...And down again (29/11/99)
|The Elite Logo
|No sooner had the news of the new, improved Ian Bell Elite website been spread about than the site has again been blocked at the behest of David Braben.
Elite site back - with a vengeance! (24/11/99)
|The Elite Logo
Ian Bell's Elite website, which was shut down in September, is back! Or at least, there's a new version up at http://www.bigfoot.com/~elite0/ where you can download most versions of the ground-breaking space combat game for free.
"I've lost count over the years of how many have asked me how it was possible to fit the game in the 20K of program memory available on the original BBC Microcomputer. What awed most seemed to be the eight galaxies with 2000-odd star systems, each with unique name and description etc. In fact these were algorithmically generated on the fly rather than stored, but such synthetic generation of game content had not been seen before at the time. Others asked about the maths required to implement the fully 3D gameplay, which was unprecedented, on an 8-bit 2MHz CPU. I hope that releasing the program sources will satisfy those still curious to discover how we accomplished what we did on a computer with about a thousandth of the power of the modern PC."
New Toy Chronicles screenshots (22/11/99)
Bill Kotsias of Fantasia software has released a new set of screenshots from their upcoming game Toy Chronicles. Toy Chronicles is a 2D platformer which includes graphics rendered in TopModel. The game has been in development for over a year now, but is apparently progressing nicely. Kostas Proitsakis (best known as author of the RISC OS app Freeze) has joined the team and will help with the special effects such as transparencies.
Quake at last! (16/11/99)
R-Comp Interactive finally released their RISC OS Quake player at a windy RISC OS '99 show in Epsom, Surrey. Mail orders for the game, some of which date back more than a year, are finally being dispatched as we write.
The conversion of the smash-hit PC game had been dogged by numerous delays. TBA's Martin Piper was unable to get his engine re-write finished due to work commitments at the PC/console gaming house, Argonaut. As a result, RCI were forced to adopt an enhanced version of the freeware player which is still available from
RCI's product is noticably faster and far more stable than the free alternative. A full review will grace these pages shortly but £22 for a legit copy of Quake along with the add-ons Malice and Q!Zone is good value in anybody's book.
TEK jungle screenshot (20/10/99)Artex Software have released a new screenshot of their realtime strategy game TEK. The screenshot shows the new jungle landscape as well as some new buildings. Jan Klose told Acorn Arcade that they are still working hard on the game alongside their Iron Dignity, their main project. This month, as well as the scenery graphics they have been working on the game AI, especially the way finding algorithms.
Artex have also recently re-designed their website (http://www.artex.oaktree.co.uk/), which includes up-to-date info about all of their games, and will shortly include a new sound patch for Ankh.
Elite website shot down by rival (18/9/99)
|The Elite Logo
The NTK website has a report on the recent disappearance of Ian Bell's website. Bell, co-writer of the seminal space trading game Elite, had a section on his site where anyone could download copies of the game for free - including versions for the BBC B and Acorn RISC OS range, as well as other machines.
New Iron Dignity screenshots (11/9/99)
Jan Klose has released a new set of Iron Dignity screenshots, which show how much the game has come on since we last saw it. The screenshots show that the in-game interface is now nearly done, and features a huge set of crosshairs in the middle along with weapons selectors in two corners, and a radar-style aerial view map in the bottom right hand corner. The screenshots also show more "real" settings, with one in what looks like a town, and the other in a river with buildings at the side. All previous screenshots have been just landscapes.
Iron Dignity is still on target for a joint PC/RISC OS release. More info when we get it.
MicroDigital's Mico on-time (26/8/99)
Despite delays to RISC OS 4 and the RiscStation, MicroDigital have told Acorn Arcade that the Mico will still start shipping next month, as planned.
The company have already received more advance orders than they expected, which surprised them as they have not really been marketing the machine.
MicroDigital front man David Atkins told Acorn Arcade:
The Mico is designed to be attractive to the first time home buyers and the primary/middle school markets, hence Microbus for existing cards and the ISA for low cost network and modem cards and USB for future proofing.RISC OS 4 has been delayed because of problems getting Flash ROMs, but MicroDigital already have Flash ROMs built into the motherboard, so RISC OS 4 will be pre-installed on all machines.
For more information on the Mico, see our preview.
RCI Summer offer (26/8/99)
Yesterday R-Comp Interactive announced details of a special Bank Holiday offer that they will be running until the end of August. You can buyAbuse, Ankh, or Exodus for £17.00, (including P&P); Syndicate for £25.00; or the Repton Compendium for £18.00. All prices include postage and packing. To order, visit http://www.rcomp.co.uk/.
GCHQ to decide fate of Ant SSL module? (9/8/99)
The GCHQ Logo
Our spies at Argo Towers have just reported that the fate of the Ant SSL module may be at the mercy of the real spies at GCHQ.
Doom maestro creates new website (7/8/99)
Top programming type Justin Fletcher has started a new section on his website forDoom+ resources, in preparation for the release of his new Doom plugin system.
Although there's already some useful information there in the way of plugin info, cheats and a list of command line switches, it's probably the Slige section that will get the most attention for now - Slige is a random Doom map generator Justin has ported to RISC OS, offering an infinite number of new maps.
And just to show that random doesn't mean a complete mess, in preparation for our own Doom section revamp we've generated a couple of new maps for you to play with.
Free maps from your caring Acorn Arcade staff
Acorn Arcade poll results (19/7/99)
Acorn Arcade's poll for the last fortnight is now closed. The question was 'If you had to choose a current game to show off your RISC OS hardware which would it be?', and was suggested by AA memberJon Hall following a posting to the Archive online mailing list. The most popular game chosen was Heroes of Might and Magic II, followed by ArcQuake, Descent and then Ankh. I was a little suprised by this, as I thought Descent would win. It is after all "technically superior", using a true 3D, texture mapped engine, and it is the only game on the list that is SA-only.
The poll for the next fortnight addresses the age old issue of ports versus home grown games, and asks which you would prefer RISC OS games companies to be working on.
RISC OS 4 (18/7/99)Now that copies of RISC OS 4 have started to arrive to customers, there have been a few calls in the newsgroup for some sort of screenshot, as there aren't really any 'full desktop' ones on RISC OS Ltd's website. Dunstan Orchard has kindly provided Acorn Arcade with this screenshot for your viewing pleasure. It shows the vastly improved configuration options, as well as some of the new icons and the '3D' feel to the RISC OS 4 desktop. The upgrade, priced at £120 can be ordered from RISC OS Ltd's website.
Quake poll results (6/7/99)
Acorn Arcade's first poll was a great success, with more than 200 votes in total. The question was 'How do you feel about the Quake situation?'. 62% of voters said that they were fed up with the whole thing, 25% said that they were happy with RCI's solution of releasing an improved ArcQuake player, and only 13% said they were holding out for Martin Piper's Quake player.
The question for the next fortnight is 'What current game you would use to show off your RISC OS machine?'. By 'current' game we mean one that has been released, so Iron Dignity is not an option.
If you have any comments or questions about our current or past polls, or would like to suggest future poll questions, please contact
Acorn South-East show (6/7/99)
The Acorn South-East show took place on Saturday 3rd July at the Alban Arena in St Albans. RCI were selling their existing range at the standard show prices, and 4th Dimension were there as part of CJE's stand. Show highlights included the 'Ask the experts' talk in the theatre, Richard Jozefowski's talk on Millipede's current projects, and the demonstration of the RiscStation computer.
Following the official launch of RISC OS 4 on Thursday, there were only 11 copies of the OS upgrade on sale at the show.
Eddie Edwards releases Wolf3D source (2/7/99)
Eddie Edwards has announced the release of the source code and shareware data files for Wolfenstein3D, the original walkabout shoot'em up. The files are available on his recently updatedPowerslave website, which also includes details of Nigiri, a new game 2D shoot'em up he is planning for RISC OS and Windows.
D-Day for RISC OS 4 (1/7/99)
Today's the day - RISC OS 4 is due to be shipped to customers who have pre-ordered a copy. A scant two days before the South East show, if it happens it could make the show one of the more memorable ones of recent times, and a welcome bit of cheer after events of the past year.
However, in a market where users are becoming increasingly used to slipped deadlines, we decided to verify if the date was still good. Using a contact who worked for a registered developer, we asked when the release date would be. Paul Middleton, MD of RISC OS Ltd., responded: "The release date has been on the website for ages." When our contact pointed out that release dates are given to slipping and asked again when RISC OS 4 would be released, Mr. Middleton again replied, "The release date has been on the website for ages". Someone stressed from tight deadlines? Or just plain old bad customer service? The next few days will tell...