Source:Ula Tor instructions
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The "read me" instructions for the adventure game Ula Tor.
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The young Dauphin has been kidnapped by the vile Dragon of Ula Tor! Fame and Fortune awaits the One who can bring him safely back to his Royal cradle! Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Welcome to ULA TOR, stranger! This program, allegedly written by Won-Tolla alias Ragnar Fyri, is supposed to be an interactive story. That is, you tell me what you want the hero to do, and I "do" it and tell you what "happens". I understand two word sentences such as "TAKE OBJECT" (you must remember to tell me WHICH object, of course!), "GO WEST" etc. and some one word commands such as "LOOK" to look for objects, "INVENTORY" to see what you are carrying, "LISTEN" to listen for sounds, and "HELP" when you run out of ideas. Directions for movement can be used as one word commands (i.e. "WEST" instead of "GO WEST") and can even be shortened to one letter (i.e. "W").
The two frames above contain the text you get to read when you ask for instructions in Ula Tor. The following contains some more details.
First of all, why the cryptic title Nedsuw 2: Ula Tor? The first part is supposed to be the name of the game system that I first used in a prototype adventure (which is why this is number 2, see?) and plan to use for other games in the future. You may have noticed that whenever you are in a place that can be left in all possible directions (lost in the forest, for instance) the directions you can go are listed in the order North-East-Down-South-Up-West, the initials of which form the cryptic acronym.
Of course I didn't just shuffle the directions to produce a (barely) pronounceable acronym. The idea I got a couple of years back, was this: The computer really stores everything as numbers anyway. Why not try to write an algorithm that takes the ASCII value of the first letter in the command and calculates the direction the player wants to move rather than go through the usual boring loop of "if the command is N then set direction to 1 etc."? Well, I came up with a formula that worked, but it was rather clumsy, so I later replaced it with one slightly more elegant (?) which is used in this program. They both had one thing in common, though: They both return 1 for N, 2 for E, 3 for D and so on. For the curious who aren't quite curious enough to list the program to see the formula (or only have the executable), it looks like this:
COMMAND=Abs(COMMAND-10)-3:If COMMAND>3 Then COMMAND=COMMAND/2+1
Previous to this, the variable COMMAND had been set to the ASCII code for the first letter in the entered command minus 64, which gives 1 for A, 2 for B and so on (This variable is used for coarse sorting the commands in a different part of the program so that if Command is 10, for instance, only the verbs that start with H are checked. If you have ever played a slow adventure game with a hundred different verbs that checks the whole list from the beginning every time you enter a command, you should appreciate the time saved. This idea, by the way, was taken from a program by David Lubar of Creative Computing).
But enough about programming — I was planning to put all that in a separate file for the specially interested anyway. This file is supposed to contain some hints and ideas that should be of use to the average player.
All (?) the usual adventure game commands are available — moving in different directions, taking, dropping and examining things, and some things can even be opened, entered and read as well. Then there are some other commands you may find useful, and a few others that work in a special way because of the screen layout.
- This takes you back in the direction you came from, and is mostly useful in those diabolical adventures that are full of bending corridors and things like that. Ula Tor, occasionally, is not one of them, but I have included the command anyway just to make a point...
[Actually the command becomes rather useful whenever you stray into the forest and get lost! It isn't really supposed to work this way, but it's such a nice bug I decided to leave it in!]
- In "ordinary" adventures this repeats the whole description of a place, which may come in handy if the description you got when you arrived has scrolled off the screen. The special Nedsuw layout (Inspired by Scott Adams' windowing) keeps the place description on the screen until you actually move, so this command will just relist the objects found at your current position.
- This command puts the Nedsuw system one step ahead of other adventure systems: The computer becomes not only your eyes and hands, as some programmers like to explain it, but your ears as well! Listening to things may be useful in other adventures; here it is just used for amusement (Tolkien fans may find listening to the hobbit particularly rewarding!).
- This command (which can be entered simply by pressing the Help key) is supposed to be useful when you get stuck. The goblin should be able to help you in most cases, but if he doesn't make sense feel free to write me. My address is both in the program (source) and at the end of this text file.
To leave the keyboard alone for a while, when the program tells you to "caress yon Rodent", it's just a fancy way of telling you to press the mouse button, and this is only done at the start of the program; the rest of the time all input is done through the keyboard.
There's a couple of commands that aren't found in this program. They are (in other programs) called TIME and SCORE. The reason they aren't found in the Nedsuw system is that the time used and points scored are continuously displayed on the center bar.
Two other very useful commands that are included but don't work yet are SAVE and LOAD. On the Apple I used a really neat routine that BSAVEs the actual memory ranges that contain the variables, which has the advantage of not having to enter all the changeable variables twice. I have not found a way to do this on the Amiga, so until someone tells me, you'll have to complete the game in one session (actually it isn't that hard...).
On the Apple there is also a secret command which triggers a "Deus ex Machina" routine which, after a ten-second countdown, fires up the disk drive and flips the screen through different graphic modes (giving the impression that the whole system is crashing) before it stops the drive again and flips a coin to determine whether you win or lose. I'm not advanced enough to do that on the Amiga yet, so if you trigger this routine somehow it will just tell you that the Deus isn't in the Machina yet (Just as a matter of record, the command is not "Deus ex Machina"!).
There are some commands which are used quite a lot in this kind of game. To save you some typing, I have installed these commands on the function keys (using a special input routine) as follows:
F1 - TAKE <object>
F2 - DROP <object>
F3 - INVENTORY
F4 - EXAMINE <object>
F5 - LOOK
F6 - GO <somewhere>
F7 - OPEN <object>
F8 - LISTEN
F9 - SAY <something>
With the commands that don't take an object, the input routine will also automatically press Return for you. And yes, I've only listed nine function keys. I'm not going to tell you about the last one here...
Another set of commands which are used quite a lot are the ones for moving around, so I have put them on the numeric keypad. (Sorry, 600 users, but it's time you upgraded anyway!) The even numbers move in the four compass directions, and "PgUp" and "PgDn" move vertically. That left a couple of keys unused, so I put Inventory on 1 and Look on 7 for good measure. [The rationale behind this is something to the effect that 1 and 7 look like I and L upside down!]
By the way, you can also save some keystrokes by just entering the first three letters of each word, e.g.
EXA ROC to examine the rocks. And if you want to enter the same command more than once, e.g. when moving in a straight line, you can repeat the last order just by pressing Return.
From one thing to another, if you try something that would require inhuman strength, the program will ask "Who do you think you are? Supperman?". Just for the record, that spelling is intentional — it's a kind of pun, you see, so don't "correct" it. Actually I don't want you to change anything at all, at least not distribute altered versions of the program. You are hereby granted permission to circulate unaltered copies of this program and the accompanying text files, on the condition that everything is included. [Sound a bit stupid to say that in a text file accompanying a compiled executable, but someone may be desperate enough to disassemble the code or perhaps alter it in simpler ways I'm not going to suggest here...]
There should be one or two more text files included here. One contains hints for things you may want to try after completing the game, the other (which for obvious reasons will only be distributed with the source code) has some hints for creative programmers who want to write their own Nedsuw adventures. Warning: Both of these files give away quite a lot of the plot, so don't read them until you have finished the game on your own!
To this date, the Nedsuw "series" consists of the following adventures:
- Nedsuw 1
- This was an early "prototype" written on the Apple. It was never really finished, still contains bugs and will not be converted for the Amiga (Not as long as I've got anything to say about it!). For your information, it didn't even have a theme or a way to win, it was just a hodge-podge of disjointed ideas ranging from 101 Dalmatians to The Wall (One of the locations was "outside the mad bugger's wall", and you had to bang your head against the wall to get through...). I may use some of the ideas from it in a later adventure.
- Ula Tor (Nedsuw 2)
- The first "New Nedsuw" adventure, in which your task is to rescue the young dauphin from the vile dragon of Ula Tor (which is the name of a mountain). Occasionally, the name of the mountain came into being when I started thinking about this kind of program as "reality emulators". It's a bit tricky to explain how I got rid of the "em" and realised that what was left could be a name... This is the first (and probably only) adventure that is (and will be) available both for Apple ][ and Amiga.
- 12 Days of Christmas (Nedsuw 3)
- On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. (Whew!) And in this game, your true love has challenged you to bring her all these gifts within twelve days, or she'll never want to see you again. This program is not yet finished, even though I've got everything planned. I started writing it on the Apple, but it soon grew too big for 48K. Even though I've invented a way to insert subroutines into a running program and discarding them again (effect similar to CHAIN MERGE in Amiga Basic) I don't think I'll finish it, as the ][ is getting rather outdated and there isn't even very much demand for public domain games for it any longer. But if you're patient, the Amiga version may appear in a year or two.
[This was originally written in 1990, and I haven't even finished the Amos version of #2, so don't hold your breath!]
- Christmas Rush (Nedsuw 4?)
- Might as well include this too. This is a game I got the idea for a while back (partly inspired by a friend's suggestions) and seem to have planned the entire plot for, but haven't yet started programming on either of my computers, so you'll have to wait even longer for this one. This game is supposed to cast you as a newly divorced parent (it starts with asking what sex you are) getting ready for his/her first Christmas alone with the kids. Everything is ready, with one significant exception: You haven't bought any presents yet. And it soon turns out that everything can't be bought either — your oldest son, for instance, is a computernik who only wants one thing for Christmas: A copy of the brand new game Christmas Rush!
- Nedsuw 5, 6, 7 etc.
- These could be your games. What are you waiting for? Read the file with info and hints for programmers, and get on the ball!
Idunns vei 15
1370 Asker, Norway