Blast from the Past

The game Marble Maze Construction Set, in its current incarnation, is fairly old in software terms. I started the project about 6 years ago. It should be further along than it is but there were various distractions of one kind or another that kept me from gaining a lot of ground. But this game has always been a labor of love. And for over half of my life (ever since I beat Marble Madness on the NES) I have wanted to make this game in one form or another.

But what was the original incarnation like 17 years ago? Well, I was able to get my father to power up an ancient computer he had lying around, install a dusty ZIP drive, dig out all the ZIP backup tapes from storage, and proceed to retrieve my old work folders saved during the early 1990s. Yes folks, he is the man!

With the power of DOSBox, an old copy of VB for DOS 1.0, and a little luck, I was able to run the old code from nearly two decades ago.

Title screen was fairly utilitarian, although it had my name in my favorite color!

Title screen was fairly utilitarian, although it had my name in my favorite color!

The original game (called Marble Maze Construction Kit) was mostly a 10x10x10 block editor. My plan was to mirror what Shoot Em Up Construction Kit did, and allow the player to make small chunks of the level, then stitch them together in another editor. The only part I had really worked on was this block editor. That is as far as I got. No marbles rolling around, no collision, no level to preview… these were all above my ability at the time. Needless to say, the project never went any further. It stopped at a paltry 28k sized .BAS file.

The block editor, in glorious EGA colors.  Note the lack of finished menus to the right.

The block editor, in glorious EGA colors. Note the lack of finished menus to the right.

Even ending so short, with barely any functionality at all, it still wasn’t without its uses.   I have a copy of a very early version, riddled with GOTO statements and all sorts of tomfoolery.  But I also have a copy of the latest version which used GOSUB and CALL SUB commands, with more reusable code.  A marked improvement in coding style can be seen, despite the end result being less than satisfactory. 🙂

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