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The Definitive History of Backwood Realm Systems: 1998 PDF Print E-mail

"The year of the Realm"

1998 was the most significant year in the "QBASIC" days of BWRS. I took my first formal training in programming ever, or in IT for that matter (though I didn't know that was the formal name of the industry.) It was David Yeary's "Programming in QuickBASIC" class at the North Lawrence Vocational Technical Center my junior year of high school. I learned flowcharting, as well as many things I'd failed to learn about data types, file I/O, and other programming logic. Many of these things have remained useful to me to the present time. '98 was an invaluable learning time to me, as I was more fascinated than ever about programming and computing in general, as you will see below.

1998 saw the demise of the Backwood Realm BBS. My installation of Wildcat! 5 crashed out sometime in this period, and the BBS was no more. I installed Wildcat! 4.12 Multiline 10, but lost interest rather quickly.

However, the death of the BBS by no means hindered Backwood Realm Systems as a whole. My programming skills continued to improve, and, inspired by my pastor at the time, John McGaha, I wrote my first BIG software release. I thought it would be a good thing to write a bible quizzing program, so I came up with the name BibleSMART and ran with it! The only annoying and obviously amateur thing: you have to have the caps lock on to play it!


The BibleSMART 1.0 title screen. It very much has a Chatterbox sort of feel to it.


BibleSMART in action!

After BibleSMART's May release, I decided that it was time for a new version of Chatterbox. I started on it, and then never finished it. This was destined to happen again and again. I have found a copy of it to post pictures of it. Do enjoy!


Intro screen for Chatterbox 2.0. I was obviously going after the BibleSMART look and feel at the time.

Next, as my memory recalls, I invented a DOS-based screen saver to save the life of the monitors on my classic IBM Personal System/2 386 machines. I called it "Yet Another Screen Saver", and it had a little config program that allowed you to put a little line of text at the bottom of the screen that changed color. Pretty spiffy.


Here's the nifty little config program. Uses that old "title in a box" thing I used to love so much there at the bottom.


Here's the bottom portion of the actual screen saver's screen. If I recall correctly, this is the first BASIC program that ran in 640x480 graphics mode. Nifty, huh?

Around this time period, I also wrote the "DOS Color Key", which printed out a little screen that showed all sixteen possible DOS graphics colors in text mode and their refrence number. I'll claim it and the YASS Config program as my very first utilities.

Now we've reached the point of November. Around 11/8/98, I was sitting at my old 386 PS/2 in my bedroom with QBASIC open, just seeing what I could program. A month earlier I had discovered how to make it spit out random numbers between 1-80 and 1-22 for Yet Another Screen Saver, so it could print it's little astricks in random spots on the monitor. Realizing the power this kind of code has, I opened up the "Operation Redneck" code from the year before, and knew what it would take to make it functional. Since the idea of that game didn't appeal to me, I began to design a new idea. I wanted an amusing game that mostly only my friends would understand. I decided I was gonna write a game about the community I lived in, which is called Buddha. It was the last time I got a title screen done first for a game for anytime afterwards.

As a matter of fact, the long-standing BWRS logo that I used from 1998 to April 2002 (and is also the basis for the current logo) came from the fact that I was trying to convert the logo I had used in BibleSMART into something to use for another game. Instead, I came up with that, and it stuck.


The original BWRS logo


The 2nd generation BWRS Logo (1998 to 2002)

I began coding "Livin' In Buddha" throughout the rest of November and most of December '98, and I had a semi-functional Beta version (w/player data system, Abel's arsenal, and Main Menu intact) ready by New Years' Eve.

Little did I know what I was on to...

 

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