This is my new favorite song of the moment! Download it here. Get the whole album here at Twilightzone’s Blog, where, at the moment, there is a great series of rare 45’s being posted under the moniker Trashcan Records. Fantastic stuff!
Update: Drop.io is dead, as is my link to the song. Sorry. Here’s a YouTube version:
After posting Malfunction, my text adventure game for the Apple ][, I have been spending a whole bunch of time tinkering with my old Apple ][ software creations. Another one of my better creations was a golf game that I titled, Dippy Golf. This game featured nine holes which were loaded in from external graphics files and, even more impressive, was the use of audio samples of my voice! The game worked but still felt somewhat unfinished, so I decided to complete the game and post it here on the Pages of Fun!
One of the first major additions that you will see is the snazzy splash page and loading message:
This was actually the last thing I added to the new version of the game, but I wanted to use my other upgraded piece of software, Lo-Paint 2. More about that later. The game takes several seconds to load the audio samples. Creating samples on the Apple ][ was incredibly difficult. I used a piece of software called The Voice by Muse. This application was developed in part by Silas Warner, the creator of the Castle Wolfenstein series of games.
The process of getting audio into the computer required taping myself on a cassette recorder, than plugging the recorder into the never-really-used tape data jack on the back of the Apple ][. The sound quality is awful, but this was about the best you could do on an Apple ][. You should note, that this is a golf game, so one of the samples is a naughty word. I stole the idea from an early Mac golf game which my neighbor owned.
Anyhow, on to the introduction/instructions screen:
I love that old, uppercase Apple ][ font. One of my improvements here was to center the text on the page and use a nicer prompt for a key press. After this page you proceed to the first hole:
As you can see, the graphics are in Apple 2 lo-res mode graphics. In this mode you are allowed 40×40 pixels, 16 colors and four lines of text. As crude as this image is, I believe it’s actually higher resolution than Atari 2600 golf.
The game mechanics are simple. You point in a direction then specify how hard you want to hit the ball. This was fine as a proof of concept, but didn’t provide much challenge once you memorized the best angles and swing percentages for each hole. The major 2009 update to game play was the addition of the random element of the wind. This makes the ball behavior somewhat unpredictable (like real golf for me) and can push the player into taking riskier shots in hopes of catching that breeze for a few extra pixels of distance. On some holes, like the one pictured next, it really adds to the challenge.
Without the wind, you could reliably hit to the micro-islands off the right of the screen.
All of these holes where drawn using an art tool which I programmed called Lo-Paint. In addition to my Dippy Golf updates, I also updated Lo-Paint and included it on the disk. This was a major upgrade to the tool so I consider this version 2 of the software. The interface has been completely revamped and now you can save and load lo-res images! Check out this screen shot of Lo-Paint 2 in action!
If you want to try out Lo-Paint 2 or Dippy Golf download the disk image which is attached to this post and open it up in AppleWin or your favorite Apple ][ emulator.
(Okay, Masterpiece should probably be in quotes too!) I have been on a bit of a retro computing kick this evening. I have been playing around with AppleWin, which is the best Apple ][ emulator for Windows that I know of. I played a little bit of the original Castle Wolfenstein and then decided to fire up my trusty Apple ][gs and port some of my old Applesoft programs to PC.
The process of transforming a 5.25″ floppy to a disk image is somewhat complicated, but not too bad if you have the right tools. First, I turned on my ][gs and booted the System 6 disk. I then ran the awesome program Asimov (by Ninjaforce) which can create and “burn” Apple ][ disk images. I was able to save six 5.25″ disk images onto a single 3.5″ ProDos floppy. The next step is taking this 3.5″ floppy down to my System 9 Mac which I keep stowed away in my basement. The old Mac system could read ProDos disks so I am able to pull the files off the floppy and then save them to a PC formatted 3.5″ floppy (or send them over a network, but I am not connected in my basement). I have a USB floppy drive on my PC specifically for this purpose. Once the disk images are on my PC’s hard drive (with a .dsk extension) I can boot them in AppleWin.
I spent a few hours running my old programs. Most of them are pretty stupid, but I can’t believe I wrote them as a 10 or 11 year-old. I will post some screenshots in the near future. However, sometime in my sophomore or junior year of high school I took the time to create a full text adventure called, “Malfunction.” My code was based on the code in the book Write Your Own Adventure Programs For Your Microcomputer by Usborne Computer Books. The book guided you through the creation of a haunted house game. I was taken step-by-step through the process of game design–from creating maps and puzzles to programming a text parser. This was a great book, and I’d love to see an updated, perhaps Flash actionscript oriented, version.
Now, more than 20 years later, I have decided to publish my game!
In order to play the game you will need to install an Apple 2 emulator. For windows, I use AppleWin. It’s really simple and runs near-perfectly. As for other platforms like Mac, I’m not-so-sure. Look to Google for your answers.
The game is mediocre at best, but I am pretty proud of it. I learned a ton about programming when I created this. I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to leave me some comments about what you think.
For those of you who don’t know, I like to make music with my computer and have done so in one form or another since the days of The Music Construction Set on my old Apple ][+. In the mid-Nineties I began compiling my solo musical output under the moniker, Martian Law. The first record I produced was actually a cassette tape that I gave away as a bonus to people who bought one of my wood engravings. In hindsight, this tape is pretty embarrassing, but it did contain a few numbers that I still can appreciate.
In 1999 I followed my debut with my first full-length CD release, The Exciting Sounds of a Compaq P133. This disc was comprised of my first purely digital (no more cassette 4-track recording!) musical compositions. The sound is a little rough due to the primitive, non-pro software I used, but I am more-or-less happy with the way it turned out. I have now converted the CD audio tracks into super high quality MP3’s and have made them free for you to download and add to your digital library. In addition, I have taken the songs that I composed in the years after P133 and assembled them into their own proper release, Upgrade Downgrade. This four song EP is sonically superior and is, I think, my finest work to date. Download and enjoy, and please let me know what you think.
Martian Law – The Exciting Sounds of a Compaq P133
Martian Law – Upgrade Downgrade
These files are available through the file hosting service Drop.io. Each MP3 can be previewed and then downloaded to you local machine using the “download” links throughout the page. The preview versions are a lower quality MP3 than the actual download you will receive.