[ Go to Stephen's Entry Page ]
[ TI Book front page   |    TI Resources Page |   PC99 Review    |   PC99 Programs |   TI Articles ]
contact - please use subject="pc99 page" to avoid spam trap!

Items extracted from the issues 3, 4 and 5 of EAR 99ER (July-September 1987) produced by Scott and JoAnn Copeland in Lakenheath, Suffolk.
The regional users group was for owners of the Texas Instruments TI-99/4a Home Computer.

From Issue 3 we have hints for the Infocom text adventure Suspended. From issue 4 hints for Scott Adams text adventure Ghost Town. From Issue 5 an article on using the Mini Memory Module. It was noted that at 22/8/87 the group had 16 members and exchanged newsletters with 33 other groups - one of these was TI Lines, almost all the rest were in America.

This content has been manually retyped from scratch.

Mini Memory MINI-MEMORY Tutorial

If, like me, you have a Mini Menory Module, you probably bought it because it offers owners of a Basic System (with console and cassette) the only realistic way of being able to write in Assembly Language. In this article, however, I intend to concentrate on the Mini Memory’s other ability, that of being able to store TI Basic Files.

The Mini Memory allows TI Basic to have access to one Disk Type file called "MINIMEM". This file is held in the module’s RAM. You therefore have a RAM disk. The limitation is that the Mini Memory has only 4K of RAM.

Within this limitation, however, you have access to all the facilities of Disk Files, including RELATIVE, or true Random Access files and, for SEQUENTIAL files, the EOF (End Of File) function. Neither of these are possible or allowed with cassette files.

Other facilities available are VARIABLE length records (useful given the restricted amount of RAM available), UPDATE and APPEND modes, and the RESTORE statement in its file processing form.

Possibly the most useful facility is that of having RELATIVE files containing data which would otherwise have to occupy DATA statements in your program. The data can be loaded into the Mini Memory by another program and then accessed directly in the main program by an "INPUT...REC" statement, rather than by having to "READ" through all preceding "DATA" values.

Besides freeing space in your main program, access is faster. Note, however, that RELATIVE files must contain only FIXED length records. Incidentally, while on the subject of speed, one would expect access from a RAM disk to be "lightning fast". This doesn’t exactly appear to be the case, but I have noticed a considerable increase in speed when data is held in INTERNAL rather than DISPLAY format.

When using the Mini Memory for TI Basic files, only one file - "MINIMEM" - can be stored in it at any one time. If, however, you are fortunate enough to have the 32K RAM Expansion connected, you have access to two more similar files. These are stored in the 8K Low Memory area and the 24K High Memory area and are called “EXPMEM1" and "EXPMEM2" respectively. For some reason, TI does not mention the possibility of using the Low Memory area to hold “EXPMEM1" in the Mini Memory Manual, but I have tried it and it works.

The manual states, on page 16, that "before opening an EXPMEM2 file, byte -24574 MUST be loaded with a certain value which depends on the file characteristics as shown by the following table:"
Byte value for:
Internal Variable: 24
Internal Fixed: 8
Display Variable: 16
Display Fixed: 0

10 CALL LOAD(-24574,24)

This is not strictly true. This byte, the third in High Memory, contains the status information relating to File type and Record length. It does not matter, however, what this byte contains before a new file is opened for OUTPUT. In fact, the OPEN processing sets the byte to an appropriate value.

It is important, however, that the byte contains the correct value before an existing file is opened for input. The corresponding addresses for EXPMEM1 and MINIMEM are 8194 and 28674 respectively. The values contained in the bytes are the same as EXPMEM2.

Perhaps the best known fact about the Mini Memory is that it contains its own Power Supply in the shape of a Lithium Battery, so that any data or programs it contains are not lost when the console is switched off and the module removed. TI quotes a life of two gears for the battery.

To return to file handling, the Mini Menory plus the Memory Expansion allows you to have three RAM Disk files open simultaneously. The MINIMEM file is permanent but EXPMEM1 and EXPMEM2 will disappear when the expansion system is switched off.

Finally, any or all of these files can also be used for program storage. The normal SAVE and OLD commands are used, e.g. SAVE MINIMEM, OLD MINIMEM. This is useful during program developnent, although with the Mini Memory the 4k of available RAM is a limitation. The self contained power supply gives Mini Menory saved programs greater security than those saved in the Memory Expansion.

Suspended SUSPENDED: INTERLOGIC Science Fiction Copyright 1983 Infocom, Inc. All Rights reserved.

FC ALERT! Planetwide systems are deteriorating. FC imbalance detected. Emergency reviving systems completed. You are now in control of the complex.

SENSA INTERRUPT: Seismic aftershock detected ten meters north of Beta FC. Tremor intensity 9.7 . Projected damage: connecting cables in in Primary and Secondary Channels.

This one is tough only because you are dealing with six different robots, who all perceive things quite differently.

An example follows:

FC: Cryolink established to Poet.
POET: Internal map reference -- Middle Supply Room.
From junk we spring, to junk we go. In the room with me Waldo and Sensa.
Waldo is carrying a slanting wedge. Contained spirits, thoughts, fly from reach.
The basket of goodies for Grandma contains:
A brain plain.
A brain quartet
A brain trio
A brain two
A brain zip
There is a sixteen inch cable here. It is something we can grasp, something to embrace, whose presence I detect.

FC: Cryolink established to Sensa.
SENSA: Internal Map Referecne -- Middle Supply Room.
I am in the middle supply room. In the room with me are Waldo and Poet.
Waldo is carrying a dense wedge. I perceive a small container which holds several small devices.
The small container contains:
A scanning object
A buss object
A maximized object
A filtering object
A polarized object
There is a sixteen inch cable here. A small object emits a signal specifically oriented toward Waldo.

If you asked Waldo to Look, he would be in the same location, but would see something different again. He sees a hollow container, which holds a rough object, pebbled object, wavy object, bumpy object, and smooth object. The sixteen inch cable is there, with sonar detecting an arm shaped extension lying nearby. Meanwhile a robot interrupts and advises: You may not be aware of this but I'm not working!" or "You may not be aware of this, but I'm in need of repair".

In this adventure you should tell:
POET to touch.
SENSA to examine
WHIZ to plug in
IRIS is best used to monitor the monitors surrounding the Central Chamber.
WALDO- well there's little he can't do and you find yourself giving him tasks over and over again.

At first, try typing in ARR (All Robots Report) or ARL (All Robots Locations). Then you can place your playing pieces for the robots in their respective locations.

Next on your "to do" list - repair IRIS. She will require WALDO to remove the maintenance panel on her so he can replace all faulty chips.

Then QUERY ABOUT FC. All defective cables should be replaced, then the reset code should be entered at the machine in the Main Supply Room. Be careful of removing or replacing active cables. Four cables run through the Primary Channel, while another four run through the Secondary Channel. All cables of the same color conduct the same voltage charges and are totally interchangeable.

Once the panel is opened by pressing the button, the eight code circles will be revealed. If the Filtering Computers are operational and balanced, keying in the two codes will result in a system reset. Open the panel with care.

There is a broken platform in the Sub Supply Room which can be used to make a ramp from the Hallway Junction (North to Sloping Corridor) to the Sloping Corridor (South to Hallway Junction).

This should give you a start in this adventure on the Beginner Level. You can change levels by typing ADVANCED, HARDER, or EXPERT right after the story starts. IMPOSSIBLE is the ultimate challenge. CONFIGURE can be used to configure your own setup. At your first prompt, type this and you can then change important elements of the story.

Other important commands are: BOTH (to tell the Filtering Computers you want two robots to do something at the same time); DRAG; FOLLOW; GO TO; INVENTORY; PLUG IN; QUERY ABOUT; STOP (stops a robot from continuing its present course), WAIT and the usual EXAMINE, LISTEN, QUIT, RESTART, RESTORE, SAVE, SCORE, SCRIPT, UNSCRIPT, and VERSION.

This adventure takes a lot of study and a lot of time asking WHIZ to PLUG IN to a particular pedestal so you can ask for information and facts. At first you may want to have WHIZ tell you abour rooms and robots, and ask each robot to tell you what they see in a particular room. Then- restart and play your adventure.

Added 2016: Suspended Wikipedia entry.

Suspended Map and briefing (If this link ever gives you a 404 - it has been kept by archive.org).

Ghost Town Scott Adams Adventure #9 Advanced Level Ghost Town.

You must explore a once thriving mining town in search of the 13 hidden treasures. With everything from rattlesnakes to runaway horses it sure ain't gonna be easy. And they don't call them ghost towns for nothing. Includes a special bonus scoring system.

Summary of locations- there are 35 locations. Four adjacent locations are all called Ghost Town. Three adjacent locations are called Mine. Two very different locations are called On Road.

At the start check out the shops. The barber shop holds a clue, examine Topper.

The jail and cell have items you need. To get in jail examine the compass over the horse shoe.

Old Paint needs fixing. Most horses have four horse shoes. Saying a special word will help him get on his way. See how he likes the spurs.

Doing something to a treasure and saying a special word will help. What is the Indian greeting?

To find the mine, cross the ravine. Matches help here.

Cold at night? Try asking the hotel for room service. Check the bed for a necessary item.

There are three items to make gunpowder and there is a container for it in the store room.

Bring the mirror to the saloon, to avoid seven years bad luck try an easier way.

Examine everything in the line shack.

The piano player is vain- show your appreciation. Try playing that piano.

Have fun in the saloon, try everything you can to enjoy the evening.

Treasures: cash box; silver spurs; oriental go board; $200; golden derringer (thats a gold gun to you); gold coin; turquoise necklace; sacred tom-tom; gold nugget; pelts; silver buller; silver cup; bad gold dust.

[ TI Book front page   |    TI Resources Page    |   TI99/4a articles    |   PC99 and MESS Programs ]