Quest 4.0.5 is now available

25 April 2009

Quest 4.0.5 is now available.

If you’re a Quest Pro user, you can download your update from the “My Downloads” area at

Otherwise you can download Quest 4.0.5 from

This is a bug-fix release, which addresses the following bugs:

  • fixed various crashes when running using JAWS.
  • when connecting to a QuestNet game with a blank title, Quest wouldn’t successfully connect to the game.
  • when double-clicking a QSG file in Explorer, if the ASL/CAS file was not found and you chose not to find it, quest.exe would remain running in the background.
  • The word “and” was hard-coded (for room descriptions “You can see …, … and …”). This has now been added to the LDF file so it can be translated.
  • Variable names containing capital letters could cause a run-time error.
  • If a game contained parameters with no end-of-parameter “>” character, no error would be reported.

QuestNet Server

  • “disconnect” admin command didn’t work.


  • No changes.

Other changes

  • QuestNet Server is no longer being actively developed - I am currently working on the next major version of Quest, version 4.1, and this will not include QuestNet Server. Unless any bugs are found, this will be the last version of QuestNet Server. The “Pro” version is now included with Quest Pro, and is no longer available for sale separately.
  • There is a slight change to the version numbering convention - this version is called 4.0.5 instead of 4.05.

Eating Starburst as one of your "five a day"

16 March 2009

Starburst (a.k.a Opal Fruits, if you insist, but come on – they changed the name in 1998) now have “50% more fruit juice”.

Which made me wonder, how much Starburst would you have to eat for it to count as one of your “five a day” fruit and vegetables?

  • There 45 grams per pack.
  • According to the ingredients, the fruit juice content is 13%
  • So that makes 5.85g of fruit juice per pack

Now, 250ml of fruit juice is one of your “five a day”. Assuming that’s about 250g of juice, that means you would need to consume over 42 packs for it to count.

Or to put it another way, nearly 2 kilos of Starburst.

So that is how much Starburst the government recommends you eat, per day. Yes. That is what Gordon Brown himself has decided is the correct daily intake.

And with 403 calories per 100g, you’ll consume 7750 calories (3.1 times your Recommended Daily Allowance), and with 61.2g of sugar per 100g, you’ll consume 1.176kg of sugar. Which might contribute slightly to the obesity problem but at least you’ll be eating at least one fifth of the fruit and vegetables you require, and that’s good because they’re full of antioxidants and stuff.

An email from a lazy student

2 March 2009

I just got this email from a lazy Computer Science student:

From: s***[email protected]
Sent: 01 March 2009 22:10
To: [email protected]
Subject: hey!


i waz jus goin through and i came across ur id so i thought u might b able to help me.m a first year computer science student.i recently got ma java assignment which requires me to develop a text based interactive game using bluej.i hv already started coding ma game bt m stuck now.i dont knw how to add objects in to game.i will rly appreciate if u could help me wid this.m rly confused n nervous n da assignment is due this month.

hope to hear frm u soon

take care



Of course, I’ve got not much else to do except homework for random lazy students who can’t even type properly. Just a shame I know nothing about Java, otherwise I’d be only too keen to assist the dismal no-hoper.

Quest 4.1 is coming soon

13 February 2009

I thought I’d post here about the work that I’m currently doing on the next version of Quest - version 4.1.

So far the bulk of the work has been overhauling the internals of QDK (in programmer’s speak, “refactoring”). This is to enable me to more easily add new features in future versions, and also to enable me to more easily move the code from VB6 to the newer

In fact QDK 4.1 is already using the Microsoft .net framework for some new interface elements - the toolbars have been overhauled with a more modern look, and there is a new rich editor for text, as you can see in the screen shot below. No more weird formatting codes - you now type in a room description just as you would in a word processor:

You can also see that the tree view now contains some of the editors that were previously pop-up windows accessed via the menus - the timers, object types, status variable editors etc.

Also there are new web-browser-style “Back” and “Forward” buttons, which should be useful if you’re editing a large game.

The rich editor also appears for the “Print a message” command in the Script Editor, which has been cleaned up a little:

Quest Pro 4.1 will also feature Quest Packager, which is an enhancement to the Quest Compiler. You will now be able to compile your game into a single setup EXE file, so you can give your game to other people, distribute it over the internet, and submit it to software download sites, without having to get your users to download Quest separately.

I’ll also be overhauling room exits for version 4.1, allowing you to easily create locked exits, and replacing the two tabs in the QDK room editor “Compass” and “Go to” with a single editor that will allow you to manage all exits for a room. I’ll post more details on this later, and I’ll create a thread in the Feature Requests forum to get your feedback on how this should work.

Hopefully a beta version will be ready in a couple of months time - I’ll post updates to this blog with details as we go along.

Twitter - what is it good for?

3 February 2009

In 1979, Gary Numan sang “You know I hate to ask… but are ‘friends’ electric?”. He was obviously making a very prescient point about the increasingly online and less personal nature of our social interactions thirty years into the future. Although to be honest, looking at the rest of the lyrics he was probably just singing any old random bollocks that came into his head.

All of which leads neatly into a discussion about Twitter.

I was catching up on a few blogs last week and I read three separate people talking about Twitter, so I thought I’d give it a go as it seems to be the latest hot internet thing, just like Facebook was a couple of years ago.

Now, I did get almost embarrassingly excited about Facebook back in April 2007, but so far I’m wondering what the point of Twitter is really. It’s a bit like Facebook status updates, instant messaging and blogging all rolled into one massive time wasting machine.

It’s cool in that I can now add my updates to my website, those same updates can appear as my Facebook updates, and that anybody at all can “follow” those updates, but it doesn’t really feel like I’m particularly gaining anything.

I suppose one of the attractions is that you can “follow” celebrities. Just like MySpace, you can pretend to be friends with a celebrity, with the advantage that it doesn’t require the celebrity to give a fuck about you. Russell Brand, Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross are largely responsible for Twitter’s sudden popularity in the UK, and I can see that the prospect of reading about Russell Brand’s latest sexual indiscretions “live” as they happen must be pretty compelling, for a certain type of person.

So I don’t think I’ve particularly “got it” yet. At the moment I’m enjoying picking up interesting links to look at when bored, and it’s quite fun following people like Charlie Brooker and Richard Herring, whose “tweets” can be quite amusing, but I don’t think it can be too long before the novelty wears off.

I expect Twitter will develop over time, just as Facebook has, and it will find its mainstream niche. Hopefully it will become a bit easier to use - there are some strange conventions on there at the moment for things like “ReTweets” (basically forwarding someone else’s tweet) and sticking a hash “#” in front of a ”tag” to make it appear in some kind of search channel thing, all of which can make someone’s Twitter feed look pretty alien to a newcomer. I do wonder how much it can evolve though before the essential premise becomes lost. The worst thing would be for Twitter to “do a Facebook” and ruin the current simplicity by replacing it with a “platform” for garbage applications.

That said, there are a few simple things they could do. It’s hard to see replies to someone else’s tweet, other than by searching, and it would be good to have a bit more control over whose public replies you can see.

I’m interested in how Twitter is going to develop, so I think I’ll stick around for a bit longer.

If you’re interested in Twitter, here’s a link to a good NYTimes blog post about some of the current conventions and etiquette.

And if you want to follow me, here I am:

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