Privateer: Ascii Sector

I'm currently working on the Mercenaries' Guild mission computer and the random mission generator. While working on this I had to make a random ship name generator. What I've come up with is piece of code that has different ways of combining colors and other adjectives with animal names and other nouns. Here are a few randomly generated ship names for your entertainment (some are more fun that others...):

The Chocolate Mockingbird Ten
The Denim Blowfish
The Brown Agenda
The Pigeon 7
The Beige Berlin VIII
The Lavender Abandon
The Jade Babylon
The Cruel Wombat
The Amaranth Block
The Excited Chameleon
The Gigantic Buckle
The Smalt Osprey 8
The Rose Arrowhead 9
The Solid Frogmouth
The Olive Booker
The Buff Apex
The Carmine Lizard
The Chocolate Animal
The Sandpiper Four
The Tan Bribery
The Silver Bitterness
The Chinook Ten
The Fuzzy Agamemnon
The Slimy Goldendoodle
The Salmon Achilles
The Anvil Three
The Blush
The Bigfoot
The Impala Eight
The Tangerine Age
The Prickly Shrike III
The Tan Dormouse
The Juicy Sloughi
The Tangerine Ferret
The Vermilion Apex
The Pumpkin Gemsbok
The Bluff
The Raccoon Seven
The Beefcake
The Bad Bobcat III
The Pink Barrage
The Beauceron III
The Olive Kinkajou
The Wasteful Aztec
The Sticky Ballast
The Khaki Box
The Scrawny Armadillo
The Atrophy VIII
The Uneven Bitewing

So far I've got all the animal names, numbers, colors and other adjectives for the program to choose from, and I've made a list of about 450 nouns to choose from. However, these nouns are only those beginning with A or B, so when the final list has been compiled there will literally be thousands if not millions of different ship names for the program to generate.

Anyway, I'm continuing work on the Mercenaries' Guild computer. I'll probably finish work on it sometime during the weekend or the beginning of next week and then I'll post some screenshots.

Shere Khan

Rear Admiral
hilarious! just please don't include bodyparts in the noun list, or we won't survive "the excited that" and "the cruel this"...
I've completed work on the random mission generator for the Mercenaries' Guild as well as the mission computer for that guild:


The log-on screen to the computer. (You don't have to remember and enter your membership number each time you log on -- as soon as you click on any number, your entire membership number will be entered automatically and you will log on.)


The main screen. The number of missions available to you, as well as the variety of different missions, depends on your rating. The higher your rating, the more and varied missions will be available to you. Whereas the missions available to you differed from base to base (and each time you landed on a base) in the original Privateer, in Ascii Sector the same missions will be available no matter where you access the Mercenaries' Guild network.







Next up is the Merchants' Guild random mission generator and mission computer...
Next up is the Merchants' Guild random mission generator and mission computer...

Scratch that... I'll be working on the Commodity Exchange and a system for simulating the supply and demand of each commodity at each base next, since I'll base the Merchants' Guild missions on these factors.
I was somewhat fearing the Commodity Exchange and the program for simulating supply/demand, but as it turns out, it wasn't nearly as hard as I'd feared. :)

So, primary work on the Commodity Exchange and the commodity market simulator is done:


Log-on screen. I used the palm activator from the Shipyard computer again, as I feel that both the Shipyard and the Commodity Exchange are owned by the bases, whereas the Guild computers are privately operated.


The main screen. The purple top half is the commodities on the base, the bottom green half is on your ship.


For each commodity on each base, there is a price history where you can study the price fluctuations over the past 30 days.


You can also study the price fluctuations of the index price of each commodity. This is the universal price on which the local prices are based.


Contraband commodities are in red. Not all bases will trade contraband.

I'll probably be playing around with the numbers a bit to fine-tune it...
There was a bug in the program when I took these screenshots, so the local prices weren't calculated correctly. That's why the local price of wood is at an incredible low of 24/25 credits (it should have been around 74), even though the price over the past 30 days has fluctuated between 74 and 99 credits. This has now been fixed.
Dang, you're right! :D

Seriously, though, one of my design "philosophies" is that the game should be accessible to casual players even though it's an ASCII game. I think a lot of otherwise excellent ASCII games scare away players because it's just too daunting a task to learn.


I think that this proves that we don't need SVGA or higher graphics to have a fun game.

. . . now how much processor load does this thing take up? Could it conceivably be put onto floppy disks and run on a 286? :p
. . . now how much processor load does this thing take up? Could it conceivably be put onto floppy disks and run on a 286? :p

You could certainly put it onto floppy disks, as the final game will probably be less than 2 mb. As to running it on a 286, however, it'll very likely be way to slow to play. I'm programming it on my portable Pentium 90mHz, and it runs smoothly on that setup. I suspect a 486 will be the minimum system requirement. Even though it's an ASCII game, it does a lot of calculations during spaceflight (especially during dogfights with many participants). Also, as I'm programming this in Pascal, my code probably isn't always the fastest solution.


Rear Admiral
Additionaly, the 286 is a 16-bit processor, nothing written these days will run on it unless you write it specificaly for the 16-bit memory model, and compile in 16 bits. The 386, on the other hand, is a proper 32-bit CPU and most code written today can be compiled to run on it (albeit slowly) with no modifications.
I'm still primarily working on the Merchants' Guild and private missions, but I've finished the layouts of a few more bases:

Andingmen (Mining Base)



Hooper's Hope (Mining Base)



Munroe (Pirate Base)

I'll be on vacation in Australia from July 4th to July 26th, so I probably won't be checking these boards much during that period.


This looks absolutely wonderful. I can't believe you were able to get so much done in such a short period of time.

I was kind of hoping back on April 1st that one of the CIC joke headlines would be that you announced the operating requirements for the game to be an Intel Core 2 processor with 4 GB of RAM and 5 GB of HD space, or something like that.