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DataSoft's Alternate Reality
Transferring Characters from the City to the Dungeon

hylui writes ...

Hi There,

Any fans of AR?
Recently, I have picked up a long lost game - Alternate Reality, The
City. I have saved a character in front of the Dungeon entrance
without disease or poison. Then I boot up the AR Dungeon by AppleWin
and tried to use that Transfer utility but in vain. It seems it did
not recognise my City character.

I have came across this around 15 years ago and today I have the same
problem. Is it a known problem?


     It does not seem to be a known problem. (For example, there doesn't seem
to be anything about the situation you describe in Computist.)

     My guess is that the reason you could not transfer the character 15 years
ago is copy protection. If you play AR-City from original diskettes, the Save
disk is written using different nibblizing codes than if you play AR-City from a
deprotected copy.

     A character from a deprotected copy AR-City Save disk would not
transfer to AR-Dungeon run from original protected disks because
AR-Dungeon would be expecting to read the character from a protected
AR-City Save disk. The same problem would appear when transferring the
AR-City character to a partially deprotected AR-Dungeon which retains use
of non-standard nibblizing.

     Evidently, while AR-City has long been commonly available in deprotected
form; AR-Dungeon was never completely deprotected. So, hardly anyone is
going to be able to transfer characters from the City to the Dungeon!

     Fortunately, back in the 1980's, Michael Horton submitted an Alternate
Reality: City character editor to Computist. (It's in issue #55.)  The editor
lets you change character attributes, add Gold, Gems, etc. on the game
Character Save disk.

     The editor is intended for editing Character Save disks produced by the
game running from the original diskettes. This would be bad news for all those
players using deprotected copies, except that Michael has a REM to identify
the line which does the CALL to change DOS 3.3 nibblizing to match that used
on the original-disk Character Save disk!

     A user can make the editor work on deprotected-disk Character Save disks
by removing the CALL. And, by looking at the CALL code, anyone can see how to
reverse or create the effects of the odd nibblizing used on the original-disk
Character Save disk.

     This is what a modified COPYA (named "COPYA.AR") is supposed to do. It
reads the contents of a Character Save disk produced by a deprotected copy of
AR-City using standard DOS 3.3 nibblizing and writes the contents to another
disk using the special nibblizing AR-Dungeon expects. In a test run on
AppleWin, a character transferred from AR-City to AR-Dungeon without a hitch.

     COPYA.AR is on a bootable .dsk disk image named "ARC_Utils.dsk". The
disk image along with directions for use is in AltRealityCity_Util.zip.
Click here to download.