Dungeon (video game)

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Dungeon was one of the earliest role-playing video games, running on PDP-10 mainframe computers manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

PDP-10 36 bit mainframe computer family built 1966-1983

Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP-10, later marketed as the DECsystem-10, was a mainframe computer family manufactured beginning in 1966; it was discontinued in 1983. 1970s models and beyond were marketed under the DECsystem-10 name, especially as the TOPS-10 operating system became widely used.

Mainframe computer computers used primarily by corporate and governmental organizations

Mainframe computers or mainframes are computers used primarily by large organizations for critical applications; bulk data processing, such as census, industry and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning; and transaction processing. They are larger and have more processing power than some other classes of computers: minicomputers, servers, workstations, and personal computers.

Contents

History

Dungeon was written in either 1975 or 1976 by Don Daglow, then a student at Claremont University Center (since renamed Claremont Graduate University). The game was an unlicensed implementation of the new tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and described the movements of a multi-player party through a monster-inhabited dungeon. Players chose what actions to take in combat and where to move each character in the party, which made the game very slow to play by today's standards. Characters earned experience points and gained skills as their "level" grew, as in D&D, and most of the basic tenets of D&D were reflected.

Don Daglow American computer game and video game designer, programmer and producer

Don Daglow is an American computer game and video game designer, programmer and producer. He is best known for being the creator of early games from several different genres, including pioneering simulation game Utopia for Intellivision in 1981, role-playing game Dungeon in 1975, sports games including the first interactive computer baseball game Baseball in 1971, and the first graphical MMORPG, Neverwinter Nights in 1991. He founded long-standing game developer Stormfront Studios in 1988.

Claremont Graduate University university located in Claremont, California, United States

Claremont Graduate University (CGU) is a private, all-graduate research university located in Claremont, California, a city 35 miles (56 km) east of downtown Los Angeles. Founded in 1925, CGU is a member of the Claremont Colleges which includes five undergraduate and two graduate institutions of higher education. Adjoining and within walking distance of one another, design was based on that of Oxford University and Cambridge University.

Tabletop role-playing game form of role-playing game

A tabletop role-playing game is a form of role-playing game (RPG) in which the participants describe their characters' actions through speech. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a set formal system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, players have the freedom to improvise; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the game.

Daglow wrote in 1988, "In the mid-seventies I had a fully functioning fantasy role-playing game on the PDP-10, with both ranged and melee combat, lines of sight, auto-mapping and NPC's with discrete AI." [1] Although the game was nominally played entirely in text, it was also the first game to employ line of sight graphics displays. Its use of computer graphics consisted of top-down dungeon maps that showed the portions of the playfield the party had seen, allowing for light or darkness, the different "infravision" abilities of elves, dwarves, etc.

Line of sight, sometimes written line-of-sight or abbreviated to LoS, is the visibility on the playing field in wargames and some role-playing games (RPGs). Many abilities can only be used on entities within a character's line of sight.

A non-player character (NPC), also known as a non-playable character, is any character in a game which is not controlled by a player. In video games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer via algorithmic, predetermined or responsive behavior, but not necessarily true artificial intelligence. In traditional tabletop role-playing games, the term applies to characters controlled by the gamemaster or referee, rather than another player.

Computer graphics graphics created using computers

Computer graphics are pictures and films created using computers. Usually, the term refers to computer-generated image data created with the help of specialized graphical hardware and software. It is a vast and recently developed area of computer science. The phrase was coined in 1960, by computer graphics researchers Verne Hudson and William Fetter of Boeing. It is often abbreviated as CG, though sometimes erroneously referred to as computer-generated imagery (CGI).

This advancement was possible because many university computer terminals had switched by the mid-1970s to CRT screens, which could be refreshed with text in a few seconds instead of a minute or more. Earlier games printed game status for the player on Teletype machines or a line printer, at speeds ranging from 10 to 30 characters per second with a rat-a-tat-tat sound as a metal ball or belt with characters was pressed against paper through an inked ribbon by a hammer.

Teleprinter device for transmitting messages in written form by electrical signals

A teleprinter is an electromechanical device that can be used to send and receive typed messages through various communications channels, in both point-to-point and point-to-multipoint configurations. Initially they were used in telegraphy, which developed in the late 1830s and 1840s as the first use of electrical engineering. The machines were adapted to provide a user interface to early mainframe computers and minicomputers, sending typed data to the computer and printing the response. Some models could also be used to create punched tape for data storage and to read back such tape for local printing or transmission.

Line printer impact printer that prints one entire line of text at a time

A line printer prints one entire line of text before advancing to another line. Most early line printers were impact printers.

While Dungeon was widely available via DECUS, it was picked up by fewer universities and systems in the mid-1970s than Daglow's earlier Star Trek video game had been in 1971, primarily because it took a then-significant 36K of system RAM versus 32K for Star Trek. Many schools viewed games as gimmicks to interest students in computers, but wanted only small, fast-play examples to minimize games' actual use to reserve time for math and science research and student use. As a result, the early-1970s' maximum size of 32K that many schools set as a limit on games had been downgraded on some campuses to as little as 16K.

DECUS independent computer user group related to Digital Equipment Corporation

The Digital Equipment Computer Users' Society (DECUS) was an independent computer user group related to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).

Years later (ca. 1980) [2] DECUS distributed another game named Dungeon, that was in fact a version of Zork , a text adventure game that would later become the model for early MUDs. [3]

A MUD is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based. MUDs combine elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat. Players can read or view descriptions of rooms, objects, other players, non-player characters, and actions performed in the virtual world. Players typically interact with each other and the world by typing commands that resemble a natural language.

A third game called Dungeon was released on PLATO in 1975, by John Daleske, Gary Fritz, Jan Good, Bill Gammel, and Mark Nakada. [4]

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1975 has several new titles such as Western Gun, Dungeon and dnd.

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References

  1. Daglow, Don L. (August 1988). "The Changing Role of Computer Game Designers" (PDF). Computer Gaming World . No. 50. p. 18. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  2. Ian Lance Taylor (1991-03-11). "Dungeon README" . Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  3. King, Brad; Borland, John M. (2003). Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture from Geek to Chic. McGraw-Hill/Osborne. ISBN   0-07-222888-1 . Retrieved 2010-09-25.
  4. Barton, Matt (2007-07-03). "Fun with PLATO". Armchair Arcade.