RISC World

Letters Page

The page is the same, but the name is new, there's lot of letters, from some of you...

Wow, we have had a lot of letters coming in over the last few weeks. A goodly number of these concerned the new StarFighter that was featured on last issue. However before we start on those, lets have a quick submission from Martin Carrudus...

Hi Aaron,
Attached please find a zipped Persian Carpet Pattern Generator program. Just a bit of Fun. Better than being on LSD, (I suppose)! Oh, the colours, man! NB. Should be in 256 colour screen mode for this. Regards,
Martin Carradus

Thanks very much. I have included a copy of this in the letters section of the software directory on this issue.


Funnily enough it reminds me very much of the sorts of submissions that used to go into StarInfo in Acorn User all those years ago. Regular readers may remember that I tried, briefly, to revive this feature in RISCWorld many moons ago. Not wishing to mince words but it died on its arse and from memory only ran for two issues. Perhaps we should try again? Does anyone have any other graphical ditties they would like to submit?

It's no good. I can't wait any longer, here's the first letter about the new Starfighter...

Hi Aaron,
Firstly may I say thanks for the welcomed free version of SF3000NG and now I have it going it looks great. There does seem a couple of issues with the software one generic in that it has a hardwired !Run file and the other specific to the Iyonix , or might just be mine?
The generic I got around by altering the !Run to match the harddisc location as thus , though I suspect that there is a better way I'm sure.
I Changed:

| !Run file for StarFighter 3000
set SF_Resources$Path
| !Run file for StarFighter 3000
set SF_Resources$Path
The other one is Iyonix specific in that some files with * in the name copy over with a _ on a Iyonix as an example I found that in the SF-Resources some files on the Kinetic machine had a star in the name like Animations.Chemical*anim but on the Iyonix these had been copied as Animations.Chemical_anim.
So I copied the Kinetic RISCPC version of SF3000NG over to the Iyonix, amended the !Run file and run it and it worked. So it looks like a case of the old CDFS in the Iyonix doesn't like the naming convention.
Finally on the Iyonix again: The voice message at the start is a bit quick and sounds like Donald Duck on speed! The Kinetic 4.39 enabled RISCPC plays it OK.
Anyway thanks for another super edition of RISCWorld and I will be renewing at Wakefield.
Doug Webb

Blimey, first LSD and now Speed, what is RISC OS coming to? Being serious we've had a number of letters on a similar subject. On my master copy of the last issue StarFighter was inside an X-File archive. For reasons that currently escape up, we decided at the last minute to out it directly onto the CD. This is what's caused most of the problems that have been reported, which are pretty much Iyonix specific.

Firstly with regard to CDFS on the Iyonix I am sorry to say but the implementation with some older copies of RISC OS 5 is rather poor. Warm Silence used to sell a product called CDROMFS that addressed these issues and let pretty much any CD be read without problems. I am not sure if this is still available, CJE will probably have a copy or two tucked away and certainly have it advertised at £36 per copy on their website (note that the original rrp was £30). However this doesn't explain why you needed to edit the !Run file for the Resources path as it should have worked out of the box. Perhaps something else went wrong when it was copied?

Anyway we have now put the new StarFighter back into an X-File for any new RISCWorld CDs or DVDs that are duplicated. So anyone getting hold of a copy from now on will not have the same problems.

As a final note I did get an e-mail from someone complaining that the new StarFighter didn't work under Aemulor on the Iyonix. Unfortunately their e-mail address bounced so I couldn't reply in person. Instead I shall reply here, that's assuming they have renewed their subscription. You don't need Aeumulor to run the new SF3000, it's 32bit neutral and will run directly on the Iyonix. So stop making your life hard and just run it directly.

Meanwhile whilst we have been talking Martin Carrudus has been busy updating his Persian carpet generator...

Hi Aaron,
Reattaching !Persian. Further bugs cured + Added a 'Start Up' banner panel. Funnily the !RunImage is now exactly 40,111 bytes when !Squeezed. A portent?? Sorry,
Martin Carradus

Thanks for the update. I have made sure that the new version, with the title banner, is included on this issue.

Now another in a series of CD cockups...

Hi Aaron,
Well, my Vol. 8 Iss. 1-6 of RISCWorld CD turned up in the post all right, but what a reluctant beastie it is! It takes ages to load anything, and as often or not the CD drive declares itself to be empty. Just to check my drive, I put in my Iss. 5 CD, and that's fine, stuff pops up straight away.
What can cause a CD to be reluctant to load? It doesn't look dirty or anything. I did give it a surreptitious wipe, just in case, but it doesn't help.
RO 4.39 on RPC700, using Netsurf 1.1, which as often as not declares the server to have provided it with an empty file.
Michael Poole

RISCWorld is provided on recordable CDs, rather than mass produced CDs. This is because the numbers involved only start making sense at several thousand CDs per issue. We always try and obtain the same brand of printable silver CDs for each issue. Typically we buy then in units of 1000+ so that we always have plenty in stock. However the brand we have been using for the last few months seem to be in short supply and we have had to change to a different brand. Well, you may well say, a CD is a CD, what's that got to do with it?

For modern drives it will make little difference, however if you have an older drive in your machine it simply might not be able to read the particular make of CDR that we have used. It's still quite common to find RiscPC's with 12 speed or less drives fitted and these really are very old hat. Getting hold of a new drive that will work in a RiscPC isn't necessarily very easy as plain CD readers are hard to come by these days. Most people using PCs will expect a DVD Writer at the very least. Since you have RISC OS 4.39 then you might be able to fit a DVD reader that will be able to read CD Roms and Data DVDs (such as the excellent value RISCWorld DVD).

However this is speculation. Check your drive. If it's 24 speed or less then it probably will need replacing to read modern CD recordable discs.

Finally here's a word or two from Matt Thompson...

Hi Aaron,
Got the new Risc World today, I see your rant section is what you mentioned on a recent email about companies being useless. Maybe you should just be the sole supplier for Virtual RISC OS ? might be easier.
Wow what a surprise with Starfighter 3000, a step back to the good old days of picking up a magazine to find some exciting new game exclusive or something, however it won't work.
First problem is that the Sharedsound module doesn't appear to be in the !System.modules directory where the program expects to find it, luckily I did have this module elsewhere in !System but called SShare instead, a rename and file move solved this problem. Is this an Iyonix change or me losing files ?
Secondly it now works nearly I get the introduction sequence, then press Space to start and then it crashes because it wants to run from the CD ROM drive, this is coming from the !Run file , I have transferred the program to hard disc, will it run from there without he need for the CD-ROM in the drive or does it have to be present like in Wizards Apprentice, maybe the !Run file needs editing?
Don't want to sound like this is moaning, this is very exciting exclusive and one which should hopefully generate some more sales, any more exclusives out there? Matt Thompson

You have raised an interesting point. I don't want to be the sole supplier of VirtualAcorn products as, in some ways, this defeats part of the object. When we set everything up we decided that we would only supply the VirtualAcorn's themselves, we wouldn't bundle them with machines. This gave RISC OS dealers a way "in" to VirtualAcorn. For RISC OS to keep afloat there needs to be a complete market with a number of suppliers. In the short term we could have made money by selling machines ourselves, but in the mid to long term it would have been counter productive. RISCOS needs a vibrant market, it needs people to be operating in this market and it needs those supplying goods to make a sensible profit.

So we decided that anyone who wanted to buy just the VirtualAcorn should come to us. Anyone who wanted one bundled and pre-installed on a machine should go to a RISC OS dealer, who would already be equipped to deal with orders for "RISC OS machines". This also had the benefit that it gave the dealers much better control over what they sold and their prices, rather then these being determined by a small number of "real" RISC OS hardware manufacturers. Given the feedback from dealers that we have had over the years this was the correct approach.

Moving on to StarFighter. As far as I know the SharedSound module has always been called SharedSound and I have never heard of it being called SShare. That's unless you have a copy of the module meant for older machines that only have 10 character file names. Of course those machines would be 26bit and it's unlikely that a module that old would run on the Iyonix, or the A9 for that matter. The game should be able to run from the harddisc with no problems. I suggest taking a look at Doug Webb's letter for information on modifying the !Run file to get round the problem, which, so far, has only shown up on the Iyonix and could be caused by the version of CDFS in your copy of RISC OS 5.

I am very pleased that we finally got StarFighter included with RISCWorld as we have been planning this for some time. As a quick note it's worth pointing out that you can only get the new StarFighter with RISCWorld. The version of StarFighter sold by APDL on the "Other Worlds" CD is the original Acorn version (despite what you might have read in Archive and other places).

That's it for this issue. To contact the RISCWorld letters page please e-mail us using the following e-mail address. The deadline for letters being published in the next issue is 14th of July.

Aaron Timbrell