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[ANNOUNCE] Mystery House Taken Over

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Anonymous
March 15, 2005 1:10:08 PM

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

The MHTO Occupation Force is pleased to announce the launch of Mystery
House Taken Over:

http://turbulence.org/Works/mystery/

The Mystery House Advance Team - Nick Montfort, Dan Shiovitz, and
Emily Short - has reverse engineered Mystery House, the first
graphical adventure game. Members of the Advance Team have
reimplemented it in Inform, and have fashioned a Glulx kit to allow
others to easily modify this early game.

Modified versions of Mystery House have been created by the elite
Mystery House Occupation Force, consisting of individuals from the
interactive fiction, electronic literature, and net art communities:

Adam Cadre (Varicella, Photopia)
Daniel Garrido, a.k.a. dhan (Ocaso Mortal)
Michael Gentry (Little Blue Men, Anchorhead)
Yune Kyung Lee & Yoon Ha Lee (The Moonlit Tower, Swanglass)
Nick Montfort (Ad Verbum, Implementation)
Scott Rettberg (The Unknown, Implementation)
Dan Shiovitz (Lethe Flow Phoenix, Bad Machine)
Emily Short (Savoir-Faire, City of Secrets)


Visitors to the site can play these modded games and can also create
their own versions to offer online there. The Mystery House Occupation
Kit allows artists and authors, with or without programming experience,
to hack at and reshape Mystery House, easily modifying the "surface"
aspects. Artists and writers may also choose to undertake more
substantial renovations, engaging with, commenting on, and transforming
an important interactive program from decades past.

Mystery House is a primitive interactive fiction for the Apple II by
Roberta and Ken Williams, who published the game in 1980 through their
company, On-Line Systems (later called Sierra). The game was a hit -
Sierra sold more than 10,000 copies in a very small, new market for
home computer software. Mystery House accepts one- or two-word typed
commands from the user and presents crude, monochrome line drawings and
terse textual descriptions. In 1987, in celebration of Sierra's 7th
anniversary, Mystery House was placed in the public domain. The
modifiable Mystery House Taken Over reimplementation has likewise been
placed in the public domain by the Advance Team.

Mystery House Taken Over is a 2004 commission of New Radio and
Performing Arts, Inc., (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It
was made possible with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the
Visual Arts.

More about : announce mystery house

Anonymous
March 15, 2005 4:43:32 PM

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

Ashiq Alibhai wrote:
> Is this legal? You guys are talking about reverse-engineering
something
> that Sierra published and sold--something that is, if not
intellectual
> property, copyright material. That is, in my limited understanding
of
> law, very, very dangerous if done without proper setup. What are
> Sierra's comments on this? If they don't care, great. But like ID
and
> Commander Keen, if they do....

Quite.

Mystery House was released into the public domain in 1987.
Anonymous
March 15, 2005 6:55:52 PM

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

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Date: April 29 - 30, 2005
Time: All day
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Address: 20 West 44th Street, Library
Phone: 212/764-7021 for more details
Fax: 212/354-5365
Email: smallpress@aol.com
Website: http://www.smallpress.org

Detailed Description: Editors from Little Brown, Grove, Simon &
Schuster, Crown, Random House, Warner Books, Soft Scull and John Wily &
Sons. Literary luminaries, including Mary Higgins Clark, Rona Jaffe,
Patrick McGrath. Leading literary agents James Fitzgerald (James
Fitzgerald Agency), Kim Goldstein (Susan Golomb Literary Agency), Jeff
Herman (The Jeff Herman Agency), Jake Elwell (Elwell and Weiser), who
have linked up literally hundreds of authors and editors. Author
advocates from The Authors Guild, PEN, Mystery Writers of America,
Romance Writers of America, Society of Childrens Book Authors. Book
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A special screening of The Stone Reader with Q&A with the director.
And, much, much more!
Related resources
Anonymous
March 15, 2005 7:35:42 PM

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

Is this legal? You guys are talking about reverse-engineering something
that Sierra published and sold--something that is, if not intellectual
property, copyright material. That is, in my limited understanding of
law, very, very dangerous if done without proper setup. What are
Sierra's comments on this? If they don't care, great. But like ID and
Commander Keen, if they do....
Anonymous
March 15, 2005 8:12:32 PM

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

I'm slightly confused by the reimplentmented original version of Mystery
on the site. The downloadable version is a .z5 file, containing no
graphics. There is however a note saying to download the MHTO kit to
get the graphical version.

I tried this, but the kit contains only tools, resources, and source
code, and no playable game file. I'm sure I could sit down with the
included docs and compile the game myself, but I'm probably more
technical than many who download the game.

Why not offer the game as a downloadable Blorb file on the site for
those who just want to try it out?

Thanks,
Jimmy
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 10:32:54 AM

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

Jimmy Maher wrote:

> Why not offer the game as a downloadable Blorb file on the site for
> those who just want to try it out?

I'm not sure if it was in response to my message or not, but the
downloadable .z5 file has been replaced with the .blb version. Thanks
for that, if you are reading.

I'm looking forward to digging into these games soon. With this project
plus the Spring Thing coming up, there's something of an embarrasment of
new IF riches at the moment.

Jimmy
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 10:44:54 AM

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

emshort@mindspring.com wrote:
> The MHTO Occupation Force is pleased to announce the launch of
Mystery
> House Taken Over:
>
> http://turbulence.org/Works/mystery/
>
> The Mystery House Advance Team - Nick Montfort, Dan Shiovitz, and
> Emily Short - has reverse engineered Mystery House, the first
> graphical adventure game. Members of the Advance Team have
> reimplemented it in Inform, and have fashioned a Glulx kit to allow
> others to easily modify this early game.
>
> Modified versions of Mystery House have been created by the elite
> Mystery House Occupation Force, consisting of individuals from the
> interactive fiction, electronic literature, and net art communities:

Um, guys, will these games be placed on the Archive sometime soon?

Just asking...

Thanks,
Arnel
March 16, 2005 12:09:27 PM

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

On or about 3/15/2005 12:10 PM, emshort@mindspring.com did proclaim:

> The MHTO Occupation Force is pleased to announce the launch of Mystery
> House Taken Over:
>
> http://turbulence.org/Works/mystery/
>
> The Mystery House Advance Team - Nick Montfort, Dan Shiovitz, and
> Emily Short - has reverse engineered Mystery House, the first
> graphical adventure game. Members of the Advance Team have
> reimplemented it in Inform, and have fashioned a Glulx kit to allow
> others to easily modify this early game.

This is *very* cool. I have many fond memories of playing Mystery House
on an Apple ][ back in the day.
March 16, 2005 12:34:26 PM

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

On or about 3/15/2005 3:35 PM, Ashiq Alibhai did proclaim:

> Is this legal? You guys are talking about reverse-engineering something
> that Sierra published and sold--something that is, if not intellectual
> property, copyright material. That is, in my limited understanding of
> law, very, very dangerous if done without proper setup. What are
> Sierra's comments on this? If they don't care, great. But like ID and
> Commander Keen, if they do....

Did you even bother to read the entire post?

On or about 3/15/2005 12:10 PM, emshort@mindspring.com did proclaim:
> In 1987, in celebration of Sierra's 7th
> anniversary, Mystery House was placed in the public domain. The
> modifiable Mystery House Taken Over reimplementation has likewise been
> placed in the public domain by the Advance Team.

IMHO, Emily was way too polite in her reply to you.
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 3:10:27 PM

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

Jimmy Maher wrote:
> I'm slightly confused by the reimplentmented original version of
Mystery
> on the site. The downloadable version is a .z5 file, containing no
> graphics. There is however a note saying to download the MHTO kit to

> get the graphical version.

I agree that this is somewhat confusing. The impression that I got
from reading the text was that I could play the z-machine file online
and download the glulx but both links are z-code.

> I tried this, but the kit contains only tools, resources, and source
> code, and no playable game file. I'm sure I could sit down with the
> included docs and compile the game myself, but I'm probably more
> technical than many who download the game.

I have done this and it is not too difficult. The instructions in the
readme are a bit difficult (because they are detailed) but for playing
the strait reimplementation they boil down to double clicking (or
running in some other way) the file dos-build-all.bat for windows
(similarly linux-build-all.sh for linux and mac-build-all.command for
the mac) and then load the resulting mhto.blb into a Glulx interpreter
(if like me you have one installed this involved double clicking on the
icon).

> Why not offer the game as a downloadable Blorb file on the site for
> those who just want to try it out?
>
> Thanks,
> Jimmy

I'm curious about this too. There could be any number of reasons not
to include it in the package download (size is only the most obvious),
but why not include it as a stand-alone link. Overall great work
everyone.

I do have one minor question. I found Emily's mod noticablely slow on
my 1.79GHz 320MB RAM machine which is annoying for an all-text game (or
any game for that matter but you expect 3D graphics to be resource
hogs). Is this a common accurance? 7 Short NPC's presumably have big
Daemons to run every turn but maybe Inform 7 could be better optimized?

Cirk R. Bejnar
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 4:43:47 PM

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

Heya.

samwyse wrote in message ...

>This is *very* cool. I have many fond memories of playing Mystery House
>on an Apple ][ back in the day.

Baf's guide http://www.wurb.com/if/game/150
has it as an apple diskimage. I've tried this with several apple emulators,
but only the old DOS one (A2) worked on my system; have not seen any
graphics though.

Greetz, Katzy.
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 5:44:46 PM

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

> I do have one minor question. I found Emily's mod noticablely slow
on
> my 1.79GHz 320MB RAM machine which is annoying for an all-text game
(or
> any game for that matter but you expect 3D graphics to be resource
> hogs). Is this a common accurance? 7 Short NPC's presumably have
big
> Daemons to run every turn but maybe Inform 7 could be better
optimized?

This is absolutely *not* an Inform 7 issue; what Inform 7 produces is
not inherently slower than I6. (I think I address this somewhere in the
help, but possibly not.)

Anyway, there are two things going on:

1) there is a slight pause inserted before NPC actions in some cases,
which is deliberate: partly to space out text dumps, partly because I
felt it made the activity feel more lifelike, partly because the
original game has text with pauses in it.

I thought about adding an option for people to turn that off if they
found it unutterably annoying; I didn't get around to it. If it turns
out to be desired, I'll think about it if I release a new version of
the game.

2) besides that, yes, the NPC daemons have a lot to do. I cached some
of the pathfinding stuff for speed, but they still do have a fairly
long set of instructions every turn.

Given your machine's speed, maybe the issue is the interpreter you're
running? Different terps have different efficiencies. I did test this
for speed on Mac OS X Zoom and Frotz (Unix Frotz running under OS X)
and found that things seemed to move along briskly enough. My
betatesters using a Windows Frotz did not report themselves to be
acutely miserable either.

It *will* be slow run over ZPlet, and probably intolerable on a
handheld. Sorry.

-- Emily
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 8:18:50 PM

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

>The Mystery House Advance
>Team - Nick Montfort, Dan
>Shiovitz, and Emily Short - has
>reverse engineered Mystery
>House, the first graphical
>adventure game. Members
>of the Advance Team have
>reimplemented it in Inform,
>and have fashioned a Glulx
>kit to allow others to easily
>modify this early game.

I've been into the reimplementation/remake thing myself lately. It's
nice to see this particular game again. And the customization feature
is also something I've been considering for one of my own projects.

One thing I should note about the first graphical adventure game is
that it depends on whether said game is of the text variety, or the
purely graphical variety. For the former, I would say Mystery House was
first. But for the latter, Adventure for the Atari 2600, released
Christmas 1979, which ironically was inspired by the original text
adventure by Woods and Crowther.
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 9:03:57 PM

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

> I found Emily's mod noticablely slow on my 1.79GHz 320MB RAM machine
which is
> annoying for an all-text game (or any game for that matter but you
expect 3D graphics
> to be resource hogs).

I didn't notice any slowdown on a similar machine. But you raise an
important point, which I'd like to address separately from any specific
game.

In a 3D game, an action game anyway, any degree of slowdown can ruin
the experience. But in a text game, who cares if there's a few seconds'
pause between prompts? Sure, if I have to wait a bit and it's doing
nothing impressive, I might ask "what's the holdup?" and I might even
get some "ROAD RAGE!"

But then, if you're playing an IF piece that's interesting you, and
needs a couple seconds to think about how to do it each turn, this is
well and fine, no?

Good text, not lightning speed, is the priority in IF. Not that we're
in a "it must be lightning fast" brain-lock, but the priorities can be
sometimes misreguarded.
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 9:31:00 PM

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

> Did you even bother to read the entire post?

Yes, I did. However, I skimmed the last three to four lines. How
unfortunate for me. I apologize, since I seem to have greatly offended
you for some reason.
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 9:43:35 PM

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

samwyse wrote:
> On or about 3/15/2005 3:35 PM, Ashiq Alibhai did proclaim:
>
>> Is this legal? You guys are talking about reverse-engineering
>> something that Sierra published and sold--something that is, if not
>> intellectual property, copyright material. That is, in my limited
>> understanding of law, very, very dangerous if done without proper
>> setup. What are Sierra's comments on this? If they don't care,
>> great. But like ID and Commander Keen, if they do....
>
>
> Did you even bother to read the entire post?
>
> On or about 3/15/2005 12:10 PM, emshort@mindspring.com did proclaim:
> > In 1987, in celebration of Sierra's 7th
> > anniversary, Mystery House was placed in the public domain. The
> > modifiable Mystery House Taken Over reimplementation has likewise been
> > placed in the public domain by the Advance Team.
>
> IMHO, Emily was way too polite in her reply to you.
>

In my opinion, you were much too rude in your reply to Ashiq...
Gads, who are you? The newsgroup police?!
March 17, 2005 2:14:15 AM

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

Donnie Russell wrote:

> One thing I should note about the first graphical adventure game is
> that it depends on whether said game is of the text variety, or the
> purely graphical variety. For the former, I would say Mystery House
> was first. But for the latter, Adventure for the Atari 2600, released
> Christmas 1979, which ironically was inspired by the original text
> adventure by Woods and Crowther.

Yep, you're completely right. While I certainly knew about the Atari
VCS Adventure predating Mystery House, I slipped up on that part of the
project description. I just changed "first graphical" to "first
text-and-graphics" both on the MHTO site and in Grand Text Auto
announcement.

-Nick
http://nickm.com http://grandtextauto.org
(To contact me, send your message to nickm.com, username nickm)
March 17, 2005 7:43:51 AM

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

On or about 3/16/2005 7:43 PM, Jeff Houck did proclaim:
> samwyse wrote:
>> IMHO, Emily was way too polite in her reply to you.
>
> In my opinion, you were much too rude in your reply to Ashiq...
> Gads, who are you? The newsgroup police?!

No, we're the USENET police: Dum-de-dum-dum.
It's an endless, glamorless, thankless job that's got to be done.

http://www.holyducttape.com/tomservo/news.html
Anonymous
March 17, 2005 3:10:51 PM

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

steve.breslin@gmail.com wrote:
> > I found Emily's mod noticablely slow on my 1.79GHz 320MB RAM
machine
> which is
> > annoying for an all-text game (or any game for that matter but you
> expect 3D graphics
> > to be resource hogs).
>
> I didn't notice any slowdown on a similar machine. But you raise an
> important point, which I'd like to address separately from any
specific
> game.
>
> In a 3D game, an action game anyway, any degree of slowdown can ruin
> the experience. But in a text game, who cares if there's a few
seconds'
> pause between prompts? Sure, if I have to wait a bit and it's doing
> nothing impressive, I might ask "what's the holdup?" and I might even
> get some "ROAD RAGE!"
>
> But then, if you're playing an IF piece that's interesting you, and
> needs a couple seconds to think about how to do it each turn, this is
> well and fine, no?
>
> Good text, not lightning speed, is the priority in IF. Not that we're
> in a "it must be lightning fast" brain-lock, but the priorities can
be
> sometimes misreguarded.

It probably was the bult in delays that I was noticing, at least I
found it certainly fine tonight. But as for Steve's responce, I think
that it depends on playing style. I often think several moves at a
time and generally don't take time to read and plan each move. "Go to
the Hall of Mists" or "Find out what's in the chest" are one goal to me
even though I communicate them to the parser over several turns. I
don't usually pause in between directional commands when I know where
I'm going or parts of a composite command (UNLOCK CHEST WITH KEY, OPEN
IT, GET THING FROM CHEST, X THING). I do admit that this style is
severely non-optimised with respect to turns and so I despise time
limits with a passion but I make no appologies for my preference.

Cirk R. Bejnar
March 23, 2005 12:06:08 AM

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

Arnel wrote:
> Um, guys, will these games be placed on the Archive sometime soon?

Yes. I checked with contributors and got permission from most of them
to do this. For posterity's sake, and so that people looking through
the archive can happen across them, I just uploaded the MHTO Occupation
Kit, our compiled and blorbed reimplementation of Mystery House, and
seven modded games to /incoming. Generally, contributors are welcome to
upload updated versions of their games to the Archive, or make their
games available for download on their own sites, or do anything else
that they want with their work.

For those who know about the project, though, it's definitely best to
go to the site -- http://turbulence.org/Works/mystery/ -- to experience
it. The latest versions of games and new games by others should appear
there first; there are capsule descriptions of and images from the
games; there's a Web-based system for modifying Mystery House; and now,
all of the modified games are playable online -- including the Glulx
games, thanks to Java Web Start and Jon Alfred Zeppieri, developer of
Zag.

-Nick
http://nickm.com http://grandtextauto.org
(To contact me, send your message to nickm.com, username nickm)
!