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New text adventure - "Tristam Island"


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Hello everyone,
I am working on a retro text adventure called "Tristam Island", which will be released on 34 platforms, including all Atari 8-bit computers and the Atari ST. (I'm cross posting this in the Atari ST forum, let me know if this is bad form...)

I released a free demo a few days ago at hlabrande.itch.io/tristam-island-demo. It's about 90 minutes of gameplay (~1/4 of the game). After a plane crash in the middle of the Atlantic, you wash up on the shore of a deserted island - which, as it turns out, was inhabited decades ago, and holds many secrets...
If you like the demo, or want to support the project, you can preorder the game at hlabrande.itch.io/tristam-island ; the full game comes out on November 20th.

Let me know if you have any questions! And feel free to post pictures of it running on real hardware, I always love to see that ;) Thanks!


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Love it! My first games were text adventures and I really loved playing them. It was amazing what our imaginations could do before we were in stimulus overload.  I miss those old days.  

Keep up the great work!! I bought a copy, plus a little extra and posted to my website, as well as Twitter and Facebook. https://www.vintagecomputercenter.com/new-text-adventure-tristam-island 


Edited by Gavin1968
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Thank you both for your support! :)


yes, it is because of the disk medium. AFAIK it's because there needs to be random access (so you can go anywhere on the map) so it'd need to be all loaded in RAM, and it's over 128kb... There might have been a way by splitting the game in several parts, but it's too rigid and complicated to make.

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23 hours ago, gambler172 said:

Well.....why not for the Atari 7800???

If i get all the text with solution,i could try to port it......

Cause the 7800 has no keyboard...i would go up for a click n

point adventure.....with all text and solution.....this may be doable....maybe with small graphics.

greetings Walter

Maybe you can use interface similar to Gunslinger http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-400-800-xl-xe-gunslinger_2354.html

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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone!


I'm excited to announce that the full game has been released at https://hlabrande.itch.io/tristam-island !

There's about 7-10 hours of gameplay; the game comes with a hint book and a digital "feelie" (a postcard).


The .atr file is 135kb, which means it won't fit on a 130kb disk unfortunately. (It's a problem even Infocom had back in the day!) I'm looking for a solution to fix that; in the meantime use a bigger disk (I think the next size up is 230kb right?) or a Gotek-like device.


I hope you enjoy the game!

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2 hours ago, hlabrand said:

Shouldnt be a problem at all! But i was under the impression disks for the Atari 800 were 130kb. Shaving 5k off of the game without losing anything content-wise might be tricky but i'd like to look into it :)


Crunching, compressing, exomizing, etc. may help...?!? There are various packers and compressors for the A8 available - on the A8 and on the PC. Since the adventure is mainly text, it should be possible to make it 30%-50% shorter with a good packer program...


If the program still does not fit on a 130k disk or image, then simply use a 180k disk or image.


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Maybe? I don't really know, I've never used one :)

The game is mostly text but it's already packed/encoded in a smart way natively, which gives a 25-30% compression factor. But there's still room to pack more, as frequencies of letters are preserved. (It's every 3 lowercase letters is packed in 2 bytes, but you also pay more for uppercase and such)

Does using a packer make the game slower? Or is there a decoding process at the beginning somehow?

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  • 2 weeks later...
29 minutes ago, Tigerduck said:

Ok, I preordered and paid for the Game via paypai, but how can I download it now...

I am not @hlabrand, but you should be able to download it from your itch.io account. When I paid for the game, I had to create an itch.io account. That account gives me the ability to download any game I paid for on itch.io. 

Bob C

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I'm not even sure creating an itch.io account is required ; you might have a download link in your email from when you bought, which should take you to a special page. (I know that when I send out a free key, people don't have to create an account to download.)

Maybe since you preordered that email just shows the placeholder text files that were there when it was still preorders? In any case there should be new packages now :)

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