The Ring of Darkness - An Unofficial Disk Version

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Alastair
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Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:33 pm

The Ring of Darkness - An Unofficial Disk Version

Post by Alastair » Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:42 am

There is an unofficial disk version of The Ring of Darkness on Games_17 disk available for download at Dragon Computer Consultancy. Unfortunately it is full of bugs that prevent it from working properly, so inspired by this attempt I have created a disk version that can be played to completion.

To start the game insert the disk into the default drive and type RUN"START" [enter].

I have tried to remain as faithful to the original cassette version as possible, so during play all of the commands remain the same as the original and games may be saved only when the main surface map is displayed. Where this version differs, beyond the obvious removal of the need to manipulate a cassette and the requirement for the player to type RUN after files have loaded, is in the options available to the player at the start, if loading a saved game, and after issuing a 'Q' command when on the surface map. A player may load games from either disk or cassette (i.e., a game saved by the original cassette version of The Ring of Darkness), save a game to disk or cassette (see below for instructions on how to load a game saved to cassette by this option), display a directory listing of a disk in any of the four drives, start a new game, return to the current game, or quit the game (this is the safe way to stop playing as the option issues a CLOSE command). When saving to or loading a saved game from a disk a player may choose whether to use the program disk or another disk, a prompt that waits for the player's acknowledgement allows for safe disk swapping. The usual DragonDOS naming restrictions apply and no extension should be given.

Included on the disk image is a program called 'ROD-COPY.BAS', this program will copy all of the program files - but not itself - to a disk in drive 2 and then protect those files. For the program to work the disk containing the files to be copied must be in the default drive (DEFD).


Bugs and other matters

Like the original game the BREAK key will break the program, and just like the original should this happen type GOTO 4450 [enter] to continue playing.

If a bug appears in the original game then in all likelihood it will appear in this disk version - my efforts were in reducing the size of the programs so that they would run in the reduced memory of a DragonDOS system and not in fixing bugs.

Apart from an ERROR GOTO statement to deal with an attempt to delete a non-existent .BAK file there is no error trapping in the program 'X.X' called by the 'Q' command, so be careful not to do something that may mess up the files on any inserted disk. Anyone who wants to alter this program to improve the error trapping or add more features is more than welcome to make those improvements.

Due to DragonDOS shifting graphics pages by 1536 bytes and the CSAVEM command not having a parameter to offset the start address any game saved to cassette with this disk version will only load properly if the following instructions are carried out: load The Ring of Darkness from cassette as normal but before running the game first edit line 3000 so that CLOADM"MAP" reads CLOADM"MAP",64000 and then run the program. (The disk version will also not load games saved to cassette by the disk version unless the 1536 offset in CLOADM"MAP",1536 - found in 'START.BAS' line 3070 and in 'X.X' line 670 - is removed, but why you would want to save games to cassette rather than disk if you want to play just the disk version is beyond me.)

This game was played to completion on XRoar using a ROM image of DragonDOS 1.3a (created by Pere and available for download from the forum). As the programs use standard DragonDOS commands I see no reason why there should be any problem running the game on any DragonDOS compatible system.

The second file available for download contains text files of the BASIC programs. Please feel free to alter/improve/optimise these programs. XRoar treats these .BAS files the same way as cassette images which means that the CLOAD command will load them into XRoar. Be careful with 'RingDark-D.bas' as line 340 may load truncated in which case the line will need to be edited in XRoar (with the Dragon's edit command) and the missing data added to the end of the line, only then should the program be saved as 'D.X'.


Credits

My thanks to Ciaran for creating XRoar and giving it the ability to CLOAD text files, I don't think that I could have coped if I was restricted to the Dragon's editing functions.

Also thanks to whoever uploaded the disk version of DASM/DEMON because I needed a monitor to find the locations in the machine code programs that contain the graphics page addresses.

To the best of my knowledge The Ring of Darkness remains the copyright of John F. Humphreys.
Attachments
Ring_of_Darkness-Disk_Version.zip
Disk Image
(25.5 KiB) Downloaded 104 times
RingDark-Disk-BASIC_Files.zip
BASIC Programs
(25.03 KiB) Downloaded 100 times

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