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Article archives

Book: Acorn - A World in Pixels

Posted by Andrew Poole on 09:00, 1/1/2021 | , ,
 
Acorn - A World in Pixels, by idesine publishing, is a new 476 page book about the best the BBC Micro had to offer in games. From Airlift to Zalaga, a huge number of the well known BBC Micro-era games are included with wonderfully designed full-colour pages for each and interviews with some of the programmers behind the games and also the people behind the computers themselves. The book, published on 27 November, 2020, is beautifully presented in hardback form with an Acorn green bookmark attached to the spine and contained within a hard slip cover.
 
The book starts with a short overview of Acorn and the BBC Micro followed by overviews of some of the bigger publishers of the time including Acornsoft, Superior Software, Micro Power and the 4th Dimension before diving into the games themselves. Many games have a full page spread with a description of the game and screenshots and illustrations. Interspersed between the game pages are interviews with developers, publishers and other prominent names from the era.
 
Towards the end of the book, there's a selection of interviews and information about the magazines of the time including Acorn User, The Micro User and Electron User as well as some interviews with some of the people who produced the sound and graphics to go with the games.
 
Finally, there's a quick look at some more recent activity in game development for the BBC Micro with interviews with some developers who have been working on games for the systems in recent years.
 
If you played games on the BBC Micro or Electron, Acorn - A World in Pixels is bound to bring memories of the time flooding back.
 
The book is available from the usual book stores and the publisher's website with an RRP of £29.99.
 
Links
idesine: Acorn - A World in Pixels (Publisher's website)
 
2 comments in the forums

Pass the time this Christmas with a selection of RISC OS and BBC Micro talks

Posted by Andrew Poole on 09:00, 26/12/2020 | , , , , , , ,
 
ABug logoWhat better way to spend your free time this Christmas while we're not allowed to go anywhere than to sit back, relax and enjoy some interesting presentations on a variety of Acorn and RISC OS topics?
 
Since 2014, ABug - the Acorn and BBC Micro User Group - have been holding regular events featuring talks on a wide range of topics relating to Acorn and RISC OS computers, both as in-person events and more recently as virtual events. We've selected a few of our favourites in this article, but the ABug website has a lot more talks available to choose from.
 
Continue reading "Pass the time this Christmas with a selection of RISC OS and BBC Micro talks" | 1 comment in the forums

Acorn World at Cambridge computer museum, 8-9th Sept 2018

Posted by Bryan Hogan on 02:55, 1/9/2018 | , ,
 
Acorn World 2018
Sat 8th & Sun 9th September, 10am-5pm
@ The Centre for Computing History, Cambridge
http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/43277/Acorn-World-Exhibition-8th-9th-September-2018/
 
The Acorn & BBC User Group in association with the Centre for Computing History, Cambridge’s premier computer museum, are pleased to announce Acorn World 2018.
 
This exhibition will feature machines and software from across Acorn’s history and beyond, showing how they started, the innovative systems produced along the way, and the legacy of successful technology they left behind.
 
There will be a range of Acorn-era computers on display – and in many cases running for visitors to try out for themselves – covering everything from the System 1, through to the iconic RiscPC – which many recognise as the the pinnacle of Acorn’s computer designs – and beyond, including the never-released Phoebe, and a number of rare prototypes. The vintage displays will also include classic magazines, sure to set those nostalgic flames burning, and software which enthralled, entertained, and educated many users – and even inspired some to go into programming themselves.
Some of those classic computers have been given a new lease of life by enthusiastic users, with modern add-ons and other clever innovations – and there will be a number of these on display as well.
 
The exhibition doesn’t just stop at machines that came directly from the Acorn stable, though – there will also be post-Acorn systems, including the ultra-cheap Raspberry Pi and at the other end of the scale, the ‘slightly pricier’ Titanium – both of which are themselves children of Cambridge.
 
Tickets are only £8 for adults, £7 for over 60s, and £6 for children. This includes access to all the museum’s exhibits featuring mainframe, mini, home computers and games consoles from the past 50 years, plus the Guinness World Record holding MegaProcessor. This is a fund raising event for the museum to help continue their important work preserving and archiving computing history.
 
The Centre for Computing History, Rene Court, Coldhams Rd, Cambridge, CB1 3EW
http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/
 
1 comment in the forums

Acorn World Sat 13th - Sunday 14th May

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:58, 29/4/2017 | , ,
 
This new event/exhibition is being organised in Cambridge at the Centre for Computing History by the Acorn and BBC User group.
 
It will include machines and software from the whole of Acorn's history and also beyond. And it will also include Acorn's 'children' - the Companies which Acorn helped to create and grow.
 
Event runs 10am-5pm and tickets will cost 8 pounds (which also gives you full access to the rest of the Museum which includes lots of other history, nostalgia and trivia.
 
Whether your interest is past, present or future, there will be lots of interest to see...
 
Museum website
 
1 comment in the forums

Games news

Posted by Michael Drake on 21:25, 7/7/2015 | , , , , , ,
 

Time for a round-up of recent games news.

JASPP to release more classics

Jon Abbott of the JASPP software preservation project has recently announced that they have acquired the rights to distribute games previously developed/published by Artex Software, Eterna, Minerva and Visions of the Impossible.

These games include such classics as: Ballarena, Botkiller, Exodus, Poizone, Prime Solver & SunBurst. The games are being released through the JASPP forum, so keep an eye out for updates there.

No mention was made of Artex Software's later games Ankh and TEK, or the never released for RISC OS Iron Dignity, with its impressive 3D rendering engine.

The announcement does mention that JASPP are looking to update some of the titles by Artex Software and Visions of the Impossible to run natively on 32-bit systems. The first to get such treatment will be VOTI's SunBurst. Whether this news will lead to a 32-bit multitasking desktop WIMP conversion of Super Foul Egg, or Exodus running natively on the Panda Board is unknown at this time.

Star Fighter 3000 released for free

This happened a while back, but the full Star Fighter 3000 game has been released for free. This is the latest souped-up version, which features improved rendering distances, desktop play, and a host of other improvements. It runs on RISC OS machines from the latest dev-board hardware, right back to the old Archimedes systems it originally appeared on. To run it on an old Archimedes system at full frame rate, you'll need to make sure you have the nested WIMP installed, reduce the game's graphics settings and force it to run in fullscreen mode.

New game: Overlord

Anthony Vaughan Bartram of Ambiguous Contrasts Games has produced Overlord, a space shoot-em-up on available PlingStore. The latest version, 1.40, has just been released.

RailPro-like game progressing

In other news, James Shaw has been keeping us informed of his progress on the development of a RailPro-like game.


 
Comment in the forums

Chris Jordan, Music500, ArcElite @ ROUGOL on 21 Apr 2014

Posted by Bryan Hogan on 21:10, 15/4/2014 | , ,
 
At the next meeting of the RISC OS User Group Of London on 21st April 2014 we are very pleased to have Chris Jordan as our guest speaker. Chris had a long involvement with Acorn, all the way through the Beeb and Archimedes era.
 
He was a member of the BBC Micro design team, Publications Editor at Acornsoft, co-inventor of shadow RAM, co-author of book/disc Creative Sound on the BBC Micro, and designer of the Acorn Music 500 and Hybrid Music Systems.
 
In the guise of Hybrid Technology he was also the publisher of Archimedes Elite, and went on to develop the SNES, Sega and Gameboy versions of Elite.
 
Chris will be coming along to tell us about some/all of these, and other fascinating bits of Acorn history, and is happy to answer questions afterwards.
 
ROUGOL meetings are free to attend and held in a pub/restaurant near London Bridge station. What better way could there be to spend a bank holiday evening?
 
http://rougol.jellybaby.net/meetings/index.html
 
Comment in the forums

Acorn port of Acorn imminent

Posted by Trevor Johnson on 00:10, 1/4/2014 | ,
 
RISC OS 5 users seeking alternatives to Paint may be wondering how the enhancements to GraphicsV will affect them.
 
In May 2013 Acorn v.4 for the Mac was released (this one slipped under the radar last year). This popular package supports alpha masking and has been "available for all" since August 2013.
 
We've recently been contacted by a long-time user who is "on the verge" of releasing a port of the bitmap Acorn application to the former-Acorn platform. The user says that outstanding matters are now purely administrative, and that an announcement can be made at the forthcoming Wakefield Acorn & RISC OS Show 2014.
 
We are witnessing exciting times in the RISC OS marketplace, although it is not clear whether the Acorn port of Acorn will benefit from quite the same level of developer attention as another well-established vector graphics package.
 
Some of those loose ends which are being tidied up:
  1. Sprites11
  2. PlingStore integration (demo version)
  3. SDFS compatibility testing
  4. Filing system improvements (step 2)
  5. Filing system improvements (various)
So, what will you do with your Acorn?
 
1 comment in the forums

Software preservation project bearing fruit

Posted by Michael Drake on 19:04, 12/10/2013 | , , ,
 

The preservation project for Acorn software, JASPP, has so far been focused on preserving old games. Many of the titles concerned required 20 year old hardware and obsolete versions of RISC OS to run. Over the last year or so, the project has obtained disc images and box/manual scans for well over 100 of the games released for the Acorn platform. Most of these have been contributed by users.

While they've been archiving these old games, the project has also been working on software to enable the archived games to be played. The software they've developed includes: ADFFS, the floppy disc image loader; an updated version of QTM, the tracker music player; and various other software including on-the-fly converters to allow more games' music to be played through QTM.

Speedball2 Squash
Fireandice Cascade
Heroquest Lemmings
Screenshots from some of the released titles.

Over the last few days JASPP has started to release games for which they have acquired distribution rights. Currently these include:

  • Cascade
  • Chuck Rock
  • Fire & Ice
  • Gods
  • Hero Quest
  • Jahangir Khan World Championship Squash
  • James Pond
  • Lemmings
  • Magic Pockets
  • Zool
You can download them from the JASPP games forum.

If you have any old titles the JASPP team would like to hear from you.


 
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Old games on new screens

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Justin Fletcher's RISC OS Rambles

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Archimedes is 25!

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Games scene roundup

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RISC OS on The Register

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Furber talks ARMs

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