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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: Star Fighter 3000 updated
 

Star Fighter 3000 updated

Posted by Michael Drake on 13:17, 8/11/2009 | ,
 

The RISC OS classic 3D shoot em' up, Star Fighter 3000 has been updated to enable it to run on new ARMv7 powered machines. This lets gamers play it on the raft of new hardware platforms that RISC OS Open is pushing towards, such as the BeagleBoard, and it is hoped, the Pandora, Touch Book and other consumer friendly devices.

Star Fighter 3000 rates amongst the very best games ever produced for the RISC OS platform. It was originally created by Fednet and released in 1994. Since the turn of the millennium, Chris Bazley has maintained the game. Over the years he has done much to improve it. As well as releasing new versions to handle changes like RISC OS 4, 32-bit hardware and now the new compatibility with BeagleBoard class machines, he has worked on many improvements and fixes for the game itself.

One of the most significant changes has been to enable the game to run inside a desktop window. This is a very unusual feature amongst traditional RISC OS games, but it allows you to play a game while you keep an eye on your Parmesan chat window, as well as distracting you from any real work! The game's sound code has also been rewritten and now enables you to listen to MP3s in the background.

Star Fighter 3000 on Iyonix (left), and BeagleBoard (right)
This picture shows four copies of Star Fighter 3000 running simultaneously on both the Iyonix and the BeagleBoard. The Iyonix struggles to run the games at half the game's full frame rate, while the BeagleBoard, almost manages to run them all at the full 25fps.

Further changes have increased the redraw distance (reducing pop-up), overhauled the configuration system and fixed lots of bugs, amongst billions of other changes. For your astonishment, the full, vast, change log is linked to below. Other work by Chris has produced an array of utilities for editing the game's data files and from time to time he even finds time to work on creating a full desktop map and mission editor!

Upgrades are a free download for anyone who has ever purchased a commercial copy of the game, and are available from the official Star Fighter 3000 site, linked to below.

Links


 
  Star Fighter 3000 updated
  swirlythingy (17:56 8/11/2009)
  Phlamethrower (18:07 8/11/2009)
    tlsa (18:19 8/11/2009)
    swirlythingy (22:58 10/11/2009)
      tlsa (11:11 11/11/2009)
  trevj (01:22 9/11/2009)
  trevj (11:43 19/2/2010)
 
Martin Bazley Message #111858, posted by swirlythingy at 17:56, 8/11/2009

Posts: 460
Wow - I didn't realise the BeagleBoard was so fast! I can't imagine Chris has updated it to use any of the graphics hardware (such as there may be), so it really does look like the end of the tunnel for RISC OS hardware!

Glad to see the frame-counter is appreciated. I admit I wasn't quite sure what he thought he was doing when he implemented it. smile
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Jeffrey Lee Message #111859, posted by Phlamethrower at 18:07, 8/11/2009, in reply to message #111858
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15057
To be honest I'm somewhat disappointed by the performance on the BeagleBoard - it is, after all, about 50 times faster than the A3010 I first played Star Fighter on! I guess the ground rendering code (which seemed to be the biggest performance hit) doesn't work that well on machines with big caches and deep pipelines. Either that or the multitasking has a bigger overhead than I was expecting.

Of course, since the game only renders at 320x256, and you can only realistically play one copy at once, it's not a major issue if running 4 or more results in sub-optimal framerate wink
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Michael Drake Message #111860, posted by tlsa at 18:19, 8/11/2009, in reply to message #111859

Posts: 1093
Thanks for taking the screenshots, phlamethrower!

The BeagleBoard runs at 500MHz, right? The Iyonix is 600MHz.

On the A3010 the graphics settings may have been set lower, and it couldn't multi-task.

[Edited by tlsa at 18:51, 8/11/2009]
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Trevor Johnson Message #111870, posted by trevj at 01:22, 9/11/2009, in reply to message #111858
Member
Posts: 660
This is very welcome news: a monumental point in encouraging future RISC OS games development. Brilliant work smile

(Must now try and dig out my original SF3000 from the loft - somewhere under the BBC micros, I expect - for when I've got some new hardware.)
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Martin Bazley Message #111923, posted by swirlythingy at 22:58, 10/11/2009, in reply to message #111859

Posts: 460
Of course, since the game only renders at 320x256, and you can only realistically play one copy at once, it's not a major issue if running 4 or more results in sub-optimal framerate wink
True - especially if you actually want to play the game. Has anyone tried to dock with the frigging mothership at 33FPS? shock

That said I was never any good at that side of the game. Chris's list of rainy afternoon stunts recommends 'inverted docking', which is even more difficult. Can you do it on a BeagleBoard? (And I expect to see video evidence - ScGrabber is your friend - by the way. grin )
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Michael Drake Message #111934, posted by tlsa at 11:11, 11/11/2009, in reply to message #111923

Posts: 1093
True - especially if you actually want to play the game. Has anyone tried to dock with the frigging mothership at 33FPS? shock
Easy! I just tried at 50FPS which was a bit more of a struggle.

I quite like firing at the mothership until it returns fire, then docking, under heavy laser fire. You need to be able to dock at high speed to survive. smile
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Trevor Johnson Message #113437, posted by trevj at 11:43, 19/2/2010, in reply to message #111858
Member
Posts: 660
Anyone fancy posting the news at vogons? There's a reference to OMAP 2 and also some Pandora discussion... so perhaps someone there would be interested in collaborating.
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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: Star Fighter 3000 updated