Came To Be
|When I first played the original 1991 CyberBox game by Doug
Beeferman, I immediately fell in love with it. I thought
it was a lot
of fun. To me it was completely original (I had yet to
see a Sokoban type game) and although the game was simple
to understand and explain, many of the puzzles were quite
challenging to solve, especially if one wanted to find
the absolute shortest solution. The game didn't require
fast reflexes, and was the type of game that could appeal
to both male and female as well as the young and the old.
At the same time, as much as I enjoyed it, I was also very disappointed with the program because I "finished" it too quickly! I'm sure I easily solved all 17 of Doug's puzzles within the first day. I recall wishing there were more CyberBox puzzles to solve.
Even then, with very little programming experience (I was just beginning to learn BASIC at the time) I thought it probably wouldn't be too hard to write my OWN CyberBox game. However, I was probably involved with some other interest or project at the time and never followed up on it.
In the very early '90s, for a short time I was a member of the online service PRODIGY. Several months after playing CyberBox, I noticed a note on one of the PRODIGY bulletin boards from a fellow member who was interested in acquiring additional puzzle-type games on his PC. He mentioned he enjoyed playing CyberBox II and was looking for something similar. CyberBox II? I wasn't aware a sequel existed! I quickly made arrangements to get a copy of it. However, after receiving it, I was very disappointed. Granted, the game was very well done but the format had completely changed from the original version. After playing CyberBox II, I much preferred the original game. Playing CyberBox II that afternoon is what gave me the incentive to write my OWN CyberBox game... and to write something closer to the original format.
I started writing my own CyberBox program during the fall of 1992. I worked on it for almost four months straight... every single day, every night, most weekends, etc. In fact, many weekends I found myself working on it all weekend long! I had very little programming experience at this point and many things I had to learn through trial and error.
In January of 1993 I was so BURNED OUT over this silly game I just had to put it up for a while. My intent was to step away from it for just a few weeks. Well, stepping away from it turned out to be a mistake because after doing so I didn't pick it up again for six months!
Furthermore, once I finally did begin working on it again, the first few days were spent simply trying to figure out what some of my coded modules and subroutines were doing! Granted, I try to write well documented, structured code, but most programmers do tend to get a little "sloppy" in their coding from time to time.
Then, a few months later, I moved from Michigan to Arizona. That took time (packing, renting and loading my U-Haul truck, moving, unpacking, etc.) so I was once again forced to put the program on hold for a while. I started working on it a few weeks later and once again found myself working on it for several months straight. Well, the same thing happened again! I got so burned out over the game I again had to put it away for awhile. And once again, after I put it away, I didn't pick it up again for another six months.
I finally started working on it a third time and then finally seeing the program near its completion gave me the incentive to finish it. Of course, is any program every completely done? Over the next few years I continued to add features and enhancements to it, as well as correct minor programming bugs. Take a look at the number of revisions the program has gone through.
I've estimated the number of hours I've spent on this game and there is no point in even mentioning it since absolutely no one would believe me.
I started coding it long before "the Internet" was a household term. When I had a question or a problem with my program, I had no one to turn to. None of my friends knew anthing about programming. I was forced to open the textbooks, experiment, and often figure it out by trial and error. Today, of course, there are internet chatrooms, internet bulletin boards, online programming clubs, etc., with literally hundreds of people available to help.
I've always believed if a programmer is going to take the time to write a computer program, especially if it's similar to a program that already exists, the programmer should improve upon the original program, in as many ways as possible. Otherwise, why bother? If you haven't seen it, take a look at my enhancement chart to see the list of enhancements and features I incorporated in own my CyberBox game, compared with Doug's original version. This, of course, is the main reason why it took me so long to finish the game. I added many enhancements to the program.
I certainly hope some day someone else decides to write their own version of CyberBox and I certainly hope they improve upon my game the same way I improved upon Doug's.
I had a lot of fun writing The Continuing Adventures of CyberBox. In fact, I look back on that period of my life and it brings back many happy memories. It turned out to be a very fulfilling endeavor. Even now, as I look at the number of lines of code in the program and the complexity of it all, I can't believe I had the time, patience, and energy for such a task. Somehow I just don't see myself ever being able to do something like that again.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the hundreds and hundreds of letters from men and women all over the world who have written to me and told me how much they've enjoyed my game. I've saved every single one of them. These letters of praise have helped make the entire project worthwhile. Thanks to everyone who has ever written to me. A small sample of some of these comments can be found here.
While writing the game, I had a tough time deciding on what to call it. Ed's CyberBox? Deluxe CyberBox? MORE CyberBox? A co-worker suggested the games actual title and although it's a bit long, the more I thought about it the more I liked it, especially after I wrote the Room Editor program, making it much easier to create new rooms. So it really will be... The Continuing Adventures!