Author Topic: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.  (Read 25087 times)

getter77

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JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« on: October 10, 2008, 02:42:16 AM »
http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php?title=JauntTrooper_series

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_2000_(video_game)

Hi folks.  I'm Brian.  I aim to become much more involved in the Roguelike community in a variety of strange and majestic ways in the times ahead, so at the suggestion of a certain Roguelike fan I'm beseeching you lot as I harassed him last night.

Prior or a day or so ago, I'd not ever heard of JauntTrooper or anything of that ilk.  I was randomly pouring through the list of stables in the first link and voraciously downloading and saving faves whenever I came across what I thought to be a piece of graphical and/or tiled goodness.

After much digging around, I came across this JauntTrooper series...one that has 3 games to it with all 3 being impossible to find thus far.  As I missed out on them through all these years, so too would it seem the outstanding majority of the Roguelike community missed out on them as well.

In this modern, silver age of Roguelikes...where there is more dev activity and vibrant projects being made and improved out there across the world thanks to so many talented enthusiasts that have come into the scene within the last several years---this can't stand.  These games, from what limited info is contained within these links, their cups overfloweth with sheer GENIUS.  To this day, some of these features are ones I've not encountered in any other prior or proceeding Roguelike---that is insane.

I shot off an email on a single longshot lead to a site that conducted an email interview some time ago with one of the people responsible for the series in terms of design and development.  While I wait for that to amount to what it will, I put out the call:

-There must be somewhere left to download at least the first 2 games.  HOTU apparently had them, at some point, but these days they seem all but gone and the links are void.  I want to think the 3rd game is out there somewhere as well out of a shuddering fear that it may well be lost forever if that is not the case barring some incredible personal stash a few people in this world might still have sitting around.

-If it can be found, it needs to get in the hands of as many fans as possible---ideally somehow with the source code.  Nothing I have come across thus far, and especially all that ISN'T mentioned, leads me to stongly suspect that the game would have a place among Rogue, Crawl, NetHack, ADOM, etc as a Major.  We're talking a full fledged graphical Roguelike here people...retail that went horribly under the radar...that is lauded for incredible depth on the one hand and also that most of the secrets still remain for it as a consequence of the latter---just THINK about that for a second...let it sink in.  Imagine one of the "known" Watershed Roguelikes we all know and love suddenly being out there...yet despite everything there's no Spoilers, big time gudebooks, nada----for lack of players and oppourtunity.

-Take all this good, and by hack or open sourcing, imagine how it could be built upon, exapanded, fixed up, tweaked as was the case with Rogue, 'Bands, and so on all through these last several years especially with our leaps in technology and proliferation of knowledge.  The potential here is staggering...like finding a rare mythic ore deep in a forgotten mountain.  If luck and wit holds, this could be a "Rogue" springboard of sorts to join with the other great, fresh upcoming Roguelikes that future generations will have available to them for further expression.

Sorry for the rant, but this whole episode has stuck a rather unexpected chord with me---lit a fire if you will.  An entire Roguelike SERIES so niche that the Roguelike niche itself largely seems to have missed it and/or forgotten about it---while the gestalt of all 3 games in it seems to meet or even at times exceed the best that is currently and has been out there for years on the frontlines of the scene.

I can't be the only one with wheels turning, perhaps ever so slowly, in my head now with all this said in the above links and hopefully communicated earnestly in my typings.  We can surely do something about this if we can just manage to be in time to snatch this away from the oblivion of time and esoteric machinery.

Only thing I can think left at the moment is this thought:  Imagine 5-10 years from now you can only occasionally tell people about Crawl: Stone Soup or Nethack...but none further shall be able to play and enjoy it due to "something" going horribly awry perhaps on the level of the worst of luck that can be found at times in many a game of any given Roguelike.  With all we now know THOSE games to be, that would be a travesty upon human achievement in the virtual realm.

I'll shut up now...hopefully this can at least spark some discussion.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2008, 02:49:55 AM by getter77 »
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2008, 12:12:12 PM »
I have a Windows version of Mission Thunderbolt on my computer, so I should be able to share it somehow if you find no download for it. I also had (not sure if I still have it) a Mac version of Mission Firestorm (and maybe Thunderbolt also), but I have not played it (I would have to play on an emulator which is not nice... and also you should be able to continue your winner from M:TB in M:FS, but apparently saves were not compatible between Windows and Mac).

Mission Thunderbolt is a great roguelike, especially considering its time. I would really like if the remaining parts were available to play in a way which suits me. For me, it is a sad proof that you can't get a commercial success with a Roguelike. :( Or maybe that's just bad marketing or something.

getter77

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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2008, 01:57:26 AM »
I have a Windows version of Mission Thunderbolt on my computer, so I should be able to share it somehow if you find no download for it. I also had (not sure if I still have it) a Mac version of Mission Firestorm (and maybe Thunderbolt also), but I have not played it (I would have to play on an emulator which is not nice... and also you should be able to continue your winner from M:TB in M:FS, but apparently saves were not compatible between Windows and Mac).

Mission Thunderbolt is a great roguelike, especially considering its time. I would really like if the remaining parts were available to play in a way which suits me. For me, it is a sad proof that you can't get a commercial success with a Roguelike. :( Or maybe that's just bad marketing or something.


Hmm...from all I've gathered thus far(Much obliged on that eventual somehow sharings if it comes down to it):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_Thunderbolt  since the other link seems to be acting up ATM

-There "should" be some way to migrate those characters saves...as all seems to indicate Thunderbolt was "exclusive" to PC as was Firestorm "exclusive" to MAC.  I personally see no problem with using an emulator on the latter, maybe even the former, as DOSbox and the like are increasingly necessary due to the march of computer OS and software cadence.

-The main thing to consider, with both the above mentioned parts, is that seemingly they were just straight ports with noting really rigged in them from the original hardware noted as "DEC Mainframes".  So then, ideally, those are the versions of the 3 game we might well need, along with presumably some manner of emulators for whatever kinda environment they were designed around  (Way over my head here, we need PC tech guru to field through this esoteric relic...this being the only bits that seem relevant http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Equipment_Corporation   ).  Especially since Quicksilver, which if it holds true with the cited "ever improving" impression of Firestorm following up Tunderbolt, and as the last one made apparently, would then perhaps be the zenith of the game design at that time and even more unknown just what all they came up with that could well be mindblowing stuff.

-It seems this was perhaps one of the first full on commerically released Roguelike games...so not unlike many other a videogame progenitor...it didn't go so well at first.  The difference, 7DRL withstanding in generous terms, is that the Roguelike wasn't quite so capable at those times especially at being deftly re-attempted compared to straight platformers, puzzle games, vertical and horizonatal shooters, etc until the big winning formula is discovered to get enough cash laid down by enough people.  Combine being one of the pioneers, (and ultimately grand masters it would strongly seem...) and some rough luck in the business side of things...and the result isn't so much a surprise.  Ironically, like many a Roguelike, the devil is in the details just as much as it is the Timing.  However, Roguelikes DID manage to get where they could survive thanks to the Japanese gaming side of things,  The Fushigi no Dungeon franchise...tied in with such properties as Torneko, Chocobo, Shiren, Druaga, etc constitute  a fine example of it being possible to carve out a niche of profitability and customer base among the, sadly, often invisibible and nameless Roguelike enthusiasts as far as publishers and such see it.

-I would find it surprising, and sad, if all of the suriviving members of the dev team that completed these 3 games and were trying to get started on the 4th were to have completely divorced themselves from the Roguelike aspect of things after the company went under.  Especially considering they must have acquired a fairly robust skillset relative to dealing with this type of gaming.  If we can find others that were part of the team aside from the 1-2 people the Wiki mentions that at least indirectly could be of great benefit from the community to get a chance to gleam some knowledge and experience from the forgotten veterans of the olden days...

-Still no reply on my first longshot effort, but then again I really have no timeframe of expectation as to how soon a response would be to reasonable expect.  All I could do was try to come off as cordial and explain the strange request as succinctly as I could think to at the time, so here's still hoping.

Hopefully more folk can weigh in on this, poke a few bushes via contacts they might have, and so on.  If Z can provide enough details and whatnot just on his or her own experiences with it...and maybe salvage some from the ANCIENT myAOL pages I tracked down during my feverish looking...we technically should be able to get a GameFAQS listing up for the game since it was a full on retail product, technically, and use that as a springboard and means of info consolidation until hopefully more modern KnowledgeDB, Wiki stuff, whatever can be formulated for the game proper not terribly unlike how it is for Nethack or something.  Or skip straight to a strong Wiki, whatever.  Just throwing stuff out there and hoping other folk can trump my ideas for the greater good.   :-\
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2008, 02:56:25 PM »
No. On PC there was only Thunderstorm. On Mac there were both Thunderstorm and Firestorm.

Actually, when I tried running my PC save on a Mac emulator, it seemed to work, except that my some of the numbers apparently had their endianness switched. I supposed this would probably have some negative effects, so I did not try to play.

BTW my experiences with M:T were not that ancient, I played it 4 years ago (found it via The Underdogs).

It would be nice to find the original developers and convince them to port the game to modern hardware, or to allow some volunteers to do it (there is a "Roguelike Restoration Project").

getter77

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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2008, 09:28:32 PM »
-Good to know on both Thunderstorm and Firestorm indeed being released on MAC...that would indicate that MAC might well have become the favored platform over PC/WIN considering Firestorm was MAC "exclusive" in the porting.  I would hypothesize that Quicksilver would have ultimately been destined for a MAC release too then if things would've played out differently---though that then begs the question as to what would've been the "starting" dev environment for the unmade 4th game that would've completed the apparent quadrilogy?  MAC or the same DEC Mainframes that Parts 1-3 were developed and originally released on?...

-Maybe we can track down Thunderstorm for MAC amid this searching in the interim so you can load your save proper.  While I suppose it is possible that it might've been an emulator problem, (several different MAC emus I reckon..)  I'd wrangle it more likely that it simply needs to be natvely MAC from that version of the game.  But there again, taking it a step further, you'd need the DEC "thing" version in order to load your save from Firestorm into Quicksilver since Quicksilved never made it port-wise to PC or MAC for that matter.

-Cool that your experiences with M:T are relatively recent.  It is just as important as impressions would be from the very, very few people that were able to play it around the time it was first released---especially since it seems to have stacked up favorably in your estimation with other Roguelikes in your mind to serve as reference points among the usual suspects.

- I've heard of the Roguelike Restoration Project and am almost positive that I'd got a link for it saved in my favorites somewhere.  That would surely be a good thing though it seems they've got their plate full with the also nigh-vanished Rogue variants.  Another is something like the works of Donnie Russell:  http://www.freewebs.com/drussell/index.htm

-Last but not least, thank you kindly for the PC version of Mission: Thunderstorm Z.  I really appreciate it.  With this part I now have some renewed hope and vigor for the remainder of this perhaps nigh-Quizotic endeavor...and wonder if somebody has some webspace somewhere from whence it could be hosted and promoted barring a stable revival of HOTU.  I suppose there'd be a temptation on my part to end this search as soon as Firestorm for MAC can be found---but I highly doubt I'd give in to such.
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getter77

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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2009, 08:02:58 PM »
Well folks, it has been awhile since my latest update on this project..and this one will likely be the last for awhile.

Thanks to certain generous folk, I managed to get in contact with a developer behing Jaunt Trooper as a whole.  Unfortunately, as of that time, he had no interest or plans to release the sourcecode, make it freeware, or anything like that---nor could he offer any manner of leads or insight as to the DEC Machines situations in terms of Operation Quicksilver and all else.  Also, he never responded to my follow up questions and comments to those and other regards with it being a fair bit of time since my last email...which pretty much bodes as it bodes.

So, the sum total at this junction is Operation Thunderbolt's PC version and Operation Firestorm's Mac version sitting on my HD---the latter ultimately needing unpacking with some manner of mac centric unpacking utility whose name I forget.

As stated before, Quicksilver is necessary to have the full and correct experience...so hopefully somebody will track it down at some point..somehow...down the line.  Otherwise the next trick would be to get Thunderbolt and Firestorm somehow rigged up on a unified plane of existence so characters could export and such---not to mention any wrangling about bringing them up to speed or even attempting some manner of Clone as various groups from time to time have tried to do with games like Master of Magic.

All in all, not terribly unsurprisingly, most indications point towards this being an uphill slog that will take quite awhile and verges on being Quixotic.  Still, it remains in place on my to-do list thusly.

So yeah, DEC versions of the 3 originals and a way to run them and/or the Mac version of Operation Thunderbolt would be the next pieces to the puzzle.

I'll keep my eyes open...
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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2009, 05:17:57 PM »
When there are sites that I know used to have  some information but went down or lost it somehow I find theInternet Archive to be a great help.  It probably isn't such a help in this case but you might keep in mind for future attempts.

getter77

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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2009, 06:14:58 PM »
Yeah, archive is a great place.  I think I found some remnants of some old fansites on the games at one point, but that was it.
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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2011, 08:35:14 AM »
I was reading these posts from several years ago and decided to respond.  I happen to have the 4(I think) original 3x3 disks for Mission Thunderbolt.  I also have it downloaded on my Mac Performa 600.  The only reason I keep that computer around it so I can play Thunderbolt.  I never even knew about Firestorm or the others.  Several years ago I thought that I could somehow download it to my iMac G4 and even purchased an external disk drive but it didn't work.  I'm not real technical, so maybe there is a way.  Now I have a MacBook Pro and would love to have it downloaded on that.  I even called Cassidy and Greene back in 2002 or 2003 to see if they had any plans to make it available in other formats and was told no they didn't.  Not sure if something can be done with the disks I have.  Maybe you aren't interested anymore.

Thank you for your time.

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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2011, 12:38:58 PM »
It will always be a thing of interest as history has yet to change and the project on the whole is what it is.  I still just have the above pair of things on my HD here, everything still pretty much in stasis---all the DEC Machine stuff still proves totally elusive.  Hopefully somebody more technically apt than I might can aid you in your file transfer?

Beyond that well, I'd be interested in your making a series of posts somewhere here on the board(this topic I guess) that details your experiences, the gameplay, your take on it all---the whole lot on Thunderbolt.   As it is, even basic player feedback/stories is slim to none across the web---to say nothing of detailed recollections.
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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2011, 12:56:41 PM »
Have you managed to contact OldIron (who is supposed to have the VMS version)? He still seems to post on the newsgroups from time to time.

Edit: This post does not claim that he has a DEC version, but there was another post by him which claims that (no longer to be found in Internet). Unfortunately his e-mail address seems to be fake (but I have not tried).

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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2011, 02:34:55 PM »
Tried way back when IIRC, but to no avail.
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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2011, 02:30:33 PM »
  I had all of this stuff in a large box along with my old GI Joe comics, original Red Box DnD, first editions of Shadow Run, etc...when I went to college it was all placed in an area of the garage known to flood on a yearly basis.
  It was many years before I found the aftermath. Complete loss.

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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2011, 05:02:21 PM »
Oof, that rough Jo---my condolences.   :'(
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Re: JauntTrooper series: A call to arms.
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2011, 10:24:52 PM »
Quote
For me, it is a sad proof that you can't get a commercial success with a Roguelike. 

Funny how this was most likely everyone's sentiment two years ago and now we have Dredmor.