Bruce Moore's "Forest of Doom" has been a bit of a sensation in the Coco community. I thought it would be nice to try to convert it to MC-10 so I sent away for Bruce's book and the code to download the game. When the book arrived I fired up Vcc and loaded up the program and LLISTED it to a text file and started pouring through the code. It is a complex game and it took a lot of play testing and watching Stevie Strow and Crew playing it to figure it out. There was a mysterious machine language routine embedded at the heart of the basic program that seemed to do a lot of different things. I'm still not sure if I have figured out everything that it does, but based on watching game play and playing it myself I have uncovered at least the following basic functions:
· clearing to bottom of screen from current cursor position
· screen bounds checking for cursor movement on map screen
· time keeping and sound for countdown till next hit
· time keeping for checks for wandering monsters
· “Inn now” secret key press (still don't know how many it will allow)
There may be more mojo hidden in there, but I'm not sure. Bruce has told me he'll try to dig up the source and send it to me, by the time of Cocofest. He's busy with another project to follow up on FOD.
The big challenge in converting the program was coming up with a memory efficient way to try to recreate all the nice music and sound in it. It is impossible to recreate everything using just sound commands, but I tried to come as close as possible without the help of my son Charlie, who is away at university. I came up with a simple routine for encoding a string of note letters and a number (for length) which could be sent to a subroutine. I came up with this:
Like my port of Caves of the Unwashed Heathen I also had convert the graphics into simple strings of semi-graphics characters. Vcc allowed me with the help of a little basic subroutine, to print these out to the printer port (i.e. text file on my PC). Then I could edit them into text strings condensed as much as possible to save memory space. I also had to figure out ways to use some of the graphics for multiple purposes, such as the iconic red tree, which is used for the title screen and final death screen. On the Coco version there is no need to use such memory saving techniques.
I worked out rough equivalents for many of the sound routines from the original, at least to the best of my limited musical abilities Here’s a vid of an Alpha version:
I have left it to Bruce to decide if he would like to pursue sharing my version with the wider MC-10 retro community. I think he's waiting till Cocofest where he might be able to have some of his game testers take my version a spin to see if it really works. I’m sure MC-10ers would be very pleased to participate in the excitement he created in the Coco fold. In the meantime I am continuing to play and bug test. Here is a vid of the latest version with the most recent music and sounds: