Converting ZX Spectrum PAWs games to multi-platform via ANTUR & DAAD

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Converting ZX Spectrum PAWs games to multi-platform via ANTUR & DAAD

Post by 8BitAG » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:34 am

As you may know, adventure author and digital archaeologist Stefan Vogt has been doing a lot of work recently with the DAAD text adventure system. An evolution of the old Quill and PAWs systems from Gilsoft, DAAD was commissioned for the exclusive use of Spanish text adventure legends Aventuras A.D. but was kindly made available to the general retro gaming community five years or so ago.

Stefan has worked with Tim Gilberts to painstakingly recover, and in many cases, rebuild the English version of DAAD. He's now just finished work on the beta version of his transcompiler, ANTUR. ANTUR will take the source code of a PAWed adventure and convert it to code that can, with minimal work, produce a fully-working DAAD-based text adventure.

Why bother with DAAD? Well apart from being the next step on from the PAWs, DAAD allows you to take a single source file and produce a version of your adventure to target the Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amstrad PCW, MSX, Commodore 64, PC DOS, Atari ST and Amiga! Only the Spectrum, PC DOS and CP/M-capable machines like the Amstrad previously had access to the PAWs.

There are a few restrictions. One of which is, that you need to feed ANTUR the source code from the CP/M version of the PAWs... However, you can use a tool like inPAWs to get from a Spectrum database to a CP/M game. I've written some guides of how to go about this. It's fairly straightforward. John Wilson, of Zenobi, has used this method to convert many (it seems like over a hundred!) of his catalogue of Spectrum Zenobi titles to CP/M PAWs.

As a first little test, I've quickly had a go at producing some DAAD versions of one of the old games Scott and I wrote, 'The Quest for the Holy Snail'. I'm still learning the system, especially the DAAD side, and I already had a working CP/M version of the game, but it was still relatively easy to port the game over. You can see the initial results here: More versions, more tweaks (such as proper loaders) and source code will follow.

If you want to try it yourself, with your own PAWed games (or even Quilled ones... there is a process you can work through for those), then check out Stefan's page on DAAD and then pop along to his Github page for ANTUR. It is still in beta form, but it does seem to work very well.
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