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Title: Randamn Publisher: Magnum Software
Type: Game Programmer:
Artist:
Artist:
Ron Nepsund
Scott McTyre
Murleen Parnell

Year of release:

1983
Platforms: Apple II
Copies sold: A few thousand

Randamn is an Apple II action game with a creative touch. The player is trying to ascend to godhood, to become the new demi-god of random events: Randamn. To ascend, random opponents must be defeated on 7 worlds. First, the Mystic slot machine chooses one opponent to be defeated - and on the next stage two opponents, until the final stage where all 7 opponents must be defeated at once. After one world is conquered, such as the Swamp, the Graveyard, or Stonehenge, it's off to the next world. Passwords are given to restart after the first four worlds, but afterwards, the player is on his own.

Influenced by the concept of a slot machine, Randamn was written by Ron Nepsund, with graphics from Scott McTyre and Murleen Parnell. It was Magnum Software's first title, and took 6 months to develop. The game was written only for the Apple II, but was ported by Japanese firm Comptique Inc. for the NEC series (non-MSX) computer.

From an interview with Ron Nepsund: "When I was attending California State University at Northridge, I asked one of my professors if he knew of anybody looking for a programmer. He was a friend of Scott and recommended me to him. I did a project for them over the summer and part-time during the school year. After I graduated, I worked for Magnum Software full time.

I wrote all the code for Randamn. Scott and Murleen were commercial artists so they did all the art work. The game was written in assembly language - we needed the speed."

Ron also adds: "Anti-copying protection was a hobby of mine back then. I wanted to be sure nobody could pirate it so used everything and the kitchen sink to protect it. I removed DOS and had the program directly access the disk at the track/sector level, track synchronization. I didn't load the entire program loaded into memory so that it couldn't be grabed by just copying the entire memory of the computer. Also I had a unique way of messing with the sync bytes on the disk to keep the bit copier programs from copying the disk."

Perhaps due to this, Randamn is one of the few programs that simply will not work on many emulators, even with a cracked, normalized version (although it will work if the image is transferred back to the Apple II). Someone smarter than me examined the code in 2004 and came up with the following patch (do a search for "Randamn emulator" on Google News for the original article):

"The Asimov archive has cracked images of this shooter game by Magnum Software. But they will not run on a 65c02 or any emulator I've tried. I traced the code with a debugger and developed these patches.

There are two indirect jumps used, JMP ($02FF). These JMPs use the page boundary bug of the original 6502. A bogus high order byte is stored at $300, the real one at $200, apparently intended to mislead a potential cracker. Of course, this won't work on a 65c02 machine.

T S BFromTo
$03 03 6E6C FF 024C 7D 0B
$05 07 4B6C FF 024C 08 08

This fixes a bug which trashes the X register prior to track re-reading. X holds the slot # (usually $60). Many emulators had trouble with this.

T S BFromTo
$05 03 84A6 0D 86 1BA5 0D 85 1B
$05 03 88A6 0E 86 1CA5 0E 85 1C

Defeats a nibble count check (addr0 prolog to addr0 prolog). Apparently, this wasn't a problem with a physical cracked disk. Many emulators had trouble with this.

T S BFromTo
$05 05 BBA5 0E18 60

Defeats some kind of disk access related check. Emulators which use authentic disk speed had trouble with this.

T S BFromTo
$0A 07 2DA9 4FD0 2

Fixes a bug which causes a hang or crash after winning the game.

T S BFromTo
$08 03 6E48 68 48 68 48EA EA EA EA EA
$08 03 7868EA

What started out with just a little poking around turned into a minor project. I got more satisfaction hacking the code than playing the game itself. It's interesting to see the incompatibilities that come up when going from a physical machine to an emulated environment, mostly disk emulation."

Thanks to Chris (last name unknown) for this patch. I've applied it and it is offered in .DSK format below - the original, unmodified disk in .NIB format is also offered. This one won't work on an emulator but will work fine if imaged to a physical disk and run on an actual Apple II.

SCREENSHOTS


Apple II


Apple II


Apple II


Apple II

PACKAGING VARIATIONS


Box



DISK IMAGES

randamn.nib (Apple II)
Randamn original disk (still copy protected and will not work on most emulators)

randamn_modified.dsk (Apple II)
Randamn - unprotected and modified to work on emulators



GAMES
Randamn

APPLICATIONS
Super Speed Reading

OTHERS
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