David Bradforth on the post Christmas gaming rush
The RISC OS market is an odd thing for games. You see, whereas the PC and Mac markets are both flooded with games just before Christmas (the iMac/G4 most recently gaining Tomb Raider 4 and Diablo II amongst other things) the RISC OS market has been notoriously quiet for the past few years. I am, however, pleased to say that this year was something of an exception - you should notice this from the news items which follow.
I know of three products which were released before Christmas: and have, for the first time, featured a website of a reasonably well known Acorn personality who recently released an updated game for all to play. That, coupled alongside the recent Acorn User Games CD-ROM has made for an interesting couple of months, truth be told.
Want to know all about it? Read on, my friends...
iSV Products send us to another world
Games are a funny thing. They can send you to all sorts of places; and make you do all kinds of wonderful things. This new compilation, Other Worlds, sends you into space and makes you the master of the universe. Four times over!
StarFighter 3000 Other Worlds includes the new version of StarFighter recompiled with many enhancements, including:
Also included on the CD-ROM are StrongARM and RISC OS 4 compatible versions of:
It's available at £16.50 from iSV Products - see their website at www.isvproducts.co.uk or telephone 01344 455769 for more information. The iSV Products advertisement, contained within the ADVERTS directory at the root of this disc, contains full details of this CD-ROM.
Best Games 3 from APDL
I mentioned it last time, and it occurred! Funny that: APDL have announced the release of the third in their Best Games branded series of public domain compilations. Containing over 20 titles, for just £7.90, there's pretty much guaranteed to be something here for everybody.
At the time of writing, I've just referred back to the original reviews of Best Games 1 & 2 within RISC World, which were less than complimentary: you do need to bear in mind that this is a cheap and cheerful games compilation, and whilst not everything will be of the highest standard in terms of visuals and sounds the gameplay will always be top notch.
Best Games 3 is available at £7.90 from APDL - see their website at www.apdl.co.uk or telephone 020 8778 2659 for further information. We have reviewed this disc this month, but don't forget the APDL website is available on this disc within the ADVERTS directory.
Superior Collection disc from ProAction & Superior Software
Since 1997, ProAction have offered updated versions of the Superior Software range to run under the modern RISC OS systems. Recognising the current state of play for the Acorn games market, they recently decided to put together a compilation of all the available titles so as to have them in one easy place.
Classics such as Repton, Air Supremacy and so on are included, as are a number of titles which are - for the first time - RISC OS 4 and StrongARM compatible. Last Ninja is one such title, and even though I'm looking after this project it delighted me the most! A first edition was sent out to customers before Christmas, and as I write the second edition is going through the planning stages to be updated to all registered users.
The second edition will shortly be available directly from ProAction, or ideally from R-Comp Interactive as ProAction are looking to ensure all orders go to the respective product distributor in the future. Full product details should shortly be available at www.superiorcollection.co.uk, including up to date contact details for Superior Software amoungst other things. I have invited Aaron Timbrell to review the CD-ROM for the next issue, but it's at his discretion and subject to time.
A veritable games archive at www.vigay.com
Paul Vigay is one of the so-called 'faces' of the RISC OS industry, having for a long time been one of the support team for Acorn users at Argo. Now working on new projects of his own, including a support service for users of the ANT Internet Suite, his website - at www.vigay.com - bears more than a passing resemblance to the cover disc of various PC magazines.
It's packed to bursting: some stuff is most useful, some is more useless. All is practical, well written and above all easy to use. Given the nature of this column, the recent updates to the games section are of most interest: while it's been there for a while, we'd recommend the Snake game which represents a very good implementation of the Visual Basic snake game from the PC. Of course, there's something somewhat better about it: it's RISC OS software!
The efforts of Paul Vigay, at a time when the market most needs it, are to be applauded.
TEK 2100: updated information now available
As I stated in my first column, I'm not intending to dig into projects which have a good chance of coming off, but an unspecified release date. TEK and Iron Dignity, both from Artex, fall into this category; but the latest screenshots of TEK do give some hope of a very near release date being certain. I do not wish to dig any further into it; but for further information please refer to the January 2001 issue of Acorn User, pages 24 to 26 or the Artex website at www.artex.oaktree.co.uk.
We shall review TEK, including its multiplayer capabilities, upon its release; although I do find myself wondering if there's enough people left buying games to justify such an enormous task as a dedicated games server being created. Still, we shall see: I'd like to have my pessimism dissuaded!
So where do I get my games from?
We produced an updated table of games suppliers in issue four, but I'd like now to just provide the essential contact details for the companies with game currently available. When Artex release TEK or Iron Dignity, they shall join this list but for the moment they're left off, as is Kindred Software (whom are planning to release a Worms alike game for RISC OS).
Further sources of gaming goodness
In this little area of madness, I'll highlight a few useful sources of gaming information - in this case, Acorn Arcade and Acorn Gaming.
The Acorn Arcade website first launched the writings of Alisdair Bailey and Tim Fountain, and offers a nice stylised view of the current Acorn games climate. A recent redesign has provided a more user friendly interface together with the ability to add comments against any single posting made to the website. Nice idea, but can lead to long complex rows. The news sections seem to depend largely on the information being sent to the news editor directly, rather than - as is the case with most others - information being sourced from the announce newsgroup. This does result in some things being missed, but largely offers a well balanced view of the Acorn gaming market. Acorn Arcade is at www.acornarcade.com.
32-bit Acorn Gaming is the longest running website, and to my mind the best of the two. With sections devoted to just about every aspect of Acorn gaming, including emulators, you'd be hard pushed to not find mention of any particular topic here. Updating is occasionally eratic, but it usually reflects the state of play of the games market at that point in time, choosing to not make news where there is none. (Actually very rare given the number of updates to emulators). 32-bit Acorn Gaming, with its style and presentation being somewhat easier to the eye, gets my accolade for being a useful port of call - but do try both to see which you prefer. Acorn Gaming is at www.acorn-gaming.org.uk, and a special off-line edition is available for all on various cover discs.
Next time, we'll highlight the emulator scene, as well as offer an Acorn market exclusive to the RISC World CD-ROM. You've heard it here first!
Do bear in mind...This month's RISC World disc also includes a number of special extra items:
We'll be back next time, with more weirdness under the heading of Games World!