Bladedancer

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billcarr2005
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Bladedancer

Post by billcarr2005 » Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:01 pm

Thanks go to John Hoare for kindly loaning the disks for preservaton :)

The long lost game has finally been found!

No protection on any of these, so freely copyable ;)
BLADEDANCER1.png
BLADEDANCER2.png
Attachments
BLADEDANCER SSD.zip
Home Town + Four County discs
(319.23 KiB) Downloaded 53 times

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danielj
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by danielj » Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:10 pm

Brilliant news :) Thanks John and Bill! :)

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lurkio
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by lurkio » Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:24 pm

:shock:

Well done, BillC! =D> =D> =D>

Many, many thanks to John Hoare for helping us to recover one of the most elusive and intriguing "missing" Beeb games at long last!

=D> =D> =D>

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Multiwizard
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by Multiwizard » Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:27 pm

WOW many thanks for (sharing) this... =D> :D =D>


Greetings, Wim... :-)

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marcusjambler
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by marcusjambler » Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:51 pm

:shock: :D :lol: =D> =D> Great news... Thanks Bill & john =D>

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jms2
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by jms2 » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:30 pm

Well done guys! I have just had a go at playing it (on BeebEm). Some aspects are very impressive - the use of Mode 0 is unique to this game I think. Others (eg the animation and scrolling)... not so much.

I found some odd problems - I can enter a shop and select things, but pressing return to buy them does not seem to do anything. Similarly, on puzzle screens pressing "A" to answer the puzzle doesn't do anything either.

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lurkio
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by lurkio » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:48 pm

jms2 wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:30 pm
I found some odd problems - I can enter a shop and select things, but pressing return to buy them does not seem to do anything. Similarly, on puzzle screens pressing "A" to answer the puzzle doesn't do anything either.
Aargh! This game is definitely cursed, I tell you! (The tortuous route it took to get to Stardot, and now that it's here it might be full of bugs..?!)

I also found I couldn't buy anything from the first shop I found -- but then I fought a couple of knights and found another shop (or the same one?) and then I could buy a couple of things but I was prevented from spending more than a smallish number of the gold coins I had. Strange.

I haven't come across any puzzles yet. Only had a quick couple of goes so far, though.

:?:

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jms2
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by jms2 » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:51 pm

Actually I think I have figured this out, it's not a bug after all.

- I think you can only buy food if your energy level is less than 100%
- "A" does work, but only when confronted with a question. The questions are not obvious, I had one which simply said "King Arthur's Wizard". I thought this was the name of the character on the screen, but no, it was a question. Pressing A in this case made a brief chime and then I was able to type "Merlin", which was the correct answer.

This is only really playable at 400% speed though!

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lurkio
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by lurkio » Mon Aug 17, 2020 5:49 pm

jms2 wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:51 pm
Actually I think I have figured this out, it's not a bug after all ...
Ah, thanks for that!

Here it is on bbcmicro.co.uk, although setting up the in-browser play is a bit convoluted!:

http://bbcmicro.co.uk/game.php?id=3087

:idea:

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leenew
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by leenew » Mon Aug 17, 2020 5:54 pm

Excellent work guys! =D>
Thanks to everyone involved in finally archiving this rare game!

Lee.

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lurkio
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by lurkio » Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:00 pm

I don't know the whole story, by any means, but I've been asked to fill in some background to the discovery and recovery of the long-lost BBC Micro game Bladedancer, which had been missing in action almost from the day it was first published in 1993!

A copy of the game was recently lent to BillCarr by John Hoare, a.k.a. @mumoss, so that it could finally be preserved and made available for people to play (because it's far from clear who played it when it first came out -- if indeed anyone did, apart from a couple of writers for Acorn-related magazines who might have received review copies!).

Many thanks to John for lending us his copy of the game and helping to preserve a curious little bit of gaming history!

Page 1, object 638 (X).jpg

I'm not sure when I first became aware of the existence of the game Bladedancer -- I can't swear I heard about it when it first came out, so it might have been much more recently that I learnt about it and found out from a Beebug review that it was a large, ambitious RPG-type game with hi-res monochrome graphics -- the sort of thing that hadn't quite been seen on the Beeb before.

Page 1, object 5.jpg

What I do know for certain is that I actually won an eBay auction for a copy of the game a few years ago. What's more vague in my memory, however, is when exactly that auction took place because, mysteriously, all evidence of the sale -- and of the subsequent refund-request -- are missing from my records. The only trace of the auction that I seem to have managed to save is this photo, which was part of the eBay listing:

Bladedancer-.jpg

So I can't be sure who the seller was. (But if it was the same person from whom I also won copies of Cholo and Through The Dragon's Eye, which they also failed to deliver, then I know who you are, and I won't forget this..!)

Anyway, the eBay sale of Bladedancer fell through when the seller simply failed to send me the game. When I asked for an explanation they just cited vague excuses about inaccessible storage units, or sheds, and mentioned something about a broken relationship. They then closed their eBay account and vanished without trace. I got my refund, but I was disappointed to have come so close to rescuing an intriguing and elusive bit of Beeb gaming history, only to have it snatched away from me at the last minute by fate and dodgy salesmanship.

Then, some time later, it was pointed out to me that Omicron Technologies, the original developers and publishers of Bladedancer, were still in business and had a website, with contact details:

http://web.archive.org/web/201901022048 ... ies.co.uk/

I managed to get in touch with the head honcho at Omicron, Will Godfrey, who was also the original developer of Bladedancer -- and, wonder of wonders, he said he still had a full set of the original five games discs in his possession, although some of them were a little the worse for wear!:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=13839&p=181683#p181747

We assured him that the Kryoflux King, danielj, would be able to recover the data off the discs -- if anyone could, Daniel could. But alas, it was not to be. Will suddenly became very busy and never got a chance to post the discs...

Time passed.

Earlier this year, Arcadian tells me, he tried ringing the number on the Omicron Technologies website, but it was out of date and was now being used by the owners of a residential property who didn't know anything about Omicron at all... And so another extremely promising lead on Bladedancer went cold.

And then the cycle repeated itself! In spring 2020, someone else revealed that they had a copy of the game, complete with box, cover, and documentation! They agreed to post it off to a Stardotter so it could be archived, but, four months later, they changed their mind and their copy quietly slipped onto eBay -- with a starting price that was rather steep.

Foiled again!

By now I was convinced that the game was cursed and that it would forever taunt us by popping up every few years and drifting into our orbit, so close we could almost touch it, before blowing a raspberry and abruptly vanishing again.

Fortunately, I was wrong.

Enter the hero of the story, John Hoare, a.k.a. @mumoss, a teenage Beeb user turned playout panjandrum and hoarder extraordinaire! It turns out that he'd kept his copy of the discs safe for decades, and he recently got in touch with Stardotter kecskebak to see if we could help him preserve the discs for posterity and hopefully make them playable at last. The discs were lent to BillCarr, of this parish, who made digital images of them with ease because they were undamaged and contained no copy-protection whatsoever.

So, finally, the prodigal son of Beeb gaming, Bladedancer, has come home. The game is up on bbcmicro.co.uk, where anyone in the world can -- after following some pretty darned fiddly instructions, I grant you -- play it online. Or download it and play it in a desktop emulator like BeebEm, which might be a bit easier!:

http://bbcmicro.co.uk/game.php?id=3087

Thanks again to John, BillC, kecskebak, and everyone who helped to ensure that one of the last known copies of Bladedancer didn't end up locked away in a private collection somewhere -- or, even worse, eventually just chucked in a bin!

=D> =D> =D>

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Re: Bladedancer

Post by mumoss » Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:12 am

Hello, everyone. mumoss aka John Hoare here. Not that much to add, really - lurkio's account above is entirely correct. (I'm going to nick the title "playout panjandrum",too.) Thanks for everyone's kind words, but it's really BillCarr and Arcadian who deserve the credit, along with KecskeBak for pointing me in the right direction - all I did is post off some discs. I'm amazed they read as easily as they did - I'd convinced myself they were long corrupt by now.

I'm just grateful that everyone can finally get to play this odd game, myself included. I never got that far with it as a teenager, although somewhere I have a map I made of the first world. I'll dig it out and post it.

I might write a little about this for my blog over the weekend - if I do, I'll post a link here.

Thanks again!

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lurkio
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by lurkio » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:18 am

mumoss wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:12 am
I'm just grateful that everyone can finally get to play this odd game, myself included. I never got that far with it as a teenager, although somewhere I have a map I made of the first world. I'll dig it out and post it.
Welcome (back) to Stardot, John! Thanks again for lending us your copy of Bladedancer. It might not be as rare a game as Encounters for example, but after so many wild-goose chases I really had begun to think this would be the one that got away. But thanks to you and your pack-rat instincts, we've finally broken the Curse of Omicron! (Oh, and if you find that map, my mind will be utterly blown!)

:D =D> =D>
Last edited by lurkio on Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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leenew
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by leenew » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:38 pm

Great stuff :D
If John is a hoarder, I wonder if I may ask him to look at the missing games list here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=14458&hilit=Missing+games+help
Maybe other treasures lurk in his vaults?

Lee.

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Dave Footitt
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by Dave Footitt » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:57 pm

Fantastic job, great that this has seen the light of day - well done to all involved =D>

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Re: Bladedancer

Post by mumoss » Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:34 pm

leenew wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:38 pm
Great stuff :D
If John is a hoarder, I wonder if I may ask him to look at the missing games list here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=14458&hilit=Missing+games+help
Maybe other treasures lurk in his vaults?

Lee.
Had a quick look through the list, and I don't believe I've got any of those. I do have a whole cardboard box of discs that I need to transfer at some point, though - when I do, I'll keep a look out for anything interesting.

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Re: Bladedancer

Post by mumoss » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:15 am

Hey all,

As promised, here's something I've written about my side of helping to rescue Bladedancer:

http://www.dirtyfeed.org/2020/09/rescuing-bladedancer/

No technical insights here, more of a personal tale. Hopefully it fills in some gaps for those who are interested.

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jms2
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by jms2 » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:12 am

A fantastic read John, I loved it! And I feel your pain in not being able to afford an Archimedes, although as I'm a few years older than you I had managed to get an A3000 by 1993. I was frustrated by the decline of the BBC micro in 1990, so I can't imagine how it would have been by 1993. Those "pre-retro" years, when the machines were just regarded as old junk, intrigue me.

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Re: Bladedancer

Post by jregel » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:40 pm

mumoss wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:15 am
Hey all,

As promised, here's something I've written about my side of helping to rescue Bladedancer:

http://www.dirtyfeed.org/2020/09/rescuing-bladedancer/

No technical insights here, more of a personal tale. Hopefully it fills in some gaps for those who are interested.
I enjoyed reading that. Thanks.
BBC Master Turbo, Retroclinic External Datacentre, VideoNuLA, PiTubeDirect with Pi Zero, Gotek USB Floppy Emulator

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lurkio
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Re: Bladedancer

Post by lurkio » Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:14 pm

mumoss wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:15 am
As promised, here's something I've written about my side of helping to rescue Bladedancer: http://www.dirtyfeed.org/2020/09/rescuing-bladedancer/
Mind duly blown! Excellent article.

If it's okay, I'll put a copy of your map here:

D0F5E06B-D1B8-4D2C-9224-96EDE0FF6BC9.jpeg
C64FA197-D3A5-4015-AA60-B5A172B55394.jpeg

If it's not okay then just let me know and I'll remove it.

:idea:

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Re: Bladedancer

Post by mumoss » Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:32 pm

No worries having the map here too. I meant to post it, and forgot.

I'm quite impressed with my 12-year-old self that I actually did a screengrab of the map. I'm slightly less impressed with my writing...

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