I'm Mark, pleased to meet you

This page will tell you a little about me (bo....ring!) and some of the stuff I do (way cool...well, kind of)

I'm really interested in Retrocomputing. And by that, I don't mean the XBox 1... My favourite computer would have to be the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, a hugely underpowered (by today's standards) machine, with an antique 8-bit Z80 chip running at 3.5MHz (M, not G) which has a huge 48k of RAM. If you want to load software, you need a cassette tape (remember those? There's one in the picture below, it might ring a bell). I managed to grab hold of a ZX Spectrum Next in their first Kickstarter campaign. It's a wonderful piece of kit. Great for playing games with my son!

For most people, retrocomputing equals playing pixellated games on a badly-tuned tv, with garish colours (and not many of them), and hideous beeper music 'playing'. When I'm sat in front of a retrocomputer (see above) I don't really play games. I write them. Adventure games, or Interactive Fiction, to be more precise. My tool of choice is the PAW, Professional Adventure System. Or, more recently, DAAD (Diseñador de Aventuras AD). I have a game in the works - as and when it is finished, I'll post it on here.

I'm also trying (not very hard) to get my head around Z80 assembly language, because I have a very specific idea of a game I'd like to write - as in arcade, not text. This is not making very much progress, at all

When I was back at Uni, a 'handful' of years ago, my final year project was to write, for PC, a remake of PAW. This was of my choosing, of course ;) I tried to reverse-engineer the PAW program, using the manual, and what I had understood of how it works through writing two games - published, if you please! - using it. Understanding the workings of the CondActs was relatively easy; writing a full-blown parser was a different story for the then-19-year-old me. Anyway, the program basically worked - enough, at least, to reproduce the standard PAW demo adventure tutorial. I was quite pleased with it at the time. I'm sure I would do things differently today (of course). Kudos to Tim Gilberts and Graeme Yeandle for their work on PAW back in the day by the way. Getting their interpreter to sit in less than 8k was really an exploit. Since this program is basically obsolete, but might be interesting for someone, I've decided to make it available for download. Here are both the executable (and demo project), and source code (delphi). Be nice, this stuff is getting on (a bit like me)

Most of my day work nowadays is using SAP HANA. I do different things using this database, and won't go into details about that here. However, I have written two books on the subject, and if you are interested in getting into the world of HANA, you might like to grab a copy of one or the other. Or both. Or, neither. The first was called "SAP HANA Starter", and the second, "Software development on the SAP HANA platform"

Over the last couple of decades (yes, really), I've been working, on and off, on a backup program for Windows, called AltexaBackup. This monster (getting on towards 200000 (two hundred thousand) lines of code I've written myself) is nearling completion (no, really!), and now comprises nearly ten executable files, a handful of DLLs, a tray icon, an auto-updater, some (optional) webservices, an inbuilt database, and so on, and so on. I think it's pretty cool, or it will be when I finally finish it. Take a look!

There's no privacy policy (I don't track you), no cookie consent (I don't use them), no newsletter (I don't have THAT much to say) - so if you were expecing to be bugged about these things, then i'm sorry about that. If you REALLY want this junk, I could make an effort and put in some dummy functions to add popups and stuff...

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The font used on this page is Diavlo Book, which I got from here

All content copyright © 2019-2021 Mark Walker