FUZOMA Version History


2009-02-09: PB-Learning Floppy Disk A 1.0
[ Floppy Image ]

  • Initial release.

2009-02-15: PB-Learning Floppy Disk A 1.1
[ Floppy Image ]

  • Replaced Treasure Hunt Math with Googol Games 2.0
  • Added Donald Duck’s Playground
  • Replaced Medley menu with EnviMenu, which has mouse support.
  • Much faster boot time: now copies ZIP to ramdrive before extracting
  • Lowered overhead on the disk to make room for more valuable stuff:
    • Used UPX in general to shrink EXE and COM files.
    • Using smaller FreeDOS command.com and kernel.sys files
    • Switched from himem.exe to the smaller fdxms.sys
    • For older games, switched from SLOWDOWN to the smaller MOSLO

2009-06-12: Paul Blair’s FUZOMA Floppy 1.2
[ Floppy Image | Floppy Tool ]

Programs compiled by Paul: [ ESC (used during beta testing) | Fuzoma Edit 1.2 | KIDSMENU 2003 | RDISK-S 07-09-2009 ]
Another program not available elsewhere: [ BOZZBALL ]

  • Now branded “FUZOMA.”
  • The disk’s menu now is now icon-based, with lots of colors.  I’m using KidsMenu as compiled from the newest (2001) Micro-C source. Mouse is optional.
  • REALLY COOL! From the menu, you can now make more copies of the disk.  This will make it easy for schools to expand their labs without needing to understand IMG files or any of that nonsense.
  • INSTALL.BAT can be run from the A drive to copy files to the C drive.
  • Dropped Billy the Bear Learns to Sign from the disk.  It was the single biggest program and the best thing about it was that it was mouse-driven.  It also taught ASL alphabet, which is cool, so I felt a little bad.  I wanted to be sure to add something else to at least bring a little sign language back onto the disk, so…
  • Added Young Picasso.  This is a draw/paint program that uses the mouse. I added sign language pictures that can be colored.
  • Upgraded TMS games to to version 3.2.  One new game, a simpler interface, and smaller file size.  Not sure why the older version is so much easier to find…
  • Added MathTest.  Lots of hints for the harder problems.
  • Added Tater Head.  Click-and-drag practice.
  • Added Letter Fishing.  A good tool for learning to control and click the mouse.  Also good alphabet practice.
  • Added Word Rescue.  Great Apogee side-scroller that teaches vocab.
  • Added Word Gallery.  Another vocab program, but this one supports a mouse!
  • Added Amy’s Primer.  Some decent alphabet games and a couple logic/maze games too.
  • Added Bozzball.  A really nice variety pack, with early counting, vocab with an emphasis on shapes and colors, etc.
  • Added Tank Time.
  • Added Troll’s Tale.  Graphical text adventure.  It’s multiple choice (there’s no text parser) so the grammar is correct and it can be played even if you don’t understand all the words.
  • Added Alphabet Memory Match.  Tiny game, beefs up the number of “pre-reading” activities without adding a lot of space.
  • Added Time: Clock and Mouse.  There are a lot of “clock-teaching” games out there.  This one is the smallest.
  • Added (and wrote) FUZOMA Edit.  The point of this disk is not to “teach computers,” but I nonetheless felt like it’s not complete without a word processor that kids can explore.  This is a derivative work based on a few different editors, but at the least the Left/Right-Align features were my own.
  • Added Bali’s Calc.
  • Tech changes:
    • Switched to a 1680KB (1.63MB) floppy format to make more room.  This is the same format used by Microsoft for their Windows 95 floppy disk installation package, so it’s already been vetted as reliable.  1.72MB floppies have problems, so I didn’t push it.  That being said, 1.68MB disks don’t work in external USB floppy drives, which makes my life a little harder on my laptop, but this is not the norm for school computer labs.
    • Switched from ZIP to 7-Zip.  To make the disk work on machines with 8MB RAM, I need to set “Solid Block Size” to around 1MB (about 1.1MB) when I compress.  Other settings are all maxed out.
    • Became more vigilant with EXE packers.  I unpacked everything and then repacked some EXEs in the 7Z file (in reverse alphabetical order) with “UPX -–lzma –best” (mixing packers makes the 7-Zip compression less effective, even if the EXEs are smaller).  For programs not in the 7Z file, I used either aPack or UPX, whichever made the smaller file.
    • Back to using Slowdown.  Moslo was only useful in Int70 mode for Googol Games, and in that mode it crashes some computers.
    • Using HBreak to add “Esc” quit functionality to many programs.  I really wanted to use the smaller ESCAPE program, and I even modified the assembly source code to make it work with the Escape key, but it doesn’t seem as robust as HBreak.  My efforts on ESCAPE can be downloaded here.
    • Integrated Scancode into many batch files in order to remap keys for consistency.  Previously, kids could rarely exit a program without help.  “Is it Alt-F4?  Ctrl-C?  Esc? Q? Ctrl-Q?”  Also, Scancode is used for some simple macros to move through introductory text or pointless menus that confused the younger children.
    • Scancode has a memory leak, so added Mark/Unmark to remove traces of the misbehaving TSR.
    • Saved space with smaller FreeDOS 2038 FAT16 kernel and PC-DOS 3.30 Command Interpreter.  Also now, instead of XMSDSK, I’m using ramdrive.sys from PC-DOS 7.1, and a dummy disk driver from SRDISK.

2009-07-15: Paul Blair’s FUZOMA 1.3
[ Floppy Image | Floppy Tool | CD Image | Installer ]

Programs compiled by Paul: [ RDISK-S 07-09-2009 ]
Other programs not available elsewhere: [ Super Worms Math Arena 1.5 | Super Worms 3D Racing 2.0 (1996) ]

  • Removed Googol Math Games.  As much as I wanted the kids to like Googol, the menu had too many layers, and it was too confusing to navigate, so kids would get stuck in the menus, with no learning happening.  The games themselves look dated, even if they’re clever, and the speed problems on new machines make them hard to play.
  • Added Super Worms Math Arena.  Very similar to Googol Games’ Googolpede (they’re both variations of Snake).  Special thanks to the author who modified the game for better integration with the racing game, below.
  • Added Super Worms.  This is a non-educational 1-or-2-player 3D racing game, but it can only be played if you get a certain number of points in the Math Arena first (as of version 1.5).  Great fun.  A good reward.  I am using an older version of the game from 1996, because it takes less space on the disk.
  • Added PACAMAZE.  Another “bonus” game, non-educational.  The kids always ask for three things that FUZOMA 1.2 didn’t have: racing games (see above), shooting games, and soccer games.  PACAMAZE is Pac-man-meets-Doom, and you get to shoot the ghosts.  You can only play PACAMAZE if you first play the Pac-man variation “Mr Keyman.”  If nothing else, it encourages kids to open up the typing game, and it generically encourages conceptual transference, as the goals of the two games (make all the yellow dots disappear) are the same, although the perspective is different.
  • Updated Number Munchers Tribute from 1.0 to 1.1.  Fixes “crash on exit” bug and has smaller file size.
  • After exiting Billy, FUZOMA Edit now automatically opens your chat transcript right away for you to see and edit.
  • Tech changes:
    • Now using the newly released “RDISK-S” RAM Disk Driver.  It’s 1.5K in size and it can assign a drive letter.  It replaces the IBM “RAMDRIVE” (3.5K) from PC-DOS 7.1.  I modified the “RDISK” program and recompiled the assembly source in order to enable kilobyte-accurate drive sizes and DOS 3.3 support.
    • Used the extra 2K freed up by the new ramdisk to add Color Laptop Utility (COLAP) and included it in the boot process, which allows the screen’s contrast to be adjusted with the keyboard.  Handy for dim old CRTs.

2010-02-17: Paul Blair’s FUZOMA 1.4
[ Floppy ‘IMG’ Image | Windows ‘EXE’ Floppy Maker | CD ‘ISO’ Image |
Windows ‘EXE’ D-Fend Reloaded Installer | OS X ‘DMG’ Boxer Gamebox ]

Programs compiled by Paul: [ FreeDOS Floppy-Only Kernel 2039 1.0 | Fuzoma Edit 1.4 | RDISK-S 2009-07-19 ]

  • Added more detailed category labels to the menu.  Should be easier for teachers who aren’t as familiar with FUZOMA to guide students to a desired activity.
  • Added Mars. Unbelievable graphics for file size.  Ties in well with outer space concept.
  • Added Omniscent.  Non-interactive lead-in to Mars.  Cool graphics, small file size.
  • Added solar system picture to go with Mars.  Also added a continents/oceans picture for earth.
  • Added PCXView2 to display these new pics.
  • Added Pitman.  Addicting tiny logic game, kind of like a Chip’s Challenge with bad graphics.
  • Updated Word Gallery to version 2.0, which adds more options including a hangman-style game, and now it doesn’t play songs by default.
  • Added School-Mom Plus.  This is a program that encompasses many smaller activities.  Some of them reinforce existing FUZOMA activity topics, like upper/lowercase matching, spelling, and arithmetic.  Some are totally unique activities, such as sheet music composition, interactive sentence strips, fractions, and algebra.  Also includes a quiz activity: make and take custom quizzes!  Includes samples on a few common school subjects, like biology, geography, and science.
  • Removed Young Picasso.  I’m sad to see it go, as it was a masterpiece for its file size, and it had cool shape drawing tools, but School-Mom Plus has a better coloring activity that has basic drawing features.
  • Removed Clock Game.  Another tiny gem, but School-Mom Plus’s clock activity supersedes it in just about every way, even adding mouse support!
  • Removed Donald Ducks’ Playground.  Kids would always get really excited at the beginning of this game, but would lose interest before getting far enough along to actually learn anything.  Money handling was a good lesson, but Donald only dealt with US currency.  The logic games were mostly unintuitive, requiring me to explain, and I have since added other logic games to FUZOMA, making Donald redundant.  And, School Mom needed the extra space.
  • Added Babytype,  On-screen keyboard (including British layout option!), a picture showing proper finger placement, and a speed/difficulty level that auto-adjusts to your skill!  And fun graphics.
  • Removed TMS Games.  They were clever typing games, but boring graphics and kids got stuck too easily in the various dialogue boxes.
  • Removed PACAMAZE.  It only made sense as a bonus game with TMS Games’ Mr Keyman, and the kids like Super Worms 3D much more anyway.
  • Removed some of the Amy’s First Primer activities, as other programs do a better job with alphabet and math.  Unattended kids specifically would get stuck in the alphabet song.  Kept “Help the Froggy” and “Load the Truck,” as they are great logic games for really little kids.  Accomplished this by switching to older open source version of Amy’s First Primer and making modifications to the BASIC code.
  • The remaining Amy’s First Primer activities are not compiled.  This means that there is a BASIC interpreter – GW-BASIC 2.01 – in FUZOMA now.  Ambitious/curious/encouraged kids can modify the BASIC source for the games and see their changes take effect immediately!
  • Updated FUZOMA Edit to allow word wrap to be disabled.  Previously it would have messed up the line-number-sensitive BASIC files if long lines were edited.
  • Troll’s Tale now doesn’t use the Spacebar or Enter keys to get past the “Have you played this game before?” prompt.  This feature was messing up in-game play.
  • Changed Super Worms 3D message to say that you need to beat the first level of Math Arena, as opposed to needing to accrue a certain number of points.
  • Modified the Math Arena second level of difficulty (if it’s launched after Super Worms 3D) to make it easier… no more multiplication or division
  • Removed brief post-Math Arena error message that said “File could not be deleted.”  This was just a visual bug.
  • Billy’s starting transcript now has a centered, all-caps heading to make it clear what the document contains.  A side effect: the starting transcript is no longer 0 bytes, so older command interpreters can now copy the file correctly and will show the empty transcript correctly in FUZOMA Edit.  Previously there was a “cannot find file” error message.
  • INSTALL.BAT will now prompt if a reinstall is detected and then overwrite files if the user continues.  Good if the kids mess anything up. It also no longer overwrites itself if it is run from the installed directory.
  • Tech changes:
    • Updated Bali’s Calc.  The newer version I found seemly mostly unchanged, except that it now says “freeware” instead of “shareware.”  (I mistakenly thought I implemented this in FUZOMA 1.3)  The new version is 25 bytes larger after 7-Zipped… nothing to get too upset about, especially since it seems to fix a keyboard input bug.
    • Downgraded to earlier version of John’s Animated Computer Game.  Game data is the same—only the “GRASP.EXE” launcher differs, saving a few kilobytes.
    • Added FASTBUFF keyboard enhancer.  Seems to eliminate the possibility of kids crashing the computer by pounding the keyboard during the Animal Math song.
    • Installing FUZOMA from Windows Vista/7 will now work correctly and will make it to the main menu without the error message about CTMouse accessing the COM port.  Little else besides the menu will actually work in Vista/7 without installing DOSBox, but at least the install procedure is error-free now.
    • Changed memory managers.  Switched from FreeDOS’ FDXMS to Jack Ellis’ newer XMSMGR (2009-11-27).  They both occupy 4K on the disk (although technically FDXMS is smaller), but XMSMGR doesn’t cause my Macbook Pro to freeze when booting from CD.  (The Macbook Pro experience is still unstable, though, after you get past the main menu.  I don’t see any way around that due to BIOS emulation silliness, but at least Mac users can see the beautiful icons now! 🙂
    • Updated FreeDOS kernel and boot sector to build 2039. I modified the build in order to disable hard disk support when booted from a floppy/CD/USB, which makes the computer virtually tamper-proof, even from kids meddling in FUZOMA Edit.
    • Updated my RDISK-S build to work correctly as a COM file.
    • Dropped SRDISK Dummy Device Driver, because my RDISK-S fix allows it to handle drive assignments on its own.  Saves 1K.
    • Updated FMT config to force B drive to be 3.5”, even if BIOS disagrees.  My laptop otherwise thought my USB floppy was 5.25” if I booted FUZOMA from USB.
    • Hex edited command.com to remove version check, and removed the previously necessary “version=3.30” line from config.sys.
  • Packaging changes:
    • D-Fend Reloaded profile updated according to new version, and now correctly runs in full screen and max speed.  Setup is also now available via right-click for easy reinstall.
  • Serious bugs addressed:
    • TMS Games: 1 freeze (during launch, still at DOS prompt) – solved by removing TMS Games,
    • Word Gallery freezes: 2 (keyboard overload) – possibly solved by disabling songs by default in version 2.
    • Vocabumonkey freezes: 1 (upon exit, after reloading mouse driver) – possibly solved by not reloading mouse driver.
    • Animal Math freezes: 2, and two long delays due to keyboard overload… possibly fixed now with keyboard TSR.
    • COLAP: kids accidentally blanking screen: 2 (now COLAP uses the further-away LEFT shift key)

2010-06-07: Paul Blair’s FUZOMA 1.5
[ Floppy ‘IMG’ Image | Windows ‘EXE’ Floppy Maker | CD ‘ISO’ Image |
Windows ‘EXE’ D-Fend Reloaded Installer | OS X ‘DMG’ Boxer Gamebox ]

Programs compiled by Paul: [ XPL0 Matey 1.2PB (used during beta testing) ]

  • Added Concentration Game.  Color, mouse-driven, cards-based memory matching game.
  • Removed Alphabet Memory Match.  It was a nice alphabet matcher, and I liked that it had two-player and practice modes,  but its grayscale appearance and mouselessness made the kids bored.
  • Re-added Donald Ducks’s Playground.  Back by popular demand.  (Really, one of my students would just not stop asking where the duck went.)
  • Removed WordTrix.  This is one of those games that I wanted so badly for everyone to like.  At the end of the day it’s just a picture/word matcher, but its Tetrisish implementation was clever.  It was also the only such game that split the vocab into sections.  I think there were a couple problems, though—it didn’t have adaptive difficulty so kids would get overwhelmed or bored, and the menus were not ESC-key friendly, so kids would learn not to launch the game for fear of getting stuck in it.  Also, for Donald to return, something had to go.
  • Added Small Tetris.  It fills the gameplay void left by WordTrix.
  • Added Wunder Book.  It’s another picture/word matcher, not as clever or refined as WordTrix, but it has mouse support, and it may have stronger appeal for younger children.  It also has “click the things that are the same” and “click the things that are different” games.  It also quits nicely when you hit Esc.
  • Added Atomix.  I came across this game concept when setting up Debian for the solar computer lab in Lamu, and I just assumed it was a Linux thing, since it’s so nerdy, but in fact it was a DOS game originally!
  • Added Donald L. Pavia’s KIDGAMES Mosaic.  It’s like a simplified tangrams game.  I’m surprised I found it:
  • Removed Rival Chess.  A great chess game, truly, but since most kids don’t know chess, all of its extra features were overkill.  Up until now, though, I just hadn’t found a smaller chess game that was halfway decent.
  • Added Matey.  Matey is a much simpler chess game.  It doesn’t have many options, but it’s still mouse controlled with good graphics.  And it’s much much smaller.  The author created a new version for FUZOMA, 1.2, to help kids learn proper chess moves, and I modified it to default to the new “learner mode.”  The newest version 1.3PB with a few improvements is the one that made it to FUZOMA.
  • Added PC-Man, a Pac-Man clone.  Good for kids after Help the Frog gets too easy.
  • Added GW-BASIC “Guess the Number” game based on http://twt.mpei.ac.ru/OCHKOV/333/333_eng.htm
  • Letter Fishing now requires you to click the uppercase instead of the lowercase fish, since School-Mom Plus has the inverse alphabet exercise.
  • Downgraded Billy from 2.21 to 2.11 to save a little space.  Billy is a little less smart, but the program functions identically otherwise.
  • Amy’s First Primer BAS files updated with better colors, more comments, cleaner ending.
  • Made a new/different map of the world that takes much less space on the disk.  The new map has the same content, but is simpler—it doesn’t show the topographical features of the planet.
  • Punctuation changes to TYPING.TXT.
  • Install.bat now checks earlier to see that files are being written to the C drive before continuing.  Good if you boot to FUZOMA from DOSBox, for example.
  • Formats gone wrong should now exit before copying process.
  • Updated DOS prompt to include post-exiting instructions (doesn’t work in DOSBox). 
  • Tech changes:
    • Added a Journal feature, al-la Sugar/OLPC.  A list of all launched activities during a session are saved to JOURNAL.TXT.  The previous session is saved as JOURNAL.OLD.  The files can be opened via FUZOMA Edit and are useful to observe usage patterns or  as a tool for bug hunting.
    • Added mark/unmark protection around floppy format and Mars.  Hopefully this helps with some bugs.
    • Set Fuzoma Edit calendar to Dec. 2012—a month as good as any.
    • Updated GW-BASIC—was 2.01, now 2.02 “Commodore Edition.”  It’s smaller, and Load the Truck’s speed is now correct.  The sound of the truck is garbled now but other sounds are OK.
    • Tweaked and re-exported solar system PCX from Photoshop to save a few kilobytes.
  • Packaging changes:
    • Removed D-Fend Reloaded sound clip.
  • Serious bugs addressed:
    • Alphabet Memory Match freezes: 1 – fixed by removing this program entirely.
    • Omniscent on some machines (2/5 of the machines I’ve tested) does not work correctly.  Graphics are corrupted until, after a varying amount of time (~20sec) the program exits abruptly, somehow skips the PCX viewer in the batch file, and launches Mars with the keyboard and mouse completely frozen.  If users hit ESC before Omniscent crashes, however, the program quits gracefully and correctly to the PCX Viewer.  Fixed by loading the FreeDOS kernel into “low” conventional memory.  Now it and COMMAND.COM combined take up the first 75k of 640k RAM, instead of the the first ~25k in FUZOMA 1.4.  The “64k barrier” has caused trouble before so this might also improve overall stability.
  • These bugs may be fixed (difficult to confirm, but have reason to believe):
    • Mouse freakouts occur at random, but this may be hardware.  May go away on its own, or may need to launch Potato Guy to reset mouse.
    • Programs become unlaunchable sometimes.  May be something about GW-BASIC and/or text modes.  Some programs like BabyType will fix/reset this once launched.
    • Help the Frog: 1 refusal to quit, 2 out of memory errors, sometimes recoverable via “system” command.  (Attempt at a fix in 1.5: modified EOF.)
    • Number Munchers freezes: 3 (attempt at a fix in 1.4: took 1.1 version, un-pklited it, removed overlay with upx)

2010-11-01: Paul Blair’s FUZOMA 1.6
[ Floppy ‘IMG’ Image | Windows ‘EXE’ Floppy Maker | CD ‘ISO’ Image |
Windows ‘EXE’ D-Fend Reloaded Installer | OS X ‘DMG’ Boxer Gamebox ]

Programs compiled by Paul: [ 7-Zip with PMODE/Wi | Billy 2.11 Linkless | Falling Tetrominoes Game (Boreal Entry) Arrow Key Edition | FreeDOS Kernel NoHDD 1.1 | FUZOMA Edit 1.6 | KIDSMENU 2010 | Matey 1.3PB2 | XPLO Interpreter (No FPU) 2.7 with all interpreted XPL0 apps from FUZOMA ]

Other programs not available elsewhere: [ CBM64 2.8 Alpha (used during beta testing) | IBM PC-DOS 3.30 Modded | Matey 1.4 (used during beta testing) ]

  • Added boot splash screen.  Previously, the tip about how to change screen brightness moved too fast to be seen in USB and CD boot environments.  The downside is that floppy boot will now be 15 seconds longer unless you hit Enter or Esc during the splash screen.  The upside is that the experience is now consistent across boot devices, and everyone can be made aware of the brightness controls.
  • Updated KIDSMENU.  I dug into the Micro-C code and made the following changes:
    • Background is now aqua blue instead of black.
    • Previously if a label (“Early Math” for example) was clicked, the screen would flash and the mouse cursor position would reset.  Now this doesn’t happen.
    • Labels (“Early Math”) no longer have corresponding keyboard shortcuts, for a cleaner look.
    • Keyboard shortcuts now look a little nicer underneath each icon (I changed the width to line up neatly).
  • Added Dragon’s Keep C64.  It’s a like Troll’s Tale but with an even simpler vocabulary.  The C64 versions of these old Sierra games are more colorful than the PC versions, which only look good on CGA composite screens that are all long gone.  I merged the “cracked” C64 version with the original Commodore disk image to make a version that works in the emulator but more closely resembles the original game than than the cracked version does.
  • Removed Troll’s Tale PC.  The C64 version would have been an improvement, but Dragon’s Keep does the job even better than Troll.
  • Changed Donald Duck from PC to C64 version.  File size is smaller.  The game itself is worse in some ways, better in other ways.  The PC version feels more modern but involves Donald walking around way too much so is less playable.  I found an original disk image instead of the cracked one on Al Lowe’s site.  The cracked version had an obnoxious splash screen.
  • Added Math Mileage C64.  Best math racing game I’ve seen!  Not perfect in its execution (especially the confusing high scores screen), but a unique concept that doesn’t involve typing numbers.  Kids seem excited to play in early testing.
  • Added Simon1K C64.  A 4-color wheel that lights up and beeps.  Players must mimic the pattern as it gets longer and longer.
  • Added Math Attack C64, published in COMPUTE! #40.  3 operations (no division).  It’s similar to Big Math Attack, a remake for DOS that was in previous versions of FUZOMA, but a bit simpler, and better in that the math problems get harder as you go.
  • Added Animal Match C64, published in COMPUTE! #54.  Memory-meets-vocab game, actually really clever, although perhaps not immediately intuitive.  Hopefully sufficiently fun to explore so that it won’t matter.
  • Added the XPL0 Compiler/Interpreter.  The Computer Science activities are now more relevant to modern computer programming. BASIC was line-number based!
  • Removed GW-BASIC.  XPL0 is more relevant, takes up less space, and is open source.
  • Added the Help Froggy and Load the Truck games from Loren Blaney.  These are improved remakes of the GW-BASIC-formatted Amy’s First Primer games.
  • Removed Amy’s First Primer.  FUZOMA only used Help the Froggy and Load the Truck, and Loren’s remakes are better, smaller, and like the BAS files from previous versions, can still be used as programming activities.
  • Guess the Number is now written in XPL0 format instead of BAS.  It’s an improved version of the XPL0 tutorial version.
  • Added Falling Tetromino Game from Hugi Compo 22 (Boreal’s entry from 25-Jul-2003).  It’s a smaller version of Tetris than the one I had.  It lacks level numbers and a “preview of the upcoming piece” feature, but is otherwise superior.  Better graphics, and flexibility in left/right movement even after the down key is pressed.  I modified the game to use arrow keys instead of the J/K/L/Space controls. (I would have modified one of the smaller entries to save more space, but I’m not good enough to modify such size-optimized ASM!)
  • Removed Small Tetris, as it is now redundant.
  • Added PixelPuz jigsaw puzzle game.  A map of the Earth and a map of the solar system are now available not just for viewing, but for puzzling!  The images can be broken into large or small pieces, and then reassembled with the mouse or the keyboard.
  • Removed Omniscent.  This non-interactive space video was previously placed alongside the map of the solar system in order to get kids to look at the map.  Now that Pixelpuz makes the map interactive, there’s no need for it.  Also, I thought I had solved the stability problem, but I was wrong.  This thing’s just too risky.
  • Concentration now has a timer thanks to the author, and now pauses before returning to the menu so players can see the flashing card effect.  I also renamed the game to Memory in order to make the source code filename 8.3-friendly.
  • Billy now has a color background and built-in instructions.  It also flushes the keyboard buffer right before each user input, so kids can no longer type ahead multiple reponses (which was previously confusing).  I also removed the LINK support to save space, since you would need to break out of the FUZOMA menu to make real use of it anyway.
  • Removed PitmanAtomix is a game with a similar challenge, better graphics, and chemistry theme.
  • The Atomix prompt to purchase a continue by pressing “Y” now works correctly.  Beforehand, it was required to hit “N” for no or “Z” for yes!
  • Super Worms’ intro screen is now animated (Matrix-style) and colorful (a simple XPL program), which differentiates it from the boring DOS prompt and should help the kids to know intuitively that it requires their attention.
  • Wunder Book now auto-selects English language (sorry Spanish/French/German people!).
  • BabyType now auto-selects English language (sorry Russian/German/French people!).
  • Matey will now actually give up after he’s in checkmate.  Previously, he would tip over his king, wait a few seconds, and then make a move to try to continue the game.
  • FUZOMA Edit has been updated to 1.6.  It now waits for you to RELEASE the Escape key before it totally exits.  This minimizes confusion, for example, if the next program in the batch file would react to the fact that you’re still holding the ESC key.  The version included on the floppy also now doesn’t allow changes to the color or workspace settings (saves about 3k compressed).
  • School-Mom Plus will automatically skip the copyright screen after 3 seconds.
  • The “Journal” log, which previously was a simple list of all activities that had been used (in the order of their use), has been improved by adding timestamp information to the following events: first launch into menu, the switch to/from second menu screen, exiting FUZOMA, start/exit of each activity.  This is now saved as a CSV instead of a TXT file.  The log behavior is also now different depending on your installation method.  Boot disks (floppy, CD, USB) clear the log periodically (actually, whenever you change from the 2nd menu page back to the first one).  Full installs like DOSBox will now just keep a single journal.
  • If there is a C:\Windows folder, the FUZOMA Installer now places a file into it that allows FUZOMA be be run from any directory, instead of having to “CD” into C:\FUZOMA16.  This makes installations in Win95/98 simpler.  Users can “restart in MS-DOS mode” and then just type “FUZOMA.”
  • Tech changes:
    • When in a boot disk environment, the BILLY.TXT transcript is now reset alongside the journal, to avoid file bloat that could fill up the ramdisk.
    • Added C64S Commodore 64 emulator specifically to enable me to drop the ugly PC Troll and replace it with the bright and animated C64 equivalent  The multiple-choice graphical text adventure genre has a lot of possibility for early reading.  It just can’t be ugly!  Having this emulator also enabled the use of the other C64 games listed above.
    • Added TUNZ Tiny UNZipper to enable me to keep COMMAND.COM, AUTOEXEC.BAT, the 7-Zip Decoder, and the COLAP screen brightness program in a ZIP file that is extracted directly to the RAMDisk before control of the boot process is handed over to COMMAND.COM.  Saves 13kb.  I took the idea from NetBootDisk.com.
    • Bozzball will now start much faster now that I finally fixed the runtime error for good!  “PatchCRT” on the original EXE did the trick.  The app itself seems sluggish now, but this has the positive effect of preventing kids from holding down keys and skipping entire batches of problems.
    • Animal Math now uses Scancode to ignore the keyboard for the 20-second duration of the intro song.  This prevents keyboard overflow due to impatient little kids without requiring the separate FastBuff TSR, which has been removed, saving 2k. (Another alternative if Scancode doesn’t work is Keyboard Silencer– kbdsilnc.arj)
    • Concentration Game is now running through the XPL0 Interpreter (no more COM or EXE file).
    • Matey has been recompiled without EXEPacking.
    • All files are now set to same <Y2K (1999) date/timestamp.  Saves about 1K in 7Z file, may have a positive effect in some unknown obscure cases. Couldn’t hurt, anyway.
    • Removed Sebastian Schuberth’s  PCX View 2.  There are no longer PCX files in FUZOMA.  They have been converted to IFF/LBM for use with PixelPuz.
    • Recompiled the 7-Zip Extractor using OpenWatcom 1.9.  Rugxulo by default used the D3X extender for protected mode.  I used PMODE/W 1.33i instead.  After UPX compression, it saves 4K.  My version also requires less RAM, using about 24k less XMS.  It also works correctly in Virtualbox emulation now.
    • Made ramdisk larger (5990kb instead of 5700kb).  This should, in theory, allow the revised 7Zip Extractor to have just enough room (1070kb—maybe I’m even generous by a few kb) to do its work in XMS and still boot on a machine with 8MB RAM.  More space on the ramdisk means more games and/or less UPX/LZMA EXE compression (so games will launch faster when running in DOSBox on my slow Symbian phone).
    • PC-DOS COMMAND.COM patched to default to “ECHO OFF” for autoexec.bat.  Other BAT files will be unaffected.  Updated copyright/version info to reflect its custom nature.
    • Scancode memory leak in the floppy copier has been fixed.  The rest of autoexec.bat has been generally cleaned up as well, and compresses better with KZIP.
    • FreeDOS kernel  now uses o.sys instead of fdconfig.sys.
    • 15.7Z has been renamed to Z.7Z.  This combined with the o.sys change now means that INSTALL.BAT occurs first alphabetically on the floppy and is the only filename longer than 1.2 or 1.3.  This makes it stand out.
    • XMSMGR updated to newest version (4-July-10)
    • LASTDRIVE command set to new ramdrive D.  This should save a tiny bit of memory to help 8MB systems.
    • Various copy and delete commands in the main batch file have been revised to encounter fewer errors, even if they were harmless.
    • Removed Mark/Unmark from Floppy Maker (it wasn’t helping, and it might actually have been causing trouble)

    • Removed trailing backslash from copy commands in install.bat and the floppy copy utility, for compatibility with Win95 command.com.

    • Mouse driver is loaded before the main menu, even if there is another mouse driver already present.  This generates a series of warnings within Windows, but it also is better for DOS situations where a mouse driver is already loaded.
  • Serious bugs addressed:
    • Atomix: 2 mouse freeze-ups after game closure.  CuteMouse is loaded after Atomix automatically, much like Potato Guy, which had a similar problem.
    • Omniscent on some machines (2/5 of the machines I’ve tested) does not work correctly.  Graphics are corrupted until, after a varying amount of time (~20sec) the program exits abruptly, somehow skips the PCX viewer in the batch file, and launches Mars with the keyboard and mouse completely frozen.  If users hit ESC before Omniscent crashes, however, the program quits gracefully and correctly to the PCX Viewer.  Fixed by removing Omniscent entirely.
    • Programs become unlaunchable sometimes.  May be something about GW-BASIC and/or text modes.  Some programs like BabyType will fix/reset this once launched.  If the problem was GW-BASIC, then fixed.  XPL0 has replaced it.
    • Help the Frog: 1 refusal to quit, 2 out of memory errors, sometimes recoverable via “system” command.  (Attempt at a fix in 1.5: modified EOF.)  Now fixed by removing Amy’s First Primer completely.
    • Mosaic: 3 in-game freezes.  Correctness check sometimes fails if a piece is left in the center of the screen?  Fixed by removing Mosaic completely.
    • Pitman: 2 keyboard/mouse freezes when exiting.  Tried HBreak but that causes in-game DOSBox freezes.  Fixed by removing Pitman completely.
    • John’s Animated Game: Version 1.0 didn’t work correctly in Win95 DOS.  The computer would freeze upon exit.  Switching back to the larger version 2.0 resolves the issue.

2015-09-19: Paul Blair’s FUZOMA 1.7
[ Floppy ‘IMG’ Image (or for USB Floppy Drives: Disk 1 of 2, Disk 2 of 2)
| Windows ‘EXE’ Floppy Maker (or for USB Floppy Drives: Disk 1 of 2, Disk 2 of 2)
| CD ‘ISO’ Image | Windows ‘EXE’ D-Fend Reloaded Installer | OS X ‘DMG’ Boxer Gamebox ]

  • Added a multi-disk option, to make it easy for people with a USB floppy drive to create 2 1.44MB disks.  The target machine can still create a single-disk version, even if it was booted with either of the 2 disks made earlier.
  • Modified floppy maker packages to use an older version of WinImage.  This allows it to run on Windows 3.1 with Win32s (which I verified on a 386).
  • Added a new game:
    • Bob the Porcupine (C64 1k game that uses letters as scenery)
  • Made fixes necessary to get everything to work on an IBM P70 luggable 386 with 8MB RAM:
    • Replaced Jack Eliis’ XMSMGR with HIMEMX.  Otherwise it wouldn’t boot at all.
    • Updated options for C64s Commodore emulator:
      • It no longer defaults to extended VGA.  Otherwise the emulator would freeze upon loading.
      • Disabled sound to help performance (also, it was annoying).
      • Configured each game individually with a custom “refresh rate” so that it can skip as many frames as necessary without making the game unplayable.
  • Made a fix necessary to get DOSBox installations to work correctly when mounting the floppy image and installing from there.
    • Updated COPY command to avoid copying to *.XML, since that had the literal effect of creating a file with an asterisk as a filename.
  • Saved some space (this allows for a few extra bad sectors on the floppy, which makes some disks more useable): 
    • 7zx bought me some wiggle room.
    • Google’s Zopfli, as implemented in AdvanceCOMP, saved a few bytes on top of my usual KZIP / 7Zip mashup.
      • On the ramdisk, I deleted the Matey game history after each play, to avoid log bloat.
  • Changed some verbiage.
    • Splash screen is now more clear that brightness controls are available only LATER in the boot process.
    • Revised boot time estimate to reflect the 386’s 5-minute process.
    • Added a message about when it was safe to remove the floppy (useful if you have fewer floppies than machines, and the last half of the boot sequence doesn’t require the disk).
    • Updated KIDSMENU menus:
      • Fixed typo” “Useage” is now “Usage” (that was embarrassing).
      • Removed reference to FUZOMA version number (this will make future revisions, if any, easier to implement).
  • Improved usability:
    • Updated KIDSMENU menu colors.  Now there are no “dead zones” in which the text-based cursor is invisible at some locations.
    • Failed floppy disk creation attempts from the menu will return you not to the first menu, but to the second, which is where the floppy creation icon is.
  • Updated stuff that has been fixed/improved since FUZOMA 1.6.
    • Updated: Custom version of Jack Ellis’ RDISK, now on version from April 25, 2011.
    • Didn’t update: XPL0 2.9 or 3.0… file size is larger.
    • Didn’t update: FreeDOS kernel 2040 or 2041… file size is larger, Borland compilation is broken.
    • Didn’t work when I tried: Patched the FreeDOS boot sector with REFSTAMP, which allows floppy booting on PS/2s which are otherwise unbootable.

Not Yet Started: Paul Blair’s FUZOMA 1.8

  • Planned changes:
    • Oops!  “Billy the Porcupine” should actually be “Bob the Porcupine.”
    • Maybe allow sound for some C64 games but not others?
    • Do more testing on hard drive installs.  I already observed some instability with MARK/UNMARK on DR-DOS.
    • MAYBE revisit content, especially if the C64 emulation is too unbearable on a 386
    • Python script to optimize size
    • FUZOMA-wide language preference?  “SET LANG=FRENCH” somehow?
    • Multiplayer frog?
    • Track various updates:
      • Unetbootin
      • FreeDOS
      • XPL0
      • Jack Ellis drivers
      • HIMEMX
    • Ideas:
      • Soccer?
      • Biology puzzle pic?
      • Falling Letters / KTouch-esque game?
    • Candidates for retirement:
      • Math Boat (Has generated little enthusiasm and arithmetic is handled similarly in many other activities.. it’s just there because its small.)
      • Math Attack: C64 emulator keymappings are wrong for + and –.  Wait for email response from C64s author or deal with it.
      • STORY.TXT
      • PC-Man (if I add a harder “maze” game)
      • Wunder Book (94k)?
    • Kid activities:
      • Dot2dot (57-149k): connect the dots
    • Math:
      • xsums (25k): sudoku-meets-crossword, pretty cool!
    • English:
      • WordWorm (49k): Cool but unstable!  Obtain source and recompile/modify?
      • whunt23 (21k): text mode word search
      • xwords1 (48k): decent interactive crossword
      • iq20 (47k): fun brain teaser word puzzles
    • How to manage so much source code from FUZOMA menu?
      • FUZOMA Edit can launch apps directly maybe (F9 “Run”)?
      • Also perhaps can restore source to original state?
    • Consider these bugs:
      • Bozzball: Unusable, depending on computer.
      • Atomix: 4 in-game keyboard freezes (once, the timer also went back to 0:59 after reaching 0:00, making it impossible to exit.  Another time, it froze during the how many players prompt).  Timer doesn’t work on 1.4GHz Core2Duo—not sure at what speed it breaks.  There are two older versions of PC Atomix to try if bugs persist, as well as the C64 version (saves 24k, but bad graphics, German spelling of “methan” in both versions I’ve found).
      • School-Mom Plus: 2 in-game freezes, one during sentence strip game and another during Algebra Level 3.
      • Word Gallery 2.0: 1 in-game freeze
      • Vocabumonkey freezes: 1 (splash screen)
      • Math Mileage: 1 incident of being stuck at the finish line. Hitting ESC returned to main menu without problem.
      • Super Worms 3D: 2 in-game debilitating slowdowns.  This occurs when a joystick is selected the Options menu.
      • Word Rescue: 1 in-game debilitating slowdown (keyboard refused to acknowledge NumLock!).  Quitting and restarting game fixed the problem.  1 graphical corruption that distorted sprites during end-of-level review.
      • FUZOMA Edit: 1 screen blanking while editing TXT file on A:\.  Was able to Ctrl+S, ESC to return to Main Menu and re-launch the program.
      • Counting with Apples: 1 soft reset!  (Was launched after making two new floppies using FMT).
      • FMT freezes: 1 (main menu unresponsive after bad format).  Formatter also freezes/crashes/errors in various ways upon exit when formatting USB floppy (B drive) when booted from USB stick (A drive).

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