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AD&D Treasure of Tarmin Gameplay

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Here's a graphic showing the Tarmin map tile renders that are available on SketchUp's 3D Warehouse. These are linked from the Intellivisionaries page for Episode 10, or you can see them here: https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/user.html?id=1239298327011389285819623

 

If you are not a SketchUp user, no worries! You can view each model within its webpage. Navigate to the model's page, click the "axial rotation" button (red arrows icon, with mouseover text that reads "view 3d views of this model") and enjoy! The graphic I've included here is simply a quick and easy way to see the basics of the layouts and to compare them to one another.

 

 

post-38578-0-37178100-1405202461_thumb.png

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Here's a graphic showing the Tarmin map tile renders that are available on SketchUp's 3D Warehouse. These are linked from the Intellivisionaries page for Episode 10, or you can see them here: https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/user.html?id=1239298327011389285819623

 

If you are not a SketchUp user, no worries! You can view each model within its webpage. Navigate to the model's page, click the "axial rotation" button (red arrows icon, with mouseover text that reads "view 3d views of this model") and enjoy! The graphic I've included here is simply a quick and easy way to see the basics of the layouts and to compare them to one another.

 

 

Very nice ! this in one of my top 5 games on the system . I love the ones with the long corridors with all the doors

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Here's a graphic showing the Tarmin map tile renders that are available on SketchUp's 3D Warehouse. These are linked from the Intellivisionaries page for Episode 10, or you can see them here: https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/user.html?id=1239298327011389285819623

 

If you are not a SketchUp user, no worries! You can view each model within its webpage. Navigate to the model's page, click the "axial rotation" button (red arrows icon, with mouseover text that reads "view 3d views of this model") and enjoy! The graphic I've included here is simply a quick and easy way to see the basics of the layouts and to compare them to one another.

 

 

 

Awesome! Thanks for that, TEM.

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I've been casually working on a guide to Treasure of Tarmin for a long time, and lately I've been getting my notes organized and putting more effort into the idea. If the community will forgive me for acting as if this thread is my own personal soapbox I'd like to post some of my notes and crowdsource a little criticism and fact-checking from anyone who might be interested. I don't want to flood so I'll space my posts a bit. I'll note in my posts whether I am confident in my facts, whether I am speculating, and whether I am posing questions which maybe someone else can answer but which I haven't been able to.

 

I'll start with the map in the game. The following words I believe to be accurate and factual, but if anyone disputes or questions anything please speak up!

 

 

 

THE MAP

The map is termed The Castle Map in the game instruction manual, although the map data most relevant pertains to the dungeon, not the castle itself. The map displays a south elevation view of the Tarmin game environment, incorporating an exterior view of the castle proper, and a cutaway view of the subterranean dungeon. The castle and dungeon are situated on the Island of Tarmin, which is bounded by an unknown body of water.

When viewing the map, the player looks north, regardless of the direction indicated by the compass (which is relevant to gameplay but not map viewing). East is to the right of the screen, west is to the left, and south is behind the viewer. The crescent moon hangs in the eastern sky, and the south side of the castle faces the viewer. The player is denoted by a blinking cursor, which the manual calls The Flashing White Dot. When the player moves northerly or southerly through the maze the player's blinking cursor will seem stationary on the map, and when the player moves easterly or westerly through the maze the cursor will be seen to change position in the appropriate direction.

The map scene depicts a black sky, with a crescent moon shining among eleven points of celestial light. This night sky persists as long as the game is in progress. If the player dies, the player cursor is replaced by a tombstone, and night carries on. If the player defeats the minotaur and gains the Treasure of Tarmin then the golden glow of the coming dawn vanquishes the moon and stars along with the darkness.

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Here are my notes thus far on the dungeon mazes. One thing I haven't addressed is the layout of the maze tiles. The 3D renders I linked to previously seem accurate at first glance but one issue I have with them is that none of them depict open entrances into the maze, instead showing only doors and hidden doors. In actuality many mazes have entrances in the form of open hallways. More to follow on that matter... for now, here are the facts I feel confident in, which examine how the mazes are portrayed on the castle map screen, maze layout basics, maze navigation basics, and the natures of gates and ladder exits:

 

 

 

THE DUNGEON MAZES

The dungeon lies beneath the inaccessible castle on the island, and comprises multiple mazes. Each maze is paired with another maze of the same map color, one atop the other. Several maze pairs may be found adjacent to one another along a tier. These tiers are aligned horizontally across the map and stacked or nested vertically. The mazes are connected vertically via down ladders (upward travel is not available), which serve as level exits. Mazes do not directly communicate with other mazes horizontally. Instead, magical gates provide transit between mazes along a given level. The dungeon is from one to six mazes wide from east to west, but only one maze wide from north to south.

The uppermost tier, or tier one, may contain up to six maze pairs; tier two up to five maze pairs; tier three up to four maze pairs; tier four up to three maze pairs; tier five up to two maze pairs; and the lowermost tier, tier six, contains one maze pair.

On the easiest difficulty setting (game select 3), the dungeon is one tier / two levels deep.

On the easy difficulty setting (game select 2), the dungeon is two tiers / four levels deep.

On the medium difficulty setting (game select 1), the dungeon is four tiers / eight levels deep.

On the hard difficulty setting (game select disc), the dungeon is six tiers / twelve levels deep.

Each maze is a 12 x 12 grid in total, made up of four 6 x 6 tiles in combination. This means that there are 144 discrete grid squares per dungeon maze. Each and every grid square is accessible to the player. There are no "solid" or "filled" grid squares, and no grid squares which do not permit access via hallway, door, or hidden door.

Every maze is generated by randomly selecting and combining four 6 x 6 tiles. The tiles are selected from a tile library populated by an unknown number of specimens. This system provides for pattern recognition and memorization while allowing a great amount of variability and unpredictability. Such a system limits the utility of map-making but gives a player the opportunity to navigate the maze based on familiarity with tile layouts while retaining elements of surprise and confusion with the overall maze configuration.

Each maze features an unobstructed hallway running along the perimeter of the maze. This perimeter is nominally empty save for the eyeball murals, eye-shaped sprites that mark the entrances which lead into the maze's interior. There are eight eyeball murals per maze, two on each side of the perimeter. Eyeball murals are found in the outer perimeter hallway only, and are always located four grid squares from a maze corner.

Each eyeball mural is placed directly opposite another one on the far side of the maze. After entering the maze interior, if the player is able to walk straight across the maze without changing direction, the player will arrive on the opposite side of the maze, re-emerging into the perimeter hallway at the site of another eyeball mural. These imaginary lines between eyeball murals, or meridians, form a hash across the total maze grid, two lines running north to south, and two lines running east to west.

A maze will have one or two ladder exits which lead down to the next maze. Ladder exits are always aligned to the maze meridians designated by the eyeball murals. In other words, ladders are always found along paths leading directly across the maze from one eyeball mural to another. Ladder exits are only found along north-south meridians, and not along east-west meridians, except when they coincidentally lie at an intersection of meridians. So, if the player is having difficulty locating a ladder exit, the player can start in the perimeter hallway, enter the maze interior at the site of an eyeball mural on either the north side or the south side of the maze, and move directly across the maze until the ladder exit is encountered. For mazes with two ladders, any eyeball mural on the north or south sides will lead to an exit. For mazes with only one ladder, consulting the castle map screen will allow the player to align with the correct meridian in order to find the way down to the next level.

Gates are only found in the east and west perimeter hallways, in a grid square adjacent to a centerline leading across the maze (in other words, in a grid square that sits on a tile border). Gates are not found in the north and south hallways. Since the dungeon depicts multiple mazes east to west across the island, but only a single maze north to south, there would be no destinations for gate transit in northerly and southerly directions. Also, gates will not be found to allow transit back to an adjacent maze which was gated out of. Gates will be found on the sides of mazes leading to unexplored adjacent mazes only. Furthermore, if space separates adjacent mazes, then gate travel between the two mazes is not offered. Only immediately adjacent mazes communicate via gates.

Each maze level is color-keyed on the castle map display to indicate its nature or aspect: green for war, blue for spiritual, and tan for mixed. The colors of the eyeball murals in each maze level correspond to that maze's map color, and therefore also indicate the nature or aspect of the maze. These colors hint at what sorts of monsters and attacks the player can expect to encounter in a given maze, as well as what items and weapons are to be found lying about. Note that the colors (natures) of gates, and the colors (natures) of the mazes the gates depart from and lead to, do not neccessarily correspond. Also note that the tan color used for mazes on the map screen does not match the tan color used for items within the maze, but this discrepancy does not affect gameplay in any way.

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Additional notes on the mazes, discussing how deep the player can explore and what happens when the player "runs out" of dungeon... the info here is verified with recent gameplay:

 

 

 

THE DUNGEON MAZES

 

The total number of maze levels is 256, irrespective of which difficulty setting is selected. After exiting the final maze level displayed on the castle map screen the player descends into the next numbered level, but this and further levels do not appear on the map. These subsequent levels are populated with additional minotaurs, often several per maze level, offering the player numerous chances to acquire the Treasure of Tarmin and win the scenario. Game difficulty increases as the the player descends, with monsters gaining strength and bombs becoming more dangerous. Treasure values increase as well, and the mazes are stocked with more powerful items. After exiting level 256, the player enters a new level 1, and the level numbers begin to count to 256 once more. This new level 1 is not the original level 1 that the game began with; it is a newly generated level, freshly stocked and populated. Any layout and aspect similarities to the original level 1 are coincidental. The game difficulty resets and then increases as the player descends deeper still, in the same manner as the first descent. This process may continue indefinitely, and the player can explore as many levels as desired, with the option to win the game present each time a minotaur is spawned during level generation. If the player eschews claiming the Tarmin Treasure then one can continue to acquire treasure without any known limit.

Edited by The Eyeball Mural
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Some more notes about the castle map screen, specifically, the treasure score display. This info is verified by gameplay and has been analyzed by the community in another thread.

 

 

 

THE MAP

On the castle map screen there appears a treasure score counter. It occupies a five-digit space on the right of the screen, just above the player's attribute scores (or statistics). The counter is blank when no treasure has been collected; that is, no digits are entered on the counter. When digits appear they are black in color, against the tan background of the island silhouette. Since there are no treasures with values in single digits, the minimum number of digits in the treasure score is two. The nominal maximum treasure score is 99,990. Exceeding this score will cause the counter to "roll over," and subsequently the counter will insert ciphers in the first digit of the score. These ciphers take the form of punctuation, alphabetic characters, and other elements of the Intellivision's built-in character set. This behavior is due to the way the Intellivision displays score numbers and how the Intellivision calls these numbers and other characters from the console's Graphics ROM (GROM). The GROM is the chip that stores the character set and which shoulders much of the workload of displaying graphics onscreen.

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Oh, man! I loved this game! Hours and hours, pissing my parents off because they didn't get it.

 

I still have everything in my sister's garage (I really should go after it), but I totally need to grab a Flashback and start reliving this soon.

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Oh, man! I loved this game! Hours and hours, pissing my parents off because they didn't get it.

 

I still have everything in my sister's garage (I really should go after it), but I totally need to grab a Flashback and start reliving this soon.

 

Ha! I agree, it's easy to get lost in Tarmin for hours! Amen to getting your stuff out of the garage and to getting a Flashback!

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Notes on the magical doors (enchanted doors or possessed doors), and the Special Books they protect:

 

 

 

THE POSSESSED DOORS & THEIR SPECIAL BOOKS

 

There are in the Tarmin dungeon some rather mysterious and frightening special doors. The instruction manual refers to them as "other doors... endowed with weird powers." The manual warns that the player may encounter "a door that behaves strangely because of an ominous spell." These special fighting doors or magical doors are not blue like normal doors, nor do they blend in to the wall segments like hidden doors. They glow eerily with supernatural power, blocking the player's way and permitting no passage. If attacked a magical door will fight back, often with magnificent strength. The doors can be retreated from, or placated with a container of treasure, like all the other monsters in the game, but if defeated will give up the game's second-most most precious treasure and arguably most useful items: the Special Books.

 

These Special Books are tomes that resemble the weapon books, war books and spiritual books, but which are distinguished by an "x" or "arrowheads" motif on their covers, and by their permanence: they never break (unlike the weapon books) and are not consumable (unlike the "power up" war books and spiritual books). These books offer mighty powers to their bearer. The Vision Book allows the player to see through the dungeon walls and the closed doors; the Teleport Book allows the player to move grid square by grid square without walking, and facilitates unimpeded movement through walls or closed doors; and the Midas Book alchemically transmutes all metals to platinum, the most desirable and advantageous metal in the game.

 

The magical doors that guard these books can appear on any dungeon level (of any nature or aspect), but are usually encountered as the player moves deep underground. They seem to be generated by the program in much the same way as all the other monsters and treasures. There can be multiple iterations of these doors in a maze layout, even in the same map tile. It is not unheard of to encounter two or three of these doors adjacent to one another in consecutive grid squares, but usually, especially in the more difficult game versions, they are few and far between, making their treasures even more valuable due to scarcity. The special doors come in three colors: tan, light blue and golden yellow. There is no correlation between a door's color and the nature of the maze it appears in. All varieties of magical door can appear in any maze layout, on any level. The door colors do correspond to the treasure that each variety of door safeguards. Tan doors guard the pink Vision Book; light blue doors guard the light blue Teleport Book; and golden yellow doors guard the purple Midas Book.

The possessed doors only hang on the walls of 1 x 1 rooms. In other words, each evil door opens into a one-grid-square room only, and never a larger room. The doors protect the identity of the monster (or whatever) that lurks beyond, so there is no way to spy one of these mystery monsters by entering the room behind or beside it. The Vision Book is no help in seeing this bit of unseen evil. All that is seen when the Vision Book's spell is in effect is identical glowing door faces on each side of the room cube: like all monsters, the door appears to face the player no matter which direction it is viewed from. However, the door can only be attacked by way of the actual door openings, and not through any solid wall, even if the player can see through it.

 

The aura or glow of a magical door is only seen when directly in front of the door; from two grid squares away, the door will appear as a normal door or hidden door, as it will when viewed obliquely. The doors behave (and are handled by the program) pretty much like the other monsters, and are usually among the more powerful and dangerous inhabitants of any dungeon level they appear in. They have the same dual attribute score as the regular monsters (and the player) and can be attacked with any sort of weapon. If attacked a special door will fight back, always with spiritual (magical) weapons like fireballs or lightning bolts, regardless of the door's color and the nature or aspect of the maze level it inhabits. The player can retreat from a magical door which has been engaged in combat, under the normal game rules for withdrawal. A combative magical door can be placated, as with any monster, by attacking it with any container of treasure. Since the magical doors never take initiative and never strike first (unlike all other monsters), this act of hurling treasure at the door is an effective, no-risk tactic for evaluating the strength of the door, and the danger it poses. If defeated, the magical door is revealed to be a conventional wall segment with a normal door or a hidden door, with no evidence of the former enchantment. The demon that possessed the door is gone, and there is no further threat to the player, who can proceed normally, and relieve the now accessible room of its prize.

Edited by The Eyeball Mural
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The Eyeball Mural,

Thanks for nice write up - brings back good memories from 33 years ago!

Joe

 

 

Ah ha! A fellow "old-timer!" Thank you very much, glad you enjoy it. I would enjoy hearing your memories and stories about the game.

 

In addition to many hours of solo play from 1984 until today, I used to play co-op with friends in the 1980's. We would alternate levels, taking turns exploring and battling, and consulting each other about strategies as we went down into the depths. One person would be the active player while the other would observe and comment. Usually a big pile of junk food sat between us, and we would joke and ponder and munch snacks while we played all evening and into the morning.

 

I've seen claims that Treasure of Tarmin was the first "corridor shooter." I don't know if that's true or not, but I can attest that it must be among the first "jump scare" games. After several minutes of quiet gameplay with very little in the way of sound, getting attacked from the side by a previously-unseen monster (with the snarling roar that accompanies the attack) startles me as much today as it did decades ago!

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Ah ha! A fellow "old-timer!" Thank you very much, glad you enjoy it. I would enjoy hearing your memories and stories about the game.

 

In addition to many hours of solo play from 1984 until today, I used to play co-op with friends in the 1980's. We would alternate levels, taking turns exploring and battling, and consulting each other about strategies as we went down into the depths. One person would be the active player while the other would observe and comment. Usually a big pile of junk food sat between us, and we would joke and ponder and munch snacks while we played all evening and into the morning.

 

I've seen claims that Treasure of Tarmin was the first "corridor shooter." I don't know if that's true or not, but I can attest that it must be among the first "jump scare" games. After several minutes of quiet gameplay with very little in the way of sound, getting attacked from the side by a previously-unseen monster (with the snarling roar that accompanies the attack) startles me as much today as it did decades ago!

My brother and i spent hours playing it sometimes leaving Intellivision on for days .What a great game.

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The Eyeball Mural,

Yeah definitely an awesome game!! My older cousin played a great prank on me - I believe the manual shows a total of 52 "different" monsters but I believe the true number was like 13 or so at most with only differences being color or whether a monster had a shield or not. Not reading manual of course as I was 10, my cousin drew up pictures of at least 3 or 4 "different monsters" he saw lol. One looked like big foot with fur, etc... Not realizing the prank, I kept playing the game for hours/days and had gotten all 3 of the magical books you referenced but never saw any monster not noted in book. I thought I might have drank a potion that made some monsters invisible dunce:-) Finally when I wrapped the levels around at level 256 (I believe) back to level 1 I realized the prank. I killed the Tarmin Monster pretty soon after that but am happy for the prank because it made me play one hell of a game. Hopefully I can revisit one day but not sure time will permit another game like that one.

Again thanks for your post.

Best regards.

Joe

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The little marks on the cover of the special books looked like two hearts to us.

 

I never noticed a correlation between the colour of the possessed doors (we called them "endowed doors") and the special books contained within - I always thought the book inside was random

 

But then, I never noticed that there were tan doors AND yellow doors! I thought they were tan or pale blue...

 

I will have to play again...

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This is what Treasure of Tarmin would look like with different colors. I used jzintv to change the palette.

 

 

this is the palette i used

 

 

#000000 ;black
#30FF30 ;blue default #002DFF
#FF0000 ;red default #FF3D10
#964B00 ;tan default #C9CFAB
#0000FF ;dark green default #386B3F
#30FFFF ;green default #00A756
#FFFF00 ;yellow
#FFFFFF ;white default #FFFCFF
#BDACC8 ;grey
#30FF30 ;cyan default #24B8FF
#FFB41F ;orange
#FF0000 ;brown default #546E00
#FF4E57 ;pink
#A496FF ;light blue
#75CC80 ;yellow green
#B51A58 ;purple
Edited by pacman3211
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This is what Treasure of Tarmin would look like with different colors. I used jzintv to change the palette.

 

I dig that red intro screen. Reminds me of the D&D red box.

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Anyone have any thoughts of taking a shot at finishing 'Quest' which was the Intellivoice sequel to Tarmin... or possibly just a great looking game with Intellivoice support!

 

Edited by IMBerzerk

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