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Game News Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord remake now available on Early Access

Rincewind

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Well, we can always say the PC versions are the hardcore versions, that should make them more appealing to certain people
Yeah, it's interesting how the ports of certain (most?) games got "mutated" in the 80s when they ported them to a totally different machine. Apple II to C64 ports could be considered straight ports as they had the same 6502 CPU. So they could just take the game logic unaltered and change the graphics, sound, etc. routines.

But when they had to port something originally 8-bit to a 16-bit Motorola 68k, or Intel, they had to rewrite the code and there was a lot of room for bugs... Typical for Amiga <-> PC <-> C64/Apple conversions, for example. But Atari ST <-> Amiga <-> Apple IIgs ports are safe too again.

Like Elite, that has different classes of bugs per CPU architecture in the various ports.

Then sometimes the game was ported by totally different people who might not even have understood all the game rules, etc... Bit of a mess, really, and your safest bet is always to play the original written by the original creators.
 

Rincewind

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Just so you know I currently am playing through the DOS version on 300 cycles (via DOSBox Staging so thank you for that) just to prove you wrong (or right - dunno yet.) But it's still fucking Wizardry so I'm grinding up my guys on floor 1 currently. Will report back later.
Thanks for that :salute: I don't want to be right or wrong, I don't care; I just wanna know the answer. I'd be a bit sad if the DOS version was screwed, but it is what it is.
 

Dave the Druid

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Just so you know I currently am playing through the DOS version on 300 cycles (via DOSBox Staging so thank you for that) just to prove you wrong (or right - dunno yet.) But it's still fucking Wizardry so I'm grinding up my guys on floor 1 currently. Will report back later.
Thanks for that :salute: I don't want to be right or wrong, I don't care; I just wanna know the answer. I'd be a bit sad if the DOS version was screwed, but it is what it is.
It's legit kinda hard to tell since it's Wizardry but so far the levelling does seem a bit bullshit compared to the Apple II version
BK440fa.png

The biggest thing I've noticed though is that hit-point increases are pitiful most of the time. It seems like I'm getting increases of 1 way more often than I'm supposed to. Will report back later

EDIT: I made a backup and here's the same guy getting levelled up. Seems a bit off to me still, but again look at the hit point increase. It's rubbish. And that's a fighter too:
Hq7IOsv.png


I'll see if raising the cycles does anything next

FURTHER EDIT:
Here's the same guy (that's Kyle, the 2nd Fighter) getting levelled up again only this time at 3000 cycles:
nnXKu0z.png

Doesn't seem to have made any difference. And keep in mind I'm reloading a backup. That's Kyle going from level 3-4 each time.

Conclusion: Seems a bit off. Fuck, I'm probably going to have to start up the Apple II version to compare. Wizardry's great but man, the early, EARLY game grinding really kinda blows.
 
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Falksi

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Gave this a spin, I'm disappointed... maybe it can still be improved since it's early access, but I'm not very hopeful.

For context, Digital Eclipse became famous for Atari 50 and Making of Karateka, "interactive documentaries" that mix documentaries with playable ports/remasters of games. Wizardry 1-5 are owned by the Siroteks, who got into a decade-long lawsuit with Andrew Greenberg over royalties, so calling him and Woodhead for a chat probably wasn't an option. So what we have here is "just" a 1:1 remake of Wizardry 1, with the original rules but some QoL features, like spell descriptions and an optional mini-map.

My issue is not only that the presentation is super generic, but this really doesn't add anything new. You can get all this with the Super Famicom port from decades ago - with far superior art! It's not as accessible and modern as Etrian Odyssey (huge missed opportunity to not copy their map system). And, taking it as an old-school remaster, it's not as polished as Wizardry: The Five Ordeals. Seriously, zero thought was given to improving things like transferring items between party members.

So it feels like "oh, nostalgia!" for normies... its biggest plus is that it's a legally available release of Wizardry 1, that runs on modern platforms. Which really doesn't add anything for the average Codexer.

I'll be honest, the revamp looks more appealing than the SNES version to me. The SNES versions actual art is better, but the interface, poor battle animations and lack of character personality drags it down.
 

Rincewind

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Conclusion: Seems a bit off. Fuck, I'm probably going to have to start up the Apple II version to compare. Wizardry's great but man, the early, EARLY game grinding really kinda blows.
Ehhehh... kinda inconclusive, but something seems a bit off, yeah.

You might be interested in this bugfixed version someone posted here earlier (I haven't tried it):
https://www.zimlab.com/wizardry/proving-grounds-v3/index.html

The guy has a list of the fixes he applied. Apparently, someone regenerated the Pascal code from the final binary somehow (all early Wizardries were written in Pascal, kinda funny).
https://www.zimlab.com/wizardry/pro...-Proving-Grounds-v3.0-Code-Changes-Readme.txt

It would be cool to be able to apply fixes to the DOS version(s) somehow...

Btw, I noticed puny increases in the C64/C128 version as well in the early game, but just thought, yeah, it's supposed to be hard. So... dunno?

But then, you might wanna try like 20-30 times in a row. Sometimes you get long stretches of the same outcome too if you flip a coin like 100 times... statistics is funny that way.

Dude has also fully reverse engineered the Wiz 1-2-3 rules:
https://www.zimlab.com/wizardry/walk/wizardry-123-game-calculations.htm

Relevant section:
*The following are the base hit points gained per level per class, which is then modified by your Vitality (Minimum 1 after Vitality modifier):
- Fighter, Lord gain 1 to 10 base hit points per level on average.
- Priest, Samurai gain 1 to 8 base hit points per level on average.
- Thief, Bishop, Ninja gain 1 to 6 base hit points per level on average.
- Mage gain 1 to 4 base hit points per level on average.
But doesn't say much about the actual RNG algo. So maybe that's just screwed, which is likely... I'm still *hoping* it's CPU sensitive, haha.
 
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Dave the Druid

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Conclusion: Seems a bit off. Fuck, I'm probably going to have to start up the Apple II version to compare. Wizardry's great but man, the early, EARLY game grinding really kinda blows.
Ehhehh... kinda inconclusive, but something seems a bit off, yeah.

You might be interested in this bugfixed version someone posted here earlier (I haven't tried it):
https://www.zimlab.com/wizardry/proving-grounds-v3/index.html

The guy has a list of the fixes he applied. Apparently, someone regenerated the Pascal code from the final binary somehow (all early Wizardries were written in Pascal, kinda funny).
https://www.zimlab.com/wizardry/pro...-Proving-Grounds-v3.0-Code-Changes-Readme.txt

It would be cool to be able to apply fixes to the DOS version(s) somehow...

Btw, I noticed puny increases in the C64/C128 version as well in the early game, but just thought, yeah, it's supposed to be hard. So... dunno?

But then, you might wanna try like 20-30 times in a row. Sometimes you get long stretches of the same outcome too if you flip a coin like 100 times... statistics is funny that way.

Dude has also fully reverse engineered the Wiz 1-2-3 rules:
https://www.zimlab.com/wizardry/walk/wizardry-123-game-calculations.htm

Relevant section:
*The following are the base hit points gained per level per class, which is then modified by your Vitality (Minimum 1 after Vitality modifier):
- Fighter, Lord gain 1 to 10 base hit points per level on average.
- Priest, Samurai gain 1 to 8 base hit points per level on average.
- Thief, Bishop, Ninja gain 1 to 6 base hit points per level on average.
- Mage gain 1 to 4 base hit points per level on average.
But doesn't say much about the actual RNG algo. So maybe that's just screwed, which is likely... I'm still *hoping* it's CPU sensitive, haha.
Oh yeah, inconclusive as fuck. Thank you for the v3.0 version but I've already got it. I was actually looking at the game calculations thing already since you posted it in another thread. Any other info available about the levelling up RNG?

I've also been experimenting with lowering the cycles down to 100. Really doesn't seem to be making any difference but I can keep trying.
3isVtw0.png
 

Dave the Druid

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Sorry, didn't get a screenshot but I finally got a good level-up for Kyle with pretty much all stat gains... on 3000 cycles. Yeah, I'm beginning to call bullshit on the whole "it's CPU cycles dependent" thing. Still utterly inconclusive but I think it's bullshit. Sorry mate.
 

octavius

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If you like the PC ports for aesthetic reasons it's fine, the bug doesn't make the game unplayable, but please don't act like its not there
Oh, I'm not; I'm just saying I've read conflicting reports, that's all. I too would like to get to the bottom of it. I think octavius played the DOS version a while ago and he thought it was fine. I like the CGA aesthetics, but if the gameplay is broken, that's a bummer.
I'm quite sure the game is indeed buggy. Otherwise your stats would not go down from 1 (or was it 0?) to 32.
But the leveling bug didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the game.

I still prefer the DOS version to other versions I've played. The Ll... Saga version was nice and bug free, but somehow I didn't enjoy it very much. The new fan made Apple II version has just a too cumbersome UI for me to enjoy it. The DOS version is somewhat clunky, but at least it's fast.

The FAQ for this new version of the game is rather worthless. It doesn't answer the two most important questions.
1. Will there be new versions of Wiz2 and 3?
2. Since it's based on the Apple version, does it include the casting of spells in the surprise round?
 
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octavius

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Dave the Druid, Hit Points don't increase as such, instead they are recalculated every time you level up. So if the new calculation is lower than the old, you get only 1 extra HP.
 
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Dave the Druid

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Dave the Druid, Hit Points don't increase as such, instead they are recalculated every time you level up. So if the new calculation is lower than the old, you get ony 1 extra HP.
Ah, that makes more sense. Thanks. You got a source about how Wizardry's RNG works?
I'm quite sure the game is indeed buggy. Otherwise your stats would not go down from 1 (or was it 0?) to 32.
But the leveling bug didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the game.
Yeah, I played the Apple II version and none of my stats ever came even close to 0. I'm not saying it can't happen in the Apple II version, just that it seems to be incredibly improbable in that version.
 
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Rincewind

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Yeah, I'm beginning to call bullshit on the whole "it's CPU cycles dependent" thing. Still utterly inconclusive but I think it's bullshit. Sorry mate.
Yeah, seems like it. It was worth a try, sounded plausible, but I don't think it holds water either.

The new fan made Apple II version has just a too cumbersome UI for me to enjoy it. The DOS version is somewhat clunky, but at least it's fast.
I agree with that. I enjoyed the C128 version, but sometimes I wished I just played the DOS port instead. I was using warp-mode a lot in VICE and even them the loading times were just too long. And that was on an emulated C128 with a memory expansion unit the Wizardry games can take advantage of. Can't even imagine how slow it would be on a stock C64...

It would be nice if someone bugfixed the DOS ports for once and all. Maybe one day when I have nothing else to do... (that will never come).
 

Dave the Druid

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It's possible that running them on a too fast computer, or DOSBox with the default cycles setting of 3000, triggers the leveling bug (if it's indeed a bug). An interesting account that claims too fast processor speeds trigger the leveling bug (which conflicts with the previous account, so yeah, there's no 100% definitive answer here):

One thing worth noting is that some people claim there's a bug in the MS-DOS version which affects stat gains and losses. I'm not exactly clear on this, as this has become a case of "the telephone game" where the facts got mangled in endless retellings.
The people who make these claims, by the way, say that the series is best experienced on the Apple IIe where it was born. The NES version apparently has its own glitch where Armor Class doesn't do what its supposed to (again, not sure if this is true)--though the NES and SNES versions also replace some of the maps with all new ones, so they're worth playing even if you're an expert.
EDIT: Something Else Regarding the "Levelling Bug" - Some people claim to have noticed getting better level-ups when they play the game on slow computers, or with computers slowed down by artificial means (programs such as Bret Johnson's Slowdown in pure DOS, or low cycles counts in Dosbox). I habitually play the game slowed down and the first time I beat it over a decade ago, I was playing on a monochrome 286 laptop. These may be why I've never noticed a levelling glitch.
(source)
Last thing, I dig a little internet digging and it turns out the guy who wrote up all that is a redditor (yuck) and it turns out he was wrong, some people have dug into the decompiled source code and apparently have confirmed that the stats gain/loss thing is different between the Apple II and DOS versions:
EDIT: Just in case anyone wonders.... one of the things I regret in this review is that I repeatedly state that the "levelling glitch" is just a rumor. I've since investigated it, and found forum posts where people actually dug into the game's code. The stat-gain/loss at level up ratio is definitely different between Apple II, MS-DOS, and maybe NES.

That said, part of me suspects this isn't a "glitch," but was a deliberate choice. The Apple IIe version being so generous with stat gains at level up and barely ever handing out a stat loss feels at odds with the generally brutal game Wizardry is.
Source (sorry I know it's reddit, maybe spray your computer with disinfectant afterwards)
 

mondblut

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When was this even a thing?! I must live a digitally sheltered life as this is the 1st time hearing about this. Who even owns the rights to Wizardry?

There were news of Sirotek hinting at something on twitter a few weeks ago.

What's the point, though? While the original Proving Grounds has been unplayable since videogame graphics became a thing, Llylgamyn saga is perfectly serviceable.
 
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Grauken

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What's the point, though?

Yeah, it's kinda weird since the people who really appreciate Wizardry know there are better choices and normies won't touch Wizardry even with mobile game graphics on top of it. Feels like a cash grab for people who want to be able to say they tried Wizardry but only buy to then leave it to rot in their library
 

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