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Bolkonskij's picture
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The Queen's Footsteps: New commercial & boxed 68k Macintosh game released

New Mac game: The Queen’s Footsteps
When was the last time you bought a new boxed & sealed Macintosh game? Too long ago? Then this might be your chance! The Queen’s Footsteps is a new Interactive Fiction (think Infocom!) game in which you play a female archeologist going on an adventure in the world of 1904.

The boxed copy is around 20$ + shipping and includes a floppy disk of the game as well as some goodies (a poster, stickers, …). If you’re the modern minimalist who likes his stuff only virtual, you can also download the game for free. (but it’s only half the fun, really)

The game requires System 7 and a 68000 CPU. Maybe a good reason to undust your old Macintosh SE.

Source: https://lowendmac.com/2020/the-mac-os-news-roundup-1/

I've received my copy of the game. Set me back 27 euros including shipping. It comes shrinkwrapped and the box is really sturdy and commercial quality. Waiting for the weekend to come around so I can "get lost" in the game. Meanwhile thinking that maybe I should do an unboxing video or something for Cornica ... Smile

Anyone else getting it? Maybe we can share tips & tricks as we play through the game?

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fogWraith's picture
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Joined: 2009 Oct 23

Bought a copy myself, cost a bit more and has been incorrectly sorted by the postal service, so we'll see when it gets here.

While waiting, I have to decide which machine will be taking care of it, the Classic or SE/30 Wink

Bolkonskij's picture
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Go for the Classic I'd say. Has more 80's feeling to it. Smile

WhosIt.There's picture
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Also available for other ye olde systems ...

SYSTEMS
C64, VIC20+32K, C128, Plus/4, PET models with at least 32K of RAM, Amiga, CPC 664 or CPC6128, MSX, ZX Spectrum 48K, ZX Spectrum +3, MS-DOS, Macintosh 68k, CP/M, Olivetti M20, RC2014, Commander X16.

Developer's website: Darwinnie.itch.io

Bolkonskij's picture
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Yeah, but then who cares, right? There's only Macintosh and ... less desirable platforms Laughing out loud ...

I've been running the game on my Macintosh SE and it runs very well. Even on System 6.08. But when you type "save", the parser will tell you it needs System 7 for that feature. So on anything below System 7 you'll have to work with the passwords you get after each section.

The game comes on a 800k floppy disk. Seeing how well it runs on my SE I wonder if it wouldn't run on even older Macs too - like a 512Ke? (I don't have one to test, if someone has ... it would be interesting! ).

The game takes about 250k on the floppy. Also a smaller bonus adventure is on the floppy. I'm thinking about getting a really slimmed down version of System 7 to put on floppy. That way, I'll be able to boot from floppy and use the save feature while retaining System 6 on my SE.

The box is great. Has some interesting contents in it (Goodie galore Smile ) and looks very nice. It was an amazing feeling to peel the shrinkwrap from the box and open another 68k Macintosh game, skipping through the manual and goodies.

Played about 2 hours into the game. Interesting story, easy going. Parser isn't as good as in Infocom games but still good. Drawing a map is strongly recommended, though there are no crazy labyrinths (yet). Puzzles aren't too hard as of yet, though I'm stuck at the moment as to what to do with a certain code (no details, won't spoil Smile )

All in all it is a great release and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Interactive Fiction or simply 80s computer gaming. Playing this game on a SE is about as much retro gaming as you can get. Instantly made me travel back in time and feel like the 10 year old boy again. For the 27 euros I paid, that's a pretty cheap ticket. Smile

WhosIt.There's picture
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Bolkonskij:

Yeah, but then who cares, right? There's only Macintosh and ... less desirable platforms Laughing out loud ...

The VIC-20, C64 and Amiga are all great old computers ... the others, well, they are just rubbish. Smile
It's a little surprising that there's no Apple II version though.

rbshep's picture
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Joined: 2020 Mar 5

It's a little surprising that there's no Apple II version though.

Or BBC Micro version? Wink The Apple II was pretty rubbish compared to some machines, the hardware sprites and scrolling of the Atari 8bit and C64 blew it out of the water.... Shame there's no IIgs version i guess.

Crazy amount of platforms supported though, awesome work by the developer!

Shame they didn't put the CPC / Spectrum version on each side of the cassette (like the mastertronic "flippy" series) or even the 3" disk (Afterburner springs to mind)

No idea if Vic 20 / C64 / Plus4 did the same thing (the nearest i can think of is the C16 / Plus4 saboteur release, but they are basically the same platform and the C16 version was pretty damn naff tbh)

lilliputian's picture
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Joined: 2010 Jul 29

Ordered my copy yesterday after reading this thread!

Bolkonskij's picture
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Looking forward to hearing about your experience , lilliputian! You, me and fogwraith. That makes three buyers already. I hope they get some more so this won't be the last 68k Mac release they'll ever do. My copy had a no. 0136 sticker on the shrinkwrap. Will be interesting what you and fogwraith have.

Started to sketch a map of the game yesterday. Think I'll redo it on my IIci in Mac Draw later. Great retro project. Once complete will make it available unless someone else beats me to it. Smile

lilliputian's picture
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Joined: 2010 Jul 29

Part of why I ordered it; I want to encourage more development for old Macs!

DarwinNE's picture
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Joined: 2020 Sep 25

Hello to everybody!

This is my first post here. I'm Davide Bucci, the author of The Queen's Footsteps, I'm really glad you are appreciating it! I hope that you will have fun playing the game as much as I did while woking on it. Smile

Concerning the issues with system 6, I tried to solve them, but with no success for the moment. I presently don't know if the issue comes from my code or the way I am configuring the build on the (awesome) Retro68 compiler. IIRC, here is a little example that somewhat shows the issue:

https://github.com/autc04/Retro68/issues/53#issuecomment-592727596

The code I posted works fine on System 7, but generates a bomb on System 6 Sad
If someone sees the origin of the problem, I will be eager to fix it.

Cheers,
D.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Thank you for developing this, Davide Laughing out loud

As the retro-computing groups grow, such development is very much welcomed and appreciated! I wonder if some of us who use Mac software under emulation could be offered a digital
download option for the installer at some point, especially since older Macs will become less available over time? Just an possibility to consider.. and if you do or choose to, please let us know Smile and remember to knock off a little since it's eco-friendly: no floppies, printed manuals and mail packaging (zero-waste)!

Also, a few of us may wait (I know I do, lol) for online deals, lol, so if you offer any, I'd likely snatch a copy, I just don't have any floppy disk drives to run a floppy. Just be sure to post about the deal so we don't miss them (just in case you chose to run any)!

24bit's picture
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Joined: 2010 Nov 19

You may download the game for free, if that was the question?
https://darwinne.itch.io/the-queens-footsteps
That beige G3 you are thinking about will open 800k floppies, but you do know that, of course.

DarwinNE's picture
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Joined: 2020 Sep 25

Exactly, I forgot to specify, but the digital download is completely free and without any limitation (i.e. the game is not incomplete or a demo version). It can be uploaded to the Macintosh Garden without any problem, I'll be happy about it.

If you like the game and you finish it, send the final password (privately) to me and I will add you to the hall of fame on my blog:

http://davbucci.chez-alice.fr/index.php?argument=varie/queen/queen.inc

There is also a page that describes the background of the game, what is historical, what is invented etc:

http://davbucci.chez-alice.fr/index.php?argument=varie/queen/background.inc

Have fun! Smile

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Wow! Davide, you just been crowned: Best. Software. Publisher. Ever! Thank you so much! Crown

DarwinNE's picture
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Joined: 2020 Sep 25

Thank you, you are too kind. My pleasure!

I've been inspired by the awesome work of Stefan Vogt that did the same for Hibernated 1: digital distribution is free, too.

rbshep's picture
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Any chance of a C64 (and other CBM) tape version(s) for us Europeans who can't afford floppy drives? Wink

I bet there's one or two other platforms that take alternate media (MSX for instance) too. Amazing feat to port to so many platforms, well done!

Would be interested to see blog posts about which dev environments you use for all the platforms too Smile

DarwinNE's picture
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It would not be impossible to have versions of the game to be loaded from tape on Commodore machines. However, I thought it would be impractical, the loading time would be quite long and I don't have any fastloader available. For the VIC20 and the C64, I would have to repeat the loader three times, for the C128 it would be unpractical to show the splash screen (that is loaded from disk, RLE-encoded). Moreover, I am not sure the present code for loading/saving the game state would work for the cassette.

I could issue bare-bone versions to be loaded on tape, but it would not be the game experience that I would like to offer. I wholeheartedly advise to go for a SD2IEC if you don't have it yet. That would solve all problems, the game is perfectly playable from a disk image on a SD card (this is what I use to test the game on the real hardware) and it would open a whole new world.

Concerning the development environments, I have cross-developed everything from my laptop, a MacBook Pro. I use a generic text editor for writing the code (TextWrangler), the game is described on a language called AWS, it has a syntax similar to the Graphic Adventure Creator of 1980's but has been developed by Aristide Torrelli. Here is a description of the format:

https://github.com/DarwinNE/aws2c/blob/master/AWS_description.md

Then, the AWS file is automatically transformed into a C source by means of a program I wrote, called AWS2C, that is open source:

https://github.com/DarwinNE/aws2c/

AWS2C also does some tricks such as compressing messages and descriptions with a Huffman code, that makes a big difference on machines with a limited quantity of memory such as the VIC-20. The result is a standard C program, with the I/O that are carefully limited to certain strategic places. Those are adapted to the different target machines. For example, on the 68k Mac version of the game, I am using the Console of the Retro68 compiler, that was quite minimalistic and I had to extend to support some ANSI control characters:

https://github.com/autc04/Retro68/tree/master/Console

On other platforms I use other compilers and other I/O tools. For Commodore 6502-based machines (or similar) I use the Cc65 cross-compiler; for the Z80 ones z88dk, for the MSDOS the old Borland Turbo C++ running on DosBox. As I said, Retro68 is used for the Mac, Amiga-gcc for the Amiga.

Adding a new machine greatly depends on the quality of the C cross compiler available, I am currently searching for a viable C compiler targeting the BCC, for example (but it is a machine I don't know at all).

Everything is scripted, so if I change the AWS file, I can update the AWS files I can compile for all output platforms with a single "make" command. Smile

Of course, not everything is automatic, I still have to draw the splash screen for each platform, decide how to package the result, etc...

adespoton's picture
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Would it be possible to automate your compilation process for other works written in AWS? My kids write stuff in Inform, but could probably be convinced to switch platforms if they had a decent cross-platform deployment framework they could target. It'd be great to get an entire group of people writing new adventure games for old hardware, and it looks like you've already done most of the heavy lifting!

DarwinNE's picture
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Yes, it is certainly possible, if I understand what you mean, I already obtain executables for all supported machines with a single "make" command.

However, I'm not an expert about this, but I think Inform is very well supported for old systems. I don't know how the situation is for the vintage Macintoshes, but there must be a Z-machine interpreter somewhere able to run games written with such a tool.

If your kids are used to Inform, I would advise to remain on it and see how the result can be run on vintage machines. I searched a little bit and found this, for example:

https://www.eblong.com/zarf/maxzip.html

It may be worth a try, even if maybe the most recent bells and whistles of the format may not be supported.

rbshep's picture
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Hear hear for inform... there's even a ZX Spectrum (+3) interpreter Smile

http://seasip.info/ZX/zxzvm.html

cbone's picture
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Adespoton, your idea sounds like a retro-development eutopia if the answer is 'yes' to your question Laughing out loud

And this wouldn't be for Classic 68k/PPC Macs only, but for a whole slew of other retro-platforms.. that would make the development of this groundbreaking multi-platform game a genius prototype to usher in a new retro-gaming wave (and of new applications as well) to an entire new generation of retro-computing and gaming enthusiasts!

uxware's picture
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@rbshep get an sd2iec , can read/write most (unprotected) D64s , better that battling with tapes..

fogWraith's picture
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I picked up the package a while ago, the box had survived the trip and it looks great!
Apparently I didn't read the website thoroughly on what came in the box, so at the price I was surprised at all the goodies that came with it. I might even get another copy just to have a shrink-wrapped copy on my shelf Smile

Setting up a station to play it now, exciting !

Bolkonskij's picture
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Just been playing another two hours this morning after the doing the groceries with the family. I've made it to the second part of the game. So far the puzzles are fair and logical and the old Sherlock Holmes approach ("once you eliminate the impossible ...") serves well. I've ran into my first bug though (non-gamebreaking!). Now for the first time in the game stuck in a "what to do next?" situation. Guess I'll simply have to go through everything again. Smile

How is everyone else holding up?

Bolkonskij's picture
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Sooo, just finished the game this afternoon! I won't spoiler but I'll say that I enjoyed the story and the fact that the game can be beat in about 10 hours without hurrying. (not sure you can say that about 80s Interactive Fiction games Smile )

Had 2-3 issues with the parser (e.g. "light lamp" isn't understood, it needs to be "turn on lamp") but other than that two thumbs up from me. Highly recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining interactive fiction game on his Macintosh. And the retail box is sooo good ... Smile

DarwinNE's picture
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Glad you hear that you liked the game!

If you want, send me the final password privately (by PM or via the email address I put on my blog), I will add you to the "hall of fame" Smile

I am aware of a small bug in the second part of the game, more details here: http://davbucci.chez-alice.fr/index.php?argument=varie/queen/background.inc

If you enter the final password, the page will unlock all the text.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Aw man Wink after I start working on that Beige Mac, if someone else doesn't nab it, I'm gonna have to see about your score time, pal Laughing out loud

snes1423's picture
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Joined: 2020 May 13

i got the game working on jaguar would love to show you accept ci can not get any image hsting services to work with classila i am already 3/4 of the way through too Laughing out loud Wink

cbone's picture
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That's great snes Laughing out loud I'd love to see that!

I may have some good news: you should be able to upload an image like I did under Mac OS 8.1 on 68k:

snes1423's picture
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http://images.macintosh.garden/2020/09/27/Picture-3.png just finished it it was AWSOME!!!! Laughing out loud so i am going to play it over again!!!!

DarwinNE's picture
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Glad you liked it! You can play to Two Days to the Race, now Smile

Send me (privately) the final password of the game and I'll write your name on the "hall of fame" of my blog. You find my email address on the blog, or write me a PM.

snes1423's picture
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Joined: 2020 May 13

Also speaking of jaguar anybody know any file converters for .DOC to .DOCX for office 98 to 2004 docs for jaguar/os9

snes1423's picture
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Unfortunately it crashed right at the end of the game i do not know if this is a compatibility issue or what but i did not see a passcode because of that

cbone's picture
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snes, since the author of the game, Davide, is reading posts and posting here, you can describe the crash to him to see if it may be a bug/glitch for him to be aware of to possibly catch and fix, unless he's aware of it already.

snes1423's picture
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ok so i got to the very end of the game and it just quit/crashed then a error popped up saying “The Queens Footsteps has Crashed No Other Applications were affected” and i had to restart agai n and last night it happened again

Bolkonskij's picture
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did that happen before the last message asking you to press "e" to try again or any key to start over? Or immediately after that?

snes1423's picture
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Press E to start over

Bolkonskij's picture
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the final password comes up before that message. Go back to your latest save and check the text carefully Smile

snes1423's picture
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I thought of doing that and i did but it would crash again with the same error so i had to redownload the game maybe there is something wrong with the end of the game???? on Jaguar???? if you guys know a way to run mac os 9 using the unsupported macs cd off of firewire so that i could test it under that i would very much appreciate it thanks

DarwinNE's picture
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If you get the message that offers you to press E to restart, this is the intended behavior.
On the other hand, if you get a bomb (or similar) crash error, it may be an issue, indeed.
Unfortunately, I don't have any machine using Classic to test it, but it is weird that this crash happens only at the very end of the game, there is nothing special about the code related to it.

DarwinNE's picture
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I added The Queen's Footsteps to the Macintosh Garden database:

https://macintoshgarden.org/games/the-queens-footsteps

I uploaded the disk image that also contains Two Days to the Race as a bonus game. Needless to say, I own the copyright of the game, so I can share it here on MG Smile

It's the first time I upload something to the database, if you feel there is something I should correct, please point that to me and I will be eager to do it.

fogWraith's picture
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Looks good to me, thanks for the upload! Smile

The little time I get over to play games, I put into this... had to "borrow" paper from work to draw some maps and make little notes Laughing out loud

Bolkonskij's picture
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Anyone still playing? Did you get yours lilliputian?

Just started the bonus game "Two Days to the Race" yesterday. Can't wait for the weekend for an extended session. Who would have thought I'd have so much fun with Interactive Fiction games again Smile

lilliputian's picture
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Not as yet! I'm in LA, so it's got quite a distance to travail from Germany/Deutschland...

DarwinNE's picture
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Joined: 2020 Sep 25

Hi to everybody!

Just a few lines to announce that I got some feedbacks in the last few months. I started correcting some minor bugs present in version 1.0 to improve the game as much as I can.

Version 1.0.9 can be downloaded from my blog: http://davbucci.chez-alice.fr/index.php?argument=varie/queen/queen.inc

I hope to promote it to version 1.1 and call it finished next week. Can someone give it a try to see if everything works correctly?

fogWraith's picture
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Joined: 2009 Oct 23

Been poking around for a bit on the new version on the 840AV, and personally haven't run in to anything particularly odd yet.

I'll pop in if I see something out of the ordinary Smile
Also, website works well on the old machine as well, so no tedious moving about with floppies etc. Bonus points!

DarwinNE's picture
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Thank you very much!

Concerning the website, I have written by myself the PHP code (that is extremely simple, it's not a full-fledged CMS). The result is rendered as very basic HTML. Not very interactive, but meant to be fast and easy to render. I'm glad it works well on vintage machines!