Anyone know anything about "F" (lost adventure game language from the University of Waterloo)?

So, this is a huge long shot, but… I was wondering if anyone knew anything about a lost adventure game language from the University of Waterloo called F?

It’s mentioned in a page on mainframe adventures on the Adventureland site, and Jason Dyer mentioned it briefly on Renga in Blue and got some comments by someone who played them at the University of Waterloo and transcribed some files that he initially thought might have some information on F, but then concluded were probably just part of a C port of Adventure.

And as far as I can tell, that’s all the information available about it… but I hope I’m wrong.

I found the contact information for the creator of F and a co-writer of an F game and e-mailed them, but (perhaps unsurprisingly) have not received any replies.

So, like I said, this is a long shot, but… might anyone here know anything further about this language?

As I said in another post (which originally included this question at the end, but I was advised to make a separate post about it), I do have a reason for asking about this; I’m starting a blog about game creation systems (well, not right away, but it should be launching some time in the next year—I’m trying to get some prep work done first). My intent is to go chronologically covering the various game creation systems and engines that have existed over the years, and trying if possible to make a game with each one. (I’m not sure how far I’ll ultimately get, but at least up through the 80s there are few enough such systems that a comprehensive approach may be doable.) F is one of the earliest such systems on my chronological list (it dates from 1979; the list includes three systems from 1978 and one from 1974), but I’ve been able to find out nothing about it beyond what’s in the links above. If I can’t find anything else by the time I get to it, I’ll just make a brief post commenting on its existence and what little is known about it and move on, but what would be ideal (though admittedly unlikely) is if I could find out enough about to actually try to write a game in F, as I’m already planning on doing in some other very early languages like Wander and TSAL… So anyway, like I said, I know this is a huge long shot, but if anyone here might know anything more about F, or might have any idea how I could find out more about it, I’d definitely appreciate it. Thanks.

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That sounds like a fun project… although you may have underestimated the number of systems that were out there in the 1980s. :smiley:

Well, I have my chronological list online as a Google Sheet; if you know of any I missed, I’d definitely like to know about them. (The list is very incomplete for more recent years—in particular, I have almost nothing listed post-2017, even though I know there are plenty of systems that would fit the bill; I haven’t really made a concerted effort to look for them because the chances of my ever getting that far with my blog anyway are negligible. But I have made a concerted effort to hunt down any pre-2000 systems, so if I missed any (which I’m sure I have) I definitely want to know about it.)

Keep in mind when I say “game creation systems” I mean either systems that were sold or freely released to consumers for them to make their own games (e.g. Inform, Adventure Construction Set) or were used with minimal modifications for multiple games (e.g. ZIL, the engine behind the first three Wizardry games). One-shot games that used a unique system are outside my topic.

Even so, that leaves a couple of hundred systems in the 80s. When I say that a comprehensive approach may be doable, I don’t mean it’s something I’m going to finish overnight; I expect this to be a years-long project.

Oh, even if you never finish then it will still be a really interesting project to follow, just as Jason’s All the Adventures is… I’m pretty sure our British text adventures from the late 1980s will kill him off before he even reaches his own first game. :slight_smile:

It might be worth you checking with our list of systems here :: CASA :: Browse Games - Systems which runs to about 140 odd.

I imagine that you’ve got most of them, but I did spot a few notable omissions of systems that I’ve used myself such as DAAD, Tom Frost’s ABS, Trevor Toms, etc.

The scope of your project seems extremely broad… even just concentrating on text adventure systems alone would be a big undertaking, but you’re throwing a much wider net… covering RPGs and the like… I guess that will make the process a lot more varied and perhaps more interesting for you.

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Hm… I consulted a lot of different resources to compile that list, but that list of systems is one I didn’t see, and you’re right; there do seem to be a few there I’m missing. Thanks. (The list is still definitely a work in progress.)

Yeah, I know it’s a broad scope, but, well, I’ll see how far I get. I enjoy CRPGs as well as text adventures, so I’m actually looking forward to getting to some of those. (Not as big a fan of shoot-'em-ups and the like, but there aren’t actually as many creation systems for those anyway. And honestly, a lot of items on the list are level editors I won’t be spending a lot of time on; I figure many of those will only warrant a brief post each.)

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MUDDL and MUDDLE are on your list, but at a quick glance I didn’t see any other MUD languages there. I’m not familiar with the various types myself, though I used to know LPC, the programming language of LPMUD.

Thanks for the reminder… I had intended at one point to delve into the MUD languages and add others to my list, but I forgot about it; I’ll add that to my to-do list.

It looks like one of the authors of Martian Adventure was Brad Templeton, most likely this Brad Templeton: Brad Templeton's Home Page

He might be able to give you some idea of the language.

Yup, already tried that.

He’s the “co-writer of an F game” I was referring to.

Haven’t received any reply either from him or from Mark Niemiec (the creator of F, whom I also e-mailed)… it’s possible they’re busy or backlogged on their e-mail and may yet respond, but it’s also possible they’re just not interested in discussing a system they worked on more than forty years ago. (Or that the contact information I found for them is out of date, I guess.)

Update, in case anyone’s interested: I did get a reply from Mark Niemiec, the creator of F! He gave me some more information about the system, though I still don’t have a complete description or a full listing of a game written in the language. However, he said he might have more information somewhere, and he’d try to find something when he got home (he was currently on vacation), so there may be more information forthcoming…

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