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Old 10-31-2008, 07:13 AM   #1
kobargh
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Infocom Interactive fiction games on Sony.

Hi guys.
First of all I'd like to say, that I've been watching this forum for a long time. And such lads like Igorsk are doing really great job.
Frankly saying I thought, that the development for Sony won't stop on Sudoku, Five Balls and dictionary. The games of this kind are best played on mobile phones, but not on the device, that is designed to READ.
Thus, my opinion is that Sony PRS is best for text adventure games.

In this post I want to give a starting point for the future (I hope) development of some kind of Z-machine for Sony PRS.
For those who are younger than 30 here is description of what is Z-machine, and what is Infocom Interactive fiction... And what is Zork (one of the most popular game of this kind).

Now, why it will be interesting:
1. These games are TEXT-based and just perfect for READER.
2. There are tons of such games. So if one develops a kind of Z-machine for Sony to play interactive fiction games - it will be an infinite entertainment!
3. These games are free.
4. They are classic, fun, and very interesting. Made by professional writers. Sometimes it's better to play a good text adventure than to read a book.

I think Z-machine for Sony would be something like this:



If no one of developers is interested in this, I would like to have at least some advices from gurus of how can I do it by myself. (I'm web developer, but I think I could give it a try if I were able to port Perl programs to Reader).
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Old 10-31-2008, 07:39 AM   #2
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I'm not a guru, but I do have 2 suggestions.

The first is that you drop the on screen keyboard as input and replace it with one similar to text messaging on a cell phone.

The second is that you wait for the PRS-700. It has a touchscreen with an onscreen keyboard. This might make adaptation easier.
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Old 10-31-2008, 07:44 AM   #3
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You might look over the open inkpot group for porting ideas. Simple adventures should be workable, but infocom adventure proprably require too much keying for sony use. A Kindle would be a better port target as it already has a keyboard for typing phrases.
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Old 10-31-2008, 07:45 AM   #4
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I'd love to see a Z machine implementation for eBook readers. At the moment, it's one of the few things I'm still using my Pocket PC for.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
The first is that you drop the on screen keyboard as input and replace it with one similar to text messaging on a cell phone.
This picture is just a photoshop 2-minute outline to start discussion. Your idea is good, but it is similar to mine - letters are accessed through Sony's "side number pad". Thanks. I do have some more ideas about how to implement a keyboard on Sony 505.
Quote:
The second is that you wait for the PRS-700. It has a touchscreen with an onscreen keyboard. This might make adaptation easier.
Quote:
A Kindle would be a better port target as it already has a keyboard for typing phrases.
Or get Iliad. Or play on PC/PocketPC. But I already have Sony PRS-505 and it wasn't an easy way to purchase it in my country. I want Zork playable on my Sony 505.
Quote:
You might look over the open inkpot group for porting ideas.
Thanks. I will look.

Last edited by kobargh; 10-31-2008 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kobargh View Post
This picture is just a photoshop 2-minute outline to start discussion. Your idea is good (may save some free space). Thanks. I do have some more ideas about how to implement a keyboard on Sony 505.
A couple of design suggestions.
a) I think it would be more visually pleasing to have the keyboard at the bottom of the screen. Reading a long narrow column of text wouldn't be as pleasant, I would have thought.
b) A better idea might be a Simon the Sorcerer type interface, where the most commonly used verbs are available to select directly, rather than typing each letter.
c) You could extend this to a context-sensitive selection, so that if you choose move/go, the list is replaced by the possible places you could move to. There may be an issue with some commands of this giving you spoilers.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kobargh View Post
I want Zork playable on my Sony 505.
This is really cool. I had actually thought about it myself, but couldn't find time to work on it.

My thoughts are thus:

1. Isn't the sudoku game written in javascript? if it would make coding easier, you might be able to leverage code from Parchment

2. The keypresses are going to make game play pretty klunky and slow (and I realize that you recognize this and still want to make it work). I'd recommend that you consider adding one more column of buttons for frequently-invoked commands (being limited to 10, I'd go with N,S,E,W,U,D,L,I,Take and Drop. If there's a way to do more, I'd want to add single buttons for Open, Close, Examine, etc.)
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murraypaul
a) I think it would be more visually pleasing to have the keyboard at the bottom of the screen. Reading a long narrow column of text wouldn't be as pleasant, I would have thought.
I think you didn't get it. Keyboard is vertical because Sony's number buttons are vertical. Numbers are used to access the letters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by curtw
I'd recommend that you consider adding one more column of buttons for frequently-invoked commands (being limited to 10, I'd go with N,S,E,W,U,D,L,I,Take and Drop. If there's a way to do more, I'd want to add single buttons for Open, Close, Examine, etc.)
Thank you, curtw. It's very good idea. Moreover I think it would be possible to make 3-4 sections for commands: "Movements", "Actions with items", "Actions with persons", "Keyboard" etc. I will try to "photoshop" this idea for better understanding later.
Guys, I'm very glad that this thread is interesting for you, but now we are discussing only the visual side of this "project". Do anyone can try to port such a thing? Or how can I do this? You know I'm programming only for web sites and don't have any experience in device-development.

Last edited by kobargh; 10-31-2008 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:22 PM   #9
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Nice idea. Don't suppose you'd also look at a port of NetHack if you figure this out?
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:35 AM   #10
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Nice idea. Don't suppose you'd also look at a port of NetHack if you figure this out?
Yeah. I was thinking about rogue or ADOM or something of this kind ported on Sony. But it seems VERY complicated idea. All this keyboard commands... And even if one ports such game on Sony - gameplay will be REALLY slow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by curtw
if it would make coding easier, you might be able to leverage code from Parchment
It was very good advice. You know I was rather surprised that someone managed to code Z-Machine on JavaScript. Now I'm trying to clear up how it works

Last edited by kobargh; 11-07-2008 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:01 PM   #11
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I'd play!
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:12 AM   #12
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I think Angband/Nethack/Rogue/ADOM/Moria would be fantastic! Although kind of clunky, I really like the Z-Machine keyboard layout Kobargh suggests.

Personally, I'm an Angband junkie and a vanilla client goes on just about every device I have.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:29 PM   #13
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Just browsing over this, I had an idea for the game play to make it a little more smooth. I've never played any Z-Machine games, but would using the direction pad to shortcut moving north, south, east, or west work? Also, maybe using page turn to scroll through commonly used actions.
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Old 09-04-2009, 04:02 PM   #14
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This is what I want! Now how do we make it?
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