GoT source code recovered
I was thrilled to see the source code has been recovered, and also that it will be made public at some point. I played those on Amiga in the day. Will you be releasing the whole of the contents of the tape? I'm probably in a minority in that I'm far more interested in the internals than the games themselves. Infocom archaeology has progressed a long way (I wrote the first decompiler for z3 games, following on a number of earlier peoples' works, and have spent a lot of time studying the extant tech left over), but there is almost nothing known from Magnetic Scrolls, at least last time I looked into it a few years back.
So, they used a MicroVAX in the late 80s--was it running VMS or BSD (or Ultrix)? Did they do the Infocom route of a concisely defined vm for portability with an interpreter (or should we call it hypervisor?), or a compile targeted at each architecture? Also, what language?
(I worked on MicroVAXen IIs at the university, running BSD--also VAXstations and DECstations. I saw you had a DECstation 3100. Those were marvelously fast machines in their day, running Ultrix. I remember the VAXstations perversely had scsi interface cards that were male, so you had to be careful plugging in cables--bend or break a pin and you'd be paying for a new card, vs a new cable. I don't remember if the DECstations had those too. Someplace around here I have a bunch of ultrix cdroms for those decstations).
Anyway, great news.
I'm currently in the process of cleaning up the tapes files into a sensible arrangement. The plan is to release a version of the original source code and the tools. You could even build your own version!
There's a lot of junk on the tape. multiple copies of various files. I've been sorting through it so that the latest or most significant bits can be released. Believe me, you're better off not having 7 versions of everything!
I think we've managed to recover the final versions of all the old games, except possibly Alice.
I can answer some of your questions;
the Vax ran Ultrix (3 i think).
Yes, the games ran in a VM. There was a simulator for the Vax (which we've recovered and re-compiled). The VM was then implemented for each platform.
The VM adopted the 68000 instruction set (with some removed and some others added). The idea behind this was to "up emulate" to a 32 bit architecture from (originally) 8 bit. This meant there was no 64k restriction (unlike z-machine).
I plan to write a set of detailed blogs on how it all worked at some point.
Hi Hugh, is there still a plan to release source code? I'd be really interested in this from a historical point of view.
The source code for everything is here, specifically the original game code is here.
The Pawn, The Guild and Jinxter are complete, for the others, only the
.f23files are there currently as the code doesn't built yet.
Fish! will be next (once we get it working).
Thanks for this Hugh, really interesting to see some Lisp in there!