WIZARD'S ARENA -- RELEASE 1.32
(C) Copyright 1991,1992 by Douglas Summers
To all you new users, thank you for trying out Wizard's Arena. If
you're not a new user, refer to UPGRADE.TXT for instructions on
upgrading to the new version.
The Wizard's Arena is a BBS door game, allowing a number of players
to wander around in a large maze-like area and fight it out, using a
wide variety of spells and a certain amount of ironmongery. Further
details on the setting of the game -- and on actual play -- can be
found in the player's documentation.
BEFORE WE GET STARTED
Check your distribution files. You should have the following :
WIZARD.EXE -- the game itself
WA-UTIL.EXE -- to install and do daily maintenance
WIZARD.TXT -- the player documentation
COMMAND.TXT -- the on-line quick-help file
CHANGES.TXT -- a list of the modifications since 1.00
SYSOP.TXT -- this documentation
COPYRIGH.TXT -- the copyright notice for the game, & legal stuff
UPGRADE.TXT -- how to upgrade from older versions
CONFIG.TXT -- how to customize the game
DATABASE.ZIP -- the initial game databases (see notes, below)
DOOR.SYS -- used to run in LOCAL mode
README.1ST -- a file that tells you to read this file.
There may also be a README.TXT. If one exists, you should read
it IMMEDIATELY. If there isn't one, don't worry about it. There
may also be an ADS.TXT file, which will be a small file describing
other games you might be interested in. If it's not there, don't
sweat it particularly, either.
Other than README.TXT and/or ADS.TXT, if any of these files are
missing or there are 'extra' files, I suggest you delete this
stuff off your disk and get a copy from a 'known clean' source.
SETTING UP (NEW USERS ONLY)
Just follow these simple instructions:
1. Make a directory for the game. For example, D:\WIZARD.
2. Copy all the distribution files into that directory.
All the files should remain together; the game looks in its
own directory for the databases and text files (although
that directory needn't be the CURRENT directory at the
time the program is run).
3. Unzip DATABASE.ZIP.
4. Set up a batch file to run the program. See the following
section for details.
5. Run WA-UTIL.EXE. This will generate a small file named
"CONFIG.WA". (It will also generate a file named
"REGISTER.ME" that you will need if you decide to register
the game.) You should customize the CONFIG file, at the very
least to specify your BBS's name. Please refer to CONFIG.TXT
SETTING UP THE BATCH FILE
You'll need to make a batch file to call the program with. The line
actually calls the game can look something like this:
The directory the game is in doesn't need to be on your path;
of course, your batch file must be.
The only parameter to the program is the location (full path-and-
filename) of the door-information file for your BBS. Different BBS
types use different ones, so if you're not sure how to set this up,
just refer to your BBS documentation.
The batch file should look something like this (this example is for
board.bat (or whatever it takes to crank your board back up)
Both programs (WIZARD and WA-UTIL) require complete control of the
database; two nodes can't be running the program at the same
time. The programs enforce this by creating a semaphore file and
deleting it when the program terminates. If the program sees this
file, it simply terminates with a 'Sorry, you can't...' sort of
What happens if the system goes down, or the program locks up? The
semaphore file remains behind, blocking further access. For this
reason, the file is time-stamped: a semaphore file more than an
hour old is ignored.
For this reason, it is necessary that each machine's time-of-day
clock be more-or-less in sync with the server's. Chances are,
you're set up that way already. If you can't guarantee that,
you should manually perform such semaphoring in your batch file and
set WIZARD's automatic semaphoring off. (See CONFIG.TXT).
The game can be run locally simply by calling it directly with a
command-line parameter of "DOOR.SYS". This causes the game to
use that file (provided with the game) instead of the door-
information file normally employed. It'll prompt you for a user's
name; any user in the game is available to you.
Registering the game is pretty easy. After you've run the WA-UTIL
program, there will be a file named "REGISTER.ME" in the directory
with the WIZARD databases.
Read it, fill in the few blanks, and mail it to me (the address
is listed on the form itself) with a $15 (US) check or money order
enclosed. Feel free to use the comment area for kudos or brickbats.
After the post office has done its glacial best to lose the letter,
I will return to you (via a postcard) a short sequence of numbers and
some letters (along with my eternal gratitude). Simply edit your
CONFIG.WA file to have a line in it that says:
REGISTRATION = XXXXXXXX
(where the X's are replaced by the registration sequence I send you).
The game will now 'know' its registered, will be overjoyed to see
that you support a starving shareware artist, and will gleefully
permit the registration-specific parameters to take effect.
There aren't any diskettes involved in the registration process;
only a simple code. In particular, the author doesn't undertake
to distribute newer versions far and wide as they become available.
Announcements on the release of new version are made in appropriate
RIME and InterLink conferences, along with a (short) list of BBS's
that the new version can be downloaded from.
Any comments you have about the game are more than welcome, particularly
if accompanied by cash. I can be reached via RIME or by mail; my
address is listed in the COPYRIGH.TXT file.
Please Note: The key sequence, and therefore the registration sequence,
are based partly on the BBS name you set up in CONFIG.WA. If you
need to change the name of your board, you'll need a new registration
sequence; contact the author in this event.
The author is very much indebted to Rickie Belitz for his excellent
CKIT library for the nuts-and-bolts of door handling. Since I don't
have the source-code to this shareware library, my ability to support
it is limited. If any problems come up, though, I'll try. I've culled
a small amount of documentation from his text files, to describe the
features that my program provides via his library.
Certain functions are allowed to the sysop while the remote user is
running the door.
These (as drawn from his documentation) are:
F5 Shell to DOS
F8 Return user to system
F9 Toggle display
F3 Toggle Printer (PCBoard only)
F4 Toggle Bell (PCBoard only)
F7 Toggle Caller Alarm (PCBoard Only)
Alt-H Toggle status line
Alt-N Toggle sysop on next
Alt-X Exit to DOS after call
IF ERRORS OCCUR...
If an error should happen during game-play, the user will be
dumped back to the BBS and a file named ERRORS.OUT will contain
specific information about the error.
Try fixing the obvious things -- low RAM, not enough file handles,
and so on. If you're running on a network, make sure that only
one node at a time can be in the game. Then try restoring from
the backup that you so prudently keep. If the problem persists,
try running the WA-UTIL program; it does a small amount of error-
detection and -correction, even when it doesn't need to convert
If none of these things work, contact the author. He'll try to
sort it out.
After errors are resolved, you might want to delete (or at least
edit) the error-log, ERRORS.OUT. The game makes no effort to do so.
If the program bombs, it might be nice to be able to restore from
an archive to a state prior to the error. Therefore, it'd be
nice to back up the databases from time to time.
It isn't a good idea to back up EVERY time someone logs in,
though -- much time is wasted. WIZARD.EXE (and WA-UTIL.EXE, see below)
will exit with an errorlevel of 100 if it does the daily maintenance.
You can use this to perform backups on a daily basis. For example:
IF ERRORLEVEL 100 GOTO DAILY
PKZIP DAILY C:\WIZARD\WA0*.*
The only files that need to be archived are the databases, which
have a filespec "WA*.*".
The first user to enter the game on a given day triggers the daily
maintenance; this is a process that distributes random monsters and
items, gives everyone their AP/FP allotment and moves the NPCs.
It can take from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on the
number of NPCs wandering around and the speed of your computer;
you might, therefore, want to do it off-line.
To this end, the program WA-UTIL.EXE will run daily maintenance if
there is any need to do so. It takes the same parameters as
WIZARD.EXE does, but ignores the ones not relating to daily
maintenance. All it does is run the daily maintenance, if it hasn't
already been run that day (by WA-UTIL.EXE or WIZARD.EXE).
I recommend that you simply put a call to it in the 'system event'
stuff (which is often used for getting/processing mail and so forth).
That way, your users will never have to sit through it.
Use of WA-UTIL.EXE this way is entirely optional; if it doesn't do
the daily maintenance on schedule, WIZARD.EXE will.