Your hotkey to alternative software development

Mandatory Movies

I love movies, especially if they have a dystopian theme to it. Some of the best:

The Silence of the Stones

A classic text adventure from 1989

The Silence of the Stones

Another relic from the past. I loved text adventures and wrote quite a few of my own. This is one I wrote in English. You'll have to forgive me the spelling mistakes though :) Also I recovered the original 'designs' - two sheets of paper with the map, solutions and memory addresses.

The world is in peril again! Humanity, busy with itself, is blissfully ignorant until the Spirits of the Stones select one champion, you, as defender of the earth.

As the story evolves you will explore ancient burial grounds, fly in a spaceship, be attacked by menacing robots and meet an alien. This and more, only to save the world and let the stones be silent once again. There might even be a beer or two in it as well.

You can play The Silence of the Stones (SotS) in your favorite C64 emulator or on real hardware.

On the emulator, you may have to enter RUN yourself as the autorun text alignment fails because of a missing LOADING text.


How to play

The game takes simple one to four word instructions on you want to do next. Some may be abbreviated. Time progresses after each instruction. An (incomplete) list:

Directional commands: north, south, east, west, up, down, n, s, e, w, nw, se, sw, ne, enter [somewhere], leave.
Looking at things: examine [something], look at [something]
Inventory: inventory, i, take [something], drop [something]
Object manipulation: press <specifier> [something], wear [something], open [something]
Interaction: listen to [someone], say [something] to [someone]
Meta commands: save, restore, ram save, ram restore, quit, score, brief, full.
There may be some easter-eggs too!


I wrote several text adventures, mostly in basic. However 38911 bytes fill up pretty quickly when you start writing room descriptions. So SotS is the first one that compresses them by having two bytes encode each word and have a wordlist placed under the basic rom.

The texts start at $8000, the word list is at $a000 and the routine that decodes them (one at a time) is at $cf00. Years later I am stunned by its elaborateness, it could have been done so much easier :)

The bitmap graphics in the game are $0800 bytes each and are located where ever there was room (4 of them are underneath the kernel). There are 7 of them in total. Of course the basic program is located where the VIC wants to read its graphics data, so its partially swapped out to $b000 leaving the top bit of the screen available for graphics (the bottom is made black so you can't see it :-)

When I found the game I tried to complete it but failed because of some annoying bugs. I fixed those in this version. It doesn't mean the game doesn't have quirks but the puzzles you could only solve by looking at the code (!) are fixed.

Original Design documents

Warning: contains spoilers! and also: not everything is as it ended up in the game :)