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News in brief

By Chris Williams. Published: 16th Jan 2006, 05:26:46 | Permalink | Printable

RiscCAD, books, games, freeware and more

News in briefRiscCAD author thinks big
The developer of 2D design package RiscCAD is looking to push the envelope in his next application. David Buck told his userbase over the weekend that he wants to create an engineering graphics program that can display models such as house and building plans in actual size. Like industry giant AutoCAD, David wants to implement viewports and layouts, allowing designers to zoom, pan, and rotate views of blueprints and build up layers of illustrations.

He commented, "This software, code named Vortex, is at a very early stage, but it looks promising. I have not got around to finalising the file format yet, but the intended list of objects is: Points, lines, construction lines, circles, arcs, ellipses, polylines (including curves), text, attributes, dimensions, bitmap files, OLE objects, blocks, groups, fills.

"Features wise, it would be similar to RiscCAD, although I do intend to do undo-redo, plus some other AutoCAD type features such as a more intelligent selection system whereby you have to be near an inked part of an object to select it. It also has background redraw and interactive redraw when dragging objects."

Archive magazine expands booklet list
Archive have compiled a further three booklets from content previously published: 'VirtualRiscPC in Use, Volume 2' complements the first set of articles on the RiscPC emulator; 'Ovation Pro' features 15 pieces and seven years of hints and tips clippings for the DTP package; and 'The Engineer and Friends' consists of 21 articles by Ray Maidstone covering hardware advice and hints and tips. Each title is A5 sized, black and white stapled, and costs a fiver.

Meanwhile, Ray Favre's A5 ring bound books 'Starting Basic' and 'Dr Wimp's Surgery' have reportedly shifted 300 copies and raised 3000 quid for charity. A CD-ROM based collection of articles on the Acorn BBC Microcomputer has been produced by Chris Dewhurst. A fiver will buy a decade's worth of pieces that cover topics from utilities to games to programming.

RISC OS products directory opens database, uses content from webpages
There have been a number of developments at risc-os.net: First, the site is now the home for productsdb.riscos.com. Second, the online software and contacts database now queries websites it links to and pulls information from these pages to use as comments in its listings. This means website maintainers can change their contact details, software version information and so on, and risc-os.net will automatically reflect these changes. Third, the links collection is now available in XML format for others to download and use.

Administrator Rebecca Shalfield said, "Although commercial suicide for me, I have decided that releasing the risc-os.net database to the other RISC OS products directories is the best solution for the RISC OS community. I feel that a decent links database can't be achieved unless there is some sort of joint venture."

Gaming news
Acorn Arcade have re-released from the Tom Cooper vault another game that needs no introduction: DinoSaw. Created by the same guy behind Hamsters, the idea is to jump around levels and basically slice and dice your way through the local wildlife. Players are warned that the game is addictive, psychotic but not as straight forward as it looks.

Paul Vigay has tweaked his 15 year old puzzle game Rune Seeker and made it 32bit compatible, as well as re-releasing it as freeware. He explained, "Rune Seeker is a traditional graphical arcade adventure game, where you have to solve devious puzzles and explore a maze in order to collect all the coins that have been dropped. There are 12 levels of increasing deviousness, including bombs, lawn mowers, and a cuddly yeti inhabiting later levels."

As the author of various games, Neil White has uploaded a few new fun items for brave people to test: a Nethack clone port with graphics, and a maze game (2 player version). Players must quit from within the game rather than clicking on the close icon, which is G for the adventure game and q for the maze game. You also need to set the working directory to be inside each application for them to run properly.

A funny maze gameA Nethack clone

Who are you calling a cretin?
An IRC client first developed in 2002 has been released to the general public after being taken under the wing of James Scholes. Originally written by Antony and Andrew Sidwell, Cretin supports multiple servers, tabbed windows and Lua scripts. Since last month, James, who once won a free Iyonix, has added a few new features and updated the user interface.

He said, "Obviously, it's by no means finished, but I feel it's got to a stage where it's stable, and has most features people would want. What's next? Well, in the style of, and with the library of, Marc 'Cocognut' Warne, I'm aiming to remove its dependency on EasySockets to have a fully 32bit clean version, hopefully by Easter."

Cretin has been tested on RISC OS 3.7 to 4.39, and on RISC OS 5 with Aemulor. IRC is a protocol that allows users to meet up online and chat to each other in real time over the Internet.

In brief
In a press release without a press release, VirtualAcorn announced a minor update to VirtualRiscPC-Adjust which reportedly increases compatibility with KinoAMP and other applications. Jeffrey Lee has produced a module to allow older software that would normally require music player TrackerModule to instead use QTMModule. A configuration tool for Iyonix users that, amongst other features, patches the sound system to use a more suitable sample rate of 44.1KHz has been developed by Paul Vigay.

Development tool Sourcery and audio editor SampleEd have been updated by Richard Windley; Sourcery can now more smoothly handle projects that use BASIC and other interpreted languages, as well as other enhancements, while SampleEd can load files faster and can cope better with large files. Webmasters can spring clean the HTML in their websites by using the latest port of HTML Tidy by Alex Macfarlane Smith. Programmers can also use multi-tasking error messages with Adam Richardson's MultiError replacement.

Nick Roberts' website bookmark manager has been tweaked to support address colouring for Messenger Pro 3 users and also bug fixed in the process. Remote desktop software RDPClient now supports clipboard re-direction, compression of session data and configurable shortcuts. VNC client Avalanche now uses utility Confix for application choices and a hotlist, plus now displays a suitable pointer in the client and enjoyed a few bug fixes. Online image gallery tool WebGen2 has benefited from a number of minor tweaks. Family tree package GedText has been updated to output in DDF format, compatible with Impression, OvationPro, and the Techwriter family, as well as other enhancements and fixes. A utility that fills out forms on web pages is now A9home compatible and sports a new delete button. Desktop swiss penknife Director and FTP client FTPc have also been updated.

And finally, Stuart Tyrrell Developments are running a special offer on RiscPC upgrades, including the Unipod, until the middle of February.


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That will teach me to keep my mouth shut !

 is a RISC OS Userdemondb on 16/1/06 8:18AM
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Cretin will run on RISC OS 5 if the unofficial 32bit version of the EasySockets module is put in the RM directory. Time to prod the author again to get permission to release it? Or perhapse remove dependancy on it, as it doesn't make sockets much easier. Any *real* networking guru should be constructing their TCP packets from raw ethernet frames.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 16/1/06 9:40AM
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Tabbed windows sounds a bit offputting (hope it's just an option, and not the only way). I much prefer to be able to put my windows where I want them.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 16/1/06 10:08AM
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SimonC: Tabbed windows enable you to keep things tidy (one window instead of x), but it's very easy to have each channel in its own window, as Cretin supports multiple windows. There's a 'New window' option in the tab menu, or the /view <channel> command to view a channel in the current window. As always, it's easier to do than it is to describe!

If anyone has any other suggestions, feel free to pop into #cretin on IRCnet.

 is a RISC OS Userjymbob on 16/1/06 11:02AM
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Tabs rock! One of the best features is that you can leave quiet channels on a background tab and only click to them when you notice channel activity or want to say something. Much better than having the window on-screen all the time and periodically bring it to the front to check it.

Also, it keeps the desktop less cluttered. Saves you having to dig though the window stack for multiple irc window. Tabs rock! -- Spriteman

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 16/1/06 12:52PM
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Since EasySockets has been unavailable for many years, and Cretin doesn't come with a copy included, where are you supposed to get it?

I'm not criticising the authors, since the situation is not of their making, but it seems to me that all their potential users have a major problem and not just the ones using 32-bit RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userthesnark on 16/1/06 12:54PM
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Tabs are better than no tabs.

IMHO, radio buttons are better than tabs, though. Radio buttons rock!

Does Cretin have any other notable features over LIRC, other than multiple servers and tabs?

 is a RISC OS Userrichcheng on 16/1/06 1:06PM
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One of the best, but overlooked, new features in RDPclient is that in full-window mode the session's window can now be configured not to pop to the top of the RISC OS stack when clicked inside.

I often work on my Windows laptop in full-window mode (to allow multitasking with RISC OS) with various RISC OS windows in front of it and it's so much more a pleasure to use now that I don't lose sight of all my RISC OS work every time I use Windows!

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 16/1/06 1:24PM
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thensnark: My mistake. The source comes with easysockets, but I forgot to stick it in the normal version. Now fixed. Make sure the version you download is dated today (16/01/2006)

 is a RISC OS Userjymbob on 16/1/06 1:32PM
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David Buck is doing some very interesting work by the sound of things. Nice to see someone returning to the RISC OS scene and doing some serious development with him. We are very lucky to have David and the many other small developers who continue to develop some great software.

Judging from the amount news in this article, most of these guys didn't get christmas presents that destracted them from their compilers...

P.S. Qercus has a new CAD series penned by David which is great for anyone interest in CAD.

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 17/1/06 5:55AM
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knutson - Compilers? Compilers? Real men don't use compilers! :-)

 is a RISC OS UserDS1 on 17/1/06 8:45AM
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To Rebecca & risc-os.net: The comment format is a very nice idea, indeed since it is easier to do than the XML version. I now am sure I have to have a go at it in the next days, that is as soon as I find some more spare time. Thanks a lot for your work!

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 17/1/06 9:31AM
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I have added a page to the RiscCAD website about Vortex, and you can download the current version - but don't expect too much just yet.

Constructive comments, and suggestions welcome.

 is a RISC OS Userdemondb on 17/1/06 9:46AM
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David, HNY. Thanks for the update about the direction you're taking RiscCAD on. I'm still upbeat about the app and in turn the OS platform. My wishlist will follow when I get a moment's peace and quiet (ha!). In general terms, the prospect of a simple 3D app is making me drool. Even if it could be piggy back somehow on TopModel2's 3D graphics engine (Sincronia , or others, must be open to commercial approaches here??). What I have noticed when trying to run RC though VA is that the app would benefit from a small icons options to allow the toolboxes to take up less screen space, this would probably also benefit the seasoned user. You mentioned before a JPEG inmport facility. This would be of use when working over sketches. (in conjunction maybe with x-ample's Tracer Professional app.

Full of ideas me!!

seasonal regards to all on Drobe.


 is a RISC OS UserPJA on 17/1/06 1:52PM
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In reply to Peter

The new tool icons are smaller in size than RiscCAD. Also, like Impression, each window has a set of tool windows which stay with the drawing.

 is a RISC OS Userdemondb on 17/1/06 5:05PM
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Re. FTPc - I'm confused. The version I have here is 1.42, dated June 2005 and the version at ftpc.iconbar.com is also 1.42. Where's the update?

 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 17/1/06 10:42PM
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To Neil White: If your games need the current directory to be inside the app perhaps you might want to add a "dir <obey$dir>" line to the !Run file. That makes running them a bit easier.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 18/1/06 1:58PM
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the games are released as is at the moment, the two maze games are not anywhere near finished and the rouge port i did not spend much time on it just compiled, and i couldnt find an easy way of telling it which directory to load the data from in the code, but if you can find it or want to send me updtaed versions of the maze games freel free to crack on ;)

 is a RISC OS Usernex on 19/1/06 1:40PM
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