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Acornsoft.co.uk, Iyonix Quake, 32 bit StrongED

By Chris Williams. Published: 12th Feb 2003, 23:51:55 | Permalink | Printable

Auctions, speed testing and more. A round up of this week's news and links

End of week work deadlines are creeping upon the drobe.co.uk editors so this article will be brief and it will self destruct in five minutes. Roll the drums.



acornsoft.co.uk for sale [eBay.co.uk auction]
At publish time, there's currently just over 19 hours left on the online auction of AcornSoft.co.uk. The current bid is 400 quid or one can buy it now for a whopping 500 quid. 500 quid for a website? Maybe we ought to flog Drobe and buy some new clothes or something.

The seller, comtique, describes the site as having "huge potential" and it includes a full online shopping system and a year's hosting. AcornSoft.co.uk currently sells vintage computers and related gear.



32 bit StrongED alpha'ed [stronged.iconbar.com]
The StrongED development team have been threatening such a 32 bit compatible release for some time now and have this week published an alpha version (4.66 to be exact) of the most excellent RISC OS text'n'source editor for brave people to test and find faults in. Remember to keep a back up of your current stable version (4.65a2 for this editor), like just in case.



Wacky-Talky, Ten Four, Over [www.tamias.co.uk/wt/]
The sources to GUS' Wacky-Talky software, his low level RISC OS swiss-army knife and system enhancer kit, has been relocated to Mark Rowan's website. GUS has recently left the RISC OS scene and Mark's been busy picking up GUS' projects including the infamous Freeze.



RCI posts Quake Iyonix speeds [Acornarcade.com]
As Acornarcade.com are being overly positive with RCI's not-so-brilliant rendering speeds of Quake 1 on an Iyonix, we're not feeling too guilty about dismissing them. According to RCI, their port of Quake's TimeDemo1 on an Iyonix, Castle's 32 bit computer powered by the Intel 600MHz XScale and the nVidia GeForce2, manages a terribly staggering 15fps at 640x480. RCI admit that the speeds were collected from a version of Quake that's been built without hardware and XScale optimisations, hence the low fps rates. A StrongARM RiscPC by comparasion runs unoptimised Quake 2 at about 1 fps, we're told.

On the subject of Descent and Descent 2, RCI stated, "I forget the fps, but it is totally smooth at 1024x768 in 256 colours. Smooth at 800x600 in 32bpp. Smooth at 800x600 in 16bpp (maybe 1024x768 too!). Playable (ie. around 15fps ish) at 640x480 with bilinear filtering and transparencies (ie. looks like 3D acceleration, but in software). Actually, I've played it ok at 800x600 with this!"

"It is not known whether use will be made of the 3-D abilities of the nVidia graphics card", comments acornarcade.com writer John Hoare, "as the driver is closed source.. Either way, it sounds like there's some nice upgrades for IYONIX owners coming up."

Sounds like AcornArcade know something we obviously don't.



Giv'us yer news

Previous: Castle denies GPL code in RISC OS 5
Next: Getting Quake and Descent onto Iyonix

Discussion

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Are there any non-card games, besides Zool, for the Iyonix? Hopefully Artex, RCI et al will release 32 bit versions of their excellent games soon. -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 13/2/03 6:48AM
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32 bit _and_ optimised preferably.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 13/2/03 7:00AM
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I sold a domain for more than 500 just over a year ago...

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 13/2/03 9:33AM
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Fair enough, I guess it's no different than selling a shop front on some rich London high street. Location, location, location, or rather, url url url.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 13/2/03 10:01AM
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There isn't actually a bid yet...that's just the starting price. -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 13/2/03 11:39AM
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Well, the 3D situation is never going to be brilliant on any system without a HW FPU. Even if you have the drivers to use the nVidia's GPU, you still need a processor capable of throwing around all the game and rendering data before chucking it to the accelerator in the first place.

Using an OpenGL port (maybe Mesa?) which is capable of using the nVidia fencing extensions (where the rendering data is locked away into video memory) would speed stuff up, but it's still going to cause problems when any part of the scene changes.

Therefore it's a little unfair to judge any 3D stuff on the basis that there's a 3D chip in there. There is, but you can't use it. :-) And, of course, Quake originally ran using only software rendering, but on a system with an FPU...

 is a RISC OS Userheds on 13/2/03 2:06PM
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Of course we know things that you don't - it's our job to ;-). Seriously, the Quake figures are pre-optimisation, pre-graphics card enhancements etc etc. It's just a raw increase that's been obtained by throwing the extra processing power of the Iyonix at the game. When (If?) we get some serious gfx card implementation we'll see what the machine's really capable of, although Quake I probably won't use half the features of a Geforce II.

Dave

 is a RISC OS UserAcorn Arcade on 13/2/03 6:22PM
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Agreed; for simply a raw increase in power, I was quite impressed by the figures.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 13/2/03 6:42PM
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I wonder if the F16 simulator that RCI have would be playable on the Iyonix. I think I read somewhere it was just to slow on the RISCPC. -- Steve Knutson

 is a RISC OS Userknutson on 13/2/03 6:51PM
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I brought that up in AA's forums:

[link]

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 13/2/03 6:52PM
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I would *love* a new version of Starfighter 3000 with high-res capability, 32K+ colours, textures, 16 bit sound, etc. I see no reason why the StrongARM couldn't run a game like this. After all, and A5000 could run the original really well. -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 13/2/03 8:19PM
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I'd love that too; but I can't help thinking the effort would be better spent writing a new game...

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 13/2/03 8:28PM
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I agree. I always thought the other versions of SF3000 were inferior anyway (in terms of playability). They were better graphically of course, but fancy sounds and graphics do not make a game.

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 13/2/03 9:45PM
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Back to the other points (about speed increases): There's more than just the faster processor that should affect the performance. I was always under the impression that the main performance hit on games such as Descent on the RiscPC was the memory bottleneck.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 14/2/03 9:01AM
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SimonC: Correct, there is more to it than just throwing the extra processor at it, but the point is that no real optimisation has been done and the games already run a lot faster (approx 2x - almost in proportion to the mhz increase - coincidence?). So saying that this increase isn't much isn't really fair, as we'll only see what the machine is really capable of after we get some serious optimisation. The source for Quake 3 is available if anyone feels like a challenge... ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserAcorn Arcade on 14/2/03 3:49PM
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Surely a decent 3D graphics API neededs to be decided upon first?

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 14/2/03 5:58PM
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I agree, we need something liek DirectX (please excuse the analagy) so that the source code doesn't need to be disclosed, Castle just needs to edit it to make it fast with an API while providing non-specific code (from what I remember the intention was to allow new graphics cards in the future)

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 14/2/03 9:12PM
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