Getting started with Exile...

reminisce about bbc micro & electron games like chuckie egg, repton, elite & exileRelated forum: adventures


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strawberrytau
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Getting started with Exile...

Post by strawberrytau » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:08 pm

Somehow, back in the 1980s I missed out entirely on playing Exile. :o

I’m now playing it for the first time - and it’s hard! :D

Can I ask the forum for some help to get started? What are your top spoiler-free hints?

I haven’t yet “got” what I’m really supposed to be doing.

I’ve heard there is a legendary Micro User issue with some handy hints. Does anyone have a scan?

Thanks!
Last edited by strawberrytau on Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by strawberrytau » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:19 pm

LOL! I found the Micro User hints...
1734C5D9-031E-458C-AE8B-159A6E47F0CA.jpeg

http://8bs.com/othrdnld/tmu/scans/tmu083.zip
Page 79...

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sydney
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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by sydney » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:41 pm

Have you read the novella yet? If not do that first.

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by strawberrytau » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:11 pm

sydney wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:41 pm
Have you read the novella yet? If not do that first.
Not yet! Good call...

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by davidb » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:31 pm

Don't be afraid to experiment with objects and creatures. Be aggressive with the ones that attack you - don't hesitate to fight back! :D

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by VectorEyes » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:20 am

Reading the Novella will help, but reading the manual even more. As with just about every 80s game, there's no tutorial and you really will be stuck without the info therein!

One quick tip:

- Don't kill creatures that aren't a definite threat. Don't even kill ones which are 'annoying but not deadly'. They may come in useful later!

Where have you got to so far?

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by sydney » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:59 am

There is a series of 22 videos on YouTube by Lord Triax showing a solution to the game. Try watching the first one or two to give an example of how to get started. Bear in mind he's following a solution and it probably takes him around 4 hours to complete the game. Playing exile without a solution involves lots of exploration and trying and failing to solve the puzzles. Don't expect to be anywhere near completing in for a least a year. Even with a solution and map I probably saw less than half of the game.

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by strawberrytau » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:21 am

VectorEyes wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:20 am

One quick tip:

- Don't kill creatures that aren't a definite threat. Don't even kill ones which are 'annoying but not deadly'. They may come in useful later!

Where have you got to so far?
I’m in the first series of tunnels. Don’t have a weapon yet and feel very vulnerable. Should I make finding a gun my first priority? Or should I get used to being very cautious and stealthy?

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by trixster » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:40 am

The Lord Triax video’s are brilliant. I know I’ll never seriously attempt to beat Exile so watching these videos showed me what I was missing.
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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by strawberrytau » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:51 pm

strawberrytau wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:21 am
VectorEyes wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:20 am

One quick tip:

- Don't kill creatures that aren't a definite threat. Don't even kill ones which are 'annoying but not deadly'. They may come in useful later!

Where have you got to so far?
I’m in the first series of tunnels. Don’t have a weapon yet and feel very vulnerable. Should I make finding a gun my first priority? Or should I get used to being very cautious and stealthy?
I found the pistol! Novella very helpful in figuring out what is going on! Thanks for the help. Wow - this is a tricky game!!

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by jms2 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:48 pm

Well done!

Yes, it is hard. Not only that, but unlike any other game I've played Exile really has the feeling of being a bitter struggle. That sounds bad, but I thought it was a really good and lifelike feature. You really feel sorry for Finn as he screams in pain from being burned/blown up/shot/bitten for the thousandth time! Achieving this on an 8-bit machine is nothing short of incredible.

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:03 pm

Yeah, totally agree with that. From the very start, you really feel "on your own". You've got no weapon, no map, and not really any idea what to do. The lack of on-screen text or any kind of HUD further adds to the feeling of total isolation, and creates a totally immersive experience.

In other versions of Exile, the pistol is found without difficulty right at the start, so you can enter the first cave with a weapon. On the Beeb version, you were unarmed for far longer at the beginning - getting the pistol is quite a challenge in itself (even if you could see it, behind the green door with the 'Harry' robot), but it's much more rewarding when you finally break through the door and manage to pick it up (and even then, the action doesn't let up for a second, as you're now being pursued by an angry robot with a gun!).

I assume they redesigned the game to make the game easier to get into, but I prefer the design of the Beeb version. That feeling of being a bitter struggle, as jms2 says, is part of what makes the game what it is. Very little is gifted to you for free, but every bit of progress made is much more worthwhile than it would otherwise be.

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by soviet » Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:57 pm

Also have started playing for the first time tested first the amiga version, but find the bbc micro one superior.
one thing that surprised me is that the game use more keys than a flight simulator. First thing i done is print an screenshot of the first screen that have the key reference, now got sexually harassed by the bird but not done much else except to get kill. #-o

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by sydney » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:42 pm

soviet wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:57 pm
... use more keys than a flight simulator. First thing i done is print an screenshot of the first screen that have the key reference...
Does this help at all?
image.gif

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by VectorEyes » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:37 pm

It's really nice to see someone playing Exile for the first time after all these years. Decades later I can still sit down at a keyboard and remember all the keys when playing.

Please let us know how you're getting on and ask for hints when you're stuck! Have you found the second door passcard yet?

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by soviet » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:53 pm

Thanks for the reference card, its a cool game one thing that it's rarely seen on games is the ability to move the screen using the cursor keys.
Still stuck on the planet surface, and i see no way on how to open the door found some kind of item in the right of the screen where the damn bird is, but not sure what to use it.
Wish the bbc master have joystick ports.

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by VectorEyes » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:28 am

That item is a grenade... Do you have a copy of the manual? It describes a few of the basics, such as walking towards something while pressing "pick up" (the comma key) to pick it up, S to store it in your pocket (you have four pockets) and G to get it out again. And Space to activate it... Oh, and M drops it...

The manual also describes some of the other objects you'll find, explains how the jetpack works, talks about energy (very important in the first part of the game!) and lots more.

To begin with it probably sounds daunting but once you've become used to the controls they seem like second nature, and many of the game's systems will start to make sense.

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by strawberrytau » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:42 am

This is the decoder programme for the Micro User hints. It’s a simple substitution cypher - subtract 1 from each letter’s ascii value to decode.
6B73D9A3-ABB9-415F-92AE-F73609A91971.jpeg
However, I’ve typed in the code and it appears not to work!!

The code line which is supposed to be doing the actual decoding is line 90.

Code: Select all

90 text?A% = text?A% + (C%>65)
This looks at each character in turn and adds (C%>65) to the ascii value.

But on my Beeb this doesn’t work correctly! C% is an uninitialised variable that initialises to zero, so this line does not change the encoding at all.

Replacing it with:

Code: Select all

90 text?A% = text?A% - 1
almost works. It gives the correct output for every character except letter a and space.

I think this code is trying to subtract 1 while gracefully handling the exceptions of a and space.

Are there any BASIC experts here who can see what line 90 is trying to do and debug?!
Last edited by strawberrytau on Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:45 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by Lardo Boffin » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:56 am

Looking at line 90 it adds to the ASCII value of the appropriate character in the string based on its position in the loop using A%.

The C%>65 part suggests that it only subtracts 1 if the character is text (ASCII for A is 65). Presumably this should be > 64 unless A is to be left as is?

So if the ASCII code is 60 it would do 60+0 as 60 is not greater than 65 and so would evaluate to 0. If the ASCII was 70 then it would be 70 + -1 or 69 as 70 is greater than 65 and this evaluates to TRUE which on the beeb is -1.

What is not happening is that C% is being set.
This should probably be something like C%=ASC(MID$($text,A%,1)) on line 85.
Last edited by Lardo Boffin on Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:00 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by MartinB » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:34 am

Lardo wrote:Presumably this should be > 64 unless A is to be left as is?
If this is the decryption routine then the encrypyted characters being analysed already have 1 added and so, if the expectation is that the original text is formed of 'A' onwards, the test for the lowest value (with the +1 already added) is indeed therefore >65 as written because the 'A' would have become 'B' or ASCII 66.

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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by Lardo Boffin » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:40 am

MartinB wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:34 am
Lardo wrote:Presumably this should be > 64 unless A is to be left as is?
If this is the decryption routine then the encrypyted characters being analysed already have 1 added and so, if the expectation is that the original text is formed of 'A' onwards, the test for the lowest value (with the +1 already added) is indeed therefore >65 as written because the 'A' would have become 'B' or ASCII 66.
Good point. :D
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Re: Getting started with Exile...

Post by strawberrytau » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:00 am

Lardo Boffin wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:56 am
So if the ASCII code is 60 it would do 60+0 as 60 is not greater than 65 and so would evaluate to 0. If the ASCII was 70 then it would be 70 + -1 or 69 as 70 is greater than 65 and this evaluates to TRUE which on the beeb is -1.

What is not happening is that C% is being set.
This should probably be something like C%=ASC(MID$($text,A%,1)) on line 85.
Aha! Thanks. I hadn't realised that TRUE was parsed as -1 in BBC BASIC. Then it makes sense. The code works with the following LINE 85:

Code: Select all

85 C%=text?A%
Now I have the hints! (If I choose to use them) :-)

Amazing to have fixed a bug in a 29-year-old magazine program.
Last edited by strawberrytau on Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

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