8-Bit Software Online Conversion

                                                      To: 999 (all members) From: 3WU (Fred Price) Subject: Yule Time Well Friends once again old Father Christmas is knocking about again and it's only a year ago since he last done the rounds and it's surprising how a year flies over when Old Father Time passes by but we poor mortals must not complain (well not too much) And as this is the last excellent disc of 1994 i would like to wish you all                    To : Tim Parsons + 999 From : 483 (Daniel Shimmin) About: Inkjets & graphics routines I was interested to see your mention of this in the last issue. I assume any printer, whether inkjet or laser, should be quite happy to print out graphics once you can work out what format it accepts them in. Presumably, once that has been sorted out, the simplest method is to use BASIC and VDU 2,1,xx,1,xx etc. I have had some success (after some use of its manual) in persuading an Epson laser printer to produce simple vector graphics from BASIC in this manner. The other advantage in using BASIC VDU commands is that there should be little difference in behaviour between 8-bit and 32-bit Acorn machines connected to the same printer. My new printer (to replace my Star LC24-10 24-pin dot matrix) is a Canon BJ-200 360x360dpi bubblejet, intended largely for DTP work from my A5000 using Computer Concepts turbodrivers. If you want the info concerning graphics format from the printer's manual, I would be happy to send it in.  To : 999 + K6X + K5B From : 483 (Daniel Shimmin) About: 8BS prices Discussion of 8BS price increases continues. When I became editor of 8BS, there had been a tradition established, thanks to the generosity of the previous editor (Duncan Webster), that there would be no charges at all so long as people supplied their own disks and return postage. Due to this, there was a fair amount of opposition to the "50p per issue" extra charge that I introduced when I became editor, and this was the reason why I began the practice of occasionally including "8BS accounts", to show that there was a need for extra cash to cover miscellaneous expenses. Since then, the situation has changed considerably, and now members seem quite keen to voluntarily donate to the funds, and even to try to persuade Chris to implement another price increase. The generosity of members, both in terms of donations of money as well as donations of knowledge, time and expertise, is what has enabled 8BS to become as successful as it is, even to the extent of being able to buy the distribution rights on old 8-bit software such as View Professional. However, I have to say that I feel 8BS is still fairly strong financially (unless Chris has information to the contrary), and that price rises, even perhaps the recent blank disk price increase, are not absolutely vital. EDITOR..... 8BS is strong, there is no doubt. The 8BS funds are always bouncing along the bottom. Donations are always welcome and help a great deal towards the expenses. For instance, today I received the phone bill. £46.00 of which was related to 8BS. I have not recently published detailed accounts mainly because the balance is a minus figure. I have been waiting for them to pop their head up a bit before giving everyone the gory details. The charges in theory cover the costs. In practice they almost do!  To : 999 + K6X + K5A From : 483 (Daniel Shimmin) About: 32-bit content I was interested to see some discussion of this in the last issue, as it was a problem that I spent some time thinking about while I was editor. At that time, I tried to encourage not only a certain amount of Archimedes content, but even, at one stage, a section for people with 32016 co-processors, on the grounds that these were connected to, and worked through, people's Beebs, and hence were worthy of inclusion in a Beeb magazine (also they ran BBC BASIC). The 32016 venture proved a failure (the 32016 users I was in contact with seemed uninterested in the 8-bit content of the magazine, and Hugh Williams, who had originally planned to write some 32016 software for 8BS, lost interest in programming soon afterwards), but there is still a strong argument for including Archimedes-related material in 8BS, and I was glad to see the review of Wolfenstein 3D appear in the last issue. First, as far as text is concerned, 8BS could probably manage to fit a couple of full-length Archimedes-related articles in each issue without reducing the amount of 8-bit information at all (a lot of text fits on a 400K disk). Therefore 8-bit-only users would not lose anything at all (apart from having a - perhaps unwelcome - chance to look at some of the issues affecting 32-bit users), while those 8BS members who own both 8-bit and Archimedes machines would benefit from being able to exchange their knowledge. As far as software is concerned, it is worth pointing out the similarities of the 8-bit and 32-bit Acorn machines in terms of BASIC compatibility (all pure BASIC programs running on a Beeb or Master should run on an Archimedes also, but a lot faster), VDU compatibility (virtually all of the VDU codes available on the Beeb and Master are also available on the Archimedes, and all the BBC screen modes are still available), operating system compatibility (many of the Beeb and Master *FX calls and star commands are available on the Archimedes), filing system compatibility (the Archimedes uses ADFS filing system commands as used on the Master series and many Beebs), and emulation (programs - in any language - that run on the Beeb are very likely to run under the 6502 emulator supplied with all Archs, and at very nearly the correct speed). What all this means is not only that a lot of people find the move from BBC to Archimedes (if not the move to advanced Archimedes programming) relatively easy because a lot has remained the same, but also that it is worth while aiming a lot of software towards the Archimedes as well as the Beeb - much of it will run on both. Similarly an article on advanced BASIC programming, or ADFS filing system commands, or printer control from BASIC (as I mentioned above), or mathematical routines written in BASIC or C, would be as relevant to Arch owners as to Beeb owners. It seems worthwhile to support Archimedes owners through 8BS because it is one way of keeping people with different machines interested. (The same applies to articles on the Z88). In addition, there is nothing similar to 8BS in the Archimedes world. As for Archimedes-only software, it seems unlikely that much of this will find its way into 8BS issues, for the moment at least. If it does, it will certainly not be taking up space on the DFS version, as most Arch-owners will be receiving the ADFS version (which is not especially short of space anyway). 8-bit-only users need have no fear that 8BS is about to go down the path followed by the commercial magazines a couple of years ago. The membership at present has a large contingent of people who would prefer never to change to a 32-bit machine. While these people keep on sending off for, and contributing to, 8BS, there is no way that 8BS could carry out the large-scale change in its content and approach that would be necessary to attract large mumbers of Archimedes-only owners. If someone is prepared to set up 32-Bit Software along the same lines as 8-Bit Software, I imagine it would be a great success. But 8BS itself will only be renamed 32BS when all interest in the 8-bit content has disappeared - and that is a very long time off. In the meantime, an Archimedes column of some sort would be very interesting. EDITOR.... Up to now, I have published everything submitted to me in the next issue. I shall try my best to continue with this. Text will always be placed into the issue first as the magazine side of the disc is the most popular side. In the unlikely event of space becoming short, text and programs for machines other than 8-Bit Acorn will be the first to be stock piled. So submit what you want!  From Trevor Crapper K4V To 999 Subject: Comments Dear Chris and Members, Hope you had a very good Christmas and wish you all a belated Happy New Year. Thank you for issue 39 and its contents. Contributors articles which contain information are always most welcome, makes my job updating the catalogue very easy. What does strike me, however, is the number of calls for help. Our friend Tim Parsons letter brings it home. As usual the ideas machine went into action, must apologise for doing this, my wife says all I do is find other people work! Anyway it came up with a few suggestions, anybody out there that has more than a passing know- ledge of a subject could put their name forward to be kept on a list and published by Chris so that they can be contacted privately. If this does not appeal then some kind of forum could be set up and questions sent in could be answered and published for everyone to read and benefit from. The point is this knowledge should be shared especially if it furthers the cause and keeps us all going. If you have mastered a subject why not let us all in on to some of the basics. Printers and the art of using one is always a favourite topic. We all need help at some time or other, and some members are willing and able to share the fruits of their labours. Of course it must be understood that not everyone is capable of doing this, and it is hoped that this fact is known and appreciated. The bottom line for me is this, newcomers coming in are our life blood, why not give them as much assistance as they need. Okay I have to admit it can be fun finding things out, but it is very nice when one stops beating the head against a brick wall. In my working days anyone who had read through a manual was considered to be an expert! Come on have a go, all it costs is a little time, you never know it may open fresh fields. Trevor Crapper.  To: 999 (all members) From: K8J (Cyril Pike) Subject: From the new lad. I have hesitated over the past few weeks as to whether I should make the grade among such an august band of computer buffs, my decision is that I must give it a try. Of course I shall not be able contribute anything of note, but no doubt you will all fall off your key boards in merriment, if I relate some of my efforts to get the better of my Master. Upon reflection that just about sums it up..my Master! It comes second only to my Mistress, the light of my life,I knew that from the day she singed my wings; I digress, the topic is this inanimate hunk of machinery that thinks it can best me. And it does,frequently; I request it to perform some simple task only to receive back chat I would not have taken from my offspring. It is my firm belief that when Hugo was set the task of programming the Acorns, twenty seven others were set to enter a smart answer for the likes of me. Doubtless it is only because of this battle between us that drags me back for another humiliating experience, I think it is called masochism, a sort of love/hate relationship. That must be more than enough for the present, at least it is soporific, even I am nodding off, so cheerio for now. Cyril  To: 999 (all members) From: 4WL (MARTIN WILSON) Subject: FRONTIER VERSUS ELITE Frontier Elite 2 has been available now for over a year on four formats; PC, ST, Amiga and CD32. Its an impressive game and quite playable. I know many Archimedes owners are hoping for a conversion. I've played it myself quite extensively on a fast 486 PC. It presents a very accurate and realistic picture of the universe with binary stars, multiple planets and natural/artificial satellites. You can have your choice of ship. Unlike the Cobra MK3 or nothing attitude of the original. However when you start playing the game you realise there doesn't seem to be that many other ships about. In fact the only time you see a lot of other ships is when you do something wrong at a space port/station and your attacked by vipers. There are loads of ships then. But because your near a space port/station the computer slows down terribly. Its just too much for the computer to calculate the planets curved surface, all the ground detail plus all the ships moving smoothly. When your in space and you encounter another ship its normally on its own and shooting it is just unbelievebly dull after the first 10 times. The ship moves across the sky. You can not move fast enough to catch up with it until it turns to come back in your direction and then you can do a few potshots hoping to catch it in your sights. You can use the autopilot to follow the craft but its all fairly boring. Theres no getting in amongst a pack of pirates and twisting and turning and taking off each of them one by one. Frontier is a great adventure/exploration game which impresses immensly. Elite is good adventure/exploration game with excellent arcade action. Elite is the better game in my opinion  From: 4WL (MARTIN WILSON) Subject: ELECTRON VERSUS RISC PC 1. ITS CHEAPER. ELECTRON ABOUT `8 AT YOUR NEAREST CARBOOT. RISC PC `1300+ 2. THE STAIRS TEST. IF YOU WERE TO DROP BOTH AN ELECTRON AND A RISC PC DOWN A FLIGHT OF STAIRS I BELIEVE THE ELECTRON WOULD HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF SURVIVING. HARD DRIVES AND CD-ROMS DON'T COPE TO WELL WITH VIBRATION. 3. PORTABILITY. THE ELECTRON IS EASILY CARRIED AND CAN BE PLUGGED INTO ANY TV. IT CAN LOAD ITS SOFTWARE OFF ANY AVAILABLE CASSETTE PLAYER WITH THE APPROPRIATE CABLES. THIS IS NOT TRUE OF THE RISC PC. 4. THE ELECTRON HAS A WIDER SELECTION OF SOFTWARE. THOUSANDS OF TITLES SPANNING MANY YEARS. THE RISC PC IN ITS NATIVE RISC MODE HAS A FAR SMALLER LIBRARY OF SOFTWARE. IT HAS POOR COMPATIBILITY WITH THE EARLIER RISC MACHINES. 5. COMPATIBILITY WITH THE BBC B. THE ELECTRON HAS A GOOD LEVEL OF COMPATIBILITY WITH THE BEEB. UNFORTUNATELY DUE TO A LACK OF MODE 7 DIFFICULTIES DO ARISE. HOWEVER THERE IS A GOOD LEVEL OF COMPATIBILITY AND MANY GAMES AND APPLICATIONS WILL RUN EVEN THOSE WITH EXTENSIVE MACHINE CODE. THE RISC PC HAS A FAR LESS SUCCESSFUL LEVEL OF COMPATIBILITY. MOST PROGRAMS WITH EXTENSIVE MACHINE CODE WILL FAIL. 6. DEPRECIATION. THE ELECTRON WILL PROBABLY BE AVAILABLE NEXT YEAR AT A CARBOOT NEAR YOU FOR THE SAME `8. IT MAY EVEN INCREASE IN PRICE DUE TO RARITY. THATS AN AMAZING ZERO OR LESS DEPRECATION. HOWEVER THE RISC PCS VALUE IS SURE TO DECLINE RAPIDLY WITH THE ARRIVAL OF FASTER ARM CHIPS AND A GENERAL REDUCTION IN THE PRICE OF COMPONENTS. IT COULD LOSE HALF ITS VALUE IN ONE YEAR. 7. KEYBOARD. THE ELECTRON HAS A NICER FEEL ALTHOUGH THERE ARE LESS KEYS. THIS DOES MAKE ALL KEYS AVAILABLE QUICKER WITHOUT TOO MUCH ARM MOVEMENT. THE RISC PC USES A STANDARD EXTENDED PC KEYBOARD WITH A SOFTER PLACTICKY FEEL. 8. PROGRAMMING. BOTH MACHINES HAVE BASIC AND ASSEMBLER BUILT IN. THE ELECTRON BOOTS UP INTO BASIC ALLOWING PROGRAMMING STRAIGHT AWAY. IN THE EVENT OF A PROGRAMMING ERROR THE ELECTRON CAN BE RESTARTED AND PROGRAMMING CAN COMMENCE IN SECONDS. THE RISC PC TAKES FAR LONGER TO BOOT UP AND BASIC MUST BE SELECTED MANUALLY. 9. BRATABILITY. HOW SAFE IS THE MACHINE WHEN USED BY CHILDREN. THE ELECTRON IS STURDY AND SEALED. THERE IS AN EXPANSION CONNECTOR WHICH COULD BE USED AS A STYLOPHONE BY A SMALL CHILD. THE ELECTRON COULD BE DAMAGED MEANING THE LOSS OF `8. THE RISC PC HAS MANY VENTS AND MORE DELICATE COMPONENTS THESE COULD EASILY BE DAMAGED. IN ESSENCE THE RISC PC CAN NOT BE USED BY SMALL CHILDREN DUE TO THE VALUE OF THE COMPUTER. 10. 24BIT RENDERING, FAST 3D POLYGON GRAPHICS, SOUND SYNTHESIS AND SAMPLING, PC COMPATIBILITY, WINDOWS COMPATIBILITY, ARCADE QUALITY GAMES, SOPHISTICATED APPLICATIONS, LARGE STORAGE CAPACITIES. IN THESE AREAS THE RISC PC HAS THE ADVANTAGE OVER THE ELECTRON. WELL THERE YOU GO ELECTRON 9 POINTS, RISC PC 1 POINT. THIS INDICATES THAT THE HUMBLE ELECTRON IS ACTUALLY SUPERIOR TO THE RISC PC. NEXT ARTICLE. THE UNEXPANDED ACORN ATOM VERSUS THE POWER MACINTOSH.  PRESS BREAK