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Lunatix: The Insanity Circle

QuickBASIC (MS-DOS) -- 1999

[Screenshot #1] [Screenshot #2] [Screenshot #3] [Screenshot #4]
Graphical Title Screen Graphical Screenshot Text-Only Title Screen Text-Only Screenshot

     Prior to writing Trading Punches for the 2004 Interactive Fiction competition, I wrote a single-player adventure game based on my Lunatix BBS and Lunatix Online games, for the 1999 Comp. You can download the .ZIP file containing Lunatix: The Insanity Circle here. Of 37 entries, L:TIC placed 12th (all things considered, that's a great showing). This is an MSDOS-based game, using a "custom" parsing engine. It was a far cry from Hugo, TADS, and Inform, but it was an achievement for me in DOS QuickBASIC development:

          > Graphical windowing system
          > Mouse and SoundBlaster support
          > QB Graphics converted from GIF
          > Custom 256-color palettes
          > Fade-in and fade-out effects
          > An option for all-text mode
          > Nine-slot saving, plus UNDO

     Is it worth playing, now? Maybe. Maybe not. The game was criticized for what it lacked in parsing power -- and rightfully so -- although it had its fans as well. Because it was a stand-alone game (no other installation required), it found a home on C/Net's download.com for several years. It was also an AOL Download of the Day, and it remains listed on several other game download sites (including GameHippo.com, UGO.com, DOSGames.com, and others). It was nominated for four XYZZY Awards (which surprised a lot of people, including me). More information and an alternate download can be found at Baf's Guide here. The complete solution and walkthrough as a .txt file is available here and at GameFAQS.com.

     The game should run on any DOS or Windows platform, although it doesn't seem to load in some situations. The game was written on a machine running Windows '98 with a 233MHz Pentium processor, and it worked fine. It also runs without a problem now on my 2Ghz Dell laptop (Windows XP Pro). However, a Windows '98 machine running a 1.2Ghz AMD Duron processor can't run the game. All I have to do is start it with the /M switch (disable mouse support) and it works, even on the AMD computer. I had an HP Pavilion that wouldn't run the game with graphics enabled, but by using /T (text only), it ran fine. Another useful switch is /Q (quiet mode - no sound). Section 5 of the readme.txt explains other parameters you may use, to turn on key-click sounds, display all text in uppercase, or play in black-and-white all-text mode.

     Perhaps the most impressive thing about the game (and it still stands out as a personal achievement) is that it was written in just 30 days, during the month of September, in 1999. For what went into it, I'm amazed that it was even possible in such a short time. It still remains one of my favorite projects. In September 2005, L:TIC was reviewed in QB Express #14.

     After some deliberation, I have posted the complete source code to The Insanity Circle as a free download here. If you're going to do anything other than view/study and/or play it, please notify me. See the "source.txt" file for additional information. QuickBASIC 4.5 is necessary if you plan to re-compile it. I still retain the copyright and full rights to the game -- in other words, no putting your name on it and making it your own, and no changing it around and calling it a new game. The game itself (no source) is available below.

     Download Lunatix: The Insanity Circle  HERE.