RISC World

Games World

Paul Brett with the latest gaming news.

It's been a quiet couple of months on the RISC OS gaming scene, but as ever, I have been digging deep and if you know where to look there is still quite a lot of news for the RISC OS gamer.

StarFighter 3000

Chris Bazley has released another patch for StarFighter 3000. With the amount of work Chris has done to Starfighter over the years I am surprised that there is anything left to change! This new version is for release 3 of StarFighter, the 32bit compatible desktop version) and includes quite a number of changes.

  • Fixed bug that caused the application to be being paged in as often as possible even when configured to run slowly, thus reducing the time available to other tasks. Also the game would not have run properly if started after the centisecond timer had gone 'negative' (six weeks from machine reset).
  • The Configure dialogue box now always opens centred on the screen instead of simply being brought to the front if already open.
  • Made provision for internationalisation of system variables for Castle's proposed help system.
  • For consistency pressing F12 will now cause the main window to lose input focus whether or not the game is suspended.
  • Fixed bugs accidentally introduced in version 3.02 where insufficient memory to load the 'TexData' file, or configuration / high score files too big, would go unreported instead of aborting initialisation.
  • Fixed longstanding bug where detail map could not be scrolled to eastern and northern extremities by clicking on global (small) map. Also fixed over-aggressive clipping of target crosses & object dots on map.
  • Fixed minor bug where 'Ship status' instead of 'Toggle HUD' was erroneously displayed by the Configure dialogue box as the action associated with a mouse or joystick button.
  • Updated G.A.G.'s ResFind utility (used internally) from version 2.01b to 2.12.
  • Internal changes to use more Toolbox interfaces in preference to directly calling the Window Manager, improve division of code between source files and take advantage of ObjAsm's provision for literal pools.
  • Fixed bug where 'Not enough memory' would be reported on initialisation if pointer shapes Sprite file not found.
  • Long intervals between game updates are now capped at one second so that timer-driven animations do not skip excessively after multitasking has been suspended (e.g. due to a Wimp error report).
  • If the key definition window is given the input focus unsolicited then the previously highlighted icon is now selected. This eliminates problems after the input focus is borrowed (e.g. for a transient dialogue box).
  • Unclaimed key presses are now reliably passed on to other applications. Previously this only happened when the game or key definition window had the input focus.

Chris deserves all RISC OS gamers vote of thanks for his sterling work in keeping StarFighter updated on a regular basis.

Iyonix 3D graphics

.Simon Wilson, famous for his PCI TV card driver software for the Iyonix, has released a 3D graphics driver for the Iyonix called IyonixMesa. This means that it's finally possible to use the 3D hardware built into the Nvidia Geforce graphics card used in the Iyonix. As well as the source code for the software a number of examples are provided. IyonixMesa should allow RISC OS programmers to port a number of OpenGL graphics applications and of course games. RISCWorld is certainly hoping that there will be some exciting ports of PC titles to the Iyonix. A quick browse on the Internet shows that the source code to a large number of older games are available under the GPL (Gnu Public Licence) and many of these look like ideal candidates.

New Games

RISCWorld favourite Neil White has also been beavering away and has ported some more SDL games to RISC OS. Neil admits the ports are a little "dodgy" and may not run on all machines, but I have included them in the software directory anyway. Note that all these games require the SharedUnixLibrary Version 1.07, which is also included in the games directory.

You and your team of archaeologists have fallen into the "catacombs of the zombies." There's no time for research, though; the walls are closing in, and the zombies have sprung to life! Fortunately, you've discovered an ancient mystical potion which allows you to create and destroy walls. Bottles of this potion are strewn about the catacombs. Grab them, and you can break through walls when you get stuck, or create a wall behind you, if you're being chased. The longer you survive, the faster you have to move.

BlockMan is a small puzzle game involving block-pushing. If you've ever played Sokoban, it's a bit similar, but more sophisticated. If you've ever played Chip's Challenge, you may find BlockMan vaguely similar to some of its block-pushing levels. If you've played CyberBox, the basic mechanics will look very familiar. If you haven't played any of those games, don't worry. You control BlockMan, a cartoony robot stuck in a factory. You must get out of the factory. Each level in the factory has an exit, but blocks are in your way, and you need to push them out of the way. That's the basic idea. The factory is shown from a top-down view, and you control BlockMan with the arrow keys. If you get stuck, you can press R to restart a level. (Apparently BlockMan is capable of a very limited form of time travel.)

ttt is a very simple one- or two-player Tic Tac Toe game played using a mouse. You can play against the computer, or against another human player.

That's all from me for this issue, when I return in November I hope to have some more blockbuster games releases for you to savour.

Paul Brett