• Pinacolada's Projects

  • by Pinacolada

Wherein I enlighten you, dear reader, on the status of my many eclectic hopes and dreams for Commodore projects.


Party Quiz program by SunCom

Digging into party questions data formats.

Gallahan showed me these disks, which are uploaded into the Public Games folder. You need the custom controllers Suncom provided with the game to get much of anywhere, though. He pointed out there are several supplemental Party Quiz data disks, and I decided to take a look at them to see whether a standalone program could be written to make use of the data, and perhaps CommodoreServer-ize the game.

Party Quiz sector view

So looking at the first Party Quiz data disk, the first thing I noticed is quiz text in track 18, sector 1. That makes things a bit more interesting. So I started looking at individual sectors, starting at track 1, sector 1. And a few sectors in, I started finding questions and answers.

Guessing area codes seems like the antithesis of fun to me. I'd remove them. In the US, many of them will have been changed (though, speaking through personal experience, 503 and 509 area codes still work for Oregon and eastern Washington). There are some constants, like traditional gifts given on anniversary dates (maybe it's different in other countries).

More things which are pretty obvious are the lack of track/sector links in bytes 0 and 1 of the sector, and the question text is stored in ASCII (not PETSCII) format - so the case of the text is reversed. Ugh. Not a major problem, there are lots of conversion programs. Was this game released for other computers which used the ASCII character set?

Questions are divided into fields, padded to fixed lengths with null characters. Each question's answers are separated by $9e characters, and the final answer is denoted by two $9e characters. One problem is, I don't see a flag for the right answer. Maybe that's held elsewhere on the disk (but that would add a lot of un-necessary disk activity)...

Sounds like a custom program will have to read each track with U1:, convert ASCII text to PETSCII, and rewrite it into another format.

Party Quiz controllers

Controllers: It might be fun to recreate them, otherwise what will we do to control the game? I suppose the four player adapter could be pressed into service, but that will take more rewriting. Using regular joysticks doesn't seem to make sense here.

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Hydrophilic 3/31/2016

On the C64 and C128, you could build simple 4-button controller x2 to plug into Joy Port 1 (two players), and then another pair of controllers go into Joy Port 2. Four players go!

Like this:
Controller A + Controller B = Port 1
Controller C + Controller D = Port 2

Controller A (and C) would map button 1 to Joy Up, button 2 to Joy Right, button 3 to combined Up+Right, and button 4 to Pot X
Controller B (and D) would map button 1 to Joy Down, button 2 to Joy Left, button 3 to combined Down+Left, and button 4 to Pot Y

Note the Joystick Fire button is not used by either Joy Port.

Each controller would be cheap to build. But seems like a real hassle to build four of them, unless maybe you're getting paid to build them!