The Unofficial Taskmaker Homepage

This site is dedicated to the games of Taskmaker and Tomb of the Taskmaker as released by Storm/Impact Software. I decided to set up this site due to a lack of Taskmaker pages out there on the internet after the destruction of Storm/Impact, and to give people all the information they need on these excellent two games. Perhaps this will also sort out people's registration problems - we'll see.
Contents:

News

28/6/02 - After a little while boding in the wings, I realised that I message I sent to Dan Schwimmer was in fact sent to my Junk Mail folder because the reply contained the word Commercial, and that he replied a lot sooner than expected. Because some of the information I require for this site has been through this message, I postponed an update because of this, but it seems that he replied a lot sooner than expected. As you can see, the most radical change to this site is the background of the Zamia Cycids, and this makes the site a lot easier to read, and much kinder on the eye. However, I also ran the site through a spell-checker which cleared up a few unfortunate problems with my language. While clearing up some other teething problems in the site and sorted out some problems with certain items that weren't downloading properly, I've also added a little more information to the Miscellaneous Section of the site, including a few more interesting things found in the 'Tomb of the Taskmaker'. Outer Terra in 'Zehner-Brainer' has now almost been completed, so I may post the next alpha version on this site soon. Until then, keep enjoying Taskmaker!

14/4/02 - The Unofficial Taskmaker site is set up! Hopefully all those Taskmaker Fans out there will be already flooding in and resolving their problems, of all the few there are out there. I hope that the layout is useful to all you readers out there, and if you have any suggestions about anything that you would like to see continued, added or subtracted from this site, then don't hesitate to let me know at the address shown at the bottom of this document. Enjoy this site! My best intention is that it should be around for a while, so make sure you check back here every once in a while to see if anything new has been added. I don't suspect there will actually be any news on Taskmaker, but I may become momentarily inspirational and add a little more to this site when I have the time. Enjoy!


About Taskmaker

Here's a little snippet of material for if you don't know about the games 'Taskmaker' and 'The Tomb of the Taskmaker' as released by Storm/Impact Software. Both of the games are described as 'Sword and Sorcery games that are fun for the whole family', and they certainly live up to their name. Taskmaker was originally released in 1989 by Storm/Impact in Black and White in response to a board game that was floating around in the 1980s, and this board game formed the very fabric of the Taskmaker games. The only similarities between the board game and Taskmaker itself are the central position of 'Castle Hall' (not a small village near Swaffham), the outside world of 'Outer Terra' and the Taskmaker's true intentions. Still, without this, the games never would have come off the drawing board. I wish I had more information on this board game, but it seems to have all but disappeared from the shelves, and the only reference I can find to it is in these games. Anyway, Taskmaker was formed from the then fledgling Storm/Impact, its first creation, and several of its key areas were named under its writers. David Cook was 'Vidair', Dan Schwimmer was 'Zelphon Ki', Laura was 'Amber' and Lori was 'Bunny'. All of these appeared as places in Taskmaker, and shaped the world they were in. Tom Zehner, the brilliant artist, was a friend of David's from Illinois, and joined the team without being an 'original player'. Written in his rented flat after midnight, Taskmaker was eventually completed, and it got enough esteem and drew enough funds to mean that the sequel, version 2.0, was released in 1993. This sequel was marketed a lot more effectively than the last version, and it received world wide acclaim, briefly making Storm/Impact more memorable than such companies as 'Blizzard' and 'Ambrosia Software'. Five more updates followed as they corrected bugs and spellings, but the principle game design was there, and provided the bases for many games to come, including such renowned games as the Exile and Realmz series! Taskmaker was a hit, and still has numerous reviews to its name after the dissolution of Storm/Impact itself six years ago. Later, in 1997, after producing other products of 'MacSki' and 'Technical Snapshot', neither of which gained the success of the original Taskmaker, Storm/Impact decided to release a sequel in the form of The Tomb of the Taskmaker. This followed the same idea of Taskmaker but showed Outer Terra and Castle hall twenty years or so onward in time after the conclusion to Taskmaker. Several other features were added, and many more were planned, but it was cut short mid development by the sudden dissolution of Storm/Impact, and could never reach the same height of popularity. There wasn't even a ReadMe. Until now, that was the sad end of the great game known as Taskmaker.

About Storm/Impact

There is very little information on Storm/Impact to be found anywhere nowadays, and so I have resolved to let a little portion of my site to praise the team, and give people who like the game Taskmaker a little insight into the team behind the games. Storm/Impact began life in 1988 when a young David Alan Cook (the Alan is important) decided to set up a software company with a group of his friends in order to achieve fame and fortune. This began with the long and slow part-time development of Taskmaker during that year, and eventually he managed to recruit many of his closest friends into the group, including Tom Zehner, Dan Schwimmer and Dave Friedman. They comprised of a Computer Programmer, a Games Tester, a great Artist and a good Proofreader, and this meant that they were bound to release some good software in the end. After the moderate hit found by Taskmaker v1.0, Storm/Impact managed to receive enough money to work almost full time on an incredibly large update to the game, MacSki, with a larger staff that was more temporary. In 1993, after four years of hard labour, Taskmaker v2.0 was born which was infinitely better than its predecessor. It immediately became a hit, and the money rolled in. For a time, it was more popular than other competitors such as 'Blizzard' or 'Ambrosia Software'. Resorting to another of his interests, Storm/Impact, now officially taken over by David Cook, although in reality it was run by all four of its main developers, and 'MacSki' was born in 1995. MacSki was simply a Skiing simulator and, while complex and graphically amazing, it just didn't have the sparkle Taskmaker did. After briefly writing a Technical support program know as 'Technical Snapshot' which is all but unknown, they decided to fall back on their old idea of Taskmaker and wrote a sequel, known as The Tomb of the Taskmaker. The sequel looked posed to be as bigger hit than its predecessor, but its development was cut very short indeed by the dissolution of the company itself, and the complete collapse of Storm/Impact to the state it is in today. Just how did such a thing happen? Unfortunately, its tragically simple. Their publisher in effect destroyed the company. There were severe problems with their publisher even from the release of the original Taskmaker v2.0, but here it was worse. Their deadline was incredibly strict, and money orders were missed out, registration forms delayed and programs given to people that were not complete. Nevertheless, Storm/Impact saw through. Its players knew how good the game was, and slowly but surely, despite the shoddy distribution, the number of sales was rising and the group decided to make a Tomb of the Taskmaker v2.0 that would be as revolutionary a gap as with their last Taskmaker game in order to address all these issues. These ideas were well underway, and Storm/Impact was busily working on this upgrade and another product that did not seem to be released or named, and this occurred well into 1998 and beyond. However, there was one snag Storm/Impact wasn't hoping for - the court. In 1999, David Cook was outraged to find that Taskmaker and the Tomb of the Taskmaker had slipped onto a disk released by the 'Software of the Month Club', whereas it said quite plainly in its policy that Taskmaker should not have been released by any other party on such a disk. A court case ensued as Storm/Impact was plagued with complaints from lost orders sent to the Software of the Month Club, and this ended with David Cook being awarded $20,000 compensation. At this huge amount of money, and with the partial disgrace that this gave Storm/Impact overall, the company took the money and ran, leaving all their ideas out in the open. Storm Impact was destroyed from the inside, and all their distribution was stopped and their website closed down. More information on this can be found here - http://www.kentlaw.edu/classes/rstaudt/internetlaw/casebook/storm_impact.html. This was not the last word in Storm Impact, however. The possibility remains that they may well gather at some point in the future and resume their game production. I received word from Tom Zehner that in mid 2001 they were contemplating reopening their website and continuing work, and this prospect still remains for them today. Who knows, with enough interest they may well consider making that final update to The Tomb of the Taskmaker with a little pestering? I suppose it depends how many fans there are out there. Who knows what impact we the fans might make in the future!

Tomb of the Taskmaker's Underdevelopment

In 1997, after MacSki and Technical support did not win Storm/Impact the same fame as the original game of Taskmaker, they decided to fall back on their old idea of Taskmaker and wrote a sequel, known as The Tomb of the Taskmaker. The sequel looked posed to be as bigger hit than its predecessor, but its development was cut very short indeed by the dissolution of the company itself, and the complete collapse of Storm/Impact to the state it is in today. Just how did such a thing happen? Unfortunately, its tragically simple. Their publisher in effect destroyed the company. There were severe problems with their publisher even from the release of the original Taskmaker v2.0, but here it was worse. Their deadline was incredibly strict, and money orders were missed out, registration forms delayed and programs given to people that were not complete. This lead to many things being placed in the game that were not completed due to a severe lack of time and the fact that Storm/Impact had to devote a lot of its time to sorting out problems about lost orders and money payments from their disorganised publisher. This lack of time meant that there were many things left out from the game that can be analysed, and we can at least catch a little glimpse of what might have been a part of the revolutionary Tomb of the Taskmaker v2.0. For instance, if you are a master in the game, enter the 'Add Person' dialogue and scroll down until you find Joan's Friends I to V and Joan's Cats I to III. Certainly, these names deviate from all the other names in the game in the fact that they are put under Roman Numerals and not given a name, as normal characters would. Now, place Joan's Friend I in front of you. Turn the 'Stop Time' Option off if you have it on, and speak to him. The reply comes out as 'What should I say?', and this happens when he is in a normal mood, angry, happy or frightened. This implies that these friends were supposed to be developed somewhere else in the game but were dropped due to a lack of time and were still left in the programming for later development. While we are using the Add Person Dialogue, let us try this one more time. Enter the dialogue and place 'Eleanor Roosevelt' in front of you. Transacting with her will give you a normal response which would make sense considering as she appears in the game in the Celebrations. However, bestow her something and we shall see a little bit more into the programming. Transact with her in her happy state and she replies 'Some Hint Here'. Clearly, this is not a simple response in the game as is usual, and perhaps this shows us that she was supposed to be put in the game somewhere else but was also dropped, with her happy dialogue lost to the random happy quotations found in the Celebrations. There are more problems to be found in the engine by using the Master Menu alone. First, move your mouse over the 'Place Object' dialogue and scroll down until you find yourself in the area where the shaped keys are found. There appear to be a lot more here than are actually used in the game, especially the specifically named 'Paradise Key' which you would expect to find in the game if it is named in this way, and this again shows more lack of development in the Tomb of the Taskmaker. Now we reach things that require a little more work. Enter the Trading Post north of Castle Hall and find a grate that leads below to Subterra. Now, move your mouse over the 'Edit Place Description' dialogue and you should find yourself in a dialogue which allows you to edit the place description, which makes sense. Scroll to the end of this, and you will see that the description says 'You need not use these dungeon shortcuts.'. But there is only another shortcut like this in Eyearrass, and it doesn't get you anywhere! Yet another insight into the many things Storm/Impact could have created in the next version. Do you remember the message given by the Messenger when you gave back the Evil Eye? The message ended with 'The People of the South give you the key to their cities.' However, we must note that there is only one city past the Underpass and one castle, and Diggings can hardly be classed as a city. What happened to all these cities then? Are they another thing that was left out of the development of the Tomb of the Taskmaker? Look down in the miscellaneous section of this site in the Tomb of the Taskmaker spells section. There are a whole myriad of spells that are not even hinted at in the game and yet when used under a player who is not a master, they seem to assume that they are widely known. Would these have been found in another document to be released with the game if you were stuck? Finally, we have the greatest proof that there was a lot more to the Tomb of the Taskmaker than was officially released. Enter somewhere where there a not a lot of people and place a floor safe in front and behind you. Now, face forwards, open the safe and use the Place Object Dialogue to place a 'Tomahawk' inside it. Close the safe and use the 'Change Floor' dialogue to change it to a Town. Examine it to see that it leads to a place called 'Paradise Keys' that is not present in the game. If you enter it you will find yourself with an error message in the top left hand corner of Outer Terra. Put on your Ethereal Movement and head back to the town. Copy the floor safe that remains and paste it over the town, or somewhere else. Open this safe and place in the object above the 'Tomahawk' in the list, the 'Aks a Stupid Question', and repeat as above. Then place the next highest object in the list into another copied safe, and repeat until the town links to an 'Unknown Place'. This gives us five extra dungeons, 'Paradise Keys', 'Black Rose Pyramid', 'Backgate', 'Splinter' and 'Reduce' which were not used in the game, solid proof that there were parts of Tomb of the Taskmaker that were rushed. If you want more proof, go to the Downloads area and click on the 'Tomb of the Taskmaker's Underdevelopment' link to get a couple of saved files that indicate text that cannot be accessed from the game itself to show that items such as several of the Taskmaker's speeches are still in the game, giving more areas of the game that were left open to development at a later stage that were never taken up. Enjoy!

Creating your own Worlds

Despite the fear that many people face when given this type of question, developing your own worlds in Taskmaker and the Tomb of the Taskmaker is actually very easy indeed. To begin with, you must have registered,completed the game, that is completing task ten, and therefore have gained an extra menu at the top of the screen called the 'Master Menu'. This is your key tool in creating new worlds for these two games. Now, the basic knowledge of how to use the Master Menu to create your own worlds was not given much thought in Taskmaker, especially not in the Tomb of the Taskmaker, and therefore this might need a little bit of clarification. In order to create your own world, start off in a dungeon somewhere which is relatively empty and decide what sort of dungeon you want to create. Will it be a small village, a market town, a large city, a dungeon containing a task or Castle Hall itself? With this in mind, try to think of a rough plan of what you would like to create. If it is a market town, try to think where the separate stalls, houses and restaurants would be situated, or if you are building a dungeon, try thinking about where you could hide the task. I don't recommend drawing anything as this usually takes far too long, but as long as you have a rough idea in your head about what you want to produce, maybe even a story line, then you can set about building your world. First we should set about by building the dungeon itself. Place yourself at the beginning of the place you want to edit and move your mouse over the 'Change Floor' dialogue in the Master Menu. This is a tool that you should not need to use much, but it is useful if you need to place a specific floor that will not work any other way. With this menu, you can change the floor in front of you to anything you want, but unfortunately it is very tiresome doing things in this way, and your world would take years to make. So, change the floor to something that looks nice, and then move your mouse over the 'Keyboard Changes Floor' dialogue. With this in place, any key you press on the keyboard will be allocated to a different floor, including different floors with 'Option', 'Shift' and 'Control' held down, and this includes the numbered keypad. Therefore, don't use the numbered keypad to move yourself around or your world will be full of numbered tiles! You'll have to use the arrow keys instead. Also, if you copy a tile, you can hold down Option and move around with the arrow keys while changing every floor you step on into that floor. As you can imagine, this is very useful, particularly for the walls of a dungeon. A little later on, I may include a database here of all the keys needed for specific floors, but for now the best way to lay down the floors is to improvise. Try pressing a few keys to lay down a floor and some walls that would work and if you cannot find anything, try holding down the Option, Shift or Control keys. If you are completely stuck, turn off the Keyboard Changes Floor dialogue, turn on 'Enhanced Examine' in the master menu and face a tile you want to place down, or place down the floor you want from the Change Floor dialogue. Once you have done this, examine the tile and you should be given a letter for it. Turn Keyboard Changes Floor back on and press this key and the floor should come out in front of you. If two keys are given, such as 'Option i, a', then you must first press Option i, and then you must press a. In the Tomb of the Taskmaker, some of these still seem to give the wrong result, so you may have to go back to experimentation. Now, place down the floor and walls for your dungeon over the work already there until you are happy, not worrying about any monsters or items that are in the way yet, and make sure you are on Ethereal Movement to make sure you don't bump into any walls. Once you have completed this, we can now fully clean the dungeon. Turn off the Keyboard Changes Floor dialogue and drop everything in your pouch. Change the floor in front of you to a recycle bin and move around the dungeon picking up every last item. If you run out of room in your pouch, simply go back to the recycle bin and click 'Put' until all of your pouch is gone. If you encounter any people or monsters on your trip, face them and hold your mouse over the 'Remove Person' dialogue, which will remove them. This also works with ships. Once this is done, you can then move around the place using the 'Place Object' dialogue to place down all the treasure, rewards, merchandise and the task (if necessary) into your dungeon. The limit of items in a dungeon is very high indeed, so high I have never reached it, so don't worry about placing too many items. After you have done that, making sure that you have a little treasure and a couple of auto tellers, but not too many, you can start putting in people. At suitable points, put your mouse over the 'Add Person' dialogue in the Master Menu to add monsters, people and shopkeepers. Just don't forget to add shopkeepers behind every shop, and make your dungeons realistic. Don't add too many monsters, but make sure you add some! Also, if you are making a town, bestow some items to a couple of people to make a couple of them happy. This just adds a little bit of change to the dungeon, and makes it a little more interesting. Make sure you put in a couple of guards as well. Your town needs a police force! Finally, you might want to work out how to create switches, trapbricks and teleports to make sure you dungeon is as interesting as possible. This is actually very simple indeed. Let us start with teleports. Place a teleport down in the place where you would want it and then move to where you would like the teleport to aim to. Stand facing the square in a neighbouring square and move your mouse over the 'Remember Destination' Dialogue. Now, move back to your teleport and stand facing it in the same way, but instead move your mouse over the 'Connect Destination to Trap, Town, Border or Switch' dialogue. When you step into the teleport, you will magically move to your destination! As the link states, this same method works with towns and the edges of the map, so it is very useful. Let us now concern ourselves with switches. First, find the floor you would like the switch or floorswitch to change, stand to the side of it while facing it and move your mouse over the Remember Destination dialogue again. Now, face your switch in the same way and highlight the Connect Destination to Trap, Town, Border or Switch dialogue. You should be facing a simple dialogue box which asks what you want the square to be changed to. Select what you want the floor to be changed to and press one of the two buttons. The 'Swap' button means that the floor will be swapped back and forth from what the tile is now to the tile you have highlighted, and the 'Always' button means that the floor will be changed to the tile you have selected, whatever happens, and it will not be changed back. Finally, I feel that there is very little need to change the text of the game, but if you need to do so, use an application such as 'ResEdit' to enter the TEXT resource of the original application and type in the text you want under the resource that is the same as the dungeon. And there you are, it's that simple. I look forward to all the worlds you produce through this method, and I hope you have as much fun making your worlds as I have done mine! Good Luck!

Zehner-Brainer

So just what is Zehner-Brainer? Clearly, it is the screen name for Tom Zehner, the graphics designer for Storm/Impact that he has taken from his days a school, but why does it warrant a section of this website? Well, Zehner-Brainer is the addon that I am currently developing for the Tomb of the Taskmaker engine, that I will port to the Taskmaker engine if it is successful. It follows the trials of you, the Protector of the People, nearing the end of his reign. You are getting old now, and it has been another thirty years of peace since you destroyed your rebellious Captain of the Guards. Outer Terra is now justly ruled by the proper ruler, King Zehner, and everything has prospered under his rule. Outer Terra is now a prospering farming community, and new towns have sprung up in the ruins of the old towns of evil to make Outer Terra flourish again. Indeed, the towns of Enitsirhc, Dripstone and Quietwater have been reborn, and the labyrinthian tunnels of Diggings have been transformed into a prosperous market town. However, this peace could not last forever, and there was a certain unease in the air. As the game starts, a large comet is observed in the sky by the King's Astronomers which, unlike other signs of the same sort, did not move from the sky. Indeed, it got larger and larger until it crashed into the eastern mountains of Outer Terra, crushing the prosperous city of Eyearrass and destroying much of the great Nottingham and its great forest. The game begins two days after the crash as the fires begin to die down, and you need to survive the days after this sad event. For some reason, the long dead forces of evil seem to have been strengthened by the arrival of the comet, and sensing the weakness of the forces of good in the desecration of their cities, they begin to emerge once more. The day after the comet hit, the high security section of Castle Hall was breached and the items of supreme evil were stolen to aid the cry of the people. Some from the remains of Nottingham even say that they saw a dark figure emerge from the wreckage of Eyearrass, keen for revenge. But who is your enemy this time, and why does he want to rally the forces of evil to storm Castle Hall? Can you stop him before its too late? Don't hold your breath, I don't suspect this sequel to be out for a long time yet, and it may well take several years to produce fully due to several other commitments of my time. However, it is slowly getting there, and if you look at the 'Downloads' section of this site you can get a little glimpse of what the game may be like, and try your wits on task number four, reclaiming the 'Lead Anchor'. If you like this idea of a sequel, or if you have any suggestions or questions you would like to pose, please don't hesitate to mail me at the address given at the end of this document. Make sure you come back here every once in a while to see if the demo is extended! For now, enjoy what you can, and look forward to this most exciting sequel!

Downloads


Other Taskmaker Pages


Miscellaneous

Taskmaker Spells

Also, the item required to stop teleporting is known as 'Wisdom Teeth'. Collect them as soon as possible!

Just so that it is in an easier to read format, here are David's Notes on the Taskmaker game in a textual format:

Author's Notes: Taskmaker began as a role playing board game in 1982. All that remains is the intent of the Taskmaker, the central name 'Castle Hall' , and the name Taskmaker. The original players were Dan (Zelphon Ki), Laura (Amber), Lori (Bunny) and myself (Vidair). The program started in September 1988 and was written in part-time until September 1989. The rewrite to colour and various improvements occurred in February to March 1993; after the licenses to the sleazy publisher were over! BK. SR. is evil! Almost all the work occurred after midnight, and apologies must go to my room-mates Mike, Rod and Chris. My first system was a humble yet effective 2.5 megabite Duo-Drive Se with a 70 Megabite hard disk. Written in Think C 3.0 to 5.0 - David.

Tomb of the Taskmaker Spells

  1. When the 'Tomb of the Taskmaker' title screen appears at the beginning of the game, hold any arrow key just as the voice stops sounding, but before the siloutte of the Taskmaker removes the screen. If you do it correctly, the screen will not cancel, and will move in the direction you pushed, and will blur. This effect can also be achieved in the original 'Taskmaker' game.
  2. When you encounter an angel, bestow 'Bucky's Famous Beef Stew' to them to be rewarded with a spell.
  3. When you are a master, it is possible to warp to level zero. In order to do this, simply stand next to the edge of any map in the game and click on the 'Remember Destination' link in the Master Menu. When you then move your mouse over the 'Teleport to Destination' link, you'll see yourself being teleported, but then a message will come up saying that the game cannot open level 0, and you are then transported to the top left hand corner of the map. Is this another example of Taskmaker's Underdevelopment?
  4. Search in the South-East corner of the great forest to find David's yard.
  5. If you have a falling wall spell in hell or an ethereal potion, try entering 'Hell for Good' for an Easter Egg, and if you are a magician, try dispelling and weakening some of hell's denziens.
  6. The anagram of 'Cloak and Avoid' is 'David Alan Cook'!

Contact

My e-mail address is Nebogipfel@hotmail.com

I am afraid that I have been told specifically by Tom Zehner that I am not allowed to personally give out registrations. However, if you are desperate, write to me and I'll tell you who will.

if you have any suggestions about anything that you would like to see continued, added or subtracted from this site, then don't hesitate to let me know. I am quite a reliable person, and if you mail me, for the next ten years at least, the chances are that I will reply. So, any questions, stuck on the game, know a new spell, want to know more about Storm/Impact? Mail me, and I'll only be too happy to reply. Until then, keep playing Taskmaker! Your Webmaster - Nebogipfel.