Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

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Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by pinback » Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:53 pm

As some of you know, I was -- and still am -- a huge fan of the old DOS game, "Begin: A Tactical Starship Simulation", and it's very occasional iterations through the years. I've started an exciting new series called...

Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing wherein I try to come up with as many wacky ways as I can to play the game on devices that it was never intended for. There are only a few examples so far, one being on an Android phone, and the most recent being in-browser, which I just got finished setting up here: (requires JavaScript).

I'm posting this here because there are a few retro-minded folk here who might appreciate this, but more importantly, have ideas to expand the list. If you had some stanky ol' DOS games you wanted to see what cool places you could run 'em, what would ya do?
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:01 pm

This is the sort of thing that I hope makes you famous on HackerNews or something!

Ok, the RetroPie has DOSBox on it. So I could load it into my RetroPie which is connected to a television and then take a picture of, like a small child playing it? Would that be helpful? He's not gonna know shit about Begin!!
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:18 pm

Also, I thought maybe we could bring back segregation to the Championship Begin tournament, so anyone remotely of color playing it would also be wrong.
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by pinback » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:59 pm

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:01 pm
Ok, the RetroPie has DOSBox on it. So I could load it into my RetroPie which is connected to a television and then take a picture of, like a small child playing it? Would that be helpful?
That is playing Begin on the wrong thing! Are you able to procure your own small child or do we need to fiverr this one?
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:13 am

we got kid
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:13 am

Also, I want to get into this game. What's the right thing, so we know the wrong thing?
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by pinback » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:38 am

The location of my in-browser version has changed. The last one didn't work: http://pinback.net:8080/

"How to get into the game". Well, first, be bored at work in 1987, that's the best way. However, the path now is:

0.5. Visit my fan page and get PSYCHED!!!

1. Download the latest Windows version.

2. Unzip it and run it. This is all set in the unlicensed Star Trek universe, so make yourself Kirk and be the Federation, or whatever you want.

3. Read through this "example game" page that Ben Hallert (all people who like Begin are named "Ben", which proves the old maxim, "You can't spell Begin without Ben") set up, to get the general idea of what we're doing here: Example Game. Note, this is Begin 2, but all versions of Begin are virtually the same, with a few bells and whistles here and there.

4. Consult the Library, which is just a wikified version of the current in-game documentation, but I'm the one who wikified it, and the only person who has contributed to that wiki in any reasonable fashion since it was created.

5. Learn your history. Begin is just a fancy version of Trek73. You are now DELVING DEEP into computer game history. Also how is it possible that this game is still fun? But it is.

6. Get a job where you can have a Begin window open somewhere where nobody notices, and ENJOY YOUR GAME!
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by pinback » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:50 pm

Here is the Begin section of the Trek73 wiki page:
While at the University of Iowa, Tom Nelson and Mike Higgins played and made modifications to TREK73 on one of the University HP2000 system. In 1984 they created Begin, A Tactical Starship Simulation for MS-DOS. Begin was not a port of TREK73. It was written in C and was very much inspired by TREK73.[8] In 1993 Higgins released Begin 2, a VGA version for MS-DOS, and in 2009 Nelson released Begin 3 for Windows.
So, that's where it all... BEGINNED???

Nobody knows what happened to Mike Higgins, but Tom Nelson is active to this day on the Facebook group. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/StarfleetProject)
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by pinback » Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:15 pm

Above all else... We shall go on... And continue!

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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:08 pm

We are finally through the capers in my life. I said that I would have more time for the people that are important to me, which you all are.

Here is my (first?) instance of Begin on the Wrong Thing - Begin being played on a RetroPie. The RetroPie is in a fake NES shell, not depicted, because I couldn't get the cord to reach. I had to plug in a USB keyboard in order to enter the name of my captain and which side I was on.

ImageBegin by bluejays2017, on Flickr
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by pinback » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:56 am

Great job! You are playing Begin on the wrong thing!

EDIT: You're in the hunt!
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:17 pm

So, starting it up, I sort of get it now. You give your Commander's name, which should always be Kirk. But you then sort of ... do you order ships?

Do you go SHOPPING at the beginning of Begin? If so - I love it. Begin and Keystone Kapers, the two 80s games that take place in a mall.
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by pinback » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:59 pm

Yeah, you just pick the ships you want, and if you've picked more than one kind, you have to specify which is the "Flagship". That will be the ship that you directly control. You can control allies by saying things like "tell reliant attack eagle" or whatever.

I would start out just 1v1, though. A good ol' Federation Heavy Cruiser vs. Klingon Battle Cruiser is a nice, traditional, easy to follow battle.

After picking name and sides, these three commands would do it (although as in most text adventures, you can shorten the commands as much as you want, as long as they're still unique:
ally 1 heavy ("al 1 h" also works)
enemy 1 bat ("en 1 b")
begin
After that, load up some torpedoes, lock 'em on your enemy, lock the phasers on, tell the helm to do something, and start blasting away. Begin 2+ added different types of torpedoes -- in 1.65, you could just type "load all torps", but now you have to specify a class.

This is all in the library (which you can get by typing "lib" or by going to this handy website, which, you're welcome.)
load all torps mk7...
lock all torps on (whatever)
lock all banks on (whatever)
helm 270 5
fire all torps
Wheee, space battles.
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by Flack » Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:11 pm

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:17 pm
You give your Commander's name, which should always be Kirk.
I used TDarcos, because, you know, Kingons.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by Jizaboz » Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:16 pm

If I try this in the VM of your choice will you guys finally play Quake II with me?

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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:08 am

Dude. DUDE. The only reason I haven't been playing Quake II with you is because I keep forgetting your server is up. Let's start a thread and get on that!
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by pinback » Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:11 am

Let's BEGIN!!

Image

...to play Quake.

Image
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by Jizaboz » Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:42 pm

pinback wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:11 am
Let's BEGIN!!

...to play Quake.
Hahah I'm really trying it though! Messing in web browser atm and will try real DOSBOX later on I think. The startup sound made me jump haha.

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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by pinback » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:11 pm

Well, if anyone here wants to play Begin, they should get the latest, 3.0.1, which is a Windows version and looks/plays the best. Look at those fancy-ass graphics!

http://starfleetproject.com/begin/Begin301b151.zip

Image
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Re: Playing Begin on the Wrong Thing

Post by pinback » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:19 pm

For me, the best thing would be -- and I have no idea if it's possible -- to find a way to play Begin inside another game. Like, you know how some games -- even little-known indie roguelites -- have a computer monitor in the game where you can sit down and one of the choices is to play some sort of retro-style game on that monitor? Starcraft II did it, even.

There probably isn't, but it would be cool if one of those game-within-a-game thing used some sort of emulator or wrapper you could plug shit into.

It's probably not possible, but that would be cool.
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