The USA entry, containing the same download as the UK listing, has no attached instructions but the UK entry has part one of the instructions of which page 12 describes how to use Lenslok. We need a shared resource to link the instructions to both downloads. It says Lenslok decoding will have to happen "about halfway through each game". Bummer. Any workarounds?
part two of the literature, a short story named "The Darkness Rises" is still missing.
This game engine is so cool, you can even turn off graphics and use full screen rows for text by giving the command "WORDS". Type "PICTU" or PICTU(R(E(S))) to get graphics back.
The input also doesn't have to be 2 words Verb Noun, whole sentences can be commanded, just like in every Infocom game, unlike more amateurish text games.
Found in other libraries are at least the 5 titles ("Snowball" may be all 6) of the blue screen no graphics "beta" versions of these JOD games & "Silicon Dreams". They SAVE and RESTORE from cassette and aren't Lenslok or Document protected. They're buggy too, all came many years before the 1986 releases here.
Also to be found are "cracked" versions of the games with black backgrounds having graphics, I'm not the 1st one to feel "Colossal (Cave) Adventure - the JOD edition" calling out to be transfered from OEM disk into a standalone file, i.e. "cracked". This game is perfect for commenting on cracking in general, so here goes.
I'm finding a lot of "dumpy" cracked things. One lazy way to have cracked things was to use hardware and or software patches to stop the CPU on the title page, then dump all 48 or 64K RAM to a scratch disk or EEPROM so then later the "dump" could be made executable. Most large blocks of zeros get removed so no one sees 64K sized files, but these often include excess data, like if a Loader copied a big block of RAM, the crack file might contain both blocks of the same junk because the cracker liberally kept everything remotely important looking. Cracked versions of "Countdown" and "NYC-TBA" vary greatly in size from 24K to 50K. (uncompressed always)
So the problem with "dumpy cracked" versions is some data might not be correctly randomized, then elements play the same way every time without players realizing. A sword might have been placed randomly on the OEM disk, then you can find it in the same room every time in a cracked version, not gathering that this becomes a fault in the gameplay.
Comparing OEM "CCA-JOD" to someone else's cracked file, it's clear they used the dumpy method and were very messy too. Atarimania knows the value of an "original scan" and shies away from cracked versions, always letting us know when an original scan is MISSING!! My crack job just done on CCA-JOD converts the OEM loader from disk-based to running on file-based, without using a dump method. I hope A8 never dies, all you hackers this game makes good practice exercise. Enjoy.
Requires XL/XE and 64K RAM, all 3 games are "Lenslok" protected, protection can be seen when trying to RESTORE a saved game. +at other times??? Both the Rainbird (UK) and Firebird (USA) downloads give the exact same disk image having Lenslok.
Game engine is smokin hot, believe it or not. JOD junks the Atari OS for its own custom OS optimized for playing only these games, hence the XL requirement for RAM underneath the Atari OS. This has the look and feel of multithreaded presentation, as if the graphics drawing routines are running inside the Vertical Blank Interrupt, independent of the text output and move thinking, my guess. Typing can be done before the prompt is ready, and all keystrokes register. There's no keyboard repeating and there's no screensaver color rotation, not because these were disabled by command, but because they do not exist in the custom OS. "OOPS" is really a command for undoing the last move, the opening info seemed to just be exclaiming about Restore but Oops is different. 3 more games use this same game engine, see the title "Silicon Dreams".
Never mind the DOS 3 to DOS 2 poser. I solved this by first copying from DOS3 to Cassette, then from cassette to DOS2. (Emulation of course, not physical tapes).
Colossal Cave Adventure is such a landmark game, I wanted to have the JOD version in my collection under the filename CCA and I found it easy to ditch the menu and games 2-3 and have only CCA autorun on a DOS2 90K disk. This got me to wondering if I could repackage "JOD-CCA" in an executable file which can be run from the highest levels of the Emulator, without DOS - I succeeded again, only to later discover it has Lenslok. I just hope Lenslok is restricted to RESTORE and won't show up elsewhere. File version took several hours of expert programming. Two block copies into RAM above $C000 must be executed during loading, not after loading.
The 1st of these 3 games is actually Colossal Cave Adventure by Don Woods, 1977 USA. There is a beta program of their early conversion here also, found by searching "Colossal Adventure" or "Level 9", I put other comments there. This technically might be the oldest software we got, ported from Fortran. "Colossal Cave Adventure" is distinct enough to have its own page on wikipedia.org. I saw it in person about 1980, running on an Apple.
Games 2 and 3 I'm guessing do not date from 1977 but simply are changed stories using the same "engine" that they developed for Colossal Cave conversion.
This disk comes in the DOS3 format. Is there a utility to convert DOS 3 to DOS 2.x ?
25 years ago, I was able to read the lenslok code without using the original tool. When they say - read the OK - I have just guessed which columns formed the OK digraph and that was it. The very same columns contained the characters to be guessed afterwards, with a little bit of imagination, it was really fun ;-)
Troy McClure - 19/08/2012
Is the lenslock also in the US version? There is apparently a emulator called lenskey, but I don't know if it's supposed to work also with Atari emulators or only the Spectrum ones.
unfortunately there's this lenslok copy-protection... does someone have a ... well "workaround" for it??
Great game from my past, got it for christmas in 1987 when i was just 9. I still have this boxed package with lenlok today. It let my imagination run wild. The room with the pride of lions use to get me all the time, i couldnt stop trying to see what that room was about :)