari side (Action!) is no longer in existence and there is no design documentation. The host source apparently still exists.

For those into trivia the GCP Server was a Charles River Data Systems 68000 running the UNOS operating system. The host software was written in C. The most users online at a time GCP could handle was 12. The company consisted of five employees with four of them being programmers.

Edited by ThumpNugget, Tue Dec 2, 2008 9:50 PM.


#15 poobah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 2, 2008 10:41 PM

I remember seeing adds for GCP and wanting so much to join but i was a bit young at the time... When I read this forum topic I decided to do a little bit of research and was able to locate the two people that started the company. One of them was the main programmer of the host side and the other the programmer of the client side. The bad news is that the source code for the Atari side (Action!) is no longer in existence and there is no design documentation. The host source apparently still exists.

For those into trivia the GCP Server was a Charles River Data Systems 68000 running the UNOS operating system. The host software was written in C. The most users online at a time GCP could handle was 12. The company consisted of five employees with four of them being programmers.


wow, thats some nice sleuthing
Any chance of grabbing the source?

#16 tcv OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 2, 2008 11:18 PM

The very first thing you would need is a Unix box with about a 900mhz processor, that can handle it. The more processor the better (as in faster) but 900 would work and they're cheap. Can't really comment on the software side, though, but I bet it's sitting in a box in someone's closet (like pigsinspace's 2700) that used to work there.


I don't know any better and am just curious: why that fast a cpu? Certainly they weren't running the original servers on 900mhz CPUs?

#17 telengard OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 3, 2008 12:49 AM

Would be awesome if we could bring this back! I'd be happy to supply the necessary hardware (I have lots of 'old' computers that could emulate it). So, begs the question, where do we start? I would assume most of the server software is toast, but could we reverse engineer it from the client?


It's possible, but a lot of work. Someone wrote a server for Quantum-Link. Was a real blast to connect to it via VICE when it debuted (really wanted to use the real thing) and hang out in the chat room. I believe they reverse engineered it and wrote it in Java.

I remember ads for it too and would love to see what it was like.

~telengard

#18 FastRobPlus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 3, 2008 4:49 PM

For those into trivia the GCP Server was a Charles River Data Systems 68000 running the UNOS operating system. The host software was written in C. The most users online at a time GCP could handle was 12. The company consisted of five employees with four of them being programmers.


That's about all we would need...

#19 Shawn Jefferson OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 3, 2008 11:26 PM

If the original system can be emulated.... you could probably run it as is. Also, if the source code is in C, it shouldn't be too difficult to port either.

It would be a shame to see it disappear anyway! Can you convince the programmers to release the source for prosperity (edit, LOL, I actually meant posterity!) This certainly isn't going to make any money. :) )

Edited by Shawn Jefferson, Wed Dec 3, 2008 11:28 PM.


#20 rdhays82604 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 4, 2010 6:35 AM

Try this...

http://citeseerx.ist...=10.1.1.19.1156

#21 nathanallan OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 4, 2010 10:20 AM

The very first thing you would need is a Unix box with about a 900mhz processor, that can handle it. The more processor the better (as in faster) but 900 would work and they're cheap. Can't really comment on the software side, though, but I bet it's sitting in a box in someone's closet (like pigsinspace's 2700) that used to work there.


I don't know any better and am just curious: why that fast a cpu? Certainly they weren't running the original servers on 900mhz CPUs?

Sorry for totally missing this question, I'm only 7 months behind! I said 900MHZ to make sure there is plenty of processor available. Lag and other drags might have more to do with the network it's attached to, though.

#22 doctor_x OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 6, 2010 6:48 AM

i'm also still building my "archive" page about this topic... waiting on a couple of people to do some scans for me and such.

#23 a8maestro OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:32 PM

I am working to get the manuals put up at http://atari.a8maest...ball/ballsa.htm

Rick D.

#24 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:09 PM

I remember seeing adds for GCP and wanting so much to join but i was a bit young at the time... When I read this forum topic I decided to do a little bit of research and was able to locate the two people that started the company. One of them was the main programmer of the host side and the other the programmer of the client side. The bad news is that the source code for the Atari side (Action!) is no longer in existence and there is no design documentation. The host source apparently still exists.

It would be cool to expand it into something that could handle many more and maybe develop more advanced clients over time as well. These could be ported to all the 8-bit platforms.... dang, I'd actually spend time on something like that.

I wonder how hard an Action! de-compiler would be to develop.

#25 kenjennings OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:55 PM

I remember seeing adds for GCP and wanting so much to join but i was a bit young at the time...


Me too. And at $6 - $15 per hour I was too poor.

The host source apparently still exists.


That's better than only the client code surviving. The server code can be ported, and the protocol expectations of the server can be reverse engineered to rebuild a new client.

Edited by kenjennings, Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:56 PM.





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