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News in brief

By Chris Williams. Published: 26th Jun 2004, 23:02:54 | Permalink | Printable

Games, new software, new URLs

Round up motifHere's a round up of mostly software news that's gradually built up recently.

Berty games
AcornArcade continues to be the teacher's pet of the platform with the release of Hamsters and Wavelength, as part of their heroic bringing-back-Berty campaign.

The contrived storyline behind Hamsters sees you playing a psychotic yellow alien who must destroy all life from this planet with just a ridiculous sized mallet. This game looks easy, but it's not, as the control system requires some getting used to, as does the mad screen bouncing effect when you jump, or rather, hurl yourself across platforms. The yellow maniac's opponents appear to be no more than the cute cast of Animal Hospital, and are quickly turned into jam and wallpaper paint as you dispatch them one by one.
Screenshot of Hamsters
Here, kitty kitty

Terrified and equally disgusted by such unbelievable acts of relentless and mindless violence, we harassed the nearest RSPCA officer, but she was too busy playing Wavelength - Tom Cooper's space game that pits you against strange sci-fi nasties with the usual nose-bleed-techno soundtrack. Love it. Now, again, you can't rush into this game as it requires some practice to get the controls right and also grasping how the power up system works - good things come to those who wait, so don't grab every power up as soon as it appears. The advanced weapons are a sight to behold as you unleash indescribable waves of mayhem, give or take the capabilities of 2D sprite based RISC OS graphics in 1994.
Screenshot of Wavelength
Destroy everything

There's a few issues with the games (certainly on this Adjust powered RiscPC), like missing iconbar icons, but certainly no show stopping problems.

Keep on building
Richard Windley, author of software development software RPM, has written from scratch a new application called Builder. Using suggestions and feedback from RPM, Builder is currently in an alpha release state, but certainly looks interesting. It features a Filer-like display for managing source code and resources, can create applications and modules, auto-generates RMEnsure lines for modules in !Run files, and works with GCC, Acorn C/C++ and any other tools that you wish to provide support for. Builder is compatible with RISC OS 3.1 to 5, although it takes advantage of some Select features as Richard uses RISC OS 4.37.

"This release of Builder should be considered as an alpha release. I'm going on holiday and I swore I'd get something out before I went. I therefore know there are some rough edges and the documentation isn't great," explains Richard. "I am however using it to build itself quite happily as well as other applications and libraries. I hope people find it useful and I will be continuing development when I return. Suggestions are welcome."

In other news
APDL have created a CD of demos for you to try-before-you-buy, or you have them pick something for you at random. CJE are also running a software sale.

Jonathan Briggs' website has moved to a new address, although he doesn't expect to do any more printer driver development given the advent of Gimp-Print and UniPrint. Video player KinoAmp is up to version 0.32, and now includes "multiple audio codec support", which means it can use modules other than AMPlayer to provide sound playback. Photodesk users can grab this patch to add a numbered grid to the gamma and printer calibration windows. David Llewellyn-Jones has updated, bugfixed and made some his software 32bit compatible. Desktop font and drawfile rendering enhancer SpecialFX has also been bugfixed.

The multi-currency accounts app EnBank is up to version 3.01. Flowchart-ish drawer Graphite has also been updated and bugfixed. Dave Lambley's written an alternative driver for STD's PS2Mouse interface. And a round up article wouldn't be a round up article without mentioning updates to image cataloguer Thumbcat and image wizard Variations (now with added mailing list).

And finally, Dave Cooper's website that features backdrops created on RISC OS in Compo, has moved to a new address.


News? Comments?

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On the subject of games, here're a couple of gems that could be ported to RISC OS, both have had their source code released: Homeworld: [link],3/gameId,296/ Marathon: [link]

 is a RISC OS UserClades on 27/6/04 3:27PM
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Homeworld would be an incredible addition to RISC OS gaming. [link] cites the minimum reqs as a P200 without 3d acceleration; of course we don't have the fp, but does anyone suppose you could actually get it playable on an Iyonix? [link] to get the sourcecode - someone at least have a look! :)

 is a RISC OS Usersenduran on 27/6/04 5:13PM
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Wouldn't porting homeworld require some form of DirectX library or similar to be also ported?

Andy. Could be wrong, don't quote me on that ;)

 is a RISC OS Userandypoole on 27/6/04 5:29PM
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"There's a few issues with the games (certainly on this Adjust powered RiscPC), like missing iconbar icons, but certainly no show stopping problems."

Try renaming the !Sprites from "!wavelgth" to "!wavelength", and that should fix the problem with the iconbar icon. (It's nothing to do with Adjust.)

Anyway, these games are both excellent fun. Thanks to everyone involved in making them available, and Drobe, of course, for drawing my attention to their release! Yup, Hamsters really packs a wallop ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 27/6/04 5:36PM
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Yes - you can blame me for that mixup with Wavelength. I decided to merge !WaveLgth1 and !WaveLgth2 into one application, and didn't realise the sprite called !Wavelength had a purpose :indiff:

A fixed version has now been uploaded, though.

 is a RISC OS UserPhlamethrower on 27/6/04 7:09PM
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I'm curious, where is the source code again for Homeworld?

 is a RISC OS Usermd0u80c9 on 27/6/04 11:22PM
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Read the second post. You have to register (for free) it looks like to get access.

 is a RISC OS Usersenduran on 28/6/04 9:39AM
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Homeworld is a stunning game and (for me) one of the major temptations of computer world beyond RISC OS. If homeworld could be ported it would be a huge boon to the platform.

Please someone with more skills than me? :-)

 is a RISC OS UserHerm on 28/6/04 9:53AM
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From my reading of the license, if Homeworld were ported it could only be distributed to other members of the 'Relic Developers Network'

 is a RISC OS UserIvanDobski on 28/6/04 10:30AM
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It would be an enourmous task. I think there are far better things RISC OS developers (and there really aren't very many) should be spending time on.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 28/6/04 11:18AM
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Talking about software releases.

Take a look at [link]

You may like this newly released free app....

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 28/6/04 11:22AM
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In the light of IvanDobskis' post it doesn't seem worth it (sigh). Instead I'll be holding out my hopes for the UPP ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserHerm on 28/6/04 11:23AM
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[link] and links from around there, not downloaded it myself but there's no mention of licence and probably still requires the purchace of game resources (models/maps/textures) though the official game.

*pokes drobe* pretty please can we turn [link]'s into links to click *wears out the cut and paste*

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 28/6/04 1:04PM
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Wavelength loads on VA5000, runs fine, but if you start a game, the screen is impossible to see what's going on. Still - at least it doesn't crash! :)

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 28/6/04 3:41PM
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harmsy: the highest graphics setting uses a custom screen mode for a better resolution. try changing the setting in the options before starting the game.

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 28/6/04 3:44PM
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The Iyonix should be fast enough to run Homeworld, and it doesn't require 3D graphics to run. Someone is working on making an SDL port of the game to Unix. I don't know whether a RISC PC would be fast enough though.

Marathon would probably be alot less work. And it'd work on a humble A7000. It's multiplayer too. Well Homeworld is multiplayer, but the source release excludes the multiplay code, so that'd have to be reimplemented.

 is a RISC OS UserClades on 29/6/04 9:04AM
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to be honest the RiscPC is fast enough with day to day tasks, but for anything else, it just doesnt stand a chance, the faster 400+ Mhz machines are a minimum for most games on the PC world (strangely even with today's games)

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 29/6/04 1:30PM
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