Dr. Scott M. Baker

History

Land of Devastation was originally a BBS door game. I keep lousy records, but I believe I started the project some time in 1990 and the final version seemed to be released in mid 1996. A few general properties of LOD and BBS door games in general:

  • Multi-Player, Single-User (MPSU). Although the game was designed for multiple people to be involved, only one person could play at a time. Each person was given a certain amount of time (i.e. an hour) to make their moves and then another person could play. You could fight other players, but only after they had logged off. Hence and offline player’s character had to be played by the computer.
  • Slow Baud Rates. Most BBS systems had a modem at 9600 baud or slower. Near the end of the BBS era, we got as high as 19.2kbaud or even 28.8, but about the time that happened, BBS systems and door games were abandoned in favor of the Internet.
  • Graphical Terminal. LOD was one of the very first games to use a graphical terminal program. Most BBS games used simple ANSI/VT102 terminal emulation consisting of line characters and 16-color text. LOD included a SVGA terminal program that supported 256 colors in a resolution of 800×600. Although LOD had graphics, it was still a a hybrid between a graphical game and a text game.
  • Music. Most BBS door games were stuck with only the simple ASCII BEEP character as their single audio capability. However, LOD had a custom musical score written for it. This required use of the graphical terminal program. Music was composed in the MOD format and supported four simultaneous voices.
  • Memory Limitations. Most BBS programs were run under DOS, which suffered from a 640KB memory limitation. With BBS overhead, drivers, and TSR’s, LOD had to run reliably in about 520KB of memory. The executable code alone which comprised LOD was about 450KB. It had to be overlaid in order to fit.

Some Statistics and other information:

  • There are some 1620 paid registered sysops of the original Land Of Devastation. I promised them registration for life, and yes, they will be granted free registration to the new NETLOD.
  • The final LOD distribution archives exceed 5 megabytes of compressed ZIP files. Quite large for a BBS game.
  • LOD was written in Borland Pascal/Turbo Pascal, a very popular pascal compiler for DOS systems. Although it was great for DOS, it doomed Classic LOD from ever being run in the Unix environment. (NETLOD will be written in C++)
  • Executables for LOD were eventually released for Windows and OS/2 in addition to DOS.

Land of Devastation Contributors:

Many people contributed to LOD over the years, and helped to make it what it is. Some of their names are: (if I’ve forgot your name, please let me know and I’ll add it)

I would like to do a much more extensive contributors section — after all, its these people who’ve made LOD what it was and what it will be. However, I need help in contacting all of the original people — I’d like to get some biographical information, a picture, and link to your personal page.



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