DDI Telengard history

DDI Telengard

In DDI Telengard, you'll find clues to a valuable Sceptre hidden in the Telengard depths.
I'll leave it to you as the bold adventurer you are to explore and discover what you'll
need to help you in your quest.  The higher in level you are, the more equipped you'll
be to take on the task.  When you have sufficient experience, you'll be able to use your
powers of perception to detect when you are within 50 moves of the Sceptre.  As your
character gains further experience, your ability to detect how near the Sceptre is will
also advance.  Rumor has it there are those willing to pay a high price for such a rare

In contrast to the original version 4.18, your stats have more meaning in how encounters
will play out, and you'll find you'll be able to use your spells more effectively, still
keeping faithful to much of the original logic factors and equations.  DDI Telengard
offers a bit more color both graphically and to the text in random encounters.  A few
redundant spell types have been replaced, and special effects added to other spells
as well.  I could go on about the number of changes, but it's more fun to explore.

If you get really adventurous, I've posted the DDI Telengard source, where you can
study the parchment and divine it's secrets .. although I would save such mage craft
for when you have all but mastered the dark arts of dungeon dwelling.  And with a
bit of careful intrepidation, daring and a dash of luck, you'll find you'll soon be
well on your way.  So fire up your 64, load, roll and go explore .. how low can you go?


  You'll Never Leave
           ___________                                                           __
          /____  ____/     __                                                   / /
              / /   __    / / __                                  _____        / /
             / /   / _\  / / / _\   /¯¯¯¯¯\  /¯¯¯¯¯¯/ /¯¯¯¯¯¯│   / ____\ /¯¯¯¯¯ /
            / /   / /_/ / / / /_/  / /¯¯| / / /¯¯/ / / /¯¯/  │  / /     / /¯¯/ /
           / /   / /__ / / / /__  / /  / / / /__/ / / /__/ / │ / /     / /__/ /
          / /    \___// /  \___/ / /  / /  \___  /  \_____/└―┘/ /      \     /
          ¯¯          ¯¯         ¯¯   ¯¯      / /             ¯¯        ¯¯¯¯¯
  The Dungeons Are Calling ..           /¯¯¯¯¯ /   


Commodore & Telengard

Back at the end of the summer in 1982, I started my sophomore year at Hammond High School.
The school had a computer lab, which was really something for a high school to have one
back then.  Set up on black lab tables were two stations of four Commodore 4032 PETs with
monochrome green displays, integrated keyboards and external CBM 4040 IEEE dual floppy
disk drives.  These were no mainframe terminals, they were full fledged desktop micros!

And one day during computer class .. I saw on one of those PET's .. TELENGARD !!

Telengard was a remake of an early mainframe version called DND.  The version for the
PET was released by Avalon Hill sometime in 1981, which now looking back is also pretty
cutting edge, since desktop computers were rare, and games for them were a very new thing.

By 1982, arcade machines like Space Invaders, Pac Man, Galaxian were being seen in local
businesses and home computers were emerging, such as the Atari 400/800, the Apple II, the
Commodore VIC-20, the Coleco ADAM expansion, the Intellivision Aquarius expansion, Timex
Sinclair, Tandy TRS-80s, and the IBM PC.  However, very few families owned a home computer,
as at that time, they were mostly either unknown or unfamiliar and expensive.

I had seen some really good Atari 400 computer games, such as Pharaoh's Curse and Bandits,
both good arcade style action games.  Playing an early monochrome green version of Telengard
was perhaps not as cool, but was still really fun to play for the brief opportunities I
had to do so back then in school.

The Commodore CBM PET is really close to where the computer revolution began, if not the
spawning place.  There were no PC's in 1975, and it was around this time when Commodore
bought an integrated circuit chip fabrication company, MOS Technology. A MOS engineer by
the name of Chuck Peddle just happened to design a new inexpensive CPU chip named the 6502.

By 1977, Commodore Business Machines made the PET 2001, four years before IBM shipped the
first PC.  The Commodore VIC-20 and the awesome Commodore 64 were evolutions of the CBM
PET architecture, and were far better computers in every regard compared to the new IBM PC,
which was way too expensive for most families to afford one.  The IBM PC was built to be
a business machine, not a home computer, and with mostly only business software available,
the new IBM PC was used mostly in colleges, corporations, and the government.  It wouldn't
be until Intel fabricated the Pentium twelve years later in 1993 that the PC architecture
would offer superior graphics and sound over the Apple Macintosh, the Atari ST, and the
Commodore Amiga.  It was then when the tides turned on the three best, and the marketplace
embraced the rush of new video and sound cards, and endless peripherals that were now being
developed for what was to be the PC clone.  After legal failures to stop motherboard clones
of the IBM PC architecture, even IBM lost to the PC clone.  By this time, the three best
computer companies were all having their internal financial problems, failing to market
and lead the technical race with superior machines.  The open PC clone architecture won,
and only Apple would hang in there through the 90's with Macintosh machines to offer an
alternative to the PC.  It was around 1993 when the PC clone took hold, and something
else significant happend .. ID's Castle Wolfenstein followed up with Doom for the PC took
the gaming world by storm.  The first person shooter was born and changed everything.

Back to 1975 ..

With Telengard being a rewrite of DND, it is one of the earliest computer games ever written
for microcomputers, being inspired by TSR's Dungeon and Dragons paper and dice RPG in 1974.

The Commodore PET is very close to where the computer revolution began.  Being exposed to
a CBM PET so early was for sure a priviledge, and being able to play such a cool game as
Telengard back in 1982, a real pleasure!  Within a year, the home computer revolution was
underway and the advent of the Commodore 64 was where my love of computers began, as by
the end of 1982, the computer lab was upgraded with Commodore 64's!!

My father bought me a Commodore 64 back in 1983, when it was still a really new machine.
The price dropped from $600 to $200 overnight, and it was about this time that I had been
really wanting one.  And it so happened that one of the very early games I found for the
c64 was Avalon Hill's Telengard.  Hundred's of games later and as the years passed by,
my love of the 64 never faded, and for good reason, as to this day it is still the most
programmable, feature rich 8 bit micro to have ever been engineered.  Games back then were
more imaginative, and although better graphics and sound were to come along with Atari,
Apple and Commodore making advanced micro computers with the ST, Macintosh and Amiga,
some of the best games were still found on the c64.

It was somewhere around 1988, I started to recode Telengard, making only a few simple
changes.  Over the years between 1988 and 1993, at times I would change Telengard. 
Somewhere around 1995, I put a lot of effort in to modifying the game.  I was pretty
happy with the changes I had made.  With no memory left to squeeze in any more changes,
I decided I would use my Jason Ranheim EPROM burner and Snapshot 64 cartridge to make
a Telengard cartridge!  My first attempt to do this was not successful.  Before I got
a second chance, my six month old baby boy was just able to crawl, and found the floppy
with my ultimate version of Telengard on it, sitting in my open Commodore 1541 floppy
drive.  By the time I realized he had the disk, it was already folded badly.  I did
my best to recover it using a sector editor, but the files were too badly damaged.
I searched everywhere for my backup copy, but couldn't find it .. all my long hours
of work and innovation had been lost.  And so I thought ..

Years later around 2010, I was sorting through some boxes from the basement and found
my Telengard backup disk!  I was thrilled to see various versions of my work intact. 
Whether by fate or by chance, and now with several months of concentrated effort,
I've been able to finish my 25 year+ project and am happy to be able to share my
ultimate version of Telengard!!

DDI Telengard offers new features, such as the ability to list a directory of saved
characters, in game pause at any time, realtime screen updates, elimination of 99% of
those annoying replots, 80+ stats finder, powerful new spells such as Ultra Vision,
Power Wraithing and Arcane Sight, offering a quest feature to find the hidden Sceptre
buried somewhere deep in the Telengard dungeon complex .. and much more.

Here are a few things that may not be found so easily ..

Refer to the in game Help page via the H key, for those new to the game.

The  <=  key activates the 80+ stats search routine when generating character attributes.

Saving a character with a ! preceding the character name preserves saved characters,
so they never really die.  I never use this feature, but it's there for those that
would appreciate it.

The RUN/STOP key will allow you to pause at almost any point in the game.

There are two extra programs I coded for generating characters outside of Telengard.
Characters may need to be regenerated when Telengard hangs on a save and fails to
close the file.  When this happens, it's best to clean up the open file by issuing
the following commands at the c64 READY. prompt:

  OPEN 15,8,15,"V"     .. V = Validate

  After the drive LED light has stopped flashing, close the open drive channel:

  CLOSE 15

  • DTC .. Supports the original Avalon Hill Disk Telengard v4.18 Character format.
  • DTC2 .. Supports the new character format implemented in DDI Telengard.

You can save your position anywhere in the game via the F1 key, which is no different
from the original Disk Telengard, but not while you are in melee.  I was not able to
determine why saving is unreliable, as the save routine is fairly simple and there's
no consistency as to when and how it fails.  Although you may notice the save files
are now half the size, which should improve things.

I hope you enjoy my version of Daniel Lawrence's Telengard, originally published by
Avalon Hill in 1981.  Daniel Lawrence passed away on June 7th, 2010 .. leaving the
world a precious gem to treasure.

                                † Thank You Dan †

Dale E. Sebenste

Dungeon Dwellers Inc

May 10th, 2014

"If Only Life Was More Like 1983 .."

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