Gates of Delirium Live - Post 2

yakumo9275's picture

BL: Welcome to yakumo9275's (Stu) ongoing "Gates of Delirium Live" recounting of his play through this obscure Computer Role Playing Game for the Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer, released in 1987 from Diecom. Post 2:

I fired up GoD tonight after putting the baby to bed and cringe at the thought of staring at the blurred screen for any length of time, skipping through the introduction, I step my character GrimJak the Ranger onto the castle and enter Casa.

Guards line the entrance and I get the distinct impression something lies behind them. They all tell me to 'Be off!'. Fighter says 'Ugh!' Hmm where have I heard that before....

Aha! First clue. A priest at the south edge of town says 'Use OTHER' commands. I've found a guard in a locked room (with no way of getting in yet, and I dont fancy fighting all six guards near the enterance). Hmm its not locked, and inside is nothing but a few more guards.

Second clue, another priest says 'Ask others to JOIN you'! I try and ask the priest to join me and he refuses... So to does the other priest.

The armourer is teasing me with scads of chests behind the counter and no way of getting to them!

Hmm there is a path behind the armourer and ration dealer.. and a fighter has blocked the way. grrr! A fwe turns and he goes, but its annoying to get blocked in somewhere...

GoD New Party MemberGoD New Party Member

AHA! There is a priest hiding back here and he says 'Need a friend?'. Gazer joins my party. Lets check his stats. My ranger is MHRG (Male Human Ranger - GOOD). Gazer is MEOG (Male Elf Cleric - GOOD). OK So I'm guessing he is a cleric, as you can see by the screen shot with the artifacting, its a C, or O next to the G.

We will have to wait and see if he turns out to be any good, afterall, he only has 2 points for magic, which might not save my but if I get poisoned.

URGH!! The first big annoyance. If you want to buy weapons or armour for players outside of slot position 1, you have to re-order the party so whomever needs equipment is in slot 1!!! not fun. There seems to be no internal inventory management.

Also if you z-stats you can select player... But if you z-stats then press 'I' you get the inventory of player 1.... ok, after some more reading of the manual, its the combined party inventory. I'm guessing buying/selling is communcal so you dont have to re-order the party. I'll check this next play.

A lot of inconsistencies. Unless everything you buy goes into a communal pot and is worn/readied from said pot.

A quick traversal around the edge of the map outside of the castle reveals nothing. I'm sure the guards are hiding something just north of where you enter. When I am stronger, I'll be back.

As far as clues go, Casa was a bust for advancing the story, but I did pick up a priest with some healing spells. Being the first town you encounter, I expected a little more in the way of information but it was not to be.

Comments

Bill Loguidice
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Some pecularities based on your screenshot

It's funny how it lists armor as "skin" instead of "none". I assume that the main character sprite is not animated, right? It's too bad then that the programmer couldn't implement a few simple states, like a character with a weapon type and shield type and without each of those. You would really only need the base sprite and then have the other sprite options, weapon or shield, either on or off. So essentially you'd have two extra sprites maximum.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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adamantyr
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Gates of Delirium indeed!

The "skin" comes from Ultima 3, I believe, although I could be wrong. Sort of a sarcastic way of saying "Not wearing ANY armor".

If the game was designed like the Ultimas, every animated frame of every tile exists as a separate "tile" in the engine. A lot of the 256 tiles in Ultima 4 were just animation frames of monsters and people.

In my brief gameplay, I didn't see a lot of conversation in the game either. Reminds me of Ultima 2 in that respect... where 99% of everyone says little other than a single stock phrase.

The color-artifacting was always a pain on the CoCo... I remember another problem was the nature in how they did it, a timing variable in the internal clock determine which bit combination was red or blue. So frequently you had to hit the soft reset button on a "test" screen to get the colors right. The smarter games would just ask you what color the screen was, and just swap them around in-code.

Calibrator
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Artifacting
adamantyr wrote:

The color-artifacting was always a pain on the CoCo... I remember another problem was the nature in how they did it, a timing variable in the internal clock determine which bit combination was red or blue. So frequently you had to hit the soft reset button on a "test" screen to get the colors right. The smarter games would just ask you what color the screen was, and just swap them around in-code.

Here are some (more or less) interesting historical tidbits:

Color artifacting seens to be pioneered on mass market computers by the Apple II and its very clever hardware which was built around the NTSC timings. The Apple II essentially pumped out white pixels at certain positions on a black background and activated the color burst signal when they should be "interpreted" as colors by the TV set / monitor. Example: http://www.mobygames.com/game/apple2/ultima-iii-exodus/screenshots

Alas, color artifacting does not work with other color systems like PAL.

When Apple wanted to enter the European market with the //e they had to redesign the video circuitry which had to produce "real colors". The colors differed a bit but
they eliminated other problems like multi-colored text in mixed graphics modes. To save costs they later sold the Apple IIe in an "international" version with an NTSC-
mainboard - but with PAL/Secam-timings (50 Hz). The result: This mainboard can't output colors at all - only white on black. To get color the customer had to buy a
separate card...

I don't know if the CoCos were sold in the German market but they don't pop up on Ebay which may be a hint. As Germany uses the PAL system CoCo owners
wouldn't have been happy without a real "PAL-Coco" - it would have been a Color Computer without colors...

The Atari 8 bit line of computers starting with the 400 and 800 models were able to output real colors as well as using a "high resolution mode" with 320x192 pixels
with two colors. Using this mode on an NTSC Atari produced artifacting colors, too, but the colors never came close to the "planned" artifacting of the Apple II.
This didn't stop some "clever" people thinking "Hey, lets convert those funny Apple II games the easy way: Don't use a real color mode, don't convert the graphics!"
Good: You keep the resolution of the white color (good for Ultima tiles)
Bad: Colors look ugly (and you get only four compared to the six of the Apple)

Among those games converted were Origin's Autoduel (I'm still angry about buying a "black & white game"...) and the Ultimas. Even the emulator screenshots look awful:
http://www.mobygames.com/game/atari-8-bit/autoduel/screenshots
http://www.mobygames.com/game/atari-8-bit/ultima-iii-exodus/screenshots
http://www.mobygames.com/game/atari-8-bit/ultima-iv-quest-of-the-avatar/...

IIRC Sierra also used artifacting on the Atari and asked the player what color he sees on a test screen to adjust the game accordingly.

Most people know the butt ugly CGA graphics of the earliest PCs but with a composite output it could produce artifacting colors, too:
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/ultima-iii-exodus/screenshots

Here are more screens using the more modern EGA standard compared with CGA composite:
http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/ultima-iv-quest-of-the-avatar/screenshots

Calibrator

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yakumo9275
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Pal CoCo's

Well the dragon 32/64 was the euro clone of the coco. afaik it had a different vdg chip for the pal system. I dont recall seeing dragons in australia but I remember coco's. CoCo3's could do composite or rgb output. CoCo1+2's needed a chip replacement iirc...

-- Stu --

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