May 24, 1997 — In 1985, Mark J. Welch designed the Generic Adventure Game System (GAGS), a computer programming tool for creating “text adventure” games for MS-DOS computers. GAGS was released as “shareware” in 1985 and enhanced several times in 1986 and 1987.
In 1987, David Malmberg made substantial enhancements to the Generic Adventure Game System, which was renamed the Adventure Game Toolkit (AGT). Over the next few years, many additional features were added to AGT, and versions were released for MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, the Apple Macintosh, the Commodore Amiga, and the Atari ST. From 1987 through 1992, AGT was distributed by Softworks of Mission San Jose, California. The final version of AGT, known as the “Adventure Game Toolkit Master’s Edition,” includes some graphics and sound capabilities. The final version of AGT is version 1.7. You can download AGT and many games from The Interactive Fiction Archive.
More than 100 different text adventure games have been designed by game authors around the world using GAGS and AGT. Rather than just downloading dozens of games in hopes of finding some good ones, I suggest that you check out Baf’s Guide to the Interactive Fiction Archive, which includes reviews of many dozens of text adventure games, including many AGT games.
Since 1993, the Generic Adventure Game System and the Adventure Game Toolkit have been released as “freeware” (e.g. they are still copyrighted, but may be freely copied and distributed in unaltered form); no registration fee is requested. Freeware is not public domain: you may not distributed altered versions or source code, or use the “Adventure Game Toolkit” product name, without written permission from Mark Welch or David Malmberg! No technical support is available from the authors. David Malmberg is a management consultant. Mark J. Welch is an internet marketing consultant.
Work on AGT-based or derived programs continues:
- Robert Masenten developed AGiliTy, a “Universal” or “Portable” adventure game run-time system, written in the C programming language, which he says should be able to run any AGT games. Additional AGiliTy versions were adapted by Simon Baldwin, David Kinder, and Julian Arnold.
- Kevin Soucy wrote a “converter” program to allow Agate programs to be compiled with the AGT or Magx compilers.
Those interested in text adventure games should explore XYZZY News.
Don’t ask me for technical support! Instead, post your query in the rec.arts.int-fiction newsgroup (after first searching to see if your question has already recently been answered). If you must send me email, write to Mark Welch at Mark Welch dot com.
Update January 2, 2015: There is a web site which claims to provide the actual Turbo Pascal source code for the Adventure Game Toolkit (1.7), at http://pascal.sources.ru/gamestxt/agtsrc.htm — I do NOT know if this is our code, or might be altered in some way (malware, trojan, whatever).