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Recollections from Donn Granros on the creation of Legends and Legends II


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Donn Granros, author of Old Dark Caves, Legends, and Legends 2 recently responded to a retrospective and playthrough video I did a while back on Legends, and in a series of replies, was forthcoming with some great anecdotes on how these games came to be.  Of principle interest, I would say, are these comments on the backstory of Legends:

 

Quote

Legends had a funny history.. Without taking up too much print I was divorced and became interested in computers settling for the TI. I loved (still love rpgs) and the selection for the TI except for Tunnels of Doom was pretty lame. Too many folks trying to map out 3D hallways with zero graphics to look at. I was aware and played Phantasie for the C64.  I felt that I could design similar graphics for the TI using character mapping for the maps portion and sprites for the rest. This enabled the game to load screens and save games fairly quickly. Part of the power of Legends is it's TMS9900 Assembly language core  The programs are accessed in extended basic through subroutine calls to the Assembly language portion.. Ed was much better than I with Assembly language and I did most of the storyline and all the graphics. This was pretty optimistic  for me as I had only been programming for a little over a year but it was a pretty intense year in terms of learning for me. I am fascinated by the time devoted to going through this program. I had always hoped that folks would fiddle around with the Extended basic parts and maybe rewrite the program maybe improve things.. If there was a really frustrating part of the program for me it was that I had developed a learning/ branching system. This assigned  intelligence values to the characters and a branching story based on player actions.. It didn't take a huge a amount of code to implement but the space on disk or in memory just wasn't there. That bothered me but so it was.

 

I think of Legends 1 and 2. Legends 1 was the better developed. By the time of Legends 2 I had remarried and we moved up to Elk River. I was writing the code in our unheated basement wearing a winter coat and boots. My new and thankfully current wife Vicki was tolerant but thinking that being recently married I should spend more time with family and less chasing imaginary adventures on a computer system that was obsolete. I finished Legends 2 as best I could and moved on. Over time I ended up in charge of IT and software implementation for the company I was with for many years. Ed and I made so little money on Legends 1 & 2 that is was almost a joke. But there was always a sense of accomplishment and we learned skills along the way and now that some folks are still finding something of interest still is pretty slick... Me, I am 75 and retired. My wife is happy to have her own personal IT department and I want back to being an artist which is how I got into the whole thing to start with.  I still like Wizardry and the like. I sometimes play Halo and Wiz7. I am not trying to sell anything, just an FYI, but a lot of my artwork is not in the computer space any more but rather in drawings and oil paintings at donngranros.com. Donn Granros 01/18/2023

 

Always great to unexpectedly hear back from one of the developers from back in the day. 

 

 

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