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4th Dimension games republished again

By Chris Williams. Published: 3rd Jun 2005, 15:50:07 | Permalink | Printable

1990s favourites slapped on CDs

Stunt Racer 2000 on CDDetails of the APDL games collection CDs have emerged: Having taken over the 4th Dimension games range from CJE Micros in July 2004, APDL have now compiled three CDs of old flight simulator, racing car and sports themed games.

The games are not 32bit compatible, although have been checked for StrongARM and RISC OS 4 compatibility. The flight sim CD features classics Chocks Away, Interdictor II and friends. The racing games CD includes Stunt Racer 2000 and Saloon Cars Deluxe. The sports games CD features Break 147, Grievous Bodily 'ARM and The Olympics.

The 4th Dimension were a prominent games developing outfit during the Acorn era of the 1990s, until the group departed the scene, leaving behind gems such as Stunt Racer 2000, Cataclysm, Galatic Dan and others. They were also known for their multi-page white-on-black adverts in Acorn User magazine.


APDL games page

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Now if only someone would develop some new games rather then republishing the old classics. Even new versions of the old classics with full 16 bit stereo sound tracks and graphics that would only work on minimum setup of a SARPC with 2Mb of VRAM, but primarily aimed at the newer machines.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 3/6/05 4:25PM
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It would be good to see some of these games updated for the new hardware.

Nonetheless, it's also good to see them released at a reasonable price and I'm sure APDL should sell a good number of these CDs. There seem to be a lot of people who left the RISC OS market a long time ago, but who still hanker after some of these classic games.

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 3/6/05 4:58PM
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In my experience of re-released games (The Superior Collection, released a few years ago) is that they're shockingly badly behaved on even slightly recent hardware. We were promised games that'd work on StrongARM RiscPCs, and out of the couple of dozen games on the CD, precisely 1 worked faultlessly. Asking the publishers (that bunch that seems to float around APDL a lot - I've forgotten their name) if they were going to fix it just fell on completely deaf ears. :-/ (Oh, and then they went and released a new version of Repton - the game I bought the collection for in the first place, that works fine, but expected to be paid for it!)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 3/6/05 5:08PM
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I disagree. Updating these old 3d games to modern ARM hardware would only show how poor the floating point emulation is compared to proper 3d hardware, assuming we couldn't use the full features of the Iyonix or Viewfinder cards. We'd be better off with completely new graphics (with completely new games) using specifically designed graphics, maybe in 2.5d (that is, mostly high res 2d+parallax)

Anyway, news of these CDs is welcome. 7-9 games for 15 quid each is a big improvement on selling them individually for a similar price. So you don't get big boxes and paper instructions (I assume), but frankly charging full price for games with such archaic gameplay seemed rather silly. Gamers these days expect games to be properly difficult, rather than penalising them for a single simple mistake with instant death.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 3/6/05 5:17PM
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Can you still get Dune II that works on VRPC and RO4, it would have be on CD

 is a RISC OS Userdemondb on 3/6/05 5:46PM
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sa110> The reason people don't develop new games for RISC OS, it because "the public" don't want that. People want ports of PC crap. "If it's not Doom 3, forget it" is the basic attitude. Who can afford to buy game rights from ID/Sony/EA...?

There's an immense amount of work required to get any decent sized game up to any sane level of solidity, and you nominally only get one chance to release it, bug free, unlike application software where it's almost -expected- that there'll be future upgrades. I wrote or had a hand in a good number of wholly original acorn games over an 8 year timespan, and the majority of feedback from users or commentary on the 'net was about how to hack them, how to copy them, moans that we'd not done port-games, etc. Not a great deal of positivity.

We simply had to accept it -- people really DON'T want to buy original games for this platform any more.

OTOH, if you have a spare few grand to fund the development of something.... :-D

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 3/6/05 7:04PM
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so is that all it takes, £2000 ro £3000?

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 3/6/05 7:16PM
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demondb: You can download the final release of Dune II from [link]

RCI did great work in bringing some popular 90's PC/Amiga titles to the platform. The last native, commercial, release was TEK1608 which is a great game and AFAIK still available from R-Comp (for 26-bit machines). Until the market expands sufficiently to justify developing new home grown RO games, I'd recommend buying a gaming console. I've recently opted for the (ARM inside :)) GBA.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 3/6/05 8:11PM
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I actually plan to make a "commercial" game for the Acorn :d. If it ever happens it will be a 2D shooter released in a colourfull package.The one thing I have going for me is that I know a heck of a lot of graphicdesigners who are are willing to help me out in the graphics department.The main problem is that I really can't code, it's been ten years ago since I coded some very basic BASIC :d. But luck is on my side ,my sister has been going steady with a professional gamecoder for like seven months. So if my little evil" cunning" plan works out. I'll just end up being the designer/producer :d and you all will have something to play with at Wakefield 06

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 3/6/05 11:03PM
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Even ignoring Elite, RISC OS has had a game that's held hours of my life, and would like resurrected in some new form more than anything I've seen elsewhere (not that the original isn't still very playable) - Exodus.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 4/6/05 1:08AM
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The fact is that no current RISC OS computer could run the type of games I like playing. Although, if anyone can do a clone of Colin McRae Rally, Gran Turismo, Driver, GTA:Vice City or Counterstrike then good for them :) -- Spriteman

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 5/6/05 2:12PM
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A little gaming tidbit that might interested you... At E3 this year, the Adventure Company (US company, I think) were showing Ankh - Tales of Mystery, and a certain Jan Klose was interviewed about it. They even mentioned that the original game was release on Acorn RISC OS! Going back to the thread, there's really very very little demand for games any more in this market. The remaining RISC OS owners tend to fit a fairly narrow demographic - one which doesn't play games. We have hundreds of games in the loft, which simply don't sell, even when we drop prices to cost price (or less) at shows :-< I appreciate that this may be because of genre/price, but even so, that's the underlying reason why new games development isn't hugely practical.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 5/6/05 2:12PM
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Hey arawnsley could you tell me +/- how many copies games like doom or quake sold? Just curious

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 5/6/05 4:39PM
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In my experience, many RISC OS owners like playing games, but most do it on some other platform. And you can't blame them. Modern games, wich look, sound and feel like interactive movies, are just not technically possible on RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 5/6/05 4:43PM
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Certainly true, but what about game play? The only time Acorn games were technically/graphically impressive, were the early days... I think the platform has also produced several excellent games in terms of playability and just sheer fun! Think Star Fighter 3000 or Exodus...

I'm playing Zelda now on GBA, it is great fun and hardly as advanced as modern pc/ps2/xbox games :)

arawnsley: If you guys have that many games still lying around, why not make a nice offer, some publicity? Do most of them run on recent versions of Select/Adjust?

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 5/6/05 6:08PM
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I have to say, speaking as someone who's been there, done that for several years, I agree totally with arawnsley/lmj - the RISC OS games market went down the pan years ago.

That said, I *do* have a small number of games projects either in the early stages of development or simply at the planning stage - but due to my hectic schedule of a) (paid)work and b) trying to have a life, it's literally a case of 5 minutes work here, 5 minutes work there - not to mention that when time does actually permit, I'm more inclined to work on WebChange anyway - so progress is slow enough to make a snail's pace look rather hasty. The incentive to prioritise on the games just isn't there - I know damned well that if/when they are completed and on sale (which will be at a budget price, obviously - that's my ball, man), I *will* make a loss based on development time.

To develop a 'full price' and substantial (to make that full price fair and reasonable) game from scratch, it will take more than £2000-£3000 if you want the level of sophistication and decent graphic design, and sound/music, etc - because you would be talking about a team of programmers/designers, and several months work at the very least. For me, because I'm cheaper than most (I'm a veritable bargain, but that's also why I'm always so damned busy!), £3000 (plus VAT!) would enable me to commit to two, maybe three, solid months work on that one project (in theory - in practice I have too many long term work commitments to be able to work solidly on one project). That would definitely enable me to finish one of my games - and possibly even make headway into another - but these are /budget/ titles, being developed by a lone developer.

If I decided to live off my savings for the duration, there is absolutely no way I would recoup that money in revenue. I'm looking at a £5 (inc VAT) price point - to recover £3000, I'd actually have to sell just over 700 copies. Just to break even. In the RISC OS market, that simply wouldn't happen.

I've rambled a bit, but I think the relevant points are all covered.


 is a RISC OS UserVinceH on 5/6/05 6:41PM
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The only way, theoretically, a RISC OS game could be successfully commerical is if it also got marketed on other platforms. Except of course, we've seen that plan fail with things like Iron Dignity.

The most recent native RISC OS games were from Neil White, and I know he spent a lot of time on those - and those are much smaller than for example the ones Paradise sold.

And now that many games can so easily be ported to RISC OS (thanks to Alan Buckley's work on SDL, and GCCSDK development) - sometimes in a matter of minutes by novice programmers.

This means that any new games appearing on RISC OS are likely to be ports, since the time and cost of doing so are magnitudes lesst than other options.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 5/6/05 9:11PM
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So Peter what you are saying is that a game Like Kenta Cho's Noiz2sa, one of the biggest underground games and ported to virtually every popular system in the business could be ported in mere minutes? that would be awesome(even Gamepark32 and that's arm based so a port could be even more easy I suppose). [link] linux versions: [link] All is other games are also great but don't seem to get ported that much since they are written in D.

The strangest thing is that you RiscOS users have had a huge culthit under your belt which they seem to have neglected.While a lot of hardcore shooting fans think Spheres of Chaos is one of the best games ever. Yet here it's hardly ever regarded as a classic. Discuss!

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 5/6/05 11:10PM
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highlandcattle: I don't think Peter said that at all. He said "sometimes", as in with things now available such as SDL some games will be simple to port (presumably requiring not much more done to them than compiling them). Others will, of course, take a lot more effort, or be impossible.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 6/6/05 1:59AM
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That's right. Even if they're in SDL, it can sometimes day hours or days to get right. There can be a lot of factors.

It just so happens that this particular game _was_ in SDL, although needed some Makefile hacking. I got it to compile within 10 minutes. Of course, I haven't tested it, so have no idea of performance or if it even works. Plus of course it needs a RISC OS application directory, and perhaps RISC OS specific instructions. And so that it is easily built by others and future releases can be made with very little effort, it needs adding to the auotbuilder. Easily a couple of hours by the time you're done, and perhaps of questionalbe value given the mentioned interest in games.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 6/6/05 7:13AM
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The things that put me off playing games on RISC OS are lack of joystick support and requirement for special screen modes (a problem on an LCD).

However, there could be a few children who like games, who have inherited a strongarm RPC after their parents upgrade.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 6/6/05 8:25AM
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Hey Peter,Simon that wa actually a nasty trick by me to get peter to port the game. Sorry about that :).But I'm betting that when a full good working version is released (and i spread the gospel a bit around the web) you'll see an awfull lot off IP adresses you haven't seen before.I naturally also realise this will be a drop on a hot plate.A regular human being needs his computer for five things: Wordprocessing Media (trailers,mp3,flash,shockwave) the WWW games

And currently the riscos can't provide all of that so the chance of attracting old users or even new ones are small without these basic bases covered.Although you seem to be trying (fiefox,etc..)

Jess:I can't find the link at the moment but there is a website from one of PAradise games former members which shows you how to make a converter for PSX controllers it looks pretty easy.I'm going to try to make one in july.If I succeed in doing this I would be willing to make some more for everybody else .

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 6/6/05 9:29AM
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I haven't ported it, for the reasons I just suggested. Plus the time in doing so just isn't worth it. Please try and read _all_ of what I'm saying.

No, I think it rather unlikely that if I were to go to the effort of doing so (which I won't), that I would see lots of new IP addresses - again, for reasons already stated - most RISC OS (please respect the correct spelling of the it) users simply aren't interested in games - and certainly not an obscure one. People want applications, plain and simple.

If some novice programmer wants to tackle porting more games to RISC OS, then I'll give them a hand, but there really isn't anything in it for me to spend lots of time doing so.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 6/6/05 10:03AM
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I have one of those (they did sell them once). It worked well, but I tried it recently and it didn't, (but it might require a PS1 controller as it worked with originally).

It was replaced by a joystick on Simtec USB, but now I have an Iyonix and the Joystick I have didn't seem to work on it, (not really looked into it though).

What I was really highlighting was that a lot of games don't have joystick options.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 6/6/05 11:22AM
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Hey Peter I completly understand, that this would be very low on your priorty list. I going try doing it myself but I'm very very novice. Could you point me out to some good reading material? If your own site would be enough please say so.

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 6/6/05 12:53PM
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Jess, that's probably because the only RISC OS computer ever produced with built in joysticks ports was the A3010 - the one with the rather funky green Fkeys. Even back then, I do not recall many games with joystick support.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 6/6/05 12:59PM
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There are quite a number of articles on drobe on the subject. Most of them are referred to from:


Don't forget also the recent autobuilder article and the documentation included inside GCCSDK itself.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 6/6/05 12:59PM
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The Mico has (work with 3rd party driver :) )

I would expect the new A9home to work directly with a USB joystick (since the simtec card does).

I hate games on the keyboard.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 6/6/05 3:24PM
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@hEgelia: Gameplay was of little importance for the first few years of the evolution of 3D games, but that has completely changed in the last few years. Just take a look at Half Life 2, the Thief series or the Deus Ex series.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 6/6/05 4:11PM
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Jess The Paradise cable is supposed to work with DualShock 2 controllers however it doesn't work with the Iyonix check here: [link]

 is a RISC OS Userhighlandcattle on 6/6/05 5:27PM
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For those interested in fitting a joystick on an Iyonix an email to Paul†Reuvers of XAT might be in order. HID has a set up for joystick monitering so I think that, combined with Pauls work on his serial block drivers means that joystick use is indeed possible on the Iyonix.

 is a RISC OS Userron. on 06/06/05 6:56PM
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I have got the paradise unit to work. It appears that it does need a PS1 controller (or to be precise, the two PS2 controllers I have won't work with it, but the PS1 one does).

With respect to my Iyonix, I am not spending any more money on it until I have decided whether the A9home is not a better bet. But the information will be usefull if i do.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 06/06/05 7:31PM
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The 4th Dimension go back to the BBC days (UIM, White Magic, Holed Out, E-type, Nevryon) and had full colour adverts in Micro User/Acorn Computing. I hear that Q-Master was advertised in A&B.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 07/06/05 9:47PM
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