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Paul's Homepage

Updated on Apr. 20, 2009

Welcome to my homepage. This page has evolved over the years to become more simplified and easier to use. I have on this page several interests of mine, including programming, personal hobbies (computers, reading, sports, etc.) and other interests. If you have any questions, please e-mail me at: l u m b e r j a c k s 7 6 @ l y c o s . c o m. For my most current thoughts and happenings, check out my Windows Live space: Paul's Space


My interest in computers goes way back -- back to the 1980's and the famous Commodore 64/128 line of home computers. I first became interested in computing in 1983, when my uncle brought home a Commodore 64. Way ahead of it's time, the 64 had a 320 x 200 resolution display, with 16 colors, 8 individual sprites and a built-in speech synthesizer providing up to 3 voices. Printing was done with the Panasonic KX-1080i printer. We had a lot of fun on the Commodore, spending countless hours playing video games, programming, writing -- and printing -- documents (via a word processor), and even typing in program listings from Commodore-specific computer magazines (e.g. Compute!'s Gazette, Run, Ahoy!, etc.).

The Commodore 64
(left) The Commodore 64.

Sooner or later, though, we all moved on to the IBM PC-line of computers. My first IBM PC-clone was a Packard Bell Legend 10CD in 1994. It had a 486 processor, 4 MB of RAM, a 340 MB hard disk drive, a 2X CD-ROM drive, a 2400 baud data/fax modem and a host of multimedia CDs, including the New Grolier Encyclopedia and Microsoft Works (which incorporated a Microsoft Word-compatible word processor and spreadsheet).

The 486 wasn't fast enough to run Windows 95, but we installed it on the system anyway. It took forever to boot up. That was okay, though, because we spent most of our time in MS-DOS mode playing the latest computer games. One of the games I played religiously was X-Wing, a game taking part in the Star Wars universe.  There was also a reverse-roll version which allowed the player to play as a Tie Fighter pilot. The graphics were truly amazing for the time and the missions were well thought out.

Using PROCOMM PLUS for Windows
(left) Pro Comm Plus.

I also used the 486 to Telnet (via PRO COMM PLUS for Windows) to various online MUDs -- Multi-User Dungeons. These were multi-player online adventure games similar to Dungeons & Dragons, both in scope and design. One in particular was enjoyed for several years -- LustyMUD (and no, despite the rough sounding name, it was really a family MUD taking place on two continents, Melchior and Stormhaven). My screen name on that game was dunric, which I originally picked up as a nickname after playing the old NES game The Immortal by Will Wright and Electronic Arts (EA).

Lusty MUD
(left) Playing Lusty MUD (circa 1994).

I discovered USENET newsgroups around that same time and read up on various game cheats for the Atari and Commodore, including a way to (finally!) win Raiders of the Lost Ark. I had been at that game for over a decade without finding a solution, and the newsgroup rec.games.video.classic provided one for me (solution: use the parachute, shovel and medallion, making sure to land on the tree branch with the parachute). There were also newsgroups devoted to the Commodore (comp.sys.cbm) and the regular Sony Playstation (rec.games.video.sony).

After the 486 finally gave up the ghost, I upgraded in 1997 to a Hewlett Packard Pavilion 7360 PC, which had 32 MB of RAM, a 200mhz Pentium processor with MMX technology, a 3.8 GB hard disk drive, a 33.6 kbs Plug-N-Play modem and a 16X CD-ROM drive. The computer served me well throughout college until I upgraded to an e-Machines i400 with 32MB, a 400mhz processor and Windows 98 (in 1999).

The Microsoft Network
(left) The Microsoft Network.

With the new Hewlett Packard came an opportunity to finally get on the World Wide Web (WWW), and we did so by signing up for a Microsoft Network (MSN) internet account. While the host software wasn't the greatest, the cool "Darth Vader" look of the included MSN 2.0 browser and the associated "ding" sound whenever a certain amount of time passed online more than made up for it. Plus, you could also check your email by merely clicking on a link from the desktop, a handy feature for the time.

I created homepages at Geocities, Fortunecity and Tripod before finally settling on Geocities in 1999. I was also heavily involved in the QBasic programming community during that time, producing games with tile-based sprite graphics and some text adventures as well (many of my adventure games can still be found over at the Interactive Fiction Archive -- www.ifarchive.org).

(left) Playing Retarded Creatures and Caverns on the ZX Spectrum.

Today I am happy to report that I have since built two computers from scratch, including a 64-bit processor computer courtesy of Fry's Electronics. Although I am at present using a borrowed computer from my parents, I hope to get the 64-bit computer out of storage and insert a (working) video card. My hard disk drive and CD-ROM are also woefully out-of-date, and when I get enough money to put towards a brand new computer, you can bet I'll upgrade the system to something faster and more elegant. I am also working on getting my system Microsoft Windows Vista ready (requires at least 1 GB of RAM to run smoothly).

(left) Using GEOS 64.


I have been programming on computers since I learned to type (about 1983 or so). Many of my early programs were quite simple and even laughable -- but they were indeed building blocks to improved programs and games later on down the road. One of my earliest programs on the Commodore was a text adventure named Enchanter: Westfront to Apse. 'Westfront', as I called it, evolved from a fairly spartan dozen or so rooms to a mammoth text adventure spanning over 80 rooms. The game was set in Norway and included a mythological Smurf Village. I incorporated several towns and villages into the game, including Oslo, Trondheim, Stavanger and Bergen. Additionally, I added a Flora Island just off the coast of Norway (complete with a functional lighthouse for incoming vessels).

Enchanter: Westfront to Apse
(left) Playing 'Enchanter: Westfront to Apse' (circa 1995).

The game included a sprite title -- WESTFRONT -- as well as a 3-D fractal map of the surrounding countryside (actually just 8 sprites joined together). Finally, I added a scrolling, WINDOWed text display and function keys for easier movement. All in all, the game occupied 206 blocks on disk, leaving approximately 7,000 bytes free (the game was written for the Commodore 128's 40-column mode). Although I lost the original version of this game some time ago -- due to the notorious SAVE-WITH-REPLACE bug -- I rewrote much of it from an earlier version that I found lying around. The result was a game very similar to the original version, albeit without some of the original rooms (Smurf Village was replaced with a 'golden elf' village), commands (a few misc. commands were removed) and a slightly different fighting engine (more balanced than the original).

More on the Story of Westfront to Apse - read about my long lost game, 'Westfront'.
Another retrospective piece on Westfront to Apse - more on 'Westfront'.
The Temple of Westfront - my thoughts and remembrances about 'Westfront'.
The Unabridged Story of Westfront (updated December 1, 2007) - link says it all.

(left) Playing Dunric's 8k Adventure on the ZX Spectrum.

Text Documents

In addition to programming, I am also a prolific writer. I enjoy writing and have even written a couple of books. For now, though, I will include here some of the more interesting documents that I have written which have yet to be published. Feel free to download them and check them out. The documents range from unusual dreams that I have had to a short story called 'The Golden Cat."

Click to join minibasic

Click to join minibasic

(left) Listing a program with Lixter.

The Rabbits of Avalon Hill - my featured short story about rabbits who have lost their carrots.
Commodore Memories - An article on some of my memories related to the Commodore.
Early Computing Memories - A nice article on my early computer memories, stemming from 1983 to the mid-1990s.
More Computing Memories - Another article on my early computer memories, stemming from 1983 to the mid-1990s.
The Seven Dreams of Paul - read about a series of seven unusual dreams that I had once -- all in one night!
The Story of Westfront to Apse - a retrospective piece on my first ever game. Brings back a lot of memories.
Song #54 - a hip-hop song that I wrote just for fun. Not sure how it would sound if actually played.
The Snail Dream - another dream that I had, this time involving a snail and a magic carpet ride.
MINI-BASIC by Sylvain Bizoirre - a modern programming language based off of Li-Chen Wang's Palo Alto Tiny BASIC from 1976
Sprite-Topia - my storyboard for a video game where the 'sprites' need help finding their way home.
The Diskette Experiments - the original (and now infamous) diskette experiments, as conducted by this person from 2003 to 2006.
The Numerica Format - read about my numerical sequencing method for encoding data.
A Loom that also plays music? - my recent theory on a magical loom in space that can be used to play music.
The Linux Rainbow - why Linux will ultimately succeed (originally published in Linux World magazine).
An interview with Gustav - all about the Finland programmer who discovered a message from God.
An interview with Gustav, Part II - a second look at Gustav.
The Frontiers of Adventure - a retrospective on the history of adventure games.
Waterlog - my quest for the perfect balance between drinking too little water and too much.
The Golden Cat - the mystical adventures of Howie, the Golden Cat.

(left) Playing Vampyre Cross.


I have included here several games that I have written, spanning a time period from 1995 to the present. I am still active in programming, and have programmed in languages ranging from the Commodore 64's BASIC 2.0 to Randall Hyde's excellent High Level Assembly (HLA).
HLA AdventureTwilight of the Valkyries
(left) Playing HLA Adventure in Windows XP (circa July 2005). (right) Playing Twilight of the Valkyries in MS-DOS (circa April 1999).

The 2009 2-4KB Games Competition

My Adventure Games (Windows)
 Westfront PC: The Trials of Guilder | HLA Adventure | The Magic Flute | The Golden French Fry | Golgatha | Progue | Twilight of the Valkyries (demo #1) | Twilight of the Valkyries (demo #2) | Conquest of Attica | Orbit Zone | Castle Bally (for Just BASIC) | Westfront Omega: The Amulet of Vega | Ghost of the Fireflies | Dunric's 5K Tiny BASIC adventure | Dark Forest 1 & 2 (MINI-BASIC) | Dark Forest 2 (UBASIC)

My Adventure Games (Commodore)
 Westfront 64 | Westfront to Apse 128 | Westfront to Apse 64 | Mystic Castle | Wizard Castle | B-Venture (C64/VIC-20) | B-Venture (ZX81/Timex Sinclair 1000) | Dragon Castle | Paul's 4K Adventure (Plus/4 version) | Ryan's Disk | Alesian Plains | 8k Adventure (ZX Spectrum version here: ZX Spectrum 8K Adventure) Westfront to Apse II | Esotera | Dyania | Paul's 4K Adventure | Vampyre Cross 64 | Vampyre Cross +4 | Merlin's Quest
My Adventure Games (ZX Spectrum/ZX-81)
8k Adventure (ZX Spectrum version) | 8K Adventure (ZX-81 version) | Andre's 8K Adventure Port
Other programs


ScreenBuilder | ScreenLoader

 Miniwrite (C64) | MINI-BASIC | Ryan's Disk (C64)

Happy Halloween
(left) Marty Francom's ScreenBuilder v1.0.

Dunric's 8K Adventure
(left) Artwork for Dunric's 8K Adventure

My Articles

I have written a number of articles for Linux and Windows specific magazines and online publications, including Byte, Dr. Dobb's Journal and Linux World. Here are but a sampling of these works below.

The Ubuntu Experience (Linux World)
Memory is just like RAM...volatile (Linux World)
The Vanishing Bits (Linux World)
The Commodore Comeback (BYTE.com)
Who Are The Real Victims? (Dr. Dobb's Journal)

Sports & other hobbies

I have always been a huge fan of sports, in particular American college and professional football and basketball. My favorite sport, though, is college football. I love the Arizona State Sun Devils and have been a HUGE fan of their team since the 1980s. Although I graduated from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, I am at heart a Sun Devil.

For pro sports, I am an avid follower of the Phoenix Suns of the NBA (find out who the BEST team in Suns history is by clicking here!), who have always come THIS CLOSE to winning an NBA Title -- only to fall short. But that's why I love them...they try so hard and yet don't often succeed! (sort of like me)

When I'm not watching sports, I enjoy reading, writing and programming. I also like religion, science fiction, history, art and music. The list goes on and on. Most of my interests have been evolving over time, including a love of computers and art. I also like technology and how data is stored on CDs and disks.

(left) Playing Dunric's 8k Adventure on the ZX-81.


Here are several links that I have found in my internet travels. The first link is part of this homepage, as it is my Commodore-specific website called The Commodore User II. The rest are pages from around the web that I found interesting or otherwise useful.

The Commodore User II - my own website devoted to the classic 8-bit Commodore 64/128 line of personal computers.
Tolkien Adventure Games - a website reviewing several adventure gaamees in the J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings mold.
Brass Lantern - a website of interactive fiction enthusiasts, games, reviews and much, much more.
Eidolon's Inn - MULE - a retrospective website on the greatneess tthat is the multi-player classic game M.U.L.E.
Welcome to ExtremeMULEing! - another retrospective website of the classic game.
The Magnetic Scrolls Memorial - a fantastic website devoted to the memory of Magnetic Scrolls, makers of The Pawn.
Artemis' --LustyMUD-- Odds and Ends Site - a website from a legendary LustyMUD player and fan, Artemis.
SaveSURGE.org - Dedicated to the preservation of SURGE - speaks for itself. A website devoted to saving SURGE soda.

Crossroads 2: Pandemonium
(left) Playing Crossroads 2: Pandemonium on the Commodore 64.

That's it for now. I hope to add more useful links in the near future!

Note: The images used on this page were found via Google Image search. If anyone objects to my use of these images, please e-mail me and I'll promptly remove them. Thanks!

Website content, with the exception of images, (C)opyright 2004-2006 by Paul Panks.
All rights reserved.
l u m b e r j a c k s 7 6 @ l y c o s . c o m


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