A macOS port of a 1982 real-time RPG

Latest Release: 1.0.9


Download And Install The Valley

You can install The Valley using Brew. In Terminal, just run:

brew tap smittytone/homebrew-smittytone

brew install --cask the-valley

Alternatively, click the file link below to download The Valley.
Please verify the integrity of the download with the SHA-256 checksum.

File Name  the_valley_1_0_9.dmg
File Size  17.4MB
SHA 256  7776640a6f2f4ce4f0d658ec05e000ccc88157aafd36616c76a358724f429c5c


How To Play The Valley

The object of the game is to save the Valley from the forces of evil: find the legendary Helm of Evanna and this will be achieved. The Helm is hidden in one of Vounim’s Lairs, each on an island within a forest. To have a chance of finding the Helm, you will need to reach the experience level of a Warlord, which you do by travelling through the Valley, its swamps and forests, and the Dark Tower of Zaexon battling monsters.

Hit Cmd-N to start a new game: enter your character’s name and pick a profession: Wizard, Thinker, Barbarian, Warrior or Cleric — click on the named button to select that character. Each has strengths and weaknesses: some will be more successful at performing magic; others are better fighters.

You move using the number keys 1-9; each takes you in the direction shown on the number pad in the game UI. For example, 9 takes you North-East, 1 South-West, 6 East, and so on.

The Valley UI replicates the Commodore PET

Combat is performed using the H, B and L keys to attempt to strike, respectively, the head, body or legs of your opponent. You can also press S to cast a magic spell: hit keys 1-3 to choose the spell (Sleep, Psi Lance and Crispit). Sleep is available to you from the start; the others as you gain experience. Some monsters are ethereal and can only be fought with magic.

In some combat encounters you will have the initiative: hit A or R to attack or retreat. Attacking gives you the first chance to lay a blow on the monster. Retreating gets you out of the fight but at a cost to your stamina as your opponent lashes out at your fleeing body.

The Valley is a real-time game: you only have a few seconds to use your initiative, cast a spell or attempt to strike an opponent. The readout will tell you when you can act.

The goal of the game is the recovery of the Helm, but you must also seek out the Amulet of Alarian. This is hidden in one of the Temples of Y’Nagioth, which lie on islands in the Valley’s swamps. Six Amulet Stones lie Within the Dark Tower and when found and added to the Amulet give you the power of to survive death — once. Unlike the Lairs and Temples, the Dark Tower has multiple storeys: look for the stairs that will take you up or down. You will also find treasure as you explore; this boosts your experience too.

You can save your game by entering one of the Safe Castles at either end of the Valley itself. Between them is a path on which no monster dares tread — you will be safe from threat there. But those who stay safe will never gain the experience they need to succeed…

For more information, please The Valley GitHub repo Read Me.

The History Of The Game

The Valley was a type-in-yourself program published in the UK in Computing Today magazine’s April 1982 issue. I didn’t key it in but some other lad did, so I got to play it on the school’s Research Machines 380Z. The listing was guarded jealously, but I was able to borrow it, make a photocopy and, eventually, port it to the Dragon 32.

I wrote about it in my Forgotten Tech column in The Register, back in 2009. You can read the article here. The comments section is particularly illuminating.

The column was prompted by the discovery of Fraser Charlton’s Valley fan page. I got in touch with Fraser and he was kind enough to scan and email me a copy of the listing (mine had long since been dropped in the bin). Thus began an on-again-off-again project to create a macOS version that was true to the spirit of the original: a UI that mimicked the machine on which the game had been first presented (a Commodore Pet).

It was eventually done and played, but never fully debugged. I’d come back to it every once in a while, play it, tweak a few things, and get distracted by something else. Returning to the code in the Autumn of 2017, I decided that, once and for all, I would complete the code, bring the rest up to date, debug it and make it available to the world.


This adaptation is faithful to the original came. With a couple of minor adaptations arising from embedding the game in a GUI, The Valley plays now like it did in 1982: I’ve retained the look and feel of the original, even though it’s embedded in a modern UI — though even that attempts to give the feel of a Pet. Please forgive the schoolboy humour.

The death routine is modified slightly with new (but appropriate) 8-bit graphics. I’ve also taken the liberty to use different Pet graphics for some game entities because I felt they looked better — but they are Pet graphics. I had planned to provide alternative ‘user-defined characters’, but that will have to wait for a future release.

For a true Pet experience, enable sound in the Preferences


My code is architecturally quite different from the original, and operates in a very different way: it doesn’t run under a Basic interpreter in a single-task system, for starters. However, it uses the game design of the original and most of the original algorithms, so this is not all my own work. The original was written primarily by Peter Freebrey and Peter Green, with additional work by Henry Budgett, so the code in this repo is arguably as much theirs as mine. Computing Today was published by Argus Specialist Publications; as Argus employees, Freebrey, Green and Budgett wouldn’t have owned their work, their employer would. The magazine’s Publisher, Ron Harris, was also credited as a joint author; he managed the development project.

ASP’s parent company, Argus Press, sold the company in the mid-1990s, and it’s no longer clear who, if anyone, claims ownership of the original source code now. The same goes for the artwork included in the article, which I have used here. I also used it in the Register article, but no one stepped forward to claim it. I’d be happy to acknowledge them, if they did now.

My code also includes the Commodore Pet character set in three variations. Again, I use them in a spirit of fair use given their age and the certain lack of interest in such things by anyone of who might own Commodore’s assets today.

The macOS icon is based on The Valley’s iconic Dwarf and a swords-and-shield graphic by PSD Graphics.

The character images are Games Workshop figures from the Dungeonquest and Warlock of Firetop Mountain boardgames of the mid- to late 1980s, painted by me back in the day but photographed recently.

The Valley character models

Source Code

You can view The Valley’s source code at GitHub.

Release Notes

  • 1.0.9 24 November 2020
    • Apple Silicon support.
    • UI tweaks for macOS Big Sur.
  • 1.0.8 14 August 2020
    • Fix UI displacement issue in full screen.
    • Better support for macOS dark mode.
    • App now notarized.
  • 1.0.7 18 September 2018
    • Fix window display issue in full screen.
  • 1.0.6
    • Fix splash graphic colouring glitch.
  • 1.0.5
    • Revamp new-character sheet graphics and UI.
    • Add preference to start game in full screen.
    • Improved full screen handling.
    • Improved handling of loaded player’s arrival in the current scenario.
  • 1.0.4
    • Fix an issue with key-presses being ignored after reincarnation.
    • Add version number to About… sheet.
  • 1.0.3
    • Fix an issue with game failing to respond to key-presses in full-screen mode.
    • Minor changes and fixes.
  • 1.0.2
    • Initial public release.

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