Eamon Adventurerís Log

National Eamon Userís Club

Volume 2 Number 5 Ė October 1987

 

Johnís Editorial

Greetings, once again! I hope you all have had a wonderful spring and are ready for summer. I have started another diet, as I do every spring, but THIS time Ii SERIOUS!

Not such has happened since the last issue as far as new Eamon Adventures, but weíve fixed a lot of bugs and done some re-organization.

 

Bob is gone permanently now so I can start talking about him any way I want. (Nya!) Anyway, since Bob is gone and I as running the whole show here, I as asking for volunteers.

 

I have been unable so far to find anyone highly qualified to work long hours in their spare time for nothing and also be willing to re-locate to Des Moines (Doesnít sees like so such to se!)

 

Tom Zuchowski and Pat Hurst have been very helpful to me in putting stuff together for the club and I really appreciate it very such. While they arenít really on the staff, it helps when they can provide so much input. I would like to hear from more of you, with input we can share with all of the members.

 

Correspondence of a specialized nature (questions requiring special attention, etc) is about the most time consuming of the activities I perform around here. I would like to be able to play adventures more often, and I would really like to write some more adventures, but I havenít had such time for that lately.

 

Well, Iíve rambled long enough. I didnít really have a point to make -- I just wanted to encourage you all to be more active in the club and contribute something we can all benefit frau. ĎNuff said!

 

EAMON NEWS

by Tom Zuchowski

 

New adventures:

145 Buccaneer! ††††††††† by Pat Hurst

146 The House of Horrors ††† by Dan Cross

147 The Dark Brotherhood †† by Pat Hurst

148 Journey to Jotunheim ††† by Tom Zuchowski

149 Elemental Apocalypse †† By Sam Ruby

 

Pat Hurst just keeps getting better, fine tuning plot and play to a nicety. ĎBuccaneer!í and ĎThe Dark Brotherhoodí will surely rank among the finest Eamons ever written. They are both 2-disk adventures, and both disks are craned full. In ĎThe Dark Brotherhoodí, you must find a way to break the poser of the evil god behind the Brotherhood, and restore the power of the good god Phrax. ĎBuccaneer!í is reviewed in this issue.

 

ĎJourney to Jotunheimí is a Morse Saga, in which you must aid the gods in the recovery of Thorís Hammer from the Frost Giants. Tons of special programming, 96 Effects, and a vocabulary of several hundred words.

 

ĎElemental Apocalypseí is a FOUR disk adventure, in which you must undertake a long journey and throw down the evil Element Lords. Each disk is a separate adventure that you MUST complete before undertaking the next. It is full of traps and difficult to survive at times, but I personally got quite involved in it. Sam is getting such better at getting the bugs out before release, too.

 

John tells se that ĎThe House of Horrorsí has some good stuff in it, too. Unfortunately I havenít seen it, so I canít tell you what itís about.

 

Club Staff

John Nelson††††††† - Snowy White

...and his dwarves:

Tom, Pat. Bob, Dan, Steve, Gary, & Dopey

 

NEW CLUB ADDRESS!!! by Jennifer Nelson

A few months ago we had some uninvited guests remove certain items of personal property of assorted value without our permission. We have since taken certain measures to prevent a return engagement. One result is that we have changed our address and gone to the use of a P.O. Box. So, heads up and please take notice of a new mailing address. Send all sail and correspondence to P.O. Box 30087, Des Moines, IA 50310. Thanx MUCH.

 

Tech Support Dept.††††† by Tom Zuchowski

We all get a big kick out of discovering a new, well-done Eason. Itís a lot of work to do one RIGHT, but the new author has a big advantage these days that didnít exist a year or two ago, and that is the fact that a lot of existing Eason adventures contain powerful techniques and routines that somebody spent a lot of time to develop. There is a wide range of things that have already been done that you can easily incorporate into your own adventure, ranging from new commands to sound routines to techniques for expanding the number of rooms or artifacts beyond the original design limits.

 

A lot of the new adventures that we see were designed with the old version 5.0 Dungeon Designer Diskette. It is a mistake to design a new dungeon with an old DDD. Get the new 6.2 DDD! The 6.0 DOD had a number of bugs and minor problems that will make your work look sloppy compared to using 6.2. And the 5.0 version is hopelessly outdated by todayís standards, with only about half the features of the 6.x version.

 

SPECIAL OFFER: Your Master Dungeon Designer Diskette is subject to the same upgrade offer that John has made in this issueís Bug Bytes column: Send in your old DDD Master Diskette to John, and he will upgrade it to the latest, most up-to-date version for $1.00. John has also offered to sell the 6.2 DDD for $1.00 if it is ordered at the same time as 5 or more adventures.

 

It isnít at all necessary to include tons of special programming in your own adventureís MAIN PGM. You only need to look at John Nelsonís adventures to see that; John is the Master at doing really great adventures without performing major modifications to the base MAIN PGM. But it is the special features that can turn what might be an otherwise mundane adventure into something special. I have seen great implementations of magic spells, multiple saves, multiple disks, 40/80 column display, music, and so on.

 

The list goes on and on. John hopes in the future to get ĎGuestí Designerís articles from people who would like to share their tricks with the rest of us (see the Designerís Den in this issue.) If you are interested in doing one, let John know about it.

 

As a new feature to offer to the Club members, I propose to act as a clearinghouse and information desk for those who are struggling to work out special stuff for their own adventures. I can suggest which adventures to refer to for specific features, and I have seen some very powerful techniques used in other, non-Eamon Apple programs. Is your adventure 15 sectors too long for a single diskette? Do you want to use lower-case text that will automatically print out in upper-case on the old (like mine!) Apple IIís? Do you want to use more than 100 rooms? Having trouble making that special routine come out right? Concerned about old Apple II 80-coluan compatibility?

For assistance of a technical nature, drop me a line:

 

Try to be as specific as you can in describing the problem you are having or the feature you would like to implement.

 

The important thing is for you to go that extra distance. There are several adventures out there now have good maps and quests but make so little use of 6.0 features and special programming that they wound up being about as exciting as the Beginnerís Cave. It is important to add those extra features, but there is no reason to spend weeks re-inventing something that has already been worked out; that time would be such better spent figuring out some extra puzzles or adding a secondary quest to the plot.

 

If you can find a MAIN PGM in an existing adventure that can do everything you want, feel free to adapt it to your own use. I think that most if not all Eamon authors would be flattered to see that someone else thought that their work was so good that it was worth borrowing. After all, this stuff IS public-domain, and believe me, it HAS been done before! But if the adventure you want to borrow from is not at least version 6.0, you would probably be better off just taking the special routines that you like and adding them to the 6.2 version. This way you will have the considerable built-in power of the 6.2 MAIN PGM available for your OWN special stuff.

 

Get to it! We are all waiting anxiously for YOUR Eason adventure!

 

DESIGNERíS DEN

by John Nelson

 

Okay, last month I wanted to bring you some information from Pat Hurst, but I lost it. Pat has been kind enough to supply me with another copy (although I wish he hadnít thumb-tacked it to my forehead!) Anyway, thanks for the contribution, Pat.

 

Pat is, in my opinion, one of the best Eamon authors we have. (Actually, probably my favorite, but I wonít tell him for fear of giving him a swelled head.) Pat has written Grunewalde, Buccaneer, Pyramid of Anharos, and The Dark Brotherhood. Most of his adventures are real epics and wonít fit on a single disk.

 

The descriptions are very good and continue to keep a personís interest. Pat would like to explain one of the techniques he used in one of his adventures. So, I turn the rest of the column over to Pat:

 

In designing my adventure, Buccaneer!, I had a problem in setting the reactions of the various monsters. There are several islands that the adventurer may visit and the inhabitants of each island react to the actions of the adventurer while on the island. The adventurer may peacefully trade on one island, but on another he may have to fight for his life. By his choice of actions, the adventurer is responsible for monster reactions. If he does the wrong thing (such as attack one of the inhabitants, intrude on a sacred area, or disturb an important ritual), the monsters may become very unfriendly. The problem is that each group of monsters must he treated separately from the other groups while each individual in the group must be treated the same as other members in the group.

 

The 6.0 DDD contains a mechanism for a temporary truce involving decrementing the variable TT. This variable is checked in line 310 of the MAIN PGM so that monsters wonít attack until TT = 0. By setting TT, the designer sets the number of turns that must elapse before unfriendly monsters attack. But in my case this truce period could be of unlimited duration as long as the adventurer didnít provoke a fight. Using a single variable TI to handle all of the possibilities was impossible. (Note: impossible means too much programming for me!)

 

My solution requires that all monsters in a group should be assigned the same group number. This group number was placed in the agility field, since this field is not used for monsters in the Eamon base program.

 

I reserved an agility number of zero for independent monsters. Each group of monsters is given a unique agility number, greater than zero, common to all monsters of that group. During the initialization phase, each monster is assigned a neutral reaction (MD%(M,14)= 2). When an event occurs to change this reaction, a subroutine changes the reaction for all monsters in the group by searching on the monster agility field.

 

In my adventure, the process is further simplified by dropping the GIVE command, which re-determines reaction. Of course, the GIVE routine could have been modified to also function in this manner, but it was unnecessary in my adventure. I also assumed that if certain events occurred, the monsters involved would become enemies of the player. Again, this may be altered to your needs.

 

 

The steps to follow are

1) Assign monster agility numbers in the design process of editing monsters.

2) Assign monster reactions in the INIT phase (starting in line 1000) of the MAIN PGM (see example below).

 

1145 FOR K = 1 TO 8 : MD%(K,14) = 2: NEXT

1150 FOR K = 10 TO 12: MD% (K,14) = 2: NEXT

1151 FOR K = 18 TO 22: MD% (K,14) = 2: NEXT

 

Monsters 1-8, 10-12, and 18-22 all have neutral reactions until provoked.

 

3) Check for events that trigger reaction changes, and do a GOSUB 7950 (code given below) when these reactions change.

 

In line 7301, below, the player has attacked monster 1. In line 11475, the player has blasted monster 1, and in line 30030, he has done something drastic that the monster didnít like.

 

Example:

(delete line 7300)

7301 IF MD%(M,2) > 0 THEN GOSUB 7950

7302 IF NOT HIT THEN 7360

11475 IF MD%(M,2)>0 THEN GOSUB 7950

30030 PRINT "íTHE HERETIC BLASPHEMES! ATTACK!í": M=1: GOSUB 7950

 

4) Change the reaction of all monsters in the affected group. This will be all monsters with the same agility as monster M.

 

7950 FOR K = 1 TO NM : IF MD%(K,2) = MD%(M,2) THEN MD% (K,14) = MG% (M,14)

7951 IF MD%(K,14) <> 2 THEN MD%(K,2) = 0

7953 NEXT: R3 = ROOM: GOSUB 3600: RETURN

 

5) Eliminate all references to TT. (optional)

Editorís Note: The above routine was altered slightly from Patís original routine to make it faster and more efficient. Line 7951 is optional. Its purpose is to make the monsters only change their reaction once and never change their mind. If you want to be able to change a group back and forth, it should be removed. Also, Patís original routine only made monsters unfriendly and would not work to make a group friendly. This was altered by the editor to work either way.

 

SPOTLIGHT ON

(Ratings are given on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 highest. Format is R:D where R = rating for setting, description and plot; D = rating for difficulty, problem solving and survivability.)

 

#124 - Assault on Dolni Keep (10:6) by Tom Zuchowski

Reviewed by Pat Hurst

Extra commands: REQUEST, INFO

Deleted commands: TAKE, BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED, WAVE, SAY, READ

Special features: 40/80 column capability, extra file containing notes and hints for the adventure, fast start feature, comments by adventuring companions, multiple saves possible.

Playing time: 30 minutes - 2 hours

 

Description: You have been sought out to aid your two friends (from Throrís Ring, #114), Gorim the Dwarf and Galehir the Wood Elf, in the rescue of the High-Elf, Fromir. Fromirís wisdom is a vital asset to the forces of good in Middle-earth, but he has been seized by Orcs and imprisoned in Dolni Keep. Storming the keep would insure the quick demise of Fromir, but a small group might he able to penetrate the keep and affect the rescue. Gorim is going because the keep is of Dwarven construction. Galehir is going because the rescue of an Elf warrants an Elven representative. You are invited to join because the expedition needs a salty adventurer experienced in arms.

 

Comment: Despite the fact that this adventure has a small number of rooms, uniform monsters (orcs), and a reduced command list, it is a real treat to play. A consistent theme is developed and adhered to throughout. This is not a hack-and-slash adventure but a realistic treatment of the rescue these. It plays more realistically then most Eamon adventures. The player is an actor in the flow of events rather than the agent who determines everything that happens. Thus, the adventure can be undertaken by an inexperienced character as well as an experienced one with almost equal chances of success. The experienced player must always bear in mind the ultimate purpose of the foray and sublimate the usual Eamon instincts to plunder and kill that he has probably nurtured through his previous adventuring.

 

The descriptions are well done and lend a feeling of action to the adventure. Itís almost a pleasure to go astray occasionally to see how well the author has covered all the bases. Your companions offer comments which add an extra touch of realism and imbue them with a personality not usually accorded to non-player characters. You may check their health, inventory the items they are carrying, or request objects from them. They each have special skills and the ability to switch weapons in combat. For example, Galehir carries spare bowstrings in case one should break in combat.

 

The adventure can be displayed in either 40 or 80 columns and is compatible with several 80-column cards, Videx or Apple lIe compatible. There is a fast start feature which loads the initial status of variables and parameters in much the same way as restoring a saved game. This significantly reduces start-up time. The NOTES-COMMENTS-HINTS files discusses sole of the special programming and how it is designed. In addition this file lists adventure hints in chronological order so that the player can get help without revealing more of the adventure than necessary.

 

Overall it is an excellent adventure with several innovations which greatly improve playability. The MAIN PGM (similar to that of Throrís Ring) marks a radical departure from the standard one and warrants some study by prospective Eamon adventure designers.

 

#129 - Return to Moria (8:9) by Sam Ruby

Reviewed by Pat Hurst

Extra commands: PULL, DIG, WEAR, REMOVE

Deleted commands: TAKE, POWER, SPEED, WAVE

Special features: sequel to #108 - The Mines of Moria; extensive background information about Samís Middle-earth adventures is provided in separate programs; two-disk adventure; Intro pg. provided in both upper and lower case versions; SAVE to a separate disk

Playing time: 6 - 24 hours (depending on how many times you meet an automatic death)

 

Description: A desperate council has gathered in Minas Tirith, stronghold of Gondor, to determine a course of action to save Middle-earth from the hordes of Sauron.

 

Sauronís armies have taken Osgiliath, the bridge into Gondor, and only Minas Tirith stands between Sauron and the conquest of all Gondor. In the last attack the mithril bars that seal the main gate of Minas Tirith were broken, and another attack could easily breach it. Although most of the fighting men of Gondor have been gathered into Minas Tirith, they are still hopelessly outnumbered and will certainly be destroyed if Sauronís legions penetrate the city. The council quickly decides that new mithril bars must be obtained to secure the main gate, but this brings back bad memories of Moria, the only known source of mithril.

 

Even if mithril can be retrieved from Moria, Sauron may still overrun Minas Tirith by sheer force of numbers unless additional forces aid Bonderís cause. The dwarves would help, but they have sustained heavy losses and are contemplating acceding to Sauronís will. The various groups of dwarves are splintered and there is no leader to unite them against Sauron. The return of Durin the Deathless is necessary to rally the dwarves. He is said to sleep in the depths of Moria where he awaits the time of the dwarvesí greatest need. Again, Moria is the focus of your interest.

 

The council decides to send an expedition into Moria. Boromir, the steward of Gondor volunteers to go since Gondor no longer requires a steward when the king is present. Gimli, an emissary from the dwarves, volunteers to go to find Dunn and to search for a group of dwarves who tried to retake Moria four years ago. Legolas, an elven prince, volunteers to help his good friend Gimli. Then everyone looks to you. Will you venture again into the underground haunts of Moria?

 

Comments: This adventure is a solid offering and provides both hack-and-slash and problem solving. The first half of the adventure is mainly hack-and-slash while the problem solving occurs mainly in the second half. This creates the major drawback of this adventure - if you donít successfully solve the problems, you can easily die. This means replaying the adventure from the beginning and repeating all of the hack-and-slash (and thereís a lot - why else would he give you 3 comrades at the start!). There are quite a few ways of meeting instant death in the second half of this adventure. It pays to look things over carefully before doing something potentially fatal.

 

There are more artifacts than usual since dead bodies are not artifacts but merely markers. This abundance of artifacts allows the player to interact with environment to a greater extent than in many adventures. The descriptions are extensive although somewhat repetitive in places, particularly in describing orcs and trolls - but then again, there are lots of arcs and trolls. The author strongly suggests that a player first adventure in #108 - The Mines of Moria, before trying Return to Moria. This is not absolutely necessary but there are references to events from #108 that would make more sense to someone who has played that adventure.

 

This disk has some additional Ďspecialsí to recommend it. There are 3 extra programs included that provide extensive background information. PRONUNCIATIONS lists the pronunciations of some of the names of Middle-earth. THE HISTORY OF THE DWARVES provides an extensive history of Middle-earth with emphasis on the dwarven race but covering much more besides. MIDDLE EARTH ADVENTURES is a listing of the 8 Middle-earth adventures designed by the author. He notes their chronological order and their thematic connections. In addition, he reviews each one individually with a plot synopsis; ratings for monster content, treasure content, descriptions, problem solving, etc.; and his own overall rating of the adventure.

 

#130 - Haradwaith (7:7) by Sam Ruby

Reviewed by Pat Hurst

Extra commands MAIN, WEAR, REMOVE, BUY, SELL, SAIL

Deleted commands: BLAST, POWER, SPEED, LIGHT, PUT, FREE

Special features: a special naval pg.; requires an extra blank disk

Playing time: 3 - 6 hours

 

Description: The land of Gondor is menaced by its traditional enemies who are massing forces to attack and destroy it. Corsairs from Umbar and Black Numenoreans have assembled a large fleet to assault Gondor by sea. The Haradrim, the warlike people of the southern desert waste of Harad, has assembled an army to assault Gondor by land. If either attack surprises Gondor, it will surely fall to its archenemies. Advance knowledge of the attacks is paramount to the defense of Gondor. If a spy could penetrate the southern waste, Haradwaith, and steal the battle plans, then perhaps Sander could be saved. Anyone who undertook this mission would be confronted by the arduous task of crossing Haradwaith, locating the plans in the midst of the enemy, and escaping with the plans back to Gondor. And there is little chance of finding any help in the land of the enemy, although the three foes donít always get along well with each other. Itís a solo job for an experienced adventurer with courage, strength, and battle skill - namely you!

 

Comments: This is a relatively straight-forward adventure with plenty of combat. There is one problem in that two sets of plans must be obtained, which is not clear from the adventurerís introduction. The author makes this clear in his MIDDLE EARTH ADVENTURES PROGRAM (see review of ĎReturn to Moriaí). This problem is compounded in that if the naval plans are obtained first, the program terminates without giving the player a chance to obtain the second set. The combat involves a lot of monsters, many of which are quite tough. The adventurer needs a strong weapon to have any hope of defeating these monsters. Unfortunately, since there is so much combat, itís likely that the adventurerís weapon will be fumbled, break, and severely injure or kill the adventurer. If you like to slug it out, this is a good choice for your Eamon library.

 

The naval program is an interesting change from the normal Eamon format and is well done. It requires some disk swapping, but the directions are clear and easily followed. The command format may seem strange at first, but it isnít really difficult. Remember, play this part of the adventure last.

 

There is also an interesting subplot which requires a good deal of attention to details. All that can be said is that the reward is commensurate to the effort.

 

#141 The Infested Fortress (3:4) - Mike & Paul Hamaoka

Reviewed by Pat Hurst

Extra commands: TOUCH Deleted commands: none

Special features: none that I could find

 

Description: Kildarinís fortress was known for its hospitality, exemplified by its excellent food and drink. It was stormed by a large group of monsters led by Gakkian warriors. Outnumbered, Kildarin (led to the nearest city for help. He hires you to recapture the fortress. You can keep any treasure that you find and he will send along a paladin from his own forces to assist you. As a final gesture, Kildarin blesses you with a medallion of Hupp, the Great Wanderer of the North.

 

Comments: This adventure††† is a routine kill-the-monsters dungeon. There is nothing particularly memorable about it and if I hadnít been planning to review it, I probably wouldnít have finished it. Many of the commands are useless as the authors havenít done anything with them. The POWER spell has the standard outcomes provided on the DDD. There is one artifact to open, but it isnít locked and there is nothing in it. There is nothing to read. There appears to be a set of bound victims to free, but the authors didnít deal with that and have short-circuited the FREE command. The touch command was added, but it is only effective in a single place. There are no problems to solve or tasks to accomplish. There are no Effects in the EAIION.DESC file at all. The one saving grace that this adventure has over some others of this genre is that it is not full of grammatical errors in the descriptions. (Not that there arenít some; just not as many as something like The Beermeisterís Brewery- a real dog). The difficulty rating of 4 is due to the toughness of some of the monsters. This may be a problem for weak adventurers. Overall, I wouldnít recommend this adventure unless you are looking for a mindless kill campaign.

 

#145 - Buccaneer! (9:9) by Pat Hurst

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

Extra Commands: PAY, GAMBLE, STATUS, DIS, PACE, SEARCH, SELL, VOYAGE

Special Features: Two-disk adventure; SAVE to an extra diskette; voyaging on the open sea.

Playing Time: 11-20 hours

Description: ĎIt promises to be an exciting day in Evenhold. The pirate Henri Le Marque, scourge of the Malphigian Sea, is slated for execution today. The execution will take place at the jail yard in the harbor district. In case the hanging isnít enough of a lure, I Marque was the most successful pirate of the Malphigian Sea, and reputed to have hidden a kingís ransom in booty. Perhaps, when faced with the gallows, he will make the grand gesture of sharing what he wonít be able to enjoy.

 

ĎBe on your best behavior, because the harbor patrol is accustomed to dealing with waterfront scum. If you want to scrap with someone, be sure that you are in a very private place; a place where no one will summon the watch.í

 

Comments: Pat Hurst has shaped up as one of the best EAMON authors of all time. His puzzles are tough, his reasoning tight, his stories consistent, and his descriptions are so rich with detail that they are generally two-disk adventures. Buccaneer! is no exception. It is a two-part adventure, one part to a disk, and each disk is jammed to the limit with detailed descriptions, scores of special effects, and special programming.

 

The first part of Buccaneer! involves your escapades in the harbor district of Evenhold. There is no specific quest here, but there are dozens of things to get involved in. You can drink, fight, gamble, steal, get arrested, get shanghaied, bribe your way into places you donít belong, attend the hanging of Henri Le Marque, make business deals, hire a ship, crew it, prepare for a sea voyage, and many other things as well. The general idea is to pick up some clues about the whereabouts of Le Marqueís treasure, and prepare to put to sea in search of the treasure in part two. It even appeared possible to set yourself up in business as a smuggler or freebooter.

 

Part two is actually a completely separate adventure, with its own MAIN PGM and text files. There is a transfer of information from part one, so that part two uses the ship, crew, and artifacts that you obtained in part one. Part two is an adventure on the Malphigian Sea, in which you can sail to a half-dozen islands in search of treasure and adventure. There is a lot that can happen while on the high seas, including encounters with merchants ships, pirates, naval vessels, sea monsters, uncharted reefs, storms, and mutinies. How well you fare will depend on how complete your preparations were in part one. Every island is unique; a mini-adventure in its own right. The sea is not structured into rooms but allows you to sail where you will; also, the sea is quite large and requires expert navigation.

 

The seagoing adventure is unique in its execution. The effects are very good, and the ship-to-ship battles are very well done and full of surprises. It is not difficult to get yourself killed on some of the islands, but Pat has made it very easy to restart part two without needing to return to part one or perform a SAVE.

 

My first impression of Buccaneer! was that I was smothering in detail. It is very richly described, with most descriptions running to 10-12 lines, and takes a bit of play to familiarize yourself with things before you can begin to really figure them out. It is not an adventure that you can casually sit down to and expect to get anywhere quickly. I had to make pages and pages of notes and maps before I had learned enough in part one to take a shot at part two. It takes a lot of thought to figure out how you want to go about the sea voyage. There are eight ships to choose from, ranging from a small felucca with a crew of 4 (good for smuggling?) to a huge packet ship with 12 guns, 3 officers, and a crew of 24. You have 50 or 60 prospective crewmen to choose from, and each is a distinct person, with differing abilities and morals. You will need to select officers if your ship requires them. If you choose to ship cargo for trading in the islands, you will need to determine which of the many merchants you wish to deal with. And you must be certain that you have obtained everything that you need for the voyage, from grog for the crewís morale to materials to repair damage at sea.

 

This was a very enjoyable adventure, and all the more satisfying for requiring a great deal of thought and careful decision among the many options. However, it was an expensive undertaking I had to spend nearly 20,000 in gold to outfit my ship and put out to sea. I found less treasure than that and actually had a net LOSS of 6,000 by the end of the adventure, an experience that must be nearly unique in the history of EAMON.

 

LETTERS

The following is your letters column. We will start printing letters from our members as a service to our other members who might want to read what others are doing. If you want your letter to appear in our letters column, please let us know and weíll do our best to oblige. If you donít want your letters printed, please let us know that, too.

 

Since those of you who wrote and are being printed here have had no warning, your name and address will not appear. In the future issues it may be printed unless you request that we not print it.

 

The editor reserves the right to print all or part of the letter and to edit it for inclusion in the newsletter.

 

Let us know how you like this feature of our newsletter.

 

Dear People,

Help! I need all the help I can get as both an adventurer and designer. I teach reading and find Eamon Adventures are fantastic because students love them. They are also learning how to think, solve problems, make decisions, make maps and read.

 

I am hoping someone has re-written the manuals. Also hope that someone has appended the save routine to the base load program.

 

In any case I need information.

(name and address not printed)

 

** I agree with Eamonís potential for aiding educators. I think more teachers could benefit from the Eamon series. Especially since you can design your own adventures to teach your students a specialized lesson.

 

The manuals have been updated since designer diskette 6.0 was released and are available in printed form from the club. The text files for the designer manual is included on the DDD. Any DDD version greater than 40 includes the save game routine. -- John **

 

Dear Sirs, (or whatever)

 

Me and my best friend Bill love Eamon!!! And we want to make our own adventures, but donít know all that much programming. Do you have any disks or books that could help us?!

 

And keep printing your newsletter! Itís great!!!!

 

** We donít have any books that teach programming. Try your local bookstore or library for that. We do have documentation on using your programming knowledge for Eamon adventures. The Designerís Manual that is found on the DDD is a good place to start, but it isnít much of a tutorial. I am working on a manual called The Designerís Guide that will be a much bigger help, but it is not complete yet. It should be released in the next few months. I think the best way to learn is to look into the MAIN PGMs of other peopleís adventures to see how they do what they are doing. Between looking at the adventureís code, the Designerís Manual, and the Designerís Den column of the newsletter, you should be able to develop some nice adventures. -- John **

 

Dear John,

I have a question about the Buglog program on the Utility disk. When I try to run it on the original disk, I get a DISK FULL error message. When I put it on a disk by itself, I either get an OUT OF DATA IN 10 or a BREAK IN 15 error message. What as I doing wrong?

 

I also would like to get the updates to the adventure log program that allows the program to have more than 99 adventures.

 

I also have a question about adventure numbers. Would it be possible to call or write to you to get the next available number for a new adventure before sending it in? And speaking of adventure numbers, what are you going to do when the number of adventures goes above 254? At the present rate of growth, that will he in 12-18 months. Since the Apple INUT command does not work over 254 are you going to start over from one again?

 

Do you have any plans to convert Eason for any of the 68000 chip machines? The new Amiga looks like a real dream machine. -- Roger Pender

 

** On the Buglog program, it sounds like you have it on a full disk and when you copy it to a new disk you arenít copying the text file that it uses for a data file. If you have done both of these things and it is still not working, let me know. Maybe there is a problem with it. I know I spent a lot of time re-writing the original version. Maybe you have an old version.

 

The codifications to the adventure log program to allow more than 99 adventures may not be quite right. I made codifications to the program to handle this, but when I would run the 3 column listing option, it would trash the front of the program and you couldnít run the program again from memory. I ultimately solved the problem by greatly enhancing the program and re-writing it for the IBM-PC. I now run it exclusively on the PC and have had no further problems with it. I will run some more tests on the old Apple version to see if it is working properly before I send it to you.

 

On adventure numbers, if you would like to get a number before you send in your adventure, I can do that over the phone on the condition that the adventure is ready to put into production. Otherwise, we would have gaps in the numbers while some of our longer adventures were being finalized.

 

Once the adventure numbers reach 254, I am planning on changing the DDD to not use the Adventure number as a volume number anymore. The adventure will still be numbered that high, but the volume number for all of the adventures above 254 will have disk volume of 254.

 

I do not have any plans to convert to any of the 68000 chip machines, but that wonít stop someone else from doing it. I canít afford to keep buying new computers as they come out. Especially for Eamon, when it doesnít cost justify the new machines. I will continue to be a central collection point of infuriation to put people in contact with someone who has the application for their machine, though. -- John **

 

BUG BYTES

by John Nelson and Tom Zuchowski

 

Iím giving Tom credit for this column because he has more than earned it. Tom has been responsible for fixing most of the bugs in the last few months. I wish I knew how he found the time to go through all these.

 

Anyway, there are a couple of things I would like to cover before getting into the bugs themselves. First, I know there are some of you out there who arenít sure of how to go about making a program fix to the Eamon diskettes, so I will cover the process again in general. I have covered this in past issues, but I know you donít want to dig through volumes of past issues to try to dig it out, so Iíll repeat myself.

 

First thing you should have is a program line editor. I recommend GPLE distributed by Beagle Brothers. The line editor makes program changes a lot easier. If you are not willing to spend the money on a program line editor, then I hope you like doing things the hard way. I feel that a program line editor is the single most important piece of software you should own. Before you buy a database, a word processor, a game or any other program, the line editor should be first.

 

Anyway, onward --- load your line editor before attempting to change any program lines. Program line fixes listed in this newsletter will usually take two forms. Sometimes we will list how the line should appear after the fix. At other times, we will simply list the things that should be changed on the line. It will depend on what the easiest method will be. The advantage of giving the line after the fix is that you can see what the whole line should look like. This will make it apparent when your diskette already has the fix that is being described.

 

When you have to make program fixes to an adventure, the file to be changed will be the base program, unless otherwise specified. The program will usually have the name MAIN PGM. When we standardize an adventure, one thing we do is rename this file if necessary.

 

To make a program fix, be sure the line editor is loaded and type in LOAD MAIN PGM. Then make the changes shown in the newsletter. You will want to check the line first, so type in LIST nnnn where nnnn is the line number to be changed. If your line does require a fix, then make the change described. Do this for all lines that need to be changed. When you are done, type UNLOCK MAIN PGM followed by SAVE MAIN PGM.

 

Another kind of change is one that you must edit the files to correct. This kind of change is harder to make if you are not familiar with the process, but we wonít suggest it if we donít think you can do it. If the editing is extensive, or was large enough that we didnít keep a close record of it, we will suggest you order a new copy. If you ordered your copy from the club, we will re-copy it for you for $1.00. We charge the dollar mainly to pay for shipping materials and postage.

 

IMPORTANT NOTES

PLEASE TAKE NOTE --- If you are going to fix your own adventures, please be sure you are familiar with the process and comfortable with it. Weíd hate to see you mess up your adventures. Also, make sure the version you have needs the fix described. It is possible that the copy you have has already been fixed. You should be able to tell by the version number and the date. If you get your adventures from some source other than the club, the adventure will most likely contain no version number, or at least a different one than we are using. To explain this in more detail, I as going into the process we use at the club for bug reports. This will help you understand how the version numbers work and what they mean. Basically, the rule is: if it isnít broken, donít fix it.

 

When we receive an adventure from the author, or any other source, we Ďstandardizeí it. That involves taking all extra files not needed for the adventure and not put there by the author, making sure the names of the files are standard, making the number the next sequential number on our list, and running it through a few verifications. Once this is complete, we add the adventure to our list. The adventure will be assigned a version number of 1.0.

 

If bugs are discovered, we log the bug and the fix in the change Log. This is a log of all Eamon adventure changes. All bugs discovered at one time are logged, investigated, and corrected. The version number is incremented by .01. Therefore adventures that have had only one set of bugs fixed on it sill be 1.01. Ones that have had two sets of bugs fixed will be 1.02, etc.

 

If the adventure undergoes a major revision, where the changes are not recorded in detail, the version number is incremented to the next whole number. For example, if an adventure comes in, is reviewed and placed on the list as version 1.01, and the author totally goes through it and makes major changes, the version is set to version 2.0. (There is no difference between 2.0 and 2.01.)

 

At the time we log the change to the adventure, we also record the date the change was made and the changes made (if minor). The information is also recorded on the Master Bugs List. Bug numbers are assigned in the format nnn-bbbb, where nun is the number of the adventure and bbbb is the bug number. The bug number is a sequential number starting at 0001 for each adventure. (Sometimes we will omit 1 or more leading zeroes from the l number and you may see nnn-01 or nnn-001.

 

We will notify you via the newsletter when there is a major revision of the Master Bugs List, but we would like to begin updating it every time we correct a bug, rather than wait until there are lots of corrections.

 

We are also starting to put the version number and the latest revised date in the catalog of the revised diskette. A few of these already have this, and as soon as I have the time, Iíd like to do the rest.

 

The number of bugs fixed since the last newsletter number is in the hundreds, and frankly, I donít know how to proceed with getting the fixes to those of you who need them. The bugs have been documented In the Master bugs List and in the Change Log, but they are far too lengthy to print in the newsletter.

 

I will therefore list the adventures that have had corrections made since the last issue, the nature of the bugs corrected for each, the version number and the revised date, and let you decide if you need the fix. If so, the best way to get then would be to order the Master bugs List. We are now distributing this on disk, as it is more economical to put it on disk than to print it.

 

I would like to start distributing the individual adventureís fixes on diskette. That way, it would save printer wear and tear here and save time on your part to be able to (possibly) fix the changes from a text file.

 

Pat Hurst has revised his first three adventures:

119 - Grunewalde

126 - Pyramid of Anharos

145 - Buccaneer!

 

Buccaneer was not released yet, so there is no problem there unless you happen to know Pat personally and he gave you a copy.

 

These new versions involve extensive changes to improve the playability and enjoyment of the adventures. Many of the changes were the results of suggestions made by Master Tester and bug stomper extraordinaire (I know -- my spelling checker tells me there is no such word -- fine -- what does it know?) Tom Zuchowski.

 

Anyway, Pat has graciously offered to exchange your old copies of his adventures for new copies. If you received your copy prior to 3-30-87, you .ay exchange it with Pat for a new version. Send your treasures wrapped carefully to:

Patrick H. Hurst

Ames, IA

Pat has also compiled a nifty Gazetteer that gives a lot of details about his adventures, done in a downloaded font and including illustrations that he would like to share with you. He seems willing to eat the costs, but it would be nice if you could include a loose stamp for the Gazetteer or a buck for disk updates to cover his postage expenses.

 

BUG FIXES OMITTED FOR INTERNET EDITION

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