News in briefBy Chris Williams. Published: 28th May 2004, 22:19:10 | Permalink | Printable
New and re-released games, new software and other newsNow that all the recent excitement and hype that the Wakefield show radiated has passed, we've got a barrel full of news to round up. Which is handy because I always had a feeling that we'd need those old barrels for something, and to think that some people called me crazy.
Games and toys
Neil White is back with a new game, Cman (pictured left). It's an extremely tricky Pacman clone in isometric form, and is also Neil's first game written in C - source included if you fancy a peek. In most computer games, the hero has some fighting chance agains the bad guys (and bad girls) - but Neil's fighting for the Deadly Spheres Union, and made the enemies indestructible, so player beware. Moving right along, we'll fold this round and get another drink from the bar, because AcornArcade is holding all the aces this month, entertainment wise, with online re-releases of Tom Cooper's classic games, Lemings (remarkably similar to DMA Design's Lemmings) and Gyrinus 2 (think Cycloids vs. Mad Professor Mariarti). AcornArcade is also distributing 'Yamilo', a 20KB demo written by The Xperience, who are best known for their 64KB 'Blu' demo. Despite being famous for their relentless arrogance, it seems that the German demo group is too scared to reply to email, however their demo is quite pretty and imaginative for its size, as the screenshots below will attest.
Andrew Sellors has released a brand spanking new remote desktop client, which is "based on" the open source rdesktop client. The client allows users to connect to a Windows PC running Terminal Services to control and administrate the PC from the comfort of a RISC OS computer, or as Andy himself explains: "Remote Desktop allows a client machine to log onto a server over a network and be presented with a virtual desktop display. Applications run entirely on the server under control of the client's keyboard and mouse with the display graphics being rendered on the client machine." This screenshot should give you a better idea of how it all works.
Next is VirtualAmp, developed by Ian Jeffray, which allows you to control WinAmp from RISC OS, when using an emulation environment from VirtualAcorn. "The point of all this is that playing MP3s with AMPlayer or somesuch wastes a lot of emulated MHz - with VirtualAmp, you can play MP3s with almost no speed impact on the emulated machine," explains Ian, on the VirtualAmp website. The release of VirtualAmp raised some discussion amongst users as to whether or not Ian's work will set a precedent, as Neil 'Aemulor' Spellings worried: "How long before we see 'RISC OS plugins' to launch things like Internet Explorer, Outlook, Office etc? I can understand 'saving emulated MHz' in this instance but if we start pushing people towards Windows software, how long before they will save all their emulated MHz [and] not bother running RISC OS at all?" Where's that stiff upper lip?
Marc Zinnschlag has written Graphite, a sort of flowchart drawing application for RISC OS 3 and 4 (and it really, really means RISC OS 3 and 4 only), that's in an alpha state of development. Oh and do read the documentation beforehand for God's sake, you'll need it. Otherwise, it's a promising, handy little application.
Art package Compo has been bugfixed and now supports Select alpha sprites while its cousin, Variations, now provides extended mask editing, Select alpha sprite support and PNG loading and saving plus usual dose of bugfixes and updates. Debugging aid Reporter is up to version 2.58 with extra BASIC trace functions. Version 2.02 of AppBasic, the Toolbox based DDE for BASIC programmers, is available and there's also a new mailing list for you to join. For Iyonix and VirtualAcorn emulation users, Nat Queen has released anti-spook snoop app Erase, which "uses random data to overwrite files or entire directories on disc before deleting them, thus making it virtually impossible to recover the original data by means of disc editors or 'undelete' utilities." Finally, version 0.14 of ext2 and ext3 filesystems reader, IscaFS is now online, with some bugfixes
Daniel Hanlon is the lucky winner of the A6+ that was given away in the grand prize draw at the Wakefield show earlier this month. Also, Iconbar have opened an online screenshot database, where you can impress your fellow RISC OS using friends, and perhaps impress passing non-RISC OS users who want a peek at our GUI. More interestingly, Iconbar appear to have removed the ability for people to post comments to their site without first logging in, which is a welcome change in policy.
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