Toy Story. Field of Dreams

    It happened in a city closed to spies, gypsies and the troubles of the socialist economy. In the Soviet Union there were exactly 10 such cities tied with atomic secret.

    The life of boys with mathematical abilities in atomic cities was predetermined - a school with fives in algebra and geometry, a mechanic-mat of a metropolitan university, return to the system, an apartment in a year, a candidate's degree in 40 years, VAZ 2103 to fifty years, the title of doctor, garage, six acres, four square meters.

    Endless speculations about the mathematical modeling of nuclear explosions tore the boys brain. The brain could be distracted in three ways - alcohol, gambling, and sports. Sex and music did not always help.

    Pole Chudes for iPhone

    Next, I fall into the history of a computer game.
    Under the tag is a veteran’s personal memories without links, ads, pictures or code.
    Thanks for the wonderful comments guys.

    A bit of explanation about the 80s

    There was no internet. There were no desktop computers.
    On TV, two whole channels were broadcast.
    Nevertheless, they played everywhere and on everything.

    The BESM-6 computer and ELBRUS (SHS) counted the crazy energies of the hydrogen bomb day and night and stored the CAVE game in their 48-bit bowels.

    If the troll is with a knife ,” future CPMNs frantically typed on giant keyboards. The keyboard weighed like 7 modern MacBooks. The terminal weighed a centner. By the way, in Germany, the centner is 45.359 kg.

    It seemed life would pass among the formulas, punch cards, FORTRAN and black and green monitors.
    And suddenly at the institute appeared the one whom TIME magazine called the person of 1982.

    His name was IBM PC / XT.
    From America to the USSR, he walked for 6 years.

    Two of them came to our city, a boy and ... another boy.
    Bright, clear, colorful, with Digger and Cats toys and an 8088 processor on board.
    At that time, VNIIEF had 26,000 employees. One IBM PC / XT was put in the terminal room for general admiration, the other - by an incredible coincidence - to my room 632A. It was unheard of luck.

    Mark Zuckerberg’s success compared to mine is nothing. For 10 minutes to drive the digger girls offered love to the grave or sex for an hour. Guys gave keys to motorbikes and apartments to strip Melissa at strip poker or practice at DECATHLON.

    It was impossible to write a program for calculating a spherical shock wave, a virus and the first toys. In my place, everyone would do that.

    Teaching programming at the MSU

    It must be said that programming was not taught on the math. The guys who could not solve the problem analytically were treated like criminals and burned at the stake.

    The only place where they recognized the mystery of coding is the military department. We are air defense officers.
    Monthly military training after the 4th year was akin to a business trip to Santa Clara. We were sent to a wonderful place - Pushkin Higher School of Radio Electronics - PVURE.
    There I lost IT virginity - together with Misha Grinchuk I wrote a code for adding integers. Or maybe it was Sasha Mikhalev? I do not remember.
    But I remember the NAIRI desktop machine, with 16 bulbs on the facade and teams like FE66. The officer who drove us away so that we do not stick our hands where we do not understand. Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum nearby ...

    IBM PC / XT

    XTishka, affectionately called his grandmother at the entrance.
    What did we know about him?
    Let me remind you, at that time there was a complete lack of the Internet and a total shortage of literature.
    Photocopies of Norton's books were exchanged for currency and vodka.

    MS DOS operating system.
    The mysterious word of interruption is the famous INT 21h.
    20 MB disk!
    5-inch drive for 360KB of floppy disks !!!

    CGA Monitor - 3 modes.
    1) Text, 16 colors, on it programmers created their tetris and pacman.
    2) Black-and-white graphic mode -640x200 pixels.
    3) Color graphics mode 3 colors + background. Resolution - 320x200.

    BASIC built-in interpreter, MASM compiler and full Turbo Pascal.

    Pictures in * .rle format were drawn with the keyboard in the DrHalo editor. There were no mice at this time. Or they weren’t given to us. The administration of the institute could be understood. A computer in 1988 cost 20,000 rubles. The newest VAZ car is 7000. The mouse, apparently, was more expensive than the refrigerator.

    Everything was created on TURBO PASCAL. Why not on TURBO C? I don’t know, it’s still a mystery. Maybe for the same reason the first versions of Windows were written in Pascal?

    The compiler from Borland was the eighth wonder of the world.
    The brainchild of the company fit on one diskette!

    IBM PC / AT

    A year later, XTishku Moore and his law were replaced by a more advanced laptop. IBM PC / AT. Eitishka. Processor 80286. Disk 40 MB. Mouse in com-hole!
    EGA Monitor !!! Sorry for the rumble of exclamation marks.
    Color graphic mode 16 colors. Resolution - 640x350.
    And VGA 320x200 color mode with 256 colors. Here it was already possible to create full-fledged porn.

    Along with computers, freedom, destruction, advertising, sneakers and television shows broke into the country.

    Even I watched Miracle Field and dreamed of a box of Sneakers. Excuse me. They were like beads from Vasco da Gama for the natives.

    Everything that happened in the real world was reflected in poems and computer games. At the collapse of the country, I was outraged by the Sea Battle. The battle between Russia and Ukraine. Ships and a map depicted himself. I love Crimea by heart from Kerch to Sevastopol. The clerk from the Pref Club was stolen and dressed in a vest. The flag of Ukraine is drawn from Bulgakov’s texts - yellow-black. Today, I am rightly reproached that the colors of the square banner are upside down.
    The game was distributed by diskette, there were no others.
    And, about the trembling Herostratus, SEA BATTLE was shown in the TIME program in the summer of 1991. And they called me a hawk, fomenting war between fraternal peoples.

    It is not Gorbachev and Yeltsin who are to blame for creating the border between Russia and Ukraine. The Sea Battle game is to blame. The Soviet man has an indestructible faith in the television word of announcer Kirillov.

    I must add that I bred games like a rabbit. In his free time from work and sports. Of course, it was slag, such as TAKING A WHITE HOUSE. But the author's WATER SUPPLY, DEBERTZ and MAPIK conquered the institute. In each room, scientists and technicians - laboratory assistants - were cutting into these games. For these games it was not a shame.

    Little of. Three crafts of 1991 release visited half of the computers of the former Soviet Union. SEA BATTLE, KING and MIRACLES FIELD. Their success was not determined by design or gameplay. Coexistence and desolation in the Russian-language software market.

    Gambling did not bring money. At the same time, Pushkin thought about poetry. I knew these axioms from birth and still no one has refuted them, including Alexander Sergeyevich. Near-game projects are another matter. Projects can be profitable if the toy is tied to iron.

    I remember that Semyon Shaverdov came up to me somehow in 1992.
    - Well, - says, - Dima, we went to the Zvezda factory (Tomilino, ZHDANOVSKAYA metro station), we cut down the babosikov.

    Okay, let's go - I take the Borland compiler on a floppy disk and the game Three-dimensional ARKANOID.
    As a result, the game was attached to a space simulator on the spot and the device went to an exhibition in Israel. Earned with Semyon at 8,000 rubles with a salary of 250.
    I successfully bought 2 KAMA bicycles for my daughters. In the stores, I recall, it was a downhill ball.

    Etc. All merchants came up with a standard question.
    - Do you want a car, a summer house, a yacht? Screw a thread to our breathing tube, downhill skiing, the arm of a tank driver, the Yak-52 simulator ...
    I screwed it. Pascal had a wonderful array for reading / writing internal ports. But for some reason I still don’t have a yacht.

    Port[$03df] := $FF; // пишем в порт
    a := Port[$03de]; // читаем из порт

    Field of Dreams

    Pole Chudes - July 7, 2011
    Field of Miracles was done in a week of days and nights. Day to create pictures.
    Screensaver, copied from the same color newspaper Pole of Miracles and Yakubovich, copied from b / w photos in AIDS-INFO.
    The address of the television editorial office, photographed from the screen of the first channel by Polaroid.
    The background image is the walls of Wolfenstein, the unconditional hit of those years.
    2 days of code and filling the database of words, topics and tips.
    3 days of testing by girls from the neighboring department 0816.

    The soul was burning. The dictionary database was filled with what was at hand. And at hand was a secret telephone directory with the names of employees of the 08 department. There were those who saved the world from a nuclear war.

    Mathematical Department of the Institute. 1,500 people.
    Theoretical Department of the Institute. 250 people.
    Half, of course, are Jews with characteristic surnames. As they say, there is no subject who cannot be the name of a Jew.

    Rabinovich, Bahrakh, Choline, Urm.
    Buryat Khomich.
    Little Russians Karapysh, Degtyarenko, Zhitnik, Kochubey.
    Nikolai Petrovich Kovalev.
    Mathematician Zmushko and physicist Zhmaylo.
    Dr. Kibkalo and candidate Shamraev (Chechen, by the way).
    Lech Barchenkov, confidant of Khariton.
    Secret scientists and my comrades in the city championship football games.

    Eternal memory to the departed. And long years of health alive.

    Bit of code

    The only book in Russian about the IBM PC at that time was written by
    David Bradley and became a desktop one.
    Only thanks to her she managed to spin the drum so fast. Turbo Pascal allowed to do inline functions directly on the assembler.

    Graphics performance issues were resolved by direct access to video memory.
    Video memory was even used to store data. In some episodes, it was funny to watch a dance of colored pixels. Every 320 bytes of video memory corresponded to 640 pixels of the horizontal line of the monitor screen.

    To light the dots on the display screen in Pascal language looked something like this. This meant lighting up the first TWO pixels on the 47th line of the screen with white.

    scr:array[] of byte absolute $A000:0000; // адрес начала видео памяти
    scr[0 + 320*47] := $FF;

    The same thing in assembler was 2 times faster. I apologize for possible typos, I write exclusively from memory, I have not seen Pascal or assembler since 20 years. Actually, in games, the function of drawing pictures worked even faster - I used the shutter mechanism. This is described in more detail in another hit book of the 90s by Jordain Handbook of a personal computer programmer . In addition, I remind you, photocopies of books by Norton and Peter Abel walked around.

    mov bx, 00FFh // белый цвет
    mov ax, 0A000h // начло сегмента видеобуфера
    mov es,ax
    mov ax, 0012Fh // 47 строка
    mov si,ax
    mov [es:si],bx // зажигаем

    Around the world

    London Game Show
    Releasing the game, I amused author's vanity by inserting my soap and home phone into the code.
    The city of Arzamas-16 had not yet been renamed back to Sarov. The callsigns and worked only at the reception. The KGB and the Security Council did not doze off.
    Phone 5-92-73 was home, as it was forbidden to call a worker from the mainland.

    By the way, all restrictions on sending by e-mail are still valid today. Cellular, a no brainer, it is forbidden to carry with you to the service forever and ever, threatening to cut off all rights.
    The institute, the glorious VNIIEF, is still hidden by the curtain of state. secrets.
    But the Berievsky regime is gradually softening.
    And lo! Recently, it became possible to call to a work phone number for intercity.

    The first couple of months after the toy was released, it was calm. Once a day someone out of curiosity called. Girls, bandits and programmers called. I enjoyed talking with girls and IT people. Feel free to cheer on the bandits. The bandits demanded a Mercedes as a prize and threatened to come. I was not afraid of them. Not because it’s brave, but because my City is wrapped in 7 rows of barbed wire and guarded by a BB division. Lavrenty Pavlovich was a wise man.
    What about the local bandits? With them I played hockey on the same team. I am still playing, but the squad has thinned a lot in the dashing 90s. Eternal memory to the fighters for the redistribution of property. Amen.

    And so, one day almost at night I started. The intercity bell rang. Israel. The majors on the wiretap froze. The quality of the connection has become amazing.
    - Hello? This is Sergey. Presenter at the radio station Echo Tel Aviv.
    Politely asked permission to distribute the game in some FIDO.
    - Yes, for the sake of Christ! Oh! That is, please.

    And away we go. The incessant phone 5-92-73 had to be changed.
    Every day letters came to the mail. Often with cute or funny content.
    Letters came from the United States and Israel from former compatriots and Russian language study groups.

    I could not answer. I publicly on Habr I apologize for it.
    But saved some addresses.
    It was the only rational action on my part.
    It would be better if I saved the code, it would be appropriate here. Eh-eh ...

    The editorial board of the FIELD OF MIRACLES

    A tough time has come. The salary at the institute fell to $ 15 per month. And she was detained.
    General deficit of sausage and moral values. The country and families collapsed.
    I could not stand it and decided to earn some money on bread in a free way.

    I read the editorial address in the newspaper Field of Miracles. It is naive to believe that paper and television organizations are twin brothers. As it turned out later, they were direct competitors.

    Okay. During a business trip in January-February 1993, I ran to the specified metropolitan address and left a diskette with the game. A month later, Ch. ed. Mr. Schwartz. I liked the man, unlike his right hand, Mr. Semanov. At first glance it was clear that Mr. Semanov was a slippery and dark type.

    As a result, I was promised something ridiculous in exchange for the code, which I calmly gave to Mr. Semanov on a floppy disk. That's who has the source option. The current fate of the comrade and source is unknown to me.

    Of course, I am also a bug - at the expense of the editorial staff I went to Moscow and Peter to SV. Like a cool businessman of that troubled time.
    Okay. He returned to Arzamas-16, I work. I’m waiting for the signing of the contract by the editorial board of the newspaper Paul Miracles, she’s the newspaper Private Life, she’s also the weekly Family and a bunch of publications. And here, broads! October. 1993 year. Tanchiki. The White House is on fire. The editors are empty. I thought all progressive publishers saved democracy. Alas. It turns out that all the progressive guys in October 93 gathered grandmother, suitcases and passports and hid in Spain with the whole company.

    They sat at the fiesta for three months, waiting for the outcome and the end of the holiday season.

    Six months later, the saviors of the fatherland returned to Russia and began to pry me: -Where have you been, scoundrel? And why is your (that is now ours) game on every second computer with a Russian keyboard?
    Well, what could I answer? Nothing. He spat and forgot.

    Lamport, eHouse and Ulandeev

    Pole chudes
    Ford car, which can be bought with all the money earned on the Field of Miracles.

    Grinning at my commercial success, I calmed down. Until by chance in Moscow he did not meet fellow student Slava Ulendeyev .
    We had a drink with pleasure, and in a drunken conversation I told him a joke about my Field of Miracles.

    He silently took out $ 400 and a new computer from the warehouse.

    I returned to the city Croesus.

    A three-room apartment on the 3rd Frunzenskaya in a Stalinist house in 1993 cost three thousand US dollars.
    At that time, $ 200 could go to the Crimea for four for 2 weeks and be there Rockefeller.
    Which I did. A good room in a boarding house between Alushta and Gurzuf cost a million coupons or $ 1 per day.

    However, money and a computer were handed over for a reason. I have to learn the Fort language and rivet the Sea Battle under DANDY, the then extremely popular gaming television set-top box.

    I studied Fort, I wrote a program for an emulator, but time has passed. Making money at the games was impossible.
    Inflation ate everything (c) Ilf and Petrov.
    Money was made exclusively on trade. Forest - for the cordon. Computers - to the homeland. Profit was calculated in thousands of percent. What a dandy.

    A programmer, like a woman, is moody and requires care.
    I am grateful to Ulendeev and miss that time. But lost all his phone numbers.

    Yakubovich, yes, yes, no, yes

    The year 1995 came, I forgot about the Field of Miracles.
    The era of 486 cars and three-dimensional games has come.
    I remained an employee of VNIIEF, but I earned money under a contract with Intel.
    Intel was generous and quarterly hosted OpReview in the country's expensive resorts.
    In Nakhabino, we played golf with A.B. Pugacheva, for example.
    As a famous gamer in the past, I worked in a 3DR project and made applications and a geometric engine.
    It was interesting. 3DR overtook rival DirectX and overtook the leader of OpenGL.

    And the country was preparing for the presidential election. Yeltsin’s rating fell to 0. Democrats stirred. It smelled of fried and stolen return. All the pops rushed to trick the electorate. Yakubovich and Nikolaev on private jets arranged a tour of the country. All for Yeltsin!

    We crossed paths with aviators in Nizhny Novgorod.
    Leaving the Volna hotel on the Volga embankment, I ran into Yakubovich.
    My sidekick Fedor Pletenev touched the showman by the sleeve.
    - Leonid Arkadyevitch, but the same Dima Bashurov with the game Field of Miracles.
    TV star frowned.
    “Do you know, young man, that we almost sued you?”

    I was not in the know. It turned out that the TV editorial office was inundated with letters asking for prizes. Shoelaces from galoshes ?? God, the country of Chekhov and Gogol ...
    So that's interesting. Letters from readers are sacred. They must be stored for at least 2 years. On Korolev Street 12, two rooms were crammed with bags of letters of request from players in my Miracle Field.
    The editors suffered material damage. I grinned maliciously. Yakubovich frowned, but at parting, he shook my hand.
    Normal shorter guy, albeit an asshole.

    Then it was cooler - out of the next room came out ... Richard Gere. Alla, is it Nizhny Novgorod !?
    Neither I nor anyone else saw the Hollywood handsome.
    It turned out that he arrived in NN for three days. On the very first day, with some local lass, he left for the Makaryevsky monastery. The hotel no longer appeared. Our boyfriend. However, this has nothing to do with the Field of Miracles.


    E3 at LA

    Intel took the development team not only to boarding houses. But also to California.
    Once in America, I got a shabby list of email addresses from cosmopolitans who played in the Field of Miracles.
    And he sent friendly letters.
    Almost all recipients answered. Three years passed, but they remembered the game.
    They called for a visit.
    I chose those who lived in California and enjoyed meeting them.
    Joined their football company. Played weekly in Cupertino.
    The players were employees of NVidia, Apple and Sun, our former compatriots.

    In general, I now have where to spend the night in Palo Alto and San Jose.

    Intel in the person of Jim Hurleybrought me to E3 in Los Angeles. This is the largest exhibition of computer games. Biennale, or maybe annual. Falcon game flew on our 3DR engine faster than its competitors by 25%.
    As a game developer and an Intel contractor, I visited almost all the gaming companies of the time in Silicon Valley.
    YubiSoft, Paralax, Microprouse, Electronics Arts, Spectrum Holobyte - everything was. Everything is nearby.
    In each office, they gave me boxes with new games. They gave everyone, but still nice.

    Mostly shooter games. I am not a gamer, but I killed a month for one game. Descent from Paralaks Software . The game was placed at that time on 4 three-inch floppy disks.

    It was the year 1996. The president was re-elected in Russia and the first CD appeared. It contained as much as 7 megabytes.

    The story of my toy and old technologies ended.

    However, sometimes the Field of Miracles reminded of itself. In 2005, an invitation came to London for a conference. I was called as a game developer from a closed city. There were guys from Sarov (formerly Arzamas-16), Snezhinsk (formerly Chelyabinsk-70) and Zheleznogorsk (formerly Krasnoyarsk-26).

    What now? The administration of any regional city knows me, as the author of the game Field of Miracles. After all, all the officials are former striped drum rotators.
    But I am not an official, not a businessman, and not the son of Lieutenant Schmidt.

    I am Russian, which means an engineer and a programmer.
    Programming for Russian guys is not a profession, but a pleasure.


    Are there really people who have overcome the topic to the end?
    All typos are made intentionally.

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