原作者：David L. Craddock 译者：Willow Wu
下文选自Schiffer Publishing出版的Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution，你可以在亚马逊上购买这本书。本书收录了业内顶尖游戏开发者们的访谈内容，通过阅读你可以了解到超过12个里程碑式PC游戏的制作过程以及这些游戏给后继者带来了哪些影响。
Richard Garriott曾以为跟他年纪差不多的孩子他们的父母都是宇航员。对他来讲也确实是不足为奇。“直到我去德克萨斯大学我才看到人们现在说的‘芝麻街居民（the Sesame Street people），’”他说。
虽然他1961年出生在英国剑桥，但他是在德克萨斯州休斯顿长大的。他所在的社区实际上是隶属于美国国家航空航天局（NASA）休斯顿基地的约翰逊航空中心。他的邻居大部分都是NASA的宇航员、承包商和工程师。比如Joe Engle，他是航天飞机项目（载人飞船发射活动）最早加入的宇航员之一。还有Robert Gibson，他的朋友称他为Hoot，执行过STS-27任务，这个宇航员小队在4天多的时间内就环绕地球68圈。
他认识的所有航天工作人员中，最受人尊敬的就是他的父亲。1973年，经过NASA严格筛选，Owen Garriott加入了美国天空实验室项目的第二次载人任务：天空实验室3号（Skylab 3），这是美国建立的第一个宇宙空间站。他离开了60天。安全着陆后，他的妻子Helen和四个孩子一直依靠收听squawk boxes（连接单向内部通信系统的扬声器设备）来关注他在太空的情况。通过这个设备，Helen和孩子们能够听到从外太空发回的消息。“我们甚至时刻关注着政府发出的简报，这样当我们听到宇宙空间站出现故障的时候才不会惊慌失措，” Richard回忆说。
两个月之后，Garriott进入了Clear Creek High School成为二年级生，他还得知了一个好消息：这个学校有台电传打字机，但是不像古恩高中那样有连接到另一台设备。一整个夏天他都把时间花在编程和角色扮演游戏上，现在他有了新的目标。Garriott追求的并不是成绩拔尖，他的大多数课程状态都是没有挂科的，但是成绩并不怎么样，都是B或者是C。但是跟科学有关的活动是个例外。科学竞赛他从未缺席，从幼儿园开始到高中毕业一直如此，而且他的参赛作品每次都能让评审赞叹不已。随着年纪的增长，参加的比赛规模也越来越大，从街区、地区、洲级、乃至世界级别的比赛，越来越多人见识到了他的才能。
“我本来打算用笔记本来写游戏。那些标着DND1, DND2, DND3等等的笔记本到现在我还留着，”他说，“在‘我写代码的方式肯定是哪里出了大问题。我以为我能解决某个大问题，结果却是让我发现了另一些问题，重头再来吧。’这种情况出现之前，我通常已经写了10页、20页的代码。”
接触Apple II的机会并不多，这就让Garriott犯难了。他在学校用过，在ComputerLand也用过，但他真正想要、真正需要的是一台属于自己的Apple II。他跟他爸说说起了这个话题，列出了在终端、Apple II上成功实现的各种东西，Owen静静地听着。当Richard说到他最新版本的DND已经有了1500行代码，他的父亲微微睁大了眼睛。据他所知，这比市面上最畅销的软件还多。当Richard说完了这番“自我推销”，Owen消化了这些信息，然后给出了他的回答。
Owen接受了这个挑战，还给他儿子留了一些余地。如果Richard能够让最新优化版本的游戏运行起来，并且运行过程中不需要过多调试，那么Owen就会跟他一同分担Apple II的费用。结果Richard成功完成任务，Owen也没有食言。Richard用自己的积蓄和他爸爸的赞助买了一台Apple IIe，这是该系列最新、配置最好的产品。“首个REM语句产物就是DND28b，”Richard说,REM(remark的缩写) 语句在BASIC语言中起着注释的作用,人们阅读代码的时候可以看到,但是计算机会忽略。
每个像素必须非常精确地放到Garriott想到的位置上。有很多连接在一起的线条，比如说墙壁和天花板的线条，它们的连接点要设定在哪里，这些都要计算、画出来。“Steve Wozniak创造了硬件，”他说，“如果你是硬件制造商，你的目标就是最大限度地压低制造成本，增加编程难度。虽然我做了一些比较明智的工作准备，能够熟练操作硬件，但是我还是得说用Apple II画图实在是太难了。”
An excerpt from a new book on the Apple II
The following excerpt comes from Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution, available on Amazon from Schiffer Publishing. The book chronicles the making of more than a dozen groundbreaking PC games, featuring interviews with their developers and details how those games went on influence many others that followed.
Richard Garriott took it as a matter of fact that every kid his age had parents who flew to outer space. To him, that was normal. “It wasn’t until I went to school at University of Texas that I ran into what I now describe as ‘the Sesame Street people,’” he says.
“I never specifically thought of people who watched Sesame Street as a cross section of my neighborhood until I moved out of the neighborhood I grew up in and came here to Austin and realized, ‘Oh, wait. My NASA upbringing was the fantasy; the Sesame Street fantasy is, in fact, reality.’ It was quite a culture shock.”
Although born in Cambridge, England in 1961, Garriott spent most of his formative years in Houston, Texas. His neighborhood was practically an extension of Johnson Space Center, the Houston-based outpost of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Most of his neighbors were astronauts, contractors and engineers at NASA. There was Joe Engle, one of the first astronauts to join the Space Shuttle program, a manned-vehicle launch initiative; and Robert Gibson, better known to his friends as Hoot, who went on to join STS-27, a team of astronauts who orbited the earth 68 times in just over four days.
Of all the spacefarers he rubbed elbows with, none awed Garriott more than his father. In 1973, NASA handpicked Owen to join Skylab 3, the second manned mission to Skylab, America’s first space station. He was gone for 60 days. Back on terra firma, his wife, Helen, and their four children kept tabs on him by listening to squawk boxes, speakers connected to a one-way intercom system. Through the boxes, Helen and the kids were able to listen in on communications beamed down from outer space. “We even had to get government briefings so we weren’t shocked when we heard about malfunctions,” Richard recalls.
Other kitchen tables were littered with bills, magazines, and schoolbooks. In Garriott’s household, space artifacts and hardware cluttered living spaces. “While growing up, there were things that, in retrospect, were truly amazing. But at the time, it not only seemed normal for our family, but for most families in the neighborhood.”
Helen Garriott was more than capable of holding the fort while her husband worked long hours on earth or elsewhere. When her kids needed help bringing one of their projects to fruition — such as building a treehouse or erecting Native-American-style teepees — Helen rolled up her sleeves. Among her many talents, Helen was a professional artist, and a Jane of artistic trades. Every summer, she taught Richard a new form of art: painting one year, pottery the next, going so far as to guide him in assembling fountains and showing him the ins and outs of silversmithing.
Since age 11, he has worn a silver snake pendant around his neck — his prized possession from that summer’s hands-on lessons. “It is permanently attached because, since it was the first thing I ever made, I didn’t know how to make a clasp,” he says. “A clasp is actually a fairly advanced item. I’ve still never made one.”
Shortly before Richard entered high school, NASA issued Owen new marching orders. Owen had taught electrical engineering at Stanford University prior to answering NASA’s call for scientists in the 1960s; now his employer wanted him to return for a one-year fellowship. The family packed up and relocated to Palo Alto, Calif., a metropolis located near the school.
Enrolling in Gunn High School for his freshman year, Garriott discovered that many of the students were the progeny of Stanford faculty. As such, the school had the benefit of sampling hardware not yet available to the world at large. Gunn High’s propensity for inheriting cutting-edge tech through its connections made its single teletype, remotely connected to a CDC Cyber mainframe stashed somewhere offsite, stick out like a sore thumb.
“I’m hard pressed to remember if they were used very often,” Garriott says. “It was used in a language class: if you took a foreign language, some of the testing was done on this teletype, I think. But for me, it was instantaneously a magical machine. Even at that time, there weren’t really programming classes for those machines, but it was easy for me to set up after-school or between-classes time to sit down and code them on my own.”
At the end of the school year, the senior Garriott’s fellowship came to an end, and the family returned to Houston. Garriott faced a summer of boredom. He’d just started feeling comfortable sitting at the terminal, only to be forced to join a high school that might not have one. Owen and Helen picked up on their son’s interest and enrolled him in a seven-week computer camp held at University of Oklahoma, their alma mater, in 1974. “That was my first live-away-from-home event,” he says. Nervous on his first day, Garriott busied himself unpacking. A knock sounded at his door. When he answered, a pack of kids greeted him by saying, “Hi.” He responded with a more formal “Hello.” Laughing, the boys declared that he sounded British. From that day forward, that’s precisely what they called him: British.
“Now, as it turns out, I was in fact born in Cambridge, England, and I carry a British passport,” Garriott says. “So I am, in fact, British. But I only lived there for one or two months, so I had no British accent. But having grown up in Houston near NASA, all of my neighbors were people brought in from foreign countries all over the world, so none of us had the local southern accent. My non-southern accent sounded to true southerners like a British accent. That’s why they used the nickname, but the reality behind the nickname is why the nickname stuck.”
Garriott and his cadre of friends learned about more than computers that summer. Like many teens growing up in the mid to late 1970s, they got sucked into the swashbuckling world of TSR’s Dungeons & Dragons. “Lord British became my character in D&D games,” he says. “We were gaming all night and learning about computers and math by day.”
Garriott rounded out his education with private sessions in romance. “That summer was formative in oh-so-many other ways,” he says. “It was also the first time I lived away from home, and the first time I was in a dorm that was co-ed. You can use your imagination as to what things might have occurred in a co-ed, seven-week program with a bunch of high school students living independently from their parents.”
Two months later, Garriott set foot in Clear Creek High School as a sophomore and got some good news. The school had a single teletype. A summer spent programming and roleplaying filled him with renewed purpose. Readily copping to an average academic career, Garriott survived more than thrived in most classes, pulling in Bs and Cs. Science fairs were an exception. Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through graduation, he showed up to competitions with projects that dazzled judges. As he grew older, he went on to compete in district, regional, state, and international fairs, making even bigger splashes.
Entering Clear Creek’s administration office, Garriott made a request and cited his proven ability to self-govern projects as incentive for them to agree.” When I got back to Houston, I told the faculty, ‘I want to continue working on this machine. There is no curriculum [for computer programming]. What I would like is your permission to, instead of taking a foreign language, please consider BASIC my foreign language.’”
The faculty gave him its blessing. Over his junior and senior years, Garriott and a few other students with permission to tailor their curriculum to their strengths embarked on self-guided journeys. At last, Garriott had found the perfect outlet for his interests in fantasy adventures and computers. “That was the moment where teaching myself about computers switched from a fascination with the machine itself to specifically trying to implement games on computers. Just before that, my sister-in-law had given me a copy of The Lord of the Rings to read. I was playing Dungeons & Dragons. I was beginning to master this unusual teletype, which was the same I used during the summer at OU. So off I went to start making games.”
For the final three years of his high school career, Garriott embarked on a self-guided foray into the world of game programming. “As long as I showed them at the end of the semester what I’d told them I’d do at the beginning of the semester, they said, “Sounds good. Here’s your ‘A.’” That’s what I did. I taught myself.”
DUNGEONS ‘N’ DRAGONS
Garriott had no choice but to fill the roles of master and pupil in his self-taught programming class. No teacher knew how to use the teletype beyond turning it on and loading programs. To round out what he’d learned at camp, he hit up newsstands for magazines like Byte! and Creative Computing and pored over their code listings. Each one contained a nugget of information he was able to roll into his growing bag of tricks, like algorithms for sorting data according to specific parameters.
Even though the listings were prone to typos, debugging them became another form of learning. “When you typed it into the computer you happened to be using, some of the commands wouldn’t work right, or maybe they’d made a typo,” he says. “You’d have to debug it on your own and therefore figure it out on your own.”
Starting day and date with his first self-taught class, Garriott kicked off the design of DND1, his first roleplaying game. Inspired by D&D, DND1 was a straight dungeon-crawl: enter a dungeon, fight monsters, loot treasure. Teletypes were incapable of printing images, so he used text characters in place of graphics: asterisks for walls, blank spaces for floor tiles, dollar signs for treasures, and capital letters to represent monsters, like ‘A’ for a giant ant.
DND1 proceeded by taking input from players and printing results on a paper roll. A tiny icon representing players was printed to the center of a grid signifying the dungeon. At the prompt, “What would you like to do next?,” players could move in the four cardinal directions, attack, or browse their inventory. “As soon as you input your command, the printer would re-print that top-down, 10-by-10 little grid,” Garriott says. “It took maybe 10 seconds to make each move.”
Time needed to refresh and print dungeon layouts was a critical reason players had to wait so long between moves. The teletypes dialed into a minicomputer located off-campus, and because minicomputers allowed multiple terminals to connect at once, each had to wait for the machine to process its commands and send back new data. The process was so slow that Garriott found himself turning to a more primitive yet faster method of coding.
“I would write [games] in notebooks. I still own all of these notebooks marked DND1, DND2, DND3, and so on,” he says. “Often I would only write 10 or 20 pages of the program out before thinking, ‘There’s something fundamentally wrong about the approach I’ve taken to writing this one. I thought I was going to solve some big problem, but it just led me to other problems, so I’ll start over.’”
Entering his senior year, Garriott purchased a new notebook and wrote “DND28” on the front. Around the time he applied finishing touches, he got an opportunity to make the jump to a new computer. “I happened to be in the office of the president of the school, and there was an Apple II. I said, ‘What’s that?’ He explained that it was a new computer that had just come out.”
Smitten, Garriott asked for permission to use the computer, and got it. His one-hour language class was moved to the office, where he set about writing DND28 in AppleSoft BASIC. Floppy drives were rare and valuable commodities, so he saved code on cassette tapes.
Garriott graduated that summer and picked up a job at ComputerLand, a chain of retail stores that specialized in the newfangled PC market. When he wasn’t educating customers about the merits of owning a PC, he commandeered a free Apple II and pecked away at DND28.
Limited access to an Apple II compounded Garriott’s difficulties. He used one at school and another during free time at ComputerLand. What he really wanted, what he really needed, was an Apple II of his own. He broached the subject with his father. Owen listened as his son outlined what he’d managed to accomplish on terminals and on the Apple II. His eyes widened slightly when Richard shared that his most recent version of DND came to 1,500 lines of code. That was more than most commercial software, based on what he knew of computers. When Richard finished his pitch, Owen processed the information and gave his answer.
“My dad said, ‘Richard, you know, you’re undertaking a monumental feat,” he says. “I’m not sure you’re going to be able to pull off something this big.’ I was like, ‘Oh! How dare you underestimate me! Not only will I pull this off, but I bet you this program will work right out of the gate!’”
Owen rose to the challenge, giving his son some wiggle room. If Richard could get a new-and-improved version of his game up and running with minimal debugging, Owen would split the cost of an Apple II with him. Richard pulled it off, and Owen stayed true to his word. Saving up paychecks, Richard pooled his money with his dad’s share and bought an Apple IIe, the latest and greatest in the family line. “The first remark statement is DND28b,” says Richard, explaining that a REM (short for remark) statement in BASIC is a comment meant for humans reading the code and ignored by the computer.
“That became Akalabeth,” he says. “So there’s a direct lineage from DND1 through to Akalabeth, through the rest of the Ultimas. There’s a direct lineage through all of my work starting in the 1970s.”
The game evolved far past its original form, trading text characters for color graphics, and a new way to maximize immersion. “I took DND28, and I decided to change the top-down, text-based graphics into perspective-view, looking down the corridor,” he says. “That became DND28b. DND28b is literally Akalabeth, which is, in my mind, Ultima 0.”
Garriott planned to assemble dungeons from line-based graphics. Walls, floors and doors would appear as single-colored outlines, as would enemies. Constructing architecture and characters from wireframes took more forethought than merely plotting X-Y coordinates to form ceilings and floors. He wanted to create a realistic perspective based on distance: A door right next to the player’s position should appear larger than a door farther down the hall. With concepts such as sine and cosine still fresh in his mind from high school, he mulled over the problem and sketched out the trig functions to get the job done.
Garriott plotted out every image on graph paper so he knew precisely where to map the image in his Apple II’s memory. Richard Garriott
To double-check his work, he consulted his favorite artist. “The first thing I did was sit down with my mother and say, ‘Mom, if I want to draw a dungeon that you’re in, how would you draw that on a canvas?’ And my mother showed me the geometry techniques that she used.” Helen drew a line on a piece of paper and asked Richard to imagine it as the horizon. Then she drew a series of vertical lines meant to represent telephone poles — although Garriott’s game-designer brain interpreted them as doors lining a corridor — and showed him the math he could use to calculate the precise distance between each “pole” and render them realistically on the screen.
Helen’s geometry matched the results he had reached using trigonometry. To make absolutely certain he was correct, Richard went to Owen. “He used calculus,” Richard says. “He took the same piece of art that my mother did and used calculus to come up with a set of equations that ultimately arrived at the same results I had. Therefore, I had confidence in my trigonometry. With those equations, I had to go hand-calculate and hand-place pixels on the screen.”
Every pixel had to be plotted on the screen precisely where he wanted it. Sets of interconnecting lines, such as points where walls and ceilings touched, had to be calculated and drawn. “Steve Wozniak created that hardware,” he says. “If you’re the hardware maker, your goal is to minimize the cost of the hardware, not make it easier to program. While I did some very clever things that made the hardware practical, [drawing] graphics using an Apple II was monstrously difficult.”（source：polygon ）