News in briefBy Chris Williams. Published: 26th Jan 2006, 00:22:18 | Permalink | Printable
Messenger Pro, Wakefield, Ankh, and freeware and shareware developmentsDon't shoot the messenger
R-Comp have begun pitching to Messenger Pro 3 users a new support and upgrade scheme for this year. Dubbed Messenger Pro 2006, the release will include version 4 of the email, RSS and news reader client. New features promised include the ability to open multiple 'mbox' mailboxes from clients on other platforms and export them too; colour code individual or groups of contacts in your address book; improved support for PGP signed messages; support for UniPrint 2's ability to launch website URLs in a browser on a PC; and secure IMAP connections with SSL are supported. R-Comp now eager to clear out their hefty stock of MPro 3 copies on floppy disc to make way for a CD based distribution.
Wakey, wakey, Wakefield
Chris Hughes, the Wakefield show supremo, is expected to confirm the details of this year's one day event some time within the next fortnight. On the 2006 preparations, he said to usenet: "We have a number of big problems this year. Currently we have no catering, but alternative plans are being looked at."
The local council is also, apparently, building an extension to the hall where the show usually takes place and major construction work is pencilled in for the weekend when the event is usually held.
Chris added, "I will reveal more next week, when a proper announcement will be made. I would ask the portal sites not to go printing the above on their sites - can't stop them but respectfully ask they don't."
Klosing the door on the way out
Jan Klose of Artex, publisher of a few RISC OS games titles amongst other projects, recently recalled many fond memories of his company's original platform in an interview with Gamed.nl. Ankh is being remade but is still based upon the 1998 original as Jan explained: "The original game was only released on RISC OS machines which weren't very popular even in the 1990s. So I think the content of the new Ankh is unique to almost all players today. It was not sensible to create a part two if nobody knows part one.
"Also, having access to the great material of that early game enabled us to be very quick in producing the new Ankh. It wouldn't have been possible to create the game within only 12 months without these assets."
Now developed by Deck13, the new 3D modelled PC port of Ankh has received endorsements from Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert.
Trained in the art of bursting
Alan Buckley has ported to RISC OS Bubble Train, an open source puzzle game based on the 'pop and drop' genre, which includes Frozen Bubble and Bobble-bobble. The idea is to shoot at a train of bubbles moving along a track to burst them before they reach their destination. The bubbles will explode only if the correct colour combinations are matched up: three or more in row of the same colour will trigger the explosion and shorten the train. There are also bonus bubbles that detonate multiple suds in an area, shift in colour, and artificially change the speed of the train for good or worse. The game, written in C++ with SDL and other libraries, features a number of levels and landscapes to play with.
Debugging tool Reporter is up to version 2.62, and can output a backtrace for BASIC applications, has had its SWI intercept code rewritten, updates to its redraw and logging code, and many other enhancements. A new alpha version of Howard Dawson's circuit schematic editor is now available for testing. Electronic engineers can also have fun with an updated ArcSimp, a simulator of analogue and digital systems. Sudoku fans can enjoy SuperDuko, a new shareware application that generates and solves the number crunching puzzles. From the same author, Matthew Phillips, comes DrawToSprite, a utility to convert the native vector files into RISC OS sprites and Windows BMP files with control over the output size and resolution. A new tool to enable and disable components run during the computer's start up has been released.
And finally, as you may have noticed, we sadly suffered downtime at the start of the week due to a hardware failure. Drobe.co.uk has been moved to a second server, and don't panic if you encounter further service disruption; we may be moving onto a new hosting facility. Contrary to minor rumours, no, we weren't shut down by legal threats. Thanks for your patience.
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