|Happy 20th birthday Escape!!
(31 Aug 2016 at 23:39)
| Wow, it's really been 20 years since I first uploaded my puzzle game Escape to AOL in August 1996. I was only 16 then! The original was written in QuickBASIC and assembly for DOS.|
Being old is not that impressive; it happens by itself. When we celebrated its 10th birthday in post #874, I was actively working on the modern version of the game, which eventually got to a pretty good state. I didn't touch it much over the last ~7 years (full time job, adulting, etc.), but there is still a pretty good community of puzzlers putting together some brilliant stuff. Despite my attempts to make it timeless, the app recently stopped working on new versions of OS X, and the code was getting a bit intractable. But I found some time this month to get it back into shape, and uploaded new versions for 64-bit macOS and Windows to the escape home page. I can now compile it with all free tools, so it's easier for me to develop, and I've been doing some painful but basically relaxing modernization of the source code too. Anyone who has poked at it will be happy to know the famously atrocious move.h is now gone. I've got some more cleanup to do and then some bugs to fix, but after that I can make some more substantive user-facing features. I don't plan to change the core game really at all, but I at least want to make it easier to navigate the thousands of levels for both new players and experts alike. Suggestions are welcome!
As I was thinking of making an image to celebrate, I found myself trying to draw a cake in the Escape level editor, and it coming out so badly, and then vaguely remembering that I tried and failed at the exact same gag 10 years ago! Instead this mechanically reproduced meta-hugbot:
Hugbot just wants to love you into the lasers
Since the previous feedback thread is rather bursting at the seams, it's also time to designate this as the new feedback thread.
|Stupid freaking Windows 10. I had to run as administrator to get past player creation.|
|Happy 20th birthday, Escape!|
|MrBawn: Yeah, noname tells me that you are no longer able to write to Program Files by default. I think I need to change the default installation dir to just like c:\escape\. Suggestions (at least ones that keep all the data in the same place) are definitely welcome here!|
|Tom 7: could you install everything, including the program, to a directory under the %APPDATA% directory? I think some packages that want to install new programs dynamically without admin privileges do that on Windows.|
|Bug report: Suddenly bookmarks do not work properly on OS X any more? |
|kirima: What's wrong with them? Coincidentally I just finished a rewrite of all the solution management stuff, which should have fixed all the known bugs, and I just uploaded a new version for windows and macOS. So maybe try that one out and hopefully it was fixed. :)
jonas: I decided to go with just c:\escape\, because reading about it, %APPDATA% seems like a kinda poor choice too (for example, I think it is hidden by default?). Hopefully this works ok for people!
|Thank you, I did download the newest version & it seems to work properly now. I guess by now you don't need to know what exactly didn't work anymore!? ;)|
|If it's good, it's good! I rewrote that whole part, and there was also a brief period where the version on the site couldn't upload speedruns, so it's likely I did fix whatever it was. :)|
|Oh, it's beta 5 now? I don't recall ever seeing a beta 4 :p|
|I have a concept for a new level and a prototype that works, but I need to either come up with novel mechanism improvements or rethink the actual challenge or something|
|... to be able to get it to work with the desired effect. Actually, I could implement one aspect in a normal way but it wouldn't be as cool; however, the other aspect will almost certainly be more complex. But I have some ideas now. Hopefully soon it will be ready for release.|
|I came here immediately after seeing the mac logo change. I should start creating more levels soon. I used to be so active at a younger age.|
|As was I! :)|
|Bug: If I download new solutions from the servers, then immediately quit the program without solving any levels, then when I restart the program, the downloaded solutions are lost. For now, it seems possible to get around this by solving any level (e.g. by replaying a stored solution to the end) after new solution download but before quitting.
Also, if a level has a height of 12, and there are more than four solutions in the player file, then the bookmark menu behaves a bit strange: when one tries to scroll down from the start to the fourth bookmark, suddenly the highlighting is lost. One can still choose that bookmark by pressing the Enter key. Or one can scroll further down and then back up to select the fourth bookmark.
(Version 201609050 on Win 10)
|After some more checking, I found that the second bug above seems to depend on the screen size. The bug disappears if I maximize the window of the program.|
Could you please help on how to install and play in Ubuntu 16.04.
Downloaded and extracted in Desktop/escape
I cannot find readme or install file (here i need your help please)
|Hey, so it's been a while... I've not had time for playing Escape much in recent times, but I was thinking of it again recently and had an idea for a new type of tile which I would think should be pretty easy to implement and is a natural extension of things already in the game, but I don't recall ever seeing before. Just a thought I figured I should share.
These are essentially the opposite of Heart Framers. They would function identically, except instead of everything waking up upon the collection of the last one in the main layer, everything falls asleep (doors included).
I would imagine optimization of level menu loading speeds would be a huge improvement to having players stick around if we get activity up at some point again. I can't remember if that changed in beta 5 but if not, it's probably the biggest concern other than annoying bug fixes...
|I think Moon Framers would fit in pretty well, though I suspect they'd be pretty rarely used, since heart framers seem to be mostly used as a simple key mechanism to wake up the door (I think sleeping bots are pretty rare). This feature was an homage to Adventures of Lolo, where positioning sleeping creatures was somehow much more essential to the puzzles. I added it to the list of ideas...
I totally agree that the loading times of the level selection screen are one of the worst usability problems. I have a partial rewrite of that whole thing (the level selection code is pretty bad, too), but unfortunately the scope is big enough that it's unlikely to be a weekend project.
|I finally solved Marc's last level, but I can't download his solution? I think that it doesn't work on other levels, too, but I'm not sure. (OS X Sierra)|
|I did post this last comment!|
|It works again, thank's anyway.|
|Oh, glad it's mysteriously fixed :)|
|Me too, I guess it must had been an issue with my WLAN.|
|Do you know of the freenode IRC channel for this game?|
|I think you're basically on the IRC channel right now :)|
|Can you add chunks (for RAM reasons) and bigger levels (say, 16384x16384), as well as a zoom function? I wanna build a SHA-3 on this thing. :P|
|Also, can we get a Raspberry Pi build?|
|There's not really any hope for superhuge levels, since this would open the possibility of DOSing my server and other player's computers, I think. (Though I guess that would "only" be a few gigabytes in RAM.) I'm a fan of the epic embeddings, but the primary purpose of Escape is human-solvable puzzles, and I don't think that levels that big would ever really be fair. The game is open source, though, so feel free to change some constants for your own private tinkering! I think the level encoding would work without changes up to about 2^31.
Zoom is already there; I think it's the square bracket keys. Should work while playing or editing.
The game should compile fine on linux with SDL, so that would be the way to get it running on Raspberry Pi. I don't know anything about the video and input situation there, though.
|Ah, fair enough. Thanks!|
|Don't you want to give us a version for Android ? All the games we can find nowadays are stupid and infested by ads ! |
|Porting to iOS, Android, and web is a long-term goal for me! But don't hold your breath; it's a lot of work and I don't have as much time as I'd like. :/|
|I hope to port it to Free Hero Mesh (after Free Hero Mesh is written enough to do so), which is designed for implementing the kind of games like this. (However, the level size of Free Hero Mesh is limit to 64x64 tiles.)|
|Running this on MacOS High Sierra. Says it can't find any .esp files. Where should they be written/stored?|
|the SVN source code link is broken|
|any plans to add async downloading of files? my network latency is fairly high so I can only download about 2 to 3 files per second with the current code|
|can we get something to sort levels by published date?|
|I thought that levels were sorted by published date at default?|
|I'm on Fedora Linux (which currently has Escape 200912250 packaged), and after suffering data loss due to the one-bookmark bug too many times, I wanted to upgrade to the latest version. Unfortunately, the Linux build and the source tarball are both out of date. I managed to dig up the correct SVN link ( https://sourceforge.net/p/tom7misc/svn/HEAD/tree/trunk/escapex/ for the web interface or https://svn.code.sf.net/p/tom7misc/svn/trunk/escapex for checkout; the dependency "cc-lib" is alongside it) and successfully built from SVN. I hope this helps the next person.|
|Can we have TLS on escape.spacebar.org (both when using a web browser and when connecting from the game)? If Tom 7 is willing to change the server configuration, I can look into changing the client code in the game.|
|Sorry that the Linux binary/tarball are so old. I didn't even think anybody was using these. There's a lot of technical debt I'd like to get to on Escape, but only so many hours in the day! Glad you were able to get it to work at least.
SSL is definitely something I'd like to do -- I tried with letsencrypt a few years ago but it didn't work for some weird reason. Maybe time to try again.
|It seems that thumbnails for new levels are no longer showing on the server (look at e.g. the level browser on the webpage, or the comment section). I wonder if it's the case for others as well.|
|I was just about to mention the above so it must be happening for all.
There is no problem playing the game but website does not look as nice.
Wonder if this a quick fix Tom thanks.
|Have I not been here in awhile! Hi mark, how's life in the old country? Afraid life is not giving me a huge amount of time to play these days. Pass my regards on to mm if you see her. Dave.
|Hey Dave! I'd recently stopped by again to see how things have been going around here to find that mark had come back recently. I've not been able to get back to the game since the short little modding back-and-forth mark and I did recently, thanks to college and other distractions. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to a level idea I've got in the works in the near future.|
|Hi Dave, thank you!|
|hey guys, i'm clicking on escape.exe but it doesn't work
a black window pops up and then disappears
|Hi Dave , nice to here from you. Old country is great well I like it anyhow,as N7 said I had nearly 2 years off due to a suffering PC and room changes in my house. The break served me well came back solved quite a few of the annoying levels . Now im down to under 100 left.
Anyhow good luck to to all and a happy early anniversary to you mm.
Sorry I never noticed the comments earlier.
Ps anyone trying the skirting the issue levels ?
|Thank you, Mark, I'm already looking forward to your birthday level! And indeed I've been struggling with that training level: no clue.|
|Tom 7 please help my esp file says -1 error , I was editing a level and the solution dissapeared after no real changes to level so I ctrl 0 for the solution and escape stopped responding. Which happens quite a few times had to shut down escape and start again and error occured.
Reading comments over the years I know this is something you may have come across before.
Is there any chance of sending you esp for you take a look at it would be most appreciated as there is thousands of solutions some really hard.
I have a backup esp but its a few years old with lots missing ,so i can still play this great game.
In your hands and have you an email address i could send it to thanks..
All the best mark.....
|Mark, the game should have made some automatic backups of the player file in the escape folder. They should have the filename [name].esp.~[number], where [name] is the name of your player and [number] is some four-digit number. For example, in my escape folder, there are the files noname.esp.~3647, noname.esp.~3638, noname.esp.~3637, and noname.esp.~3636. The largest number should correspond to the most recent backup, so in my case it would be noname.esp.~3647, which is only 2 days old. You just need to remove the trailing part in the filename (.~3647 in my case) to have it restored. Though you probably should back up your player file as well as the automatic backups before you proceed. (Of course, the most recent solutions might be lost, but losing only a few days' progress would be better than losing several years' worth of solutions.)
I do think that even if you get your recent progress restored, it's still a good idea to have Tom 7 have a look at your (probably corrupt) player file, so as to see what happened.
|Noname thanks you are super, ive got my esp back up and running again
the back up esp numbers you described are exactly the same as mine so that might mean there always that.
Anyhow I tried what you said and it did not work by removing trailing numbers. What i had to do was open up corrupt esp backup file delete all contents and then copy contents from esp-3647 into it.
I opened the file with notepad.
You was right I lost solutions to the last four levels which i should be able to remember two of them being mine.
The good thing was skirting the issue no more was still solved as this took ages to make and solve and deffinately would have been a problem to redo.
I am very grateful for your advice as i was having nightmare time of it yesterday with things to try and do.
Ps Tom7 I have a saved corrupt file if you ever would like a look at it.
Noname THANKS once again....
|Noname and Tom I think I know now why my file corrupted but not how.
Now my esp is back up and running I went into the level skirting the issue training to see the speedrun . There was about forty bookmarks to other levels in it that did even give you one move, they was defintely from other levels as some had names I called them.
I dont know how that happened but Ive deleted all wrong bookmarks, I think this must have confused my esp when I ctrl+0 my last level.
Anyhow Thanks once again and nice solves noname .
New level will be a monster...
|I have a few Escape-related projects to announce (documentation for all to be maintained at https://mattmccutchen.net/escape/ ):
1. A modified version of Escape with the level size limits removed, some new features to show hidden information, and some new level sorting modes. Tom 7, you are welcome to take any changes you like upstream; please let me know if I can be of help.
2. A formalization of Escape in the Coq mechanized proof system, which can theoretically be used for purposes such as proving lower bounds on the number of moves needed to solve a puzzle or proving correctness of embeddings. (Writing such proofs is a huge amount of work!)
3. I've done some work on an embedding of Escape in itself. I have no materials to share yet, but if you are working on the same thing, please contact me so we can avoid duplicating work.
Thanks for reading!
|Sorry, I'm still quite behind here! Thank you all for supporting each other and for continuing to make levels and everything. :)
Screenshots: I think I fixed this.
mark: Glad you fixed your esp file. In addition to noname's advice, note it's actually a text file, so you can always do surgery on it yourself if something goes wrong. I think that a crash while writing the file could definitely leave it in a corrupted state, so that's my best guess as to what happened.
matt: Wow, very cool, thanks for sharing this stuff! I haven't dug much into it yet, but I used to do computer proof stuff in grad school (Twelf, but I am at least familiar with Coq). I'm impressed that you were able to get through move(2016).h, as it such a mess, or else reverse engineer all the corner cases without it. :) If you discover any interesting corner cases not covered in the existing regression test levels, I'd be happy to add more to that suite.
I'd love to experience the escape-in-escape embedding if you succeed; I have not tried!
|Sorry, Martina. How are you my darlin? Saw your response above.
Been playing a bit as a new user since can't access my old player file having not played in a long long time... it's amazing how much you forget :) Only cracked one difficulty 9 so far but not tried that hard.
Tom 7, I have no idea how to get new traction on this but sorting the better levels into some kind of "quality levels" category might help user retention, there is an awful lot of garbage out there, and I created some of it. (I made some gooduns too though) We need a clean up. And, not a clean up based on difficulty only, there are some beautifully elegant but super simple levels too, e.g. #3017.
If anyone wants to chat I'm admin on an IRC server which is secure so could set up a chan if you want.
Anyway, just saying Hi o/ Dave. Sorry for the speedruns, can't resist.
|So what I think I'm trying to saying is all the modding and making super hard levels was fun but we might have broken stuff in doing it by scaring off new players...|
|and that posted mid-edit, oopsie :D:D|
|erm wtf ?|
|Hi Dave! :-) Is Escape working on MacOS Catalina?|
|Hi Tom 7,
I'm adding a bunch of bug fixes and small features to my version of Escape at https://gitlab.com/mattmccutchen/escape . While some have already repaid my work with their benefit to me personally, inasmuch as anyone else is still playing Escape, I would like them to benefit too, in particular from the changes that only benefit new users. For example, I just added a dialog box with some basic information when the user starts the first tutorial level:
Without this, a friend to whom I recommended Escape couldn't figure out how to move the player!
However, I don't know if anyone is finding my version, and new users are especially unlikely to be willing to build it from source. Are you willing to talk with me about taking at least some of these changes upstream? (If it's better than cluttering this thread, you can email me at email@example.com .) If not, maybe I will start building binaries for the OSes I have access to so I can at least direct my friends to them, but I still don't know if anyone else will find them.
Thanks for your attention!
|I am now offering binary releases of my version of Escape for Linux and Windows. Enjoy!
|What license are the levels on the main server supposed to be under? The notice in upload dialog suggests a simple non-copyleft license, while buried in escape.txt is a statement that levels are under the "GPL" with the version(s) unspecified. (I know some levels on the main server appear to be derivatives of works that are probably non-free, but we can still clarify the intended license.)
I'd like to clarify the notice in the upload dialog in my version of Escape. Ideally the notice would come from a file on the server so that it can be changed on the server and show up in all sufficiently new clients, but hard-coding a better message in my client would be better than the status quo.
I think levels should be GPL v3, same as escape itself. Perhaps the dialog could refer to COPYING in the game's directory for full details?
Sorry, I've been meaning to get to your various patches but I am behind on several things, including getting Escape compiling at all again on Windows and Mac. Feel free to distribute your own builds and thanks for trying to keep it alive! I have been in the mood to revisit and rejuvenate old projects, so perhaps after we get the Destroy FX site up...
|Hi Tom 7,
Thanks for the response. You realize that having levels on the main server as GPLv3 only is going to make a mess if you want to switch to GPLv4 in another decade, right? I'd urge you to use "GPLv3 or later" instead, at least for newly uploaded levels.
In fact, I'd encourage you to try to get past contributors to license as much of the existing codebase as possible under "GPLv3 or later" (or "GPLv3 or any later version approved by Tom 7 or his designee" if you have concerns about what FSF might do in future versions). I think the community would appreciate it if you do this while you still have any relationships you do with contributors, even if you don't think you'll still be maintaining Escape by the time it matters.
Thanks a million for all your past work on the client and your work on keeping the main server running: I've seen it brought back up quickly after several recent outages. If operating the main server ever becomes too much work for you, I might be willing to take it over.
|Unfortunately Esace is not working on my MacBook M1 Big Sur :-(|
|Something seems to be broken on the server: all solutions uploaded since December 12, 2020 are being returned as empty, resulting in a "Bad solution on server!" message when I select "Download solutions" in the game. Example (see the blank line under "noname"):
$ md5sum ~/.escape/triage/lev4133.esx
$ curl 'h'ttp://escape.spacebar.org/f/a/escape/allsols/735794a3715b7d32a3e7a6451afbb23c
13394 1607780628 Optimal
13158 1568974412 Original
Tom, can you please take a look at this? Thanks.
|Oops, it looks like I just broke the page layout. Sorry. Feel free to edit the long string out of my comment.|
|Thanks Matt! I will look at this right after I finish this project due tomorrow.
Hopefully we didn't lose data..
|Thanks a lot for reporting this!
It turned out to be a bug with handling \0 characters in strings that I introduced in like September 2020 while doing some optimization/cleanup work on the language that runs the escape server code, Aphasia. Several red herrings in there since I also made some proximal changes to the escape server code relating to solution uploading *after* that.
Unfortunately the result of the bug is that solutions uploaded during this period (Dec 12 to today) were just saved as the empty string. I don't think there's any way I can recover them, so please reupload these if you want to claim records! (At least the server handles this case okay, so that's something, although I think it's important that we maintain at least one solution for every level...) Here are the records I deleted:
|Thanks Tom 7 for making the server work again! I have just reuploaded all the speedruns I uploaded during the period. Hope I did not miss anything.|
|Also, thanks Matt for noticing the problem on the server, something that I totally failed to notice with my speedrun uploading activities...|
|I saw, thank you! :)|
|Tom, will you make it possible to play on osX Big Sur / M1 ?|
|I have a question. Is there a real human here who can get back to me?|
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