Don Woods (programmer)
Early programming career
Woods teamed with James M. Lyon while both were attending Princeton in 1972 to produce the unprecedented, excursive INTERCAL programming language. Later, he worked at the Stanford AI lab (SAIL), where among other things he became the SAIL contact for, and a contributor to, the Jargon File. He also co-authored "The Hacker's Dictionary" with Mark Crispin, Raphael Finkel, and Guy L. Steele Jr.
Work on Adventure
Woods discovered the Colossal Cave Adventure game by accident on a SAIL computer in 1976. After contacting the original author by the (now antiquated) means of sending an e-mail to crowther@sitename, where sitename was every host listed on ARPANET, he heard back from William Crowther shortly afterward.
Given the go-ahead, Woods proceeded to add enhancements to the Adventure game, and then distributed it on the Internet. It became very popular, especially with users of the PDP-10. Woods stocked the Kentucky cave that Crowther had written with new magical items, creatures, and geographical features. Crowther's game, which originally featured few supernatural elements, was transformed into a loose fantasy world based featuring elements from role playing games. Woods can thus, in a sense, be considered one of the progenitors of the entire genre of computer adventure games and interactive fiction.
Woods continues to work in the programming field in the Silicon Valley, currently at Google.
- Don Woods' web page
- Interview with Woods regarding Adventure
- Computerworld Interview with Don Woods on INTERCAL
- "The computer contradictionary" by Stan Kelly-Bootle
- Jerz, Dennis G. (Summer 2007). Somewhere nearby is Colossal Cave Digital Humanities Quarterly.
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