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Hello Every one

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Joined: 12/02/2011

Hello I'm Donald Foster 47,

In high school, I took a TRS-80 class, which introduced me to computer programming on a TRS-80 Model I. I only learned a few statements and commands, but it was enough to get me interested in programming. I ended up quitting high school that year.

Without having any money to purchase a computer of my own, I used to go to Radio Shack in early to mid 80's to use their TRS-80 Model III to work on my games. Then they introduced TRS-80 Model 4. I would be there from opening to closing time, working on my games. customers would come in and asked me what I was doing. I showed them what I was working on and some of them would leave with a Color Computer under their for their kids. Since you need to have a GED or Diploma, I never got a job there, even though I know more about their computer than them.

I purchased a Commodore 64, only cause I could afford the price, but wanted to purchase a TRS-80 of my own. I eventually bought a TRS-80 MOdel 4P. Some of the games I wrote on the Model 4 was Yahtzee, Overboard, Othello, Tripple Yatzee, Exit, Stay Alive, Memory, Connect 4 and some others, without any hi resolution graphics in BASIC, using the ASCII character set as graphics.

In 1985, I Purchased a Tandy 2000 with the 80186 process, with Hi resolution graphics. I wrote several dozen board games in BASIC including, GO, Pente, Outwit, Foursight, Inside moves, Avanti, Rubic's Magic Strategy Game, Exit, Overboard, Leverage, Can't Stop, Shogi, Chinese Checkers, Chinese Chess, Maneuver, Qubic, Score Four, Strata 5, Domain, Domination, Shogun Vis-a-vis, Tri Trac, Sabotage, Othello, Chase, Crosse, Steppe and many more.

I got married a put my computers in the attic for many years. The house got winterized and I guess between the extreme cold and extreme heat, the computers will no longer bootup. I have a HP Pentium 4 with windows XP. I'm trying to get back into programming. I down loaded the C# and MS XNA Framework. But I'm having trouble understanding Object Oriented Programming. I downloaded Game Maker 8.0 and enjoying learning on it, however trying to make my board games on Game Maker is a challenge but fun to try.

The first game I started making was Yahtzee. I started writing it on the TRS-80 Model III. About half way into making the game The TRS-80 Model 4 came out. The Model III had 64 columns by 16 lines displayed on the screen. The Model 4 used 80 columns by 25 lines, so I started rewriting it for the Model 4. It took me 3 years to write Yahtzee. I had never seen or heard of any computerized board games at that time. I was the first, that I knew of, to start making them. At first I didn't know how to use arrays yet and once I learned, I reduced several if statements into 1 line. I taught myself programming through reading books and trial and error. When I ran across a problem, I had no one to help me figure it out.

After I purchased the Tandy 2000, I started rewriting some of my games on that system. The Tandy 2000 had Hi res graphics, displaying 640x400 pixels on the screen. You could display 8 colors on the screen at 1 time out of a total 16 colors. I was still using letter/number to represent rows and columns to move pieces on the board. Lets say you wanted to move a piece from A1 to C3. When you pressed the "A" key, it did not display on the screen automatically. I did not use INPUT statements for keyboard input. I used "INKEY$" statement. INKEY$ does not wait for a key to be pressed, it only checks once and then goes to next statement. I had to had to check to see if INKEY$="" then keep asking until INKEY$ not equal null. When the player pressed "A", I scanned the entire A row to see if the player had a legal move on that row and recorded all of the columns that had a legal move. The I displayed the "A" on the screen. Same thing with the "1", "C", and "3" then they had to press "ENTER" to complete their move.

When I started to write Inside Moves, the board was not square, but stepped down each corner, like a saw tooth. I had trouble trying to set up rows and columns with letters and number across each side. It took me a little while to figure out how to fix that problem. I created a square like cursor and displayed it on the screen in a starting location, using the arrow key to move it around. Then pressed "ENTER" when at desired location of piece to move. All I had to do was to check only that location for a legal move. Made my programming a lot easier. All of my games written on that computer used that input system after that.

I made some printouts of my games and saved some of the games to diskette as backup, but most of my game were on my external 10 Meg hard drive. I came home from work 1 day and found a gash in the top of my hard drive. I powered up my computer and it would not read that drive. I lived with my wife and 3 teenage step kids. No one claims they they know what happened to it. A now my old computers don't work from being up in a attic several years.

Now I'm trying to rebuild some of my board games on GameMaker that uses sprites, object and actions are event driven. Not how I'm used to making games.

Thanks every one for your time and good luck in making all your projects. Let me know if anyone needs my help. I'm a great teacher, but only on what I know how to do.

Donald Foster

Willi B
Joined: 07/28/2008
Welcome and ouch!

sorry to hear about that... good luck on your designs.

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