Friday, March 22, 2013

Game 93: Eamon (1980)

 
The relative quality of freeware and commercial CRPGs often serves as a counter-argument to capitalism. We might naturally expect that games made for profit would out-perform games made just for the fun of it--and in certain areas, like graphics and sound, they unquestionably do. But in terms of overall gameplay, we need look only further than the entire roguelike genre--including the high-ranked NetHack and Omega--to see that commercial games don't always make for better games.

This axiom rings most true during Barton's Dark and Bronze Ages, when the earliest commercial RPGs significantly under-performed what university students created for their friends on mainframes in between classes. Few of the commercial RPGs from the late 1970s and early 1980s exceed the PLATO games like dnd, Oubliette, and Avatar (I realize I haven't reviewed all of these; you'll have to wait for the book for that). I would go so far as to say that only Dunjonquest: Temple of Apshai comes close, and not until 1982 and 1983, with Wizardry and Ultima III, do commercial games clearly start to hold their own.
 
Eamon is one of the best examples of a "freeware" game that has inspired affection and devotion well beyond any commercial game of the era. Programmer Don Brown specifically designed the game as an engine for an infinite number of modules--it's the earliest "construction set" for CRPGs--and people still write them today. The Eamon Adventurer's Guild Online regularly reviews new adventures and blogs about other Eamon news. I'm hard-pressed to think of many other games that have an active community after 33 years.
 
Fighting a pirate in Eamon.
 
Eamon is a cross between an RPG and a text adventure. Aside from the opening-screen graphic, the entire interface, including all commands, is text. Each module, or "adventure," is a self-contained story that takes maybe 10-30 minutes to play. Each features a variety of monsters, items, and special encounters, but the items aren't portable from one adventure to the next, so what you don't use in the adventure itself, you sell upon return to the adventurer's hall (the nexus among all the adventures). Although there are some common commands (e.g., NORTH, SOUTH, GET, LOOK, ATTACK, OPEN), the specific inputs can change from adventure to adventure.
 
At first glance, Eamon seems like a very simple game. There are only five weapon types (mace, spear, axe, sword, and bow), only three attributes (hardiness, agility, and charisma), only four armor types (leather, chain, plate, and shield), and only four spells (blast, heal, speed, and power). But these limited elements come together in unique ways to create adventuring scenarios extremely advanced for the time. For example:
 
1. Each weapon has an associated level of complexity with it, and an associated level of ability. Maces are the least complex, and any character can wield one with a reasonably good chance of striking a blow. Bows are the most complex, with a default -10% ability level, meaning beginning characters need extraordinary luck to hit anything with one. This makes a lot of sense to me: any fool could pick up a mace and start swinging it, but you need finesse and skill to successfully use a bow or sword. Your chance of hitting with a weapon is the weapon complexity plus your ability with the weapon plus twice the agility. My character here...


...will hit with Trollsfire 25 + 10 + (18*2) = 71% of the time. Not bad, but...
 
2. Armor has a complex effect on both damage reduction and chances to hit. Leather reduces your "to hit" chance by 10%, chain by 20%, plate by 60%, and a shield by 5%. So Chester will have that 71% reduced by 25% because of his chain and shield. However, Chester's armor expertise ("AE" on the sheet) mitigates that reduction by 10%. Meanwhile, each suit of armor deflects a certain amount of damage. My chain and shield together will deflect 3 points, meaning I have a 50% chance to resist all damage if my enemy has a weapon that does 1d6.

3. Weapon and armor expertise increase in increments of 2% as you successfully score hits in combat. It seems to happen with about 30-40% of hits. Chester, above, started with 0% ability with a sword but managed to enemies about 25 times in his first adventure, and among those hits, his sword ability went up 5 times to 10%. This is pretty cool stuff for a 1980 CRPG, and I'm pretty sure we have to award Eamon the recognition of the first game where skills increase with use.

4. The three attributes (rolled randomly during character creation) are quite important and significantly change the nature of the game for each character. Hardiness affects hit points and how much you can carry. Charisma affects buying power, significantly enough that the difference between an 18 and a 10 is the difference between a character who can afford any armor for his first adventure or not. Charisma also affects whether certain "monsters" you meet in the dungeons like your or not. If they don't like you, they'll attack you; if they do, they'll join you and help against other enemies. My first character, with a charisma of 17, was joined by a hermit and a fighter named Heinrich, who together helped compensate for his horrible agility of 9. My second character had those attributes reversed and had to kill both the hermit and Heinrich, leaving him too weak for the final battle. My hypothesis is that any character can be successful, but each requires a slightly different strategy.

5. You can fumble (drop) weapons in combat, and they can break. There are also critical hits. I'm not sure exactly how the statistics affect these probabilities, but I think they're mostly random.

To illustrate the gameplay, let me go through the first scenario that came with the game: "Beginner's Cave." The game begins when you enter the adventurer's hall. There's a sign pointing to a desk that says "register here or else!" If you ignore it and go to drink with the other adventurers, the game immediately shows you the penalty for not following instructions.


When you do register at the desk, you enter a character name, and if it's an existing character, the game loads it; if not, it creates a new one. You specify the sex and the attributes are otherwise rolled randomly. The guildmaster gives new characters a quick on-screen manual to read.

Part of the in-game manual, which lasts about 8 screens.

In the adventurer's hall, you can buy and sell weapons and armor; learn spells from a wizard (these are very expensive; you need to successfully complete some adventures first); deposit or withdraw money from a bank; save and quit the game; and examine the character. The adventurer's hall is the only place where you can do the latter; in an adventure itself, you can only see the character's inventory. Even your current hardiness or "hit point" level is only alluded to through various qualitative measures ("you feel fine"; "you are sick"; "you are on death's door").


Since I'm playing with a character with a charisma of 18, I can count on getting some NPCs to join me in the first adventure. That means I'll have time to develop my weapon skill, without worrying about death, so I buy a good sword, a suit of leather, and a shield.

Heading out, I choose the only adventure on the main disk, "The Beginner's Cave," and after a "Knight Marshal" verifies that I've bothered to buy some equipment and I'm not too experienced to be here, he lets me into the titular cave.

You are at the entrance of a cave. To the south, over the tunnel entrance is a sign saying 'Beginners Only.' To the north is the road back to town.

I enter the cave and wander down a dimly-lit tunnel. Exploring a side-chamber, I find a bottle with a healing potion and a smelly hermit, who hops off his rock and follows me. (Unfortunately, this adventure doesn't let me interact with him.)

In another side chamber, three rats with sharp teeth scurry over a pile of diamonds. This affords me my first combat. As I attack, two of the rats flee out into the main chamber. I miss. The rat hits me, but the blow bounces off my leather armor. I keep missing my attacks, but fortunately the hermit compensates for my weakness and kills all of them. I grab the pile of diamonds.


Moving south, I come across two rooms bolted shut. One contains a human fighter named Heinrich who, grateful for his release, accompanies me. (Again, this is dependent on my high charisma; other adventurers have been attacked by Heinrich.) The other contains a hairy, angry gorilla which we successfully slay, looting 50 gold coins from the chamber.

Another side room contains a chest. As I go to open it, it sprouts tentacles and seizes us. A mimic! We attack it furiously and, again, my companions manage to kill it where I keep missing. Its body conceals a gold ring.


West from a t-junction, we find the remains of a library with a magic book. Knowing from my previous adventures that if I read it, I'll be turned into a fish, I simply pick it up. Moving along the caverns, we eventually come to an exit on a beach, where a pirate is in the process of burying a pile of jewels. I SMILE and WAVE at him, but he just attacks, forcing us to do the same.


From his body, I loot his magic sword, called "Trollsfire," and the pile of jewels. With nowhere else to go, we return triumphantly to the adventurer's hall, where I sell my accumulated loot for 3,020 gold pieces and use it to buy HEAL and BLAST spells from the wizard.

Other adventures require swapping of disks after first loading the character with the main Eamon disk. The Eamon Adventurer's Guild library has a master list of all the adventures, which you can download individually or all at once. For my second one, I decided to try The Death Star, one of eight written by Eamon's author, Don Brown.

The game, predictably, takes place on the Death Star from Star Wars, and I'm warned right at the beginning that I'm entering a "parallel universe" where my old gear and spells won't work. Here's the setup:


I exit the Millennium Falcon, ready my light saber, and head down the corridors. I kill legions of soldiers (for some reason, the game avoids using "Stormtrooper") and follow signs for the tractor beam equipment, which I destroy. I also find my way to the "weapon control room" and destroy the equipment controlling the Death Star's big laser gun, which I guess means I've retconned the Star Wars universe and the Battle of Yavin doesn't need to happen.


I return to the ship, blast off, and "shift back into [my] normal reality, ready to do battle with simple things like dragons and ogres." Back at the adventurer's hall, I find that my sword skill has increased, but little else.
 
Finally, for my third adventure, I decided to try the highest rated of the early games on the guild's list, John Nelson's Death Trap. Nelson is a programmer who started the National Eamon Users' Club, which eventually became the Guild. He organized the adventures, gave them "official" numbers, and started an Eamon newsletter.

The setup of Death Trap is that I've made a bet with an enemy for $20,000 that I can survive a cave called "Death Trap." The game warns me that there are dragons, giants, wizards, and demons in the cave, and I need to be a "supreme warrior" to survive. Suddenly, I'm thinking this isn't the best location for Chester's third adventure. This is borne out when the first chamber I come to is occupied by a dragon, and he kills me instantly. Because the game wipes your character from the disk every time you load him, death is permanent.


I tried a few others with a new character. I was doing well but some disk error dropped me to the prompt, and I lost my character. In fact, this happened several times. I think you could preserve the character by backing up the main disk, but I haven't tried it.

I wish I had time to try a lot of the other Eamon adventures. The system is flexible enough to support a wide variety of game scenarios, and I'm betting there are some with more interesting NPCs and even role-playing choices. The quality of the game depends, of course, on the quality and complexity of the particular adventure. To that end, it's hard to give the "game" a single rating.

In a recent comment, Amy suggested I should speak more about my experiences actually getting the games to run. Usually, I'm using DOSBox, and there's no big story. For this one, it was a bit of a pain. I'm using the AppleWin emulator and the disk images I downloaded from the Eamon Adventurer's Guild. Only the first disk (with the adventurer's hall) is bootable, so if I want to save my progress in any of the others and re-load, I have to first run a bootable disk, then "swap" disks, then load and run the program. I never owned an Apple II when I was younger, so I had to learn some of the basic Apple DOS commands to get the process to work. I had a lot of corruptions for some reason, and I had to keep restoring versions of the disk images from the downloaded .zip file. Ultimately, these various corruptions discouraged me from continuing with the game, and I'm not sure what to blame for them.
 
An updated version of Eamon for Windows exists, called Eamon Deluxe, created by Frank Black, last updated in 2012. It runs in DOSBox and provides a graphic interface, with icons and commands similar to Ultima I and II. In addition to the options from the original Eamon, there's a casino, weapons and armor trainers, an information desk, and a witch who you can pay to raise your abilities.

Wandering about the Eamon Deluxe remake.

The adventures are otherwise text-based and very much in the flavor of the original game, although with a slightly more tolerable font.


There have been other adaptations over the years, including PC conversions by Jon Walker in 1985, Paul Gilbert in 1995, and John Nelson in 2000. (The EAG has comparison screen shots.) There was a graphic version called Super Eamon in 1985 and an Atari ST version in 1987. It was commercialized (apparently with more options and puzzles) for the Apple II, with six adventures, as SwordThrust (1981), and John Nelson updated the Eamon engine as KnightQuest in 1983. In 2010, a developer created a game called Leadlight, a gothic horror set at a girl's boarding school in Australia, using the Eamon engine and running in a browser with an Apple II emulator.
 
Creator Don Brown published the code, along with an interesting article about the game mechanics, in the same issue of Recreational Computing (July 1980) in which The Wizard's Castle appeared. Brown is a bit of a mystery. According to the EAG's history of the game, he "wrote the main hall, a few dungeon designer utilities, two manuals, and 8 adventures before completely dropping out of sight in the Eamon world, never to be heard from again." This can't be the whole story, because he was behind the attempt to commercialize it as SwordThrust, but in any event, a later note to the site indicates that Mr. Brown "is not interested in any sort of Eamon-related correspondence" and hasn't responded to anyone's messages in over 15 years. He has apparently remained in the software business, working for several companies.

Two more notes:
 
1. There's currently an active contest to develop new adventures for Eamon. It's running until June 1. If any of you develops one, I'll play it!

2. Nothing I can find helps me figure out the origin of the name. "Eamon" or "Eamonn" is a common male Irish personal name, equivalent to the English "Edmund," but I can't find any obvious candidates to have inspired this game.

I'd be happy to hear of any of your Eamon experiences. For me, it's back to the "present" with Knights of Legend.

****

Further reading: Check out my later experiences with Don Brown's commercial adaptation, SwordThrust, and a blatant ripoff, The Adventure: Only the Fittest Shall Survive.

45 comments:

  1. There's a series of interesting articles on Eamon over at The Digital Antiquarian. I found that this blog goes rather well together with reading the CRPG Addict.

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    1. Thanks. Those are really good articles. Better than mine, actually. He has a better sense of the technology. Better history of the game and its personalities. And he clued me in that I missed the core of that first quest, although it appears the way to find it was very obscure.

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    2. I've been reading through Digital Antiquarian's page as well. In fact, I just bookmarked his Eamon page to read later and came over here to find...Eamon.

      I've played a few of these too and found the entire system very compelling. The modules themselves vary widely and I never did find one that really seemed to do the system justice. But then, there are hundreds of games and I picked through them randomly.

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    3. Speaking of DA, any idea why Eamon has the same title pic as Odyssey The Compleat Apventure? http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odyssey:_The_Compleat_Apventure

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    4. What I find most interesting, and what makes reading both blogs a good idea, is that the two of you look at games from different perspectives. You look more at the game itself and at the way it plays as a CRPG; he looks, as you've said, more at the history and technology behind the game.

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    5. Great catch, Killias! The tail and right wing are doing different things, but otherwise it's clearly the same image.

      That came up in Jimmy Maher's forum, too. Speculation seems to be that it was created by someone named Richard Phillips in an Apple II user's forum. I'll mention it when I cover Odyssey and perhaps Robert Clardy will return and comment again.

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    6. Killias, that is actually something of a puzzle. The program file for the original main hall has an attribution written by Don Brown "Dragon picture shown during program by R.L. Phillips & friends of Ann Arbor, Mich. The beauty is greatly enjoyed."

      Eamon was developed in the late 1970s (and first mentioned in a magazine in July 1980) although it is unclear when the dragon image was added. Wikipedia says that the Odyssey game was published in 1980.

      I would suggest that given the timing that it was Odyssey that copied the graphic of the public domain Eamon system, not the other way around.

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    7. I think Matthew is correct. The opening Dragon picture in Eamon has been around as long as I've been involved, which was back in 1979. We had an artist friend draw a new version when we were publishing the National Eamon User's Club news letter and paid him for doing so. Even that image has been finding its way into other publications.

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  2. Ah Eamon! My first gaming experience on the Apple II. It was also responsible for introducing me to BASIC (and other) programming as my friend and I would search through the code and find ways to change our stats to make the game easier.

    Nice write up. Brings back the memories.

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    1. I was reading that the code was almost moronically simply to interpret and change, allowing users to find the secrets of each level and create godlike characters.

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    2. BASIC? Oh yeah, very very simple. That is what I learned to code on. You can start learning it with a book in an afternoon. Higher level concepts are hard, and good programming near impossible, but you can make something that works quite easily.

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    3. The code was also easy to modify because Donald Brown wrote a pretty good manual telling you what all of the variables and subroutines did. This is on the Dungeon Designer Disk.

      You could also open a dungeon directly in the dungeon designer and look at all of the rooms, monsters, and artifacts.

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  3. You know, it's not really fair, comparing student games for mainframes with commercial games released for home computers. Those are clearly different platforms, and probably mainframes were more powerful, and/or had better development tools, etc.

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    1. I was going to say something about that, but I don't really know if it's true. In any event, Eamon was written for the Apple II, so there were quality freeware games for the home computer market, too.

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    2. This is from a few years later, in the 90s, but it is from the Internet Raytracing Competition (http://www.irtc.org/stills/ ) and everyone was posting these tiny images they'd rendered that had taken like, 11 hours. Then one guy posts one with a render time of something like 12 minutes and a note saying 'the mainframe at work wasn't being used at midnight, so I slipped my job on'

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  4. Now that you are going back in time to check out non-PC games that you missed, you really need to try Tunnels of Doom for the TI99/4A. I know it has been mention before in the comments, but it really is a gem.

    The keyboard commands are a little confusing, since they only made sense on the original TI99 keyboard, but once you figure them out you'll get to play a game with the following features. Who would think that ESDX were the arrow keys, Fn-6 meant PROCEED, Fn-8 meant REDO, and Fn-9 meant BACK

    - First person navigation through the dungeon in colour. The wall colours get darker every 2 levels and really add to the creepy factor.

    - Randomly generated dungeon with automapping.

    - Magic items that affect the frequency of wandering monsters.

    - A timed quest to retrieve the King and his Rainbow Orb

    - Catchy theme music and stair travelling music that I still hum to myself now and then.



    If you need help getting it running, just ask.


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    1. I probably will at some point. I'm trying to get a comprehensive series of postings for games up to 1983 for the book, and ToD was in 1982.

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  5. Regarding the unknown origin of the word "Eamon", there are a few clues that I have found.

    The Eamon Deluxe Player's Manual (hosted by the Eamon Adventurers Guild Online) states that "The name "Eamon" (commonly pronounced "E-MUN") was reportedly picked by [Donald Brown], at random, from a nearby Irish dictionary during development."

    I concur with the CRPG Addict's findings that "Eamon" is a common Irish name, but why would a name be in a dictionary?

    Using an Irish to English online dictionary (I do not speak the language) has led me to discover that "Eamon" is an Old Irish word that in English means "twin" or "pair". I do not know if there is any significant correlation between those words and this game, but perhaps I have given you some insight as to why Donald Brown, the game's creator, may have named his game the way he did.

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    1. Thanks. I thought I'd looked over that site thoroughly, but I missed that section.

      One millimeter up, and we'd be playing a game called "Dylan."

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  6. Ah, a contest for making modules for a game! Now this is just the sort of challenge that a Gadfly needs! How would the rest of you blog readers feel if our good friend The Addict plays through and actually enjoys a module by myself, the Gadfly?

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  7. Thank you for mentioning the Eamon contest. We're doing our best to keep this obscure system alive; if you look at the blog, you'll notice that the past year has been incredibly productive.

    If any of your readers get the urge to spend an hour or two working on a thirty five year old computer game, we are welcoming all comers. If someone doesn't want to worry about messing with DOSBox or an emulator, we're even inclined to work with him or her and enter the data ourselves. We want the finished product to be as vibrant as possible.

    If anyone would like to participate and wants help, feel free to contact me at tfeamon [at] gmail.com.

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    1. Thanks, Tom. I was about to send a message to y'all at the Eamon AG to see if you wanted to pop by and comment. I appreciate your efforts in keeping records of the game and its variants; it obviously helped me a lot in this posting.

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    2. ...and when folks like you help keep interest alive, it keeps the preservation work from being a waste of time.

      Great blog, by the way. You've gained a new reader, for what it's worth.

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    3. I just found this site this morning. It sounds interesting and I may be interested in participating. I would need to know some more details. I will send you an email.

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  8. Long time reader, first time poster.

    Do you, or anyone else, have experience using DOSBox on a tablet? If so, which version? Which tablet?

    Thanks! Great blog!

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    1. I fear that I don't even have experience using a tablet, let alone using DOSBox on it. Perhaps someone else will comment.

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    2. I did find this Youtube vid comparing Dosbox Turbo,AnDosBox and aDosBox on Android: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko8n9LUrAMc

      iPad, I don't know. Searches turn up something called DOSpad.

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  9. I suspect the reason early commercial games failed to be much better, or even worse, than early 'enthusiast games' (lack of better word) is because they were simple to make and didn't require much time or effort. Game development has become a lot more complex and for anyone to develop a AAA game by themselves today is unthinkable. Also early on there were companies that were arrogant and didn't care about their customers, one infamous example is Atari, they released ET.

    I'm not quite sure that enthusiast games are always non commercial though, even an amateur might dream about one day being able to make a living developing games, that would kind of be commercial game development that isn't yet funded.

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  10. The Shareware game Scorched Earth also had a cult following back in the 1990s. In fact, in many ways it is the predecessor to the Worms series, which is the predecessor to the dumbed-down (but fun) version known as Angry Birds.

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  11. Just a comment that the author of the Death Trap, John Nelson, ran the Eamon newsletter from 1984 to 1987. Tom Zuchowski took over in 1988 and published it until 2001. I launched the eamonag.org website in 2003 based on the knowledge base that had been established up until then.

    Eamon was a nice system for the time and if you think about it in terms of interactive fiction, was probably the most successful non-commercial IF language in the 1980s. Since it was released, about 270 modules/adventures have been created...

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    1. Thank you for the correction. I read something too quickly. I appreciate all your work on the EamonAG site.

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  12. Very interesting post. Awesome that such an antique, obscure game has a community after all those years!

    I know I've seen the name Eamon before, but I can't place it. And no, it's not that "R&B" crap Google first comes up with.

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    1. I think what PetrusOctavianus is talking about is mentioned somewhere under "Terminological Inexactitudes" in the newsletter...I heard there was an old school picture of the designer in that issue too.

      http://www.eamonag.org/newsletters/acrobat/Eamon_DeluXe_NewsletterV3n01_03-2013.pdf

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  13. I remember playing some Eamon games by Tom Zuchowski in a Middle Earth setting. From what I remember they were quite good (once I got Eamon working under emulation). The Tolkien Computer Games site has a couple of entries:

    http://www.lysator.liu.se/tolkien-games/entry/assault.html

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  14. To be fair to commercial developers, they have to make back their development costs (and some profit), which limits the amount of time they can invest making the game to a couple of years at most. Whereas something like nethack can be (and has been) in development for *decades*.

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    1. innategamer: Which is such a lovely example of a quality product and good use of time, isn't it?

      Vicarion: That would by why modders can often improve the graphics pretty quickly: They can put every night for weeks into getting the medkit to look JUST right, when the professional has a dozen more objects just like it to get working.

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  15. Having a bit of a personal bias in favor of the Eamon Deluxe system, I feel it would be cordial for me to thank you for your interest and blog post here. The newest downloads available come in all the operating system flavors Mr. Black has had time to poke his head into..as long as he can find his glasses that is. ;) I'll be hoping you'll add your own submission too. You linked to the right page above for downloads but I'll add it to my comment once more for those reading here:

    http://www.eamonag.org/pages/eamondx.htm

    I'd like to add that I used the dungeon designer (only slightly fumblingly) without asking for help quite early on and managed a room with an item and a container with a removable item inside without a spot of programming knowledge at the time. I wanted to see if I could do it. Then later, as usual through the updates and the various versions being added; I tried to "break" whatever I could digging for bugs. Of course I did ask and learn a lot since that day as of now. Basic is a great place to start learning for anyone interested in even peeking into programming. I certainly hope that all the interest you've stirred here brings some entries in whether your followers are players or programmers. The contest is open to anyone after all.
    Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Raquel. I hope so, too.

      I was thinking that Eamon would be a great platform for the "Lone Wolf" series of gamebooks that I remember fondly from my childhood. Like Eamon, they were largely about text-based story-telling while featuring a character sheet and occasional combats.

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  16. Ah, thank you for bringing back my childhood. I remember killing Darth Vader on the Death Star and finding 'my father's light-sabre'. I remember the huge numbers of identically named guards on the Death Star, and the room with 100 guards. I remember drowning in the Zyphur Riverventure until I realized I had to use the boat. I remember the injury level descriptions 'takes damage but is still in good shape...is hurting...is in pain...is very badly injured...is at death's door, knocking loudly'...is dead! I remember letting the guy out of the Tomb of Molinar and blowing up the universe...

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    1. I'm glad I could spark the memories. Is your handle really "null," or is that a database error?

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  17. This is a nitpick, but having now spent some time looking into Eamon in preparation for a post on it on my own blog (said post probably going up sometime tomorrow), I'm pretty sure you've misunderstood or misstated the role "complexity" plays for weapons in Eamon. While it's true that you start out with different abilities with different weapon types, this is a separate number independent of the weapon's complexity. Contrary to what you stated, bows aren't necessarily more complex than maces—there are maces with high complexity and bows with low. Indeed, the weapon shop in the Main Hall sells three versions of each weapon type, one with 0% complexity, one with 10%, and one with -10%. (Trollsfire, the sword you get in the Beginners Cave, is a prize because it has a complexity of 25%, higher than anything you can get in the Main Hall.)

    Granted, it would be wholly understandable if you misunderstood this, because using "complexity" to refer to a weapon's quality makes little if any sense. The manual even refers to "the quality of the weapon (also called the complexity)." So why didn't they just call it "quality"? That would have been a lot more sensible...

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  18. I am currently working on a new version of Eamon, using Visual Studio and the Visual Basic language. It took me a while to get used to the Visual Basic under Visual Studio 2010, but it is a great programming environment for further development of the Eamon system. It has a console mode that lets the screens look very similar to the original, but better. Better in that the text is upper and lowercase, with 80 column screens. But that's really just the least important improvement.

    The thing I like most about it is that is allows me to write code 'natively' in a modern development environment that provides all the memory, speed and disk space I could ever want.

    When I was developing the Dungeon Designer 6.0 for Eamon, and later the extended version of Eamon called Knight Quest, I had to be careful not to run out of memory and disk space - which was a constant battle. This is not a problem at all under this environment. DOSBox is also a very nice tool for developing these, but still not nearly as nice as Visual Studio / Visual Basic. Since you can also get Visual basic express as a free product, it makes the environment available to everyone, even if they don't have the resources to but Visual Studio.

    When I complete this, I will be happy to distribute the code to anyone interested.

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3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

NOTE: Spam has gotten so bad lately that I've had to turn on comment moderation for posts older than 10 days. I apologize if it takes a little while for your comment to appear.