Saturday, May 23, 2009

Infinity One : The Secret of the First Disk : History of the Game's Development

Infinity One is a ca. 10 megabyte Minoan adventure role-playing game developed by the author of this blog, Andis Kaulins. The game, requiring the download of only a few DLLs that Microsoft stupidly no longer includes in its standard System32 files, still runs fine on modern Microsoft Windows versions, even on the latest current version, Vista.

The adventure is set in the Labyrinth of King Minos of Crete in the ancient era of Minoan Civilization, ca. 1700 B.C..

Between 1988 and 1994 I wrote the entire source code for the game in my spare hobby time and also created all the graphics and sound, except for some of the human voices used in the game. I also had terrific support from my wife Isa and daughter Cynthia.

The game was originally written by me for the following reasons:
  • Firstly, in the year 1980, I published a book about Minoan Civilization titled The Phaistos Disc: Hieroglyphic Greek with Euclidean Dimensions - The "Lost Proof" of Parallel Lines, in which I presented my alleged decipherment of the previously undeciphered Phaistos Disk. I claimed that the Phaistos Disk (also written "Disc") was written in Ancient Greek language and dealt with the parallel postulate - the 5th postulate - of Euclid. Accordingly, I had a unique adventure plot at my disposal, ready-made through my own academic work.

  • Secondly, in the year 1988, STOS BASIC, a superb programming language for the Atari ST, developed through the software company Jawx by François Lionet and Constantin Sotiropoulos was published by Mandarin Software. Since I at that time had an Atari Mega ST 4 and was interested in learning what software programming was all about in order to better understand the new digital age, I decided to program my own designed computer game using STOS, which then resulted in 1993 in the publication of Infinity One for Atari ST computers.

  • Since manufacture of the never-failing Atari ST was unfortunately discontinued in the early 1990's and since I had had to acquire an often-failing PC in the interim, I then decided to port the Atari game to Microsoft Windows, a graphic interface which was beginning to come into its own as Windows 3.0 (1990) and Windows 3.1 (1992) . In what at that time was itself a great adventure in graphic conversion methodology for which there was no precedent available, I managed to convert the Atari game version to a PC version, using Visual Basic for Windows 3.1 as the programming language for the PC, and the game was even officially certified as "Windows Compatible" by Microsoft. I then published Infinity One for Microsoft Windows on the PC in the year 1994.
The compiled PC program was nearly 10 megabytes (10 MB) including the embedded graphics, which was a gigantic software program in those days. Indeed, the program had to be split up and saved on multiple floppy disks to be able to run properly on most computers. This explains why the program was originally available only in multiple software modules, and why each separate program disk required a new access code, which, except for the starting code in the manual, was only revealed in the course of the game-playing.

Today, of course, playing Infinity One is like driving a Model T Ford. The technology and the graphics are antiquated. Nevertheless, Infinity One is a classic for its early implementation of newly introduced graphic features of Microsoft Windows in a software game environment.

Indeed, Infinity One is the first computer software game ever to incorporate academic results into a role-type game-playing adventure environment.

Infinity One was reviewed by Günter Haupt in Windows Aktuell, April/Mai Ausgabe 4/5, 1995). The text of the review is found in the module "Game Review" on this blog.

Below are some copyright-protected images from the Windows version of the game:

Infinity One Minoan Labyrinth of King Minos of Crete

Infinity One Game Interface

The TimeShip Infinity One

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