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Illustrated Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game available

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Anonymous
September 21, 2004 5:52:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

The illustrated Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game by Douglas Adams is now
available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml.



The first episode of the new radio series will soon be available, but only
for a week.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/newseries.shtml
Anonymous
September 21, 2004 5:52:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

In article <41501651@news.broadpark.no>, Jan Thorsby wrote:
> The illustrated Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game by Douglas Adams is now
> available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml.

"x" doesn't work. Boo.

--
Matthew Garrett | mjg59-rec.games.int-fiction@srcf.ucam.org
I am currently angry about:
Half arsed character set conversions
http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~mjg59/angry/6.html
Anonymous
September 21, 2004 6:26:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction,rec.arts.int-fiction (More info?)

"Jan Thorsby" <no_jthorsby_spam@broadpark.no>, you wrote on Tue, 21
Sep 2004 13:52:12 +0200:

>The illustrated Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game by Douglas Adams is now
>available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml.

It's got a tiny blurb about the game and the development of the new
version too.


--
Wel zie ik het betere en prijs het;
toch jaag ik het slechtere na
Related resources
Anonymous
September 21, 2004 8:12:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Jan Thorsby wrote:
> The illustrated Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game by Douglas Adams is now
> available from http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml.

They are running the original Infocom game through a modified
interpreter running on their server. The server communicates to the
flash interface using some XML. A typical turn consists of sending
something like:

<zclient><sessionid>c094e298-a5e2-4436-b3c8-531be167b3bb</sessionid><command>OPEN
POCKET</command></zclient>

And receiving:

<zmachine><sessionid>c094e298-a5e2-4436-b3c8-531be167b3bb</sessionid><inventory>
<item><id>008</id><name>no tea</name></item>
<item><id>158</id><name>your gown</name><contains>
<item><id>156</id><name>thing your aunt gave you which you
don't know what it is</name></item>
<item><id>154</id><name>buffered analgesic</name></item>
<item><id>155</id><name>pocket fluff</name></item>
</contains></item>
</inventory><location>168a</location><compass>168</compass><zone>168</zone>
<score>0</score><moves>5</moves><items>168</items><response>Opening your
gown reveals a thing your aunt gave you which you don't know what it is,
a buffered analgesic, and pocket fluff.</response></zmachine>


The ID numbers correspond to the object numbers in the zcode file.
Pictures are available for many of these, which the flash interface shows.
Anonymous
September 22, 2004 2:25:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Matthew Garrett wrote:
> In article <41501651@news.broadpark.no>, Jan Thorsby wrote:
>> The illustrated Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game by Douglas
>> Adams is now available from
>> http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml.
>
> "x" doesn't work. Boo.

No wonder:

|>$verify
|Verifying...
|ZIP Interpreter 6, Version B.
|
|** Bad **

SCNR :-)
Bernhard
Anonymous
September 23, 2004 1:09:59 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

"Bernhard Weber" <bwnews1@freenet.de> wrote in message
news:2rbh2pF183od4U1@uni-berlin.de...
> Matthew Garrett wrote:
>> In article <41501651@news.broadpark.no>, Jan Thorsby wrote:
>>> The illustrated Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game by Douglas
>>> Adams is now available from
>>> http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml.
>>
>> "x" doesn't work. Boo.

It never actually did support "x", did it? (Except for Solid Gold, I
believe -- which this is not, in any case.)

>
> No wonder:
>
> |>$verify
> |Verifying...
> |ZIP Interpreter 6, Version B.
> |
> |** Bad **
>
> SCNR :-)

I've always wondered what would cause something like that. Why would they
need to modify the game file (presumably), in this case?
Anonymous
September 23, 2004 3:22:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Here, Kevin Y. <mrxlz@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> "Bernhard Weber" <bwnews1@freenet.de> wrote in message
> news:2rbh2pF183od4U1@uni-berlin.de...
> > Matthew Garrett wrote:
> >> In article <41501651@news.broadpark.no>, Jan Thorsby wrote:
> >>> The illustrated Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game by Douglas
> >>> Adams is now available from
> >>> http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml.
> >>
> >> "x" doesn't work. Boo.
>
> It never actually did support "x", did it? (Except for Solid Gold, I
> believe -- which this is not, in any case.)
>
> >
> > No wonder:
> >
> > |>$verify
> > |Verifying...
> > |ZIP Interpreter 6, Version B.
> > |
> > |** Bad **
> >
> > SCNR :-)
>
> I've always wondered what would cause something like that. Why would they
> need to modify the game file (presumably), in this case?

I don't see any reason for them to modify the game file, and I'm not
sure they did. It seems like they modified the *interpreter*. Possibly
they buggered something up.

The only easy modification you can make to a game file (which is
relevant to this new version) is to change text strings. That might be
useful for adding the out-of-band image data which this Flash client
uses. (Say, change the room name "Bedroom" to "Bedroom{rm=1}", and
have the interpreter watch for that text markup.)

However, that doesn't get you everything you need for this interface.
You still need to rig the interpreter to watch internal Z-machine
variables, to know about inventory, moves, score, and so on. If you're
going to do that, you might as well watch the location variable too,
and not mess around with game text at all.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
* Make your vote count. Get your vote counted.
Anonymous
September 23, 2004 4:47:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> Here, Kevin Y. <mrxlz@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>>"Bernhard Weber" <bwnews1@freenet.de> wrote in message
>>news:2rbh2pF183od4U1@uni-berlin.de...
>>
>>>Matthew Garrett wrote:
>>>
>>>>In article <41501651@news.broadpark.no>, Jan Thorsby wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>The illustrated Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game by Douglas
>>>>>Adams is now available from
>>>>>http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml.
>>>>
>>>>"x" doesn't work. Boo.
>>
>>It never actually did support "x", did it? (Except for Solid Gold, I
>>believe -- which this is not, in any case.)
>>
>>
>>>No wonder:
>>>
>>>|>$verify
>>>|Verifying...
>>>|ZIP Interpreter 6, Version B.
>>>|
>>>|** Bad **
>>>
>>>SCNR :-)
>>
>>I've always wondered what would cause something like that. Why would they
>>need to modify the game file (presumably), in this case?
>
>
> I don't see any reason for them to modify the game file, and I'm not
> sure they did. It seems like they modified the *interpreter*. Possibly
> they buggered something up.

"X" is properly a function of the game, not the interpreter. /Some/
interpreters have special magic to translate "X" to "examine".

If they are running a V3 version of HH, rather than the V5 Solid Gold
version (and there are good reasons to do that -- only V1-V3 can be
healthily implemented in this sort of environment), it is natural that X
would not be in the game.

--
John W. Kennedy
"Give up vows and dogmas, and fixed things, and you may grow like That.
....you may come to think a blow bad, because it hurts, and not because
it humiliates. You may come to think murder wrong, because it is
violent, and not because it is unjust."
-- G. K. Chesterton. "The Ball and the Cross"
Anonymous
September 23, 2004 5:25:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Here, John W. Kennedy <jwkenne@attglobal.net> wrote:
> Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> > Here, Kevin Y. <mrxlz@hotmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >>"Bernhard Weber" <bwnews1@freenet.de> wrote in message
> >>news:2rbh2pF183od4U1@uni-berlin.de...
> >>
> >>>Matthew Garrett wrote:
> >>>
> >>>>In article <41501651@news.broadpark.no>, Jan Thorsby wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>>The illustrated Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game by Douglas
> >>>>>Adams is now available from
> >>>>>http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml.
> >>>>
> >>>>"x" doesn't work. Boo.
> >>
> >>It never actually did support "x", did it? (Except for Solid Gold, I
> >>believe -- which this is not, in any case.)
> >>
> >>
> >>>No wonder:
> >>>
> >>>|>$verify
> >>>|Verifying...
> >>>|ZIP Interpreter 6, Version B.
> >>>|
> >>>|** Bad **
> >>>
> >>>SCNR :-)
> >>
> >>I've always wondered what would cause something like that. Why would they
> >>need to modify the game file (presumably), in this case?
> >
> >
> > I don't see any reason for them to modify the game file, and I'm not
> > sure they did. It seems like they modified the *interpreter*. Possibly
> > they buggered something up.
>
> "X" is properly a function of the game, not the interpreter. /Some/
> interpreters have special magic to translate "X" to "examine".
>
> If they are running a V3 version of HH, rather than the V5 Solid Gold
> version (and there are good reasons to do that -- only V1-V3 can be
> healthily implemented in this sort of environment), it is natural that X
> would not be in the game.

Sorry, I probably was confusing there. I was addressing the question
of why the $verify command (which checks the Z-code checksum) was
returning "Bad".

You are entirely correct about the handling of "x" and "examine". And
the game's serial number indicates that it is the V3 version that's
been at douglasadams.com for years:

Copyright (c) 1984 by Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
Release 59 / Serial number 851108

Although I disagree with you about the V5 version -- it wouldn't be
impossible to proxy the hint menus (and other V5 Solid Gold features)
to the Flash client. More work, of course.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
* Make your vote count. Get your vote counted.
September 23, 2004 10:33:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

There's some talk over on alt.fan.douglas-adams (spurred by one of the
(ex?) Digital Village people) that this version contains a hidden
message. Nobody seems to have found it yet, but they have found a bug
that means you don't get the ending text when you complete the game :-/
-Giles
September 23, 2004 10:36:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

My mistake - the poster with the hidden message message is in fact both
one of the coders for this version and a TDV vet.
Anonymous
September 26, 2004 3:54:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Hi folks -

Apologies in advance for lateness and briefness of reply - I'm on both
vacation and dial-up at the mo.

Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> You still need to rig the interpreter to watch internal Z-machine
> variables, to know about inventory, moves, score, and so on. If you're
> going to do that, you might as well watch the location variable too,
> and not mess around with game text at all.

Yup, that's how it works. (Unlike the verify code, which doesn't ;-)

> game's serial number indicates that it is the V3 version
> that's been at douglasadams.com for years

Well spotted :-) That's actually where the project started. The Java version
on DouglasAdams.com typically gets a couple of thousand downloads a day (or
ten times that when it's mentioned it on slashdot, and why we had to move
off the Videoranch server) which is where the idea of a server-side version
came from - it seemed a good way of reducing the bandwidth demands :-)

Evin Robertson wrote:

> The server communicates to the flash interface using some XML.
> A typical turn consists of sending something like
....
> The ID numbers correspond to the object numbers in the zcode file.

Spot on. The locations will occasionally gain suffixes (168a, for example),
to indicate changes in the game state (e.g. light going on in bedroom).

Back to AP:

> You still need to rig the interpreter to watch internal Z-machine
> variables, to know about inventory, moves, score, and so on. If you're
> going to do that, you might as well watch the location variable too,
> and not mess around with game text at all.

Yup. We've taken it a stage further too, so it can watch specific game
states (e.g. having no tea). In the Beeb release these are hard coded (time
pressure - had to hit the Sept 21 deadline), but later builds can use a
config file to describe the states to watch and change the XML output
accordingly, so in theory you could use it for games other than HHG.

Most of the team are off on hols at the mo, but there's a plan to release
the full spec so you can all have a play - I'm sorry we couldn't involve the
group beforehand, but the deadlines were incredibly tight.

Giles wrote:
> this version contains a hidden message. Nobody seems to have found
> it yet

It's pretty obscure ;-)

> but they have found a bug that means you don't get the ending
> text when you complete the game :-/

Yeah. Reproducible too. And there's another one that only h2g2 users see.
Grrr. Both my stupid mistakes - hopefully the fix'll be up shortly.

Cheers,

Sean.

--
"I'd forgotten it was all your fault." - DNA
Anonymous
September 26, 2004 9:31:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

"Sean D. Solle" <rec.game.int-fiction@solle.net> wrote:
> Hi folks -

> Apologies in advance for lateness and briefness of reply - I'm on both
> vacation and dial-up at the mo.

Ah, so you're involved in this thing? What was used as the z-machine
back-end?


--
David Griffith
dgriffi@cs.csbuak.edu <-- Switch the 'b' and 'u'
Anonymous
September 26, 2004 6:45:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

"Sean D. Sollé" <rec.game.int-fiction@solle.net>, you wrote on Sat, 25
Sep 2004 23:54:57 +0100:

>Hi folks -

Hey Sean, what is your "involvement with the forthcoming feature film
of The Hitchhiker's Guide"? :-)


--
Wel zie ik het betere en prijs het;
toch jaag ik het slechtere na
Anonymous
October 12, 2004 1:40:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Hi folks -

Back from vacation, cleared the backlog of mail, time to answer some
questions :-)

DG> Ah, so you're involved in this thing?

Yup. I did the back-end coding, Shim wrote the Flash, and Rod made all the
lovely pictures.

DG> What was used as the z-machine back-end?

Started off with Mark Howell's excellent ZIP interpreter, took it to pieces,
oiled it, and put it back together as C++. The CPU's mostly unchanged, but
the savegame handling's slightly different, the I/O's significantly changed,
and the memory manager's completely new.

This updated ZMachine lives inside its very own web server extension (it can
be compiled either for Apache or IIS). As it's multithreaded, each session
only uses about 12k, which was important as we expected large numbers of
simultaneous users to visit the BBC site :-)

BW> You can change the checksum with the z-tools "check" program easily.

Ah, sorry, I should explain - my checksum code was checksumming the current
session, rather than virgin game code. Useful during development, but not
useful when $version was calling it, as it would never return the value
expected. Fixed now (along with the other bugs, though not yet on the live
site - if anyone wants to try to break the version on the dev server, drop
me a line :-)

BC> Hey Sean, what is your "involvement with the forthcoming feature film
BC> of The Hitchhiker's Guide"? :-)

Funny man :-)

Sean.

--
"I'd forgotten it was all your fault." - DNA
Anonymous
October 12, 2004 1:40:35 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

"Sean D. Solle" <rec.games.int-fiction@solle.net> wrote:
> Hi folks -

> Back from vacation, cleared the backlog of mail, time to answer some
> questions :-)

> DG> Ah, so you're involved in this thing?

> Yup. I did the back-end coding, Shim wrote the Flash, and Rod made all the
> lovely pictures.

I wonder if it would be feasable to make a stand-alone version of
this.

> DG> What was used as the z-machine back-end?

> Started off with Mark Howell's excellent ZIP interpreter, took it to pieces,
> oiled it, and put it back together as C++. The CPU's mostly unchanged, but
> the savegame handling's slightly different, the I/O's significantly changed,
> and the memory manager's completely new.

Anything in there you'd like to release to the public? I'm always
interested in new memory-managing tricks.

> This updated ZMachine lives inside its very own web server extension (it can
> be compiled either for Apache or IIS). As it's multithreaded, each session
> only uses about 12k, which was important as we expected large numbers of
> simultaneous users to visit the BBC site :-)

How much memory does the first session take?

I reintroduced Frotz's dumb interface partially for historical reasons and
partially because someone found it easy to wrap scripts around it to make
instant messenger bots to play IF games. Did you consider this approach?


--
David Griffith
dgriffi@cs.csbuak.edu <-- Switch the 'b' and 'u'
!