Friday, April 27, 2012

Technological Apocalypse

I just thought I would take a moment to mention why things have been a bit quiet around here lately and also why all the estimated release dates mentioned in the last few blogs had to be pushed up a bit longer.

I was making very good progress on Eamon Deluxe 5.0 as well as the various side projects that have mutated out of it when my household became enveloped in what I can only describe as a technological apocalypse of sorts. It seems that over the period of a week or so nearly everything electronic or mechanical that I was using decided to crash or fail in some way, including two vehicles and nearly every computer in the house. I have never experienced anything quite like that and am really more amazed than annoyed. However it has kept me extremely busy since I do my own repairs on just about everything.

I had to reformat a few computers, including the one that I do all of my work on. Fortunately there was very little data loss, but I still don't have everything back in the order it was before. It also doesn't help that I had five open projects going on at the time of the crash so I have to retrace my steps and figure out where I was at with all of them before continuing work. As of right now, order has mostly been restored and if nothing comes up this weekend, I should be able to finish up a few projects and actually release some software instead of just blogging about it.

Projects that have top priority right now are:

Release the final Eamon Deluxe 5.0 beta to play testers. This is about 70% finished.

Release a stand alone version of Thomas Ferguson's fantastic Eamon Deluxe adventure, "A Runcible Cargo". At the last moment I decided that, since this was such a good adventure, it deserved a complete transplant and upgrade into the new Eamon Deluxe 5.0 adventure programs. This is about 80% finished.

Post reviews and more detailed info about Jared Davis' revised Eamon Deluxe original adventure, "Realm of Fantasy", which I recently released as a stand alone download. I also ordered a copy of Jared's recently published first novel and was planning to review that at the same time to give him a little publicity. I only manged to read a few chapters before everything crashed on me, however, so I'll probably just edit and post the adventure reviews this weekend and review his book at a later time.

Release the beta copy of The PC Eamon Museum project I mentioned in my last blog. The museum contains bundle of three different attempted ports of Eamon to MS-DOS, along with two old versions of Eamon Deluxe from my archives. Currently all of these systems are a lot of work to get up and running on any modern computer. The museum is a cross platform package, based on the Eamon Deluxe 5.0 framework, which makes them now easily installed and playable with just a few clicks to anyone who wants to explore these relics of Eamon weirdness but doesn't have the time or technical knowledge to run the obsolete source files. The PC Eamon Museum appeared to be around 99% done before my system crash so that may hopefully be ready this weekend as well. I'm going to send copies to my play testers first, then create a page for it on the Guild website with public download links.

I still have a few openings for play testers and am gladly accepting offers for help in any other areas (note: experienced Mac and Linux users would be especially helpful right now). Email eamondeluxe (at) if interested in testing or contributing to these projects.

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.