January 20th, 2015

Brian Picchi reviews the Apple II, David Murray thinks the Macintosh may have been a mistake


Brian Picchi

David Murray

December 22nd, 2014

Classic Rogue ported to PLASMA by David Schmenk

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.

Rogue_Keys

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.

Download:
http://schmenk.is-a-geek.com/tarfiles/ROGUE.PO

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) :-)
Enjoy,

Dave…

November 29th, 2014

Kevin Smallwood to release GBBSPro under the GPL

Kevin Smallwood announced in the Facebook Apple II Enthusiasts forum that he intends to release the GBBSPro bulletin board system (along with ACOS and other related products) under the GPL. Kevin is the current owner of the GBBSPro product.

To my fellow Apple // fans. Tony Diaz and I are going to GPL the GbbsPro source code. Stay tuned. -Kevin Smallwood

Tony Diaz has a huge collection of GBBSPro/ACOS material, so in tandem, they will be releasing a literal treasure trove of Apple II telecommunications history and source code. We could even see a resurgence of interest in good ol’ fashioned Apple II BBS’ing, as several people have expressed their desire to update the code to support telnet access.

November 5th, 2014

Control Open-Apple Reset

Inspired by this Apple ][ of sysop Dj on RMAC, a DiversiDial (D-Dial) station based in TX. Call up at telnet://rmac.d-dial.com — Runs on real Apple ][ computers!

October 2nd, 2014

Drop /// Inches podcast #6 released – Don Williams at Phase III

The Phase III conference was organized by the Third Apple User Group in Chicago, held October 2-4, 1987. Dave Ottalini located and digitized his audio recordings of some of the sessions at that conference, and provided them to us. We have been cleaning them up as best we can, and will release them here on the podcast feed. Read the rest of the intro here.

October 1st, 2014

Open Apple #39 (Sept 2014): Gary B. Little, New Segments, Apple IIc Cards

This month on Open Apple, we talk to Gary Little, prolific author of many technical reference books about various models in the Apple ][ line. In addition to writing great books that go deep on the hardware, Gary also wrote lots of great software, including such gems as AmDOS, and the popular Point To Point modem communication software.

We also catch up on all the news (there’s lots!) and take some cheap shots at other podcasters along the way. Join us as we talk about open source hardware, GS ports of great arcade games, the joy of redialing, and DClocks. So many DClocks!

September 9th, 2014

AppleWin 1.25 nearing completion, now in release candidate stage

AppleWin 1.25, the leading 8-bit Apple II emulator for the Windows platform, is now in it’s release candidate phase. That means features and fixes for this version are pretty much set. This will also be the last version of AppleWin to support Windows 98. All future versions will require Windows 2000 or later.

A summary of changes, features and fixes can be found here. Download: AppleWin 1.25RC

August 30th, 2014

Open Apple #38 (Aug 2014): Lawless Legends dev team, KansasFest

Open Apple #38 is published (still August – just made it. Whew!). If you’re a subscriber, it should be appearing in your favorite RSS reader or iTunes shortly if it hasn’t already.

This month on Open Apple, we go deep on Lawless Legends with most of the team building it. We’ve managed to corner Seth Sternberger (of 8-bit Weapon fame), Martin Haye, and Brendan Robert (Dave Schmenk, we’re coming for you…) to grill them on this amazing effort. We also wish a fond farewell to co-host Ken Gagne, and welcome our new co-host Quinn Dunki. Listeners can look forward to more angry sarcasm and less professionalism here on Open Apple. Of course, we also ramble some more about KansasFest 2014. Because KansasFest.

http://www.open-apple.net/2014/08/30/show-038-lawless-legends-team-kansasfest/

August 25th, 2014

ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation

I was recently given a copy of ‘ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation’ by Jonathan Zufi to review. I’ve spent the past week poring over it in my spare time. As I turned each page, I felt mesmerized and pleasantly surprised by the book’s high-quality photography of historical Apple products.

Which is odd. I’m not one for coffee table books. At least, that’s what I initially mistook ‘ICONIC’ for. I like to read books with stories that have something to say, or have something to do with science, engineering or history; in short, I prefer books that spark my imagination. Yet, that’s exactly where ‘ICONIC’ hooked me.


iconic_logo_v3

‘ICONIC’ is a giant, heavy slab of a hardcover divided into 6 chapters and 340 pages. Inside, you’ll find a phenomenal collection of photographs of Apple products beginning with the Apple 1 era and ending around the 2012 iMac. The six chapters are: Desktops, Portables, Peripherals, iDevices, Prototypes (my personal favorite) and Packaging. ‘ICONIC’ indeed turned out to be the ultimate coffee table book, but there’s substantially more to it than that. It’s a pictorial history of over 30 years of industrial design evolution and pursuit of technical excellence. As Richard Attenborough’s character John Hammond repeatedly states in Jurassic Park, the author and publisher appear to have ‘spared no expense’ to produce this homage to Apple Innovation. ‘ICONIC’ is every bit as impressive as the Apple products it explores.

Accompanying the pictures are quotes from the likes of Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Nolan Bushnell, Andy Hertzfeld and their contemporaries. The book doesn’t attempt to narrate the history of Apple Computer. Mr. Zufi has wisely left that tired road for others to trek and has instead found a Zen-like approach to presenting his vision in pictures. ‘ICONIC’ was four years and over 150,000 pictures in the making, and it shows. I imagine it was an excruciating task to settle on the final set of photos for the book.

My only complaint is trivial and hardly worth mentioning. I would like to have seen more pictures from the Apple II era placed within the book, but I admit I’m biased in that regard. Still, I completely enjoyed ‘ICONIC’ and recommend it highly.

Beyond Apple fanatics, ‘ICONIC’ will appeal to anyone with a love for elegant industrial design. So much attention to detail is captured, you may discover something new each time you open its pages.

You can order ‘ICONIC’ from the book’s website at http://iconicbook.com/purchase or from Amazon.

August 22nd, 2014

Mr. Yocam, if only it had turned out that way…

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