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Source code for original Prince of Persia found and recovered. [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : Source code for original Prince of Persia found and recovered.


Jay G.
04-18-12, 02:34 PM
Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner had thought the original Apple II source code for his game was lost until 2 weeks ago when his dad shipped him a box of floppies. He then took on the arduous task of trying to read those floppies and retrieve the data. Mechner has covered it in his blog.

First the discovery of the discs:
http://jordanmechner.com/blog/2012/03/prince-of-persia-source-code-found/

Then, getting help to extract/recover the data:
http://jordanmechner.com/blog/2012/04/textfiles/

And finally, success!
http://jordanmechner.com/blog/2012/04/source/

The source code is now on GitHub.

kefrank
04-18-12, 03:27 PM
That's a cool story. I played the crap out of Prince of Persia on our Apple IIc+ as a kid.

MoviePage
04-18-12, 03:50 PM
Disappointed that it wasn't written on an ancient scroll, protected by dark magic.

Jay G.
04-18-12, 03:58 PM
I found it interesting that for the version of the game hidden in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, they used the source code for the Mac port of the game, since the Apple II source code was missing, meaning it was a port of a port.

Jordan Mechner has also posted a disk image of his game Deathbounce, which was the game he made before Karateka that Borderbound rejected.
http://jordanmechner.com/blog/2012/04/deathbounce/

It's already been ported to web-playable versions:
http://www.megidish.net/deathbounce/
http://www.virtualapple.org/deathbounce.html

kgrogers1979
04-18-12, 04:57 PM
The Mac version was the best anyway. It was the same exact game, just with better graphics.

edstein
04-18-12, 05:59 PM
Sorry for the thread crap but how is this news worthy? I mean if it was the first video game ever created maybe but what makes that game so special.

DonnachaOne
04-18-12, 06:05 PM
Source code for original Prince of Persia

http://omelete.uol.com.br/imagens/cinema/artigos2/contra_o_tempo/3.jpg http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2555/4099739044_833b29d3d8_m.jpg

Sound like another good trade at the Jake Gyllenhaal convention.

kgrogers1979
04-18-12, 06:19 PM
Sorry for the thread crap but how is this news worthy? I mean if it was the first video game ever created maybe but what makes that game so special.

Seriously? Prince of Persia was incredibly revolutionary. It was the first game to use motion capture technology for very fluid animations. Remember this was the late 80s when NES was king. NES games didn't have great animations, and Prince of Persia was so fluid it was like playing a cartoon.

MoviePage
04-18-12, 06:27 PM
Sound like another good trade at the Jake Gyllenhaal convention.

http://gifsforum.com/images/gif/clap%20clap%20clap/grand/sjongyu_laughter_gif.gif

Jay G.
04-18-12, 10:26 PM
Seriously? Prince of Persia was incredibly revolutionary. It was the first game to use motion capture technology for very fluid animations. Remember this was the late 80s when NES was king. NES games didn't have great animations, and Prince of Persia was so fluid it was like playing a cartoon.
Actually, it was Jordan Mechner's previous game, Karateka, that first used rotoscoping, but PoP was still notable for this method of animating the game.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karateka_(video_game)#Development

For me, PoP is an undeniable classic, but what made the story really noteworthy was that the source code had been lost for so long, and that when discovered, it was really hard to extract it from the media it was found on. It makes you wonder what other great games or programs have had their source code completely lost to time.

bluetoast
04-18-12, 11:33 PM
Yeah those blog posts were an interesting read, and further made me want to back up my files. Wish he had talked more about the actual extraction process though.

Supermallet
04-18-12, 11:36 PM
Sorry for the thread crap but how is this news worthy? I mean if it was the first video game ever created maybe but what makes that game so special.

You're right, from now on only threads pertaining to the first video game ever made will be allowed on here.

You've been warned!

Rob V
04-19-12, 07:10 AM
Can a mod please confirm the first video game? I assume it's Pong but I don't want to get banned if I'm wrong.

Jay G.
04-19-12, 07:35 AM
Yeah those blog posts were an interesting read, and further made me want to back up my files. Wish he had talked more about the actual extraction process though.
I would think Jason Scott would be the one to write about the actual recovery process. However, they both tweeted about the recovery while it was happening:
http://twitter.com/#!/textfiles
http://twitter.com/#!/jmechner

Some photos from the recovery party:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/textfiles/sets/72157629835864723/with/6940345164/

A pic of restoring a hard drive image from old floppy backups:
http://twitter.com/#!/jmechner/status/192101783898816512/photo/1

The original photographs used for rotoscoping the Prince's movements:
http://twitter.com/#!/textfiles/status/192689138074533888/photo/1

A "do not copy!" label on one of the discs:
http://twitter.com/#!/jmechner/status/192119201522130945/photo/1

They also recovered a Tetris clone that Borderbund Roland Gustafson programmed for fun back in the day:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/textfiles/6894439188/in/set-72157629727983887


Here's a thread where Jason Scott goes in depth on a "copy protected" disc format from that age:
http://www.metafilter.com/90693/Wozs-Ring#3025070

And here's a technical document describing the operation of this source code:
http://jordanmechner.com/wp-content/uploads/1989/10/popsource009.pdf

I'm guessing the document was put together to help with ports.

RocShemp
04-19-12, 07:47 AM
http://omelete.uol.com.br/imagens/cinema/artigos2/contra_o_tempo/3.jpg http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2555/4099739044_833b29d3d8_m.jpg

Sound like another good trade at the Jake Gyllenhaal convention.

rotfl

I like and own both those movies on BD. :blush:

kefrank
04-19-12, 08:33 AM
Sorry for the thread crap but how is this news worthy? I mean if it was the first video game ever created maybe but what makes that game so special.
Sorry to crap on your threadcrap, but are you serious? Beyond just the fascinating story of retrieving the source code from such an old format, the game itself is the first game in a franchise that has lasted 20 years, spawning at least 7 more games and one major hollywood motion picture. There are only a handful of games from the 80s that can boast a similar resume.

Jay G.
04-19-12, 08:36 AM
Can a mod please confirm the first video game? I assume it's Pong but I don't want to get banned if I'm wrong.
It depends on what you consider a video game. By some definitions, the first video game was released in 1947:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_video_game

Pong was the first commercially successful video game, and what led to the start of the video game industry. The first home video game system, the Magnavox Odyssey, actually beat Pong to the market by six months and had a table tennis game of its own, which Magnavox claimed Atari ripped off for Pong. Atari ended up paying Magnavox to license the game.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pong#Lawsuit_from_Magnavox

Jay G.
04-19-12, 11:00 AM
Prince of Persia Source II: The Disks of Time
http://www.flickr.com/photos/textfiles/sets/72157629477754330/with/6942850992/
After duplicating the relevant high-value disks in Jordan Mechner's collection, he brought out a second, larger box of older Apple II floppy disks. I'd like to duplicate these too, but would like to prioritize on disks that are recognizably higher value historically - your job, if you choose to accept it, is to comment on these floppy disk images as to their value or likely rarity. GO.

The Bus
04-19-12, 04:06 PM
Disappointed that it wasn't written on an ancient scroll, protected by dark magic.

:lol: