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If you're looking for something to play....

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:06 pm
by Bucket Mouse
It'll be a while yet before any games made with NESMaker are ready to play. Fortunately, today I happen to have just completed a game that runs on classic hardware, that you can play from your browser! ... reespirit2

It's an Apple II text adventure, starring the characters of my webcomic Free Spirit, which is based on the obscure 1989 sitcom of the same name.


Back when I was first brainstorming ideas for this series I thought it would be really cool if, one day, the reader clicked on the latest story -- and discovered it wasn't a comic, but an Apple II game. Over the last few years I've been compiling a list of things I wanted to have happen in it, and scouring for interesting tricks I could reverse-engineer. With the impending release of the NESMaker beta I thought "I better get this done soon before I get permanently sidetracked." After a big crunch over the weekend I think it's finally ready.

It will be published to my readers this evening, but I'm revealing it to this board in the morning just to make sure nothing is wrong with it (it's a new game; there is probably something wrong with it). I tested it in all browsers last night and it worked perfectly. I tested it again this morning and Firefox gave me a "Not Found" error message (however the files WERE there and I could load them manually with the 'Load" button on the page). I loaded the page with Firefox on a different computer and there were no problems! Does that make sense to you? Let me know what you run into, even though I probably won't know how to fix it.

I have many behind-the-scenes stories, but only one I can share without spoiling anything. The game has a lot of Easter Eggs, and originally one of them was that if you put Disk 2 into Drive 1, you would get a message telling you it was the wrong disk. I thought of making this a simple message but decided to go for the gusto:


After I used the DOS 3.3 disk (standard with every Apple) to make Disk 2 autoload into that screen, one of the programs on that disk quit working. After two hours of hair-pulling fun trying to figure out what was wrong with the program, I remastered it from an earlier working copy and pasted it onto the disk. Now the program worked again -- but the Sonic screen wouldn't appear. I have no idea what the connection is. That image is still on the disk; you just can't see it directly. I've discovered when you make Apple games, you run into unexplainable quirks like this all the time.

Enjoy the game and if there's anything you particularly like about it, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! Compliments make all this effort worth it!

Re: If you're looking for something to play....

Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:09 pm
by Bucket Mouse

The program used to run this game within a webpage is called Apple2js. It is open source and anyone can use it freely. However, since the instructions aren't exactly clear as to how to get it set up, I'm going to share every step I had to blindly figure out. This will also help me in the event I want to do this again and can't remember how.

The first thing you need to do is download the Apple2js source code from Github:
Oh yeah, you also need your own website to install it on -- that's one detail that's essential.

Second step: if your PC doesn't understand PERL, you'll need to Google and install the language first before you run anything.

Third step: the emulator does not run Apple II images in their native .dsk state! They must be converted. How annoying. The program to do this is included with the source code, and it's a command line program, which means you've got to know what to do with that kind of thing as well.

Bring up the Windows command line by going to your Start menu in the lower right corner and typing in "cmd." On Windows 7 and below there is a specific search engine bar for this. On Windows 10 you just simply type "cmd" while the tiles are visible and it knows what to do.

You must navigate to the specific folder where the conversion program is. (Put your disks in this folder ahead of time.) To navigate on the command line you type "cd" followed by the address you wish to go to. I put the source code folder on the desktop, so for me it's cd C:\Users\Owner\Desktop\apple2js-master\scripts.

Next part is simple...type the following: ((insert name of disk here)).dsk make index

You'll get a ton of gibberish. Scroll up to the top and highlight it all with the mouse, beginning with the first bracket and down to the very end. Now hit Control-C to copy.

Open Notepad and hit Control-V. This is the converted disk data you're looking at, but it needs a couple modifications before it's ready for prime time. It's missing a couple of crucial things at the top. Compare this list with the copy-pasted one and add what isn't there. You don't want anybody attempting to save to the disk, right?

"name": "((name of disc))",
"category": "((name of category))",
"type": "dsk",
"writeProtected": true,
"encoding": "base64",

Now, for reasons I don't understand, scroll to the bottom and observe the very last ] jutting out a couple spaces. Hit "backspace" to bring it all the way to the left. It won't work if this isn't adjusted. I have no idea why.

Go to the apple2js folder, then to json, then to disks. Click on the "index" file. This is what the apple2js program will read when it's looking for a menu of disks to show your audience. Observe how the sample placeholder disk is entered in. Copy-paste this format and modify to add your disks to the menu. Remember the name of the category you put in the disk data.

Now all we need to do is save the converted disk and put it in the "disks" folder you've got open. Save the txt file, then rename the suffix from "txt" to "json." Then just put it in there.

Once everything is uploaded to your server you should now be able to play your Apple Ii game online.

Re: If you're looking for something to play....

Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:43 pm
by Jacotomo
I know this is old, but I wanted to say that this was a very neat game, I hope your readers like it too.