Monday, 13 April 2020

RetroChallenge April 2020: Finally Figured Out How to Win!

Get your Mazies hoard on!
Two posts back I discussed an apparent bug in the Quit/Score routine of Mazies & Crazies.

I thought line should be changed from this:
240 J=0:FORI=17TO48:IFL(I)=1THENJ=J+I

to this:
240 J=0:FORI=17TO48:IFL(I)=91THENJ=J+I

because otherwise it would not count which treasures you had in inventory, which are marked as being in Room 91 (your sac presumably) and not one of the 90 rooms.

However, given my last post about the rooms and the trick of not trying to return to room 90 after returning to Room One from there through the final door, it occured to me that DaCosta might have been expecting people to take treasures back to Room One and drop them there in order for them to be "counted" by the score routine. That way you could only receive reward for treasure that you had "brought back" from the dungeon.  If you made it all the way to Room 90, you would not have to go all the way back through the maze. Instead, you could be transported directly back to Room One, where you could drop your latest items and check your score.

If you select quit anywhere else in the game your score only represents the number and power of the monsters you had killed, and not any treasure, even treasure you were carrying. This had seemed a bit weird to me, but I now see the reason for it. The style of play is to foray from and return to Room One and to only check you score there. Additionally, you might use techniques for collecting treasures and taking them to way stations, before making return to bring them to Room One. Such an approach certainly adds complexity and nuance to the game play that wouldn't be present if your inventory was all that mattered in terms of score.

But why then not make it only possible to use the quit command in Room One?  Or at least give credit for treasure being carried if quit were chosen somewhere else?

There are advantages either way, but only counting treasure dropped in Room One could have been DaCosta's way to prompt the player to figure out that the game was a treasure hunt with a preferred "home base." This would need to be recognized if collected treasures were to register and a high score achieved. Whereas, if you count stuff in inventory and also Room One, as the following change would allow,

240 J=0:FORI=17TO48:IFL(I)=91ORL(I)=1THENJ=J+I

the player might never figure out the real goal of play.

It had struck me as odd that the player could not carry all of the 16 treasures hidden throughout the dungeon. So I had thought  that the goal was to find as many of the highest numbered treasures as possible, while dropping any lower ones and to kill as much as one wanted before choosing to "quit the game." In other words, I had presumed that someone would decide when they had had enough adventuring. But it now seems likely that Da Costa felt that one should play until one died, and that the real goal of the game and the way to "win," would be to quit while in Room One, with your treasure hoard all around you.

Presumably killing every monster and returning every treasure to Room One, without any "resurrection" restarts, would be the ultimate high score. This is because every time you die and are resurrected, you get a score penalty, but anything you are carrying is dropped in the room where you die. Also, anything you dropped previously in Room One will be left there. So there is a trade off to choosing resurrection and going back to retrieve treasures, or simply rerunning the game to start fresh.  More nuance to game play. It all makes sense.

So I'm changing the Quit/Score routine back to its original form.

But there must be some way to inform the player about this. Perhaps in the instructions...

New Instruction: Return treasures to Room One
As the old saying goes... you live, you learn.

I see on page 202 of Writing BASIC Adventure Programs for Your TRS-80 that DaCosta says "J will be used to tally the score. To evaluate the treasures, a loop counts through the location array, finding treasures that reside at home home base (room 1). For each safe treasure, points are added to score J based on the treasure number." Treasures are worth anywhere from 17 to 48 points each, which means there is a total of 1040 for treasure.

The score for creatures is killed is based on the "size of the creature," according to Da Costa. Points range from 9 to 16 points each. There are 48 creatures in 6 groups of the 8 "sizes," So a max score of 8 X 16 + 8 X 15 + 8 X 14... (totally to 800) is possible.

That means the max high score for this game is 1840 if one plays without ever dying and needing resurrection, kills everything and brings every treasure back to Room One. That doesn't sound too hard.

I made some changes to the monster names, so they will format better in the 4 character space available on the right side of the screen for messages in the MC-10 version:

1. Spider -->Rat
2. Snake  --> Bad Elf
3. Land Crab
4. Scorpion --> Were Wolf
5. Huge Bee
6. Amoeba --> Gray Ooze
7. Troll --> Ogre
8. Dragon -->Demi Lich

These form better in the 4 character 2-line message space at the top right.

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