Little Computer People (LCP11A.TXT)


Welcome to Project 64!

The goal of Project 64 is to preserve Commodore 64 related documents
in electronic text format that might otherwise cease to exist with the
rapid advancement of computer technology and declining interest in 8-
bit computers on the part of the general population.

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The Project 64 etext of the Little Computer People help file.
Extracted from original Windows(R) help file GAME06.HLP obtained from
the Activision C64 15 Pack. Help file supplied by Fandango. Converted
by the Basic Bombardier. Some of the information in this etext is
assumed to be close enough to the original hardcopy version until an
orginal can be converted, which is likely to be called LCP10B.TXT.

LCP11A.TXT, February 1996, etext #18.

This replaces LCP10A.TXT, from which most of the Windows(R) 95 C64
emulator stuff was removed.


Little Computer People


 General Description   [ 1.0 ]
 How To Play           [ 2.0 ]
 Hints                 [ 3.0 ]
 Game History          [ 4.0 ]
 Commodore History     [ 5.0 ]
 Troubleshooting       [ 6.0 ]

[ 1.0 ] General Description

This deed gives you official permanent title to the research software
"house-on-a-disk" accompanying this software. You, the undersigned,
agree to maintain said house and its occupant according to the
instructions put forth below. Congratulations on your new house!

There really are little people living inside your computer. And one of
them is waiting for you to give him a home...and be his friend.

He will talk to you and play with you and live a very happy life, as
long as you take care of him.

This Discovery Kit contains a house for one Little Computer People.
Try it. See who moves in. You will discover a whole new world of
computer fun and friendship.


[ 2.0 ] How to Play


How to Start

Follow the on-screen directions to begin the game.

Letter of Introduction

Dear Fellow Researcher,

We're happy to welcome you to the Activision Little Computer People
Research Group.

As you may have read, we suspected for quite some time that there was
something living inside most computers. But we didn't know who, what,
or how many there were.

After years of research, hard work, and creative speculation, we
invented what finally became the turning point in this arduous
investigation: the "House-On-A-Disk".

When our first Little Computer Person so tentatively entered his new
"home", it was an experience beyond explanation. You'll soon see
we mean.

From that moment on, we have been collecting volumes of information on
the Little Computer People: what their personal habits are, what they
like, what they don't like.

We now believe that every single computer has its own Little Computer
Person. And that every Little Computer Person is unique in appearance
and personality. This is why we have opened this research project up
to all interested computer owners.

We also have strong evidence indicating that there are actually
several Little Computer People in every computer. But it seems that
only one will reside in any given home. So, if you find you enjoy
caring for and observing your first Little Computer Person, you may
want to sign up to study others your computer may hold.

The preceding guide is a compilation of what's currently known about
providing for the little person inside your computer. Use this guide
as an outline. But remember, please, to experiment on your own.

There are many questions that are still unanswered. And only through
the support and cooperation of people like yourself will we ever be
able to fully understand our newfound friends.


David Crane and Sam Nelson For the Activision Little Computer Person
Research Group

Making Contact

Every time you follow the procedure outlined in this section of the
guide, you will begin a new research session with your Little Computer

In your first session, you will be required to enter your name, the
date and time for your research files.

In all subsequent sessions, you will only be asked to enter the date
and time.

Entering Your Name

The first thing to appear on the screen is your research notebook. You
will be asked (in your first session only) to log your name into the
project files. (To later change the name, see Changing the
Researcher's Name below.)

Using the keyboard, type your name (first name first) in the spaces
provided on the screen

Entering the Date

The format for entering the date is MM/DD/YY, where MM stands for the
month, DD stands for the day, and YY stands for the year. Be sure to
enter the numeric digit for each space. Use zeros in front of numbers
less than ten.

For example, if you start a session on January 1st, 1986, type: 01 01
86, then press RETURN.

Entering Time

The format for entering time is HH/MM, where HH stands for the hour
and MM stands for the minute. As in Entering the Date, above, use
zeros in front of numbers less than 10. Type A for AM, P for PM.

Twelve o'clock midnight should be entered: 12 00 A, noon should be
entered as: 12 00 P.

Moving In

If this is your first research session, your house will be empty when
it appears on the screen. Based on our findings to date, most Little
Computer People are quite shy and will not readily rush into a new
situation. In fact, it may take several minutes before they actually
muster the courage to step inside the new home you're providing for

On the other hand, Little Computer People have also been found to be
quite loyal. Once they have moved in, you can expect them to be in
their new home on subsequent sessions. In fact, we've never seen one
move out yet.

When a Little Computer Person enters a house for the first time, we've
found that he will usually inspect the new home for anywhere from 5 to
10 minutes. Then he usually leaves to retrieve his belongings. Yours
will probably return shortly with his suitcase. Most Little Computer
People also bring their dog. If yours doesn't, contact us.


Care and Feeding of Your Little Computer Person

- or -

How to Make Sure the Person Inside Your Computer is Healthy, Happy,
and Totally at Home.

Although Little Computer People are basically quite independent, once
they move into their new home they are, in a sense, living in your
world. So they will need your help in certain areas.

To insure that your Little Computer Person is healthy, see that he
always has food and water. (The dog also needs food.) Both hunger and
dehydration can make Little Computer People sick. They generally turn
green and just lie in bed when they are sick.

Also, because they tend to be quite active, they should not be allowed
to sleep too much. They would much rather have your attention.

Caring for Physical Needs

Hold the CONTROL key down and press the designated letter to care for
your Little Computer Person's physical needs.

 [CTRL] F - Food is delivered to his front door.
 [CTRL] W - Fills the water tank. Each time you press
            [CTRL] W, approximately one glass of water
            is added to the water tank.
 [CTRL] A - Rings the alarm clock.
 [CTRL] D - Leaves dog food at the front door. Your
            Little Computer Person will do the rest.

Caring for Emotional Needs

Addressing the physical needs of your Little Computer Person is
relatively easy. To know if he needs food or water, you simply look to
see if his supply is running low.

Addressing emotional needs, however, takes much more sensitivity and
careful study. First of all, you must be aware of his different moods.
So far, we've discovered four distinct moods in the Little Computer

     He's probably getting plenty of attention.

 He's fine but could be better. Try a Mood Booster.

         Needs Mood Boosting immediately

                  :-( [Green]
 This happens when he has gone without food and water
                for a long time.

Mood Boosters

There are several ways to elevate the mood of your Little Computer
Person. Studies indicate that some ways are more effective than others,
, and new techniques are constantly being reviewed and discovered.
Please record your own discoveries.

 [CTRL] C - A phone call. Many Little Computer People
            enjoy receiving phone calls - unless they
            are constantly interrupted to the point of
            irritation. We have not yet deciphered
            their spoken language, nor discovered with
            whom they chat.
 [CTRL] P - Physical contact (or "Petting"). We haven't
            found one yet who doesn't respond to this
            instantly. Note: in order to pet your Little
            Computer Person, he must be sitting in his
            easy chair in the living room. To call him
            to the chair, press [CTRL] P and he will
            know you want to pet him.
 [CTRL] R - Leaves a record for his stereo at the front
 [CTRL] B - Leaves a book at the front door for him.
            Note: Records and books elevate your Little
            Computer Persons spirits only for mild cases
            of the blues.

Playing Games - this is one of their favorite pastimes, so it
naturally makes them feel great. See Playing Games for details.

Recreation and Relaxation

Most Little Computer People are very good at entertaining themselves.
They're good pianists and can play compositions from Bach to Boogie
Woogie. They also like their record collections. In fact, albums make
great gifts for them.

We've noticed that some Little Computer People exercise frequently.
Many seem to enjoy playing with their computers or sitting down in
their easy chairs with the newspaper we've provided. You may even be
able to talk them into building a fire in the fireplace. (See Keyboard
Communication, below.)

Keyboard Communication

We recently found that we can communicate quite extensively with
Little Computer People by typing sentences using the computer keyboard.
These sentences can be in the form of questions, suggestions, or
requests. We use them to evoke a wide range of responses and reactions
from Little Computer People. You can do the same.

Though we are just beginning to scratch the surface, here are a couple
of requests we have tried.

 - Please type a letter to me.
 - Please build a fire.

Little Computer People are especially responsive to good manners. So
remember to incorporate words like "Please" and "Thank you"
into your

Changing Researcher's Name

To change the name of the researcher, type "logon please", and then
press RETURN. Select the program called " Name Changer" by pressing
"1" (one) on the keyboard. Then follow the instructions at the top of
the screen.


Playing Games

As far as we know, almost all Little Computer People like to play
games. Each Little Computer Person has his own individual favorites,
so we've listed a few of the games we've noticed occurring most
frequently, along with simple instructions for playing them.

A Little Computer Person will usually allow you to make the game
selection. He will knock on the glass of your TV or monitor to get
your attention and ask you to select a game from the list at the top
of the screen. Type in the number of the game you want to play.

1. Card War

This is a simple game in which you are each dealt 26 cards from a 52
card deck. (Little Computer People always prefer to deal.)

You both draw the top card from your pile. Your Little Computer Person
will show you his card first. To show your card, press F1 as indicated
by the command menu in the upper right corner of the screen. Whoever
has the higher card wins the hand, and both cards are added to the
winner's stack.

When both cards shown are of equal value, this is called WAR!! At this
point, your Little Computer Person deals out 4 more cards to himself
and 4 more cards to you, face down. He will then turn over his last
card; press F1 to show your last card. Whoever has the higher card
wins the hand, and all of the cards on the table are added to his

If the last cards shown during a WAR! Are of equal value, then your
Little Computer Person continues to deal 4 more cards each until
someone wins the hand using the same rules.

The game is over when one of you has all 52 cards. You can press F7 at
any time if you decide that you want to quit.

2. Anagrams

When you play anagrams with your Little Computer Person, he'll insist
on being the one to think of the word. You'll be the one who
unscrambles it.

A scrambled version of the word he's thinking of appears in big type
on the screen.

You type in what you think is the correct word, and he will tell you
whether your guess is right or wrong. He'll let you guess 8 or 9 times
before he tells you the word.

If you need a hint, press F3, and one letter will assume its correct
place in the scrambled word.

Note: A Little Computer Person will not give you two hints in a row.
You must guess at least once between hints.

Press F1 to quit this game. We have never had a Little Computer Person
quit playing on his own.

3. 5-Card Draw Poker

Standard poker rules apply. As usual, your Little Computer Person will
probably insist on being the dealer. You're just going to have to go
along with it.

You both start out with 200 poker chips, as displayed at the top left
of the screen.

Your number of chips is below his. Bets and raises are limited to 20
chips each.

Press F1 to ANTE UP one poker chip and begin the game.

The Little Computer Person will deal each of you 5 cards (yours are
face up) and ask if you feel lucky. (He is really asking if you want
to bet any chips).

The menu in the upper right corner gives you three choices.

 Bet (F1)        - Bets one poker chip every time you
                   press F1.
 Enter (F3)      - Enters your bet.
 Pass/Clear (F5) - Lets you pass when you feel you have
                   a weak hand and do not want to bet,
                   or clears your bet if you decide to
                   bet a different amount.

After you make a bet or pass, the Little Computer Person will either
match your bet or pass.

When the Little Computer Person asks if you want cards, press any
combination of numbers from 1 to 5 on the keyboard to discard the
cards that you don't want. (As examples, to discard the card on the
far left, press 1. To discard the card second from the right, press
4.) Press the number again to make your original card reappear. You
can discard all five cards if you like.

Once you've discarded the cards you don't want, press F1 to draw
replacement cards. Your Little Computer Person deals them to you.

If you want to keep all five of your original cards, press F3 to stay.
You will not be dealt any replacement cards.

Your Little Computer Person then tells you on the screen how many
cards he discards.

You now have the option to make another bet.

At this point, your Little Computer Person may raise his bet and give
you two choices:

 See (F1)   - Lets you match his bet.
 Fold (F3)  - Lets you abandon the hand, losing whatever
              you've bet so far.

If you opt to See, you'll be given three more choices:

 Raise (F1) - Lets you raise the bet even higher.
 Enter (F3) - Enters your raise.
 Call (F5)  - Stops betting for that hand and lays the
              cards on the table.

After each hand, you have the option to quit the game (F7).


It would be beneficial for you to create a log book in which to record
your observations. You will quickly start to notice distinct character
traits in your particular Little Computer Person. A detailed record of
these traits is very important to the research project as a whole.

Please keep in mind that your discoveries and insights, like everyone
else's, are critical to an accurate analysis of this important

 Researcher's name:
 Moving in:
 Unusual Activities:
 Name of Little Computer Person:
 Sleeping Habits:
 Overall Health:
 Predominant Moods:
 Housekeeping Hints:
 Musical Ability:
 Game Playing Aptitude:
 Letter Writing Ability:
 Forms of Relaxation:


Key Description

 [CTRL] F   Food is delivered to the front door.
 [CTRL] W   Fills the water tank. Each time you press
            [CTRL] W, approximately one glass of water
            is added to the water tank.
 [CTRL] A   Rings the alarm clock.
 [CTRL] D   Leaves dog food at the front door. Your
            Little Computer Person will do the rest.
 [CTRL] C   A phone call. Many Little Computer People
            enjoy receiving phone calls - unless they
            are constantly interrupted to the point of
            irritation. We have not yet deciphered
            their spoken language, nor discovered with
            whom they chat.
 [CTRL] P   Physical contact (or "Petting"). We haven't
            found one yet who doesn't respond to this
            instantly. Note: in order to pet your Little
            Computer Person, he must be sitting in his
            easy chair in the living room. To call him
            to the chair, press [CTRL] P and he will
            know you want to pet him.
 [CTRL] R   Leaves a record for his stereo at the front
 [CTRL] B   Leaves a book at the front door for him.

You can also use the keyboard to interact directly with your Little
Computer Person. Try commands such as "Please play the piano" or
"Please build a fire." Remember your manners!


The joystick is not used in Little Computer People.

[ 3.0 ] Hints

Be sure to pay attention to your Little Computer Person's emotional
needs as well as his physical needs.


[ 4.0 ] Game History

David Crane, Programmer

"The idea for Little Computer People was actually brought to us by an
outside developer. I was interested in the potential of the product
and recommended that we buy it. The original name of the project was
'Pet Person', based on the 'Pet Rock' craze of the

"When it was brought in-house, the original plan was for it to be more
like a fish-bowl, with no input from the user. I took it in and
rewrote about half of the original program to include the
interactivity that ended up in the final product."

"One interesting facet of the program that most consumers don't get
appreciate is that it was duplicated in-house. Since we had control
over every disk that went out the door, we gave each copy of the game
its own, unique serial number as it was copied. This serial number was
then used to generate the personality, appearance, and behavior of the
'Little Computer Person' on the disk. Certain factors of the computer
person were determined by this serial number - name, shirt color,
personality traits, and so on. These factors were determined
independently, so although there were probably many serial numbers
that would generate a computer person named 'Tom', the chances that
any two of them wore the same color shirt and liked the same game is
almost nil. Each disk was effectively unique."

Sam Nelson, Producer

"The idea for the sequel to Little Computer People was to have a
Little Computer People apartment complex. In that kind of a scenario,
it would be more interesting to watch the interaction between the
people, study the relationships that form, and so on. And you would be
able to do things in several houses at once, so it would be more
challenging." The reason no such game was ever released was that
"Activision wasn't in the practice of sequelling what we had done
already. So we just played around with it in the office for a little
while and then dropped it on the floor."

On early Activision culture: "At the time, Producers were called
'Creative Development Managers'. They would manage the projects much
as Producers do today. At one point, there was one big room where all
the internal development was done. Steve Cartwright sat in one chair,
David Crane sat in another, Bob Whitehead sat in another, and so on.
So we were on one side of this wall, and on the other side was
marketing, sales, finance, operations, and all the other departments
not directly associated with product development. Only the design
teams and the producers knew what products were being made at any one
time. Once a game was finished, we would give them the final copy and
just say 'OK, here it is'. These other departments would then
market, and sell the game."

[ 5.0 ] Commodore History

Birth of a Legend

Commodore International Limited was founded in 1958 by Jack Tramiel, a
typewriter repairman from the Bronx, New York. It received much of its
financing from Canada's Atlantic Acceptance Corporation and quickly
grew to include typewriter manufacturing. However, Atlantic went
bankrupt in 1965, threatening to take Commodore with it.

To save his company, Tramiel began hunting for a new source of funds.
He found it in Irving Gould, a Canadian venture capitalist, who
supplied the ailing company with $400,000 in exchange for 17% of the
company and Tramiel's pledge of all the receivables.

Price War and the Lean Years

By the 1970's, Commodore Business Machines had grown further,
branching into calculators and other office machinery. Business boomed
until Commodore lost in a brutal price war with Texas Instruments.
Commodore had been assembling pocket calculators with TI
microprocessors. The chips cost Commodore about $50 per calculator,
and the final product sold for about $100 each. In response, TI came
out with a competing calculator of its own manufacture using the same
chip that sold for only $49. Commodore lost $4 million on sales of $56
million and nearly sank.

Tramiel learned a valuable lesson. In 1976, Commodore bought MOS
technologies, a failing semiconductor manufacturer, for $800,000,
ensuring that it would no longer be dependent on outside vendors for
needed parts.


Under Tramiel's deliberate guidance, Commodore grew into a $1 billion
company, growing sevenfold from 1981 to 1984. It was one of the
largest suppliers of home computers in the world.

Commodore 64 Era

By early 1982, Commodore had five new products in development, one of
them being the infamous Commodore 64. Believing he had a winner,
Tramiel took a gamble. He sidelined the other products and built up
massive inventories of the C64. Then, he flew in the face of the
computer industry by enlisting the same mass merchandisers (K-Mart,
Toys "R" Us, Target, and others) that sold the Vic-20 to market the
C64. By doing so, he proved that computer buyers didn't need to rely
on the hand-holding of an elite class of computer-literate salespeople
and their specialty store prices.

The C64 was rushed to market with haste bordering on recklessness, and
about 1/4 of the machines shipped didn't work. Commodore's solution
was a no-questions-asked policy on the exchange of defective machines.
After several months, the defect rate had been whittled down to a more
acceptable 4-5%.

By 1984, about 4 million Commodore computers were in use around the
world, and 300,000 more were being sold per month. However,
Commodore's leadership believed that market saturation was still a
long way off, since only about 6% of U.S. households owned computers.
This was far less than the 20-25% that owned video game players during
the peak of the home video game craze.

Tramiel Leaves

Tramiel had been known for his iron-fisted style of management. He was
involved with every aspect of the company and anything or anyone he
didn't like was changed or removed. This led to a class action suit in
November of 1983, which charged that Commodore failed to disclose
information about its operations and did not build a strong management

According to a statement released in January of 1984, Tramiel said,
"personal reasons prevent my continuing on a full-time basis with
Commodore." Gould recruited Marshall F. Smith from Thyssen-Bornemisza
NV, a conglomerate based in the Netherlands Antilles, to replace

At the time of Tramiel's departure, the home computer market was
failing, causing Mattel and Coleco to leave the business. Another
company that decided to leave the industry was Warner Communications,
which sold Atari to the newly unemployed Tramiel for a pittance.
Shortly thereafter, a stream of Commodore executives followed him.


In an effort to make Commodore profitable, Smith took to downsizing,
cutting the payroll by more than 45%. Though the company had an
impressive $339 million in 1985 holiday revenues, it made only $1
million for the quarter after paying off about 1/4 of its bank debt.

Commodore suffered through Fiscal Year 1985, losing $237 million, and
getting into trouble with its creditors. The banks granted a much-
needed one-month extension on Commodore's loans, and, with the success
of the company's second-best Christmas sales ever behind them,
Commodore defied the Gods of Bankruptcy yet again.

The Rattigan Years

In March 1986, Thomas J. Rattigan replaced Smith as Commodore's CEO.
Rattigan was hired in April of 1985 with the understanding that he
would replace Smith, who remained on as a director. Rattigan's
objective during the first few months of his leadership was clear -
cut costs in order to stabilize Commodore's position, allowing it to
rebuild. Once again, the payroll was trimmed from top to bottom, and
three plants were closed in five months. New controls were added in
the finance department to prevent the sloppy reporting that had
undermined Smith's leadership.

Commodore continued to sell respectable numbers of its $150 C64
throughout 1986. The Commodore 128, a successor to and more powerful
machine than the C64, was selling for $300 at the time, also helping
to keep the company afloat.

Rattigan's policies worked. By March of 1987, Commodore had caught up
on its loans and posted a $22 million earning in the quarter ending
December 1986. It also had $46 million in the bank, the most cash
since 1983, its most profitable year.


Commodore's next move was to release the Amiga line of home computers.
Code-named 'Lorraine' during development, Amiga was quickly dubbed
"save-the-company machine." The Amiga was packed with computing
At its center was a Motorola 68000, the same chip that powered Apple's
original Macintosh. The Amiga had an additional set of three custom-
designed chips, one to handle stereo sound, one for graphics and one
for animation. The Amiga was also one of the first computers to mult
-task, performing several different computing jobs at once - such as
word processing and game playing.

The Post-Rattigan Years

On April 22, 1987, Rattigan was replaced by Chairman Irving Gould, the
venture capitalist who had been involved with Commodore for over 20
years. It is unclear as to why Rattigan was replaced after turning the
company around and posting $28 million in profits over the four
quarters ending in March 1987. Rattigan himself claimed that he was
forced out by Chairman Gould due to personality conflicts and that
Gould was upset about Rattigan getting credit for the company's
turnaround. Gould argued that the comeback in the U.S. was
insufficient compared to its rebound in overseas markets, which
accounted for 70% of its sales. In fact, despite its profitability,
Commodore's U.S. revenues had declined by 54% in the same four

According to Gould's ideology, the North American operation was to be
a sales and marketing extension of the company, rather than the
unwieldy, semi-independent entity it had become. For the third time in
Commodore history, a new leader began his term at the helm by
drastically downsizing. Under Gould's reign, the payroll was cut from
4,700 to 3,100, including half the North American headquarters'
corporate staff, and five plants were closed.


On April 29, 1994, Commodore International announced that it had been
unable to renegotiate terms of its outstanding loans and was closing
down the business. The liquidation process lasted for months, owing
largely to the far-reaching size of the corporation. In addition, the
fact that the company was incorporated in the Bahamas while a large
share of the creditors were from the United States made legal
proceeding tense and drawn out. On April 20, 1995, almost a full year
later, Commodore was sold to the German company ESCOM for
approximately 10 to 12.5 million dollars.

[ 6.0 ] Troubleshooting (Little Computer People)

How to Start

Follow the on-screen directions to begin the game.

Little Computer People Game Specific Notes

If nothing seems to be happening, be patient. Your Little Computer
Person (LCP) is still moving in. You won't be able to interact with
your LCP until he decides to move in (this may take as long as twenty
minutes). After that, you are free to talk to him and take care of him.
Also, Little Computer People has a built in "screen saver." If there
is no keyboard input for a period of time, the entire window in which
Little Computer People is playing will go black. Your LCP is still
going about his business, the computer is just not displaying it. Just
press any key and you will see your LCP.

When interacting with your LCP, remember, he is like any other human
being. He doesn't respond to every command and will not do everything
you ask. Also, try different ways of phrasing questions and commands.
Remember to always say "Please" and "Thank You."


End of the Project 64 etext of the Little Computer People help file.