February 2, 2015
19) colossal cave
Once upon a time there was a father of two who went through a divorce. At home alone each night in his bachelor pad, he missed his daughters terribly and looked forward to their upcoming visit over the Christmas holidays. Some nights he played a new game called Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. Some nights he glanced at the line plots he had made while mapping the Mammoth Cave system with his wife. Both had been avid cavers. Other times he clattered away at his home PDP-10 terminal, spelunking his way through a different sort of world, helping his bosses create the ARPANET, grand-daddy of the Internet.
One night he decided to make a computer game that his daughters could play during their visit. Combining his love of D&D and caving, he mapped out an underground cavern with treasures and monsters, then coded up a small Fortran program called ADVENT (short for Adventure). Players would type instructions to their in-game representative, their avatar, who did its best to carry out the instructions. You told your avatar to GET LAMP and KILL DWARF and move about Colossal Cave as you found treasure and danger.
His daughters loved the game, as did a few dozen people who happened to find it stored on the fledgling ARPANET, one of whom was Don Woods from Stanford. With permission from the original author, Will Crowther, Woods extended Adventure in 1977 to the version we know today, which spread from mainframe to mainframe and later to personal computers, which arrived that same year. Without intending to, Crowther & Woods had created a new video game genre, the “adventure”, which began in text but later evolved into the graphical Skyrim’s and MMOs of today.
It all began with: YOU ARE STANDING AT THE END OF A ROAD BEFORE A SMALL BRICK BUILDING.
As now do I, since I’m recreating the original Adventure as the first story in Tidepool. You can follow my efforts in my TIGSource daily devlog.
TIGSource is the largest game developers community, where such notables as Notch (Minecraft) and Phil Fish (Fez) got their start. I’m hoping to connect with other game developers as I create the various games-within-Tidepool, such as Colossal Cave, that will inspire others to make their own.