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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?
Comment in the forums

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.

1 comment in the forums


Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 18:30, 20/10/2012 | , , , , , , , ,
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.

ROOL updates

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.

Emulation news

  • 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.

18 comments in the forums

Oldschool Reviews - Burn 'Out

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 19:00, 1/10/2011 | , , ,
Burn 'OutIt'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.

Continue reading "Oldschool Reviews - Burn 'Out" | 2 comments in the forums


Posted by Michael Drake on 13:57, 10/6/2011 | , ,

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.

3 comments in the forums

APDL make their PD catalogue available for free download

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 14:15, 25/3/2010 | , ,
APDLAPDL, long-time distributor of Public Domain and not-so Public Domain software, have taken the next logical step from distributing their PD/freeware collection on floppy disc or CD and have begun distributing it online instead. Apart from the obvious advantage to the end-user of being able to access the software immediately, APDL have also decided to forgoe charging any nominal download fees, making the archive truly free.

Of course the age of much of the software is likely to make its relevance somewhat limited (especially if it's not 32bit compatible, or even StrongARM compatible) - but by making the archive available free of charge APDL have given Acorn preservation enthusiasts a big helping hand, and for that this move should be applauded.

APDL point out that not all the software from their PD/freeware catalogue has found its way online yet, so some patience may be necessary if your favourite bit of software is missing.

72 comments in the forums

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.

Continue reading "Star Fighter 3000 updated" | 7 comments in the forums

Game City Squared

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Retro Reunited and Acorn World 2009

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Time to stop buying via Steam?

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Building the Dream 4 - Random city basics

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Phaethon Soundtrack

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Building the Dream 3 - Random map generators, redux

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