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adamantyr

TI-99/4a disk-based CRPG

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Been a bit since I updated the thread here...

 

We are up to beta 34, and 35 is (so far) looking like a first release candidate. I need to sit down and probably play through myself from beginning to end before making a final determination.

 

I'm presently working on some of the tangibles such as getting the manual printed (Lulu), maps made (Spoonflower) and a game box created (BoardgamesMaker). In all likelihood a "tangible" copy of the game will be a bit pricey, as production of anything in small scale numbers is difficult. I also need to find out how tricky it's going to be to make cartridges. Those will probably need to wait until a release candidate has been fairly well exposed in a digital form to avoid burning a broken version.

 

I also need to write up some documentation on running the game in other emulators. One of those times I really wish Classic99 ran on a Mac or Linux. :)

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12 hours ago, adamantyr said:

One of those times I really wish Classic99 ran on a Mac or Linux. :)

I've had better luck recently than in times past with Classic99 running in the WINE environment.  Can even do a paste into now :).

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On 10/9/2020 at 2:30 AM, WhataKowinkydink said:

I've had better luck recently than in times past with Classic99 running in the WINE environment.  Can even do a paste into now :).

Imho if you make a windows installer setup for windows, it should work in wine just fine 

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My recent foray into running classic99 on WINE demonstrated quite clearly to me that it works just fine, as long as the wine prefix is 32bit.

 

It crashes right away in a 64bit prefix.  Since most systems these days are 64bit, the default WINE has is to make a 64bit prefix.  Delve into the WINE documentation (or just google search), and use the necessary console-fu to generate and use a 32bit prefix for use with classic99.

 

 

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3 hours ago, wierd_w said:

My recent foray into running classic99 on WINE demonstrated quite clearly to me that it works just fine, as long as the wine prefix is 32bit.

 

It crashes right away in a 64bit prefix.  Since most systems these days are 64bit, the default WINE has is to make a 64bit prefix.  Delve into the WINE documentation (or just google search), and use the necessary console-fu to generate and use a 32bit prefix for use with classic99.

That's kind of interesting, though. Does it offer any kind of crash log that suggests WHY it crashes? Or does it just not like 32-bit apps?

 

Does a 64-bit build behave any differently? (Note: lots of build warnings in this - no promises for long term use. Just a test.)

 

Classic99x64_nosupport.zip

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When I get home from work, I will see if I can get a debug trace with normal Classic99 and this fancy new 64bit build.

 

However, "32bit software inside 64bit prefix acts in unexpected ways" is still kind of "That is entirely expected", as far as WINE support is concerned at this point.  WOW64 is not that great in WINE.  Avoiding it entirely, and using a 32bit prefix, which is much more mature, and has many more code-fixes for 32bit applications, is just cleaner, neater, faster, and easier.

 

 

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I actually could use some help...

 

PC99 is a pain in the neck to set up. And it appears their disk images only support 90k, which won't work with the game. That means the only way it would run there is if you used a Myarc HDFC controller and hard drive image.

 

Does anyone have any knowledge setting up drives for PC99 use? I just need to write up a set of instructions on how to run the game there. Maybe provide an HD image with the data.

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Hmm, I only know about DSSD (180K) and DSDD (360K) disks that are used with PC99 (but as track dumps instead of sector dumps).

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17 minutes ago, mizapf said:

Hmm, I only know about DSSD (180K) and DSDD (360K) disks that are used with PC99 (but as track dumps instead of sector dumps).

When I tried the provided tool to convert a V9T9 disk to PC99 format, it rejected it as "not 90k". If you have tools that will convert a V9T9 360k disk into a PC99 version I can utilize, I want it!

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13 hours ago, adamantyr said:

PC99 is a pain in the neck to set up. And it appears their disk images only support 90k,

 

It has been awhile since I worked with PC99 for DOS, but it and PC99w certainly handle all the usual suspects— 90 KiB, 180 KiB and 360 KiB DSK images. It is easiest setting up PC99w by putting the CADD directory in the root of the C drive, but I do not like doing that. I was working on setting it up elsewhere when I got sidetracked. Unfortunately, paths must be changed in more than one INI file.. The problem is that, after the next update that involves the INIs, you must do it all over again—not fun.

 

Not something I have done much with, but the PC99 and PC99w have disk utilities for doing just about anything you need to do with DSK images. One way to do what you want may be to use the PC99 disk utilities to create an empty DSK image of the appropriate size and copy the necessary files (FIAD) to the DSK image.

 

...lee

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2 minutes ago, Lee Stewart said:

 

It has been awhile since I worked with PC99 for DOS, but it and PC99w certainly handle all the usual suspects— 90 KiB, 180 KiB and 360 KiB DSK images. It is easiest setting up PC99w by putting the CADD directory in the root of the C drive, but I do not like doing that. I was working on setting it up elsewhere when I got sidetracked. Unfortunately, paths must be changed in more than one INI file.. The problem is that, after the next update that involves the INIs, you must do it all over again—not fun.

 

Not something I have done much with, but the PC99 and PC99w have disk utilities for doing just about anything you need to do with DSK images. One way to do what you want may be to use the PC99 disk utilities to create an empty DSK image of the appropriate size and copy the necessary files (FIAD) to the DSK image.

 

...lee

Yeah, I noticed the application has every path hard-coded. Not a good design.

 

Unfortunately none of the configuration utilities work either. It just crashes for me. I seriously doubt ANYONE would use PC99 over Classic99 to run the game but I'll make an effort just so I can say "I don't advise using this."

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I setup pc99 in my emulator directory, and was able to move all the files from the c drive root directory to it except the directories pc99 and pc99wcfg. That info must be hard coded in pc99w, to look there.

Edited by RickyDean
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Adamantyr, all the sentences displayed are grouped in text files? if you're interested, I could translate the game in french.

Edited by fabrice montupet

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6 minutes ago, fabrice montupet said:

Adamantyr, are all the sentences displayed grouped in text files? if you're interested, I could translate the game in french.

I had considered doing some different language versions.

 

Most of the game's text are in external files that can be updated easily. Some, however, are internal to the program and would require a specific code branch. There is also whether or not the game can be adequately translated with the regular character set; if accent marks are needed there is limited to no space for them.

 

I would definitely consider it after the general release is done, though.

 

For fun, I've added the raw text for one of the world disks, if you want to see what you'd be signing up for. ;)

raw-text-output.txt

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without accent marks it is impossible to translate into French or Italian.

 

Sans caractères accentués, il est impossible de traduire en français ou en italien.

 

Senza caratteri accentati, è pressoché impossibile tradurre in francese o italiano.

 

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9 minutes ago, Elia Spallanzani fdt said:

without accent marks it is impossible to translate into French or Italian.

 

Sans caractères accentués, il est impossible de traduire en français ou en italien.

 

Senza caratteri accentati, è pressoché impossibile tradurre in francese o italiano.

 

Yeah, I suspected as much. What would probably have to happen is I'd have to sacrifice the lower-case character set for accent mark room.

 

I should also add that most of the text in the game is compressed. I'd have to completely recalculate it for non-English, which will have different common ngrams.

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Thank you for the sentences list.

For a french translation,  of course it will be necessary to use accented characters.
Here is the list:
à - â - ä - é - è - ê - ë - ï - î - ô - ö - ù - û - ü - ÿ - ç.

But we would not use all existing, by choosing correctly the words it is possible to reduce the ones we will need. Here are the most accented characters used in the French language:
à - â - é - è - ê - ç - ù - ô
I know, it is a lot though. But, if you can at least allocate 4 or 5 characters for a french translation, we can succeed: We could cheat by just putting a horizontal line on vowels: a - e - o - u . Like this:

accents2.gif.98c36cd5917760188df60dd0452dbb84.gif

 

In English: '"I see a wasp near me, posed on a cake spoon "

 

French brain automatically understand the appropriate accent to read and the words become natural to read/understand.

Here, we keep the ç character but if you have a lack of character space, we could remove it.

 

 

Edited by fabrice montupet
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So I finally received the prototype of my game box today... and it is good!

 

I was very concerned that using an image alone (generated in MS Publisher) would not have the resolution to work, and I'd be forced to use an Adobe product to edit a PDF template, but the results are very good. I also discovered my initial sizes were a BIT small.

 

The finished product will look different, I made a lot of changes with adding colored text, better overlaid text on the front image, and other tweaks. But I am happy to see the company delivered!

 

Only real issue is it's REALLY expensive to print. You get a price break on quantity but it's still an investment to even get a few made. I need to find out just how many people would actually want and not commit myself to making too many at a time.

 

How much? Well, I'm thinking a "game box with manual, cloth map, reference card and signed certificate" would be around $60 U.S. I still need to calculate shipping too. If that seems like a lot, don't forget you'll just be able to get digital only for a lot less!

 

As for media, this is a weird one. I'll probably offer the box of stuff without media, as anyone who isn't a 99'er probably won't care to have physical media.

 

Floppy disks are probably out; they're expensive to find these days, unreliable, and kind of an indulgence.

 

I had originally planned on a CD-ROM. And that may still be the best way to go, but the CD-ROM readers are fast becoming uncommon to rare these days; many laptops no longer include one.

 

A cartridge with the game binary (so that you don't need Extended BASIC, TI Writer or an E/A cart) is in the future, but I would want a digital version to be out first for awhile so I can burn one confident that there's no game-breaking issues.

20201031_141139.jpg

20201031_141146.jpg

20201031_141156.jpg

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The box is beautiful and the looking is very professional. Great work again!

I am just puzzled about the absence of media. All of us don't use emulators to play with the 99/4A, some prefer the real computer. And among them, those who have a SAMS card have a floppy disk drive too.
You made the game, a real manual and reference cards and even a box with side art.  It is only missing the floppy disk to make your product such as the year'80 games were distributed.

If you can't provide a floppy disk with in the box because a lack of media, maybe you could make a sticker. So, those who would like to play with the real computer could make their own original disk.

Edited by fabrice montupet
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I answer to your justified wonder about the number of people possibly interested in buying the game permitting you to have an idea about the number of boxes to produce.
$60US is for me a realistic price considering the really good work you made. The outstanding videos of the game prove it.  But proposing a demo version limiting the game to one level or a restricted area access could help to propel sales upward. But that's just my opinion.

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I will happily commit to buying a set at that price,. provided shipping to Europe doesn't double the cost ;).

 

Although I would really prefer a cartridge. Aren't most of the new boards updatable in some kind of way anyway, these days, even if with a minipro? You could socket the EPROM and ship updates on new chips for a small fee if push comes to shove?

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I have been looking forward to this game for quite a while.  I would consider the purchase of    the material as an investment in encouraging people to do this lind of massive development.  Plus, it looks fantastic.  Put me down for one. I know you won't be making a lot of money, if any, from this,  but a few dollars can go to show our appreciation of your efforts 

Edited by DuaneAL

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