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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:55 am 
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Yes, I was aware that I was generalising somewhat, but it was only because I distinctly felt that was what that poster was saying. I don't feel too bad about it because it turns out that it was. :)

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What you probably meant to say is that L9 and MS back in ~1986 were not able to create same games that are being created nowadays even if they had the modern tools. I agree with you on that. There is a generation between us and them, and it require no further explanation.


Ok, I see what you mean and I see where we parted ways - you were talking about *better* games and I started talking about *different* games (mea culpa).

I am not comfortable using an adjective like "better" because that's so subjective, but if we take it for granted that the games of now are necessarily *different* from yesteryear and that we needed to go through the yesteryear games to get to today and get that out of the equation entirely... then I guess I would agree! Infocom is the example I know best, and I know that they kept pushing and pushing the ZMachine, forcing it to do what they wanted to do. Certainly it wasn't the lack of technology that stopped them from dreaming up, and coding, Suspended, Nord and Bert, AMFV, Trinity, Deadline. They had the creativity, they had the imagination, and maybe if they weren't constrained by some inescapable hardware limitations they'd have soared even higher.

OR...

...or maybe that need for everything to fit in a small place was part of what made them great. It enforced economy of resources. When you've got limits like this, your creative processe is affected, but it's not always adversely; it doesn't necessarily constrain you, it might instead help you focus. I wonder whether the mish-mash that was the original Zork/Dungeon might not have been the Infocom norm if they had the Glulx machine to play it. I do think the limitations of the hardware enforced a discipline and a structure that only benefitted the games.

But obviously this is pure conjecture. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:02 am
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Peter Piers wrote:
I am not comfortable using an adjective like "better" because that's so subjective, but if we take it for granted that the games of now are necessarily *different* from yesteryear and that we needed to go through the yesteryear games to get to today and get that out of the equation entirely... then I guess I would agree!
Yes, I agree.

The only reason I started this conversation is because back in the days I myself tried to write IF for an 8-bit machine, so I know very well what was possible in 1986.
Peter Piers wrote:
Infocom is the example I know best, and I know that they kept pushing and pushing the ZMachine, forcing it to do what they wanted to do. Certainly it wasn't the lack of technology that stopped them from dreaming up, and coding, Suspended, Nord and Bert, AMFV, Trinity, Deadline. They had the creativity, they had the imagination, and maybe if they weren't constrained by some inescapable hardware limitations they'd have soared even higher.
Infocom is a little bit different than Level 9 or any other commercial era developer. They were able to compete for much longer than anyone else. You are correct, it's not the lack of technology that stopped them. By the time they had to quit the business there was nothing stopping them from producing Photopia. But technology definitely affected them before that. If you check their 1986 titles, you'll see that they were published on wide range of platforms, up to ten different systems. However, 1989 titles were published on three or four platforms. They were dropping such platforms as ZX Spectrum, Commodore, Amstrad CPC, and MSX in favor of IBM PC, Amiga, and Atari ST. Commercial market on 8-bit machines still existed until 1992, so the main reason to drop those platforms is because those machines were just not able to handle new ZMachine and amount of data in new games.

Peter Piers wrote:
OR...

...or maybe that need for everything to fit in a small place was part of what made them great. It enforced economy of resources. When you've got limits like this, your creative processe is affected, but it's not always adversely; it doesn't necessarily constrain you, it might instead help you focus. I wonder whether the mish-mash that was the original Zork/Dungeon might not have been the Infocom norm if they had the Glulx machine to play it. I do think the limitations of the hardware enforced a discipline and a structure that only benefitted the games.

But obviously this is pure conjecture. :)
Actually, it's a very popular idea in a community of fans of retro computers. There are hundreds of people still producing software for machines such as Commodore or ZX Spectrum, all stating that memory and speed restrictions are good for developer. For example, I know of at least one adventure game produced for ZX Spectrum in last couple of years. Considering that the platform is dead for more than twenty years, it's a lot.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:32 am 
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I think Infocom might have produced -larger- games, if not better. I've read a few articles where they talk about scaling back descriptions and verbs due to memory limitations...AMFV wasn't doable until 128k...


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