Cult of Mac has a nice story of DOOM co-author John D. Carmack starting his kids out on programming with the Apple IIc. John posted via Twitter, “Teaching my kids programming on an Apple IIc is like kung fu training in the primitive wilderness.” We couldn’t agree more, but we’d add that there is an oasis of knowledge to be found in that wilderness, that will last a lifetime. #parenting_power-up
Egan Ford posted via Usenet comp.sys.apple2 a couple of interesting links for BASIC buffs pertaining to Microsofts BASIC for the MOS 6502. It’s good reading, so we’re sharing it here.
PageTable.com – Microsoft BASIC for 6502 Original Source Code 
DiscoRunner is a multi-dialect BASIC interpreter. Its initial release supports Integer and Floating Point (Applesoft) BASIC from the Apple II.
DiscoRunner is different from other BASIC interpreters in that it is 99.5% compatible with the original languages. It accomplishes this by heavily simulating the host hardware (the Apple II) almost to an emulator level without the drawbacks of running an actual emulator. For example, BASIC programs are saved as text files. We can also add new functionality, such as an editor, a navigable CATalog and a coloured LISTing mode.
DiscoRunner comes with a library of close to a thousand classic programs to play, edit and muck around with.
The word went out on Facebook via Gary Koffler that the late Bob Bishop’s Apple II collection might be heading for the dumpster. As practically every Apple II user knows, Bob Bishop was a legendary early Apple employee, programmer and technical trailblazer. The thought of his collection lost to time in some California landfill couldn’t have been more reprehensible to the Apple II Community.
Gary reached out to John and Brenda Romero, who quickly stepped up to save all that was salvageable from Bob’s Apple II collection. Some of the collection may be destined for the Strong Museum of Play, while other items (scans of documentation, source code, pictures, etc.) will hopefully find their way into the community for the benefit of all.
Thank you John and Brenda!
OzKFest is going ahead April 17-19 in Keysborough, Melbourne.
There are 12 people already confirmed to attend. The website has just been updated with session teasers and those of us on the Apple II Oz mailing list are eagerly making plans with the expectation that this will again be a great event.
We encourage you to attend and join in the fun.
More information and a registration form is available on the website: http://ozkfest.net
If you can’t make it, but would like to follow the event happenings, we will be on twitter @OzKFest #OzKFest2015
Contact me directly (email@example.com) if you would like assistance with securing shared accommodation.
This month on Open Apple, we close out the year with our traditional Year-End Roundtable discussion. We’re joined by Eric ‘Sheppy’ Shepherd, Sarah W., and Carrington Vanston. We talk about alternate universes, our collective love of the IIgs, and Quinn takes cheap shots at Carrington. It’s the holidays, so Commodore users are given a respite. Well, a bit of a respite, anyway. Meanwhile, Sheppy solicits hatemail, Carrington calls shenanigans, and Sarah keeps everyone honest. Count the euphemisms! So many euphemisms!
As usual, we have lots of news to talk about as well. It’s been an amazing year for the Apple II, and we have new games, new hardware, and new video histories to share. I/O Silver is here, John Romero is there, and JSMESS is everywhere.
Jonas G. aka ‘Stynx’ has created a new channel on SoundCloud called ‘Vintage Micro Music‘ featuring recorded game and demo music he’s found on old floppies.
Look for more samples from Jonas in the future, using:
EDIT: Per Jonas, the samples are not his compositions and the attribution has been removed. Apologies to Jonas and our readers for the misunderstanding.
To prove that PLASMA is capable of real algorithmic development, and looking forward to some Lawless Legends investigations, I built an intermediate project for your amusement. Harking back to the days of yore, when text terminals were the norm, I present: ROGUE.
Text based dungeon crawlers were quite popular in the ’70s and ’80s. One of the first for micro-computers was Telengaurd Dungeon, written by Dan Lawrence. He was the local computer hero at Von’s Computers where I worked as a Freshman at Purdue. He died just a few years ago from heart failure. This is a bit of a tribute to that early genre.
This version of ROGUE is somewhat different than others. It is very simple in most ways, but I have developed a (I think) unique visibility algorithm that runs extremely fast. Fast enough to run interpreted by the PLASMA VM on a 1 MHz 6502, and space efficient enough to allow for large (in the future) dungeons. The unique feature of this ROGUE is that lighting becomes critical and strategic. You are in dark catacombs, after all. You enter with a lit lamp, throwing off a circle of light. There are also torches throughout the catacombs that light up a small surrounding circle of light. Other items in the catacombs are mana (health+energy increase), a key, and gold. You will also encounter a number of enemies that will track you down to try and kill you. You will also encounter doors, locked doors, windows, water, and crevasses.
As you travel through the catacombs, you must watch your health, energy, and lamp oil levels. Once health reaches zero, you are dead. As energy reaches zero, your vision will narrow and you will no longer be able to run. When the lamp oil runs out, you will be cast into darkness. If you see any torches in your field of vision, you can navigate to them. Taking the torch will extinguish the torch and replenish some of your lamp oil. Note that as you travel through the catacombs, your map of what you have seen will automatically fill in. But, if you are in the dark, you cannot read your map. You must turn on your lamp or get next to a torch before you can read the map again. If you are in the dark and can’t see any torches in your field of vision, you are in complete darkness. It is easy to lose your bearings. As such, the absolute direction movements no longer work – you will end up in a random direction if you try. However, the relative turns (left/right) and forward/backward controls continue to work (*that* you can do in the dark).
Being in the dark can be advantages, however. All the enemies in the catacombs can see you if you are in light, just as you can see them. If you are in darkness, they can’t see you, and you can move around without being tracked. Don’t run into them! Also, don’t fall off a crevasse. You will hear certain noises giving you feedback on what is going on. A simple beep when you run into walls. A groan when an enemy moves towards you. A bleep when you pick an item up. Other noises when you fall over an edge or win a battle. These can be used strategically when moving in the dark.
Whenever you and an enemy end up on the same tile, battle commences. As you win fights, your skill increases, improving your attack effectiveness. As you advance through the catacombs, the enemies become more powerful. You will need to replenish health and energy with mana. Don’t forget, the alternative to fighting is stealth in the darkness. During battle, you have the option to run. If you have low energy, you won’t get very far. Also, when fighting, you get turned around so you can’t depend on the direction you were facing before fighting. Running (‘Q’uick) will get you away from enemies but will use much more energy.
There aren’t really any Easter Eggs in this game. But, being in the Christmas Season, try booting this disk image on an Apple /// (real or virtual) :-)