原作者：David L. Craddock 譯者：Willow Wu
下文選自Schiffer Publishing出版的Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution，你可以在亞馬遜上購買這本書。本書收錄了業內頂尖遊戲開發者們的訪談內容，通過閱讀你可以瞭解到超過12個里程碑式PC遊戲的製作過程以及這些遊戲給後繼者帶來了哪些影響。
Richard Garriott曾以爲跟他年紀差不多的孩子他們的父母都是宇航員。對他來講也確實是不足爲奇。“直到我去德克薩斯大學我纔看到人們現在說的‘芝麻街居民（the Sesame Street people），’”他說。
雖然他1961年出生在英國劍橋，但他是在德克薩斯州休斯頓長大的。他所在的社區實際上是隸屬於美國國家航空航天局（NASA）休斯頓基地的約翰遜航空中心。他的鄰居大部分都是NASA的宇航員、承包商和工程師。比如Joe Engle，他是航天飛機項目（載人飛船發射活動）最早加入的宇航員之一。還有Robert Gibson，他的朋友稱他爲Hoot，執行過STS-27任務，這個宇航員小隊在4天多的時間內就環繞地球68圈。
他認識的所有航天工作人員中，最受人尊敬的就是他的父親。1973年，經過NASA嚴格篩選，Owen Garriott加入了美國天空實驗室項目的第二次載人任務：天空實驗室3號（Skylab 3），這是美國建立的第一個宇宙空間站。他離開了60天。安全着陸後，他的妻子Helen和四個孩子一直依靠收聽squawk boxes（連接單向內部通信系統的揚聲器設備）來關注他在太空的情況。通過這個設備，Helen和孩子們能夠聽到從外太空發回的消息。“我們甚至時刻關注着政府發出的簡報，這樣當我們聽到宇宙空間站出現故障的時候纔不會驚慌失措，” Richard回憶說。
兩個月之後，Garriott進入了Clear Creek High School成爲二年級生，他還得知了一個好消息：這個學校有臺電傳打字機，但是不像古恩高中那樣有連接到另一臺設備。一整個夏天他都把時間花在編程和角色扮演遊戲上，現在他有了新的目標。Garriott追求的並不是成績拔尖，他的大多數課程狀態都是沒有掛科的，但是成績並不怎麼樣，都是B或者是C。但是跟科學有關的活動是個例外。科學競賽他從未缺席，從幼兒園開始到高中畢業一直如此，而且他的參賽作品每次都能讓評審讚歎不已。隨着年紀的增長，參加的比賽規模也越來越大，從街區、地區、洲級、乃至世界級別的比賽，越來越多人見識到了他的才能。
“我本來打算用筆記本來寫遊戲。那些標着DND1, DND2, DND3等等的筆記本到現在我還留着，”他說，“在‘我寫代碼的方式肯定是哪裏出了大問題。我以爲我能解決某個大問題，結果卻是讓我發現了另一些問題，重頭再來吧。’這種情況出現之前，我通常已經寫了10頁、20頁的代碼。”
接觸Apple II的機會並不多，這就讓Garriott犯難了。他在學校用過，在ComputerLand也用過，但他真正想要、真正需要的是一臺屬於自己的Apple II。他跟他爸說說起了這個話題，列出了在終端、Apple II上成功實現的各種東西，Owen靜靜地聽着。當Richard說到他最新版本的DND已經有了1500行代碼，他的父親微微睜大了眼睛。據他所知，這比市面上最暢銷的軟件還多。當Richard說完了這番“自我推銷”，Owen消化了這些信息，然後給出了他的回答。
Owen接受了這個挑戰，還給他兒子留了一些餘地。如果Richard能夠讓最新優化版本的遊戲運行起來，並且運行過程中不需要過多調試，那麼Owen就會跟他一同分擔Apple II的費用。結果Richard成功完成任務，Owen也沒有食言。Richard用自己的積蓄和他爸爸的贊助買了一臺Apple IIe，這是該系列最新、配置最好的產品。“首個REM語句產物就是DND28b，”Richard說,REM(remark的縮寫) 語句在BASIC語言中起着註釋的作用,人們閱讀代碼的時候可以看到,但是計算機會忽略。
每個像素必須非常精確地放到Garriott想到的位置上。有很多連接在一起的線條，比如說牆壁和天花板的線條，它們的連接點要設定在哪裏，這些都要計算、畫出來。“Steve Wozniak創造了硬件，”他說，“如果你是硬件製造商，你的目標就是最大限度地壓低製造成本，增加編程難度。雖然我做了一些比較明智的工作準備，能夠熟練操作硬件，但是我還是得說用Apple II畫圖實在是太難了。”
An excerpt from a new book on the Apple II
The following excerpt comes from Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution, available on Amazon from Schiffer Publishing. The book chronicles the making of more than a dozen groundbreaking PC games, featuring interviews with their developers and details how those games went on influence many others that followed.
Richard Garriott took it as a matter of fact that every kid his age had parents who flew to outer space. To him, that was normal. “It wasn’t until I went to school at University of Texas that I ran into what I now describe as ‘the Sesame Street people,’” he says.
“I never specifically thought of people who watched Sesame Street as a cross section of my neighborhood until I moved out of the neighborhood I grew up in and came here to Austin and realized, ‘Oh, wait. My NASA upbringing was the fantasy; the Sesame Street fantasy is, in fact, reality.’ It was quite a culture shock.”
Although born in Cambridge, England in 1961, Garriott spent most of his formative years in Houston, Texas. His neighborhood was practically an extension of Johnson Space Center, the Houston-based outpost of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Most of his neighbors were astronauts, contractors and engineers at NASA. There was Joe Engle, one of the first astronauts to join the Space Shuttle program, a manned-vehicle launch initiative; and Robert Gibson, better known to his friends as Hoot, who went on to join STS-27, a team of astronauts who orbited the earth 68 times in just over four days.
Of all the spacefarers he rubbed elbows with, none awed Garriott more than his father. In 1973, NASA handpicked Owen to join Skylab 3, the second manned mission to Skylab, America’s first space station. He was gone for 60 days. Back on terra firma, his wife, Helen, and their four children kept tabs on him by listening to squawk boxes, speakers connected to a one-way intercom system. Through the boxes, Helen and the kids were able to listen in on communications beamed down from outer space. “We even had to get government briefings so we weren’t shocked when we heard about malfunctions,” Richard recalls.
Other kitchen tables were littered with bills, magazines, and schoolbooks. In Garriott’s household, space artifacts and hardware cluttered living spaces. “While growing up, there were things that, in retrospect, were truly amazing. But at the time, it not only seemed normal for our family, but for most families in the neighborhood.”
Helen Garriott was more than capable of holding the fort while her husband worked long hours on earth or elsewhere. When her kids needed help bringing one of their projects to fruition — such as building a treehouse or erecting Native-American-style teepees — Helen rolled up her sleeves. Among her many talents, Helen was a professional artist, and a Jane of artistic trades. Every summer, she taught Richard a new form of art: painting one year, pottery the next, going so far as to guide him in assembling fountains and showing him the ins and outs of silversmithing.
Since age 11, he has worn a silver snake pendant around his neck — his prized possession from that summer’s hands-on lessons. “It is permanently attached because, since it was the first thing I ever made, I didn’t know how to make a clasp,” he says. “A clasp is actually a fairly advanced item. I’ve still never made one.”
Shortly before Richard entered high school, NASA issued Owen new marching orders. Owen had taught electrical engineering at Stanford University prior to answering NASA’s call for scientists in the 1960s; now his employer wanted him to return for a one-year fellowship. The family packed up and relocated to Palo Alto, Calif., a metropolis located near the school.
Enrolling in Gunn High School for his freshman year, Garriott discovered that many of the students were the progeny of Stanford faculty. As such, the school had the benefit of sampling hardware not yet available to the world at large. Gunn High’s propensity for inheriting cutting-edge tech through its connections made its single teletype, remotely connected to a CDC Cyber mainframe stashed somewhere offsite, stick out like a sore thumb.
“I’m hard pressed to remember if they were used very often,” Garriott says. “It was used in a language class: if you took a foreign language, some of the testing was done on this teletype, I think. But for me, it was instantaneously a magical machine. Even at that time, there weren’t really programming classes for those machines, but it was easy for me to set up after-school or between-classes time to sit down and code them on my own.”
At the end of the school year, the senior Garriott’s fellowship came to an end, and the family returned to Houston. Garriott faced a summer of boredom. He’d just started feeling comfortable sitting at the terminal, only to be forced to join a high school that might not have one. Owen and Helen picked up on their son’s interest and enrolled him in a seven-week computer camp held at University of Oklahoma, their alma mater, in 1974. “That was my first live-away-from-home event,” he says. Nervous on his first day, Garriott busied himself unpacking. A knock sounded at his door. When he answered, a pack of kids greeted him by saying, “Hi.” He responded with a more formal “Hello.” Laughing, the boys declared that he sounded British. From that day forward, that’s precisely what they called him: British.
“Now, as it turns out, I was in fact born in Cambridge, England, and I carry a British passport,” Garriott says. “So I am, in fact, British. But I only lived there for one or two months, so I had no British accent. But having grown up in Houston near NASA, all of my neighbors were people brought in from foreign countries all over the world, so none of us had the local southern accent. My non-southern accent sounded to true southerners like a British accent. That’s why they used the nickname, but the reality behind the nickname is why the nickname stuck.”
Garriott and his cadre of friends learned about more than computers that summer. Like many teens growing up in the mid to late 1970s, they got sucked into the swashbuckling world of TSR’s Dungeons & Dragons. “Lord British became my character in D&D games,” he says. “We were gaming all night and learning about computers and math by day.”
Garriott rounded out his education with private sessions in romance. “That summer was formative in oh-so-many other ways,” he says. “It was also the first time I lived away from home, and the first time I was in a dorm that was co-ed. You can use your imagination as to what things might have occurred in a co-ed, seven-week program with a bunch of high school students living independently from their parents.”
Two months later, Garriott set foot in Clear Creek High School as a sophomore and got some good news. The school had a single teletype. A summer spent programming and roleplaying filled him with renewed purpose. Readily copping to an average academic career, Garriott survived more than thrived in most classes, pulling in Bs and Cs. Science fairs were an exception. Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through graduation, he showed up to competitions with projects that dazzled judges. As he grew older, he went on to compete in district, regional, state, and international fairs, making even bigger splashes.
Entering Clear Creek’s administration office, Garriott made a request and cited his proven ability to self-govern projects as incentive for them to agree.” When I got back to Houston, I told the faculty, ‘I want to continue working on this machine. There is no curriculum [for computer programming]. What I would like is your permission to, instead of taking a foreign language, please consider BASIC my foreign language.’”
The faculty gave him its blessing. Over his junior and senior years, Garriott and a few other students with permission to tailor their curriculum to their strengths embarked on self-guided journeys. At last, Garriott had found the perfect outlet for his interests in fantasy adventures and computers. “That was the moment where teaching myself about computers switched from a fascination with the machine itself to specifically trying to implement games on computers. Just before that, my sister-in-law had given me a copy of The Lord of the Rings to read. I was playing Dungeons & Dragons. I was beginning to master this unusual teletype, which was the same I used during the summer at OU. So off I went to start making games.”
For the final three years of his high school career, Garriott embarked on a self-guided foray into the world of game programming. “As long as I showed them at the end of the semester what I’d told them I’d do at the beginning of the semester, they said, “Sounds good. Here’s your ‘A.’” That’s what I did. I taught myself.”
DUNGEONS ‘N’ DRAGONS
Garriott had no choice but to fill the roles of master and pupil in his self-taught programming class. No teacher knew how to use the teletype beyond turning it on and loading programs. To round out what he’d learned at camp, he hit up newsstands for magazines like Byte! and Creative Computing and pored over their code listings. Each one contained a nugget of information he was able to roll into his growing bag of tricks, like algorithms for sorting data according to specific parameters.
Even though the listings were prone to typos, debugging them became another form of learning. “When you typed it into the computer you happened to be using, some of the commands wouldn’t work right, or maybe they’d made a typo,” he says. “You’d have to debug it on your own and therefore figure it out on your own.”
Starting day and date with his first self-taught class, Garriott kicked off the design of DND1, his first roleplaying game. Inspired by D&D, DND1 was a straight dungeon-crawl: enter a dungeon, fight monsters, loot treasure. Teletypes were incapable of printing images, so he used text characters in place of graphics: asterisks for walls, blank spaces for floor tiles, dollar signs for treasures, and capital letters to represent monsters, like ‘A’ for a giant ant.
DND1 proceeded by taking input from players and printing results on a paper roll. A tiny icon representing players was printed to the center of a grid signifying the dungeon. At the prompt, “What would you like to do next?,” players could move in the four cardinal directions, attack, or browse their inventory. “As soon as you input your command, the printer would re-print that top-down, 10-by-10 little grid,” Garriott says. “It took maybe 10 seconds to make each move.”
Time needed to refresh and print dungeon layouts was a critical reason players had to wait so long between moves. The teletypes dialed into a minicomputer located off-campus, and because minicomputers allowed multiple terminals to connect at once, each had to wait for the machine to process its commands and send back new data. The process was so slow that Garriott found himself turning to a more primitive yet faster method of coding.
“I would write [games] in notebooks. I still own all of these notebooks marked DND1, DND2, DND3, and so on,” he says. “Often I would only write 10 or 20 pages of the program out before thinking, ‘There’s something fundamentally wrong about the approach I’ve taken to writing this one. I thought I was going to solve some big problem, but it just led me to other problems, so I’ll start over.’”
Entering his senior year, Garriott purchased a new notebook and wrote “DND28” on the front. Around the time he applied finishing touches, he got an opportunity to make the jump to a new computer. “I happened to be in the office of the president of the school, and there was an Apple II. I said, ‘What’s that?’ He explained that it was a new computer that had just come out.”
Smitten, Garriott asked for permission to use the computer, and got it. His one-hour language class was moved to the office, where he set about writing DND28 in AppleSoft BASIC. Floppy drives were rare and valuable commodities, so he saved code on cassette tapes.
Garriott graduated that summer and picked up a job at ComputerLand, a chain of retail stores that specialized in the newfangled PC market. When he wasn’t educating customers about the merits of owning a PC, he commandeered a free Apple II and pecked away at DND28.
Limited access to an Apple II compounded Garriott’s difficulties. He used one at school and another during free time at ComputerLand. What he really wanted, what he really needed, was an Apple II of his own. He broached the subject with his father. Owen listened as his son outlined what he’d managed to accomplish on terminals and on the Apple II. His eyes widened slightly when Richard shared that his most recent version of DND came to 1,500 lines of code. That was more than most commercial software, based on what he knew of computers. When Richard finished his pitch, Owen processed the information and gave his answer.
“My dad said, ‘Richard, you know, you’re undertaking a monumental feat,” he says. “I’m not sure you’re going to be able to pull off something this big.’ I was like, ‘Oh! How dare you underestimate me! Not only will I pull this off, but I bet you this program will work right out of the gate!’”
Owen rose to the challenge, giving his son some wiggle room. If Richard could get a new-and-improved version of his game up and running with minimal debugging, Owen would split the cost of an Apple II with him. Richard pulled it off, and Owen stayed true to his word. Saving up paychecks, Richard pooled his money with his dad’s share and bought an Apple IIe, the latest and greatest in the family line. “The first remark statement is DND28b,” says Richard, explaining that a REM (short for remark) statement in BASIC is a comment meant for humans reading the code and ignored by the computer.
“That became Akalabeth,” he says. “So there’s a direct lineage from DND1 through to Akalabeth, through the rest of the Ultimas. There’s a direct lineage through all of my work starting in the 1970s.”
The game evolved far past its original form, trading text characters for color graphics, and a new way to maximize immersion. “I took DND28, and I decided to change the top-down, text-based graphics into perspective-view, looking down the corridor,” he says. “That became DND28b. DND28b is literally Akalabeth, which is, in my mind, Ultima 0.”
Garriott planned to assemble dungeons from line-based graphics. Walls, floors and doors would appear as single-colored outlines, as would enemies. Constructing architecture and characters from wireframes took more forethought than merely plotting X-Y coordinates to form ceilings and floors. He wanted to create a realistic perspective based on distance: A door right next to the player’s position should appear larger than a door farther down the hall. With concepts such as sine and cosine still fresh in his mind from high school, he mulled over the problem and sketched out the trig functions to get the job done.
Garriott plotted out every image on graph paper so he knew precisely where to map the image in his Apple II’s memory. Richard Garriott
To double-check his work, he consulted his favorite artist. “The first thing I did was sit down with my mother and say, ‘Mom, if I want to draw a dungeon that you’re in, how would you draw that on a canvas?’ And my mother showed me the geometry techniques that she used.” Helen drew a line on a piece of paper and asked Richard to imagine it as the horizon. Then she drew a series of vertical lines meant to represent telephone poles — although Garriott’s game-designer brain interpreted them as doors lining a corridor — and showed him the math he could use to calculate the precise distance between each “pole” and render them realistically on the screen.
Helen’s geometry matched the results he had reached using trigonometry. To make absolutely certain he was correct, Richard went to Owen. “He used calculus,” Richard says. “He took the same piece of art that my mother did and used calculus to come up with a set of equations that ultimately arrived at the same results I had. Therefore, I had confidence in my trigonometry. With those equations, I had to go hand-calculate and hand-place pixels on the screen.”
Every pixel had to be plotted on the screen precisely where he wanted it. Sets of interconnecting lines, such as points where walls and ceilings touched, had to be calculated and drawn. “Steve Wozniak created that hardware,” he says. “If you’re the hardware maker, your goal is to minimize the cost of the hardware, not make it easier to program. While I did some very clever things that made the hardware practical, [drawing] graphics using an Apple II was monstrously difficult.”（source：polygon ）