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The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:09 pm
by Dethmunk
Hi guys, just to say a massive, massive thankyou to Lurkio for working with me to finish The Darkness of Raven Wood. With some awesome coding and optimizations and to Tricky for his Compression/Decompression code. Both are stars!!! So this is a proper final release of the game at last!! \:D/

Compatible with BBC Micro B 32k, BBC Master and Acorn Electron. I've tested it on Datacentretm and GoSDCtm (on the Electron) and they work flawlessly. :D
It comes in/on a single SSD file so should work fine on MMC's too. :wink:

You can download it from my website.... http://johnblythe5.wixsite.com/rucksackgames

A new Text Adventure for the BBC and Electron at last. YAY.

Image Image
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Here it is running on my trusty Beeb with Datacentretm :D and my trusty Acorn Electron with GoSDCtm.
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Enjoy.... 8)

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:26 pm
by paulb
Very nice! It reminds me of my early adventure-gaming experiences, although it is surely a graphical adventure and not a text adventure because there are graphics!

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:32 pm
by jms2
I still haven't finished it (got a bit derailed around Christmas)! The graphics are superb of course...

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:37 pm
by davidb
There is an impressive amount of graphics in there and it looks fantastic! It plays just as well as many of the old school games from back in the day, if not better. Well done! :D

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:39 pm
by leenew
Well done =D>

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:52 pm
by Dethmunk
paulb wrote:Very nice! It reminds me of my early adventure-gaming experiences, although it is surely a graphical adventure and not a text adventure because there are graphics!
You are of course correct... I put it down to my excitement at releasing it.... LOL :D

Thanks guys, most of the glory has to be down to Lurkio's hard work. He's the one who's done the Optimization and Compatibility stuff. Tricky's graphics compression routines are a godsend too.

JMS its probably best to download the newest version, much nicer to play. You can't use your old Game Save though, but some one has finished it already and posted the solution on C.A.S.A. if you've got stuck! :wink:

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:10 pm
by CMcDougall
Dethmunk wrote:A new Text Adventure for the BBC and Electron , Enjoy.
:shock: great work, splendid =D> =D> =D>

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:06 am
by tricky
I love the art style, still haven't got very far in the game, but further than I did with twin kingdom valley!
Well done for sticking with it and for the final tidy up, great job :)

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:19 am
by Dethmunk
tricky wrote:I love the art style, still haven't got very far in the game, but further than I did with twin kingdom valley!
Well done for sticking with it and for the final tidy up, great job :)
Back atcha. Those Compression/de-compression routines were invaluable to getting a nice quick and compressed system of displaying the graphics. We doth our caps at thee. =D>

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:09 am
by richardtoohey
=D>

Well done on sticking at it until finished.

Looks great (nice to see it on the old machines, too.) :D

Will try and have a go.

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:39 am
by fuzzel
Awesome! Just had a quick play and the excellent graphics load really quickly which is brilliant for playability.

Now get cracking on Foggy as I can't wait to play your Hobbit game later on in the year.

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:16 am
by Garrettimus
Great work! Love the graphics, congratulations!

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:38 pm
by jbnbeeb
Well done Dethmunk - great to see a new game for the Beeb. The graphics are fantastic. I had a quick play last night and will spend more time with it this weekend.

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:52 pm
by davidb
Looks like people have been taking notice outside of stardot, too. :)

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:35 pm
by Dethmunk
davidb wrote:Looks like people have been taking notice outside of stardot, too. :)
Thats Neil Green over on Retro for Show on Facebook. He saw it and posted it on there. :D

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:42 pm
by Dethmunk
fuzzel wrote:Awesome! Just had a quick play and the excellent graphics load really quickly which is brilliant for playability.

Now get cracking on Foggy as I can't wait to play your Hobbit game later on in the year.
Thanks, yeah I wanted to have a go at FOGGY as I'm using a nice little Construction set of tools called Arcade Game Designer AGD. Which as a none machine code coder means I have easy access to create a game, something I just can't do on the beeb (lack of knowledge and tools). So I'll have a go at that.. and I definitely will be back to have a look at The Hobbit afterwards. :wink:

Also on the coding side. I've got another little project I'm looking at. Taking 'Type In' games and tweaking them to look as good as I can get them. How they could have looked given some graphical love ;-) It's on the BBC/Electron, and just a bit of fun. I might dip into that if I'm feeling burnt out on FOGGY or The Hobbit ;-)

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:55 pm
by lurkio
^
Here's a link for playing the game in JSBeeb:

http://bbc.godbolt.org/?autoboot&disc=h ... D-1B00.ssd

It feels a bit slow in JSBeeb, possibly because of JSBeeb's extremely accurate disc-drive noise emulation!
Dethmunk wrote:Hi guys, just to say a massive, massive thankyou to Lurkio for working with me to finish The Darkness of Raven Wood. With some awesome coding and optimizations and to Tricky for his Compression/Decompression code.
Many thanks to you, John, for conceiving this great new game project and for seeing it through, and for letting me compress the heck out of your artwork and generally hack your programs to bits! Tricky, thanks for your compression code, and especially the decompressor, which is incredibly fast on the Beeb, and which I used to compress all of John's pics (and then lump the majority of them into one humongous file) so that the whole game would fit onto a single .SSD disc-image, a feat I became obsessed with achieving for some reason -- partly just for the challenge but also partly because you'd then hopefully be able to run the game on a TurboMMC.

I've checked that the .SSD works in a TurboMMC connected to a Master, and also in a TurboMMC connected to a Model B. :)

I'm hoping John will go into a little bit more detail about how he produced the amazing graphics -- in particular, John, I know you used Photoshop to do the originals, but did you originally use just four colours or did you rely on Image2BBC to do the "colour downsampling" for you? (As you can probably tell, I know nothing about creating art (but I know what I like!).)

Meanwhile:
  • On the technical side, apart from tricky's brilliant de/compression code, the other point of possible interest was using OSWORD &7F calls to do direct disc-sector reads to speed up the loading of the pictures, which I'd never used before. Very simple and effective once you know what the "API" expects. I enumerated a massive list of sector-offsets so the program would know which pic began on which sector (having used OSWORD &7F initially to read sectors 0 and 1 -- the disc catalogue -- to work out the start-sector of the humongous compressed pic bundle) and pass the sector number to OSWORD.
  • I realise now we probably could have sped things up even more if we'd somehow interleaved the location pictures with the textual location descriptions, all in the same file, but that was a faff too far, at this time. Instead, I just tweaked John's use of OPENIN and INPUT# by moving PTR# directly to the right point in the location-description text-file every time the player moved to a new location, eliminating the need to read and discard all the preceding location-descriptions in the text-file first. This of course required another in-memory list of offsets, one for each location description.
  • We used a Master-compatible version of Robin Nixon's Slim Characters program from Electron User so that there'd be 40 chars per line in MODE 5.
  • The last technical point I'll mention is the use of the Pack utility in the PRES BASIC Editor ROM -- at least, I think it was that particular ROM; I installed it in BeebEm so long ago that I'm no longer 100% sure that this is the source I used. The BASIC programs needed compressing because we kept getting "Out of memory" errors, as HIMEM's at &5800 in MODE 5. The Pack utility was handy (though you need to be careful if you use it to remove "non-essential" spaces and you've used the ? or ! operators liberally).
:idea:

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:30 pm
by aerworuld
This looks incredible! Can't wait to try it out when I get a mo 8)

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:45 pm
by lurkio
aerworuld wrote:This looks incredible! Can't wait to try it out when I get a mo 8)
Try this version of the disc image -- it's more compatible with a number of different hardware setups (BBC B/Master/Elk/GoSDC/TurboMMC/Datacentre/etc.), as well as emulators:
John is due to upload the disc image to the official game website soon.

:idea:

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:10 pm
by aerworuld
lurkio wrote:
aerworuld wrote:This looks incredible! Can't wait to try it out when I get a mo 8)
Try this version of the disc image -- it's more compatible with a number of different hardware setups (BBC B/Master/Elk/GoSDC/TurboMMC/Datacentre/etc.), as well as emulators:
John is due to upload the disc image to the official game website soon.

:idea:
Thanks for the link! Will do. The original .ssd seems ok on my Elk so far but I've only gone through the intro screens
IMG_20170119_124143.jpg

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:55 pm
by Dethmunk
BTW I've put the final final file up from Lurkio making the game TurboMMC compatible on BBC Micro's :-) Glad people are liking it. :D

http://johnblythe5.wixsite.com/rucksackgames

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:32 am
by pau1ie
I had a play on my Master with datacentre, but couldn't get it to work. I get

Code: Select all

STOP at line 560
If I rerun it, I get

Code: Select all

Bad string at line 580
I have a retroclinic dualos, and that happens in OS3.50. If I switch to MOS3.20, I always get the STOP message.

I notice it accesses the floppy drive (It is a 3.5" one I pinched from a PC), so I tried using dtrap, which doesn't seem to help. Any ideas? Maybe I will try with the MMC later.

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:23 am
by davidb
pau1ie wrote:I notice it accesses the floppy drive (It is a 3.5" one I pinched from a PC), so I tried using dtrap, which doesn't seem to help. Any ideas? Maybe I will try with the MMC later.
The STOP error sounded familiar so I tried to recreate it using Elkulator. If I convert the SSD file to a UEF and try to run it, I get the same error. The code looks like it's doing things with the cassette filing system workspace, so if the DataCentre uses that to load files then it may well have problems. :(

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:17 pm
by lurkio
pau1ie wrote:I had a play on my Master with datacentre, but couldn't get it to work. I get

Code: Select all

STOP at line 560
I could have sworn I tried it on a Master with a DataCentre, but then I don't have the RetroClinic DualOS -- although I can't think why that would be a problem. I did try the game on a Model B with DataCentre, and it worked fine.

The STOP error occurs when there's a problem with the loader program, which uses OSWORD &7F to read in the first two sectors of the disc. So you definitely need *DTRAP to force the DataCentre's RamFS to intercept OSWORD &7F.

The loader program loads in the first sector of the disc, stores it temporarily at &A00-&AFF, and searches it for the catalogue entry for the locked file $.Lpics2. It then loads and searches the second sector to find the starting sector number for the file and stores it in the variable S%. The STOP error suggests that the loader program might be unable to find the locked file $.Lpics2.
pau1ie wrote:I tried using dtrap, which doesn't seem to help. Any ideas?
I'm not really sure what's happening here.

Do you want to try *UNPLUGging all filing system ROMs apart from RamFS?

:?
pau1ie wrote:Maybe I will try with the MMC later.
It worked with TurboMMC on a Master when I tried it.
davidb wrote:The STOP error sounded familiar so I tried to recreate it using Elkulator. If I convert the SSD file to a UEF and try to run it, I get the same error. The code looks like it's doing things with the cassette filing system workspace, so if the DataCentre uses that to load files then it may well have problems. :(
The game definitely won't run off tape as it uses OSWORD &7F to do direct disc-sector reads to load the location graphics during gameplay.

:idea:

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:20 pm
by Dethmunk
Yeah on the Electron I used it with GoSDC and it worked fine. It definitely won't work with the Tape system. :)

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:34 pm
by lurkio
Also, re DataCentre, there's an updated version of RamFS, which is what I use, and which I vaguely remember might fix bugs in *DTRAP, although I'm really not sure exactly what the changes in that updated version of the RamFS ROM actually are.

:?:

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:40 pm
by lurkio
Is anyone else able to test the game on a Master with DataCentre? I'm not at all sure I did test it on that particular combo, now I think about it...

I'm away from my Beebs at the mo, so I can't test it myself.

[-o< :?:

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:38 pm
by pau1ie
I got it to work. I had to make ram the default filesystem and run dtrap otherwise it insisted on reading the floppy. This works in both OS3.5 and OS3.2. I couldn't get it working on the mmc either but maybe it would have worked if I had set card as the default filesystem.

[edit]
My datacentre is pretty new - Nov 2015 - is there a later ramfs than that?

[edit again]
Presumably unplugging other filesystem roms would have helped, but I didn't try that. Let me know if you want me to run more tests, but I am happy as I can run it now, and it looks beautiful.

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:45 pm
by lurkio
pau1ie wrote:I got it to work. I had to make ram the default filesystem and run dtrap otherwise it insisted on reading the floppy. This works in both OS3.5 and OS3.2.
Aha! Glad you figured it out. I always forget about the Master's *CONFIGURE options! I guess the command you used was *CONFIGURE FILE n where n is a number from 0 to 15 corresponding to the ROM slot that the relevant filesystem ROM was in..?
pau1ie wrote:My datacentre is pretty new - Nov 2015 - is there a later ramfs than that?
Well, this page suggests that the latest RamFS and/or utils are dated March 2016. I believe the latest version of RamFS is 1.04. (Try *HELP or *ROMS.) But it's possible that the updates only affect usage of the Tube and a copro.
pau1ie wrote:I couldn't get it working on the mmc either but maybe it would have worked if I had set card as the default filesystem ... Presumably unplugging other filesystem roms would have helped, but I didn't try that.
As I say, I definitely had the game working on a Master with TurboMMC, but then I've got the IFEL/Picton MultiOS, which I think has the CARD filing system in the highest-priority slot by default. Or maybe I did indeed just *UNPLUG all the other filesystems -- can't quite remember.
pau1ie wrote:Let me know if you want me to run more tests, but I am happy as I can run it now, and it looks beautiful.
Yes, the pics look great, especially on a CRT. I'm still hoping John will get round to writing a bit more about them one day... [-o<

No specific tests. Just play the game and let me know if you run into any problems!

:idea:

Re: The Darkness of Raven Wood

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:06 pm
by Dethmunk
I haven't forgotten Lurkio. Just been real busy. I'm currently putting the finishing touches to another game for the *whispers* ZX Spectrum (Arcade Adventure - Foggy's Quest). :wink: Then I'll return to the BBC/Electron for another fun little project. I'll hopefully get around to doing a little write up on the graphics stuff then.