Welcome to Abandoned Places 2 - the restoration package!
What you find here is basically a result of an accident, in December of 1999. I've moved to the countryside and among various things that should have been disposed of years ago, I've found a very interesting package with the label: "Abandoned Places 2 backup"... It was the complete backup of my last game on the Amiga format - or any formats as a matter of fact, if you read on, you'll understand why. It was my baby! I thought I've lost it years ago, but no, it almost seemed the package wanted to be found...
So I decided to make good use of the treasure I encountered. I was longing for the original copies of my games so badly, that I almost bought them at a ridiculous price - thankfully, with a house bought spending your money is not a problem anymore :-)
So to get to the point: I had the right equipment to transfer my games to the PC, and save them from sure oblivion. Not the time, though.
I've moved, painted the house etc., got pretty much a lot of work to do (I work on telecommunication design & development, like custom CallCenters, VoiceMail, VoiceVerification, VoiceBilling, TeleMarketing etc.) so the whole thing was always delayed to a later unknown mystery date... Of course, I might as well transferred the thing and released it to the public, but I wanted more. There were at least two corrupt versions floating around the net for a long time (just like many of the Amiga's or other platform's images), so I decided to make the release something special. However I could never take enough time for that, for various reasons one is real-world work, the other is of course CAPS.
If you don’t know what CAPS is all about I suggest you go and check our website atwww.caps-project.org. You may have an idea by now, that there may be some interesting people involved with CAPS.
This is our Christmas 2001 Special Release; after all it does not happen very often that the original author of a game creates a special package of his game so many years later for the same platform.
If you worked in the Amiga gaming industry in its time or were related to gaming journalism, and want to share your memories, stories, beta, unpublished or published commercial games with the public you are encouraged to get in contact.
What you find here in this package is a slightly modified original version with the copy protection intact, and a brand new recompiled version without the nasty protection bits. Also, this version not only has the English and German in-game text like the version that went to print seven years ago, it also contains a complete French translation...
...And all it comes for free!
II. Being boring...
The system requirements (or to be more precise emulation settings) are as follows:
To play from "disks"
512k+ chip memory
512+ other memory
OCS chipset (ECS should work, AGA should fail)
800*600 hicolor mode
Original A500 speed
To play from "harddisk/hardfile"
All of the above, plus the amount of memory your virtual setup takes. That is at least 1M other memory or more.
The "system friendly" loader requires KS2.0+
To play the installed game you must use the Shell or CLI, CD to the directory where AP2 is installed and enter "AP2". Unlike the disk version you can return back to AmigaDOS from the main menu (the one after selecting the language) by moving the pointer to the upper-left corner of the screen and pressing the left mouse button.
You should find the following files in this package:
Readme.doc (txt, rtf): what you read now
Demo\ap2demo.adf: a coverdisk demo that appeared on various magazines...
Doc\pichi.bmp: a zoomed image for the instructions
Doc\piclo.bmp: low-resolution image for the instructions
Doc\ap2.doc: play instructions in Word format
Doc\ap2.rtf: play instructions in Rtf format
Doc\ap2.txt: play instructions in plain text format
Doc\ap2prot.txt: if you give a try to the copy-protected version, this is what the game asks for...
Doc\sound59.txt: a note I found among the backups describing how to create the sound effects during the game. By Tim Bartlett personally.
Extra\ap2extra.adf: this disk contains a saved game you can use, if you have installed AP2 to a harddrive/hardfile etc. Just copy the file "save_01.dat" to the directory where the installed ap2 resides. Start the game and select continue from the main menu. This (early) save position shows you into a town, and gives a glimpse of the outer world once you leave the town; also you have experience with some advanced (level 2/3) magic. I can't honestly recommend continuing with that party though: since I found this file among backup data, the saved dungeon and other data areas may not be entirely compatible with the final product you are playing.
Game\ap21.adf, ap22.adf, ap23.adf and ap24.adf: the restored AP2 with all the copy protection removed, recompiled and assembled together. DO NOT MIX (including harddisk/hardfile installation) the first two disks of the copy protected and unprotected version - they won't fit well...
Game\ap2hdins.adf: harddisk installation utility for AP2. Should work with ks2.0+, may work with lower versions (I checked under 3.1)
Gameprot\approt21.adf, approt22.adf: the first two disks of the copy protected AP2, recompiled and assembled together. The last two disks are identical with Game\ap23.adf and Game\ap24.adf. DO NOT MIX (including harddisk/hardfile installation) the first two disks of the copy protected and unprotected version - they won't fit well...
Music\ab2v2.mod: the title music in mod format
Music\gamovr1.mod: game over music#1
Music\gamovr2.mod: game over music#2
One of the "game over" music versions did not make into the final product; here is your chance to listen to both.
Music\win.mod: end-sequence music in mod format
We'd like to wish a joyful flashback in time with the release of Abandoned Places 2.
Hopefully, you will enjoy the game just as much, as you did a few years ago, or - in case you missed this one - find it fun now, for the first time.
Please keep in mind, that - since it came as a free product for you - there is absolutely no support of any kind for this game. However, unlike some of today's games, it was released in a time originally, when Internet was not accessible for the majority as a place to download patches, and so it was tested completely ;-)
Note that certain releases of emulators may or may not display the 64 colour screen format used in-game properly, may have trouble with transparency of the colour icons/pointers, or may have difficulties saving to "floppy disk".
Obviously you should be fine playing the game on a real A500.
Make sure, that you use a stable version of your favourite emulator. Whatever happens do not bug emulator authors for their products - they work for you, but they won’t if being harassed.
This program was completely restored from the original source material by István Fábián, therefore it should be identical to the original product.
The nasty copy protection was removed at the source level, so it should not cause problems during the game. Note, that all "cracked" versions had various issues, that were not obvious: like your party dying at the 13th minute of playing continuously; saving bogus and modified character data, if protection was not asked by the program; random crashes; some controls disabled - just to name a few... It took a day even with the sources to get rid off all the creepers hidden deep in the program's core. There is a French translation included with this release that probably missed the deadline when the original went to print.
It is absolutely not necessary, but if you find this product enjoyable please contact the authors at the address written at the end of this documentation. Remember, we have never ever received the royalties or other payments due for this game - or as a matter of fact, for Abandoned Places 1 (Amiga/PC: it was sold on German CD’s even in 1997, five years after the publisher breached the contract!!!), Piracy on the High Seas (Amiga) -, so some kind of support - even just saying Thank You - is most welcome...
You may as well send some gifts, a little donation or anything.
You may consider contributing to CAPS as well.
Unlike popular belief, many game designer teams have quit the industry a long while ago, because they were ripped off by their publisher, not because they'd become stinking rich... And many of their games sold tens of thousands of copies at the time, which may not compare well with today's unit sales, but at that time it was a LOT. Just to let you know.
Expect the release of the restored originals of the mentioned games as well, sometime in the future - don't hold your breath though.
IV. The theatre
Some trivia about AP2, just for the fun of it.
Companies mentioned here are (or should be) out of business and most of you did not have the chance to see "behind the scenes" of what was really going on in the game business. Also, it is of pure historical interest. I presented many of the things kind of funny and with a lot of sarcasm, however they were not that funny at all when they happened. This may get a bit personal, so if you are easily offended just skip this part – no harm is being done to anyone, unless well deserved :-)
- The game was programmed on 2 A500+/20Mb A590hd/2Mb chip/2mb fast and 2 A500 1.3 (512/512), completely in 68k assembly using DevPac (most likely the 2.x version at that time). Amiga Action Replay cards were used in the 1.3 machines to hunt bugs... Debugging was only a last resort, thinking usually produced the source of errors faster.
- Probably one of the rare Amiga games using the semi 64 colour, "halfbrite" graphics mode of the hardware
- Was completely hand drawn using DPaint, not a single digitised pixel.
- Sound effects playback used TFMX. Sadly the music was not written in that - it used some kind of a tracker, since Tim could not handle TFMX very well...
- Unique, efficient and very fast custom compression system, transparently working during the load. The kernel could even relocate graphics in real time, while running the game, so memory would not get fragmented...
- The game had a custom kernel system (for performance and memory saving reasons) pretty much controlling all aspects of the Amiga from graphics to disk operations.
- Uncompressed data size is about 10Mb.
- Everything you see in the game uses a pseudo language that the program continuously executes for each object and action
- Some graphical objects were generated real-time from compressed data, or programmed in the pseudo language level to save valuable memory...
- The game shows our names in English form (Steve Fabian vs. István Fábián, Francis Staengler vs. Ferenc Stangler) since it was decided the public needed pronounceable - read: English sounding - authors... In the meantime I've even got a MagicTG card from a friend showing "Uncle Istvan"!
- Some of the magazine adverts were badly saturated, e.g. in Amiga Format, you could hardly read even the title of the game as colouring ranged from dark blue to pitch black... It was decided by the UK management, that "it will raise interest" - now that's what I call positive thinking...!
- There was a limited first run (probably 1000 units) of the game containing AP2 t-shirts.
- Tim Bartlett wrote the game music; you may notice his music from Psygnosis and other titles. We agreed on the phone to meet in England when the project ended. We haven't spoken ever since; I did not go to England from the profits – sorry Tim!
- The master sent to the UK was completely bug free for the first time, however it took more than 2 months (or 3?) to test the games, as the testers playing it had never played an RPG before. They could only finish the game by using various cheats. In the meantime we held contests for finishing the whole 28 levels faster in a few days... Ferenc was the best.
- The interpreter (or you might call it a "virtual machine" by today's terms), editors, pseudo language programs and dungeons were mostly done by Ferenc.
- Pretty much everything else was written and designed by me (István Fábián).
- AP2 was written from scratch in about 7 months of which 3 was spent in the UK. Testing took almost another 3...
- The publisher's representative was about to come over here to sort our money out when the project finished. He even told us to meet him at the airport. We got bored with that after an hour, called into the UK and found out that he is probably busy with his lunch...
- As soon as they received the master and made sure it worked, anyone involved with the project financing mysteriously was "unfortunately not available" to talk. We haven't talked ever since. Not a letter, not anything. Except for the autumn ECTS in 1993, when the company was showing their products across the street of the exhibition in a pub. They agreed to meet the next day and "get everything sorted out for everyone's good". Next day at the time the meeting was arranged, all of their staff was gone... Only a few people packing some boxes into a van. Tony Bickley who worked for them before, but went to US Gold said (among others) "I'm not surprised at all". Surprisingly enough, somehow we could not make contact again after the ECTS incident with them… I even found their email address when I first used the Internet (seemingly they were still alive at that time), but not a single word answered to my very polite letter. Probably a very busy schedule prevented them replying.
- They told Hungarian magazines (Guru, 576k) in the meantime that we were not able to co-operate with their professional company; and "would never ever again work with us. Also there were communication problems". My English used to be a lot better at that time, I spoke more English in a day, than Hungarian – my natural language… We read those reports one month after the ECTS, and were not at all pleasantly surprised by their attitude – and those reports gave us a bad reputation over here, in Hungary.
- Since the game was originally developed running from hard disk, the final product itself obviously had the same ability. However, for financial reasons it was not decided until the very last minute by the management to allow users to install the software. The reason was the installer taking another, fifth disk using AmigaDOS bootable format to communicate with the OS, that could not be mixed with the already full four game disks. Producing the additional disk was about 32p that time (maybe less, this is the figure I remember seen on a fax from a duplicator including material, printing and duplication). Amiga reviewers started complaining about HD installation that time, so the fifth disk was finally included.
- They hired someone to hack (!!!) the installer program to print a copyright notice for their company (ok), and list some of their titles (not so ok…). They did not tell us to do it, we would have done that for free. I only encountered the hacked installer downloading one of the pirated versions from the Internet (yes, since I am the copyright holder it’s allowed for me :-) ).
- There was NO A1200 version of AP2. A1200 took off (or better started) when AP2 was released, and we did not have preliminary or sales A1200 equipment to develop on. However, compatibility could have been easily fixed at the source level, if we’ve had the right equipment. They should have again get in touch with us - and possible pay our money due - to get an A1200 ready or better an A1200 enhanced version done. Needless to say, that was out of question for them, so they again hired someone (maybe the guy hacking the installer…) to reverse engineer and crack the kernel system of the final product and make it A1200 compatible! Someone must have spent an awful lot of time understanding at the code level what the kernel did – maybe it was not properly working after all, I honestly don’t care… We first saw the adverts of the A1200 version probably in Amiga Format adverts, then got hold on a pirated copy to find out, that they really got a game published by them cracked! So basically the A1200 version was "officially" pirated - you can’t say that about many commercial programs…
- They obtained a hot license for Akira (most famous Jap anime that time), probably from the profit of AP1/AP2 or similar "projects". However they let some kids do it to save development costs – most likely the same guys who did the testing for AP2... Akira was years late, and badly flopped. In fact most of their games since AP2 badly flopped - and that's quite a long time by now.
- Legendary (8bit) programmers like Dave Jones and Steven Curtis worked there on awfully horrible games. They sure knew how to waste talent.
- Michael Jary was there too. He's work was to draw "cute carrots" and other disgusting stuff for games that did not sell a copy.
Best regards and Merry Christmas,
12, December, 2001.
PS: I'm looking for serious partners (investors) to commercially develop games, one may be Abandoned Places 3. If you think, you fit the criteria contact me through CAPS.
This is NOT a support address – if you read this file, you must know by now that there is NO support of any kind available - anything related to installing; playing; solving; finding; sending etc. Amiga games, emulation etc. will be silently ignored. Sorry, but I do not have the time for that – I wish I had. Also, please do not send attachments without asking me first.
Anything else mentioned in this readme is welcome, even old long lost friends. I usually check my mail twice a week, so do not worry if no reply comes the day after you sent your letter... If I don’t reply within 2 weeks and you wrote about something important you should start worrying. Try to send your message again, I may have missed it.www.caps-project.org