This past year, I’ve been picking up on Node.js and TypeScript. That lead me to begin a legacy C port of Hack & Slash using TypeScript. Today, while not full-feature complete, its core is stable and has come far enough along to declare it “production” ready — whatever that may mean in my CI/CD lifecycle. Besides, it caught the attention of a few Amiga BBS sysops — telling me their story, encouraging me to finish the work, and even got a few ASCII art files floated my way from their dusty archives. 😎
To start at the beginning, this goes back to 1986 with one of the first BBSes we had in our state: The Roundtable. It was more of an online game for social networking rather than the files & posts that were springing up. It was run on an Apple ][ by King Richard and he was generous to keep it free all of the time. Later, I had an opportunity to debug some of its code and later walked off with the Apple BASIC source code as my starting point to port it to other machines.
My father and two brothers enjoyed playing the game and my ports of it (DOS, Amiga, Linux). I ran my DOS port on an IBM XT with 512k RAM and two 5-1/4″ floppies with a 2400 baud modem. The Amiga ports (both a standalone BBS and as a door) that would come later in the 1990s were a lot fancier. And I was running the Linux port (1999 – 2014) which allowed for Internet play.
I can ramble on about all the really neat things I was able to incorporate into the game, because of Node.js and TypeScript. But that’s not really the point for me. It was another process for learning by doing, and why not do that something you know so well and enjoy tinkering with?