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.
Mike Willegal is one of the most knowledgeable hardware hackers in the community. So when Mike shares his accumulated wisdom, it’s probably something you’ll want to snag for your own reference library. Check out Mike’s ‘Apple II Repair Tips‘ page and also his recent VCF presentations in PDF format.
After much tinkering and optimizing, Bill Buckels has released v1.0 of Bmp2DHR, a graphics converter for 8-bit Apple II computers. Check out Bill’s site for the impressive results!
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) :-)
Announced by Chris Torrence via Usenet Comp.Sys.Apple2
Assembly Lines: The Complete Book is now available! The book contains all 33 of Roger Wagner’s articles from Softalk magazine, as well as appendices on the 6502 instruction set, zero-page memory usage, and a beginner’s guide to using the Merlin Assembler. The book is currently available for 40% off on Lulu.com, and will be available at Amazon in a few weeks. Note: Roger Wagner has released the book under a Creative Commons NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, and I’m currently working on the eBook version.
FYI, I uploaded disk images of the Assembly Lines programs to the Asimov website:
There are DOS and ProDOS versions. Disk1 contains the programs from chapters 1-17, while Disk2 contains the remaining chapters. Note that a few of the programs (in the DOS chapter) will only work in DOS, not ProDOS.
You can download a copy of the Merlin assembler for DOS at:
ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net//pub/apple_II/images/programming/assembler/merlin/Merlin-8 v2.48 (DOS 3.3).dsk
Brief Table of Contents:
1. Apple’s Architecture
2. The Monitor
4. Loops and Counters
5. Loops, Branches, COUT, and Paddles
6. I/O Using Monitor and Keyboards
7. Addressing Modes
8. Sound Generation
9. The Stack
10. Addition and Subtraction
11. DOS and Disk Access
12. Shift Operators and Logical Operators
13. I/O Routines
14. Reading and Writing Files on Disk
15. Special Programming Techniques
16. Passing Data from Applesoft BASIC
17. More Applesoft Data Passing
18. Applesoft Hi-Res Graphics
19. Calling Hi-Res Graphics Routines
20. Structure of the Hi-Res Display Screen
21. Hi-Res Plotting in Assembly
22. Even Better Hi-Res Plotting
23. Hi-Res Graphics SCRN Function
24. The Collision Counter, DRAW, XDRAW
25. Explosions and Special Effects
26. Passing Floating-Point Data
27. Floating-Point Math Routines
28. The BCD, or Binary Coded Decimal
29. Intercepting Output
30. Intercepting Input
31. Hi-Res Character Generator
32. Hi-Res Character Editor
33. The 65C02
Appendix A: Contest
Appendix B: Assembly Commands
Appendix C: 6502 Instruction Set
Appendix D: Monitor Subroutines
Appendix E: ASCII and Screen Charts
Appendix F: Zero-Page Memory Usage
Appendix G: Beginner’s Guide to Merlin
List of Programs
Directory Listing for Program Disks
Announced by Ivan Drucker via Facebook
Magic Goto is now available, so you can program in Applesoft without ever having to think about line numbers, yielding better organized and much more readable code.
It lets you GOTO, GOSUB, or ONERR GOTO a label in a REM statement. For example, GOSUB “showMainMenu” will find the line containing REM “showMainMenu”.
Magic GOTO is self-contained in your Applesoft program and does not require any additional files to be loaded.
For those already familiar with Magic Gosub, this supersedes it, with support for GOTO and ONERR GOTO; better performance; and the ability to specify your label search either forwards or backwards, starting from the top, bottom, or current line (this allows you to reuse labels if you are programming in Structured Applesoft).
Have fun: http://ivanx.com/magicgoto
This month on Open Apple we present an early holiday gift, in the form of an epic three hour episode. We sit down for a great conversation with Apple II legend Randy Brandt, perhaps best known for his work at Beagle Bros. We go deep on Beagle Bros, exploring the making of their quirky, innovative software and the wacky characters that produced it. Never one to rest on his laurels, Randy is now helping to produce a modern reboot of Beagle Bros’ only major game release, I/O Silver. The game will be released very soon as of when you’re reading this, and it runs on all major mobile platforms. Look for it in an Apple App Store or Google Play Store near you.
If that’s not enough, we have a huge pile of news to talk about this month, joined together by the most epic series of segues ever to grace the history of podcasting. We talk Transwarps, we talk Woz, we talk Neuromancer, we talk Wizardry, we talk to our listeners, and we talk smack. That’s just how we roll here on Open Apple. We also spend a lot of time pretending to know anything about Apple II mice.
In addition, we have the unfortunate duty to recognize the passing of some Apple II luminaries- Bob Bishop and Mike Pfaiffer. The Apple II community is great because of a lifetime of hard work by many talented people. Join us as we remember the contributions of two of those people.
Don’t worry, there’s much Apple II stuff to be thankful for in this month of American Thanksgiving. So put down the turkey leg and get caught up on ye olde stripey Apple. The biggest episode of Open Apple ever!