Abandonware DOS title
download 1959 DOS and Windows abandonware games

Hack manual

                  PC HACK version 3.6 for MSDOS(tm) computers

                             by Don Kneller
                                2 Panoramic Way #204
                                Berkeley, CA 94704
                                Oct 22, 1986


       HACK is a display oriented dungeons and dragons type game.  It is
  similar in style to ROGUE played on UNIX(tm) systems but HACK is much
  richer in character.  HACK has many more monsters and highly varied magic.
  The motivation in HACK is to descend through the dungeon to find the Amulet
  of Yendor, then return to the surface.  As you travel you will meet various
  creatures (most of them nasty), find objects (some having magical proper-
  ties), and experience many hazards in the dungeon itself.

       PC HACK is the MSDOS version of UNIX HACK which was originally written
  by Jay Fenlason (Jay the Hacker), then heavily modified by people at the
  Stichting Mathematisch Centrum in Amsterdam.  This MSDOS version is called
  PC HACK 3.6.  When you are playing PC HACK, the `v' command will display
  the version number.

       For those who have played HACK on UNIX, this is a complete version
  1.03 with a few enhancements:

       1) You can specify the characters used to draw the dungeon instead of
          the -|+#.  See the GRAPHICS variable below.

       2) If your computer is IBM BIOS compatible, the numeric keypad can be
          used for moving as well as the usual "yuhjklbn" keys.  See the
          option "IBMBIOS".

       3) New options available through the 'O' command.
            "confirm"   If you try to hit tame or peaceful monsters (like
                        your dog) PC HACK asks for confirmation.

            "silent"    You can turn off the bell for a quieter game.

            "sortpack"  Your pack can be sorted by object class (ie. all
                        weapons will be displayed together).

            "packorder" The order to sort your pack in.

            "pickup"    You can change the option "pickup" so you look at
                        what is below you rather than pick it up.  Handy for
                        scare monster scrolls and avoiding picking up dead
                        cockatrices.  Also handy for browsing in shops.

            "rawio"     If you can use this option on your computer you will
                        get faster screen output and better input control.
                        ========  WARNING ========
                        This option may hang your computer !!  If this option
                        causes your computer to hang, do not use it!  It is
                        known that DEC Rainbows will hang with this option.

            "IBMBIOS"   If your computer is IBM BIOS compatible, you can use
                        the numeric keypad for moving.

            "DECRainbow" If your computer is a DEC Rainbow, you *must*
                        specify this option for character graphics to work!!

       4) Floppy, HardDisk and RAMdisk support.  *Complete* (I hope)
          protection from disk full problems.  Version 3.6 is much smarter
          about handling disks than previous PC HACK versions -- if your
          RAMdisk gets filled, the old levels get swapped out.

       5) Configuration comes from a file instead of environment variables.
          See HACK.CNF below.

       6) PC HACK uses the ANSI.SYS driver, making it quite portable between
          MSDOS machines.

       7) Save files are portable between MSDOS machines.

       8) A few monsters have been changed slightly to test new features.  A
          few commands have been added.

  System requirements

       To play PC HACK you need the following:

       1) MSDOS computer running MSDOS (or PCDOS) 2.0 or newer.

       2) The ANSI.SYS driver must be installed.  Your CONFIG.SYS file must
          have a line like:
               DEVICE = ANSI.SYS

       3) 320K ram or more.  Extra memory can be used as a RAMdisk.

       4) 2 or more 360K floppies or a HardDisk.

  Changes from *all* previous versions of PC HACK:

       1) All PC HACK 3.6 bones and save files are incompatible with versions
          older than 3.2 (this includes 1.01E, 1.03G and 3.0).  You should
          remove your old files.

       2) PC HACK uses time and date information in the game.  You should set
          the time and date when you boot up MSDOS.

  Changes from PC HACK 3.4

       Rest_on_space was restored.  A bug in the object descriptions was
  fixed.  A copy of COMMAND.COM must always be available where COMSPEC says
  it is so PC HACK can copy bones files and do the shell escape.  A bug in
  restoring the hell hound from save games was fixed.  TERMCAP is now used so
  it is possible to set your own colors and other character attributes.


       HACK now uses the UNIX "termcap" to select escape sequences to be sent
  to the terminal driver (either ANSI.SYS or NANSI.SYS) to change video
  modes.  When HACK starts up, it checks in the environment for the variable
  called "TERM".  The DOS command:
       set TERM=ibmpc-ega
  will give the environment variable "TERM" the value "ibmpc-ega".  By
  default, HACK assumes the value of TERM is "ibmpc-mono".

       Then HACK looks in the file called "TERMCAP" for a terminal definition
  with the same name as the value of TERM.  HACK first looks for TERMCAP in
  the current directory, then in directory "\ETC" (the normal UNIX place),
  then in directories along your PATH.

       The TERMCAP file uses 2 letter codes to describe each escape sequence
  and \E to mean ESC (the escape character is decimal 27).  Each entry is
  enclosed in colons.  For example, to start underscore mode on a monochrome
  display, we want to send the sequence "ESC[4m".  This looks like
  ":us=\E4m:" as a termcap entry.

       The following sequences are used by HACK and can be changed:

       ti   terminal initialization.  You could have something like:
            which would mean to select blue background and white foreground.

       te   terminal end.  To reset your terminal to white on black:

       so   stand out.  Select red forground, keeping the blue background:
            This is used for displaying highlighted text.

       se   standout end.  Back to white on blue:

       us,ue  underscore start; underscore end.  Used for highlighting the
            titles in the inventory.

       HACK also uses some sequences which you should not change: ho (home),
  cl (clear screen), bs (backspace), co (# of columns), li (# of lines), ce
  (clear to end of line), cm (cursor motion), xd (cursor down), nd (cursor
  forward), up (cursor up), bc (cursor back).

       If you want to make your own TERMCAP entry, copy the "ibmpc-mono"
  entry, replace the name (eg use "ibmpc-color" or "ibmpc-ega" or whatever),
  then replace the sequences with whatever you please.  The possible escape
  sequences are listed in Chapter 13 of the DOS 2.0 manual.  The NANSI.DOC
  file has a table of character attributes that you can use with NANSI.SYS.
  They are the same as used by ANSI.SYS.

       Remember to change the environment variable "TERM" to reflect which
  TERMCAP entry you want!  You should probably put a "set TERM=..." line in
  your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.  Also, make sure you put the TERMCAP file somewhere
  on your PATH.

  Commands new to PC HACK 3.4

       ^A `abort'.  Certain commands like waiting, searching, opening a tin,
          and digging can now be aborted.  Eg. if you do `20.' then see a
          monster appear in the doorway, you can use ^A (control-A) to stop
          your waiting.

       a  `again'.  Do the previous command again.  The apply command has
          been moved to `A' to accommodate `again'.

       gG `g' takes the place of `f' which will be "fight until wounded".
          Similarily, `G' takes the place of `F' which will be "fight to the
          death".  Neither of the `fight' commands have been installed yet.

  Commands new to PC HACK 3.0

       e  'eat' now lets you eat something you're standing on; you no longer
          have to be able to pick something up before you can eat it.

       I  selective inventories.  For example I= shows which rings you have
          in your inventory.

       :  look at what you're standing on without picking it up.

       #  lets you enter an extended command.  The only ones are "dip" and
          "pray".  Dip lets you put objects in potions.

       @  Toggles the "pickup" option so you don't have to do "O pickup" and
          "O !pickup".

       !  Starts up another COMMAND.COM if you have enough memory.

  Configuration of PC HACK for your MSDOS computer

       The configuration of PC HACK is controlled by a configuration file
  HACK.CNF.  This configuration file should be in the directory you are
  playing from, or somewhere on the PATH.  When PC HACK starts up, it uses
  the PATH to find HACK.CNF.  You must also put the TERMCAP file on the PATH.

       The HACK.CNF file contains variables for configuring PC HACK to your
  system.  The variables are:


  HACKDIR is the directory name of the place where all support files go.

       example:       HACKDIR=c:\games\hack

  The support files are:

       HELP       - A description of commands and options.
       HH         - An abridged version of the above.
       DATA       - Information about monsters and objects in the game.

       RECORD     - The score file (it may start out empty, but it must
                    exist).  The top score for each name and class are saved,
                    but only the top 100 scores are kept.
       RUMORS     - Fortune cookie hints (some are true, some are not).
       Put all these files in the directory HACKDIR.  If HACKDIR is not set,
  the support files are assumed to be in the current directory.  If you don't
  have enough disk space, the only file you're required to have is RECORD,
  but try to have RUMORS and DATA on your disk also.


  If the RAMDISK variable is not set, this is where the temporary dungeon
  levels get made.  Also, this is the directory where some temporary dungeon
  levels get left as bones files (a description of previous games).
       example:       LEVELS=C:\games\hack
       default:       the HACKDIR directory
  This path can be absolute or relative to the HACKDIR directory.


  The directory where any saved games will be kept.
            example:       SAVE=save;n
            default:       the HACKDIR directory

  If your player name is JOE, and the SAVE variable is save, then your saved
  game will be in HACKDIR\save\joe.sav.  Normally, HACK will prompt you to
  put in the SAVE disk if it can't find a save file when you first start the
  game.  Appending ";n" to the save path results in *no* prompt for diskette
  insertion.  This is useful if you have a HardDisk (eg SAVE=;n means save
  the game in the HACKDIR directory and don't prompt).

  After restoring your saved game, HACK will prompt you to put the GAME disk
  in only if it can't find RECORD and COMSPEC.


  The drive and directory where your RAMdisk is.  This is where PC HACK
  creates its temporary dungeon files.

       example:       RAMDISK=D:
       default:       none

  When PC HACK runs out of storage on the RAMdisk it swaps the oldest files
  out to your LEVELS directory.  A RAMdisk is very effective in speeding up
  the game, especially for floppy-only systems.  To override the RAMDISK
  variable, use the -R command line option (see below).


  Rather than use -, |, +, # for drawing the dungeon you can use any
  characters from the character set.  The GRAPHICS variable has 9 arguments
  that describe the the rooms and corridors.  The arguments are all integers
  in the range from 0 to 255 and correspond to the ASCII values of the
  characters you want to use.  The order of the variables is:

       vertical wall, horizontal wall, top left corner, top right corner,
       bottom left corner, bottom right corner, door, floor, corridor.

  The HACK.CNF file has examples of the use of this variable for both IBM
  graphics characters and DEC Rainbow line-drawing characters.

       example:  GRAPHICS = 179 196 218 191 192 217 206 250 176
       default:  decimal equivalents of:   | - - - - - + . #

  If you have a DEC Rainbow, you can use any characters from the ASCII
  character set and from the "line-drawing character set".  To use the line-
  drawing characters, take the decimal value of the character and add 128 to
  it.  This makes the value of the line-drawing characters lie between
  decimal 128 and 255 and tells PC HACK you want a line-drawing character.
  See HACK.CNF for a GRAPHICS variable suitable for DECs.

  DEC Rainbow users must also have the DECRainbow option (see below) in the
  OPTIONS line or the graphics characters will not be drawn correctly.

  Determines many smaller aspects of the game.  Options can be set before the
  game in the HACK.CNF file and most can be modified during the game with the
  'O' command.  You can change several options at a time by separating the
  options with commas.  Generally, 4 characters are sufficient to identify
  the option, so 'O sort' is the same as 'O sortpack'.

  There are two kinds of options:

       1) BOOLEAN, which can be either TRUE or FALSE.
          For example, "sortpack".  To turn it ON, do 'O sortpack' while
          playing or have an "OPTIONS=sortpack" line in your HACK.CNF file.
          To turn it OFF, do 'O !sortpack' or have "OPTIONS=!sortpack" in
          your HACK.CNF file.

       2) COMPOUND, which have one or more values.
          For example, "packorder".  To change the displayed ordering of the
          pack you might have an "OPTIONS=pack:%)!?" line in your HACK.CNF
          file.  The compound option "name" can only be set in HACK.CNF.
          Also, "name" should only be made up of characters A-Z, 0-9, and _
          and "name" will be truncated to 10 characters in the RECORD file.

  When playing, type 'O help' to get a little help on these options.
  The HELP file has a short description of all options.

  Options new to PC HACK 3.0

          Whether you want confirmation before hitting tame monsters.  This
          can be very helpful if you have the problem that you hit your dog
          and the shopkeepers by accident.  If you are blind or confused,
          though, you don't get this protection!  By default, TRUE.

          If TRUE, the bell is silent on input errors.  By default, FALSE.

          Whether your pack should be ordered by object class when listed in
          an inventory.  Otherwise your pack is listed alphabetically by
          inventory letter.  By default, TRUE.

          The order to display your inventory in.  By default, ")[%?/=!(*0
          To change the order, use 'O pack:' where  is
          a set of characters representing the various object types.  If you
          don't give a character for each object type, the unspecified object
          classes are put at the end of the .

          If FALSE, you look at things you step on without picking them up.
          You always pick up gold if it is the only thing there.  Pickup is
          toggled between TRUE and FALSE with the '@' key.  By default, TRUE.

          ==========  WARNING ==========
          Some computers (notably DEC Rainbows) will hang if rawio is TRUE.
          If this happens to your computer, remove the OPTIONS=rawio line in
          the HACK.CNF file.  This option can only be set in HACK.CNF.
          If TRUE, the input and output of your computer will be switched to
          "raw" mode.  The advantage of this is faster output and better
          handling of the special characters ^S and ^P.
          If FALSE, PC HACK will *not* put your terminal into "raw" mode.
          This causes a problem with the ^P command.  When ^P is held until
          it repeats, MSDOS may see a ^P in the input buffer and toggle
          `output to printer'.  However, if the printer is not ready, you'll
          get a DOS error about your printer.  If you get this error, type a
          ^PrtSc, then `I' (ignore) the error.  You may have to repeat this
          several times then use ^R to redraw the screen.  The "solution" is
          not to hold down the ^P key.
          By default, FALSE.

       IBMBIOS  (only for very IBM compatible computers)
          As HACK had its origins as a ROGUE-like game, the keys for movement
          are the same (keys yuhjklbn).  Some people may prefer to use the
          arrow keys on the numeric keypad.  Setting the IBMBIOS option TRUE
          tells PC HACK it can use BIOS calls to access the numeric keypad.

          With Numlock *ENABLED* the translation from numeric pad keys to
          game commands is:
               Numeric Pad               Command
                 7  8  9  -        u+l(y)   up(k)    u+r(u)  move(m)
                  \ | /                  \    |    /
                 4 -5- 6  +       left(h)   go(g)  right(l)  pay(p)
                  / | \                  /    |    \
                 1  2  3           d+l(b)   down(j)  d+r(n)
               Ins    Del      inventory(i)     wait(.)

          The letter in () is the corresponding game command letter. 'u+l'
          means up and left.  The numeric pad '7' is translated to the game
          command for moving one space up and left.  From the keyboard, you
          would enter the command ^H (control-H) to run left until you see
          something interesting.  From the keypad, doing `gh' (the keys 5
          then 4) has the same effect.  With Shift the commands become:

                       u+l(Y)  up(K)    u+r(U)    previous message(^P)
                             \    |   /
                      left(H)  nothing  right(L)  put on a ring (P)
                             /    |   \
                       d+l(B)  down(J)  d+r(N)
          selective inventory(I)      look(;)

          Capital `H' means run left until you hit something.
          With NumLock *DISABLED*, shifted '5' does the go(g) and unshifted
          '5' does nothing.  All other keys are translated the same.
          By default, FALSE.

          This option must be set if your computer is a DEC Rainbow and you
          want to use characters from the line-drawing character set to draw
          the dungeon.  By default, FALSE.

  Sample configurations

  Hard disk system:

       # Lines that start with `#' are comments.
       # HACKDIR is where all the support files go.
       # The `;n' means to not prompt for insertion of the save diskette.
       OPTIONS=name:Bert-C, silent

  Notice that in this example, no LEVELS variable was set.  PC HACK will then
  default to the same directory as HACKDIR.  Bert-C means your name is "Bert"
  and you'll play as a cave-person.

  Two floppy systems:

  Make a bootable GAME disk (by using format /s) and set up your disks as:
                      RECORD, TERMCAP
                      (optionally) RUMORS, DATA, HELP, HH, AUTOEXEC.BAT
       LEVELS DISK:   empty (or with previous bones files)

  And your variables as:

       RAMDISK=c:     (optional)
       OPTIONS=name:Gerty-T, silent, time

  Boot from the GAME disk in drive A whenever you want to play PC HACK.  The
  LEVELS disk will be on drive B.  If there is no save file you will be
  prompted to put in the disk with the save file on it.  This is necessary
  because the save file may get too large to store on the LEVELS disk.  When
  this happens you can give an alternative file name for the save file.  For
  this example, you could answer "A:GERTY.SAV" at the prompt and PC HACK will
  look for "A:GERTY.SAV" rather than "B:\GERTY.SAV".

  *IMPORTANT NOTES*  In order to save a game, PC HACK must have access to the
  save file and all the level files at the same time.  When restoring, only
  after your save file has been properly restored will PC HACK remove it.  PC
  HACK will prevent you from saving the game if there is insufficient room.

  If you want to keep saved games on different floppies (perhaps for several
  players), one method is to make a bootable GAME disk (by using format /s)
  for each person and set up your diskettes as:
                      HACK.CNF (personalized for each player),
                      (optionally) AUTOEXEC.BAT
                      (optionally) RUMORS, DATA, HELP, HH
                      previous bones files
       SAVE DISK(S):  COMMAND.COM, save games

  And your variables as:

       # LEVELS defaults to the same directory as HACKDIR
       RAMDISK=c:     (optional)
       OPTIONS=name:Gerty-T, silent, time

  Boot from the GAME disk in drive A whenever you want to play PC HACK.  The
  LEVELS disk will stay in drive B.  You will be prompted to put in the SAVE
  disk (into drive A).  The copy of COMMAND.COM on the SAVE disks satisfies
  the COMSPEC requirement, since COMSPEC is still A:\COMMAND.COM.

  Command line options

       -u name or -uname
          Specifies the name to use other than the value of the OPTIONS name.
          If you wish, you can append -C, -W, -S, -F, -K, or -T to the name
          to select the type of character you want to be.
                 or: A> hack -u Terminator-T
          This means you will play as a Tourist with the name Terminator.

       -C, -W, -S, -F, -K, or -T
          Select the character you will be playing as.  Choices are:
               Cave-person, Wizard, Spelunker, Fighter, Knight, or Tourist.
          This option can be lower or upper case (except for -S).  Thus:
                 A> hack -T
          means get your name from the OPTIONS line in the HACK.CNF file, and
          play as a tourist.  If PC HACK can't get your name from the
          HACK.CNF file, you will be asked "Who are you?".

       -s [name]
          List the scores of the person with this name.  If the name is not
          given, uses the value of the OPTIONS name.  If the name is "all",
          list all scores in the record file.  You can erase the contents of
          the record file if you wish, but it should exist.

          This tells PC HACK to ignore the RAMDISK variable in HACK.CNF.
          This command is a hold-over from a previous version.

       Once you have started PC HACK, type a '?' to get help on the available
  commands.  Long help will show you the HELP file, short help will show you
  the HH file.  You can also print the HELP file and keep it as a reference.
  Other useful commands are `/' to describe things you see on the screen
  (uses the DATA file), and `\' to list the objects thus far discovered.

  If the dungeon collapses ....

       On rare occasions PC HACK gets an error and quits with a collapsing
  dungeon.  This may be due to a disk error or lack of enough memory (or,
  perhaps a program bug).  Even though there may be "level.*" files left
  behind, the game cannot be recovered because the information that was in
  RAM is lost.  You can delete the old level.* files before playing a new
  game, or PC HACK will do it for you next game.  However, if you do leave
  the level.* files behind, PC HACK will void the next game you play, then
  remove the old files.  You will then be able to play again.

       If you can find a way to consistently repeat the error, please let me
  know so I fix it.



       You are encouraged to copy this program and give it to your friends
  and post it to BBS's.  If you repost PC HACK, please use the archiving
  program `ARC' to put all the PC HACK files in an archive called
  PCHACK36.ARC.  If you want to report a bug in PC HACK, or you just want to
  drop me a line with a suggestion, please let me know at any of the
  following locations.  Make sure you mention which version you are playing!

       UUCP:     ...ucbvax!ucsfcgl!kneller
       ARPANET:  kneller@ucsfcgl.ARPA
       BITNET:   kneller@ucsfcgl.BITNET
       US MAIL:  D. G. Kneller
                 2 Panoramic Way #204
                 Berkeley, CA 94704

       Good Luck and Happy Hacking !!

This website uses cookies to ensure we give you the best browsing experience. This includes cookies from third party websites. If you want to know more or if you wish to change cookie settings, please click here. If you continue browsing our website you're giving your consent to receive all cookies on this website and from third parties.