Bard's Tale III on D81

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Heart
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Bard's Tale III on D81

Post by Heart » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:09 pm

This
bard3.d81.zip
is a version of Bard's Tale III on a d81 image.

It supports RAMLink or FD-2000 or CMD-HD or (presumably) a 1581 drive. I don't have a 1581 drive, but it boots up in WinVICE, so I'm supposing it works with a real 1581 drive.

The program will make use of a GEORAM cartridge or SuperRAM if present, when not using a RAMLink cartridge. If you don't have either of these types of RAM expansion, then disk accesses will be frequent, so I simply turned off the drive spin-down sequence, meaning the disk drive will continue to spin all the time.

I have not played the game all the way through; there are, after all, 84 dungeons. But I did work my way through the first part of the game where I managed to kill Brilhalsti, and then made my way to Arboria. It's at this point that the game asks for you to enter a code from the code wheel to proceed with the game, and I was able to verify that anything I entered bypassed the security. Note that simply pressing RETURN by itself is not enough, you have to have a non-empty input. No big deal.

Aside #1: I don't know why, but the opening animation gets corrupted after awhile. I'm guessing the game was shipped this way.

Aside #2: Apparently, one can kill Brilhalsti over and over. Just make your way back down to the dungeon and beat him up again. Use a preclusion spell, stay 60' away from him, and wear him down with a spectre touch spell. You can also have your thief hide in the shadows and sneak up on him.

Aside #3: Does anyone know how to use a long bow in this game? I was never able to figure that out.

Aside #4: Track 31 sector 36 begins the character information, in case you want to hack into the game to "adjust" your players attributes.

Aside #5: During the making of this patch I learned that the FD-2000 has a G65C02 microprocessor, instead of a plain 6502. Cool.
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Re: Bard's Tale III on D81

Post by eslapion » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:26 am

I have a Bard's Tale III downloaded in 2012 which was in .D2M (FD2000 format). What's different with yours ?

It included a patch for CMD devices along with the following information:
FROM LS FILE:"T.BARD"

BARD'S TALE III PATCH

Program by Jon Piltingsrud

Text by Fender Tucker


A whole new cottage industry has
emerged for Commodore hackers --
re-fitting old commercial programs so
they will work on modern CMD devices
like RAMLink, HD drives and the
SuperCPUs. I've asked anyone who can
come up with a program "patch" to
please send it to me so I can pass it
on to the LOADSTARites. Jon
Piltingsrud did one for RAD WARRIOR
(on LS #183) and now he's done it for
BARD'S TALE III.

Just run the file "b.bard" from
this issue and follow the
instructions. You will need to have
the original copies of BARD'S TALE
III, of course. The patch does not
contain the code to the original
game; just the code needed to patch
the original so it doesn't restrict
its use to drive 8 or the 1541 drive,
as many old games did.

You can run the patch from
LOADSTAR but it doesn't return to
LOADSTAR when done.

I'm up for more patches. I'm sure
Jon will come up with some more, but
are there any other takers?
FROM LS FILE:"T.WIZARDRY"
Wealth, like happiness, is never attained directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service. -Harland D. Sanders

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Re: Bard's Tale III on D81

Post by Heart » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:43 pm

Yes, I wrote that. The original version (V1, if you like) supported a native CMD partition. This one (V2) is on a 1581. Some people on leemon64 had asked for a 1581 conversion. V1 didn't support GEORAM. V2 does. V1 didn't do anything about the codewheel protection. V2 gets around it. V1 left the 1541 interleave at 10 (or may it was 11) blocks, so that on an FD-2000 there is a lot of jumping back and forth between tracks. V2 has an interleave of 1. V1 asks you to supply the Bard's Tale III disks since Loadstar would have violated copyright to supply the game along with the patch. V2 simply has the whole game already copied to disk--I'm not trying to make money off this, I just want people who wish to play the game not to have to be frustrated with a lot of disk swapping, etcetera.

By the way, the original insisted that you use a 2816 block partition, but this is just a minimum number of blocks needed to hold the 4 disks. The 2816 block d2m could be copied to a larger partition, if it is a more convenient size for you.

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Re: Bard's Tale III on D81

Post by eslapion » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:49 am

Lots of improvements! Thanks for posting!
Wealth, like happiness, is never attained directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service. -Harland D. Sanders

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Heart
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Re: Bard's Tale III on D81

Post by Heart » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:11 pm

One more difference I remembered is that in V1 on an FD-2000, the game doesn't always get saved properly. During a save, the information is correctly written out to the FD-2000, but sits in the track cache marked dirty waiting to be written to disk, which might or might not happen depending on subsequent disk activity. This has been fixed in V2. The RAMLink and CMD-HD don't use a track cache, so they don't have this problem to begin with. The 1581 also uses a track cache. It makes the 3.5" drives more efficient than their 5.25" cousins, but . . . but there's always a but.

Someday I hope to add 1750 REU support.

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Re: Bard's Tale III on D81

Post by PacBilly » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:09 pm

Thanks so much for this. How do I transfer my characters from my 5.25" character disk to this one?

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Re: Bard's Tale III on D81

Post by Heart » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:34 pm

A hard-core Bard's Tale enthusiast, I see.

I don't have a good answer to your question. I can point out to you that the character information on the original character disk starts on track 28 (sector 2, I think). On the 1581, this translates to track 31, sector 36.

Anyone who has played Bard's Tale III knows that this is an extremely challenging game. So much so that it doesn't bother me in the least to bump up my experience points whenever necessary to get somewhere in the game. Anyone who has managed to crawl their way to Arboria without cheating already deserves some kind of medal.

I guess what I'm saying is, why not start from square one but give yourself 6,000,000 experience points. Boot up the game, find out what your character's current experience points are, translate this to hexadecimal, find these numbers on disk and modify them.

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Re: Bard's Tale III on D81

Post by Heart » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:24 pm

I went to the trouble of doing what I suggested in the previous post--start off each character with 6,000,000 experience points. This isn't really a lot of points, but it should be plenty to get your feet wet without starting over completely from a blank slate.

This version also gets rid of most (all?) of the dungeon traps. I don't really think they add to the game anyway, and after awhile it quickly stops being novel to have all those explosions, spinners, darkness, silence, etcetera, etcetera, going off every few steps. In all honesty, I think they actually detract from exploring the game and simply having fun with it instead.
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Re: Bard's Tale III on D81

Post by PacBilly » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:37 pm

Would it be possible to image my character disk to a .d64 using a ZoomFloppy, then save the files containing the character data to the .d81? Without messing around with the hex?

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