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Habitat (video game) (wikipedia.org)
76 points by benbreen 70 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 17 comments

Super cool to see this on the front page!

I'm part of the Neohabitat project, started by the creators of Habitat and dedicated to bringing it back to life. We've got the original launch world back up and running (over 5000 regions!), and you can play it directly in the browser over at our exhibit site:


If you're handy with Java or JavaScript, we've also got an open source project you can check out too:

https://github.com/frandallfarmer/neohabitat http://neohabitat.org

See y'all in world!

Would love to join, but I get as far as "press cmd-n or alt-n then any key to continue" (or similar) and cant get any further. Using chrome on a mac.

Ohh, Macs are a bit weird there, you'll want to use Option-N then press Enter. If it works, you'll see a "Version 1.0" string come up followed by a lot of disk sounds as all the imagery loads.

The Digital Antiquarian has an article that goes quite in-depth on the history and context of this game:


This author is impressive.

I value their work highly enough to savor, not rush it. Just wanted that quality recognized here, should they read HN.

(Thank you)

Ah, it looks like this is what the graphical version of Community in Halt and Catch Fire was based on!

It is one of the inspirations according to someone on the project...


The source for Habitat is available on GitHub these days:


This is one of the first “old” codebases, made public for historical purposes that I’ve seen with really a really good README. It seems possible to actually compile, if not run Habitat?

Not too long ago I was one of the contributors for this project. Despite my mediocre programming skills, everyone was extremely supportive and gave me a lot of constructive feedback. Hell, I even got a personalized note from one of the original developers in-game, which was pretty awesome.

If you're looking for some fun, then I'd also recommend checking out some of the dev docs.


Be sure to look at F. Randall Farmer's articles under "Literature", really fascinating and entertaining!


Was just about to link this! My favorite excerpt:

“Would anyone actually go to the trouble of disassembling and studying 100K or so of incredibly tight and bizarrely threaded 6502 machine code just to tinker? As it turns out, the answer is yes. People did. We were not 100% rigorous in following our own rule. It turned out that there were a few features whose implementation was greatly eased by breaking the rule in situations where, in our judgment, the consequences would not be material if some people "cheated" by hacking their own systems. Darned if some people didn't hack their systems to cheat in exactly these ways.”

> Yet another spent over $1000 in one month in Habitat. At around $300 and $600 dollars, he was mailed a message suggesting he "check out his usage in the billing section". If we could get 20 more of this type of "rich" user, we would be profitable!

Already landing on the "whale" method so familiar in games today. Sadly Habitat didn't have the benefit of microtransactions to break through the pesky limit of minutes in a day to really take advantage of this phenomenon.

One of the best reads is "Lessons from Habitat" [1]. While things have changed in the 30 years, one of the conclusions is still valid nowadays: the implementation is relatively unimportant.

The entire paper is a gem; worth checking it out. It has aged wonderfully well, and I never get tired of re-reading it over the years.

[1] http://www.fudco.com/chip/lessons.html

Jeff Atwood had an article titled "The Organism Will Do Whatever It Damn Well Pleases".

He summarized how some of the lessons learned from Habitat applied to StackOverflow/StackExchange, or had to be relearned.


You can actually play this at the videogame museum in oakland, ca. https://frandallfarmer.github.io/neohabitat-doc/docs//

I got to play with it, it's cool.

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