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Scott Adams

Davvel

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Scott Adams is a familiar name in the TI community, outside of this community one could mix him up with the other Scott Adams who writes comic strips about Dilbert and although they are both story tellers in some way our Scott is not just a story teller but an expert coder and creator of the adventure style games.

 

Scott Adams, the genius behind many Text adventure games was brought up in Miami Florida. In 1975 he wrote a computer game on a computer that his brother Richard built a year before, making him the first person on earth to write a computer game on a home computer. The full story of how Richard came to build this machine, well before Steve Wozniac built Apple 1 can be read in great detail in the link below:

 

http://exoticsciences.com/sa.htm

 

The following is a writeup given to me directly from Scott Adams himself. At first I intended to polish it up but then I realised that this in itself is a part of history that should remain as intact as possible.

 

"I grew up in North Miami Beach and always had a love for science, I remember as a child in the early 60s going on a tour of the University of Miami and seeing the computer science department and waiting to go inside. I was active in local science fairs and won some awards as well as being written up in articles in the newspaper. IN high school as an experiment the state of Florida allowed one remote terminal in our high school math lab to the U of M mainframe and it was running APL/360. My first major program was tic tac toe that would always win. I would go into school before it opened and had permission to be let in by the janitors and after school I would stay until late, locking up the school behind me.

 

My brother build from chip slice cpus a homebrew computer which I then programmed in machine language a game for (more info on my webpage on a sidebar on this). I also had the first ever Sphere computer homekit which I then proceeded to mod with a my own designed graphics card and wrote a tank war game for. I won the first ever “what do you use your Sphere for” contest with the company.

 

I was working at Stromberg Carlson in lake Mary Fl as a software engineer when I purchased my first “appliance” computer, ie a computer I didn’t have to build to use J I wanted to learn the BASIC language on it and thought the concept of strings was interesting so I wanted to write a game that let you use English language somehow. At work the IT dept got a copy of Crowther and Woods Adventure! And I was able to get a password to play it. I came in all week before work ad stayed at night to play until I beat it. I decided I want to write a similar game for my TRS-80 model I. Other engineers there laughed at me and said this was running on the mainframe and my toy computer could never handle it. I ended up invented my own language which I emulated in BASIC and wrote my first Adventure game.

 

Before Stromberg, I got my degree in Computer Science for Florida Institute of Technology (now known as Florida Tech). I worked downrange on the Air Force Eastern Test Range as a Space Object Identifier Analyst at radar stations. But there was a mainframe there and I loved to program so I got permission to make some major mods to the software they were using even though I wasn’t hired as a programmer. I got a number of commendations for some things I did. At one radar station on Antigua Island they only ran it for the day shift, so I was able to use the machine in the evenings for myself. I got a copy of a Fortran Star Trek game that played on the teletype. I then proceed to covert it to run on the radar screens instead and in effect turned the multi-millionaire dollar radar tracking station into a giant video game J great fun.

 

Return to Pirates Island was written in my own proprietary database adventure language like all my adventure games. I wrote them on one machine then transferred the databases to other machines to execute. RTPI was special in it was originally only for the TI and also was the world’s first adventure game to have graphics in a game cartridge. I also developed a special program to be able to get the graphics to fit. Instead of graphical compression as used today I came up with making the pictures of pieces of other pictures and then having an artist make this picture based on these smaller pieces. It ran very fast but was very labor intensive for the poor artist as you might imagine."

 

I thank Scott for sending me this small Bio. He is a very humble and inspiring person, one who gave us many hours of entertainment and made our world a little better.

 

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