Let's face it. Life can be pretty tame, sometimes. There don't seem
to be many dragons waiting to be slain in my city, and chests heaped
high with abandoned gold are in scarce supply. I can't remember the
last time I met an Evil Magician down at the local supermarket, and
it's been ages since I discussed battle tactics with sentient androids
at the local tavern.
The hunger for excitement lies in all of
us. The desire to take on the personalities of other, more vibrant,
people-even for just an hour or so-is a common one. Although you can't
conjure up devils and werebears, envoke the power of a Shield of
Protection, or employ trolls to carry sacks of emeralds from the ruins
of an abandoned castle, role-playing games allow you to do just that.
gaming has hit the big time. You've probably seen the claims that it is
the "fastest growing game in the world." Whether that's true or not, it
indicates that Adventure gaming is a leisure pursuit which satisfies
the inner needs of many people.
You may well have taken part in Adventure role-playing games yourself.
these real-life campaigns have one enormous disadvantage. You need
people to play with and against. You need a referee (often called the
Game Master, or Dungeon Master) to control the world and its artifacts
and encounters. It is not always particularly easy to get all these
other human beings together just when you decide you'd like to indulge
in a little bit of Adventuring.
That's where the computer comes into its own.
computer Adventure games lack a little of the spontaneity of games
played with live company, they can be remarkably unpredictable and
exciting to play. The fact that the Hydra of 10 Heads you've just slain
exists only within your computer's RAM seems in no way to diminish the
relief you feel when it dies. The gems you find lying all over the
place are no less "real" than those discovered in live-action
How to Read This Book
written this book to show you just how easy it is to create computer
Adventure games of your own. However, there is one problem, and I hope
you'll be willing to work with me to solve this problem. It is pretty
difficult to know where to begin explaining how a computer Adventure is
structured. Many times I've discovered that understanding one
particular programming concept depends on your already understanding a
second, separate concept. I've done all I can to make sure that the
introduction of these concepts follows a more or less logical order and
that all new concepts are carefully explained. Unfortunately, because
of the complexity of most Adventure game programs, from time to time
this has been impossible. All I can do is ask you to proceed on trust.
Explanations which are not blindingly clear the first time you read
them should swiftly fall into place as you continue working through the
I have written this work with the ancient Chinese maxim-A
PROGRAM IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS-always in mind. You can learn far
more by entering a program, or program fragment, and then running it,
than you can from chapter after chapter of explanation. Therefore, this
book is program-oriented. It contains four major programs (plus
variations), and the instruction part of the book is based on these
programs. In fact, if you just want some Adventure programs to run, you
can just enter and run the programs as they are, ignoring the lucid
explanations which surround them.
However, as is obvious, if
YOU do this you'll miss the whole point of the book. Proceed slowly,
have your computer runnmg when you read, and enter each piece of code
as you come to it, and you'll discover that in a very short while from
now, you'll be creating Adventure programs of your own.
begin with two quick looks at Adventure games in progress. Chapter 2
contains a version of the game WEREWOLVES AND WANDERER that you play by
flipping two coins. If you haven't played an Adventure game before,
this will give you a good idea of what to expect. Chapter 3 shows brief
"snapshots" from the computerized version of WEREWOLVES AND WANDERER in
As I mentioned before, one of the most satisfying
aspects of computer Adventuring, and therefore one of the most critical
parts of Ad venture programs, is the design or discovery of the
computer-stored "map" of the environment that the Adventure takes place
in. Chapter 4 shows how your computer can keep track of a floor plan
for a deserted castle, or a dark dungeon, or whatever environment you
In the next nine chapters (chapters 5 through 13) we
begin our step-by-step construction of WEREWOLVES AND WANDERER. From
this point on in the book you should enter the lines of the programs as
they are given. This will teach you a great deal about how an Adventure
program is written.
Chapters 14 and 15 show a more elaborate
version of this program, creating a less predictable (and therefore
more exciting) Adventure. You will discover a number of key ideas you
can use to add interest to your own programs.
Next we will turn
our original WEREWOLVES AND WANDERER program into a totally different
Adventure, THE ASIMOVIAN DISASTER. Both versions of WEREWOLVES AND
WANDERER take place within a deserted castle. THE ASIMOVIAN DISASTER
takes place in outer space, where you (playing the part of an intrepid
space explorer) have come upon the wreck of the giant space liner, The
Isaac Asimov. You become trapped within the wreckage, and while
avoiding crazed androids and unfriendly aliens, have to work your way
to the Life Pod launching area, to get aboard the final Life Pod and
blast your way to safety. This will serve as an excellent illustration
of how a basic Adventure program can easily be adapted to simulate the
environment and situation of your choice.
present two completely different Adventure programs: THE CITADEL OF
PERSHU and CHATEAU GAILLARD. These programs introduce more
sophisticated Adventure programming techniques.