Medieval combat. Fred Pinho.
Medieval Combat is a strategy game for the Atair which requires 32K for cassette and 40K for disk.
The game is the medieval equivalent of "This town ain't big enough for both of us, pahdner!' You and your opponent are superpowers surrounded by lesser kingdoms. The enmity between your two countries is so great that neither can allow the other to survive.
The game universe consists of eight kingdoms. The castle and armies of the two opponents are in red and blue. Other kingdoms are in brown.
Initially, each opponent has 12 armies at his command; four each of archers, cavalry and infantry. The muster strength of each army is displayed in the first two lines of the text window (red is on the top line). These are updated after each battle. The combat strengths of the other (brown) kingdoms are assigned randomly. Since the peasants in these kingdoms are loyal, you cannot find out the strength of the brown armies before you attack.
Your fighting or effective strength depends on the type of battle fought and the army type as shown in Figure 1. Infantry were not very effective in open-country warfare during this era. The armored knight still reigned supreme. On the other hand, knights were not too useful when laying siege to fixed fortifications. If you attack a neutral (brown) kingdom, you must win by besieging the castle. Battles between the red and blue armies take place in open country.
The outcome of the battle depends on the strength of the opposing forces. If the forces are closely matched, the battle will be indecisive, losses will be heavy, and both sides will be forced to retreat. If you can set your strategy so that your forces are greater than those of your enemy, then your losses will be reduced. If you can overwhelm your opponent, you will destroy his armies. In addition, you will also further reduce your losses by recruiting a proportion of your foe's demoralized and discouraged soldiers.
Here, as in real life, it is considered very had form to lose your "home' kingdom. If this happens, a significant proportion of your subjects become disillusioned with your incompetence. They defect to your opponent providing him with sorely needed reinforcements. You also become nameless, being referred to solely by your color. This is a great humiliation for someone with your drive, ambition and ego.
If both kings invade a neutral kingdom, the initial battle is between the forces of the two kings. However, the native forces immediately attack the victor in the hope of catching his armies while still weak and in disarray from the first battle.
During your campaign, you may be beset by natural disasters (illness, floods, etc.). No one said that war was a piece of cake. Also, you must constantly be on the alert for rebel attacks. Once you conquer a kingdom, the losers form a rebel army which will quickly attack should you display any weakness.
Type RUN and the program asks for the name of each king. Then the screen goes blank for a few seconds while the computer defines a new character set. The kingdom map is then drawn and the war begins.
The computer flashes each army on and off, in turn, while asking for your move. Type the first letter of the kingdom you wish to move to. It is not necessary to hit RETURN. To keep an army in place, type any number or letter key other than those of the kingdoms (i.e. ABCGNPSV). The space bar is also OK. Each kingdom is labelled on the TV display.
Your forces are too massive to allow movement over the mountains or through the forests. They can move only via specific passes through these obstacles. The computer tells you if your move is illegal.
Note that within each army type, each army is identified by a dot. These dots identify the army number as follows:
Since these dots are hard to see, the computer flashes the army when requesting battle commands.
It is necessary for the opponent to look away while the first player makes his moves. If you suspect that your opponent is cheating, you can try to out-fox him by typing a key close to that of a kingdom's key. In this way, you can also exercise the diplomatic craft of deviousness along with your battle skills.
After all moves are entered, the computer moves the armies and the battle begins.
You can conquer your known world in two ways. If you can control a total of four kingdoms, your influence will be so great that your opponents will give up the fight. Alternately you can destroy your opponent's armies until their strength is so low that they will surrender and pledge their allegiance to your banner. Should you be so evenly matched that both armies are reduced to near zero, the game will end due to the exhaustion of your soldiers.
The program structure is shown in Figure 2.
The program makes use of two character sets. The standard one is stored in ROM beginning at memory location 57344. To form the second character set, the first half of the ROM-based set (512 bytes) is moved into RAM (lines 32000-32020). The location chosen was just beneath the Graphics 1 display list.
Then the punctuation characters are redefined into the army and landscape characters (lines 32030-32040, 32100-32123). To make use of the two sets, a display list interrupt is set at the last line of the Gr. 1 display. Finally, a short machine language program is used to switch between the two character sets (lines 32050-32060, 32125).
Note that the machine language program, used to move the ROM-based set into RAM, is stored as graphics characters within a string (CHAR $ in line 32020). Since, the printer will not print graphics characters, type the string as shown in Figure 3.
I hope you enjoy this game as much as I enjoyed programming it. May all your campaigns be successful and may you rule your realm long and wisely.
Table: Figure 1.
Table: Figure 2.
Table: Figure 3.