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Linux & Gaming: HLA Adventure - An Adventure in Learning a New Programming Language

Linux & Gaming: HLA Adventure - An Adventure in Learning a New Programming Language

I originally wrote HLA Adventure to learn assembly language programming. Years ago, I started out on a Commodore 64 (programming in BASIC). Since then, I have moved on to both Windows and Linux programming. I discovered Randall Hyde's High Level Assembly (HLA) while searching for a freeware BASIC interpreter. That's how I learned about HLA and assembly language.

I have been writing for most of my free time, and adventure games have always been a pastime of mine. Ever since I played Zork in 1982, I have loved solving adventure games. I began writing them starting in 1994, and since then have written well over 30 adventure games on a variety of computing platforms.

"HLA Adventure" evolved out of an idea of mine to create an open source text adventure game. I had played MUDs previously, and loved the interface and writing style of LP-MUDs. When I wrote my first large adventure game (Westfront PC: The Trials of Guilder), I learned that writing a good adventure takes more patience than actually playing one.

In May of 2003, I began working on HLA Adventure after learning of HLA on Mr. Hyde's website. Both Frank Kotler and Mr. Hyde really helped me put together the parser and data routines used in HLA Adventure. Since my previous programming experience was Qbasic, I had to learn how to program in a distinctly different style unique to that language. But the blessing was that I learned a useful programming language in the process.

The benefit of writing in a new programming language is in increasing programming skills over time. The more languages learned, the more a person learns about programming efficiently. For instance, when I first learned to program (in 1982), I was learning a programming language that required line numbers. Today, however, most programming languages seldom require line numbers (although some do require labels).

HLA Adventure is a game that will work under either Windows or Linux (thanks to HLA). The game itself is not complete, but it is moving ahead in a direction that suggests well of the project. There are bugs to work out, of course, but anyone may contribute to the project because it is open source.

My journey into the world of Linux began last summer, although I really didn't get started fullbore until April 2004. I learned of Fedora Core from the Red Hat Linux web site, and installed it on my second hard drive. Since then, I have purchased a large book on learning Linux. I am slowly getting accustomed to "xterm" and GNOME, which I consider vastly superior to other applications running under Windows. The stability of Linux is far and away the most impressive that I have ever seen.

I think Linux and HLA are two very positive influences in my work right now. I can't imagine not working with either.

[Editor's note: HLA Adventure's home page is here.]

More Stories By Paul Panks

Paul Panks is the author of "HLA Adventure," an adventure game written in Randall Hyde's HLA (High Level Assembly) language. His ultimate intention was for others to eventually contribute to this project, so in May 2003 he released it into public domain, including the source
code, so others could add to the game over time. Paul is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, an avid fan of pro football and creative writing, and became
interested in Linux programming through Red Hat Linux and Fedora Core.

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