Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

Games for Spectrum, C64, Amstrad, Amiga, Apple ][ and the rest of the 8-bit and 16-bit platforms. Pleas for help, puzzles, bug reports etc.

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Garry
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Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#1 Post by Garry » Sat Dec 15, 2018 3:02 pm

The CASA web site lists 3 adventures for the Tangerine Microtan 65. These are:

The 6 Keys of Tangrin by Geoff M Phillips
This is a BASIC listing in Tansoft Gazette, issue 1, October/November 1981, pp. 18–20. Does anyone have a copy of this? I found a pdf of the magazine, but I would have to work out how to enter it, save it and run it in an emulator. For reasons I won't explain here, it doesn't look straight forward.

The Sceptre of Hamloth by I Dickinson
I found a copy of this, but it locked up when I ran it in Geoff Macdonald's emulator. It seems to work okay in Fabrice Frances' emulator, but the window is too small. To fix this, open the microtan.java source file, look for the line that says microtanFrame.setSize(264,283);, change the values to 272,294 and recompile it. This is for Windows 7. You might have to change the values if you're using a different operating system. The emulated screen size inside the window frame should be 256 x 256.

The Tanland Adventures by unknown
I haven't been able to find this. Does anyone have a copy? The CASA entry says it's mentioned in Tansoft Gazette, issue 3, but I couldn't find it. (I wasn't looking very hard, mind you.) It is also mentioned in early issues of Computer & Video Games, except that it's referred to as The Tanland Adventure (singular).

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

auraes
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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#2 Post by auraes » Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:11 am

Garry wrote:
Sat Dec 15, 2018 3:02 pm
I would have to work out how to enter it, save it and run it in an emulator. For reasons I won't explain here, it doesn't look straight forward.
Great machine!
I was able to enter BASIC code, save and load it, but not from the Basic instructions (SAVE and LOAD). I do a Memory dump save with Geoff Macdonald's emulator. I'll see if I can do better.

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Garry
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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#3 Post by Garry » Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:01 am

Have you entered The 6 Keys of Tangrin? If so, any chance of getting a memory dump to save me typing it in? I was wary about starting on this because of the lock-up problem.

auraes
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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#4 Post by auraes » Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:22 am

Garry wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:01 am
Have you entered The 6 Keys of Tangrin?
No, it's your idea, not mine! It's up to you to do this hard and boring job.
Good luck; take vitamins and drink plenty of water.
(I'm not sure I understand, what the "lock-up problem" is.)

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Garry
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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#5 Post by Garry » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:39 am

Sounds like something to do after Christmas, although I've already got a very long To-Do list for CASA-related stuff.

When I tried to play The Sceptre of Hamloth with Geoff Macdonald's emulator, I could only type one or two commands, then the emulator stopped responding to any keyboard input. This didn't happen with Fabrice Frances' emulator. Are there any other Microtan 65 emulators that I should try?

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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#6 Post by jgerrie » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:22 pm

I have typed in The 6 Keys of Tangrin. It's a bit modified for the TRS-80 MC-10--CLS instead of PRINT CHR$(12) mostly and my word wrap routine for printing most messages. Haven't fully debugged it yet.
https://github.com/jggames/trs80mc10/tr ... ress/6Keys

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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#7 Post by jgerrie » Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:31 am

Think I have I have it pretty well debugged, although I have't played it to completion to be 100% sure. As the original article states It is "fiendishly difficult."
https://youtu.be/X5Z5d6TkvHo

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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#8 Post by Garry » Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:15 am

I've also typed it in for the Microtan 65, complete with all the original typos. I finished the typing on 18 Dec 2018 and finished checking it on 19 Dec 2018, but didn't have time to let everyone know, as I was going away that afternoon and had no Internet or phone reception for a week. It's in a text file at the moment, but I've found a program that allows me to get it into the Microtan 65. I'm back now and should get it finished later today. When the screen grab appears, you'll know I've got it working. Does anyone know of any Microtan 65 archives that I should upload it to?

Now we just need The Tanland Adventure.

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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#9 Post by Garry » Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:40 am

I don't believe it's possible to complete The 6 Keys of Tangrin. The author says, "This game is fiendishly difficult to get through so be prepared for many frustrating hours of play!"

It has 30 rooms and 30 objects. The connections between rooms are generated randomly, so you need to spend a lot of time just drawing the map. The map is different every game and it's contructed like a maze. Your energy drops by a random amount every move and there is not enough energy to explore the entire map. I was only able to find 28 of the rooms and a similar number of objects, but I can't see any way that the remaining two rooms are exposed.

You can top up your energy by finding the tin opener and opening the tin of food, but it only gets topped up by a small (random) amount and you can spend more energy finding these two items than what you will gain. If you stumble upon the tin opener, pick it up, otherwise don't bother. (You can't pick up the tin of food.)

The objects are distributed randomly among the rooms. Of these, 6 are containers and 6 are keys. The keys are used to open the containers, but which keys open which containers is again random. You need to use trial and error to find out which key opens which container. Obviously, this takes a lot of time because you need to find each key, then find each container and try each key in each container. You run out of energy before you can try every combination unless you're lucky enough to stumble upon the treasure.

There is actually seven containers. There seems to be a bug whereby one container doesn't appear anywhere and one key doesn't open anything. Perhaps it opens the hidden container which is hidden in one of the hidden rooms.

There seems to be another bug whereby opening a container moves an object (usually a key) into the container, even though you may have found it somewhere else.

There seems to be yet another bug whereby the tin of food moves around of its own accord to replace some of the containers.

It seems like the objective is to find the treasure. When I found the treasure, the game didn't end, so I thought there must have been more to do, so I examined the source code.

There is a French man that appears 1.42% of the time, but after hours of play, I never found him and he doesn't seem to do anything anyway, other than end the game early.

The game has a one-word parser with a vocabulary of five verbs plus six directions. It only looks at the first two letters and one of the verbs is END, so don't type anything that starts with "EN". You can only PICKUP three items, but there's no INVENTORY, so you can't see what you're carrying. You can only DUMP one item per room, but there's no LOOK to redisplay the description.

Most objects are useleless, so don't bother with them. There are some absurdities with the objects. For example, if I remember rightly, I was able to PICKUP the comfy chair, but not the tin of food.

I'd like to see someone come up with a solution for this game, but, unless you're a masochist, give it a miss.

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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#10 Post by jgerrie » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:28 am

Thanks for the bug review. I found the one with the keys and adjusted it (one key was missing from the data list, so I added a "Steel" key and removed one of the objects just after the keys in the DATA list). The keys open random containers and then those containers are populated by random keys from the same list of six keys. So you can open a container and find a version of the same key you used to open it inside. Once you can open the treasure chest, you can get the treasure. Then you have to make it back to the first room to win. If Tangrin appears he can take you straight there, if you have the French dictionary.

There was another bug that when fixed allows you to re-energize to full strength when you make it back to room one. I can dig it up if you want.

If I were to redesign this game, I would make the room layout algorithm more coherent, so that paths don't turn back on each other, and that moving up and down levels is coherently handled. I would hide the keys in the containers in a more coherent way. Perhaps only 1 key not hidden in a container so the other 5 in containers must be found in a sequence. I suspect that the author may have been aiming for that, but not been able to get it to work.

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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#11 Post by Garry » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:02 am

Once you can open the treasure chest, you can get the treasure. Then you have to make it back to the first room to win.
Of course, I think it mentioned that in the instructions.

I don't think there's a key missing, as there's 6 keys. It's just offset by one when putting the key in the opened container, so one container gets a length of rope.

I agree wholeheartedly with your other comments. I'd also make it a static map, remove all random factors, use conventional verbs (GET/TAKE, DROP), add LOOK and INVENTORY, allow abbreviations for directions, allow verbs to be followed by nouns, fix the spelling, capitalisation and punctuation, allow sensible objects to be picked up, add some decent puzzles (e.g. change stalagmites to stalactites and make you wear WWI helmet to avoid getting knocked on the head so that you can get to another room) and so on. However, we're not here to fix old games, just record them and find solutions. Although you could always write a new game based on this one.

Incidentally, for those playing the original Microtan 65 game in an emulator, start BASIC using GE2ED, press Enter after each of the questions to use the defaults, load the game, then enter RUN. When you get the title screen, save a memory dump. Every time you want to replay the game, just load the memory dump and the game map and object locations will be the same.

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Re: Adventures for Tangerine Microtan 65

#12 Post by jgerrie » Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:50 am

You're right about there being six keys. The counter is just offset so that it included a non-key item. Had to choose between fixing the offset or simply adding a 7th key. I chose the later because I couldn't be bothered checking whether the offset would disrupt something else that was important somewhere else (obscure) in the program, whereas I was pretty sure the rope did nothing. Like you say, it's not about perfecting the program but making it work well enough that it can be used without excessive difficulty or confusion. Kind of like archeology when you piece a pot together, and fill in the missing parts with a removable material so people can get a sense of the original. In a similar spirit I did add direction short cuts (N/S/E/W/U/D) to my version. I wonder if this qualifies us as retrogaming archeologists?!

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