R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

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Strident
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R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

#1 Post by Strident » Fri Jun 18, 2021 4:32 pm

All the R. D. Foord Software games we have in the database were Spectrum graphical games that originally seem to have started their lives as text-only magazine type-ins.

Gravely Manor
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C96 ... Manor.html
was a type-in in The Complete Spectrum (uncredited)

Time Switch/Time Zone/Time Sliders
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C13 ... witch.html
started out as a listing in Your Computer (where it's credited to Colin Carruthers)
(and had at least two slightly different graphical versions made for the Spectrum)

The St. Petersberg Ikon
http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C34 ... C+The.html
was also a type-in from Yore Computer (where it's credited to John Ransley)
[Found a Swedish version of the game in that database too, so that's been linked now]

I'm unsure of their path from type-ins to graphical text adventures... and why R. D. Foord seems to be the one credited (in game) for at least two of them.

Not really even sure of the history or background of R. D. Foord Software.

More digging needed!

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Strident
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Re: R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

#2 Post by Strident » Fri Jun 18, 2021 5:11 pm

Hmm... According to Adventure Coder, R. D. Foord went on to write an ST adventure writing system (in BASIC)
https://archive.org/details/AdventureCo ... 5/mode/2up

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Garry
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Re: R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

#3 Post by Garry » Sat Jun 19, 2021 8:34 am

That is 100% correct. ST Adventure Writing System (or ST_AWS) was written by R D Foord in GFA BASIC 2 and, according to the doco, is based on The Quill. It comes with three sample adventures: Rooms, Demo and Timeswitch. In the opening screen for Timeswitch, it says it is "based on Timeslide by K. Bevan on the 16K ZX-81 in 1984".

Here is what I have found so far.

Time Switch (with a space in the name) was written by Colin Carruthers and published for the Spectrum ZX in Your Computer, vol. 3, no. 8, August 1983, pp. 64–65. The title of the article is 'Time Slider'. The two words are printed in uppercase with the words split between adjoining pages, so it's not certain whether this is meant to be one word or two.

It was ported to the Oric by Lars Lundgren in 1983.

It was ported to the ZX-81 by Kevin Bevan and published as 'Timeslide' (one word) in Sinclair Programs, issue 16, February 1984, pp. 34–37.

It was published for the Spectrum ZX by R. D. Foord Software around 1985. There appears to have been at least three versions: Time Zone, Time Switch version 2 and Time Switch version 3.

It was ported to the BBC/Electron by Jon Ripley in 1989.

It was ported to the TRS-80 MC-10 by Jim Gerrie in 2016.

This may help with your investigations.

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Strident
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Re: R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

#4 Post by Strident » Sat Jun 19, 2021 8:51 am

Thanks, Garry. I'll follow some of those leads up and add the extra ports to the relevant pages.

Seems to be a long running mystery...
https://worldofspectrum.org/forums/discussion/20119/

...that discussion seems to indicate that nobody quite knows much about the "company". Can't seem to find any magazine references but there were a large number of non-text adventure software titles produced.

Where did you find that Atari ST adventure writer reference, by the way? Is there an image of the relevant disk anywhere?

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Re: R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

#5 Post by Strident » Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:04 am

Garry wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 8:34 am
In the opening screen for Timeswitch, it says it is "based on Timeslide by K. Bevan on the 16K ZX-81 in 1984".
Ah, yes, according to The Type Fantastic, the Keith Bevan version (published in Sinclair Programs) was based on Colin Carruther's original.
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~jg27p ... _name8.htm

I wonder if he passed it off as his own work at the time... he was only 14 ;)
https://archive.org/details/sinclair-pr ... 6/page/n33

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Re: R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

#6 Post by Garry » Sat Jun 19, 2021 9:11 am

Yes, I've got the disk image, but I couldn't tell you where I got it. I know that I spent a hell of a lot of time tracking down Atari ST adventures. I must update the entries on CASA one of these days, as the ST coverage is very poor.

The Type Fantastic reference is how I found out which magazine the ZX-81 version was in. I downloaded that issue from the Internet Archive to check it out. I'm not sure if there's a cassette image available anywhere. It's not listed in the CASA database at the moment.

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Re: R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

#7 Post by Strident » Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:29 pm

Given that the ST version of "Time Switch" was credited as being based on the ZX81 game, I wonder if R.D. Foord based his Spectrum versions on the ZX81 game too; rather than the earlier Spectrum-specific type-in!

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Re: R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

#8 Post by Garry » Sun Jun 20, 2021 6:07 am

Who knows. I wasn't aware of a download for the ZX-81 game, so I typed it in yesterday. Now I have to work out how to get it from a text file to a ZX-81 tape file. I should have thought of that before I started.

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Re: R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

#9 Post by Garry » Sun Jun 20, 2021 7:28 am

I need a little help here. I found a tool that allows me to convert a BASIC program from an ASCII text file to a ZX-81 *.p cassette image file and I can play it in a ZX-81 emulator. However, the original listing had some special characters and I can't for the life of me work out what they mean or how to type them in. Can someone help? They look like this in the original listing: "(6*isP)"

Also, how the hell do you edit a line in that crazy computer? I think it's the same as the crazy Spectrum ZX, which I've never been able to work out.

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Re: R. D. Foord... type-in mystery

#10 Post by Strident » Sun Jun 20, 2021 9:13 am

It's only been about forty years since I had a ZX-81.... :)

Yeah, you really do need to have a ZX-81 keymap/keyboard image in front of you when using an emulator... I would imagine any decent emulator will allow you to view one on screen. The keyword system is a very fast way to input BASIC, when you're used to it. Certainly pressing as few keys as possible on the awful ZX-81 keyboard was preferably back then, believe me! :)

zx81keys.PNG
zx81keys.PNG (17.89 KiB) Viewed 423 times
To bring down a line from the listing to edit... first select it, using shift then either 6 or 7 (the up and down cursor keys) to select the line. Then shift and 1 to select EDIT. [Depending on the emulator you're using it's either shift and the key together or shift followed by the key]

Once the line has been brought down to be edited, you can move along it by pressing shift and 5 or 8 (the other two cursor keys).

(In general... Shift allows you to select the red commands on the keyboard... so, for example, shift then 0 is rubout/delete)

The part you're having trouble with is a shorthand code specific to listings in that particular magazine, rather than anything to do with the ZX-81 itself.

See the beginning of the magazine how to interpret anything in square brackets... https://archive.org/details/sinclair-pr ... 1/mode/2up

[6*isp] would mean six inverse spaces.

To get in (and out again) of inverse mode, it's shift and nine (9); graphics mode.

For completeness... the keywords on the bottom of each key is selected by putting the computer into function mode first, i.e. shift and then newline.

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