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The Creeping Network

Stuff in the Works

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COMPUTERS

- 486 DX2/66 now has it's thermal getup done. I took a chipset heatsink from a Sony Vaio Pentium 4, roughly used pliars to shorten the fins a little bit (to clear the XT drive cage), and created a nifty, almost-modern thermal system where the heatsink has a tiny, really fast fan that throws out a lot of air across them, and it just so happens the strongest air current is also aimed at the chipset for my S3 805 video card - creating a cohesive thermal system - who would have thought putting early 90's hardware in an 80's XT clone chassis would work out the best thermal system for a 486DX/2. The crazy part was that my screensaver (AfterDark Mosaic one) visibly shows there was a thermal problem before - rendering has been much faster, and my benchmarks have gone up a bit.

As for the others, the only other project PC on the table now is the Compaq Portable 486c. It needs a new screen and a sound card. P/N: 128902-001 for the screen. I'm thinking for sound I'll be going with another SB Pro II, or I'll try and get an AWE32 for the other 486, and put the SB Pro II I have into this one. I also want to learn the pinout for the hard disk so I can throw another 8GB beast in this one - identical to the one in my other 486, with DDO, and setup the machine almost identical - only portable.

So things to do on that one
- get new screen (P/N: 128902-001)
- Sound Card (SB Pro II is what I want)
- wire sound card into existing "internal speaker" infarastructure (I want it to output to the Compaq's default speaker in front)
- perform the "wifi-bridge/reverse WAP" trick to enable me to use WiFi on this machine from across the house.

The idea is a cohesive portable gaming rig I can carry around, that and I'd love to show up with this thing at Starbucks some sunny day just to really freak everyone out. Think of that, all the little plastic Chinese notebooks and here's some guy with a giant American "Lunchbox" PC from 1992 plugging away at the internet in 16-bit Windows. LOL.

I will be funding these projects selling hardware, or trading if people like. I need $30-40 for the screen, not sure what for the soundblaster, maybe PC Recycle will get one in and I can buy one there for $5. As for the modem thing, I need to find who on this forum that was that jammed a modified Router/WAP/whatever that was into his original 1983 Compaq Portable to have WiFi in DOS - I'm doing the same thing here, just in Windows For Workgroups 3.11.

WEBSITE

The Creeping Network is still in the works on google sites. I just added a webforum - this is sort of a primary focus on Retro computing on 80's and early 90's hardware and software. It'll grow as I learn more about forum administration and gain members. So far I'm the only one.

Currently have been plugging away at the hardware section getting some good write-up's done on vintage PC hardware (8088-80486 being the main focus). After that is software, and then I need to make some VM's and start obtaining screenshots - that and running around grabbing photos of any and all hardware I can get my hands on for the documents pages. I don't want the site to go live until ALL of my content is done, that way I Can focus primarily on the "day to day" website stuff.

I have some downloads setup as well, including for the uber-rare MediaVision ProGraphics 1280 (which sadly I had to junk mine, just too messed up to fix). These are the kind of items I want to provide - stuff that will be lost in the sands of time online if not posted now by someone like me.

GAME

So I've been posting on the Vogons forums lately, and one of my "retro activities" I mentioned was the making of another AGS Computer game. I guess here's the place to clarify what's going on.

I've been squirreling away ideas for point'n'click graphical adventures since I was 9 years old and playing Monkey Island on my sister's old 386. I've had lots of ideas, Monkey Island fan games, Leisure Suit Larry fan games, but one of the most original ideas I had came to me during the summer of '08 when I was "between engagements" so to speak.

So the game, which I call "Corporate Warfare" came to mind. The basic idea was a game where you are a homeless outcast who climbs the "corporate ladder" in a very unofficial way by solving complex puzzles that are humorously "messed up" so to speak towards the NPC's that stand in your way. The "rungs" on the ladder are represented by the "floors" of the company, with the bottom being the trash cans in the street behind the company where you wake up, to the golf course on the corporate roof-top.

The basic storyline is that this homeless outcast lost it all during a great depression - his home, his job, his family (his wife and kids moved in with a rich guy as she values money over love), and after one year on the streets, he's had enough and plans to get a job one way or another - so he starts infiltrating a corporation with no real good or service of which to speak by "ousting" people from their roles through the puzzles in the game.

My primary influences on this game that should be readily apparent are Al Lowe, Ron Gilbert, Steve Purcell, and lots of 80's New Wave/Pomp/AOR bands. I've been reading lots of interviews from Al and Ron and purusing Steve and Ron's Blogs on how to make a good graphical adventure game.

I have no time line, no release date, I'm doing this in my free time in short blurbs a night to exercise my mind (I'm finding constructing puzzles quite a stimuli for my brain cells), it could take years, so don't expect me to be flying out in one year with a game of this size. So far I've got quite a big inventory list thus far (need to borrow Ron Gilbert's way of reusing objects - ie, the items you aquire on MeLee Island for the Stew to get to Monkey Island in The first MI game).

The other challenge, is that i'm doing this all using OLD hardware and OLD software, even the version of AGS (Adventure Game Studio) I'm using was made 10 years ago and runs in DOS. The primary dev machine is my old 486 DX/2 66 - the most modern piece of hardware is the MiDi Controller - a repurposed Rock Band 3 Fender Mustang Pro Fender-guitar-licenced game controller that also works as a MIDI guitar - run straight into my SoundBlaster Pro II via the game port. I like Fender Mustangs and I play guitar better than I do synth - so this is fitting for doing most of the soundtrack (I'll be using the Yamaha PSS-680 for the rest). While AGS states a 486 DX4-100 is required, I don't believe that, and already might be trying it on my 286 and might want to try 386 hardware as well.

Graphics are being done in Graf-X II for DOS....this is my FAVORITE paint program of all time - this specific DOS version in particular - as it's AMAZING for pixel art - which I'm doing a lot of. Thus far I have a set of test sprites (which will likely end up in another game or cameo in this one - I like reusing characters), and I've got the parking garage started (all three levels) and the outdoor area where the game starts has ALL of the mason work done, and am now adding the other elements to flesh it out. I've already got all the rooms mapped out - the size of the games actual world is pretty small - only about 60 or so screens total - but the amount of puzzles and the mileage we are getting out of those screens will be amazing, and unlike most adventure games, areas that are inaccessible are only inaccessible temporarily - so you get to explore every inch of the building that I can put into a 2-D Graphical Adventure.

No programming has started, but I do have my puzzle guide being written in a text file, and my object list so I can start drawing the inventory objects. Not sure how far into the puzzles I am but there are a lot so far generating over 25 objects by now and I'm not even halfway through the game's puzzles.

My design strategy is
- work on what I can when inspired
- write out the puzzles in text file - go back over, and re-apply the dialog and storyline to it to make it interesting
- work out why the Mustang's MiDi triggers are so sensitive and find a solution - may need to proxy it through the PSS-680 to cut the sensitivity in Presto
- draw out the rooms first and have them numbered, then add in the details later on as the puzzles are created and whatnot

I've got some other ideas as well but I'm going to focus on ONE at a time.

I also have the story etched out a bit as well. It's leaking into the puzzles in some places.

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