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Article archives

RISC OS interview with Tim H-Smith

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:28, 16/3/2018 | ,
 
There was recently a very interesting discussion about writing a new RISC OS game on Stardot. Our intrepid reporters have tracked down the prospective author to find out more....

Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hi, Iím Square Mezzmer! Otherwise Iím Tim H-Smith - an Interactive Designer/Developer from near London. Pleased to be interviewed here.

How long have you been using RISC OS?
Since I was bought an A3010 on my 14th birthday! I began creating prototypes in BASIC and pixel-art with !Paint for game graphics.

What other systems do you use?
I absconded to Windows PC in 1999/2000. In some ways that was a shame. Also, I love Nintendo, even though Iím too old for it!

What is your current RISC OS setup?
RISC PC 600 with StrongARM. Currently a big desk helps me run the Windows 10 PC at the same time.

What do you think of the retro scene?
Wonderful. So much, Iím recoding a game - Hero: The Realm for Acorn 32-bit/Raspberry Pi.
Hero: The Realm is a hack n slash adventure game I developed for Windows in 2012. It features intriguing puzzles and many levels with original pixel art graphics and my own created sound FX & music. Sadly I had to halt development half-way due to financial/life issues. However this game will be available for all 32-bit Acorn machines. Now a software developer is "on board" (an incredible ARM graphics programmer) Hero: The Realm will be able to run far more "optimised".

Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?
Attending a ROUGOL next week, where I am the main speaker. It will have a Games flavour.

What do you use RISC OS for in 2018 and what do you like most about it?
For the pure feel. I love having a ROM set as an RISC OS (3.70) and will not switch to RISC OS OPEN. Yet.

What are your interests beyond RISC OS?
Game Design Ė Defined as Design in Games, not just graphics or sound, a nice Design integration is what most games need presently. Itís a very interesting subject.

If someone hired you for a month to develop RISC OS software, what would you create?
Iím not hired, but there is a possible Kickstarter for Hero: The Realm where everyone can order a physical copy of Hero: The Realm. Itís all in the works.

What would you most like Father Christmas to bring you as a present?
I have a list somewhere, from 6 years old (1986). Oh wait, my father /did/ bring me an Electron! *poof*

Rougol website for games evening
 
1 comment in the forums

Treasure trove of RISC OS games at JASPP site

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:49, 14/7/2017 |
 
We try to flag up interesting sites you might have missed or are worth revisiting (let us know if you have any suggestions). In our previous item we reminded you about Exploring Mathematical shapes in RISC OS. This time it is all about games....
 
A wealth of games have been released for RISC OS machines over the year. Many of these games no longer run on modern hardware or have been in danger of being lost as the Companies who produced them have changed direction or disappeared.
 
The Archimedes Software Preservation Project has aimed to tackle both these issues. It has just announced the latest release of ADFFS (version 2.61). If you have been itching to run Zalaga or Moondash on your Pi, this is the release for you.
 
The software is free to download and use, and 65 of the support games can also be downloaded from links on the website.
 
Many of these games could have been lost and it is really great to see John Abbot bringing them back to life for the next generation.
 
Download ADFFS and games website
 
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New release of Cyborg from AMCOG games

Posted by Mark Stephens on 09:41, 7/7/2017 |
 
When we interviewed Tony from AMCOG games, he told us about his exciting plans for developing and enhancing new games.
 
So it is no surprise to see the release of Cyborg Second Edition. If you are looking for an Arcade action style game (think Cyberton), Cyborg has it all in 16 million colours on all RISC OS 4/5 machines including emulation. The game costs 9.99 pounds.
 
AMCOG has also done a lot of work on its free RDSP sound solution for RISC OS and Tony talks about this at recent shows. The game makes extensive use of this.
 
There is a youtube video showcasing the game on youtube
 
Game details are on the AMCOG website
 
If you already have the game, you can enjoy the new levels and Audio Visual enhancements with a free download from !Store
 
It is really great to see AMCOG providing quality new games for the RISC OS market.
 
1 comment in the forums

RISC OS Interviews - Anthony Vaughan Bartram

Posted by Mark Stephens on 14:24, 31/3/2017 | , ,
 
This time round we introduce you to the talented musician, programmer and games maestro Anthony Vaughan Bartram, the person behind AmCoG games.

How long have you been using RISC OS?
Nearly 3 years now. I first booted up RISC OS on my Raspberry Pi in June 2014.

What other systems do you use?
Windows PCs/laptops with various OS versions & occasionally Linux.
I also have my original BBC Micro from 1983 which my 10 year old daughter likes playing on too.

What is your current RISC OS setup?
My main dev. system is an R-CompInfo ARMX6 with Elesar keyboard, plus a plethora of Raspberry Pis (including an Ident Micro one). I've also got various RISC OS systems to test my games on including a borrowed Iyonix, RPCEmu and Virtual Acorn.

Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?
I've been exhibiting at Wakefield, MUG, London and the South West show since 2015.
I really enjoy the social and idea sharing at these shows. For example, at London 2016, someone was running a YouTube video as a teletext stream on a BBC Micro. There was a custom DJ system being shown too. On returning home after catching up with everyone, I always have a list of new ideas to work or collaborate on.

What do you use RISC OS for in 2017 and what do you like most about it?
I use it for being creative as RISC OS is not very distracting when compared to, for example, Windows. There are no pop-ups, forced updates or social media notifications. RISC OS is something that I can take control of (rather than the other way around) and this is what I like most. As a result, I use it for developing original computer games, original synthesiser technology amongst other things.

Whilst I might port some titles from RISC OS to Windows or Android, RISC OS is my main creative platform.

What is your favourite feature/killer program in RISC OS?
The GUI itself, StrongEd, BBC BASIC and possibly RDSP.

What would you most like to see in RISC OS in the future?
Multi-core thread support and some use of native GPU acceleration.

Favourite (vaguely RISC OS-releated) moan?
I'm afraid I suffer from chronic optimism - so don't like to moan much at all. Apparently sometimes this can be quite annoying :-)
I accept RISC OS for what it is including any rough edges. I hope to try and help fix/smooth out those edges going forward.

Can you tell us about what you are working on in the RISC OS market at the moment?
Iíve released 4 games in a little under 2 years and am working on more titles as well as updates to existing games at the moment. Further, Iím going to release a development kit geared towards, but not exclusively for, games. This kit will contain the library which I use for my own titles, together with AMCOGís new RDSP virtual sound chip which I recently previewed (n.b. The RDSP sound module will remain free).

Any surprises you can't or dates to tease us with?
Keep coming to the RISC OS shows to find out any surprises. I align release dates with shows. Whatever I have finished gets released then.

Apart from iconbar (obviously) what are your favourite websites?
Riscository, riscosblog and ROOL.

Any questions we forgot to ask you?
I also write songs, prose and have an interest in graphic design. I find that computer games let me combine all of these hobbies with programming.

I also sell music CDs at shows that comprise original songs that Iíve either written or co-written.

AmCoG games website.
 
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Games news

Posted by Michael Drake on 21:25, 7/7/2015 | , , , , , ,
 

Time for a round-up of recent games news.

JASPP to release more classics

Jon Abbott of the JASPP software preservation project has recently announced that they have acquired the rights to distribute games previously developed/published by Artex Software, Eterna, Minerva and Visions of the Impossible.

These games include such classics as: Ballarena, Botkiller, Exodus, Poizone, Prime Solver & SunBurst. The games are being released through the JASPP forum, so keep an eye out for updates there.

No mention was made of Artex Software's later games Ankh and TEK, or the never released for RISC OS Iron Dignity, with its impressive 3D rendering engine.

The announcement does mention that JASPP are looking to update some of the titles by Artex Software and Visions of the Impossible to run natively on 32-bit systems. The first to get such treatment will be VOTI's SunBurst. Whether this news will lead to a 32-bit multitasking desktop WIMP conversion of Super Foul Egg, or Exodus running natively on the Panda Board is unknown at this time.

Star Fighter 3000 released for free

This happened a while back, but the full Star Fighter 3000 game has been released for free. This is the latest souped-up version, which features improved rendering distances, desktop play, and a host of other improvements. It runs on RISC OS machines from the latest dev-board hardware, right back to the old Archimedes systems it originally appeared on. To run it on an old Archimedes system at full frame rate, you'll need to make sure you have the nested WIMP installed, reduce the game's graphics settings and force it to run in fullscreen mode.

New game: Overlord

Anthony Vaughan Bartram of Ambiguous Contrasts Games has produced Overlord, a space shoot-em-up on available PlingStore. The latest version, 1.40, has just been released.

RailPro-like game progressing

In other news, James Shaw has been keeping us informed of his progress on the development of a RailPro-like game.


 
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Chris Jordan, Music500, ArcElite @ ROUGOL on 21 Apr 2014

Posted by Bryan Hogan on 21:10, 15/4/2014 | , ,
 
At the next meeting of the RISC OS User Group Of London on 21st April 2014 we are very pleased to have Chris Jordan as our guest speaker. Chris had a long involvement with Acorn, all the way through the Beeb and Archimedes era.
 
He was a member of the BBC Micro design team, Publications Editor at Acornsoft, co-inventor of shadow RAM, co-author of book/disc Creative Sound on the BBC Micro, and designer of the Acorn Music 500 and Hybrid Music Systems.
 
In the guise of Hybrid Technology he was also the publisher of Archimedes Elite, and went on to develop the SNES, Sega and Gameboy versions of Elite.
 
Chris will be coming along to tell us about some/all of these, and other fascinating bits of Acorn history, and is happy to answer questions afterwards.
 
ROUGOL meetings are free to attend and held in a pub/restaurant near London Bridge station. What better way could there be to spend a bank holiday evening?
 
http://rougol.jellybaby.net/meetings/index.html
 
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Software preservation project bearing fruit

Posted by Michael Drake on 19:04, 12/10/2013 | , , ,
 

The preservation project for Acorn software, JASPP, has so far been focused on preserving old games. Many of the titles concerned required 20 year old hardware and obsolete versions of RISC OS to run. Over the last year or so, the project has obtained disc images and box/manual scans for well over 100 of the games released for the Acorn platform. Most of these have been contributed by users.

While they've been archiving these old games, the project has also been working on software to enable the archived games to be played. The software they've developed includes: ADFFS, the floppy disc image loader; an updated version of QTM, the tracker music player; and various other software including on-the-fly converters to allow more games' music to be played through QTM.

Speedball2 Squash
Fireandice Cascade
Heroquest Lemmings
Screenshots from some of the released titles.

Over the last few days JASPP has started to release games for which they have acquired distribution rights. Currently these include:

  • Cascade
  • Chuck Rock
  • Fire & Ice
  • Gods
  • Hero Quest
  • Jahangir Khan World Championship Squash
  • James Pond
  • Lemmings
  • Magic Pockets
  • Zool
You can download them from the JASPP games forum.

If you have any old titles the JASPP team would like to hear from you.


 
30 comments in the forums

Old games on new screens

Posted by Michael Drake on 16:42, 16/5/2013 | , , ,
 

Steve Harrison, the original developer of the tracker player Q The Music, has produced a new RISC OS module which allows games to be played on old Archimedes systems hooked up to modern monitors or televisions. LCDGameModes patches the screen modes that games use on the fly, such that they work correctly with a VGA or SVGA compatible screen. The effect of this is to prevent scrambled displays and fix the aspect ratio of "letter-boxed" games.

The software is currently in public beta, and is being discussed over on the stardot forums. One post shows Elite and Star Fighter 3000 starting up on a 40inch Samsung Telly.


 
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Newsround

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Oldschool Reviews - Burn 'Out

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Games†scene†roundup

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APDL make their PD catalogue available for free download

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Star Fighter 3000 updated

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Game City Squared

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