Heating Up

Finally finished up the underwater city dungeon. Two more big dungeons to go!

I’m not going quite as fast as I wanted to, for a couple reasons. One, summer is now in full force and the house gets warm enough that working on the computer is not always fun. Two, I was distracted for a bit with new content in World of Warcraft; finally able to get flight in the new zones! Ironic that one of the newest zones is an exposed “underwater” zone…

I was able to get a bunch of fixes into code, including updates to tile data and battlemaps. A lot of my graphic sets didn’t have tile particulars defined like “opaque” or “Makes this noise when you cross it”, so it was good to get that data filled in.

The next dungeon is a volcano fortress. This has particular meaning in the TI community because the very first 3rd party developed Tunnels of Doom game is “The Volcano Fortress”.

The Manual Cover

In 1985, John Behnke reverse-engineered the original Tunnels of Doom game’s format and wrote an editor so that anyone could make Tunnels of Doom games. This allowed you to create entirely new classes, graphics, monsters, items, and so forth.

It had some limitations; the basic fetch quest was not alterable except in the number of items you had to acquire (up to eight.) You also couldn’t change monster special attack effects, only their names and assignments. Classes can be renamed but otherwise function as the same four. But overall the effort was worth it; Asgard Software turned out several “Doom game” collections over the next few years. A few of the fan favorites were:

“Adventures in K-Mart” where you sought the blue light special and fought other shoppers with attacks like ‘bad breath’. I like this one because ALL the graphics were updated, which makes it a very different feeling game from the baseline.

“Doctor Who” where you took the role of the Doctor’s companions (or the Doctor himself if you played a solo game) fighting daleks, cybermen, and whatnot. Clearly there were some Whovians among the 99’er crowd back in the 80’s! K-9 was the Rogue class equivalent.

I actually was able to buy a copy of Volcano Fortress on original 5 1/4″ disk with manual on eBay a few months ago. Sadly, the disk was toast; not an uncommon issue these days as the old magnetic formatting dies. But a fellow 99’er was able to send me the binary file for the game.

Volcano Fortress itself was clearly more of a proof of concept in design; none of the graphics were changed, which is a bit disappointing. But the monsters, classes and weapons were all updated, and I quickly discovered that the game is actually MUCH more difficult than Quest of the King, when my party was nearly wiped out in the first encounter.

My goal is still to get content done and get some beta testing started, preferably before the Retro Gaming Expo in October. Fingers crossed!

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2 Responses to Heating Up

  1. E Roberts says:

    Oh man! I am so excited to hear you might be coming to my home city! The Retro Game Expo is my must-go event every year.

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