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Re: I just wrote "The Hobbit" in C#
Home away from home
2008/8/10 2:07
From Queenstown, New Zealand
Posts: 658

Urulöké wrote:
Cool! Sounds like that NPC algorithm was (a) advanced and (b) broken.

Yeah, I think they wanted to leave things quite "open" so that the game would be a little different every time and have repeat playability once finished -- which was different from text adventure games of the period. There are several different ways of solving the game, which is also unusual. Unfortunately, some permutations of the "random" behaviour can result in situations where the game can't be finished. For example, if the wood elf captures a warg and throws it into into the Elven king's dungeon and the butler unlocks the door between the dungeon and the wine cellar, the warg is likely to kill the butler -- and then you have no one to throw the barrel through the trapdoor (which you need to be in -- or jump on top of as it goes through, in order to get to the second half of the game).

One fun bug is that you can pick up Elrond (because his weight is obviously not defined correctly) and if you throw Elrond at a Goblin it will permanently kill the Goblin without it respawning (otherwise you see a little debug message about the respawn :))

To be fair to Megler and Mitchell (at Beam Software), they had only 48K to play with and it was 100% written in Z80 Assembler. Having only done simple stuff in Z80A when I was a kid, I can't imagine how much of a pain that would have been. They had to write their own text compression scheme to fit the game in (which is probably why some of the grammar in the textual descriptions is a bit "off"). The simple graphics are a restriction of size as there was only space to store the points for simple vector graphics (and then flood fill).

But like I say, they created something very strange and special back in '82.

Posted on: 6/9 20:23:02

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