I’ve been buying up more PC Zones so I’ve skipped forward and scanned the last two issues ever published from October and November 2010. There are some decent games covered in these as well as a lengthy look back at 17 years of the magazine. PC Zone ran for an impressive 225 issues of which I’ve now got scans of 113. That means that about 7 or 8 years after I started I’ve only just crossed the half way point. A lot more scanning to be done if I’m ever going to get there but the pace is clearly a lot brisker than it was. The scans are in the same place as ever at http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone
The server is now fully up and running as far as I’m aware. I’ve recovered low-res versions of all the missing images from Google images so all that is missing are a handful of posts and all the comments. To make sure I don’t have this issue again, I’ve set up automatic backing up for the database and fixed the manual backup for the files themselves. With that sorted out, I can actually get on with adding some content again in the shape of this weeks PC Zone scan.
I’ll keep working my way back so this issue is another from 2009. It’s a marked improvement on the last one with a good number of memorable games such as Arkham Asylum, Bioshock 2, Braid (which I still haven’t played!), Borderlands and Plants Vs Zombies which is a game that I’d swear came out years before all those others. The scan is in the same place as ever at http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone
A couple of days ago, my webserver failed catastrophically and I’ve spent tonight trying to get everything working again on a new server. I used to be diligent about taking backups but the last one I had was from back in January, meaning that everything from this year has been lost. That isn’t quite as bad as it sounds at first. I have made sure to keep all the PC Zone scans which have been the main content this year. I have copies of Vecalabeth and the Ultima Patcher with the source code for both, and the scan of the Underworld 3 Design Docs.
Most of this years posts are on the internet archive so I’ve recreated all of those. These are a quick bodge job and I may go back and tidy them up. What has been lost in that process are most of the images and all the comments. Not ideal but it is what it is. There may still be a chance to recover my old server but my provider isn’t being too forthcoming with information and it’s probably not going to happen so we plough on from here. The lesson from this, which I already knew even if I didn’t actually do it, is to take regular backups! An old backup is a whole lot better than no backup at least.
I can’t say I’ve tested it properly yet but just about everything seems to be working now. One exception is the contact form so if you spot anything else I need to fix best leave a comment for now.
I’m down into the single digits now with these PC Zone scans. Nothing particularly stands out in this issue for me but I guess the biggest review in here is Flight Simulator 5, not a game that’s up my street but I still had a copy at the time to show off the PC. Said PC wasn’t up to it of course. More to my tastes are the adventure games Gateway II and Lost In Time but while I own them I still haven’t played them. I should mention the Silver Seed review but I’m sure I scanned that one for the site long ago and there is also a lengthy Sim City 2000 preview.
Two more issues before I run out. The scan can be found at http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone
The remaining fixes turned out to be something I could knock off in what was left of my lunch break. I tested it all last night, fixed a couple of other bugs I found and did a complete playthrough of the game. Having played through it, I changed my mind about the hit point reward when you leave a dungeon and put them back how it was. The game is definitely beatable anyway so I’m calling it done for now. I may revisit it at some point but I reckon I’ve achieved what I wanted when I set out. I’ll fix issues if anyone reports anything but right now I’m dubious as to whether anyone else will ever even play it. You can grab this latest version is at http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/Vecalabeth.rar as before.
Aside from a Vectrex, you’ll clearly need a Vectrex32 to run it which isn’t cheap and my port certainly isn’t worth that asking price on its own. It undoubtedly makes writing Vectrex games way, way easier than it would be otherwise so if you ever fancied creating a game of your own I’d certainly recommend picking one up. The BASIC variant it uses is still primitive but it’s no doubt a joyful experience compared to the alternative. I had quite a few issues with bugs when I first bought it but the updates since then have improved things no end. My overriding complaint is still the lack of emulation so that I have to load and run my code on real hardware all the time. Aside from the inconvenience, it seems like unnecessary wear and tear on an ever more valuable system. To compensate, I’ve been doing this oldschool and writing the code in a text editor (usually during my lunch) and then only running it when I’ve made decent progress. This isn’t how I prefer to code but it forces me into it.
If anyone does play Vecalabeth, please let me know how you get on. I think it’s a decent approximation of the original but I could do with some other opinions.