Thirty years ago—on January 15, 1991 —an American college student named Tim Sweeney released ZZT , a low-key adventure game with a revolutionary element: It shipped with a free, built-in game editor. ZZT’s success spawned Epic Games, Unreal Engine, and most recently, Fortnite . Here’s why ZZT was special. What’s a “ZZT,” Anyway? Tim Sweeney’s passion for programming began on his Apple II when he was a kid. After getting his first IBM PC in 1989 during his freshman year of college, he dove head-first into programming the new machine. While creating an MS-DOS text editor using Turbo Pascal in 1990, he decided to make the project more fun by adding game-like elements. That evolved into ZZT , which was released as shareware in 1991. The genius of ZZT in the early 1990s was that it wasn’t just a cute ASCII-based adventure. With every copy of ZZT downloaded, players also got an in-game world editor for free. That’s because ZZT’s text editor roots meant … [Read more...] about Before Fortnite, There Was ZZT: Meet Epic’s First Game
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" " Visitors crowd the IBM stand at the CeBIT technology trade fair on the first day the fair opened to the public on March 4, 2008, in Hanover, Germany. Sean Gallup/ Getty Images Some people might tell you the world is getting smaller, and sometimes it seems that way. This is especially apparent in the things we buy. Many products you can find in the United States, such as clothing and toys, are manufactured overseas in countries like China and India. A lot of the gasoline someone might purchase to fill up a car probably comes from an oil refinery in a faraway country. Food grown on a farm in the Midwest can be shipped to the other side of the world in less than a day. The ubiquity of the Web has made these networks of trade even quicker to form and more complex. Anyone, no matter his or her interests, can surf the Internet for goods and services and make quick transactions. A student in New York City writing a major thesis on current Japanese animation can … [Read more...] about How does information technology work with trade laws?
Version 1.0 of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard was released in January 1996. 25 years and three attempts later, we’ve gone from USB 1.0’s 12 Mbit/s speeds to USB4’s 40 Gbit/s speeds. Here’s how USB conquered the world. The Problem: Wrestling with Ports and IRQs In the early 1990s, connecting peripherals to PCs was a mess. To use set up any PC, you had to utilize a handful of different types of incompatible ports and connectors. Most commonly, those included a keyboard port, a 9- or 25-pin RS-232 serial port , and a 25-pin parallel port . In addition, PC game controllers used their own 15-pin standard, and mice often plugged into serial ports or proprietary cards. At the same time, peripheral manufacturers began bumping into data rate limits in existing ports used for peripherals on PCs. Demand for telephony, video, and audio applications was growing. Traditionally, vendors had sidestepped these limitations by introducing their own proprietary ports that could be … [Read more...] about 25 Years of Making Connections With USB (After Three Attempts)
It’s there right in front of you every time you use GPS navigation: a triangle-shaped cursor representing your location on a GPS display, moving where you move. But did you know the cursor originates from Atari’s 1979 Asteroids arcade game? Here’s how it came to be. Modern in-Car Navigational Systems Began at Etak The triangle-shaped navigational cursor featured in many GPS units and in-car navigation systems originated with the Etak Navigator in 1985. The Navigator was the world’s first computerized in-car navigation system . The Navigator didn’t use GPS, but instead, used another clever method to keep track of your position on a display as you drove around in your car. Here’s a great video of the Navigator in action, in this case, re-branded as the “Travel Pilot” for the U.K. market. To make the Navigator’s display sharp and easily readable with the technology available at the time (and the low memory available due to cost reasons), the Etak team used a vector CRT … [Read more...] about Did You Know? The GPS Triangle Cursor Comes From Atari’s Asteroids