There was a good attendance and still 50 people hanging around on Zoom after the last talk.
Here are my notes from the talks (all mistakes and omissions are mine as usual).
Tony has a new title (discounted for the show on the !Store) called Spy Mission : The Icy Caves of Dr Atom. Inspired by Vine Hudd's talk from London Show. Can be played from keyboard. It is a sideways scrolling game.
Later this week there is an update for the Development kit:-
- RDSP gets some helper routines so easier to use.
- New graphics and sound effect
- New example game
- Updates to manual
There are some new online videos to demonstrate the games and Andy provided us with a live demo of Ice caves as part of his talk.
Tony also demonstrated all his other games including Overlord, which can also be played in Spanish or French, and legends of Magic (which has its own game editor), Mop Tops, Penguins (his most popular game so far), Cyborg, Island of the Undead, Stunt Drivers, Star Mine, Scuba Diver.
Several of the games are also available in the Drag'n'Drop magazine (with listings).
Tony composed all the music for his games.
RISC OS Developments
RISC OS Developments started off with a demo of Pinboard 2 (you can email them if you want to trial it). The pinboard can link to files elsewhere so now shown by Pin icon. FIles can also be saved to the pinboard (with no pin). There are sticky notes and many more configuration options. It will run on RISC OS 4 and emulators as well as RISC OS 5.
TCP/IP development is still ongoing and not quite out of beta yet. Drivers being worked on for different RISC OS machines. ARMX6 driver most solid and advanced. The software will be available from ROOL over coming months and adds support for IPv6. RISC OS will not be claiming the bounty fo TCP/IP so it is free for other uses.
Iris still benefits from being on a faster machine (minimum recommended spec is ARMX6).
RISC OS Direct will continue to be developed and expanded. Andrew hopes he can get back to handing out SD cards with the software when events such as Pi jams resume. The release is working on raising interest in RISC OS, with interest from overseas and UK.
Andrew also covered Python3, which RISC OS Developments has helped to bring to RISC OS.
LanMan98 is now open source and goal is to get new and updated protocols. Biggest hurdle is that text is now unicode (which RISC OS5 filer does not fully support so needs translation).
Work continuing on ImpressionX
Andrew spent the last part talking about the future of RISC OS. ROD is fully committed to the future of RISC OS and working with anyone who wants to work with them. An issue for the future will be supporting 64bit only chips and some thought has been given to this. Possible ideas include a 64bit version of RISC OS with 32bit emulation or various other approaches.
Andrew switched hats to cover what has been happening at R-Comp.
The big release since last year has been Forte.
Backlog of orders has almost gone now. Forte is a Pi4 based Computer with lots of extra software and polish in a very nice case. There is now a 7 USB version (with USB-C as well). Andrew gave us a very nice demo of all its features. The software includes extra software to make it very easy to setup a headless Forte to access remotely (literally tick a box), setup Networking, screen locking, etc.
A more generic version of the Forte software front end (PiTools) is now available for anyone with a RaspberryPi on !Store. Works on all Pi machines including the Pi400. Plans to offer a complete version of Forte software for all Pi users as an enhanced RISC OS Direct version. It will be an upgrade if you buy PiTools now.
Forte also include slots of other R-Comp software including the latest version of Fireworkz.
There is a new back and red Forte (knight rider?) model designed to run as fast as possible. Aiming to release in next few months.
R-Comp also have the TIX high end system with native ARM and X86 machines in a single box. This is expensive but really nicely integrates both systems with shared file areas, etc.
R-Comp also have a project to improve disk I/O on Pi machines. R-Comp have created a prototype board (PiTX) around the Compute module to address this. Includes a SATA chip. With current chip shortage, sourcing chips has been a challenge.
Quick Demo of dynamic data sharing between applications in the current Fireworkz release. This allows you to have Fireworkz graphs other applications.
Lastly Andrew talked about R-Comp network products to make it easier to work with multiple machines.
RISC OS Open
Steve updated us on life at ROOL where things have been busy despite the lock down.
The Pi400 led to a new RISC OS release. DDE tools and BBC BASIC manual have been updated. The manual is now available as a free PDF on ROOL site.
Progress on bounties. PNG support has been improved with ChangeFSI and Paint PNG export which Steve demoed. Toolbox reunification is under way. Native git client is also being developed.
MoreDesk virtual desktop manager has gone open source. No longer on ePic distribution (replaced by CloudFS).
Sample Player (originally from Expressive Software projects) is now open source and on RISC OS source tree.
Bounty scheme is 10 years old next month. Has raised 81,000 pounds for RISC OS development. 7 major bounties completed, 5 in progress, 4 collecting and 3 expired.
Some ideas for the future include completing UTF-8 support.
Next bounty will be phase 3 of the Filing system overhaul to provide bigger discs, maybe reviewing on-disc format.
Plan to update the Programmers Reference Manuals. First stage will be to tidy up and sort.
Looking ahead, ROOL working on 6 topic areas for the future - articles will appear in 2021 setting out options.
1. Supporting more memory beyond 4GB.
2. BBC BASIC enhancements (structures and dynamic memory allocations).
3. 32 bit era is reaching an end and RISC OS will need to run on 64bit chips.
4. Multi-core support.
5. Multiple monitor support.
6. Vector floating point (will speed up Maths functions).
Sine Nomine Software
New RiscOSM 2.0 release changes to new data format (old format still supported) and adds some new features which Andrew was demoing. RiscOSM can allow messaging with other apps. This will now be documented on the website. Showed this working with an GPS report tracker application written in BASIC. The software was able to track movements and display in RiscOSM.
Main improvement in version 2.0 is faster loading of small scale maps (1:500,000). From 7.5 minutes to 2.5 minutes in demo. Improvement for better structuring when loading in data (ie things which are not displayed at that scale).
You can now export CSV for a track.
Reece has been enhanced to cover the weather and access Met office and Open Weather data. This data can also be exported at CSV.
New releases are chargeable upgrades.
Impact has been enhanced with new field list window and more fields for emails in ImpEmail.
Rob gave us a product updates recently:-
- CloudFS is now 0.33 (faster, you can choose where your data is hosted EU or US jurisdiction, now keeps alive unused links).
- Prophet is 4.08 (minor bug fixes, support for digital tax returns, highlights invoices ex-VAT, auto fills reference numbers).
- WiFi Hat Minor driver fixes, update for network coprocessor firmware
- TextEase 5.98 has Logo extensions and better document automation
Finally there was a demo fo the applications in the TextEase package. Talk is actually using TextEase Presenter.
There are 3 different versions of the package with different applications and a new manual has just been reprinted.
Chris joined us from what looked like the storeroom at CJEmicros (lots of shelves and kit in the background).
It has been a busy year. New since Wakefield last year are new 2/4 HDMI KVM switches, A7000 backplanes with realtime clocks, the RaspberryRo updated to use Pi4.
Have sold out of Econet adapters and almost out of USB mice with no scroll wheel.
New case available for the Rapido.
Design for RaspberryPi clocks updated.
New 9 pin cable for retro users with Acorn mice.
Photodesk has a new code maintainer. X-Ample will taking over and making an announcement shortly.
Working on a new RISC OS hardware project - more details will follow.
Brexit has had an impact on ease of business. Extra duty and VAT costs for some customers.
Chris is optimistic about RISC OS and things going well.
Soft Rock Software
Vince gave a plug for RISC OS awards.
Vince talked about the evolution of Escape from Exeria (so updated version of London talk). Orginal version written in 6502 on paper for BBC. 40 different levels. A3000 version ran in Mode 15 and original now lost. New version released in 1995. 3-4 times long and written in BBC BASIC.
Latest release out today. Runs in 1920x1080 with 80 screens, new sound (on RDSP). On !Store for 5 pounds.
Vince gave a demo of the version. First levels start easy but Vince has some nasty challenges in later levels.
Hoping to have something new for London show.
Kickstarter was one way to reach potential users and provide more hardware including a laptop, improve drivers, software features in RISC OS.
Stefan walked us through the machines and plans listed on Kickstarter, which included 20 rewards. These included lots of drivers, software and ideas to enhance RISC OS.
He also mentioned ChatCube and a new paint program plans. There is also a plan for an Android and iOS version of ChatCube and an IDE.
There is also a plan to improve RISC OS desktop and Filer and new drivers.
There is a lot of detail on Kickstarter on all the different items with provisional timings and costs.
I was not personally clear on Stefan's timings and hope we can get an interview with him on The Icon Bar to explain in more detail his plans.
Andy gave us a tour of his 'virtual' stand with a look at his cases for Pi machines - wide range of colours, sizes and choices (all with silly names). I have a PiHard 4 and it is a lovely machine!
The FOURtress is an off the shelf case which allows you to auto run the Pi 4 at 2.1gig due to its advanced cooling features.
Andy demoed some really nice features to boot into Linux from RISC OS (and back). Files can be shared. There are also some nifty control software updating options (and rollback if desired).
There is a new system called the PiAno to provide a media centre in a cute small case. It can stand vertically or horizontally.
In development, there is a new ITX case for Pi4, some new software for another case and further developments of ED OS.