Beta testers needed for 8-bit retro parser game (BBC micro)

Beta testers required for a new retro game written with Gilsoft’s Quill and using classic a two-word parser. The game is in two parts and set on board a ship. It’s text only and programmed on the BBC micro, so access to a BBC micro emulator such as B2 or BeebEm is required.
I’m looking for feedback to report bugs, spelling/typo/grammar problems and some general feedback on things that work well/don’t work well. No specific timelines/deadlines.
There’s a help/instruction document plus I can provide a walk through and map if needed.


I’m interested. I would have to set up a BBC micro emulator but that’s probably doable. I would need all of the helps.

Sounds fun.


I would like to give it a try, although I would also need to find a suitable emulator.

Which models of the BBC Micro should the game run on? Would it also work on the Electron?


I’ve had a nose at the game’s itch page. Always nice to see a new Quilled game for the BBC. I think we’ve only had a couple in the last thirty years! Mind you, the total catalogue of Quilled games for the BBC is only around thirty or so.

Nice also to see you back writing text adventures, Tony! I must’ve played a fair few of your Amstrad games back in the 90s. (Albeit probably through Phillip’s ports to the Spectrum).

(I see from your itch page, that you plan on porting to the Spectrum/Amstrad eventually. It may be that you’ll find using the PAW (through inpaws) or DAAD (through DAADready) a good option for that. BBC Quill doesn’t exactly match with the other Quills anyway, so would need some tweaking no matter what you do.)


Thanks for the interest! I’m gathering some last bits together and preparing a download link with instructions (including loading BBC games) and files etc. I’ll send all of you a pm with the details.


Thanks for the kind words @8bitAG - it’s nice to hear you can remember my old games!
I’m aware of some of the differences between the Beeb Quill and others, so am prepared for a bit of hands on conversion work there. I think the Speccy and Amstrad versions are similar though? I’d be interested to know how Philip actually ported from CPC to Speccy on the old games.
I’ve heard of DAAD (in fact had a short conversation with Tiim Gilberts about it a couple of years ago) but never looked at it in detail. If the learning curve isn’t too steep I may consider it for platform conversions.

1 Like

In those days Philip Reynolds and Tony Collins were printing out the Amstrad Quill databases and then retyping them on the Spectrum (or vice-versa). Quilled games could easily be translated between Spectrum, CPC and C64. As could GACed games.

PAWed games were trickier as that only existed for Spectrum and CP/M. PAW was the favoured tool on the Spectrum at that time, so most ports only existed for disk-based Amstrad CPCs. Although there were some that got ported to the CPC using either GAC or ADLAN so they could be played on tape.

DAAD is a pretty big step up from the Quill; but shares a lot of the CondActs. PAWs is a nice stepping stone between the Quill and DAAD. When you know what you’re doing you can translate a PAW source file to DAAD.

One of the advantages of using PAW or DAAD over the Quill would be that you could work in a text source file on your computer, rather than edit the database directly using the Quill program on an emulator or real machine.

I keep meaning to go back and fix/complete this document at some point, but this lays out some of the differences between all the different versions of The Quill (including the BBC one). I know you’re on Stardot and there’s a good post there about the differences in the BBC version from the standard versions too.

1 Like

Thanks @8bitAG Strident yes I’ve stumbled across that Quill document before - I will be going over it in detail once I’ve completed the Beeb/Electron version. Actually I’ve been lurking around your website for some time - lots of lovely stuff to read, including an interview with one of my old friends Edmund Spicer. He was prolific at the time, submitting what seemed like a game a week to Data PD library.
I’ve also been having a nose at your game Pesky Kids to see how DAAD games look on the web, pretty nice (and fun to play!)

1 Like

It was nice to talk to Edmund. He was so young when he was writing those games that I think he’s forgotten he wrote most of them. The Amstrad CPC scene was great in the late 1980s and early 1990s for text adventures, but sadly the catalogues of PD companies like Debbie’s Adventure PD (and presumably yours too) are very poorly preserved. So many lost adventures. Quite a few Amstrad games only survive in their Spectrum versions; as that scene is a lot better documented.

1 Like

The late 80s and early 90s were fun on the Amstrad scene. I sold my library discs when I closed the library but only I had the forethought at the time to keep them. I seem to remember only getting about £30 for the whole library too! By the way I’ve just read your interview in Amtix, great read! Such a shame the magazine is coming to an end, I’m not sure where I’m going to get my Amstrad fix from now.