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Stable game
Developer Psiweapon

Michał Bieliński

Theme Science Fiction
Influences Zap'M (parent); NetHack, SLASH'EM
Released 3 March 2011 (1.0)
Updated 4th March 2017 (2.5)
Licensing Aladdin Free Public License
P. Language C++, Lua, FreePascal
Platforms Windows, Linux, Mac OS X with source available
Interface ASCII, NotEye
Game Length Over an hour
Official site of PRIME

PRIME is a variant of Zap'M started in March 2011 by Psiweapon. Michał joined in late October 2011. Development continued until the end of 2014.

PRIME originally stood for Pesky Reticulans, Improvements, More Everything. Since 2.0 the "more" was replaced with "moar" but only in graphical logo. Version 2.1 also applied the change to all places.


PRIME plays like dungeon exploration roguelike with focus on wealth of interactions between game objects, humor and science fiction theme. The gameplay most resembles NetHack. Its approach of including everything and the kitchen sink is also visible. You can fight off an away team of redshirts with a bat'leth while being clad in stormtrooper armor. If reference material is science fiction it can be probably added.

Command interface maintains less strong connection to hacklikes. Game appearance is much closer to Angband. A side bar displaying character abilities, current afflictions, ammunition and other data sometimes caused people new to Zap'M to wonder if it is some kind of *band variant. It is also true of PRIME. Added equippy characters augment this feeling.

Combat in game is skewed towards ranged weapons. A great many of most deadly creatures are lethal in melee (aliens, zerglings) but have no projectile capability. Others that are actually threatening both close and far (unix daemons, daleks, chaos marines) are better engaged from a distance facilitating more opportunities for escape.

Differences between PRIME and Zap'M

PRIME attempts to deepen and add variety to Zap'M.

The variant adds several human character professions, three reticulan character professions, a Yautja hunter and one outsider role. New item categories include cloaks and boots. Among new weapons notable are flamethrowers, plasma guns and unarmed weapons.

Major mechanics changes are as follows:

  • Cracking is not limited to floppy disks.
  • All canisters can be applied to pour them out.
  • Floppy disks and computers may be infected. Infected software is not reliable.
  • Computers now need operating system to execute floppy disk programs. Quality of installed system varies.
  • Items have lore and information. It can be accessed by examine command. Monsters also have lore.
  • Objects are no longer restricted to properties of its type.
  • The Mainframe is no longer accessed by stairs.
  • There is invisibility and camouflage.
  • Humans are no longer only playable race.
  • Some intrinsics are graded. For example regeneration can be fast or slow depending on quality of granting equipment.

Subsequent releases have added new monsters with special abilities. There are new items that break category boundaries. Monkey wrench became a weapon-tool, some Yautja weapons are great both in melee and when thrown. Notably combi-stick and smart-disc fall into this category.


Since 1.9 there were spoilers being prepared. The fact is there is not much information to be found for ZapM anywhere outside official site but even this is not enough. There is no wiki to inform curious players as to the mechanics. Ability to source dive is uncommon trait among players. Thus this spoiler database.

Version history

PRIME has entered Roguelike Incubator initiative on 14th June 2012. Version 1.10 and 1.11 changes are mainly result of feedback given there.

  • 2.5 is version with very few gameplay changes. Its main contribution is an actual license instead of relying on declaring the game freeware while de facto lacking a license and operating on all rights reserved mode.
  • 2.4 updates the NotEye interface and has many small fixes, additions and changes. Intrinsics are no longer binary. New type of trap appears.
  • 2.3 adds several new classes and other changes, such as keyboard mappings
  • 2.2 adds support of ASCII display to graphical mode as well as overlaying ASCII map when left alt is held. Webbing is finally fixed and professions are better differentiated. New type of shop appears.
  • 2.1 improves graphical mode making it comparable to ASCII mode. Unidentified items can be perceived to belong to different object categories.
  • 2.0 supports the Necklace of the Eye roguelike front end. Very incomplete graphical mode is presented.
  • 1.11 introduces Yautja hunter as playable profession. Intended to be substitute for easy mode and good for first-time players. A lot of Predator gear was introduced. Interface was modernized again.
  • 1.10 simplifies command list and improves interface. Menus have scrolling instead of paging. Doors open on bump. Grenades and electronic gizmos have their own flavor. Adds new types of boots.
  • 1.9 adds digging, combining items, more psykers and psionic items. It also allows to apply all canisters. Items are not restricted to properties of only a single category. For example monkey wrench despite being a tool now can deal decent damage.
  • 1.8 adds key maps, a new player race, lore, Melnorme traders and richer interaction between damage types and items. Even more new items appeared.
  • 1.7 adds operating systems, character log file, cone area attack. Matter compiler is implemented. Brings a few user interface improvements.
  • 1.6 adds altars to chaos deities.
  • 1.5 adds the Reticulan race with 3 professions, chaos items, some new monsters, and more weapons.
  • 1.4 adds more monsters and a new armor property, along with some minor tweaks.
  • 1.3 adds informal identification for implants, new monsters and additional equipment.
  • 1.2 has the canisters fixed and there are a few more canister descriptions than actual canisters, so you will not always see the same descriptions. The release adds cloaks too.
  • 1.0 has roughly one and a half times as many levels as Zap'M, adds two professions, new gear, better equipped monsters, and implements colored canisters. In v1 the canisters are bugged resulting in occasional canisters without a description.