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The Icon Bar: General: Archimedes Software Preservation Project
 
  Archimedes Software Preservation Project
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Jon Abbott Message #123043, posted by sirbod at 07:30, 24/2/2014, in reply to message #123042
Member
Posts: 563
Thanks for looking, it doesn't sound all so bad, You probably want a scart lead to connect the A3000 up to a TV.

You could scan the floppies with the original labels, all we need then is ADF's or ZIP's of the games for the floppy images.

I'd advice leaving machines in the house for a few hours before switching on, if they've been kept in storage. They're likely to form condensation when taken from garages or lots in this weather.

[Edited by sirbod at 10:45, 24/2/2014]
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VinceH Message #123044, posted by VincceH at 10:45, 24/2/2014, in reply to message #123043
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1598
You probably want a scart lead to connect the A3000 up to a TV.
That looks like a page of instructions on how to put such a lead together.

What do you think I am? A hardware person? shock

Besides, even if I was able to knock up a lead, there would still be another problem: I'd have to get a TV into which to plug the TV end.

Actually, on the subject of the lead, that's the odd thing. I know the A3000 monitor lead was an odd beast, with an analogue RGB socket at one end, and something looking vaguely like a SCART (but probably wired differently) at the other - so when I disposed of the monitor, I think it's unlikely that I would have disposed of the leads (yes, plural; I had a second). Especially since I obviously didn't dispose of the computer itself! But I digress.

You could scan the floppies with the original labels
Oops. Yeah. I forgot you said that previously - and once I'd identified what was on the discs yesterday, I wrote on the labels so I knew what they were. unhappy

Oh, hang on, no: I only did that to the Drop Rock discs - they now have "Review Version" handwritten across the label, so I can still scan Guardians of the Labyrinth and Switch.

Of course, there is the scope to cheat slightly here. I could very easily scan one of the untarnished discs, and then engage in a little editing so that I have fake versions of Drop Rock, as well as what Escape from Exeria and Floopy would probably have looked like. I'm not sure what the font is on the label, but it's probably a standard one. Angel

Actually, thinking about it now, since these discs were claiming to be Guardians of the Labyrinth ('91), Drop Rock ('92) and Switch ('92/'93) and they have cheap labels printed from some cheapo printing outfit (in fact, I think they were sold as address labels), I suspect they aren't the labels I used originally - I think I probably had these done in '93 when I released Switch, and was previously self-printing even crappier labels.

And on re-reading this before posting: I'm now sure that was definitely the case. For the first game, Escape from Exeria, I'm positive I remember printing simple labels on the laser printer at the accountants at which I worked at the time.

all we need then is ADF's or ZIP's of the games for the floppy images.
There's easily scope to cheat here, as well. Angel

I think I've said either here or elsewhere recently that I now have the full versions of all my old games. However, where they were rewritten after the RiscPC came out, they aren't the original versions - and even for the others, they may have been tweaked here and there over the years.

In all cases, though, these are versions found up from, IIRC, backups found on old NAS boxes and/or USB drives, and things like that - and most definitely not in the form/with the complete set of files as they would have appeared on the original discs.

It should be possible to put together something resembling what I think the original disc contents might have looked like, but it might not be altogether accurate given the rewrites and tweaks. Not to mention the confusion over whether I included the original background stories on the discs!

(So when I say "what I think the original disc contents might have looked like" what I probably mean is "what I think the original disc contents should have looked like" smile)

I suppose it depends on whether the idea of authentic originals is more important to you than the games themselves, even if in their current form.

That all aside, this year is Soft Rock Software's 25th birthday, so its an ideal year for me to finally get this stuff together, tidy it all up, make sure it all works on modern hardware, and make it available to download.

I suppose in that context I ought to 'audit' what I have, just to make sure.

The one problem in that is Floopy: Written in C, and I've no idea where the sources are. And that brings me back to the A3000 - its hard drive is one possibility.

Having said that, given that it didn't work on the RiscPC, I'm sure that if it was on the A3K hard drive I would have transferred it onto the RiscPC with a view to rewriting it. Which suggests it predated the hard drive in the A3000, and the floppy with the sources on was already lost at that point.
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Jon Abbott Message #123045, posted by sirbod at 12:46, 24/2/2014, in reply to message #123044
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Posts: 563
My head hurts from reading that!
once I'd identified what was on the discs yesterday, I wrote on the labels so I knew what they were. unhappy

Oh, hang on, no: I only did that to the Drop Rock discs - they now have "Review Version" handwritten across the label, so I can still scan Guardians of the Labyrinth and Switch.
No problem, scan them anyway I can Photoshop it out.
There's easily scope to cheat here, as well. Angel

I think I've said either here or elsewhere recently that I now have the full versions of all my old games. However, where they were rewritten after the RiscPC came out, they aren't the original versions - and even for the others, they may have been tweaked here and there over the years.
That's fine, they simply become "[RPC version]" versions of the games.
In all cases, though, these are versions found up from, IIRC, backups found on old NAS boxes and/or USB drives, and things like that - and most definitely not in the form/with the complete set of files as they would have appeared on the original discs.
Again, not a problem, anything is better than nothing.
The one problem in that is Floopy: Written in C, and I've no idea where the sources are.
Also not a problem, depending on what C was used, Floopy will either work straight off under ADFFS, or will have to wait for APCS support to be added if it's using CLib.

eMail me a ZIP or ADF and I'll take a look.

[Edited by sirbod at 12:46, 24/2/2014]
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VinceH Message #123046, posted by VincceH at 13:54, 24/2/2014, in reply to message #123045
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1598
My head hurts from reading that!
smile

That's fine, they simply become "[RPC version]" versions of the games.
and

Again, not a problem, anything is better than nothing.
Ok, sounds like a plan. If something (vaguely resembling the older versions) becomes available via the preservation project, it's a nice start to lead up to me hopefully releasing newer, updated versions later this year.

I'll do my little 'audit' of what I have later this week, and I'll send you stuff once I'm properly sorted.

(I'm 'home' all this week in the run up to the show - at least, in theory. In practice? Probably not so much.)

As an aside, after my previous post, I did have a little peek and play, and discovered this little gem in the !RunImage for the pre-RiscPC version of Drop Rock:


REM Demo Version - Bits Removed
REM Uh oh - main version lost. Demo version with bits *added* again!!!!!!

smile

Also not a problem, depending on what C was used, Floopy will either work straight off under ADFFS, or will have to wait for APCS support to be added if it's using CLib.
It was one of Beebug's offerings - either Desktop C or EasyC. Probably Desktop C.
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VinceH Message #123066, posted by VincceH at 18:43, 25/2/2014, in reply to message #123046
VincceH
Lowering the tone since the dawn of time

Posts: 1598
I'll do my little 'audit' of what I have later this week, and I'll send you stuff once I'm properly sorted.
I did that today, and have a barely readable piece of paper (I was using a computer, damn it! Why didn't I make notes on that?) with quite a few notes, ticks, crosses, etc.

I'll be posting a much more detailed thing about this lot at some point on my website, but here's a very brief summary, detailing the main five; the actual titles that were on sale in the early 1990s:

Escape from Exeria

The rewritten version for the RiscPC, and a version for older hardware based on that rewritten version.

These are in BASIC, and use relocatable voice modules for the sounds, created with ARMadeus.

Guardians of the Labyrinth

The original version, AFAICS, and the lightly modified version (sound removed) that runs on the RiscPC.

This is in BASIC, and the sound took the form of a number of Coconizer songs, in relocatable module format.

Drop Rock

The rewritten version for the RiscPC, and a version for older hardware based on that rewritten version.

These are in BASIC, and use relocatable voice modules for the sounds, created with ARMadeus.

Switch

The not-quite-original version, AFAICS, and the lightly modified version (sound removed) that runs on the RiscPC.

It's not quite the original version because after its initial release, I tweaked the scoring mechanism slightly at one point. Other than that, it should be the same.

This is in BASIC, and the sound took the form of a single, big Coconizer song, in relocatable module format.

Floopy

The original version, AFAICS, and the lightly modified version (sound removed) that runs on the RiscPC.

This is in BASIC C, and the sound took the form of a single Coconizer song, in relocatable module format. (Sound Technician. I quite like that one still - and IIRC the version with the game is actually two variations, with slightly different sounds, one playing after the other in the same module.)

In all cases, these are versions of the games, rather than copies of the original discs. In most cases, the discs would have contained instructions, etc - but in the case of Escape from Exeria, there was also Return to Exeria (still missing), and two BBC text adventures that ran under !65Host (also still missing, though I do have the Trellis versions, which therefore run natively on RISC OS).

Edit: A bit too liberal with copy and paste; I've just noticed that I said Floopy was written in BASIC, when in fact it was C.

[Edited by VincceH at 22:12, 25/2/2014]
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Andy Stringer Message #123348, posted by andy_s at 18:09, 18/9/2014, in reply to message #123066
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Posts: 13
What's happened to the Archimedes Software Preservation Project? I was really excited about this but for the last few days when I go to links like http://forums.jaspp.org.uk:9000/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=141 the connection times out and http://jaspp.org.uk/ just goes to a holding page. unhappy It would be really depressing if all these great titles are lost forever especially after all that hard work.
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Jon Abbott Message #123349, posted by sirbod at 22:21, 18/9/2014, in reply to message #123348
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Posts: 563
It would be really depressing if all these great titles are lost forever especially after all that hard work.
Fear not, the server is down due to a RAID failure and I'm unfortunately away for a few months so can't do anything to recover it.

None of the "complete" or "in progress" games have been lost, we may have lost all the submitted original scans although I can't say for certain until I check both the backups and what's recoverable from the RAID. As far as I'm aware, the data on the RAID is okay, it's simply lost its partition table.

The forum is almost certainly gone, so will need rebuilding from scratch. Not a major loss as it was mainly my rambling, although it did detail all the outstanding development which is a pain.

Unless anyone steps up to help build a new site, it's sadly going to be next year before I can look at getting any of it back online.

On a more positive note, development of Pi support is still ongoing whilst I'm away.
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Richard Walker Message #123350, posted by richw at 22:27, 18/9/2014, in reply to message #123349
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Posts: 45
Good to hear all is not lost. I'd heard you had a RAID disaster on stardot.

I wonder if there is anyone in the Acorn community who could lend a hand with Jon's hosting? I recall there was some archive corruption in the past, and now this, so it's never been plain sailing!

In fact, are there any appropriate places 'in the cloud' (e.g. github) where things could live? Having to arrange hosting infrastructure just sounds like a distraction, but hey, it's not my area, so I could be wrong.
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Richard Terry Message #123352, posted by radiac at 12:32, 19/9/2014, in reply to message #123350
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Posts: 7
In fact, are there any appropriate places 'in the cloud' (e.g. github) where things could live?
Github would be a good bet for tracking source code (although interesting to know how it would cope with tokenised basic?), but probably not so great for ADFs, ZIPs, scans etc.

Unless anyone steps up to help build a new site
I'm coming back to RISC OS after many years away (when I wrote DImager and ran planetriscos), so I've only just come across JASPP, but it sounds fantastic and I'd like to help if I can. I'm a web developer, so can't offer hosting as a service, but I'd be more than happy to set up and host a new site if that would help. I'd use django and repurpose code I've already written. I should have adequate space and bandwidth in the short term, then once your server's back up and running we could either set up my systems to back up to yours, or move the site over completely. Happy to discuss further here or by email (through http://radiac.net/contact/ to avoid the spam harvesters).

[Edited by radiac at 17:58, 19/9/2014]
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Andy Stringer Message #123353, posted by andy_s at 16:34, 19/9/2014, in reply to message #123349
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Posts: 13
Fear not, the server is down due to a RAID failure and I'm unfortunately away for a few months so can't do anything to recover it.

None of the "complete" or "in progress" games have been lost, we may have lost all the submitted original scans although I can't say for certain until I check both the backups and what's recoverable from the RAID. As far as I'm aware, the data on the RAID is okay, it's simply lost its partition table.
Thanks for getting back to us Jon! That's great to hear the project is alive. That's bad luck with the RAID. That's the joys of working with computers I guess.
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Richard Walker Message #123354, posted by richw at 21:17, 19/9/2014, in reply to message #123352
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Posts: 45

I'm coming back to RISC OS after many years away (when I wrote DImager and ran planetriscos), so I've only just come across JASPP, but it sounds fantastic and I'd like to help if I can.
I'm in a similar place. I've done little with RISC OS since 2001-ish. Two things have re-ignited my interest over the last couple of years: JASPP and the Pi. And it's the former much more than the latter: I could easily see myself hunting down an old A3020 and fitting SD cards to enjoy JASPP content! smile

I am a software engineer, but much to my shame, I find it impossible to get anything done when I'm not at work. I have no idea how Jon manages to do what he does!

A project web site would be most interesting. Some background on what it's all about (let's face it, most of the world haven't a clue), how to use the content, and a page per game (ultimately with adverts, instructions, box art, disk images etc.). Wouldn't that be nice?
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Matthew Thompson Message #123356, posted by Matt at 21:44, 19/9/2014, in reply to message #123349
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Posts: 11
It would be really depressing if all these great titles are lost forever especially after all that hard work.
Fear not, the server is down due to a RAID failure and I'm unfortunately away for a few months so can't do anything to recover it.

None of the "complete" or "in progress" games have been lost, we may have lost all the submitted original scans although I can't say for certain until I check both the backups and what's recoverable from the RAID. As far as I'm aware, the data on the RAID is okay, it's simply lost its partition table.

The forum is almost certainly gone, so will need rebuilding from scratch. Not a major loss as it was mainly my rambling, although it did detail all the outstanding development which is a pain.

Unless anyone steps up to help build a new site, it's sadly going to be next year before I can look at getting any of it back online.

On a more positive note, development of Pi support is still ongoing whilst I'm away.
If any of the scans I did have been lost, let me know as I should have them all somewhere on my hard discs.
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Matt Farrow Message #123539, posted by fatmarrow at 11:06, 28/3/2015, in reply to message #121850
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Posts: 1
Eterna titles.

NOTE: The protection used by KerBang! and Fine Racer isn't currently supported, so I've yet to create snapshots of them.
Hi there,

It slightly pains me to admit it, but I was involved in the development of Kerbang! (music/graphics), and I can tell you that you're going to struggle with the copy protection on it. There were several layers of tricksy stuff going on. I asked one of the coders if he still had the source code, but I would be extremely surprised if he did. I think the game sold about 2 copies, so I don't think this is going to be a huge disappointment to anyone.

I happen to know the guy who wrote Thundermonk (Chris Fludger) and I think one or two other things - I'm happy to contact him on anyone's behalf.

I was also involved in a lot of the Soundtracker stuff (I created a relatively efficient and relatively effects-compliant Soundtracker/Tracker player based on the Tracker source code, and things like !SampConv for converting different sample types).

There are utilities out there to play soundtrackers natively on a PC/Mac, and also to convert soundtrackers to other formats (e.g. MIDI), but I suppose if there was interest I could look into converting Trackers (the 8 channel Arc-native version) into some appropriate format. I have a RiscPC in the loft but God knows if it'll ever boot up or have uncorrupted discs.

PS I don't know if I'll be notified of replies - suggest you e-mail me at mpfarrow@yahoo.co.uk if you want to follow anything up

[Edited by fatmarrow at 11:13, 28/3/2015]
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Jon Abbott Message #123540, posted by sirbod at 21:08, 28/3/2015, in reply to message #123539
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Will eMail you directly Matt.
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The Icon Bar: General: Archimedes Software Preservation Project