Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

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


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Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by daveejhitchins » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:16 pm

Hi all:

I've finally dug-out the Heyley Software Games and other discs that were used to 'make' the P.R.E.S. versions.

All the 'main' disc seem to load OK, however, I haven't 'played-the-games' through.

I don't remember how to 'make' a final disc but I believe all the tools are here.

These are the discs I have:
1 The Ultimate Prize (Main disc)
2 The Ultimate Prize Intermediate Disc 1

3 Dreamtime (Main disc)
4 Dreamtime Intermediate Disc 1

5 The Taroda Scheme (Main disc)
6 The Taroda Scheme Intermediate Disc 1

7 Pirate's Peril (Main disc)
8 Pirate's Peril Intermediate Disc 1

I don't think there ever was an Intermediate Disc 2 . . .

Other Discs:

9 Machine Code Bits For Games Loader

10 Elk track checker for games.
Hand witten on the label is the following:
"RunMe" shows how to call main program.
ADFS 'M' must be run in drive 0.
Let me know if you break the m/code.

The last line was obviously a challenge. We just didn't have the time, back then, but maybe someone has now?

EDIT:
Just found another disc:
11 Disc Protection Program

When you Boot this disc it loads ADI into Sideways RAM (4) then gives you a menu listing all the above games plus P.R.E.S Games 1, 2, and 3. Presumably to 'make' the games discs listed?

And:
12 Stranded Intermediate Disc 1 - Not found the 'main' disc, as yet. Will keep looking.
END EDIT:

These discs are HEAVILY PROTECTED :shock:

You can't copy them, even to GoSDC :cry:

In fact, when you've finished the game you need to Switch-Off :lol:

I need to pass them on to someone that has the time and the capabilities to recover these games for everyone else to enjoy. Even if you can only 'make' new discs from them, would be a start - I can provide the 3.5" discs - I have a boat-load :lol:

So, who's up to the challenge :?: Maybe a shared load :?: :)

Dave H :D
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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by Arcadian » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:31 pm

Wow, Dave Edwards is gonna be thrilled! :)

One sure-fire way to back up protected Acorn discs is to dump them to FDI format (I have all the cables and other equipment required).

The B-Em and Elkulator emulators support FDI format, but the disadvantage of FDI is that you can't write files back to disc. However, it's possible that one of the gurus on this site (I'm looking at you BillCarr!) may be able to created de-protected disc images from the FDI files.

There's also IPF format - I don't know if anyone here owns a Kryoflux device, but the problem with IPF is that it isn't supported by any emulator (to my knowledge, at least).

But yeah, I'm happy to take a set of discs to try and get preserved. Did you say you had multiple copies of all of the discs? If so, I think DaveE would definitely welcome the opportunity to have a go at circumventing any protection, too ...
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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by daveejhitchins » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:18 pm

Arcadian wrote:Did you say you had multiple copies of all of the discs?
Arcadian:

No, that's the problem, I've just the one set, however, if you have a double drive set-up you should be able to 'make' copies to send elsewhere . . . That's if you can figure out how to do it :?: :lol:

I'll PM you for an address - Dave H :D
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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by billcarr2005 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:34 pm

Arcadian wrote:However, it's possible that one of the gurus on this site (I'm looking at you BillCarr!) may be able to created de-protected disc images from the FDI files.
Yes, i'm up for the challenge. I've not seen so many ADFS disks, but i think i've de-protected Dreamtime once upon a time.
Also, being on the Electron, VIA timers won't be used for decrypting the code!
Failing being able to image the disks, if all the visible files are copied off, it might be possible to work out what's happening and make a fix somehow.
Arcadian wrote: There's also IPF format - I don't know if anyone here owns a Kryoflux device, but the problem with IPF is that it isn't supported by any emulator (to my knowledge, at least).
I've got a Kryoflux, but TBH i was able to get just the same information from DFS disks using the program i cobbled together for use with the UPURS cable - and the advantage is it's not a closed / obfuscated format and/or relying on somebody else to decode the disks at their leisure!

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by tautology » Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:46 pm

I'm up for the challenge too; I've been looking for these games for a while (so far only Stranded is really available on the Beeb).

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by daveejhitchins » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:24 am

OK, I've slept on this and the fog has lifted, slightly :lol: :lol:

What I've marked as the 'main' disc is, in fact, the 'final' salable disc.
The disc titled 'Intermediate Disc 1' is, I now believe, the copyable disc. Which when protection is added, using the 'Disc Protection Program' creates the salable disc.

So, It's not as bad as I thought. The protection will still be there, however, we (the royal 'we' in this case) should be able to figure-out how the protection is being added and what to look for to remove it. I think there are some 'unformatted' tracks added, using ADI - that being loaded as part of running the 'Disc Protection Program'.

I'll make copies of all the copyable discs this evening and send them out to anyone who's up to the task . . . Two, so far :D

Dave H :D
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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by tautology » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:13 pm

We may want to give Howard Roberts of Heyley, a shout just to get permission to distribute, or to see if he wants a copy.

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by Arcadian » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:51 am

Ok, the bundle of discs arrived this morning (thanks Dave!).

I'm actually going away today, and won't be back until Monday - so FDI dumps will have to wait until then I'm afraid (as I need to install the FDI cables, parallel port card etc back into the old P1 233Mhz PC I use for creating FDI files).

However, I've quickly attempted sector-dumps of all the discs using Omniflop.

As suspected, the "finished" discs fail to read in due to protection.

The "Intermediate" discs all read in 100% (though the Stranded disc was hard work - it clearly wasn't in the best of shape and took several attempts to read many of the tracks. So I was very surprised to actually see it reach 100%!).

However, I've tried booting the Intermediate discs in both Elkulator and ElectrEm, and all report "Not an original disc" upon boot. Not sure if this is an emulation issue or whether some kind of protection was present on the discs after all? (I won't be able to try them with a real Electron until next week, unfortunately).

Anyway, I've attached the images to this post if anyone wants to check them out.

I've also attached a dump of the Disc Protection Program.

The 'Machine Code Bits for Games Loader' disc didn't want to read in (it failed after a few tracks - I'll have another look at this next week. It might just be 1 or 2 bad sectors and the rest of the disc is fine).

Unfortunately the 'Elk Track Checker for Games' disc may well be beyond recovery: the disc surfaces contain patches of residue on both sides - and it appears to have etched away parts of the surface. Simply inserting it into the drive resulted in a horrible sound, so I quickly whipped it back out.
Attachments
PRES_DiscProtectionProgram.zip
(40.01 KiB) Downloaded 97 times
PRES_HeyleySoftware_IntermediateDiscs.zip
(232.04 KiB) Downloaded 106 times
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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by billcarr2005 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:50 pm

A quick one byte bypass of the protection routine / error message. I've not played the games further than testing they don't crash immediately due to some checksum, but it's always possible, although unlikely, that there'll be some checks down the line.
If it turns out that the games aren't completable due to the protection kicking in later, then i'll have another look at them. :)
The main/final disks wouldn't have the files visible on the disk since the protection program deletes them, leaving the data accessible only via osword &72.
It's possible to modify the !BOOT to *LOAD the files direct rather than using the osword &72 method, but since the disk images are usable under emulation, i didn't think it was worth changing them!
Attachments
PRES_HeyleySoftware_IntermediateDiscs.zip
(230.27 KiB) Downloaded 135 times

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by PitfallJones » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:14 pm

Wow! - the lost Heyley games all found and playable!
Great job Chaps!
What is P.R.E.S.? anyway?
I'm not very familiar with ADFS (I just tested it in B-em ... loads fine) - can the disks be easily converted into DFS?
-PJ

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by billcarr2005 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:26 pm

PitfallJones wrote:can the disks be easily converted into DFS?
Relatively easily, yes... especially since the files are accessible / copyable on the intermediate disks. Then it would just be a case of replacing the OSWORD &72 references with OSCLI & *LOAD [filename] :)

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by daveejhitchins » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:50 pm

Hi All:

Glad everything is working out with the game disc. It's a relief that Arcadian managed to recover almost everything. The one disc that caused me the most problems was the Heyley hand written one: Elk Track Checker for Games

It may be that a change of sleeve is warranted, doable but fiddly. I noticed that when 'run' the drive motor struggled a bit!

P.R.E.S. Stood for 'something Retail something something' :lol: :lol: :lol:

John Huddleston, who ran P.R.E.S., was in-the-retail trade before he started selling Acorn Products, I believe with the same company name. He ran the business, with his wife Jane, from a rather smart Alpine 'shed' in his back garden. Rob Northern wrote all the ACP software/firmware and I did all the hardware to start with. I formed a partnership with another hardware guy called Pete Garrett. then came Ian Robinson (my brother!) who handled all the outworkers, we had building the boards, as well as purchasing and accounts.Then we had our own software/hardware guy call Dave Prossor. He went on to design, build and write all the software for a PC style RISC computer for APDL (http://www.apdl.co.uk).

I've lost contact with Jane and John Huddleston and Rob Northen :cry: If anyone know where they ended up I'd be grateful for contact details.

We also has Allan Glover writing software for 'us' (the team). He went on to write the 'anti virus' program for the Archimedes - with, I think, Pineapple? He then went further and worked for Acorn. Again, lost contact . . . Isn't time a bitch? :lol:

Anyway, enough history . . . Let's see what else I can recover from the 'vault' :D - Later!

Dave H :D
Last edited by daveejhitchins on Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by TopBanana » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:08 pm

daveejhitchins wrote: Rob Northern wrote all the ACP software/firmware
Rob Northern did loads of copy protection for Amiga and ST games - he was the bane of my life ! lol

http://whdloadrules.tripod.com/rob_nort ... rview.html

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by billcarr2005 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:12 pm

TopBanana wrote:
daveejhitchins wrote: Rob Northern wrote all the ACP software/firmware
Rob Northern did loads of copy protection for Amiga and ST games - he was the bane of my life ! lol

http://whdloadrules.tripod.com/rob_nort ... rview.html
Also, as stated in the article, he wrote the protection routines for the Acornsoft 40|80 track disks, then released ADI to help copy them :D

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by tautology » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:47 pm

I've been waiting to play these for a long time (after struggling my way through Stranded).

I'll try and move them to a DFS disc as well. I doubt that there'll be further protection, although it shouldn't be too complicated. The games were written in HATRACK, which was a modified version of the Adventurescape interpreter and most of them were in BASIC.

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by Dave_E » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:03 pm

Amazing to see these finally.

Unfortunately, it looks like STRANDED doesn't work properly. It crashes out when you press a key on the opening screen.

The other three seem to work perfectly though! =D>

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by paulv » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:52 pm

Dave_E wrote:Unfortunately, it looks like STRANDED doesn't work properly. It crashes out when you press a key on the opening screen.
Works fine for me in Elkulator. Having trouble with them in BeebEm though...


Paul

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by tautology » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:00 pm

It crashed out on me in BeebEm (as a Master), this may be due to the differences in the system. The rest of the games work fine (so far).

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by Arcadian » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:59 am

Wahey - we did it! :D

Well done BillCarr and thanks again Dave for going to the trouble of locating and sharing the discs.

I'd be interested to know if anyone is able to generate actual, copy-protected versions of the titles on a real Electron, by using the Intermediate discs in conjunction with the Disc Protection Program.

Note to Dave E: Stranded appears to be working ok for me on Elkulator.
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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by Dave_E » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:10 pm

Oh yeah, it does work. I was trying it on BeebEm with ADFS as well. I just figured that because the other four worked - and because Dave M had trouble transferring this one - that something had gone wrong.

I'm staggered we've (that would be the royal "we" of course) actually managed to find these. I remember Dave M and I mooted about six years ago that probably the only way they'd ever be tracked down would be if someone from one of the PRES distribution centres had thought to archive them, or had enjoyed playing them and so had kept them for his own use.

Howard Roberts got in touch with me looking for them about 2 years ago and reported that the originals were all stolen from his car in the early 90s and he had been desperately looking for them ever since so I'll drop him an e-mail and let him know they've all been found.

From my all-too-copious knowledge of the Acorn Electron, the Heyley adventures were the only "missing" games from the official disc archive (ENTHAR SEVEN by Robico was recovered a few years back!) so the entire archive is now 100% preserved.

Maybe Howard will remember how to solve them all and write us some helpsheets or solutions. They're so rare that there'll be *no* help on the Net to complete them...!

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by danielj » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:15 pm

Goshdarn, now where's Elkulator vanished to? Don't tell me I'm actually going to have to fire up a real one? - never installed it on this computer...

d.

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by tautology » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:44 pm

Dave_E wrote:Maybe Howard will remember how to solve them all and write us some helpsheets or solutions. They're so rare that there'll be *no* help on the Net to complete them...!
I'm working on that now. I'm currently torn with playing them for fun, or hacking out the database file. I discovered that I already have some notes about the BBC (Robico) version of Stranded, so these may apply to the rest. I haven't really started yet!

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by Dave_E » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:39 am

I've added instructions for them all over at Acorn Electron World.

http://www.acornelectron.co.uk/profs/cats/heyley.html

They already had the reviews, which have been teasing me since 2001 or so.

Feels like a dream to see this archive actually complete. I've probably wasted a good few hours of my life looking at its empty slots and wondering if they would ever be found.

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by lordroberts » Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:42 am

Hi all...Howard Roberts, co-founder of Heyley Software here.

First of all, a big thanks to Dave Edwards for notifying me that these games had been found. I thought they had been lost forever but it's awesome to see them appear again.

Here's a bit of history about the Electron versions of these games. Myself and Tony Heap, my co-founder, wrote these games for the BBC in a modified version of Jonathan Evans's Adventurescape system. The more games we wrote the more heavily we modified the system until it became something "based on" rather than "a modified version of". We self-published all the games up to "Stranded!" and then I got an Archimedes and we wrote "Rise in Crime" for Robico as an exclusive title. Later, Tony modified "Stranded!" to run on the Archimedes system, added graphics and that also sold through Robico. The underlying game was identical.

The Electron versions of the games came about when we met Dave Hitchens of PRES at one of the "BBC Micro User" events. He asked us about creating Electron versions of the game. We didn't have an Electron and weren't confident that the games could be squashed enough to run because the original BBC games ran in the Beeb's teletext mode 7 and whereas we would have to run the Electron games in mode 6.

Dave shipped us a computer and disc system and we got to work converting the games. "The Ultimate Prize", Pirate's Peril" and "Dreamtime" were not difficult. All we needed to do was optimise the BASIC code so that we reduced the memory overhead. I seem to recall we used a ROM-based utility which squashed everything such as variable names and removed unecessary spaces. The code was fairly unreadable but the games were debugged and worked correctly anyway. "The Taroda Scheme" was more difficult and we had to resort to some primitive compression techniques to cram the data into the Electron. In all cases the issue was RAM space, not disc space.

Let me say now that "Stranded!" was a b**ch to do. The codebase was much bigger than previous games and the game data was also bigger. We (Tony) had managed to work out how to get location descriptions and messages (responses to actions) to run up to 512 characters instead of the 256 we'd used in previous games. The text data was read off the disc with each turn which meant that we were now banging up against the size of the disc as we had more space to describe places and events.

However, the puzzle data was also much more complex and needed to be loaded into RAM. There were way more puzzles in "Stranded!" and that also caused many issues. In the end, Tony converted some of the BASIC into machine code which, whilst making it smaller, had the advantage of making the game run more quickly. He also compressed as much as he could including the puzzle data and even the title screen which was compressed and then unpacked inorder to display it. By loading everything into memory as low as was possible and still have the disc system work we managed to get it running. If I remember correctly, you may be able to see some of the game data being loaded into screen memory over the top of the display. We were that close to the limits of the machine.

Anyway, we managed it and the games were sold through PRES. If I recall, we let PRES take care of all the marketing and distribution and we just took a royalty on the games. I have no idea of the cut. Bear in mind that at the time Tony was 14 and I was 16 so we had no clue how to negotiate these things!

The other aspect to these games that has been mentioned as the disc protection. I am almost certain that Heyley shipped the discs to PRES naked. There was no protection on them. On our BBC games we did have an anti-copy feature on them but we didn't know the Electron well enough to implement anything. I'm pretty sure that any copy protection came courtesy of PRES!

Eventually (after much nagging) we shipped the Electron back to Dave and that was really the last I heard of the Electron games until very recently. It seems that the Beeb versions of the games are gone forever but the Electron games, thanks to you guys, have been saved.

Somewhere, in the depths of my home office, possibly my loft, I have old notes from all the games, which have survived three house moves! These include hand-drawn maps and printouts of raw game data. I have an inkling that amongst those are the original clue sheets which we sold for £1 per sheet to customers who got stuck.

As a big thank-you to the community who rescued the games, I'm going to dig around and find the clue sheets, if they still exist. If they're salvageable then I'm going to convert them to PDF and post them up so that people can still play the games all the way through. It's the least I can do.

I'm still in touch with Tony and I have talked to him about it. We'll provide a written statement releasing the games under a Creative Commons license for people to do with as they will. Should people wish it, the games will get a further lease of life from people mashing them up.

Thanks again. Howard.
Last edited by lordroberts on Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by thecellartroll » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:09 pm

I only just came across this thread. An awesome story!

From all the old machines that I play with it seems that software that was written for Acorn machines is in the greatest danger of getting lost forever - mainly because of the smaller home user base than the likes of the Spectrum and C64.

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by tautology » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:19 pm

lordroberts wrote:Here's a bit of history about the Electron versions of these games. Myself and Tony Heap, my co-founder, wrote these games for the BBC in a modified version of Jonathan Evans's Adventurescape system. The more games we wrote the more heavily we modified the system until it became something "based on" rather than "a modified version of". We self-published all the games up to "Stranded!" and then I got an Archimedes and we wrote "Rise in Crime" for Robico as an exclusive title. Later, Tony modified "Stranded!" to run on the Archimedes system, added graphics and that also sold through Robico. The underlying game was identical.
As a note; back in 2007 I wrote a runner for adventurescape on modern PCs, called ascape and releases it through the if-archive.

The only games it didn't support were the Heyley ones, because I could only find Stranded! and the RISC OS ones. Hence I can now add support.

From a technical level, the header and data format does seem to match what I've called in the ascape notes "Adventurescape v2.0" with some manglage. I'm planning to add support for these games as soon as I can get some free time.

I'm currently holding back on breaking the databases apart too much as I want to play the games properly first!

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by lordroberts » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:53 am

tautology wrote: From a technical level, the header and data format does seem to match what I've called in the ascape notes "Adventurescape v2.0" with some manglage. I'm planning to add support for these games as soon as I can get some free time.

I'm currently holding back on breaking the databases apart too much as I want to play the games properly first!
TBH, I can't remember everything we did to modify the system. I know that there were some things (such as objects) where we modified it to reflect a change in state. For example, an bottle's description might have used description 1 to say "It's empty", but then we flipped a bit to make it use description 128 to say "It's full". This was never done in the original Adventurescape system. I also know that Tony did a few naughty things in the actual game code when the system didn't support the puzzle he was trying to build.

I think you might get the first four games to interpret properly but "Stranded!" and "Rise in Crime" are probably not worth your time. I did manage to rescue all the source discs and raw data for "Rise in Crime" which you can find at http://heyley.vocks.org.uk/riseincrime.htm.

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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by daveejhitchins » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:11 pm

lordroberts wrote:The Electron versions of the games came about when we met Dave Hitchens of PRES at one of the "BBC Micro User" events. He asked us about creating Electron versions of the game. We didn't have an Electron and weren't confident that the games could be squashed enough to run because the original BBC games ran in the Beeb's teletext mode 7 and whereas we would have to run the Electron games in mode 6.

Dave shipped us a computer and disc system and we got to work converting the games.
I'm glad Howard can remember all this . . . I needed the prompt - even then it's a bit foggy :lol:
lordroberts wrote:The other aspect to these games that has been mentioned as the disc protection. I am almost certain that Heyley shipped the discs to PRES naked. There was no protection on them. On our BBC games we did have an anti-copy feature on them but we didn't know the Electron well enough to implement anything. I'm pretty sure that any copy protection came courtesy of PRES!
This has all come back too. I remember, now, talking to Rob Northern about this problem and his suggestion was the one we used
lordroberts wrote:Eventually (after much nagging) we shipped the Electron back to Dave and that was really the last I heard of the Electron games until very recently.
:lol: :lol: I do remember this . . . It's the Yorkshire man in me :lol: :lol:

Dave H :D
Parts: UM6502CE, GAL22V10D, GAL16V8D, AS6C62256A, TC514400AZ, WD1772, R6522, TMS27C512, AT28C256
Products: ARA II, ARA III, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC, AP5 . . .
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com

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aerworuld
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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by aerworuld » Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:30 pm

I just found this thread; it really is great! It's bizarre, but I got Pirates Peril bundled in with my AP3 when I bought it second-hand a few years back so I have it here on 3.5" disk for the Elk. Being so far removed from all things electron for so long I didn't realise it's significance at the time! :?

I enjoy text adventures a lot and I'm having some fun with this one; beautifully rich descriptions but it's a toughie! Thank you for the work you guys put into creating it Howard :)

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leenew
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Re: Heyley Software Games - Help Required !!

Post by leenew » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:38 pm

Hi,
Did anyone ever get fully working versions of these on a DSD??
thanks.
Lee.

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