All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

  #1  
Old 16-11-2006, 08:16 AM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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Bringing back the good 'ol days of text gaming

Krisse looks back at the golden days of interactive fiction (text gaming) and ways to play some of these titles on your cutting edge S60 3rd Edition smartphone.

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 16-11-2006, 10:04 AM
BitRabbit BitRabbit is offline
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Good article as usual but...

Hi Krisse,

as a real retro gamer, I always like your articles about emulators. However, I think you have omitted quite a chunk of games in this article
Text adventures can be played with two different systems.
1 - You run an emulator which will play the game, by running the interpreter on the target platform.
2 - You run an interpreter completely rewritten for your phone on Symbian. Generally, people who write these interpreters did some reverse engineering in order to understand the original data file.

You explored the first case, but forgot about the second. Amongst the most famous companies who did adventure games, we can list those ones. Strangely enough (however I did not spend a lot of time on it), it seems that no interpreter were ported for S60 ! We can find some for UIQ, Communicator, even Psion, but no mention of S60
- Magnetic Scrolls: known for The Pawn, The Guild of Thieves, ... They made a lot of noise when their first game was released, giving outstanding graphics and an incredible parser for the time. "Magnetic", the interpreter, runs on Communicator.
- Sierra: who can ignore this one ? King's Quest series, Space Quest series, ... the list goes on and on. "Sarien" runs on UIQ, but does not support all games.
- Level 9: not as famous as Magnetic Scrolls, but they appeared very soon and released a lot of games. Very worth checking if you like those games. The last interpreter was very rich in terms of features. Beautiful graphics as well for the latest games. "Level9" runs on Psion 5.
- Infocom: another famous name... The interpreter was called Z-Machine. If you don't know Zork, Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy, then you can stop reading "Frotz" runs on Psion 3 and 5, Communicator and UIQ.
- Adventure International: written by Scott Adams, and known especially for the Marvel series of game. The interpreter, "ScottFree" does not exist on any Symbian.

A few comments:
- Not all text adventure engines have been studied in order to redevelop them from scratch. If you query the web, you can find some good games from less known companies, and the only way to play them is through an emulator.
- Running with a rewritten interpreter rather than an emulator can be a better experience since usually people who write these interpreters can add a lot of features which didn't exist at the time, because the hardware was too limiting, and this is not the case anymore.
- Thanks to these interpreters, and also thanks to new tools which let people design games very easily (some tools are real development studio programs), some games regularly appear for all these interpreters ! There are even some which are commercial. I think of "The Shivah" which runs under the Sierra interpreter. However, this is second version which was point and click rather than text+graphics. Or for example www.malinche.com who sells games running on the Infocom interpreter.
- For most of these interpreters, they are released freely with all source code... Now that S60 have keyboards, it could be very easy to port them to the biggest Symbian market ? Any people with spare time ? (Not me unfortunately...).

I think that's it

EDIT: of course I omitted the ScummVM which is more about "point & click" adventures rather than "text adventures".

  #3  
Old 16-11-2006, 11:46 AM
krisse krisse is offline
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"However, I think you have omitted quite a chunk of games in this article "

No no no, you misunderstand what I was trying to do. :-)

The reason I concentrated on Speccy and ZX Spectrum text adventures is that the ONLY way of playing text adventures on an S60 3rd Edition is through the Speccy emulator. In fact until the author of Speccy recently added full keyboard support, there was no way of playing text adventures on S60 3rd.

I'm a HUGE fan of Level 9, Magnetic Scrolls and Scott Adams games, most can be run on the Speccy emulator as most of the games were released for the ZX Spectrum (some of their games were written for it I believe!). :-)

I'm also a huge fan of Infocom, but their games weren't released on the Spectrum for some reason. They're one of my favourite game publishers though and I'd love to see Frotz on S60 3rd Edition. If it gets done, you can bet I'll write an article all about it and related topics like all the extensive packaging Infocom used to include with their releases.

As the title says, the article was about text adventures that would run on S60 3rd Edition phones with full keyboards. The interpreter games you mention can't be run on S60 3rd because there are no S60 3rd interpreters available at the moment.

The point of my article is that there are now S60 3rd Edition phone models with full keyboards so playing mobile text adventures is practical with them. The same can't be said of UIQ phones or S60 1st or 2nd Edition as none of them have full keyboards. S80 (Communicators) have full keyboards, but they're very expensive and not as widely used outside the business and management community.

The ZX Spectrum had over 1600 text adventures written for it and the vast majority will never be available on any kind of general interpreter, so you have to use an emulator.

I don't think there's any other system that has had as wide a range of commercial-quality text adventures released for it, so if you're a fan of text adventures you could do a lot worse than fire up a Spectrum emulator.


"You run an interpreter completely rewritten for your phone on Symbian. Generally, people who write these interpreters did some reverse engineering in order to understand the original data file."

See above.


"You explored the first case, but forgot about the second. "

I didn't forget, I just didn't have the option! There's no S60 3rd Edition interpreters (yet) so there's no way for me to write about running them on S60 3rd Edition. :-)

I'd love to write about them, I really would, but I can't until the interpreters are written.


"EDIT: of course I omitted the ScummVM which is more about "point & click" adventures rather than "text adventures"."

I already did an entire article about ScummVM on Symbian, see here:

http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/revie...ion_Review.php

:-)


"Sierra: who can ignore this one ? King's Quest series, Space Quest series,"

I wouldn't call most of them text adventures, they did have text entry on early games but most of them were point and click, as were the remakes of the early games.

There's also the problem that some of the games mixed text entry with mouse control, so you'd find it difficult to use them on a mobile device because few of them have a touchscreen AND a full keyboard.

But as with Frotz, if someone releases a Sierra interpreter for S60 3rd, you can bet I'll be writing a huge article about the history of the games and how they shape up on portable devices.

Last edited by krisse; 16-11-2006 at 12:11 PM.

  #4  
Old 16-11-2006, 12:33 PM
Shaxer Shaxer is offline
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Haven't you forgotten about z2me?
you can't get more text based games than that...
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  #5  
Old 16-11-2006, 12:36 PM
krisse krisse is offline
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"Haven't you forgotten about z2me?"

As I understand it there's no way of using an S60 3rd's full keyboard with Z2ME or other interpreters. The reason I wrote about using Speccy for text adventures now instead of at its launch is that it's just had full keyboard support installed.

If any other S60 3rd edition text adventure emulators or interpreters with full keyboard support appear, I'll write about them or add them to the article.

Last edited by krisse; 16-11-2006 at 12:43 PM.

  #6  
Old 16-11-2006, 12:45 PM
Shaxer Shaxer is offline
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well, than you are (at least) one step ahead of me, because you actually tried z2me on s60 3rd ed

last time I gave it a go was back in the good old ngage days...

it would be nice to see it work with full keyboard though.

btw as I understand Wildpalm is working on bringing ZxBoy to 3rd ed - I have always preferred it to Speccy...

Last edited by Shaxer; 16-11-2006 at 12:52 PM.

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Old 16-11-2006, 12:52 PM
krisse krisse is offline
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"btw as I understand Wildpalm is working on ZxBoy - I have always preferred it to Speccy..."

My favourite Spectrum emulator is Spectrian but they haven't done a 3rd Ed version, and neither have Wildpalm, so I can't use them on 3rd Edition devices.

Even if they do eventually release 3rd Edition versions, it's possible that they would have problems with full keyboard support because it's quite tricky to do on the E61, and some game-related apps (for example ScummVM) don't support it.

The official line from Nokia in the S60 development forums is that it's impossible to have full keyboard support within games, but the Speccy author is the first (as far as I know) to find a way round that problem, which is what inspired me to write the article.

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Old 16-11-2006, 01:05 PM
Shaxer Shaxer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krisse
Even if they do eventually release 3rd Edition versions, it's possible that they would have problems with full keyboard support because it's quite tricky to do on the E61, and some game-related apps (for example ScummVM) don't support it.

The official line from Nokia in the S60 development forums is that it's impossible to have full keyboard support within games, but the Speccy author is the first (as far as I know) to find a way round that problem, which is what inspired me to write the article.
in that case I feel lucky for choosing E70 over E61.

  #9  
Old 05-03-2007, 10:18 AM
non5099 non5099 is offline
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Hello all.

Does anyone know why I get the following message when I try and install the speccy emulator on my E61? I have the settings for Software Installation set to "All" and Online Certif. Check set to "Off". This message comes up whether I try and install it from the PC or the phone.

This is really annoying.

"Installation of 'Speccy113-S60e3-bin.sis' not supported"

Many thanks.
 

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