| paleface [sys=PC; cat=Roguelike; loc=NA] |
|I'm still a roguelike noob, and also don't really know what I'm talking about. I liked the look of a couple DOS Moria/Angband ports I happened to see, and wanted to find out where it came from.|
- DOSBox from www.dosbox.com
- PC-Moria 4.873 from myabandonware.com /game/moria-27f
- The 1984 DOS freeware game Castle Adventure from dosgames.com /game/ castle-adventure/
- Rogue - 1985 DOS Epyx 1.49 version from store.steampowered.com /app/1443430/Rogue/
Steam installs Epyx's 1985 DOS Rogue port version 1.49 in a custom DOSBox arrangement; the config settings left it blurry on my display and anyway I wanted to be able to run it from the same DOS prompt as other games, so I collected the various files from where Steam had installed them, and made my own set-up for them. One tricky part is that there's no unified way to start a new game and restore a previously saved game from the same Windows shortcut; you may need to do like Steam partially did and set up separate start and restore shortcuts, using an appropriate Rogue command-line option--probably "/r"--for one of them; here's a Rogue command option list with definitions, from a copy of the old PC manual I found at britzl.github.io/ roguearchive/files/ misc/EpyxRogueDOSManual/ manual.htm
rogue — Starts a new game.
rogue /r — Automatically restarts a saved game using the file name rogue.sav on the rogue disk.
rogue /s — Displays the current rankings in the Guildmasters Hall of Fame without having to start a game.
rogue /bw — If you have a color graphics card and are using a black and white monitor, starting a new game of ROGUE with this option will improve the clarity of the screen.
rogue (file name) — Restarts a new game using a game saved in (file name).
"/bw" didn't seem to work on mine.
DOS Rogue's "!" or F10 "Supervisor Key" hides the game with a fake DOS screen; type "rogue" to get back to the game once the boss leaves ; ].
Did the "Supervisor Key" become a bit of a running joke in Moria and PC Angband? "!" in DOS versions of Moria pops up the DOS shell, with "type 'exit' to resume your game" at the top; in PC Angband, it prompts a dry retort: "Sorry, Angband doesn't leave enough free memory for a subshell." ; D
After PC Angband, though, any such joke may have been lost: in Angband 2.7.4, "!" is used to write in-game macros, and in 2.8.0 it does not appear to have its own game function. There could be a hint of a revival from at least 2.9.0 on, but the new, functional DOS-specific game option menu that "!" brings up there is presented with an entirely straight face. : =|
- PC-Moria 4.873 - 1988
DOS port from Wilson's Unix code by Don G. Kneller: no Options menu, no [number][command] repeat input, no auto-rest, no Shift-W; default keyboard config is on non-roguelike setting ("MORIA" rather than "ROGUE"; a later DOS port says "VMS" was the other setting(?)--or is it just anything other than "ROGUE"?); can change char for walls (and floors) in Kneller's MORIA.CNF config file--but doesn't change char for SECRET doors (later versions do), so easy exploit to spot secret doors just by changing rest of walls to something else; ^r redraws screen (somehow this breaks after this for a long time, at least as far as DOSBox is concerned); relatively slow character saving and loading; no [executable] -h command line descriptions (not until Angband Frog-knows)--not sure there are any command line options
Robert A. Koeneke enrolled in engineering courses at the University of Oklahoma "around 1980 or 81," and one night while hanging out with some sysadmins in the engineering lab, on a DEC UNIX minicomputer--which despite the name was the size of a very large refrigerator, fronted with four spooled tapes--got hooked on playing the original Rogue. But the DEC minicomputer in the department where he got a job was a VAX running VMS, and "no games were available for it at that time," so he decided to write his own. The developers of Rogue had not released the source code for their game, so Koeneke wrote the best clone he could of what he remembered of it, in BASIC, on the VAX/VMS minicomputer. He named it "Moria" after the deep dwarven mines in novelist J.R.R. Tolkien's "Middle-Earth" fantasy world.
In 1984, one of the original designers of the 1980 game that had so hooked Koeneke, Rogue, had co-founded Artificial Intelligence Design Systems to sell a commercial, DOS version of Rogue. They struggled to break even, but later that year, game developer/publisher Epyx contacted them, and struck a deal under which Epyx began distributing a repackaged version of their DOS port of Rogue in 1985. The '84 AI Design version--from what I can see in screenshots and YouTube videos, anyway--and the '85 Epyx version--at least, the 1.49 version now available for on Steam--both use for their hallways the same DOS checkerboard block that Kneller would use for Moria's walls in '88.
That checkerboard block is part of what Wikipedia calls "Code page 437," "the character set of the original IBM PC": "The set includes all printable ASCII characters as well as some accented letters (diacritics), Greek letters, icons, and line-drawing symbols. It is sometimes referred to as the 'OEM font' or 'high ASCII', or as 'extended ASCII' (one of many mutually incompatible ASCII extensions)."
Tripping through the listing of "adventure" games on dosgames.com, I noticed another game using, like Rogue, one of those DOS checkerboard blocks to represent worked stone structures in 1984, prior to PC Moria: freeware game "Castle Adventure," written by then-14-year-old Kevin Bales, used the block for its titular castle's walls.
DOSBox config stuff:
One shortcut does
"C:\Program Files (x86)\DOSBox-0.74-3\DOSBox.exe" -noconsole -conf "c:/downloaded/dosbox/rogue.conf"
the other does
"C:\Program Files (x86)\DOSBox-0.74-3\DOSBox.exe" -noconsole -conf "c:/downloaded/dosbox/roguer.conf"
and those config files run "rogue" and "rogue /r" from their "[autoexec]" sections.
Aw I screwed up my first line when recording this and said "or is Rogue the first Pac-Man" instead of "first Pac-like." Sheesh! Anyway, just a silly idea I had about how these two games, both of which came out in 1980--Pac-Man in Japanese arcades in July, Rogue in probably California university computer labs at some unspecified point in the year--feature a round player character chasing or being chased by undead monsters around a maze laden with a pattern of dots and scattered powerups.
And just to make the relationship more explicit, for the commercial version of Rogue in 1984, now with color graphics, they changed the "@" character symbol to a yellow smiley face "☺"--which obviously is just Pac-Man looking at us head-on, as if to say "Get it?" ^ _^ (Also, by 1984 Pac-Man had made tons of money, and at least one of the creators of Rogue still WANTED to make tons of money.)
So... Is Pac-Man the first roguelike, or is Rogue the first Pac-like? : D
I downloaded Rogue 3.6.1 (said to be the first widely released version, in 1981), DOS version, from The Rogue Archive: https://britzl.github.io/roguearchive/