Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Brief Glance Ahead

On the one hand, I have a big deadline on the 9th that I've really had to focus on, which means I haven't really had time to work further with Eamon (or any other game creation programs) and have more to blog about. On the other hand, I don't want to go more than a week without updating again. So, in a compromise likely to satisfy nobody, I decided to make a brief update today just outlining my plans for the blog's immediate future.

The good news is, though, that after the 9th, my free time should increase dramatically, and I ought to be able to post much more often for a while. Well, I do have further deadlines at the end of the year, but that's still a few weeks away, so I'll be able to justify devoting at least a little more time to the blog.

This image has something to do with what I'm working on.  That's all I'm saying.
So here are my plans for the next few posts: The next post is probably going to be a second look at Eamon; for several reasons, I planned to play a few more existing Eamon adventures before really getting into making mine. (As I think I mentioned in a previous post, I've already found a few things I was wrong about in my last Eamon-related post.) After that, I'll probably have a post on mapping in Eamon, followed by one about generating other content in Eamon, and finally on customization (i.e. editing the Eamon source code for effects specific to the adventure). Then probably a wrap-up post about Eamon. So... at least four more posts on Eamon, maybe more if it turns out I have enough to say about one of those aspects to fill multiple posts.

I expect the posts about Eamon to last, at most, another month, and possibly significantly less depending on how much I manage to get done over the holidays. After Eamon, I'll be going back in time a bit more in my chronological crawl... I said before that Eamon was the first game creation system I could find, but while that remains more or less true, now that I've added level editors to my purview, I have found some earlier games with level editors. Specifically, so far the earliest game I could find with a level editor was a strategy game called Starfleet Orion, released way back in December 1978. Like most level editors, I don't expect Starfleet Orion to justify more than one blog post, though; in fact, it will probably inaugurate a new label, "One and Done", for level editors that are covered completely in a single post. This will be followed by posts on a number of other programs that'll very likely also be "One and Done"s, such as Starfleet Orion's sequel Invasion Orion, a Magnavox Odyssey2 cartridge called Computer Intro! intended to introduce users to assembly-language programming (which admittedly makes its inclusion as a game-creation program a bit iffy, but the majority of the complete programs included seem to have been games, so it's arguable that that's what it was primarily geared toward), and a very rudimentary racing game called Dot Racer, before we finally get to another game creation system that may justify a slightly more in-depth analysis, 1981's Dungeon Definition Language.

Some of what we've got to look forward to.  (Images from eBay, the Digital Press "Room of Doom", AtariGuide, and, er, a screenshot collection maintained by an Italian C64 fan.)
Depending on how much progress I make with my 001 game in the meantime, as well as whether I run into anything interesting and unexpected worth blogging about, there may or may not be another 001 post mixed in there at some point. One likely candidate is a second post about mapping in 001, as I realized that the previous post about mapping dealt with creating individual maps, but not with how the maps are connected together—that'll probably be worth another post on its own.

So... sorry to not have been able to make a more substantive blog post this week, due to other urgent matters that have been occupying my time and attention, but I hope this taste of things to come has been... well, has been better than not posting at all, anyway. In any case, there'll be much more coming after the ninth.

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