Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Eamon News (lots of it)

There are quite a few Eamon related projects in the works right now. Most of them are very close to being completed so I thought it would be a good time to announce a few of them.

Eamon Deluxe 5.0 Progress.

The third and final Beta is nearly complete for Eamon Deluxe 5.0. There are still some Main Hall and VI Mode character editor bugs to work out and the manuals need a lot of tedious revisions but that is about all that is holding that project up. I also decided to revise the entire Beginners Adventures set (which contains the 5.0 Demo Adventure and six Classic Eamon conversions, including the original Beginner's Cave) and port all of the adventures into the new 5.0 base adventure program, fixing some issues and adding new content to each along the way.

For those who are nostalgic, have now fear: Donald Brown's classic Beginner's Cave has been left mostly untouched, except a few extra items were added which were in the descriptions but didn't actually "exist" in the game. The classic experience is still there though. The other adventures had the same treatment except some problems were fixed in each which involved seemingly missing, or just poorly implemented special effects and events. The revisions have set the release date back a bit, but are very well worth the extra wait.

The best news about the Beta 3 release, however, is that much of it will be available for public download, although the included adventures will be limited to those that have already passed version 5.0 upgrades and testing. The people on my play tester list will get a separate expansion pack which will include all of 175 converted adventures, whether upgraded or not. I still have 5 spots open for Standard Mode play testers and 2 spots for VI Mode testers, so email me if you want to be added to this list.

While anyone who writes software knows that proper release dates are near impossible to set, I'm hoping for the end of April at the latest. Once the base system is stable and fully tested, the adventure sets can be upgraded to 5.0 fairly quickly and the entire package, including unreleased adventures, should be ready by the end of summer.

Help Wanted.

There are a couple areas that are dragging down the release date and eating up a lot of my free time that I get to work on Eamon Deluxe. If anybody has experience programming in FreeBASIC, particularly in converting QBASIC source code into a format that will compile, please contact me. I have not been able to get my simple installer program for adding new adventures to work and have wasted a lot of time on it so far.

Any help revising and proofreading the new Player's Manual and Adventure Design Manual would be very much appreciated as well. I have most of the 5.0 technical details and changes documented already, it just all needs to be put together properly, with any missing details searched out and added in. For me, this is very boring part of the upgrade process and I would rather put my time and energy into programming and bug fixes and get a full public release ready sooner.

Introducing the PC Eamon Museum

A large part of Eamon Deluxe is what I call The Eamon Preservation Project. I currently have a working Beta that installs all of the known PC ports of Eamon in one package that is playable on any OS. Want to see what Jon Walker's Eamon looked like? Or Paul Gilbert's or even John Nelson's for that matter? I took all known source code, compiled programs, etc. and made an Eamon Deluxe style installer and menu that lets you launch and explore all of these relics easily. It also has an "Employee Entrance" to the Museum which lets you tinker around and explore on your own if you know your way around a DOS prompt.

The Museum will also include playable copies of the oldest version of Eamon Deluxe (from 1999) in my archives as well as the last version (4.5, from 2007) I had developed before I started the 5.0 upgrade project.

As noted, the Museum is still in Beta format and will be sent to my play testers before any public release. I have not had much time to develop, test and properly document the Museum as it has purely been a side project for my own amusement until recently. This is another project where any help would be appreciated and speed up release, particularly in the documentation area.

A Runcible Cargo Upgrade and Release
"With Apologies to Nathan Segerlind..."

The Eamon Deluxe original that I called "possibly the best Eamon ever written" in a previous blog is being ported into the brand new 5.0 base adventure program before official release. This was a last minute decision on my part, to which the author agreed. Like all good adventures, it isn't an easy job to port and has a lot of special code that has to be applied and tested carefully. While this pushes the public release date up much later than I planned, it is well worth the extra time and effort.

And last but not least, another Eamon Deluxe Original is now available in stand alone format:

EDX#21 Realm of Fantasy by Jared Davis

This was originally submitted as the second Eamon Deluxe original ever written back in 2006. I contacted the author recently and we worked together on a revised and expanded version using the new 5.0 system. While not as complex as A Runcible Cargo, it is a very unique, fun and (literally) colorful adventure.

Jared has also recently published his first book, Outsiders from Oz, a fantasy story set in the world created by L. Frank Baum. I ordered a hardcover copy and am halfway through it. I will be reviewing both Realm of Fantasy 5.0 and Outsiders from Oz in my next blog.

For those who don't want to wait, you can download Realm of Fantasy from the Eamon Deluxe home page and check out Jared's book at or read his blog about it.


Wade said...

I'm still amazed at the amount of stuff you're getting done. I'm too snowed under to volunteer services on these projects (probably all this year) but still wanted to say again - good work.

Frank - Eamon Deluxe said...

Thanks, Wade. You seem to get a lot of various creative projects done as well. I've been checking out your Apple II animations lately and I'm still looking forward to taking a nice deep look into that Leadlight code.

On that note, I have found I am even more productive when Matthew Clark and I aren't busy discussing important issues such as where the $BEEF is located and the safety factors involved when traveling by beagles, bagels and Bengals (including the tigers)... [Note: Please direct all questions about bagel safety issues to Matt.]

Todd Stewart said...

So how can I get in on the playtesting?

Frank - Eamon Deluxe said...

Todd, I'm adding you to the list and will try to email you (and everyone else with messages in my inbox)back very soon. I had a total IT apocalypse at my house recently and have been mostly offline and/or unable to work on programs for almost two weeks now.