RISC World

Games World

Paul Brett with the latest gaming news.

Regular readers may remember that I commented last month that it had gone a little quiet on the gaming front. Well that's all changed for this issue with a host of new releases, and the freeware re-release of a RISC OS classic. So lets start with a very popular RISC OS game from nine years ago, TANKS.


TANKS was released in 1996 and was quite a hit with RISC OS gamers. It was based on the popular genre of games that involved directing missiles over hilly landscapes in order to kill your enemies, the most well know of these games is Worms, which has been released on almost every format under the sun (except RISC OS). In may ways TANKS is actually a superior offering with a wide choice of fun weapons and addictive gameplay. Why don't I let the Author of TANKS, Rik Griffin tell us more about TANKS.

"Now, 8 years on, it's looking a little dated, so I'm giving a new version of the game away for free! The version has been brought up to date to work on newer RISC OS machines, like the Iyonix. Sadly the sound effects don't work on the Iyonix but I hope to resolve this soon. But apart from that, TANKS should work on any RISC OS machine from an A3000 to a RiscPC. RISC OS 3.1 minimum required and preferably 4 meg of RAM - that was a lot back in 1996 and I worked long and hard to make the game playable on a 2 meg machine! How times change. I'd like to do some more work and add new features to TANKS in the near future, if I have the free time, so please direct any feedback you have to the email address in the !Help file."

TANKS is played in rounds. During each round, the players take turns to launch missiles at the other tanks, and try to destroy them. The object is to be the last tank left, and also to inflict maximum damage on the others. Causing damage to other tanks brings you cash prizes, to spend on more weapons.

To set up a game, open the game options window (from the main iconbar menu). Set the options to your preferences, and then click OK. Then open the "Player options" window. You can type in the names of the players, and also select whether the player is human or computer controlled. The computer controlled tanks have four skill levels you can choose from.

Before each round, the players can buy new equipment for their tanks from the shops. To shop, click MENU on the iconbar icon and select either "Shops...". There are two shops, one for weapons and one for utilities. Switch between them by clicking the "U" or "W" icon in the shop window.

See the Impression manual for a description of how the various weapons and utilities work.

When you are ready to play the next round, select "Play next round" from the main menu.

The tanks are controlled using the mouse on the dashboard at the top of the screen. There are also keyboard shortcuts for most functions, these are:

  • Cursor up, down Increase, decrease shot power
  • Cursor left, right Move tank's barrel
  • Keypad +, - Change current weapon
  • SHIFT and keypad +, - Change current warhead / ammunition
  • +, - Change current utility
  • Space Fire currently selected weapon
  • Backspace Use current utility
  • ? Show current player
  • ESCAPE Skip turn (no penalty)
  • CTRL Q Quick kill - ends round, picks a random winner
  • CTRL F12 Abort round
  • D Change missile display mode
  • C Toggle battery charge destination
  • P Toggle parachutes on/off
  • Page up, Page down Increase, decrease parachute opening distance

Also, using the mouse, click on any tank for some information about it.

Tanks needs the latest Toolbox updates from RISC OS Ltd, these are included in the RISCWorld software directory.


The Unix Porting Project have been very busy over Christmas and have released a number of new RISC Os games ports. We will be covering some of these new ports next issue, but for now lets have a look at LinCity.

This has been ported by Alan Buckley and is a clone of the SimCity type real time management games that have become so popular over the last few years. In LinCity you start with a small village, or a blank landscape, and strive to build a huge metropolis.

As with other variants in the same genre you have a limited budget and have to provide for your citizens. You will need houses, roads, markets and will have to dig for raw materials. You will also need to connect all your developments together with roads. Of course you will also need power and be able to distribute the power to those that need it. As your town grows you will need emergency services, recyling centres and a lot more besides.

LinCity doesn't have a manual and instead relies in the excellent on-line help system that will explain all the icons and what they do quickly and simply. It's very easy to get started but very hard to build a thriving city without busting your budget!


GLHack is a graphical version of the text based NetHack games. As such you are dumped in a dungeon full of monsters, your task is to retreive the Amulet of Yendor and escape alive. You can choose your character class at the start and this will alter the weapons and skills you have at your disposal. As you progress and kill more of the enemy your skill and stamina will improve.

A lot of potential players of NetHack may have been put off in the past by the crude ASCII graphics (me included - ED), but GLHack replaces these with much more modern sprites. I strongly recommend that you read the Guidebook supplied (press MENU over GLHack and click on Help) before venturing very far as you will need all the help you can get to defeat the monsters that are waiting for you.

That's all there is on the gaming front for this issue, I will be back again in March.

Paul Brett