Retrochallenge Winter Warmup 2011 Entry

Well here it is, the first installment of Silent Running, a text adventure created using Inform.  The initial idea was to create something that would run on my Epson PX-8 which is a CP/M based machine. The first speed bump was locating a Z-machine interpreter for CP/M until it was pointed out to me that as I had the original Zork games for CP/M I had a suitable interpreter.

The Zork games typically came as two files, for instance, Zork1.com and Zork1.dat, the .com file being the interpreter and the .dat file the story file.  The interpreter supports version 3 story files and if you create a compatible story file you can rename it Zork1.dat then run Zork1.com and your game will load and run.

Needing to create version 3 story files I opted for Inform 5 as the compiler and was of course free to write the source code in any suitable text editor.  Thus development has taken place on a variety of machines including the Atari Portfolio, Epson PX-8, Epson Equity LT and some more modern machines.  I had hoped to compile the code on the Equity but I still haven’t had any success.

The game itself is heavily influenced in tone by Snowball from Level 9 which remains my fondest memory of text adventuring, that and Melbourne House’s The Hobbit.  I would estimate that I’ve completed about a quarter of what I’d hoped, therefore there are a number of elements within the game that may currently seem like red herrings.  The current goal is to achieve access to the biodome area of the freighter.

There will of course be many bugs, not the crash your system type, but responses to player input that are not catered for and the like.  Once you’re in the world creating it it’s difficult to jump outside and imagine how others are going to interact with it, reports would be welcome.

I’ve been quite absorbed by this process which has been enjoyable although it has meant I haven’t had as much time to keep up with all the other entries as I’d have liked and I’m looking forward to doing that now.

You’ll need an interpreter should you wish to try the game, you should be able to find one here:-

Link to Interpreters

Download Silent Running Story File

If like me you need an interpreter for CP/M you can download Zork and the included interpreter here.

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