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Stranded for the C64

Almost out of petrol, you leave the motorway at the first exit. You find your way to the local petrol station. But you soon realise that refueling your car and leaving the village will be more challenging than you thought...

In 1999, at the age of 17, I created a graphical adventure game for the TI-83 calculator. The original game with source code is here. When texas instruments stopped selling the TI-83 model, it became clear that very few people would play my game.

To save it from extinction, I ported it to what seemed to be a modern, future-proof platform at the time: A java applet.

And so I've been forced to save it from extinction a second time. But this time I chose the most resilient platform I could think of, namely the Commodore 64 which has had an active user-base for over 30 years.

Since all the original game logic was implemented in assembly language, the C64 version of the game actually has a Z80 emulator inside. The main challenge was to make this emulator fast enough, but in the end I think I managed to make it even more responsive than the original TI-83 version. Of course the main bottlenecks (blitting and decrunching) have been patched—by painstakingly modifying the binary file—to call out to native routines.

I presented the game at Gubbdata 2017. Afterwards, I went to bed without having made it accessible anywhere to the public. So Genesis Project, having acquired a copy of the game through channels, stayed up all night in order to have an intro-linked first release ready at four o'clock in the morning. Later, Laxity contributed an NTSC-fixed version. The CSDb page for the game itself is here.

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Posted Thursday 21-Sep-2017 21:40

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