Plasma Proof of Concept Game Rogue Released


David Schmenk, the creator of the PLASMA SDK for the Apple II has released a proof of concept game for the Apple II.  Rogue, an old school adventure game is intended to prove that PLASMA is capable of handling real algorithmic conceptual development.  David’s full release statement:

To prove that PLASMA is capable of real algorithmic development, and looking forward to some Lawless Legends investigations, I built an intermediate project for your amusement. Harking back to the days of yore, when text terminals were the norm, I present: ROGUE.

Text based dungeon crawlers were quite popular in the ’70s and ’80s. One of the first for micro-computers was Telengaurd Dungeon, written by Dan Lawrence. He was the local computer hero at Von’s Computers where I worked as a Freshman at Purdue. He died just a few years ago from heart failure. This is a bit of a tribute to that early genre.
This version of ROGUE is somewhat different than others. It is very simple in most ways, but I have developed a (I think) unique visibility algorithm that runs extremely fast. Fast enough to run interpreted by the PLASMA VM on a 1 MHz 6502, and space efficient enough to allow for large (in the future) dungeons. The unique feature of this ROGUE is that lighting becomes critical and strategic. You are in dark catacombs, after all. You enter with a lit lamp, throwing off a circle of light. There are also torches throughout the catacombs that light up a small surrounding circle of light. Other items in the catacombs are mana (health+energy increase), a key, and gold. You will also encounter a number of enemies that will track you down to try and kill you. You will also encounter doors, locked doors, windows, water, and crevasses.

As you travel through the catacombs, you must watch your health, energy, and lamp oil levels. Once health reaches zero, you are dead. As energy reaches zero, your vision will narrow and you will no longer be able to run. When the lamp oil runs out, you will be cast into darkness. If you see any torches in your field of vision, you can navigate to them. Taking the torch will extinguish the torch and replenish some of your lamp oil. Note that as you travel through the catacombs, your map of what you have seen will automatically fill in. But, if you are in the dark, you cannot read your map. You must turn on your lamp or get next to a torch before you can read the map again. If you are in the dark and can’t see any torches in your field of vision, you are in complete darkness. It is easy to lose your bearings. As such, the absolute direction movements no longer work – you will end up in a random direction if you try. However, the relative turns (left/right) and forward/backward controls continue to work (*that* you can do in the dark).

Being in the dark can be advantages, however. All the enemies in the catacombs can see you if you are in light, just as you can see them. If you are in darkness, they can’t see you, and you can move around without being tracked. Don’t run into them! Also, don’t fall off a crevasse. You will hear certain noises giving you feedback on what is going on. A simple beep when you run into walls. A groan when an enemy moves towards you. A bleep when you pick an item up. Other noises when you fall over an edge or win a battle. These can be used strategically when moving in the dark.

Here is the cheat sheet for the screen tile/characters:

Screen Character    Represents

—————-             ———-
     #                          Wall
     .                           Floor
    :                            Window (barred opening) ‘ ‘ space Crevasse
  [=]                           Exit
  [-]                           Entrance
   *                            Torch
   &                           Mana
   ,                            Key (yep, hard to spot)
>>>                          Water
  $                            Gold

Flashing                 Entity
——–                     ——
    T                         Thief
    O                         Ogre
    Z                         Zombie
    R                        Rogue

Player                   Direction
——                      ———
    ^                        North
    \                         NE
    >                        East
    /                         SE
    V                        South
    \                         SW
   <                         West
    /                         NW

Tiles in light are inverse. Entities are displayed only when lit and in field of view. The map is only visible when lit.

Keyboard commands   Action
—————–                 ——
    Q                              Run (Quick)
    W                              up-arrow Forward
    S                              down-arrow Backward
    A                              left-arrow Turn left
    D                             right-arrow Turn right
    I                               Move N
    J                              Move W
    K                             Move E
    M                            Move S
    <                            Turn lamp down
    >                            Turn lamp up/on
    O                           Turn lamp off
    Space-bar             Open door
   Return                    Pick up item
    X                           Exit

Whenever you and an enemy end up on the same tile, battle commences. As you win fights, your skill increases, improving your attack effectiveness. As you advance through the catacombs, the enemies become more powerful. You will need to replenish health and energy with mana. Don’t forget, the alternative to fighting is stealth in the darkness. During battle, you have the option to run. If you have low energy, you won’t get very far. Also, when fighting, you get turned around so you can’t depend on the direction you were facing before fighting. Running (‘Q’uick) will get you away from enemies but will use much more energy.

There aren’t really any Easter Eggs in this game. But, being in the Christmas Season, try booting this disk image on an Apple /// (real or virtual)

You can download the game, Rogue for free from Facebook at:

You can also play Rogue online on the Virtual Apple II website at:

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About the Author

Bill Martens

A.P.P.L.E. Chairman of the Board and Club president -- Bill worked for the founder, Val J. Golding and A.P.P.L.E. from 1981 to 1982. In 1999, he began archiving the materials which were distributed and sold by A.P.P.L.E.. That project led to the group that remained of A.P.P.L.E. Bill was involved in the financial industry in Tokyo and has over 20 major office infrastructure projects to his name. In March 2001, he retired to write books and to spend more time pursuing personal interests. As the president of the users group, Bill is in charge of distribution of Call-A.P.P.L.E. magazine as well as the organization of this web site. Bill currently resides in Tokyo, Japan and Shelton, Wa splitting time between the places.