I spent most of the day inside going through about 15,000 files (500mb) of source files for old stuff that I’ve had for years. This is either old BBS doors I wrote, MBBS/WorldGroup modules I created, comp.source.games files I’ve collected and a ton of old MUDs in various stages of disrepair. The exercise was to weed out stuff that I could take and write new BBS doors or new WorldGroup modules out of. Yes, I’m still ranting on the BBS scene and still think it’s a viable platform. I’m just looking to breath some new life into what some may consider a dead art.

One of the neat things that came out of this excerise was trying to put together an ANSI version of curses. Curses is an old UNIX library that would allow you to define windows and draw text all over the screen (terminal mode only, no fancy graphical stuff). It was ported to the PC as PDC (Public Domain Curses) a few years back so you can take any curses program and recompile it to run under Windows now (natively). There’s some work to do if the original program uses other UNIX calls like pipes and forks or something, but most stuff ports pretty cleanly. The problem is that it uses direct screen writes to interface to the Windows console API so there’s a lot of rewrites to do if you want to output the stuff to an online user via a BBS which uses ANSI escape commands. I think I almost have a stripped down ANSI curses ready that will do the same thing as it does in a console window, but now you can write BBS games with it. I’ll put some games together on my test system for trying this out shortly.

Of course everyone just calls me crazy for liking these old text based games. I like blowing up guys in Unreal Tournament as much as the next guy but text games are great to just escape for a few minutes and go off rummaging around in a level of Rogue or NetHack.