This FAQ was written because the various posters to csa.games got fed up answering the same questions over and over again with often as little as two weeks separating each occurrence of a given question. Please read this FAQ before you post any questions.
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This FAQ is currently maintained by Matthew Hambley and may also be found on the web .
Only the 3 most recent releases are given here. A complete history is available should you wish to view it.
Acorn Games are usually written by university students who have some really great ideas and do some good coding but then graduate. They then tend to be offered proper jobs which they take and suddenly find they don't have the time (or their contract prevents them) to code. The other problem is the small market place which means that only a handful of small companies can be supported.
A demo is intended to demonstrate some programming/graphical/musical flair
and techniques - any
gameplay is peripheral to the program. A
game demo is either a cut-down or
crippled version of a
commercial or shareware game or a rolling demo. It is designed to demonstrate
the gameplay aspect of a game and encourage you to buy it. A game is a
program intended to have lots of gameplay...
A very good question. For a long time everything seemed to point to them having wound up years ago. Every so often someone would pipe up with the claim that they where still trading but that was easily dismissed as duff gen. However recently it has become apparent that they are still trading. They have re-launched themselves as Superior Interactive and seem to be looking to break into the Wintel games market.
You can find out a little of what they are up to at their web site. Their Acorn products may be purchased through APDL.
You may like to try some of the following sites:
These links may prove useful to you:
A3010 owners will know it is possible as their machines come with joystick ports. If you own any of the other Acorn machines then you will require an interface. At the moment Stuart Tyrrell Developments appear to be the only people manufacturing joystick interfaces. They also provide joypads for use with your Risc OS machine.
Too much deep techie talk is off topic in this group (csa.programmer is the place for that) however discussion of general principles and game concepts is perfectly acceptable.
If (presumably) you've never written a game, you'll want some idea of how video games tick and the usual sorts of routines you'll need to program them. For a first game, I'd suggest using one of these libraries:
These libraries will do a lot of the hard work for you such as object processing and sprite plotting; be warned that you won't find either of these perfect, and will probably want to hack a lot of the code around. Both contain some useful hints on game coding and a certain amount of tutorial material.
These libraries only handle 2D (flat) games programming; if you want to write something in three dimensions, there are huge tomes available on the subject. The comp.graphics.algorithms FAQ is a good place to start.
TAG is a 3D graphics library written by TBA Software which has been successfully used in some of their games. TBA is no more so both the engine and its source code have been made available on the TBA CD-ROM from R-Comp. Source for BHP and Cobalt Seed are also included on this disc.
Be warned that knowing how to code a game is only half the battle: If you want to release something commercially, slick presentation and careful design are essential. Get other people to draw graphics or compose music if you don't feel your skills are up to a commercial standard. Spend a while planning rather than just diving headlong into the coding. Finally, hold your game up to the light of a similar offering running under DOS or Windows and ask whether you would pay the money you're asking for your game. A lot of people have PCs and prefer playing games (and spending money) on those.
Finally there are a number of commercial games for which the source has been released. At the time of writing only one of these has not been ported already: Golgotha.
At first this may seem like an impossibility. Games written for a Risc OS machine only have a hope of working on other ARM based computers (which are a little thin on the ground) and then only if they have a similar architecture. It is however possible through the plethora of Gameboy emulators. A UNIX package for creating Gameboy games has been ported to RISC OS. Its libraries are a little primitive but they should be useable. It may even be a useful introduction to games programing (see the previous question)
Find the package on the porters web site.
The most common text adventure formats used on Acorn machines are also ports of very well supported formats. Inform for instance can be used on everything from C64's to Linux boxes. See the section on text adventures for more information.
There is a nigh on comprehensive list of emulators held at the Acorn Gaming site.
If it is the actual rendition of the game on screen which is not right then you may find that adding these to your momitor definition file helps.
# 320 x 200 (112Hz) startmode mode_name: x_res:320 y_res:200 pixel_rate:12587 h_timings:42,14,12,320,12,0 v_timings:2,50,0,200,0,30 sync_pol:2 endmode # 384 x 200 (111Hz) startmode mode_name: x_res:384 y_res:200 pixel_rate:18881 h_timings:68,0,66,384,66,0 v_timings:2,16,32,200,32,8 sync_pol:2 endmode
A common solution to this problem is to investigate PCSound from R-Comp Interactive. This bit of trickery will, with the aid of a MIDI synthesiser be it hardware or software, improve PC sound for a number of games.
Unless you are absolutely positively stuck then stop reading now.
I don't want to spoil the fun for you...
Still here? OK, to complete Quake look for the floating ball. This is the target for the teleporter. When you teleport you will end up where this thing is. So, just wait for the ball to be inside Shub Niggrath (The big tenticular end of game gardian) and then teleport. You will telefrag Shub and win the game. It might be possible to win by whacking the Cthuhloid one enough times with the axe too.
To answer this question I'll quote this brief introduction by the author of the RISC OS versions:
Angband is a dungeon adventure game, similar to Dungeons & Dragons in some ways, but with the emphasis on strategic use of equipment, magic and skills rather than role-playing and problem solving.
It is (loosely) set in Tolkien's Middle Earth, although some variants of the game draw on quite different sources.
Angband is the single most addictive computer game I have ever played... I barely even look at Tetris these days ;)
Possibly the first port of call for finding out more should be Musus Umbra's RISC OS angband site. For general Angband information including links to the Acorn port why not try Thangorodrim. Alternatively Acorn Arcade has some Acorn spacific links in its Game Support pages.
Interactive fiction (IF), or text adventures, are games in which the player and the computer interact through a textual interface: the player enters commands and the computer responds by printing text to the screen, generally what the player can see and what effects the previous command had.
The player's input can be a simple command in the format <verb>
<noun>, such as
take sword or
Modern games will also be able to parse quite complex sentences like
take the gold coin out of the treasure chest and bite it. Then close
Playing interactive fiction, then, is like reading a novel in which you are the main character.
Many interactive fictions are available as platform-independent storyfiles, which are played on an interpreter. There are at least half a dozen rival formats and, unfortunately, there aren't Acorn ports of interpreters for every format.
One of the most popular interactive fiction storyfile formats is the
Z-machine format, as used by Infocom and, more recently, the Inform
compiler (see below). An excellent interpreter for games in this format
is Zip 2000. This is a multi-tasking application with many features.
Zip 2000 is shareware (ukp10 registration), but a freeware distribution
is available via anonymous FTP from the IF archives
If you prefer there is another z-machine interpreter called Frotz. The big difference between this and Zip 2000 is its front end which some people prefer. It can be found at the authors web site
The Hugo engine, HE, is an interpreter of storyfiles generated by the Hugo compiler (see below). It is currently a single-tasking application, invoked from the command-line. HE (archived with the Hugo compiler) is available via anonymous FTP from the IF archives
The TADS interpreter allows you to play games in the TADS run-time format. This is also a single-tasking application, identical in appearance to the DOS version. TADS is available via anonymous FTP from the IF archives
A Level9 interpreter has also been ported to the RPC/Archimedes. This
is used to play games published by Level 9 Computing, such as
Snowball. It currently runs in a taskwindow on the desktop.
L9 is available via anonymous FTP from the IF archives
Actual games are available from a number of sources. As mentioned
above, the Infocom games (
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,
etc.) can be played with Zip 2000. These games are commercial software,
and are often repackaged by the copyright-holders, Activision. The most
Masterpieces of Infocom, contains all but two of
the games. This may not yet be available in Europe, so the previous
Lost Treasures of Infocom, (vols. I & II) may be a better
Zork I has recently become freeware, and is available from
Activision's Web site
A growing number of very high quality freeware and shareware games produced with the Inform authoring system, and playable on Zip 2000, are available via anonymous FTP from the IF archives
Hugo games are, currently, less prevalent, but a handful are available via anonymous FTP from the IF archives
A number of TADS games are available via anonymous FTP from the IF archives
The Level 9 games are probably no longer available to buy anywhere, but are available from a number of FTP sites. L9 can handle these games in any format (except not Spectrum Z80 files, these must be converted to SnapShots). An archive of several Spectrum games (Z80 format, so convert) is available via anonymous FTP from would you credit it?
Lastly, there are one or two games available as RISC OS applications. Some of these are available via anonymous FTP from that funky IF archives site again
There are a number of publicly available authoring systems for creating interactive fiction in one of the storyfile formats mentioned above.
Inform is undoubtedly currently the most popular and ported authoring
system available. It compiles source, written in it's own language
(fully OO and reminiscent of C), to a
Inform is available via anonymous FTP from the IF archives
It has recently come to my attention that there is a very good site concerning the technicalities of writing adventure games with extra links at this site
Hugo is much newer than Inform. The language bears comparison to
Inform, C and BASIC, but much of the (sometimes confusing) punctuation
has been removed, and the whole language optimised for clarity and
ease-of-use. Hugo source compiles to its own format storyfile, which
removes many of the more limiting restrictions of the
format. Hugo is available via anonymous FTP from the IF archives
There are two newsgroups devoted to interactive fiction. If you are interested in playing these games, you should subscribe to rec.games.int-fiction
If you want to write interactive fiction you should subscribe to rec.arts.int-fiction
The Interactive Fiction Archive is a huge repository of interactive fiction games, authoring systems, utilities, documentation and other related material. It is found at the IF archives
Both the rec.arts.int-fiction FAQ and the rec.games.int-fiction FAQ are available from the IF archives.
Well now you can have some. Recently a port of Sarien has been completed. Sarien is an AGI interpreter. It will allow you to play old (generally pre 1989) Sierra adventures. For instance, Leisure Suit Larry and the various Quest games. (King's, Space and Police)
All you need is the original game and a copy of Sarien, available from the authors web site.
Apparently there is work underway to produce an interpreter which will play more modern Sierra games. Possibly even more exciting is the SCUMMVM. SCUMM is the system used by Lucas Arts for, among other things, Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. It can also be found at David McEwens web site.