Monday, April 18, 2011

Opine

Here's my opinion: there is a lot of good, old code on the internet, most of which is in a state of uselessness. What I mean, specifically, is that ever since computers have become accessible, people have been writing games and game utilities for them. By extension, this means there are a ton of old D&D programs that do extremely useful things, but are pretty much dead because of rapid technological changes. That web front-end on the NPC generator is a prime example...the commandline program is pretty great, but compiles only with some effort and requires a working knowledge of how to use a terminal. This Spellbook Generator falls into the same category. I just used the same stupid front-end and called it a day. It does the trick and required very little coding on my part. Reading through old magazines like Dragon and even crap like Family Computer, there were obviously a lot of smart people making all sorts of badass programs to track rpg stuff. Unfortunately, most of these programs cannot be used without a lot of effort now. The prime examples are the AD&D Dungeon Master's Assistant Volumes I & II. I had these for my Apple ][ back in the day (pirated, of course) and they were insanely useful, not to mention did exactly what they were supposed to. Thankfully, I can run them in DOSBox whenever the need arises, but the interface is still a bit clunky compared to modern offerings. Modern offerings, though, don't fully implement the functionality of these older programs, for whatever reason. I've thought about porting them, but honestly, it's a lot of effort. And some of the output almost seems like Deep Magic. I'm not a hacker, nor any sort of programming wizard, so I'd have to guess at a lot of this. Maybe someone with a good Hex editor and memory dumper could figure it out exactly, but that's not me. So, I resort to stupid tricks like simply calling commandline programs from a web interface and parsing their output. It works, but it's less than ideal. Something like JavaPC might be an option, but what does that solve? You might as well just use the program under emulation in DOSBox.

I sort of feel like I probably should make those DM's Assistant programs work, somehow...maybe I'll try.

2 comments:

  1. Nice. Question, why are you indicating missed spells? That confused me

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  2. Wow. I'm new to your blog and am very impressed! I've got to start digging through March 2011 archive to see what happened to you. Very promising! I have linked you to my own gaming blog.

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