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I am in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.

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Today I am going to give you all a nice little link to a game that started my love affair with computer games,math,  logic, and maps.

Yes, maps. You need to draw maps if you ever want to finish this game..

Oh and math, yes.. math. If you ever wanted to write a great game you need lots of math.


The game is called Adventure, or Colossal Cave. It was written back in the now ancient days of computing, where the machines were as large or larger than cars, and the idea of a picture on your computer screen was blasphemy. This was before I and most of you were even born. It was originally written in 1973 by Will Crowther and later on (1977) by Don Woods. The idea was that you could create a virtual descriptive world worth exploring using a computer and some cleverly designed programming. Basically what you do is create a world using a dimensional array (matrices in math) and have those points direct the program to certain lines inside the program for descriptions, entry points, exits, and if there are any monsters… etc.

Here is an Example:

Let us make a game with only 5 rooms, you can move in only 4 directions, and there will be one monster (or any NPC or non player character) and one key. The goal is to get the key without the monster killing you. The array might look like the following:

Array (4, 5), in math the rooms are starting at zero, this would give you a box with 5 places by 6 places, each place would have a number that would indicate a room you could go into, if there is a key, if there is a monster. So if you looked at Room 2 in the game you might see this:

Room 2 (0,1,2,3, 99, 50)

This would mean that if you typed : “go north” the computer would look at the 0 in the first placeholder (which is the one we chose to represent “north”) and it shows no room is available. This would return a “ I can not go that way” response from the program. All you would see is this on the screen if you were to type “look”:

“You are in a large dining hall, to the south you can see a kitchen, to the east is the main foyer, to the west is a library.”

“There is a guard here” (or really any monster/npc as represented by the #99)

“There is a key on the floor” (as represented by the #50")

And that is really all there is towards creating a virtual environment. Sure you might see graphics and visual effects but the basic internal components are these arrays. You are literally walking through the Matrix of numbers. Instead of reading “You are in a kitchen” today, you will see a kitchen. The computer simply changed the program from writing the description to drawing a picture. It is all the same basic structure.

I’ve built a few of my own and I might create another one just for kicks and post it. Granted it will not be a show stopper, just something to pass the time.

So I leave you here with a link to that very first neat game, a wiki link about it, and if you are more curious, a programming link… enjoy!


Adventure Game

Colossal Cave Adventure Wiki

Programming Text Adventures in BASIC


Written by Josecito

August 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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