Monday, January 12

Debian packaging

A lot of time today with the Debian New Maintainer’s Guide and google for a project that needs some simple packages.

This is one of those things where the simple cases are simple and then it’s easy to get lost in a thicket of overlapping mechanisms and terminology.

Thought for providers of technical HOWTOs:

If you’re describing the cumulative assembly of a file structure, provide a copy (repository, tarball, whatever) of that file structure.

(I should probably take this notion to heart.)

Things to remember:



So I was scrolling through’s newly-shiny MS-DOS archive (with the crazy in-browser DOSBOX emulation), trying to think of what to look for.

I found some old friends:

  • Crystal Caves
  • Commander Keen
  • Heretic — still a pretty solid game and maybe my favorite iteration of the Doom Engine
  • Rise of the Triads — there is absolutely no way that ROTT actually looked as bad as this emulation at the time on baseline hardware, but we’ll let that slide — the graphics may have been better than they show here, but it was the Duke Nukem property of its moment, which is to say ultimately a regressive and not-very-consequential signpost on the way to later developments

And then I got to thinking about the Adventure Game Toolkit, which was this sort of declarative, not-really-programmable interpreter for simple adventure games. The way I remember it, you wrote static descriptions of rooms, objects, and characters. It was a limited system, and the command interpreter was pretty terrible, but it was also a lot more approachable than things like TADS for people who didn’t really know how to program anyway. (Like me at the time.)

I’d like to get AGT running on, just because. It turns out there’s a portable interpreter called AGiliTY, although maybe not one that’s well packaged. I’ll probably explore this more.