This time, it is our pleasure to interview Jeroen Vermeulen, who has just released a RISC OS remake of the old BBC Micro game Dickie Brickie, which is now free on !Store.
Would you like to introduce yourself?
My name is Jeroen Vermeulen and I’m from The Netherlands. Recently I’ve remade the BBC Micro game Dickie Brickie for RISC OS which is available from the PlingStore.
How long have you been using RISC OS?
I’ve used RISC OS way back in the past and only quite recently came back to it. My experience with RISC OS started when I bought a Acorn A3000 in mid 1990. It was followed up with an A4000 which I used until around 1998. I then left the RISC OS scene. Shortly after the Raspberry Pi was introduced and RISC OS was available for it I started to play around with it again. Nothing too serious until mid last year when I decided to pick up programming again and do programming on RISC OS as well. Before I owned an A3000, me and my brother owned a BBC Micro from around 1985.
What other systems do you use?
Windows 10 PC/laptop, Apple iPad.
What is your current RISC OS setup?
RPI 2B with Pi Zero Desktop and SSD. Next to that I use emulators on Windows 10 like RPCEMU, Arculator, VA5000.
What do you think of the retro scene?
I very much love the RISCOS as well as the BBC Micro retro scene. For RISC OS for example I find it amazing what Jon Abbott has been doing with ADFFS. For the BBC Micro I’m finally able to collect programs I once only could read about and have a play with it. Some of the new software that appears for the BBC Micro is extraordinary and I find it very interesting to follow the stardot.org.uk forums with people like kieranhj, tricky, sarahwalker, robc to name but a few doing some wonderful things with the machine and making it work under emulation as well.
Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?
No (not yet), but I follow the show reports via sites like Iconbar and Riscository. When available I even watch some of the show’s videos. I like it the reports/videos are online and they do give some valuable extra/background information if you’ve not been there. As well as put some faces with the names you otherwise only read about 😊
What do you use RISC OS for in 2018 and what do you like most about it?
Programming. I very much like the fact that e.g. AMCOG and Drag’nDrop programs are available and sources are “open” and thus can be studied to learn from. This and the AMCOG Dev Kit allows you to do things that normally would cost more time othwerwise. It’s is the reason why I decided to distribute the sources with the Dickie Brickie game as well, just in case…
Retro kind of things like running games and other programs. On my PC I have an application called LaunchBox which allows RISC OS and BBC Micro programs to be run with a click of a button under emulation. Software/Games that once I could only read about in the Acorn magazines of the time I’m now able to run. For some reason especially with the BBC Micro it was hard to get any software where we lived and we had to make do with programming some of it ourselves or get it by typing in from magazine listings. The latter leading me many years later to remake Dickie Brickie. Back in the day it was a lot of work to type it in, but when we ran it we finally got a glimpse what the machine was capable of with the sprites, sound and animations on display.
What is your favourite feature/killer program in RISC OS?
StrongED & StrongHelp, BBC Basic, Netsurf, ADFFS, ArcEm, BeebIt, InfoZip, AMCOG Dev Kit
What would you most like to see in RISC OS in the future?
Just ongoing developments in general like RISC OS Open is doing with some of the foundations of the system.
Favourite (vaguely RISC OS-releated) moan?
Things can always be better of course, but sometimes I’m just amazed that RISC OS is still around and actively used and developed for. For what I want to do with RISC OS currently – mainly programming – and the fact that I’m still (re-)discovering/learning things I don’t have any complaints
Can you tell us about what you are working on in the RISC OS market at the moment?
I have been working on a remake of a bbc micro game Dickie Brickie. I started remaking it using my own code, but when I learned about the AMCOG Dev Kit I switched over and rewrote most of the game. There is a really nice article on the game at the Riscository site.
Any surprises you can't or dates to tease us with?
I’m investigating a next game to program. I quite like the idea of making a platform game, but I’ve some learning to do on how to do that so it could be a while.
Apart from iconbar (obviously) what are your favourite websites?
Riscository, RISC OS Open (Forums), RISCOS Blog, DragDrop, Stardot (Forums) and some recently discovered websites on programming and game development.
What are your interests beyond RISC OS?
Programming and IT in general.
If someone hired you for a month to develop RISC OS software, what would you create?
That’s a tough question… perhaps some updates to Paint.
Any future plans or ideas you can share with us?
I would like to investigate the use of the DDE and C language.
What would you most like Father Christmas to bring you as a present?
Nothing very special comes to mind. But it would be nice if JASPP would be allowed to disctribute some more games and/or games from the past (e.g. 4th Dimension) would be more easily available.
Any questions we forgot to ask you?
No. Thank you very much for the interview!