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Prince of Persia Level Editor 'Apoplexy' Reaches 2.0

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the add-your-high-school dept.

Classic Games (Games) 44

An anonymous reader writes "Last year, Jordan Mechner, the creator of the Prince of Persia video game franchise, released the long-thought-lost original Apple II source code for Prince of Persia. Today marks the release of version 2.0 of apoplexy, the free and open-source level editor of Prince of Persia for DOS. Roughly 5.5 years after its initial release, support has been added for editing Prince of Persia 2 levels in both GNU/Linux and Windows. The game has its 25th anniversary next year, but the original trilogy only has a (very) small fan community. Will old games such as this also interest future generations or will they gradually lose their appeal because of technological advances?"

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44 comments

zomg first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807525)

cant believe it!

Future Generations (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807547)

We are interested because this is a game from our youth (for those of us of a certain age). Future generations will be creating editors for Call of Duty or Elder Scrolls or Portal or something like that.

Re:Future Generations (1)

J.J. Dane (1562629) | about 4 months ago | (#45807585)

I have fond memories of spending several months on one of the last bits of the DOS version...I'd managed to get to the top of a fairly huge tower but failed to realize that I had to take small steps to cross an invisible bridge instead of jumping a chasm...

Or something like that, mainly I remember swearing and restarting a lot...

Re:Future Generations (1)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about 4 months ago | (#45808405)

Yeah, and never fight the shadow prince - he was also in level 6 (a really short level, kill one fat guy) making sure you didn't get stuck. I never understood what the shadow prince was about.

Re:Future Generations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807587)

Yes I see you old farts from time to time, acting like the rest of us owe you something because you are old, demanding respect without making the slightest effort to be respectable, wanting us to think you wise without ever demonstrating any wisdom, clogging up service counters because you love being waited on for its own sake, treating the staff as if they were your personal servant or pet and not like they are fellow human beings, destroying the health care system so you can have a painful and humiliating last six months of life rather than passing into the unknown with any sort of dignity, always demanding more more more from an economy you already ravaged and pillaged even though you are the single wealthiest demographic, filling up the churches but somehow ignoring that "love thy neighbor" part that is the central piece of all christianity.

And then you just can't comprehend why my generation doesn't respect you. You respected YOUR elders because they poured their blood, sweat, and tears into giving you a life better than what they had, not the trainwreck nation you are leaving US with. I've met some truly wise and kindhearted old people and I do everything I can do for them without asking anything in return, but the vast, vast oceanic majority of you are just highly experienced and practiced at being demanding and annoying and few of you seem to care about what kind of example you set.

Mod this down now, because not liking something automatically means it can't be true. Right?

Re:Future Generations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807841)

Except that he's kinda right in his rant. The rest of you suck.

Re:Future Generations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807883)

You feminized young kids don't even understand how a computer works. And we suck? Please...

Re:Future Generations (3, Interesting)

cianduffy (742890) | about 4 months ago | (#45807593)

That is if there's any way to get CoD or Portal to run in twenty five years time - easily defeatable or no copy protection on older games makes running them in DOSBox or similar quite easy. Trying to figure out how to work around Steam, Origin or the newer optical media protection systems to allow games to run in emulation in future isn't going to be as simple.

Re:Future Generations (2)

LostMonk (1839248) | about 4 months ago | (#45807705)

There isn't any copy-right protection (aside from constant network connection) that hasn't been worked around already. Why would people 25 years from now have difficulties with today's protection?

Re:Future Generations (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#45807905)

Or, to quote MC Frontalot

You canâ(TM)t hide secrets from the future with math.
  You can try, but I bet that in the future they laugh
  at the half-assed schemes and algorithms amassed
  to enforce cryptographs in the past.

Wise words.

Re:Future Generations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45811571)

(aside from constant network connection)

Even constant network connection can be broken. If it is a simple call home it can be disable in the binary, worst case the server contains a lot of the game logic and you actually have to reimplement that - lukily realtime gameplay requires that the client has a copy of most of the logic so it can avoid network lag.

Re:Future Generations (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 4 months ago | (#45807719)

Yes, if only there were people working on removing DRM from games, sometimes before they were even officially released. But that would never happen.

POP had the what is the first letter on page X (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#45808307)

POP had the what is the first letter on page X on line X as it's copy protection

Re:POP had the what is the first letter on page X (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 4 months ago | (#45813927)

And there were plenty of copies floating around with that protection removed.

Re:Future Generations (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 4 months ago | (#45808083)

That is if there's any way to get CoD or Portal to run in twenty five years time - easily defeatable or no copy protection on older games makes running them in DOSBox or similar quite easy. Trying to figure out how to work around Steam, Origin or the newer optical media protection systems to allow games to run in emulation in future isn't going to be as simple.

All those games you mentioned have been cracked, drm removed and private servers made for them already.

Pretty much everything gets cracked.

Re:Future Generations (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 4 months ago | (#45809171)

Copy-protection ain't exactly a new invention, games in the days of the original Prince of Persia where full of them, be it checks that made you look up something in the games manual or checks for faulty sectors on the floppy that you couldn't copy easily. But just as with modern copy protection almost all of that stuff has been cracked.

What you have to worry about isn't really DRM, but just plain old archival. I tried to toy around with some Grand Prix Legends old mods a few weeks ago and a huge amounts of that stuff is already lost due to plain old link-rot, dead servers or Megaupload going down. Steam and Origin are actually a good thing in that aspect, as they (hopefully) keep around a well maintained archive of all their games and mods, something that can't be said about random Indie studio that likely won't exist any more in five years time or a random modder.

Re:Future Generations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45810755)

I'm not too worried about any game that all the logic client side, it's the "always-on" games that depend on server side code to function correctly that will disappear.

Re:Future Generations (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | about 4 months ago | (#45807973)

Well., many of those games come with their own editors already: You can make Portal levels with the same tools Valve used to make the game in the first place. The problem with those games is that making new levels is far harder than it was with the old stuff. Just compare making a level for Doom, Quake and any modern shooter. 8 year olds could make Doom levels easily: The map was actually 2d, so it was pretty easy. A level for Quake was way harder, because not only you are sculpting in 3d, but you have to care about a bunch of little details that you never had to care about in Doom. Visleafs anyone? Switch to a more modern game, and it's even harder, especially when it comes to art assets. Textures aren't just flat pictures anymore. Then you add animation, and it takes weeks to build a character for a game for a team of professionals: It's not something you can dabble in for a couple of hours a week.

Re:Future Generations (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#45808715)

Future generations will be creating editors for Call of Duty or Elder Scrolls or Portal or something like that.

Not necessarily. The data formats are so much more complex that you likely need full-time engineers to work on the editors. It took a long time even for the community-made Prince of Persia level editors to be finished.

Re:Future Generations (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#45809097)

I tried to get into PoP but it was kind frustrating. I think a lot of games from that era were very hard and needed a lot of effort putting into them. Of course back then we were kids and had the time to play then over and over.

In that sense early games are often more instantly gratifying and more suited to short sessions. PoP is from the middle era of gaming when home computers ruled and long games were popular, but you really had to have played the game at the time or put in a lot of effort now to really enjoy them today.

All this work for nothing... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45807553)

What use is a free editor when the games themselves are proprietary? Why not contribute towards something worthwhile, say Battle for Wesnoth?

Demonstrate your level designing skill to HR (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45807603)

What use is a free editor when the games themselves are proprietary?

What use is a free compiler that makes Windows executables? What use is a port of Linux to a patented microprocessor?

Why not contribute towards something worthwhile, say Battle for Wesnoth?

That depends on to what extent one can show off an improvement to Battle for Wesnoth. Someone applying to a video game company for a job as a level designer might want to show levels for a game with which the interviewer is likely to be familiar.

Re:Demonstrate your level designing skill to HR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45810449)

What use is a free compiler that makes Windows executables?

Of no use at all, windoze users don't care about freedom or they wouldn't be using windoze.

What use is a port of Linux to a patented microprocessor?

False analogy. Got a patent-free modern processor to share?

Re:Demonstrate your level designing skill to HR (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45812221)

Got a patent-free modern processor to share?

1. MIPS. 2. Who said anything about modern? 3. Got a notable free-from-day-one video game that exceeds the quality of proprietary games in the same genre to share?

Ummm, can you hold on a moment? (1)

jd (1658) | about 4 months ago | (#45807687)

I'm busy with Chuckie Egg in one window and Elite in another. I really need to write an OXP for Oolite that will let me play both in just one. Can't wait to use military beam lasers on that giant yellow rubber duck.

Re:Ummm, can you hold on a moment? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#45807911)

I have no idea what you're talking about, except that it's awesome.

depends on the game and context (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#45807689)

Will old games such as this also interest future generations or will they gradually lose their appeal because of technological advances?

A huge portion of the games people play on their mobile phones are basically versions of '80s games. Tetris, Snake, Drugwars, Bubble Bobble, etc. Sometimes almost literally a clone of the original, and sometimes one of the many variants [jesperjuul.net] .

Re:depends on the game and context (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45808029)

Yup. I can point to a few old PC games I still play from time to time (the original Settlers, for example) that still look and play fairly well. We still play Monopoly, don't we?

My opinion? Most of the older video games (I won't limit this to PC) that still look and play fairly well despite their age had the same things going for them that good modern games do; good art direction (instead of trying to cram too much detail into an image), intuitive UI, and intuitive mechanics. Fail on any one of those points though, and the game doesn't survive.

Quick off the cuff example would be Wing Commander 3 versus Ace Combat. Both series are from the same era; AC survived while WC died. Part of the problem was that WC's gameplay wasn't fun; the world was excellent, but they tried to do too much in the gameplay and that led to choppy performance and frustrating gameplay issues. AC was the polar opposite; pretty bland world, but intuitive flight and solid performance let the gameplay shine.

Forever (1)

milimetric (840694) | about 4 months ago | (#45808107)

I will love Prince of Persia as long as I live because it was a formative game for me. It taught me to have guts and just jump, but to practice my ass off before doing so. I will die at some point though (probably), and so will everyone else that feels like me. So I think odds are pretty strong that games like this will fade into oblivion. Think about it this way: do you know what board game your great-great-great-grandpa liked?

There is still need for this kind of games (3, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#45808123)

Will old games such as this also interest future generations or will they gradually lose their appeal because of technological advances?

No problem. Many times when I watch gameplay videos of old DOS games in YouTube there are comments like "where can I download this game for Mac??" The right answer is to show them DOSBox and GOG... But the point being, there still is a lot of interest of these kind of old, simple games. Look at something like Papers, Please [gog.com] . Technologically that could have been implemented for a 286 DOS PC, and yet people love it despite "technological advances". Simple, good games, into which you can get quickly by bashing Enter, not having to wait 3 minute long load times.

Re:There is still need for this kind of games (1)

hubie (108345) | about 4 months ago | (#45808673)

And several decades later, I'm still playing Nethack. Got it on my phone too. It fires up real fast. :)

do they even have the rights to this? does Disney (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 4 months ago | (#45808297)

do they even have the rights to this? does Disney and Ubisoft now own them? or will the copyright bot try to mess up the 25th anniversary

A lot of work -- has it been done already? (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 4 months ago | (#45809325)

I remember playing Prince of Persia quite fondly, back when I was in elementary school. Around 25 years ago. I went back and played it again as a 20-something some time ago, as well. Finally beat the damn thing. Video gaming is one of those skills that you definitely get better at with age. Don't let people say it's just a kid's hobby.

I would make levels for it, but I am dead sure that every little possibility had already been utilized, that while you could make more nefarious and harder levels requiring more anal-retentive precision in order to complete safely, those levels would not incorporate anything really "new" that wasn't already tried out within the original game. They really did present practically every edge-case of what the player is capable of doing, every different length and height of "leap of faith", and every confusing combination of trap floors and so on. There's nothing "new" you can do, here.

But I am still going to download that level editor and the next free copy of the game I can find, bitcheeessssss

Re:A lot of work -- has it been done already? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#45812083)

I have my apple //e with a CFFA3000, so I can use a USB stick as a virtual floppy disk. I'm going to try my hand at assembling the PoP files and see if I can get it running.

Re:A lot of work -- has it been done already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45812901)

You are in for a treat. The video below spoils a tiny fraction of the new tricks you'll need to learn to complete the Prince of Persia mod Repetition of Time. And this is just one mod out of hundreds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=640Mjj4GMKM

Re:A lot of work -- has it been done already? (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 4 months ago | (#45825861)

Okay, this is exactly what I was referring to when I said things like "nefarious" and "anal-retentive".

Re:A lot of work -- has it been done already? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#45814197)

They really did present practically every edge-case of what the player is capable of doing, every different length and height of "leap of faith", and every confusing combination of trap floors and so on.

You should see what's being done in the Super Mario World hacking community. Good luck beating even the first level of Kaizo Mario World without save states.

Re:A lot of work -- has it been done already? (1)

eyenot (102141) | about 4 months ago | (#45825915)

I can appreciate nefarious and anal-retentive levels, to an extent, I really can.

Back when Super Nintendo released "Super Mario All-Stars", I actually completed every level of Super Mario "Lost Levels" within three days of the game's release, well within the time frame needed to take a picture and send it in to get your "No Warps!" patch. Did I do it? No. How many 12 year olds are into taking 35mm photos of the TV, getting the film developed, getting an envelope ... hold on, I need to sleep in for a bit ... snore ... getting stamps, and actually sending it in the mail? My problem. But I totally, TOTALLY understand hard gaming. I love hard gaming. I'm a very experienced and skilled gamer in a lot of different genres. My favorites are racing, flight combat, and platforming.

But I STILL consider designing levels to be a gracious art. Yeah, yes, you can actually make levels that require tedious replaying and tense perfectionism like Mario Lost Levels (SMB 2 Japan) or like the examples below given for POP, or I suppose like I will find when I go searching for examples of what you're describing (I'm about to do so after I post this response).

That doesn't mean I *appreciate* those levels on any level beyond my enjoyment as a hard gamer. I really, really love games that speak to wider audiences and that are beatable by the median group of game players. I know most people don't enjoy easy peasy games, and I know most people enjoy impossibly hard perfectionist games. So I know for sure that most people enjoy games that are of moderate to hard difficulty, for the sake of being able to beat the game with some effort and also being able to siphon that effort into a momentary proficiency.

In other words, I don't think much is being done by introducing a level editor for a game that doesn't offer much in the way of graphical variation.

Check out the world editor for Zelda (NES original) for instance. You can make a really interesting-looking game out of all those background sprites. With POP, not so much. All that's left to POP is more and more nefarious locking puzzles and so on. Need I say more?

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