RISC World

Games World

Paul Brett with the latest gaming news.

As I said last issue we will have another crop of games for this issue. Last time we covered the games produced by Neil White, this time we are going to have a look at some of the games produced by Peter Naulls.

Peter Naulls' Games

Unlike Neil's games these aren't RISC OS originals but are part of Peter Naulls' Unix Porting Project so are ports of Unix games that Peter has converted to run on RISC OS. All of these games require the latest toolbox modules from Castle Technology. These can be found in the Toolbox archive in the Software directory on this issue of RISC World. In addition they also require the SharedUnixLibrary which can found in the System archive in the Software.Games directory on this CD. Some games also require a copy of the DigitalRenderer sound sample player which is also in the System archive.

These new games have been made possible by the porting of the SDL (Simple Directmedia Layer) libraries to RISC OS. These libraries have been ported before by eQ labs (as keen RISC World reader may remember - ED), but they were rather buggy. Peter Naulls has done a sterling job of providing a new SDL library that does not suffer from the same problems as the eQ labs version.

Circus Linux

Circus Linux! is based on the Atari 2600 game "Circus Atari" by Atari, released in 1980. Gameplay is similar to "Breakout" and "Arkanoid. You slide a device left and right to bounce objects into the air which destroy a wall. In this case you move a see saw left and right, with the mouse, to bounce the clowns into the air to pop the balloons, and the more balloons you pop the higher your score.


Gamma Patrol

A vertically scrolling shoot 'em up. Use the cursor keys to control your ship and Space to fire. You can select your weapon (if you have more than one) with Page-Up and Page-Down or 1, 2 and 3 on the numeric keypad.


Gem Drop

"Gem Drop" is an interesting one-player puzzle game. It is a direct port of the Atari 8-bit game of the same name written in Action!, a very fast C- and Pascal-like compiled language for the Atari. If you're familiar with games like Jewels, Klax, Bust-A-Move or Tetris then this game will feel very similar. You are positioned at the bottom of the screen. Move left and right with the cursor keys, and grab and throw the gems using the up and down keys.



A game based on Pacman, go around the maze and collect all the dots using the cursor keys, but watch out for the ghosts.



So, uh, there's a bunch of penguins on an iceberg in Antarctica. You have been selected to catch them so they can be shipped to Finland, where they are essential to a secret plot for world domination.

In order to trap the penguins, you'll need to break the iceberg into small chunks. (They're afraid of water, for no apparent reason. Ah well. "The Matrix" had more plot holes than this, and it was still a hit.) You do this by melting lines in the ice with Special High-Tech GNU Tools.

If a penguin hits a line in progress, however, it vanishes with a loud noise, and you lose a life. (Yes, a life. This story is really breaking down, isn't it? But never fear -- I'll keep going until it's completely dead.)

Once 80% or more of the iceberg is gone, the remaining chunks are small enough for shipping. Of course, if you manage to get rid of more than that, you'll save on postage, thus earning you exponential amounts of Geek Cred (a.k.a. "score").

After you ship off one batch of penguins, it's time to move on to the next. Each subsequent 'berg will have one more penguin, and you'll have one more life. This will continue until you lose, or until you exceed level one hundred or so, which Ain't Gonna Happen.

Of course, this is an urgent mission, so you'll be penalized if you're slow -- every second or so, your score drops down by one. But don't worry, I'm not completely cruel, so any points you earn on one level are yours to keep forever, no matter how long you take on subsequent icebergs.

As far as I can tell, this makes no narrative sense whatsoever, so at this point, I declare the backstory / game metaphor completely collapsed. Just go play.

The left mouse button starts drawing lines; the right (and/or middle) button toggles between making vertical and horizontal lines. Note that left clicking actually starts *two* lines: either up and down or left and right. (This will make plenty of sense when you're actually playing.) If one of these lines is hit before it reaches the edge of the iceberg, you'll lose a life. If both are hit, you'll lose two lives.

As a tiny bit of grace, if you click directly on a penguin, it will say "Ouch" and nothing else will happen.

Once a line is completed, any area containing no penguins is cleared. Falls into the ocean, so to speak. Once 80% has been cleared, the level is complete. However, you get an exponential bonus for every percentage point above that, so you want to try to make your last line suddenly clear a huge chunk of ice. (Again, this will make sense once you've played for a while.) Oh, and you also get a (much smaller) bonus for having lives left over at the end of a level.

Taking a long time on a level doesn't affect these bonuses, but it can chip away at your score, so you have to balance the time it takes to set up a situation where you can clear 99% of the iceberg against the bonus you'll get for doing so.

Having trouble? A hint: it's useful to make traps by intentionally letting some of your lines get broken. That way, you can create smaller areas in which you can catch the pesky little things easily.



Press Enter to start the game. Use the arrow keys to guide MunchMan. The goal is to eat all of the pellets just like PacMan. The Escape key quits the game. Have fun when you get to Level 4.



It's a BoulderDash clone. For those who have a more gentile English upbringing it's very very like Repton....but with a lot more levels!



Yes it's a multi tasking version of Asteroids, turn with the left and right keys. Thrust with the up and down arrows. You can fire a bullet using Space and a SmartBomb with S. If things get too tricky activate your shields with TAB or just give up and quit with Escape.



Heroes is similar to the "Tron" and "Nibbles" games of yore, but includes many graphical improvements and new game features. In it, you must manoeuvre a small vehicle around a world and collect powerups while avoiding obstacles, your opponents' trails, and even your own trail. There are five game modes available. Quest is the classical Nibbles, in Death Match you start with very long tails a must kill your opponents, in Kill'em All you must run over lemmings moving on the ground, in Time Cash or Color modes you must collect money or pyramids of color. Heroes features 12 original sound tracks, 94 levels (in 10 different tile sets) plus a level editor.



And finally we come to the piece de la reistance, FreeCiv. This is such a huge game that we have devoted an entire article on how to play. For those that are not familiar with FreeCiv it is a multiplayer strategy game that is quite similar to Civilisation II from MicroProse.

In order the start playing FreeCiv all you need to do is:

  • Run !CivServer
  • Run !CivClient
  • Click "Join Game"
  • Click "Connect"
  • Type "start" in the server taskwindow
  • Choose your nation in the client, then click "start".

The in game controls are:

  • + Enter to show input dialog.
  • hide/show log window
  • hide/show fog of war
  • hide/show road/RR
  • hide/show terrains
  • hide/show irrigations/farmlands
  • hide/show units
  • hide/show pollution
  • hide/show city productions
  • hide/show map specials
  • hide/show map grids
  • hide/show nuke wast
  • hide/show cities
  • hide/show city names
  • make screenshot
  • - cities report
  • - units report
  • - economy report
  • - science report
  • - advanced menu
  • - advanced menu
  • - open production dialog.
  • - open buy production dialog (works only in fullscreen mode).
  • if active unit stay on city then key enter the city.
  • - options dialogue.

  • In options dlg key exit game.

In City dialogue:

  • change production dlg.
  • hurry production dlg.

In all dialogues:

  • - exit/close dlg.
  • - ok/commit/etc.

In Worklit dlg:

  • on "target" - change production to "target"
  • on "target" - add "target" to work list
  • on "target" - callhelp about "target" - not implemented !
  • on "worklist item" - swap "item" up
  • on "worklist item" - swap "item" down
  • on "worklist item" - remove "item" from worklist.

In MiniMap:

  • center map here.
  • open minimap scaling dialog.

In Unit Info Window:

  • - next unit.
  • - center on focused unit.

Signing off

That is it for this GamesWorld, now what do you think might happen if Neil White and Peter Naulls got together, perhaps we will find out next time!

Paul Brett