[Journal]Arthur's Sword (UPDATE: 2010-05-11)

Here is what I am working for the EGA Tiny Comp. It is a dungeon crawler inspired by The Sword of Fargoal, an old C64 game I used to play.

Play here:

For those not familiar with The Sword of Fargoal, it is real time but the time increments are fixed. So you only can take maybe 6 or 8 steps per second and the monsters move whether you move or not, but slower than you. Once I start adding sound it will be a little easier to tell your own and the monster movements.

All comments welcome.

Known issues:

  • gold still shows on map after it is picked up
  • sometimes a monster is not shown in play but it is still there

[Edit]Only one level so far.

Looks good, but your characters life bar (if it isn’t for debug) would appear to be in violation of the rules.

I don’t understand why. Can you explain?


Your life bar is half a pixel tall, compared to the rest of the screen; either your actual resolution is double the permitted, or you’re drawing the life bar as an illegal overlay.

The life bar is 1 pixel tall. The scaling may be causing it to look smaller, but I draw everything at 40x30 and the use Graphics.scale(x,y) to scale it up to the size of the applet space. I am not sure why it is doing that. I just use Graphics.drawLine() so it should scale appropriately. I’ll have to look at the scaling and make sure it is correct.

It will be because you are drawing the line at the scaled up resolution with a scaled up stroke width. With coordinates 0,0 and a stroke 10 wide the line will extend 5 pixels above the top of screen. It is much better to do all drawing operations on a 40x30 buffer and then draw the scaled buffer to the screen.

Thanks. I just figured that out. I will change to a backbuffer image to fix it.

Fixed the health bar problem and the problem with taking things off the map when they are picked up.

I enjoyed playing this. It’s off to a good start.

I did find it quite confusing initially though. I think the reasons are:

  • The block scrolling makes it difficult to get orientated, especially when blocks suddenly pop into view. Would it be possible to scroll one pixel at a time instead?
  • The way the turns alternate between player and enemies took some getting used to. How about using count-down sound effects or some kind of visual cue to indicate how much time is left before the enemies move?
  • I found the text distracting, particularly because it takes up so much of the screen. Could the text be overlaid on the playing area rather than having its own part of the screen? I’d think it would still be readable if you used white letters with a (one-pixel wide) black edging for example.


P.S. The links aren’t working this morning. [Edit] They’re working again now.

My only real complaint is that the responsiveness is pretty poor; I have no on-screen indications of whether a keystroke will be responded to, exacerbated by the fact that it only updates once or twice per second. Even when I establish a key-hitting rhythm that seems to give the game enough time to respond, the moment I touch a bat, I have to wait a couple seconds before any key presses work again.

I assume there’s no way yet to go down or up the stairs, but in three plays I have yet to take damage from a fight. I think I once saw the health bar go down one or two pixels while I was walking down an empty hallway, but there wasn’t a bat in sight, and I got no text saying I had been in a fight, and nothing indicating I had walked into a trap.

  1. The game is meant to be done a step at a time. Once I add sound effects it should make more sense.
  2. Yes there will be sound effects for your walking and for when a monster moves.
  3. Do you mean during a fight just pop the text over the field?

I had an alternate boot going for a while so the links were down for a couple of hours.

Thanks for the comments.

It should make a little more sense once the sounds are added. There is a definite delay between each step you make, but you can hold down the arrow for continuous movement. You just run the risk of running into a monster when you don’t want to. The monsters are a little easy right now. I still have to play around with that. The stairs don’t work yet because there is only one level right now.

Thanks for the comments.

Okay, but just to be clear I mean that while the player moves in one-block steps, those steps could be animated more smoothly by scrolling one pixel at a time. No change to gameplay, just presentation. But fair enough if that’s not the effect you’re aiming for.

Yes, if that works. The problem is just that the text’s rectangular black background makes it look like part of the maze, which is distracting when you first start playing and are trying to figure out what’s going on.


A new version is up.

  • changed the text to have a transparent background
  • made first level monsters a little more difficult
  • quickly made 30 levels(copy of first)

The stairs will now work, but the character doesn’t level up and there are no new monsters yet. The levels also get physically bigger as you descend.

Hello CaptainJester,

Sorry to see that your site: 216.58 etc… is not up so I couldn’t test it… Will try at
a later time…

Best regards from


Sorry, I had it down over night and most of the day. It is back up now.


Hello CaptainJester,

Worked on all of these:
Acer Aspire 5740, Windows 7 , Internet Explorer, jdk1.6.0_20
Mac Mini, Snow Leopard OS X, Safari, jdk 1.6.0_20
Suse 10 (Virtual Machine), firefox, jdk 1.6.0_19
HP Compaq 6820, Fedora 8, Firefox, jdk 1.6.0_04

I have no idea how to walk up/down the stairs.
Will there be some kind of battle system? Or is the object of the game
to pass the enemy as quick as possible?
I liked the mystery of the hidden tiles in both map and game.

Best regards from


When you are on the stairs just press the control key to take them.

To fight a creature you just have to occupy the same square as that creature.

The object is to go through the 30 levels and survive to find Arthur’s Sword.

I only have about 12 levels finished right now, the rest are just placeholders.