I’m big into software preservation. I think it’s important to maintain access to things as they were, not as you remember them or as you wish they were — accept them as they were, warts and all, or judge them to overall be wanting and discard them on that basis. This is most relevant in the area of games, where lots of classics are now unplayable and only remasters of various stripes can be had. Whether it’s new graphics or gameplay tweaks, most re-releases don’t fix only the compatibility issues to get things running again — they make changes too. I’m not here to argue whether those changes are better or worse, simply that they make these games different.
Luckily, I still have my original CDs for a selection of classics. While I can’t run some of these original versions on Windows 7 or 10, I still have the media — given a system that could run them, their ancient truths could be unlocked once more.
So I have found a system that can run them. I have built… a new old computer.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when their computer dies unexpectedly. To be honest, I should be glad I’ve lasted twenty-odd years of computing without it ever happening. Every machine I’ve discarded has been because I wanted more power, not because they were from life untimely ripped.
Alas, it happened a few weeks ago to dear old Helios (named for the AI in Deus Ex), about 4 and a half years into his projected 5 to 6 year lifespan. This is the story of his death… and his resurrection.
It was in a rather short space of time that I not only settled upon making a tutorial level for Project Y4, but managed to implement it. After adding twenty-odd triggers and more dialogue than was in the entire rest of the map, the first Project Y4 mini-mission was ready.
It was then that I thought Y4 was pretty much feature complete. Making the tutorial exposed a few problems with the mini-mission framework and I cleaned them up; fair enough. Everything is now ready.
But then I decided that I needed a Deus Ex-style keypad system. With some gentle nudging away from my silly implementation idea in favour of a much better one, a full-screen keypad was quickly completed.
Then I decided that I also needed a full-screen computer interface…