Author Topic: Converting PAWs games to run on Amstrad CPC via ANTUR & DAAD  (Read 556 times)

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Offline Strident

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s you may know, adventure author and digital archaeologist Stefan Vogt has been doing a lot of work recently with the DAAD text adventure system. An evolution of the old Quill and PAWs systems from Gilsoft, DAAD was commissioned for the exclusive use of Spanish text adventure legends Aventuras A.D. but was kindly made available to the general retro gaming community five years or so ago.


Stefan has worked with Tim Gilberts to painstakingly recover, and in many cases, rebuild the English version of DAAD. He's now just finished work on the beta version of his transcompiler, ANTUR. ANTUR will take the source code of a PAWed adventure and convert it to code that can, with minimal work, produce a fully-working DAAD-based text adventure.


Why bother with DAAD? Well apart from being the next step on from the PAWs, DAAD allows you to take a single source file and produce a version of your adventure to target the Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW, MSX, Commodore 64, PC DOS, Atari ST and Amiga! Only the Spectrum, PC DOS and CP/M-capable machines like the Amstrad previously had access to the PAWs. In the case of the CPC, DAAD allows you to create a tape-based adventure too, not just a disk-based one like the original CP/M version of the PAWs.


There are a few restrictions. One of which is, that you need to feed ANTUR the source code from the CP/M version of the PAWs... However, you can use a tool like inPAWs to get from a Spectrum database to a CP/M game. I've written some guides of how to go about this. It's fairly straightforward. John Wilson, of Zenobi, has used this method to convert many (it seems like over a hundred!) of his catalogue of Spectrum Zenobi titles to CP/M PAWs.


As a first little test, I've quickly had a go at producing some DAAD versions of one of the old games Scott and I wrote, 'The Quest for the Holy Snail'. I'm still learning the system, especially the DAAD side, and I already had a working CP/M version of the game, but it was still relatively easy to port the game over. You can see the initial results here: http://8bitag.com/games/snail-daad.html More versions, more tweaks (such as proper loaders) and source code will follow.


If you want to try it yourself, with your own PAWed games (or even Quilled ones... there is a process you can work through for those), then check out Stefan's page on DAAD http://8-bit.info/infinite-imaginations-aventuras-ad/ and then pop along to his Github page for ANTUR. https://github.com/ByteProject/antur It is still in beta form, but it does seem to work very well.
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Offline Nich

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Why bother with DAAD? Well apart from being the next step on from the PAWs, DAAD allows you to take a single source file and produce a version of your adventure to target the Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW, MSX, Commodore 64, PC DOS, Atari ST and Amiga! Only the Spectrum, PC DOS and CP/M-capable machines like the Amstrad previously had access to the PAWs. In the case of the CPC, DAAD allows you to create a tape-based adventure too, not just a disk-based one like the original CP/M version of the PAWs.

As a first little test, I've quickly had a go at producing some DAAD versions of one of the old games Scott and I wrote, 'The Quest for the Holy Snail'. I'm still learning the system, especially the DAAD side, and I already had a working CP/M version of the game, but it was still relatively easy to port the game over. You can see the initial results here: http://8bitag.com/games/snail-daad.html More versions, more tweaks (such as proper loaders) and source code will follow.

This is great news. The Zenobi games were mostly tape-based on the ZX Spectrum and had loading screens and customised fonts, so it just doesn't feel 'right' to me that the current CPC conversions are disc-only and devoid of all fancy effects.

If DAAD versions of these adventures could be produced then it would be much more in keeping with the spirit of the original ZX Spectrum games.

Offline Strident

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This is great news. The Zenobi games were mostly tape-based on the ZX Spectrum and had loading screens and customised fonts, so it just doesn't feel 'right' to me that the current CPC conversions are disc-only and devoid of all fancy effects.

If DAAD versions of these adventures could be produced then it would be much more in keeping with the spirit of the original ZX Spectrum games.
Well, we would've loved to have access to DAAD back in the day... as I've mentioned before, back then we sometimes ended up making two games when porting Spectrum adventures to the CPC... a CP/M one in PAWs and then a slightly watered down GAC/Quilled/ADLAN version for tape-only users.


Whether any of the ports of old Zenobi games will get custom fonts and loading screens etc, I don't know. Neither John or myself know much about doing that sort of thing on the CPC, but it's great that the DAAD has been rebuilt for people who want to make new games that can include those sorts of features and ANTUR is a great tool for people who want to develop in PAWs and then target a wider range of machine.


Of course, your contribution to the DAAD side of things should be mentioned, Nich... with your work on producing a loader that gets around some of the bugs in DAAD, particularly on French-keyboard CPCs. :) 
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Offline Strident

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I've added a "no-frills" Amstrad CPC version of 'The Search for the Nether Region' at...
http://8bitag.com/games/nether.html


Again, this was converted from the Spectrum 48K PAWed version by using inPAWs, ANTUR and DAAD.
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Offline MiguelSky

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Time to embellish it now!

Offline Strident

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Time to embellish it now!
I'm not really familiar enough with the CPC to do that sort of thing. Perhaps exploring that sort of stuff is something I'll get around to doing when I eventually get the brand new three-part adventure I'm currently working on finished. I'll leave it to you guys to do all the proper CPC adventures with graphics and fancy fonts. :)
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