RISC World

Top 25.....Ex-Commercial Products

Aaron Timbrell and David Bradforth with this issues Top 25.

This months Top 25 is a bit odd. We wanted 25 top products that have been major league players in their day. Some of these programs have now become freeware as their original developers or distributors have stopped supporting them. Some are older versions of still current products that we have the copyright owners permission to distribute. All of these applications are still capable of giving sterling service, ones that couldn't didn't make the list!

All the programs are supplied in Archives and will need to be de-compressed to your hard disk before they can be run. Please note that RISC World is not able to offer support on these applications.

To make our lives easier we have split this top 25 up into groups, want to know what the groups are? Well then you will just have to read on.

Top 5.....Ex-Commercial Games

Abuse (Original rrp £29.99)

Sometime around July '97, Crack dot Com, a PC game software house, released the source code to Abuse into the public domain. The game was a great hit on the PC some years ago, and now thanks to Crack dot Com and Lee Noar who ported it to RISC OS, you too can play it. This version of !Abuse is not suitable for RISC OS4. If you want a version that runs under OS 4 then you will need to contact R-Comp, who will be able to sell you one for an excellent price.

Quake (Original rrp £29.99)

It's Quake, for RISC OS, for free! ID software have released the sources to a number of their games over the Internet and this is how we have this version of Quake. Also included are the shareware sample levels, so you can start playing right away. If you want all the levels then you had better talk to R-Comp, who can supply all the levels, and a much improved Quake game engine, as well as loads of extra levels in the Quake Resurrection Pack for a mere £23, which must be a snip.

DOOM (Original rrp £29.99)

Another classic game from ID Software, this was the first modern first person shooter, and still takes some beating in the playability stakes. Just like Quake we have supplied the shareware sample levels so you can get shooting at once. R-Comp have produced a much extended version of Doom, called Doom+, which features better textures, many many more levels, new monsters and much higher resolution.

DUNE II (Original rrp £29.99)

Here is the best RTS (Real Time Strategy game) for RISC OS in all its glory. Recently released as Freeware by the man who wrote the RISC OS version, Jason Tribbeck. DUNE II was the start of the series that turned into Command And Conquer, what better recommendation could there be than that?

ELITE (Original rrp £34.95)'s Elite, its a classic, its the one game you have to have, it runs on RISC OS 4, what more do you need to know?

Top 5.....Ex-Commercial Misc Programs

DataWord (Original rrp £24.95)

Back in 1991, The Fourth Dimension - at the time one of the leading games developers for Acorn computers - noticed that there was a great deal of potential within Educational software. They took the opportunity to launch Triple 'R' Education, which eventually became 10 out of 10 Educational Systems. Over the years, they produced a variety of products, but a lot of their Acorn stuff seemed similar to their original releases.

DataWord was one of these original released. Essentially, it's an educational database, intending to teach children the basics of data handling. For that purpose, it generally succeeds. Full documentation is provided within the Readme file - DataWord 1.5 is included with the Triple 'R' Education CD-ROM, and adds to the original version by adopting a RISC OS compliant interface, using standard printer drivers and such like. For details on this, please call APDL on 020 8778 2659.

FontTrix PRO (Original rrp £21.50)

Need extra weights for a font, need a bolder version, an oblique, then you need FontTrixPro. You an make complete families of fonts with just a few clicks. Unlike some other products the fonts made are "real" ones, not just transformed versions, so you can load them into a full font editor after you have made them. FontTrixPro has now been superceded by Dr Fonty, but for general use you can't go far wrong!

InformED V2 (Original rrp £21.50)

iSV Products on-line manual editor, in version 2 form. If you need to make small compact on-line manuals with pictures you can do a lot worse than InformED. This version may lack some of the features of version 3 (as well as having a larger text point size) but can still produce great results, even if it can be a bit fiddly to use.

XStitch2 (Original rrp £21.50)

One program that you will either want to use at once, or will never look at again. XStitch 2 is a bit specialised, but if you, or someone you know, does cross stitch, then this program could be invaluable. Although this version has been superceded by XStitch Sovereign you can still produce some stunning designs, and all for free!

Top 5.....Ex-Commercial Multimedia Applications

CineWorks (Original rrp £169.95)

Not an exclusive, but certainly worth including, CineWorks - originally released in 1996 - is the RISC OS platform's answer to Apple's superb iMovie. With an intuitive interface, an absolute tonne of features and a good selection of things to play with, CineWorks has on offer considerably more than you'd otherwise expect. What's perhaps best is it's now free!

ProSound (Original rrp £169.95)

ProSound forms part of Oregan Development's complete system for producing and editing sounds and movies on your RISC OS computer. Again bearing more than a passing resemblance to other packages, it's essentially a highly specified sequencer. It works very well too, and given that it's included here for nothing you can't really argue!

Sonor (Original rrp £69.95)

Sonor is an audio recording package for RISC OS. Plain and simple, really - originally released by VTi/Vertical Twist in 1997, it quickly became known as the easiest way to record sounds with your RISC OS computer. Unfortunately, it's pretty useless unless you have the necessary hardware - full details of which are provided within the program.

Sonor Junior (Original rrp £39.95)

A cut down version of Sonor for those with lower spec machines.

PDesktop Tracker (Original rrp £69.95)

Desktop Tracker was one of the first RISC OS applications to become something of a cult.... essentially it's a high-end music synthesizer for RISC OS users, allowing exactly the same effects as the Amiga versions. Desktop Tracker was used to produce the music for many RISC OS public domain games, but in recent years has been overshadowed by QTM. At least now you can judge for yourself which is best.

Top 5.....Ex-Commercial Publishing Applications

FontNamer (Original rrp £14.95)

Originally released in 1997, FontNamer was in response to a demand for a simple utility which would allow you to ensure that every aspect of an IntMetrics file within a font had the correct naming. If they didn't, you see, the likelihood was that your machine would not be able to fully access the font, resulting in occasional annoying font errors.

Impression Junior (Original rrp £79.99)

A full working version of Impression, and due to the generous nature of Computer Concepts you can have it for nothing. Although Impression Junior is a little long in the tooth, and doesn't like some modern RISC PC screen modes it is an excellent word processor. Of course being a free download from Computer Concepts means you can use it on as many machines as you like without worrying about having a site licence.

Impressive (Original rrp £14.95)

Impressive is, quite simply, a button bar for Impression. Providing immediate access to a lot of the more hidden features, Quantum Software released it to fulfil two aims. The first quite simply, was to make accessing the functionality of Impression somewhat easier. The second was to demonstrate the immense power of KeyStroke. It still works well, today.

DrawWorks Millennium (Original rrp £61.50)

The first CD based version of DrawWorks just for all you lucky RISC World readers. This version includes the full DrawWorks Millennium program along with its manual and examples. It doesn't include the clip art and fonts (because they are just too damn big!). If you haven't got a copy of DrawWorks you have been missing out on a very popular package. And don't forget you could always upgrade this version to the latest one by contacting APDL and asking for a DrawWorks Third Millennium upgrade CD!

Talking Canvas Jnr (Original rrp £34.95)

Talking Canvas Jnr is - to put it simple - a multimedia application in the viegn of Genesis (remember that?). You can define actions, make pages link to each other, wander through a presentation without difficulty, incorporate sounds and graphics (in Draw or Paint format) and a veritable amount more. It's a pretty good application, and has been used to create the disc menu for the next issue of RISCDomain.

Top 5.....Useful programs

MasterFile (Original rrp £49.95)

Yes, we know this was featured only a few issues ago, but we have picked up quite a number of new subscribers since then, and some of them have not taken any back issues. So for those who are new to RISC World here is quite possibly the most popular database for RISC OS.

Equasor (Original rrp £24.95)

Another classic program from Computer Concepts. If you ever need to construct equations for inclusion in a DTP document then Equasor could save your bacon. If, on the other hand you don't ever need equations it may be best to leave this on the RISC World CD.

Mr Clippy (Original rrp £21.50)

"He's Mr Clippy, he stores Clip art for you, he handles bitmaps and vectors to!" Oh dear, yes it's Mr Clippy, the best selling clip art manager. This is the version that was supplied with DrawWorks Millennium. If you want the latest version (Mr Clippy V2) then APDL will be happy to supply one for only £4!

PlayBack (Original rrp £24.95)

PlayBack is a desktop macro recorder, originally published by RISC Developments Limited in 1991. If you're after a quick and easy way of providing tutorials to other users of RISC OS, but without the need to be sitting in front of the machine, PlayBack will cater for all of this and more. For the first time ever, the source code has been included - but if you use the source code for any purpose, you must state this program incorporates technology belonging to ProAction Software within both the code and any documentation.

Slayer (Original rrp £14.95)

Slayer was a very well received virus killing package in its day. However lets listen to the original authors KiwiSoft themselves "Slayer is one of our proudest and most hated projects. It makes us proud because it is actually quiet good, and it's a big program, plus it was very popular and got excellent reviews. The reasons why we hate it, is that it is horrible, badly written, not thought out and unmaintainable. I find it deeply amusing that it competed with Killer and VZap so well." I think you may well find they are being a little unfair on what was a good package.

Not a bad little collection, even if I say so myself.

Aaron Timbrell + David Bradforth