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Gold Rush! Classic


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Many of you may know that I have been working with Sunlight Games to bring the original Gold Rush! to modern PCs. This work is now done and the game will be released shortly. It will be available as a digital download from Sunlight's store and Steam. There will also be a boxed copy that will be shipped worldwide.

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Sunlight Games: Gold Rush! Classic release soon for PC
Cologne, July 03, 2014 – The independent game developer Sunlight Games will re-release Gold Rush! Classic for PC. The re-release will be online at 25. July. There will be also a box-version in the Sunlight webshop at 29. August. Fans will get not only the old Adventure, but also the original map, the original manual and unpublished original concept drawings of the developer from the 80s.

The remake version of Gold Rush! will be released in the fourth quarter of 2014. In addition, a release for other platforms such as Mac and mobile devices is planned.

Detailed information about the game under http://www.goldrush-game.com

 

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This looks really, really ace. I gotta admit, I never played more than the first couple of screens of the original Gold Rush, because I couldn't make any headway in it. (And then I found out about the world timer and got really scared.)

 

Regardless of my own cowardice, the game is still regarded as a classic -- let's just coin the term "brutal classic" :) -- and the new graphics look really sweet.

 

So, what's next? Codename: ICEMAN Redux? ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

The GOG dev team was talking to me a while back about Shivers. They can't do Shivers because it is a Win only 16-bit game. The only solution for x64 users is a VM. Shivers two has too many bugs on modern systems to run properly They were trying to contact jafa for permission to use his StC installer, but he has faded from sight. He usually responds to me when I email him, but he never responded to GOG, even when I told him.

 

As to the other titles, it is arranging for the licensing that is the problem. Activision is not the easiest company to work with when it comes to IP rights. Outside of newer titles that have API issues on modern Windows, there are few Sierra titles that I have not already solved, so technical issues aren't really the problem. GOG has access to my resources to make them work, as they have done for so many of their other Sierra releases.

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Thanks for the info, Collector! Although the news about Shivers doesn't sound too encouraging, I'm still glad to hear that it's on their radar. Strange that Activision only put Torin's Passage on GOG from the various standalone releases, I can only guess this might have been a "test the waters"-release for Activision.

They can't do Shivers because it is a Win only 16-bit game. The only solution for x64 users is a VM.

If I may ask, I suppose that similar bugs prevent a release of the Win-version of Phantasmagoria 2, right? I was always wondering why gog used the DOS version for that one.

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Shivers two Windows is a 32-bit game, but the problem is outdated APIs. For Phantasmagoria 2 Win, jafa's installer purposely requires the CDs, but my DOSBox installer concatenates the resources to eliminate the CDs, which is essential for digital distribution. Jafa has modified the interpreter enough that the mapping gets screwed if you do that with his Win version. Sometimes my DOS version of installers gives better graphics, though. The cut scenes in Lords II are much better with my DOSBox installer than his Win installer.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is great! Thanks, Collector. I had no idea you were involved in so many great projects.

 

I'm a little confused about your work to bring Gold Rush! to modern PCs, though. Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the classic AGI games work flawlessly in DOSBox, no?

 

I've actually never had significant problems getting most old games to work fine using DOSBox or SCUMMVM. Even Willy Beamish, which is unsupported by SCUMMVM due to no one working on hacking that engine, seems to work fine in DOSBox.

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Yes, AGI games are easy to set up in DOSBox, but I have found that some that can do not optimally configure DOSBox and many simply do not know how or want to learn. To market a DOS game in this era, the game needs to be packaged in a way that less technically capable people have no problems running it. The installer will install the game to the hard drive, automatically configured to run optimally in DOSBox. It is set to run from a launcher that I wrote to make the experience more like a native windows game. I also wrote a frontend to change some basic DOSBox settings.

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  • 1 month later...

So, first the price is slashed in half within a few weeks of release and now, about two months later, we have the obligatory Humble bargain bin release - and the damn thing is still Steam-exclusive! Collector, you seem to be in touch with these people, please try to talk some sense into them! It's like they're trying to go out of their way to not sell this game, to make their rerelease as unappealing as humanly possible. Pretty much the only group of gamers that would still get pissy about Steam would be teh oldskool gamerz who can still remember a time when you didn't need to get past Valve's virtual bouncer in order to play your legally-obtained games. A DRM-free installer should be a given for a game this old.

 

And if they get it on GOG, hell, I might even be inclined to pay the full $5.99!

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I think this is a classic case of reading the potential audience wrong.Wanted the devs it or not, people are not willing to pay top dollar of old games. The older the game is, the less people want to pay. And if it is a relatively obscure title like Gold Rush!, only a very small part of gamers is willing to shell 10 bucks for it.

 

The best solution for them would have been bundle the classic with the remake, that way there would have been more interest.

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The best solution for them would have been bundle the classic with the remake, that way there would have been more interest.

Probably. Thing is, the remake will sell for €30. The screenshots they released weren't exactly jaw-dropping stuff, so I'm not sure how much of a market there will be for the remake, even if they had coupled it with the original.

 

And I don't think the main problem is that people are unwilling to pay for old games, the problem is, as you said, that Gold Rush is relatively obscure. I mean, these days, Sierra games themselves are considered niche. And Gold Rush is a niche game within a niche.

 

I can only repeat myself, they should try once more to get their game on GOG. It's the only place I'm aware of where you will find people who would even consider dropping money on an obscure backlog title that should be abandonware by now a forgotten classic.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the classic AGI games work flawlessly in DOSBox, no?

 

Eh. Why even bother with DosBox? It'd be even easier to just use a better interpreter. ScummVM runs them, I think, and I have a program called nAGI that's basically a Windows version of the AGI interpreter that I got from god-knows-where years ago. Sierra was nice enough to seperate their AGI interpreter from the actual AGI game resource files on all of their releases; you could easily bundle the Gold Rush resources with an AGI interpreter that runs on modern systems and remove Dos from the equation entirely.

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NAGI is by Nick Sonneveld of the AGI Development Site. It was great when there were no other ways to play AGI games on newer hardware. ScummVM might be OK for the non PC AGI games, but DOSBox gives better results. About the only thing that ScummVM has over DOSBox for AGI games is adding quirky mouse support. And for those that are too lazy to figure out just how easy DOSBox is to use, it is a moot point for the new release of Gold Rush!. It is properly preconfigured for the technically impaired.

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Why are the results in DOSBox "better", though? I don't mean to be snarky - I'm genuinely curious. Cause I can disable ScummVM AGI mouse support, making it a pretty robust experience. Doesn't it depend if you're after 100% fidelity? If you just want to play the game, I see no major differences.

 

Personally, I've experienced more grievances with DOSBox through the years, but mainly with talkies and the like. Games that are more resource-consuming. And it's not because I don't know to configure it for sure.

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It matters more with the SCI games than AGI, but over time even their SCI handling is better than what it was. Their early SCI support tried to force their custom "antidithering". It is easier to get the proper sound in DOSBox. ScummVM has different audio settings divided between the global settings and game specific, each spread between different tabs and it can be easy to have them conflicting with each other. And the ScummVM defaults are often wrong. For non-PC versions of AGI ScummVM is certainly the way to go, when it is supported. For phones and tablets it might also be the right solution, given their lower power and lack of mouse/keyboard, but we are talking about PCs.

 

AGI games have fewer issues in ScummVM than SCI, but it still takes some liberties with them. Even the sound is messed up. Some may prefer having the three voice music turned into a cheap AdLib piano, but it also turns the noise channel into a single piano "thud" sound. As to colors, that has been improved and now is closer to the EGA pallet, but for years it carried over from Sarien defaulting to the Amiga pallet, which produced rather odd colors with the PC versions.

 

As to performance issues with DOSBox, I believe that you are on Mac, are you not, or am I misremembering? Pre Intel Macs did not have the dynamic core available. And audio with the earlier the SCI0 and SCI1 games, Sierra had MT-32 as default for the audio, which sounds like crap with AdLib. To get proper sound in DOSBox it is more a matter of properly configuring the game's audio settings, not DOSBox's.

 

You could say that some of it comes down to personal preferences, which 'to each his own' applies. However, I'll admit that I was mostly being  irritated at Capn_Ascii's pissing on my work. My task was to repackage Gold Rush! to run on modern PCs while maintaining the integrity of the original experience. That was important to them and the MacNeill bros.

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However, I'll admit that I was mostly being  irritated at Capn_Ascii's pissing on my work

 

 

Oops. Sorry, I didn't mean it like that. :( I was just curious as to why you would favor DosBox (a virtual environment) over something that runs natively on the system in question. The latter causes less technical headaches in my experience, which is why I tend to prefer it, but your points about preferring fidelity to the original game experience are perfectly valid. :)

 

Speaking of which, will the remake include all of those completely random, unavoidable RNG deaths that would be considered heartless and cruel by today's gaming standards? I can't wait to get cholera all over again in high-res. :D

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It matters more with the SCI games than AGI, but over time even their SCI handling is better than what it was. Their early SCI support tried to force their custom "antidithering". It is easier to get the proper sound in DOSBox. ScummVM has different audio settings divided between the global settings and game specific, each spread between different tabs and it can be easy to have them conflicting with each other. And the ScummVM defaults are often wrong. For non-PC versions of AGI ScummVM is certainly the way to go, when it is supported. For phones and tablets it might also be the right solution, given their lower power and lack of mouse/keyboard, but we are talking about PCs.

That makes sense, though I haven't followed their SCI improvements over time. The division between global and game-specific settings is actually a feature I dig about ScummVM, because it makes it easier for me to handle that one exception where I might want the AdLib soundtrack. I've never run into any conflicts either, so I'll have to take your word for that and ultimately chalk that one up to preference. I can see why some people would mind, but I personally don't. Not as much as manually editing conf-files.

 

AGI games have fewer issues in ScummVM than SCI, but it still takes some liberties with them. Even the sound is messed up. Some may prefer having the three voice music turned into a cheap AdLib piano, but it also turns the noise channel into a single piano "thud" sound. As to colors, that has been improved and now is closer to the EGA pallet, but for years it carried over from Sarien defaulting to the Amiga pallet, which produced rather odd colors with the PC versions.

I'm pretty sure the PC speaker emulation has been fixed in a while. At any rate, I find that ScummVM emulates the PC speaker just as well as DOSBox. Though I do remember that damn piano (mostly through NAGI, I think) - oh boy...

 

As to performance issues with DOSBox, I believe that you are on Mac, are you not, or am I misremembering? Pre Intel Macs did not have the dynamic core available. And audio with the earlier the SCI0 and SCI1 games, Sierra had MT-32 as default for the audio, which sounds like crap with AdLib. To get proper sound in DOSBox it is more a matter of properly configuring the game's audio settings, not DOSBox's..

My laptop is an Intel Macbook Pro, but I also desktop PC which - I think - is still fairly high-end. The performance issues I'm referring to was with my old Asus laptop. Not the best of computers (to put it mildly), but I still did a lot of multimedia work on it. Music creation, mainly, often rendering my master files at a whooping 96 KHz / 24 bit. I realise emulating something will always require more raw power than running it natively. But it still made me roll my eyes a bit when I asked around here and was ultimately told that the computer probably wasn't powerful enough. As someone with a degree in Computer Science, I sort of get it the issue. As a gamer who could run this stuff without a hiccup on a Pentium 200 MHz way back when, I don't. ScummVM ran fine on that laptop too, apart from the MT-32 emulation.

 

I never had any issues with the audio emulation of either, but the computer my family had while I grew up also had a no-brand sound card with a Yamaha OPL3 chip on it. I've never had access to a genuine AdLib, nor a genuine, vintage SoundBlaster. So while I haven't heard any issues, I'm not qualified to be nitpicky. As far as I can tell, these days, ScummVM forces the game to use the driver that matches my choice of device, emulated or not.

 

So, I'll admit that most of this stuff boils down to preference. Most of the time, ScummVM just gets the job done for me. Good Sierra support may have entered fairly late in the game, but it plays the games like I remember them, which I ultimately what I'm looking for. It feels like the easiest route for me. That said, I'm in favour of anything that makes the configuration hell simpler. I use, and tremendously appreciate, your installers and I used to use D-Fender for DOSBox.

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You want Tandy sound for the AGI games, not PC speaker. It is three voice music with noise channel. That is what ScummVM does not handle well. The noise channel was used for sound effects like running water, footsteps, etc. As I posted earlier, ScummVM will turn a babbling brook into a single piano "thud".

 

Not that it matters, but it sounds like you formed an opinion of DOSBox early on. Two things have happened since. The performance of DOSBox has improved considerably since then and PCs have gotten a lot faster. So for all but the most demanding games few things have performance issues these days. Even most of those are easily fixable with a few tweaks. I will concede that performance could still be an issue for non PC hardware like handhelds.

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DosBOX worked surprisingly well on my GOG version of Theme Hospital. Really expected it to grind, especially given how poorly it used to handle SQ4 and the like in the mid-noughties.

 

As with all these things, I don't care how it's emulated so long as I can double click the desktop icon and have it in my face. And working. I suppose it depends whether you're buying the games digitally now, or trying to use your old CDs/disks to play on your modern 64-bit PC that, frankly, would have been a supercomputer in 1991.

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You want Tandy sound for the AGI games, not PC speaker. It is three voice music with noise channel. That is what ScummVM does not handle well. The noise channel was used for sound effects like running water, footsteps, etc. As I posted earlier, ScummVM will turn a babbling brook into a single piano "thud".

That makes sense. I never had a Tandy, so I'm used to hearing those soundtracks in monophonic; any approximation of three-channel audio instantly sounds better to me.

 

Not that it matters, but it sounds like you formed an opinion of DOSBox early on. Two things have happened since. The performance of DOSBox has improved considerably since then and PCs have gotten a lot faster. So for all but the most demanding games few things have performance issues these days. Even most of those are easily fixable with a few tweaks. I will concede that performance could still be an issue for non PC hardware like handhelds.

Well, it's not as if I have to run all my old games in ScummVM or else. I use DOSBox a lot. But if the game will work well in ScummVM, I might tend to go for that instead. There's not really much of an "opinion" or bias going on, nor am I trying to make others jump on my bandwagon. As someone unqualified to judge the fine details of the emulation, I just happen to prefer ScummVM.

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Ugh, I had to live with PC Speaker sound for AGI games for far too long, it was really annoying. Especially when I recalled hearing more instruments as a kid (we used to own a Tandy 1000). I was overjoyed when Dosbox came out and emulated it perfectly. ScummVM's Tandy sound is not 100% accurate, while DOSBox's is near perfect.

 

I was just reading the undither thread at the SCUMMVM forums again a few weeks ago. What an ego-centric fiasco that was. That and the "we'll come to the rescue of the Mega-Tokyo SCI/AGI fangame community!" attitude while not even acknowledging Sciprogramming.com's existence and basically ignoring requests to support SCI fangames and new SCI implementations we had created (like mp3 music) all still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Not everyone is like that there (in fact one dev in particular I believe stirred the pot in that undither thread on purpose to bring focus to the issue which I tend to think started internally), but I think Scummvm has gone to a lot of their heads.

 

Anyway, I always prefer Dosbox because it emulates the original system that the original authentic files work on 99% perfectly. Scummvm and other virtual machines/emulators reinterpret the game data files. Usually fairly well, but they can be biased. Sarien, for instance, makes the interface look like the Amiga interpreter which I'm not a fan of. And I've already mentioned the incorrect Tandy sound. Also, it's impossible to get some SCI games to play MIDI equivalent sfx instead of the lo-fi digital ones, which are just 11khz mono 8-bit versions of the MT-32 sounds, which whether you have MUNT or a real one, is not very nice to have to deal with. Also, there are still speed issues with SCI1.1 games where animations that depend on cpu cycles are still too fast. Strangely, though, SCI1.0 games don't have this issue.

 

I just see too many conflicts with my original experience. It works in a pinch, and is definitely the most portable method if you're trying to play on multiple platforms, but Dosbox is still always the better option for me. Best sound, best replication, most familiar, best experience.

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Exactly. It is all of these reasons that make DOSBox my very first choice over ScummVM. This does not mean that I have no use for ScummVM, just that there needs to be some extra compelling reason to choose it over DOSBox, like to get the Win version of KQ6 on x64 or some of the Coktel Visions CD games to play without issue, given Coktel's odd use of MSCDEX.

 

And I was  more than a little ticked at some of the ScummVM team over those same incidents, too. They were also upset with the SCI Programmer's Wiki for republishing the SCI Documentation from the old Free SCI group, in spite of the fact that its license explicitly gives permission to do so. They were pretty high handed in trying taking over the SCI resources and communities. This after they had reached out for help to the very same communities when first adding SCI support.

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