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Posted by Mark Stephens on 14:24, 31/3/2017
| Interviews, Opinion, Games
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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-Comp
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
Posted by Michael Drake on 21:25, 7/7/2015
| Acorn, Emulation, Games, Copyright, RISC OS, Software, Retro
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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.
Posted by Bryan Hogan on 21:10, 15/4/2014
| Acorn, Games, Music
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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
Posted by Michael Drake on 19:04, 12/10/2013
| Acorn, Games, RISC OS, Software
30 comments in the forums
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.
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:
- Chuck Rock
- Fire & Ice
- Hero Quest
- Jahangir Khan World Championship Squash
- James Pond
- Magic Pockets
You can download them from the JASPP games forum
If you have any old titles the JASPP team would like to hear from you.
Posted by Michael Drake on 16:42, 16/5/2013
| Acorn, Games, RISC OS, Software
1 comment in the forums
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.
Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 18:30, 20/10/2012
| Emulation, Games, Hardware, Open source, Retro, RISC OS, RISC OS Open Ltd, Shows, Software
18 comments in the forums
Here's a quick round up of some of the recent activities in the RISC OS world.
London Show reminder
Next weekend, Saturday the 27th of October, is the date for this years London show. The show is to be held at the usual location of the St Giles Hotel in Feltham, London, and will be open from 11AM to 5PM. Tickets cost £5 on the door.
Although the theatre presentation schedule isn't yet available, the exhibitor's list is. Apart from all the usual subjects you should also keep an eye out for ROOL's first official, stable release of RISC OS for the Raspberry Pi.
As mentioned above, the first stable release of RISC OS for the Raspberry Pi is expected to be unveiled at this years London show. The port has come on a long way since it was first shown at last years show, and is now pretty much on par with the other platforms with regards to features and usability. The distribution is to be available in the form of an SD card complete with ROM image, !Boot sequence, and a selection of pre-installed software, based around the work Chris Hall and others have placed into the Pi alpha distro.
Other news from ROOL in recent months includes:
- The release of SDFS, an SD card filing system for all the modern machines (BeagleBoard/ARMini, PandaBoard, Raspberry Pi)
- The release of several 32bit compatible NIC drivers for the RiscPC/A7000 (previously the IOMD port of RISC OS 5 had no drivers available, except under emulation)
- Work on step one of the multi-stage filing system improvements bounty has begun
- There have also been several performance improvements over the past few months - faster remapping of memory and shorter drive mount times, resulting in significantly shorter boot times for modern machines, faster font plotting, and last but not least a SmartReflex driver to allow the BeagleBoard-xM/ARMini to run at its full speed of 1GHz instead of 800MHz.
GCC 4.1.2 release 2 released
Hot on the heels of release 1 of GCC 4.1.2, the RISC OS GCCSDK team have released release 2, with a focus on fixing the bugs that were found in the initial release.
- Aemulor Pro now freely available for ARMv7 machines
A new version of Aemulor Pro, compatible with all the modern ARMv7 machines (BeagleBoard, ARMini, PandaBoard, etc.) is now available to download free of charge from the Spellings website at http://buyit.spellings.net/. A Raspberry Pi compatible version is expected to appear in due course.
- ArcEm 1.50 alpha available
The ArcEm team are back with a new website and a new alpha release. Compared to the previous 1.00 release there have been many significant improvements. In particular the RISC OS version is now ARMv6/ARMv7 compatible, and fast enough to play most Arc games at full speed on an Iyonix. Members of R-Comp's ARMini/BeagleBoard/PandaLand support schemes also have access to a more polished version of the emulator, and several games to play on it, under the moniker !AcornMode.
- Atari emulator Hatari ported to RISC OS
In recent weeks Franck Martinaux has released a RISC OS port of version 1.6.2 of the Atari ST emulator Hatari. The emulator is reported to run at full speed on BB-xM, and is available from Franck's website at http://www.norisc-nofun.co.uk/software.html.
Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 19:00, 1/10/2011
| Games, Retro, Reviews, RISC OS
Continue reading "Oldschool Reviews - Burn 'Out"
| 2 comments in the forums
It's about time we had another one of these, isn't it? As you've probably guessed, this time I'm looking at Burn 'Out, an arcade-style racing game released by Oregan in 1995, and rather heavily influenced by the arcade classic Power Drift
Posted by Michael Drake on 13:57, 10/6/2011
| Acorn, Games, RISC OS
3 comments in the forums
Last month Alan Peters surprised everyone by announcing that TBA Software are back from the dead. Their back catalogue includes AXIS (which was awarded five stars by Acorn 32-Bit Gaming), Formula Two Thousand (FTT), Cyber Ape, Cobalt Seed, and BHP [Review].
TBA Software are sharing their progress on a new blog. Already they have released a 32-bit only version of their high performance image filing system, TBAFS.
They have started to produce a 32-bit version of their 3D graphics library and game runtime, TAG, and they are working on using extra features of modern ARMv7 CPUs to make it run even faster.
Another member of the TBA Software team, Martin Piper [Interview], has managed to render levels from BHP on Windows. Alan is hoping to get BHP running on the BeagleBoard XM in the near future.
In other news, the excellent RISC OS classic Inferno [Review] has been released for Apple iOS devices. There's no mention of support for Android devices. Paradise's website claims that Inferno is their "very first iPhone title", so perhaps we will see Overload [Review] and the long awaited Pocket Money / Toybox Dreams [Preview] make their way over to modern handheld devices too.
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