By Robert Van Scoyk

Ophelia and my video games were created in Microsoft Excel Worksheet files(.xls, and .xlsm) and are run by programs (called "macros" in Excel) written in Visual Basic For Applications (VBA).

Ophelia's Excel program, as well as those of my Excel video games, will not run on every computer.

  1. First off, you will need a Windows-Based PC computer that has Excel already installed. Some other operating systems and cloud-based apps can open Excel worksheets for editing, even the Excel macros themselves, but these operating systems still won't actually run the Excel Macros.

There may be some operating systems besides windows that can run Excel macros.  I am especially hoping for one that can run Ophelia on Mobile devices.  Stay tuned for more info.

  1. Even if you have the right kind of computer, very likely your computer will not run Excel macros straight off the bat. You can try, but chances are that you will need to change the macro security settings. An Excel message box may pop up and tell you how to resolve the problem, but if not, you will have to look for the security settings yourself. 

I have one old computer with Excel 97 that runs on the "Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition". On this computer you would go to Tools/Options/General and then click "Macro Virus Protection" and then your macros will work and you are also warned when you open an Excel file that contains macros.

Other versions of Excel may have you go to the control panel or somewhere else first.  Search your windows for "security settings" if you can't find it in Excel's help menu first.  These security settings usually give you three choices regarding how you want the computer to deal with macros.  Choose "medium".  This means that Windows will warn users before opening files that contain macros.

In some cases, you may have Excel installed, but not the part of the program that runs the macros.  You can check for this by (for older windows) going to tools/macro.  For Windows 10 that runs on my laptop, you can find your way there by clicking "view" and looking for the "macro" icon.  For whichever version of Excel that you have, if you find the word "macro" and it is dimmed out and unclickable, or if you can find absolutely no references to macros or Visual Basic at all anywhere, even in the help menus, chances are that you don't have Visual Basic for Applications installed.

  1. Even computers that will run Excel macros generally will not run each and every one of the Excel macro programs properly.

Ophelia's .xlsm file will work on newer computers. Ophelia's .xls file will also work for newer computers as well as for certain older computers that are not too old.

For older computers, some will run Ophelia's .xls file and some will not.  For instance, the computer where I am typing this document now, an old computer with Excel 97 that runs on "Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" will not run Ophelia at all, but will run some of my Excel games.

As for my video games, most of my more graphically-intensive programs do not display properly on the Windows 10 that is on my laptop. "Armageddon Island" will work, but poorly.  "Conway's Game of Life" will only work properly if you run one iteration at a time, otherwise it automatically turns off the screen updating, in spite of the fact that there is code in the macro that explicitly turns the screen updating on.

So, in summary, some of my programs work best on some kinds of computers, while some of my other programs work better on other computers.

  1. For video games, Excel has a major limitation: the user cannot interact with the game when the macros are running. This means no "Space Invader" type games. In fact, the user can do little more than rearrange the squares at the beginning of the games.

I do have a Blackjack game, which I might put on this site after I polish it up a bit, that actually is fully-interactive with the user.  The reason that it is fully interactive is that the macros are not in operation when the cards are not actually in the process of being dealt and when the "hit" and "stay" commands are not being invoked.

  1. Four of my programs are the most graphically-intensive: "Conway's Game of Life", "Chart Mountain", "Raging Battle", and the trippiest game of them all, "Armageddon Island".

You will want to close all other open apps before running any of these programs.

These games are so graphically-intensive that they could really heat up your computer, especially an older one.

"Conway's Game of Life", with its multiple spreadsheets that it needs to copy over and over again is the most graphically-intensive game in my collection. Look for the toggle box that controls the number of iterations.  If your computer starts making funny noises when running this program, cut the number of iterations down to under 30.  Even then, you might want to wait for the computer to cool down a bit between runs.  This game is definitely not recommended for a hot day.

"Armageddon Island" is an epic game that can run anywhere between 4 seconds and 25 minutes, depending on how you have set up the board.  If the game lasts a long time, you may want to wait a few minutes between games for the computer to cool down, especially if you hear your computer chugging.  This game is also not recommended for a hot day.

"Chart Mountain" draws a mountain from scratch. You will want to let the computer cool down between mountains.

"Raging Battle" is in some ways similar to "Armageddon Island". You will want to let this game cool down between rounds, too.

Ironically, although Ophelia's VBA program contains by far the most code, Ophelia doesn't really heat up the computer too much.  This is because she is not very graphically intensive, and her macros finish running once she makes her reply.

  1. The midnight glitch. Ophelia and most of my Excel games are heavily dependent on random number formulas. On two of the computers that I have used, Excel macros that use random-number formulas will freeze the computer if they are actively running at the stroke of midnight.

If this happens to you, Cinderella, just hit escape and you can find your way out from there.  If you know midnight is eminent, just wait until 12:00:01 or so before running a program and the midnight glitch won't bother you at all.

  1. Oh, and as usual, you only want to download these programs directly from this website, ProjectOphelia.com. If you get these Excel files from anywhere else, you don't know what you are really getting.