Al Lowe reveals his Sierra source code collection—then puts all of it on eBay

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Rath Darkblade
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Re: Al Lowe reveals his Sierra source code collection—then puts all of it on eBay

Post by Rath Darkblade » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:46 pm

Hmm. Meanwhile, Al put this up for bids...

Not as exciting as the source code, though, I'm sure.

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Re: Al Lowe reveals his Sierra source code collection—then puts all of it on eBay

Post by Tawmis » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:02 pm

Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:46 pm
Hmm. Meanwhile, Al put this up for bids...

Not as exciting as the source code, though, I'm sure.
Interesting! That's a cool plate!

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Re: Al Lowe reveals his Sierra source code collection—then puts all of it on eBay

Post by Tawmis » Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:48 am

Confirmed it was Activision Lawyers who brought down the source code auctions...
https://www.pcgamer.com/activision-forc ... -auctions/

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Re: Al Lowe reveals his Sierra source code collection—then puts all of it on eBay

Post by Rath Darkblade » Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:01 pm

Hmm, interesting. What is shared code? I'm guessing that's the code for the parser (which is shared across LSL, KQ and SQ), or something like that?

Meanwhile ... bah. :x Lawyers ruin everything. :P

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Re: Al Lowe reveals his Sierra source code collection—then puts all of it on eBay

Post by Tawmis » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:36 pm

Rath Darkblade wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:01 pm
Hmm, interesting. What is shared code? I'm guessing that's the code for the parser (which is shared across LSL, KQ and SQ), or something like that?

Meanwhile ... bah. :x Lawyers ruin everything. :P
Essentially - the base code that was probably used in LSL, was used in KQ, SQ, etc.

But as - I think Collector said elsewhere - it's stupid. The games have been decompiled in AGI/SCI Studio.

You can literally see the code, the art, everything.

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Re: Al Lowe reveals his Sierra source code collection—then puts all of it on eBay

Post by OmerMor » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:55 pm

The shared code is the code for the system scripts.

Essentially SCI and AGI games had the following pieces of source code:
  • An interpreter - The "engine" which runs the game scripts and provides basic functionality for graphics, parser, sound, etc.
  • A compiler - which transforms script code (in text) into a more compact binary form which the interpreter can "read".
  • System scripts - scripts shared between games which are responsible for common stuff like text boxes, moving characters, etc.
  • Game scripts - the game-specific code.
Al was about to share the source for the last 2 items: system and game scripts. Since the system scripts are shared between other games, it could be considered an IP violation to sell them.

It's true that we have decompilers which let's us read the script code. But it's not the same as having the original scripts because:
(a) Decompilers assign "dummy" names for variables and some functions because the compiler drops this information in the compilation process. You still have to do some reverse engineering work to understand what's going on.
(b) All the comments are dropped, which are often used as documentation. The comments is like a time-capsule from the programmers who wrote these games.

Fortunately, I happen to know that the source for Al's games will surface eventually. It'll just take some time.

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Re: Al Lowe reveals his Sierra source code collection—then puts all of it on eBay

Post by MusicallyInspired » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:35 pm

Good to hear.
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