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The Fortran version of the classical Colossal Cave adventure was
developed by Willie Crowther, Don Woods and Gary Palter. This game,
enjoyed by many of us in the 1970s, had about 80 locations and numerous
puzzles to be solved. If played optimally it could yield 360 points, at
which stage "a cheering band of friendly elves carry the conquering
adventurer off into the sunset".
Colossal Cave was great fun but it had one major drawback - it was finite; you could eventually achieve a perfect score, become an Adventurer Grandmaster and that was that. It might take many months to achieve perfection, but once you had done it what was left? You could hang around the office enjoying the struggles of Novice Class Adventurers, perhaps dropping the occasion hint to help them on their way or you could get on with real life - such as it is. I decided that it would be fun to try to write an adventure program which resembled real life in its scope and unpredictability. The result, Chimaera, was first conceived in 1983 and implemented in Fortran in January 1984.
A Chimaera is defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as:
n 1. (Gk Myth.) Monster with lion's head, goat's body, and serpent's tail. 2. Bogy; thing of hybrid character; fanciful conception; hence chimerical (k-) a 3. (Biol.) Organism formed by grafting etc. from tissues of different genetic origin. 4. (Zool.) Fish of family Chimaeridae. [f. L f. Gk khimaira she-goat, chimera]The Chimaera is intended to be 'a thing of hybrid character and fanciful conception'. Superficially it resembles Colossal Cave (indeed there has been a little grafting) but it avoids many of the earlier program's limitations and there is no easily definable maximum score. There are limits to the number of objects and creatures to be found, but some of these are virtual and do not even exist until certain conditions have been met. Furthermore it appears to the user that there are an indefinite number of locations; the descriptions and properties of these are determined programmatically. And to add further complexity there are 11 Chimaera adventures to choose from (see below).
For over a decade Chimaera version 1.113 [Fortran] languished in the archives until a meeting with an old and valued friend early in 2002 stimulated me to revisit the program. I decided to recode it in ANSI C and the present program Chimaera version c1.001 is the result.
Players are graded according to their score when they leave the program. So far very few players have progressed beyond the Apprentice grade.
|600-699||Second Class||700-799||First Class|
This document is © Chris Newall 2002 and is freely available.
It is not for sale or general publication.
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Mike Arnautov (23 December 2016)