January 9, 2006

CLI Magic: Miller's Quest

Author: Joe Barr

User level: Beginner

After the holidays, you might need to find a spot to get away from everyone in order to just chill out a bit. The RPG (role playing game) simulation Miller's Quest is perfect for such an occasion. You'll need to have the Ruby language installed on your system -- not to worry, it's included in most modern distributions -- but other than that, it's simply download, decompress, and go.

Miller's Quest is not really interactive once you get started. Instead, the game takes the starting data you give it and plays itself. All you have to do is sit back and watch the action as your character explores, attacks, gets killed, recovers, and continues without you having to cast a spell or draw a sword or do anything at all except watch the action unfold. I guess the creators' description of the game as "fire-and-forget" is accurate.

To get started on this quest, download the latest release from the game's homepage. You'll end up with a file named something like millerquest-0.9.1.tar.bz2. To get to the goodies, enter the command

tar xjf millerquest-0.9.1.tar.bz2

Change to the subdirectory created by tar -- e.g. cd millerquest-0.9.1

Read the documentation provided in the guide.html file. You can crank up a browser to do so if you like, but all it really takes is something like more guide.html entered at the command line. If you like, move the entire subdirectory elsewhere so you
can start the game by entering ruby millerquest.rb. But you can start the game by simply entering the following command in the subdirectory where the game was decompressed:


That produces the following in the console:

                    /\\,/\\,    ,, ,,              )
                   /| || ||   ' || ||
                   || || ||  \\ || ||  _-_  ,._-_    _-_,
                   ||=|= ||  || || || || \\  ||     ||_.
                  ~|| || ||  || || || ||/    ||      ~ ||
                   |, \\,\\, \\ \\ \\ \\,/   \\,    ,-_-
                  _-   __
                     ,-||-,                       ,  /\
                    ('|||  )                     ||  \/
                   (( |||--)) \\ \\  _-_   _-_, =||= }{
                   (( |||--)) || || || \\ ||_.   ||  \/
                    ( / |  )  || || ||/    ~ ||  ||
                     -____-\\ \\/\\ \\,/  ,-_-   \\,

                             MILLER'S QUEST!
                       (c) Urpo Lankinen sep-2005
                      A Weyfour WWWWolf production
                      Distributed under GNU GPL v2
                Inspired by "Progress Quest" by Grumdrig

N)ew game, L)oad game, eX)it?

In addition to the game option shown above, you'll be asked to name a character, pick a race for him and a class, and to accept the attribute values for strength, dexterity, intelligence, and so on, or roll again. That's unless you simply want to take the Munchkin option, of course, which gives you a 10 in all categories. I haven't tried it, but I imagine it's similar to god mode in Doom. You'll also enter a name for a file to which to save interrupted games. Then the game begins. All you need to do is watch it scroll by. Here's a sample of what you might see.

Character sheet for WartMeister, a male alliterative worminator rogue of Hague
Strength:       7
Dexterity:      6
Guts:           4
Intelligence:   3
Charm:          18
  Level 1, XP 501, 733 to the next level
  HP: 4/4
  Gold: 54
Known spells:
        Gassy Visage 1
Weapon: water bamboo twig +3
Armor:  evil diamond mail +19
Items in knapsack:
        4 x twice-killed pieces
        1 x newbieishly severed goblin head
        1 x a painted rattler and a whole bunch of twice-killed pieces
Current chapter: 1
Quests in this chapter:
>>> Killing a zombie >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
[You attack the a zombie with your water bamboo twig +3.
 sayeth the monster...
Got 80 exp. 653 to next level.
Currently carrying 88/84
>>> Dragging monster carcasses to the town >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The game might take some time to complete, so you can stop and start it as your schedule allows. To restart a game, select L from the opening menu and then enter the name of the file you specified when you started the game.

Click Here!