to my homepage. This
page has evolved over the years to become more simplified and easier to
use. I have on this page several interests of mine, including
programming, personal hobbies (computers, reading, sports, etc.) and
other interests. If you have any questions, please e-mail me at:
u m b e r j a c k s 7 6 @ l y c o s . c o m. For my most current thoughts and happenings, check out my Windows Live space: Paul's Space
My interest in computers goes way back -- back to the 1980's and the
line of home computers. I first became interested in computing in 1983,
when my uncle brought home a Commodore 64. Way ahead of it's time, the
64 had a 320 x 200 resolution display, with 16 colors, 8 individual
sprites and a built-in speech synthesizer providing up to 3 voices. Printing was done with the Panasonic KX-1080i printer. We
had a lot of fun on the Commodore, spending countless hours playing
video games, programming, writing -- and printing -- documents (via a word processor), and even
typing in program listings from Commodore-specific computer magazines
Gazette, Run, Ahoy!, etc.).
(left) The Commodore
Sooner or later, though, we all moved on to the IBM PC-line of
computers. My first IBM PC-clone was a Packard
Bell Legend 10CD
in 1994. It had a 486 processor, 4 MB of RAM, a 340 MB hard disk drive,
a 2X CD-ROM drive, a 2400 baud data/fax modem and a host of multimedia
CDs, including the New
Grolier Encyclopedia and Microsoft
(which incorporated a Microsoft Word-compatible word processor and
The 486 wasn't fast enough to run Windows
but we installed it on the system anyway. It took forever to boot up.
That was okay, though, because we spent most of our time in MS-DOS mode
playing the latest computer games. One of the games I played
religiously was X-Wing,
game taking part in the Star Wars universe. There was also a
reverse-roll version which allowed the player to play as a Tie Fighter
pilot. The graphics were truly amazing for the time and the missions
were well thought out.
(left) Pro Comm Plus.
I also used the 486 to Telnet (via PRO COMM PLUS for Windows) to
various online MUDs -- Multi-User
These were multi-player online adventure games
similar to Dungeons
& Dragons, both in scope and
design. One in
particular was enjoyed for several years -- LustyMUD (and no,
despite the rough sounding name, it was really a family MUD taking
place on two continents, Melchior
My screen name on that game was dunric, which I originally picked up as
a nickname after playing the old NES game The
Will Wright and Electronic Arts (EA).
(left) Playing Lusty MUD (circa 1994).
I discovered USENET newsgroups around that same time and read up on
various game cheats for the Atari and Commodore, including a way to
(finally!) win Raiders
of the Lost Ark.
I had been at that game for over a decade without finding a solution,
and the newsgroup rec.games.video.classic provided one for me
(solution: use the parachute, shovel and medallion, making sure to land
on the tree branch with the parachute). There were also newsgroups
devoted to the Commodore (comp.sys.cbm) and the regular Sony
After the 486 finally gave up the ghost, I upgraded in 1997 to a
Hewlett Packard Pavilion 7360 PC, which had 32 MB of RAM, a 200mhz
Pentium processor with MMX technology, a 3.8 GB hard disk drive, a 33.6
kbs Plug-N-Play modem and a 16X CD-ROM drive. The computer
me well throughout college until I upgraded to an e-Machines i400
with 32MB, a 400mhz processor and Windows
(left) The Microsoft
With the new Hewlett Packard came an opportunity to finally get on the
World Wide Web (WWW), and we did so by signing up for a Microsoft
account. While the host software wasn't the greatest,
the cool "Darth Vader" look of the included MSN 2.0 browser and the
associated "ding" sound whenever a certain amount of time passed online
more than made up for it. Plus, you could also check your email by
merely clicking on a link from the desktop, a handy feature for the
I created homepages at Geocities,
finally settling on Geocities in 1999. I was also heavily involved in
the QBasic programming community during that time, producing games with
tile-based sprite graphics and some text adventures as well (many of my
adventure games can still be found over at the Interactive
(left) Playing Retarded Creatures and Caverns on the ZX Spectrum.
Today I am happy to report that I have since built two computers from
scratch, including a 64-bit processor computer courtesy of Fry's
Electronics. Although I am at present using a borrowed computer from my
parents, I hope to get the 64-bit computer out of storage and insert a
(working) video card. My hard disk drive and CD-ROM are also woefully
out-of-date, and when I get enough money to put towards a brand new
computer, you can bet I'll upgrade the system to something faster and
more elegant. I am also working on getting my system Microsoft
Windows Vista ready (requires at least 1 GB of RAM to run smoothly).
(left) Using GEOS 64.
I have been programming on computers since I learned to type (about
1983 or so). Many of my early programs were quite simple and even
laughable -- but they were indeed building blocks to improved programs
and games later on down the road. One of my earliest programs on the
Commodore was a text adventure named Enchanter:
Westfront to Apse.
'Westfront', as I called it, evolved from a fairly spartan dozen or so
rooms to a mammoth text adventure spanning over 80 rooms. The
game was set in Norway
and included a mythological Smurf
I incorporated several towns and villages into the game, including Oslo,
Trondheim, Stavanger and Bergen. Additionally, I added a Flora Island
just off the coast of Norway (complete with a functional lighthouse for
'Enchanter: Westfront to Apse' (circa 1995).
The game included a sprite title -- WESTFRONT -- as well as a 3-D
fractal map of the surrounding countryside (actually just 8 sprites
joined together). Finally, I added a scrolling, WINDOWed text display
and function keys for easier movement. All in all, the game occupied
206 blocks on disk, leaving approximately 7,000 bytes free (the game
was written for the Commodore 128's 40-column mode). Although I lost
the original version of this game some time ago -- due to the notorious
SAVE-WITH-REPLACE bug -- I rewrote much of it from an earlier version
that I found lying around. The result was a game very similar to the
original version, albeit without some of the original rooms (Smurf
Village was replaced with a 'golden elf' village), commands (a few
misc. commands were removed) and a slightly different fighting engine
(more balanced than the original).
More on the Story of Westfront to Apse - read about my long lost game, 'Westfront'.
Another retrospective piece on Westfront to Apse - more on 'Westfront'.
The Temple of Westfront - my thoughts and remembrances about 'Westfront'.
The Unabridged Story of Westfront (updated December 1, 2007) - link says it all.
(left) Playing Dunric's 8k Adventure on the ZX Spectrum.
In addition to programming, I am also a prolific writer. I enjoy
writing and have even written a couple of books. For now, though, I
will include here some of the more interesting documents that I have
written which have yet to be published. Feel free to download them and
check them out. The documents range from unusual dreams that I have had
to a short story called 'The Golden Cat."
Click to join minibasic
(left) Listing a program with Lixter.
Rabbits of Avalon Hill - my
featured short story about rabbits who have lost their carrots.
Commodore Memories - An article on some of my memories related to the Commodore.
Early Computing Memories
- A nice article on my early computer memories, stemming from 1983 to the mid-1990s.
More Computing Memories
- Another article on my early computer memories, stemming from 1983 to the mid-1990s.
Seven Dreams of Paul
- read about a series of seven unusual dreams that I had once -- all
Story of Westfront to Apse - a
on my first ever game. Brings back a lot of
#54 - a
that I wrote just for fun. Not sure how it would sound if actually
dream that I had, this time involving a snail and a magic carpet ride.
MINI-BASIC by Sylvain Bizoirre - a modern programming language based off of Li-Chen Wang's Palo Alto Tiny BASIC from 1976
Sprite-Topia - my
storyboard for a video game where the 'sprites' need help finding their
The Diskette Experiments - the original (and now infamous) diskette experiments, as conducted by this person from 2003 to 2006.
read about my numerical sequencing method for encoding data.
Loom that also plays music?
- my recent theory on a magical loom in space that can be used to play
Linux will ultimately succeed (originally published in Linux World
An interview with Gustav - all about the Finland programmer who discovered a message from God.
An interview with Gustav, Part II - a second look at Gustav.
Frontiers of Adventure
- a retrospective on the history of adventure games.
Waterlog - my quest for
the perfect balance between drinking too little water and too much.
mystical adventures of Howie, the Golden Cat.
(left) Playing Vampyre Cross.
I have included here several games that I have written, spanning a time
period from 1995 to the present. I am still active in programming, and
have programmed in languages ranging from the Commodore 64's BASIC 2.0
Level Assembly (HLA).
(left) Playing HLA
in Windows XP (circa July 2005). (right) Playing Twilight of the
Valkyries in MS-DOS (circa April 1999).
The 2009 2-4KB Games Competition
PC: The Trials of Guilder
| The Golden
of the Valkyries (demo
of the Valkyries (demo
| Castle Bally (for Just BASIC)
Omega: The Amulet of Vega
| Ghost of the Fireflies
| Dunric's 5K Tiny BASIC adventure
| Dark Forest 1 & 2 (MINI-BASIC)
| Dark Forest 2 (UBASIC)
to Apse 128
| Westfront to Apse 64
| Wizard Castle
(ZX81/Timex Sinclair 1000) | Dragon Castle
Paul's 4K Adventure (Plus/4 version)
| Ryan's Disk
| 8k Adventure
(ZX Spectrum version here: ZX Spectrum 8K Adventure
) Westfront to Apse II
Paul's 4K Adventure
Vampyre Cross 64
| Vampyre Cross +4
(ZX Spectrum version) | 8K Adventure
(ZX-81 version) | Andre's 8K Adventure Port
Ryan's Disk (C64)
Marty Francom's ScreenBuilder v1.0.
Artwork for Dunric's 8K Adventure
I have written a number of articles for Linux and Windows specific
magazines and online publications, including Byte, Dr.
Here are but a sampling of these works below.
(Linux World) Cache Version
is just like RAM...volatile
(Linux World) Cache Version
(Linux World) Cache Version
(BYTE.com) Cache Version
Who Are The Real Victims?
(Dr. Dobb's Journal)
Sports & other
I have always been a huge fan of sports, in particular American
college and professional football and basketball. My favorite sport,
though, is college football. I love the Arizona
State Sun Devils
and have been a HUGE fan of their team since
1980s. Although I graduated from Northern
in Flagstaff, I am at heart a Sun Devil.
For pro sports, I am an avid follower of the Phoenix
Suns of the NBA
(find out who the BEST team in Suns history is by clicking here!
always come THIS CLOSE to winning an NBA Title -- only to fall short.
But that's why I love them...they try so hard and yet don't often
(sort of like me)
When I'm not watching sports, I enjoy reading, writing and
programming. I also like religion, science fiction, history, art and
music. The list goes on and on. Most of my interests have been evolving
time, including a love of computers and art. I also like technology and
how data is stored on CDs and disks.
(left) Playing Dunric's 8k Adventure on the ZX-81.
Here are several links that I have found in my internet travels. The
first link is part of this homepage, as it is my Commodore-specific
website called The
Commodore User II. The rest are pages from
around the web
that I found interesting or otherwise useful.
Commodore User II
- my own website devoted to the classic
8-bit Commodore 64/128 line of personal computers.
- a website reviewing several adventure gaamees
in the J.R.R. Tolkien Lord
of the Rings
Brass Lantern - a
website of interactive fiction enthusiasts, games, reviews and much,
Inn - MULE
- a retrospective website on the greatneess tthat is
the multi-player classic game M.U.L.E.
- another retrospective website of the
Magnetic Scrolls Memorial - a fantastic website
the memory of Magnetic Scrolls, makers of The
--LustyMUD-- Odds and Ends Site - a website from a
LustyMUD player and fan, Artemis.
Dedicated to the preservation of SURGE - speaks for itself. A
website devoted to saving SURGE soda.
Crossroads 2: Pandemonium on the Commodore 64.
That's it for now. I hope to add more useful links in the near future!
images used on this
page were found via Google Image search. If anyone objects to my use of
these images, please e-mail
me and I'll promptly remove them. Thanks!