WANTED! Beta-testers for Larry Horsfield’s new PAWED (well, err, ACEd) text adventures

Our much-admired Master of the Guild of PAW Writers, HE Larry Horsfield, the creative talent behind those & many acclaimed PAWed text adventures published as FSF AdventuresThe AXE OF KOLT saga or the MAGNETIC MOON saga among many others – back in the eighties and a regular reported star in the magazines of the age – Sinclair User or Your sinclair, to mention just a couple –, has kept on working on his PAW creations over the years and is now, in 2011, ready to release respectively a brand-new adventure, Fortress of Fear, plus an updated version of The lost children, both authored using the PAW language and compiled using the ACE Adventures package (available for download at the software tab of the Reservoir), a 100% compatible tool with the original PAW language but with much extended capabilites in line with the requirements of the modern times.

Larry is looking for beta-testers so as to fine-tune both adventures to perfect release candidates in the very next months to come. So if you like IF and text-adventures and would like to have the privilege of collaborating with him for the release of these two long-expected & excellent pieces of text adventuring to the world, please write Larry at lazzah2000@yahoo.co.uk.

Happy adventuring!!

The PAW Monster Edition

PAW Monster

The PAW Monster Edition is a project of The PAW Reservoir for the development of a PAW replicant.

Another PAW replicant?!?!

The PAWME will replicate the original PAW design (database and language interpreter embedded within an editor) on the PC. The application will be self-contained and compact (no external libraries, no multiple executables, no file renaming, no compiler-interpreter architecture anymore… ). An .exe file will launch an editor that will provide the functions of the original PAW…

But why do we need another PAW system for Windows? We already have Doug Harter’s WinPAW, among others…

… hmm, that will provide the functions of the original PAW plus all many of the advanced features of the existing clones. This reset intends to upgrade the PAW design to the modern times and, while retaining all of the look & feel of the original software, make of it a serious tool able to produce top level games as many of those produced with the big ones. No object-oriented programming, no simulation paranoia, no endless lists of unaffordable plug-ins…

  • indexed database-driven system like the PAW but with extended capabilities: up to 65.000 locations, objects, dictionary, processes, flags, messages… (eventually unlimited).
  • expanded database structure with new data fields.
  • programmable PROCESS 0 (zero).
  • new PROCESS * (simultaneous to player’s input).
  • up to 20 user-defined windows for screen layout.
  • up to 65.000 flags (variables).
  • up to 100 local flags for locations and objects.
  • automatized behaviours via location and object flags: define attributes (container, non-player character, visited, foe, liquid, opaque… whatever) once and the system handles accordingly.
  • location routes.
  • stacks for FIFO operations with flags.
  • buffers for text ‘maths’.
  • flag indexation.
  • location routes.
  • authomatic & customizable light, hour and weather systems.
  • distant objects reporting and ‘atmospheric’ messaging for dynamic description effects.
  • simple macro programming
  • expanded PAW grammar: WINDOWx, WHATL(loc), WHATP (process), BITWISE condacts, OOPS and AGAIN, NPC interaction condacts, a power-boosted DOALL…
  • hard wired ‘start’ database with real and advanced functionality.
  • Hopefully, multiple target compilation: PC, DS, Java, Windows CE, etc.

… all interfaced via a user-friendly and simple editor similar to that of the original PAW. Plus some other nice and useful embellishments.

So, what are we supposed to be able to write with the PAWME?

Regardless of their beauty and retro-feeling, the 8-bit based windows versions of PAW are unfortunately too limited and cannot be used for large and text-plenty games or interactive fictions. To put it simply: they do not accommodate enough text nor database resources. SINTAC (which is, in fact, not a replicant of the PAW but of its elder brother DAAD) or CAECHO do in fact have most of the functions and the required expanded grammars that could in fact produce large and meaty text adventures. But SINTAC (absolutely beautiful) insists on the 8-bit limit of 256 of each class except for messages. There’s no use in having 65.000 messages if you can only use 256 flags to control such a monster, 256 objects and rooms with no local flags or attributes, if there’s not any bitwise operation grammar, etc. And the CAECHO system is a prodigy of design (the database is, simply, superb and massively fillable with so many values and flags and text maths and the language is so varied and so proficient…) but the paw-like grammar has been translated into a strange C-like spanish dialect. A beautiful software design by a computing engineer for computer engineeers. Mortals cannot simply make any sense of it, let aside write a game with it. And both of them only run under MS-DOS plus their authors have turned their back on the PAW forever and reject to update and recompile these fantastic tools to run under Windows. Sic.

We are starting to evaluate Superglús and ACE as both are superb PAW replicants. But we still feel that a rewrite, a new design and an editor version would be much better. Among the reviewed programming packages for our rewrite, Multimedia Fusion has taken the pole position for the time being…

You can report to the Project tab at for further information about the PAWME.

Spacerogues #1: Design

Plancha Stella

My pulpish, forthcoming space opera Spacerogues #1 – Flowers for the singer features Agent Arem Eaglestorm plus four sidekick interactive characters plus several supportting characters (with a limited interactivity, though). Character design and location graphics are fully underway now. For your records, this pixelized babe isn’t but Stella, the jazz singer of the title that is forced to remain captive in the dark & smoky red-district club known as The Black Nest. More 24×24 sprite-art panels to follow soon.

First project on the pipe: Spacerogues #1 for the ZX Spectrum (emulated)

At the time this site goes public, I will have been working for some ten days on the first project for the Reservoir. It is #1 on the Spacerogues series entitled Flowers for the singer and will solely and exclusively be programmed using the PAW and its original editors on a ZX emulator (ZXDS) running on a Nintendo DS. Quite a challenge to try and replicate that feeling of that late-at-night, dark-roomed, hunchbacked fingerfastin’ upon the  bloody rubber keyed toy.

Domusphera

The action is settled in Domusphera, a large technological citadel.

paw1

No game may start without a proper title screen…

paw2

… and may not unfold without a sexy interface, in this case based on Garry Capuccini’s design for Crack City. And, ¿what about the girl?

Stella

Before I start with the actual programming of the story (with locations, objects, events, etc), I am taking my time to work out a style database template for the whole series. It should accommodate an online manual using container location unused text, a graphic interface updated in realtime, a flyable airspace using coordinates, atmospheric messaging – people wandering, transport, weather, etc… and as many other features as memory permits. I will try to keep the template clean and compact to save enough space for an exciting plot and abundant and funny puzzles but it will necessarily make of it a 128k project only.

The template and database budget of the story will, obviously, be published in this site once tested so that you can use it for your own work if you want to. Source code listing of the release candidate version will be published as well.

Stay tuned.