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Realitystorm

16 color Sierra AGi games released for Macintosh II on later 68x Macs

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Looking at my old games I realized I have a possibly rare Macintosh II version of the original Mixed Up Mother Goose that supports both 1bit b&w and 4bit color (16 colors).

I've been looking around the net and found an excerpt from Sierra Interaction that says all the AGI games for the Mac were upgraded from B&W (1bit) to color (4bit/16 color) for the Macintosh II.
http://sierrainteraction.wikidot.com/sierra-completes-conversion-of-color-macintosh-games

So I gave it a try in OS 7.1 on my Color Classic in 4bit/16 color mode, it loads, but I end up with a "tiny" of the game in the upper part of the screen, so I'm assuming its due to an incompatibility with the GPU.
To test my guess I downloaded mini-Vmac compiled for the Mac IIx and 4bit/16 color and tried that running OS 7.1.  It worked perfectly.

So, my questions: 

  • does anyone else have a copy of these games?
  • is there anyway to get these Sierra games to work on my Macintosh Color Classic / LCIII, or am I out of luck?

 

Steve.

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It could be the Color Classic having a bit of an odd resolution for a Mac II-like computer.

 

I'm pretty sure I've had Space Quest III running on my Quadra without any visible issues, and that was on Mac OS 8.1. Although come to think of it, that was running on SCI 1, not AGI.

Edited by nglevin

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On 8/24/2018 at 5:46 PM, Realitystorm said:

Looking at my old games I realized I have a possibly rare Macintosh II version of the original Mixed Up Mother Goose that supports both 1bit b&w and 4bit color (16 colors).

 

It's definitely rare! The Mac AGI version of Mixed-Up Mother Goose has never been archived online in any form. I'd really appreciate it if you could upload your disk image(s) to Macintosh Garden or wherever is most convenient for you.

 

To answer your questions: I agree with nglevin's suggestion that the Color Classic's 512x384 screen resolution is the issue. I tested every copy I could find of the other ten Mac AGI games, and found that there were three generations of the engine:

 

  • Version 1.0 only runs in black and white.
  • Version 1.5 adds support for 16 colors at 640x480. At 512x384 in Mini vMac, the game window is a small misshapen rectangle with wildly wrong colors.
  • Version 2.0 adds support for 16 colors at 512x384, although it does this by unevenly downscaling the 640x480 graphics.

 

Most copies of these games use the v1.5 interpreter. The only one I found in v2.0 form is Leisure Suit Larry. The one game that hasn't been uploaded in color yet is King's Quest 1, but thanks to that article you found, we know that it does exist.

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So I've put together a blog entry on AGI games from Sierra for the Macintosh.   Thanks to the work of others, I was able to use scans of Sierra's newsletters, and scans of MacWorld to piece together a timeline of releases and versions.

 

Turns out that for a brief period in addition to the typical quest games, Donald Duck's Playground was available on the Macintosh.... I've never seen it.

http://www.savagetaylor.com/2019/12/15/68k-macintosh-and-sierra-agi-games/

 

As I have time I plan to go through the AGI games using mini vMac's Macintosh II emulator to get what versions I have (since many crash on load on my LC 475).   If anyone wants to help, please use the comment section on the entry to provide the game version + interpreter versions for any copies you have that aren't already listed.

 

Steve.

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First of all, nice find, I had no idea these existed in color.  I had one of the King’s Quest games running on a Mac II as a kid (King’s Quest III, I think?) and remember finding it very disappointing, with black-and-white dithered graphics and being an obvious 2x up-scale of a game made for a lower-resolution platform with no attempt at smoothing the graphics.  (I always preferred Infocom games, maybe for that reason...)

 

That said, I feel slightly dumb for asking but — what does AGI stand for?

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25 minutes ago, Crutch said:

what does AGI stand for?

Adventure Game Interpreter, it was created to simplify coding their typical style of adventure games, and make them more "portable" between platforms.  Unfortunately the support for Macintosh seems to have quite a few issues.

Edited by Realitystorm

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AGI was the first proper "game engine" for Sierra's adventure games, one that happened to be best optimized for the PCjr and the Tandy computer that was built as a clone of it.

 

It was replaced in 1989 with SCI0 for "hires" 320x200 pixel graphics, object-oriented scripting, proper music (Roland MT-32) and sound (AdLib compatible, which was cloned by the Sound Blaster cards). Most in house Sierra games used some variant of SCI up until they started experimenting with real-time rendered 3D graphics.

 

This forum post does a good job of breaking down the evolutionary differences.

 

Speaking of AGI on Apple, I remember the Apple IIgs had a nice Black Cauldron port. Nearly every IIgs AGI port had mouse support and some new sound effects.

Edited by nglevin

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I may have found a solution to the issue with the 16 color versions of Sierra AGI games.

In one of the sierra newsletters they mention an incompatibility between the AGI games and the 32 bit version of quickdraw vs the 24 bit version.

https://archive.org/details/Sierra_News_Magazine_The_Volume_3_Number_2_Summer_1990_1990_Sierra_On-Line_US/page/n27

 

What I need to determine is if there is a way to downgrade my LC 475 to use the 24 bit quickdraw instead of the 32bit.... I've already tried booting my system in 24bit mode to see if that fixed the issue... it did not :-(.   What I'm researching now is if quickdraw 32bit is or is not built in to the LC's rom.

 

 

 

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You are probably out of luck, as this tech note indicates that 32-bit QuickDraw was put into every ROM starting from the Macintosh IIci, and AFAIK it was only "optional" for System 6.

 

I do wonder if someone could fix the games in a patch to address 32 bit QD compatibility, but that might require some quality time with MacNosy and the courage to futz with a hex editor. You can still purchase a copy from Steve Jasik for $99, if interested in going down that road.

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I was wondering if anyone has any of the Sierra Macintosh Games in their collection that our newer releases than those found online.

When I reconstructed the timeline for releases I found announcements of patch disks (see figure 10 on http://www.savagetaylor.com/2019/12/15/68k-macintosh-and-sierra-agi-games/) which appear to be newer versions than anything I've found online.   Did any of you play these games and get the patch disks?   I've also tracked down some of Sierra's Macintosh developers through linkedIn hoping one of them might have pulled an Al Lowe and kept some of their old work, no luck so far :-(

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