I am looking for an article from an issue of Personal Computer World (PCW) from 19821 which related to generating mazes/dungeons using pseudo random seeds, what I think are (now) called procedural dungeon maps.

This system/language agnostic article explained that (and I'm using ZXBasic terminology) if the RAND seed is the same, at the start of the program then the subsequent calls to RND would generate a consistent set of numbers each time the program was run, thereby creating a consistent dungeon.

The article also had a side bar which then went on to explain how a similar result could be obtained by using a certain range of places of the decimal part2 of the result of a mathematical function (I think a combination of TAN, SIN and COS was used), taking the x and y co-ordinates of the player as arguments, would also result in a repeatable sequence of numbers, from which a room in the dungeon could be described.

There isn't (currently) a complete archive of the PCW magazines on the web at the moment, for example, as discussed here, "Personal Computer World" magazine -1980's - pdfs?). There are a few snippets available on archive.org, see Personal Computer World search, but that is about it3. Hence, I am unable to find the article online.

Does someone has a copy of that article, and if so, could they provide a scan of it, as an answer?4

As an aside, I am pretty sure that the same edition of PCW that has this random generated dungeon article, also has the advertisement that I am asking about in Largest memory peripheral for Sinclair ZX81?


1 I don't know which month, but I think it would have been in the first six months. It may also have been a very late 1981 issue - I purchased my ZX81 either Dec 81 or Jan 82, and so I would have been buying magazines from that period. My first two magazines were C&VG Issue 3 Jan 82 and this missing PCW issue.

2 As a simplistic example, the third to sixth decimal places could be used, so if the result was 0.2345967 then 4596 would be used to generate the room.

3 Additionally, there are some links to scans from the chess related pages (Micro Chess) of PCW can be found here, Chess Programming - Personal Computer World and the magazine covers only at Computing History - Personal Computer World. I have also just found this, The Personal Computer World Preservation Project, which mentions:

All PCWs are available at The National Museum of Computing (http://tnmoc.org). They are currently being digitised too.

Here is their archive, but it isn't online.

4 Better still, in addition to the scan (so as to avoid a link-only answer), an online repository of PCW magazines from the 80's, where I could find the answer/article/issue myself?

  • 1
    Tables of contents for January, March, and June 1982 are here: archive.org/details/PCWTablesOfContentsSubset September 1983 has an article on random numbers. There's also eBay. May 17 '19 at 22:44
  • Yes, the contents comes up in the search link (my second link). I hadn't thought about eBay, I'll have a look now. Thanks May 17 '19 at 22:46
  • Interesting. I was just reading the manual to the 1990's game Dungeon Hack, which describes a similar seeding process to generate and save the dungeon. I wonder how closely related the techniques described in the article and Dungeon Hack implementations are.
    – Geo...
    May 18 '19 at 0:07
  • 1
    @Greenonline This PCW-Index has an entry reading pseudo random generate (randi) dec81...
    – Uli
    May 18 '19 at 1:05
  • @Uli - very very interesting... There's also labyrinth (jan82) as well as to zx81 conversion (dec81) and to zx81 conversion (mar82) which I also vaguely recall being in the issue[s] that I had. May 18 '19 at 6:12

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