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Thread: Osborne 1 Zork not all columns fit on screen

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Osborne 1 Zork not all columns fit on screen

    Hi!

    I just bought some software for my Osborne 1 and I got Zork 1, 2 and 3 among other things.
    I tried them out and the problem is that not all of the text is displaying.
    I communicated with the seller and he told me that the games were the kaypro version.
    The kaypro displaying 80 columns instead of 52 on the Osborne, it makes sense that it wouldn't work perfectly.

    What i'm asking is : is there a way to either horizontally scroll on the Osborne 1 so that I can see the text i'm missing or (even better) to modify the game so that it displays 52 columns only.

    Thanks for all the help!
    Felix

    IMG_2229 (2).jpg

  2. #2

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    In z-machine games like that (pretty much all the old Infocom stuff), the game itself is written in an interpreted object-oriented bytecode called "zcode", and an interpreter written in the host system's native binary interprets the zcode. For each different system the games were released on, the zcode is all exactly the same, and only the interpreter differs. The margins (and text wrap, etc etc) are all a function of the interpreter, not the zcode.

    If you can find an interpreter that works correctly on your Osborne, it should correct the problem. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about zcode interpreters for CP/M to make a recommendation. But if you look on your disk, there ought to be a file called ZORK1.DAT or somesuch. That's the zcode file you'll want to feed into a different 'terp.

    If you can get it working, I also recommend Suspended, Infidel, and The Lurking Horror (although the latter may be a zcode version 5 game and may not run on CP/M, I dunno). My personal favorite, I'm embarrassed to admit, is Plundered Hearts, but I am pretty sure that's not everyone's cup of tea, LOL.

    If you have games that you can't figure out how to extract the zcode for, send me a PM.

    Edit: Also please note that most of the Infocom games have clues hidden in the manuals that are required to get past the beginning of the game. A form of copy protection. If you are also missing some of your manuals, send me a PM.
    -- Lee
    If you get super-bored, try muh crappy YouTube channel: Old Computer Fun!
    Looking to Buy/Trade For (non-working is fine): Tandy 1000 EX/HX power supply, box of 8" floppy disks, Mac IIci hard drive sled and one bottom rubber foot, Hercules card + mono monitor (preferably IBM 5151), Multisync VGA CRTs, 040 or 601 card for Mac IIci, Decent NuBus video card, Commodore PC(286+), PC-era Tandy stuff, Aesthetic Old Serial Terminals, Amiga 2000 or 3000UX

  3. #3
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    I had an Osborne once upon a time, but it had the 80 column upgrade board...

    That said, I think the video system in those machines is implemented as a 52x24 movable window on a 128*32 frame buffer and you should be able to scroll the window around. I cannot remember if the magic scroll commands were just the arrow keys or some control key combination?
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  4. #4
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    Hey Eudimorphodon,
    I just tested out that magic scroll and it does indeed work with the control + arrow keys! This is a very great start and at least now I can play the game hahaha
    As for that 80 column upgrade board, is it possible that I would have it without knowing it? Do you remember if I'd have to activate it?
    Thanks alot!

  5. #5
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    Here’s the manual for the “Screen-pac”:

    http://www.kev.pulo.com.au/osborne1/...usersguide.pdf

    The physical giveaway that you have it will be an RCA jack installed on the front panel for connecting an external monitor.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  6. Default

    When I first saw the Osborne, I remember the small screen and the magic scrolling. It was offputting then for me then, I'd hate to see 80 columns on that tiny monitor.

  7. #7
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    80 columns was surprisingly readable, believe it or not. Of course I was a lot younger at the time. It was really meant for use with an external monitor, though.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  8. #8

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    I helped Felix get his zcode data extracted. But I don't know anything about interpreters for CP/M. Can any of you guys recommend one that will be cool with <80 cols? Was Frotz ever ported to CP/M, or would an Osborne just not have enough RAM?

    Technically anything with at least 64k and a disk drive ought to be able to run up to z5, if I recall the spec correctly (I haven't done any zcode development for decades, though). Z5 only needs a maximum of 32k of writable memory, and the rest can be paged in from disk (albeit slowly). But I don't think any of the post Z3 games ever made it to any 8-bit platforms.
    -- Lee
    If you get super-bored, try muh crappy YouTube channel: Old Computer Fun!
    Looking to Buy/Trade For (non-working is fine): Tandy 1000 EX/HX power supply, box of 8" floppy disks, Mac IIci hard drive sled and one bottom rubber foot, Hercules card + mono monitor (preferably IBM 5151), Multisync VGA CRTs, 040 or 601 card for Mac IIci, Decent NuBus video card, Commodore PC(286+), PC-era Tandy stuff, Aesthetic Old Serial Terminals, Amiga 2000 or 3000UX

  9. Default

    You could also look at the bytes at offsets &20H to &24H in the game file.

    Usually they are patched for different terminals by the installer:

    Offset Content
    20 Screen height (lines): 255 means "infinite"
    21 Screen width (characters)
    22 Screen width in units
    24 Screen height in units

    Martin

  10. #10

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    not osborne related, but my first zork experience was on a TRS-80 model 1, 40 columns??. there's an in-game puzzle hint that does not show up properly on 40 columns. i still have the tractor-feed printout of a compuserve CB simulator chat with someone in an Infocom channel giving me help on this puzzle.

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