Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

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mfc
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Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby mfc » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:40 am

Just found out that my CD copy of Soft Rock Games Collection from APDL is damaged for good, is there anyone that owns the CD that could image it for me and send it my way (should be a rather small iso)? I can provide pictures of the CD to prove I do own it if needed, it's just not working anymore and I have no way to retrieve any data from it (this shows how important digital preservation is).
Hopefully some good soul can help me out.

PS: Soft Rock Games has given distribution permission to all their games to JASPP by the way, so even making these games public shouldn't be an issue. They are not available yet because they haven't been located so far.

RISCOSitory
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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:50 pm

Well blow me over with a mild breeze - I've found the log-in I set up a million years ago, but have probably never used*. Right there in my password database where it should be, but couldn't see the last time I tried to log in. (I normally only read the RSS feed to this forum, and I'm usually a few hundred posts behind into the bargain. Today I'm up to date!)

is there anyone that owns the CD that could image it for me and send it my way (should be a rather small iso)?


Well, while I don't know where my own copy of the CD is, I do have the games (or most of them) that are on it (though not necessarily the same versions). Therefore, if you specifically wanted an ISO of the CD, I can't help - but if it's just the actual games, I can send them to you.

IIRC, I have:

- [Escape from the] [Lost | Secret] Pyramid [of Doooooooooooooom]
- The Purple Crystal of the Heavens
- Escape from Exeria ('94 rewrite - RiscPC version, possibly Arc version)
- Guardians of the Labyrinth (RiscPC bodge - just the sound disabled, possibly unbodged as well)
- Drop Rock ('95ish rewrite - RiscPC version, possibly Arc version)
- Switch (RiscPC bodge - as GotL)
- Floopy (Arc version, possibly the RiscPC sound bodge)

Or perhaps - given that I've already set up holding pages for each one on softrock.co.uk - I really ought to get them uploaded.

Soft Rock Games has given distribution permission to all their games to JASPP by the way, so even making these games public shouldn't be an issue. They are not available yet because they haven't been located so far.


There's a slight gotcha, here. While I've given Jon permission, that permission may not cover the versions on the APDL CD - it depends if Dave Holden modified them in any way (and I believe he did, so that they could be run straight from the CD). If he made any modifications then the copyright for those changes belonged to him, and are now with whoever holds the rights now that he is no longer with us.

Also, as I understand it, what Jon wants is the original versions in the form they were originally sold - on floppy disc. That's what I don't have; that's what is lost. (Unless the source files for writing the floppies is still on my old A3000, in which case they aren't lost, just inaccessible at the moment!)

* This might therefore be my first post.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:19 pm

Or perhaps - given that I've already set up holding pages for each one on softrock.co.uk - I really ought to get them uploaded.


In fact, since that's what I intended but never got around to doing, I'll treat this thread as the kick up the rear I needed. You should see them appear on the website sometime over the next few days (and I'll follow up this thread when it happens).

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby mfc » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:20 pm

Thanks a lot for your reply, I was indeed looking for an iso of the CD since mine is damaged beyond repair, but the standalone games will work fine as well. Hopefully someone else might chime in later and be able to help me out with the CD, if you ever come across your CD please remember me :).
Looking forward to see them uploaded to your website then.

I don't know if any of the versions in the CD were modified or not and I don't have any way to tell right now. I guess it's possible they were indeed altered to run from the CD as you mentioned since that was done with several other games present on APDL CDs.
Jon indeed wants the original floppies afaik, but providing the games will at least ensure they are digitally preserved. Did all the games had floppy releases? Boxed ones or floppy only? Do you still have any info on them, like pictures or artwork? Because I honestly don't recall seeing them.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby leenew » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:23 am

Hi there,
According to the author, he bundled a beeb version of some of these games on the Exeria CD.
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=12062&p=153414&hilit=Exeria#p153414

If anyone turns up beeb versions of any of these games I would really like to know :D
Lee.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby sirbod » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:18 am

RISCOSitory wrote:While I've given Jon permission, that permission may not cover the versions on the APDL CD

It doesn't cover it unfortunately, irrespective of any changes being made.
RISCOSitory wrote:Also, as I understand it, what Jon wants is the original versions in the form they were originally sold - on floppy disc. That's what I don't have; that's what is lost. (Unless the source files for writing the floppies is still on my old A3000, in which case they aren't lost, just inaccessible at the moment!)

I'm still searching for the floppy versions, so if you do have them, that would be great.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:52 am

It doesn't cover it unfortunately, irrespective of any changes being made.


It, presumably, being the CD itself. You are, of course, correct - the collection in that specific form is APDL's - but I specifically said 'the versions on the CD' rather than the CD. Otherwise, if they were unchanged from my versions, the suggestion would be that I don't have permission to distribute my own versions - and I never relinquished that right.

(But as I've said, I suspect - and now I've thought about it more, I'm pretty sure - Dave did indeed alter them to run from the CD, so this is a moot point anyway).

I'm still searching for the floppy versions, so if you do have them, that would be great.


It all depends what's on the hard drive of that A3000 - it's also my last, best hope for peace... sorry, slipped into B5 mode, there - my last, best hope for finding the source code for Floopy.

The relevant history:

Prior to installing a hard disc, I created a 'master' floppy, which contained the contents of the disc as sold, and a small program to format a fresh disc and copy it: to make copies to send out, I'd insert that disc, run the program, then insert new discs when prompted until I had enough. (Those master floppies are long since gone. Edit: Except, possibly, the one below!)

Upon installing a hard drive in the A3000, I wrote a simple app that did more or less the same thing, except there was no longer a master floppy; all the files needed were on the hard drive.

When I got a RiscPC, I copied it all across to that, so from that point on I used the RiscPC to make copies. What I don't know is whether I left that system on the A3000's hard drive, or removed it at some later point (I did continue to use the A3000 for other stuff). If it's still there, then (if the A3000 still works) I can theoretically create new floppies. However, it's not possible to check at the moment - it lacks a monitor.

Unfortunately, I have two RiscPCs and one of them is dead. I went through the hard drive of the other and found none of this stuff, and when I shifted the hard drive from the dead one into the working one, the hard drive itself subsequently died. I can't remember offhand how far I got searching it before that happened.

(As for the Floopy source code, I'm not sure whether writing it predates that hard drive or not - it's possible the source code is on the hard drive, and also possible that it was only ever on floppy disc. If the latter, it's gone for good.)
Last edited by RISCOSitory on Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:59 am

leenew wrote:Hi there,
According to the author, he bundled a beeb version of some of these games on the Exeria CD.


I didn't notice that discussion - probably when I had an awful lot of posts in my RSS feed.

You appear to have slightly misunderstood what I said when I replied to your email, or summarised a bit too much in that post.

The RISC OS version of Escape from Exeria definitely included BBC versions of the two adventure games - Pyramid, and Purple Crystal. It also included a (20? level) native game called Return to Exeria. (Which is also currently MIA).

However, what I said about those two games for the Beeb version of Exeria was:

"I might also have included them on the 5.25" disc BBC version of Escape from Exeria, but it depends how much space was on the disc - I really can't remember."

Edit: And I assume 'CD' (which I've just noticed) is just a side effect of this discussion being about the APDL CD!

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:24 am

mfc wrote: if you ever come across your CD please remember me :)


Dunno where mine is, but I've occasionally noticed a copy being sold on eBay. IIRC it was around a tenner, which I thought was a bit too much, because I think that's about what Dave was charging for it new (plus, the fact that they're my games) - otherwise I might have bought myself another copy.

Did all the games had floppy releases? Boxed ones or floppy only? Do you still have any info on them, like pictures or artwork? Because I honestly don't recall seeing them.


Floppy only, and very amateurishly done. The labels varied from one batch to the next, and depended on what type of labels I had to hand, what sort of printer I was using to (self) print them. They were generally just text - the name of the game, a copyright message, that sort of thing - but occasionally I might have put a box around the text to jazz it up a bit.

In fact... this is the sort of thing we're talking about!
IMG_20161216_111224.jpg


(I think those were amongst the last batch of discs I found, and I'm not sure if I checked them the last time I had a computer up and running with a floppy drive - so I don't know if those labels are accurate in terms of what's on them. I guess that I've kept them in the drawer of my desk indicates that I haven't checked them as yet!)

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby leenew » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:25 am

Thanks for making that clear!
I just get excited when I get a sniff of missing games 8)

Lee.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:58 pm

Dunno where mine is, but I've occasionally noticed a copy being sold on eBay. IIRC it was around a tenner, which I thought was a bit too much, because I think that's about what Dave was charging for it new (plus, the fact that they're my games) - otherwise I might have bought myself another copy.


Thought so: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Soft-Rock-Software-Archimedes-CD-Version-Acorn-RISC-OS-/201746512043?hash=item2ef90778ab:g:lLIAAOSwo4pYTVIl - at £8 + £2 P&P that's far too expensive for my tastes. ;)

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:47 am

A little update, and a new find.

First the update:

As the observant reader will notice, I haven't yet put the old games online. As is often the case hereabouts, I got a little busy - but I finally got around to looking at it in the last few days of my Christmas "holiday", at which point I realised that (for Escape from Exeria - the first and so far only one I've looked at) I didn't have what I thought I had.

I thought I had my 1994 versions - one for the pre-RiscPC computers, one for RiscPC-class computers, and one with the sound commented out for Iyonix and beyond. It turns out I only had the latter two - the pre-RiscPC version I had was the one from the APDL disc.

So I set about recreating that version from the RiscPC version - and in the process made some small improvements to the underlying code (largely to make it easier to recreate that version!) It's still mostly an ugly mess, but there are some tidier bits tacked on.

I also decided to sort out the naming. I think the original 1990 release used the appname !Exeria, and in '94 I used !Exeria_A for the Arc version, and !Exeria_R for the RiscPC version, but I'm 99% certain I never officially registered those names, so I've decided to rename both the '94 versions to !Exeria94 and fired off an allocation request for !Exeria (i.e. retrospectively), !Exeria94 (for the versions in question) and !Exeria+ for the rewrite I'm working on when time permits.

I will upload the '94 versions once that allocation request is approved.

(As an aside, I've also hacked the graphics for the new version into a copy of the '94 version modified to run at 1920x1080 - but that's not for release, it's more so that I can play test the new levels for the new version, and generally see what it looks like in use.)

Once Escape from Exeria is sorted and uploaded, I'll look at them one at a time, more or less in original release order - so the next will be Guardians of the Labyrinth. If I have what I think I have, that should be a little more straightforward, though I probably will make some tweaks (the scroll text is ridiculously fast on modern hardware, for example).

And to the find:

A year or two back, I bought a little HDMI recorder box. I bought this specifically because I intended to do (eventually) some work on the games and make them available - when doing so, my plan was also to set it up to record them in play and put the videos on YouTube. Now that I'm working on them, therefore, I thought I'd dig it out - but I appear to have misplaced it. I've now looked just about everywhere it can possibly be - it was very small, so I have a horrible feeling I may have knocked it into the bin without noticing.

However, the last place I looked was the shed, where I found this in one of the plastic crates:

IMG_20170108_110526b.jpg


I think that's probably an original original disc - I'm pretty sure that's the first labelling I used, printed from the laser printer at the company I worked for at the time. Of course, whether it's still readable is in doubt (given where I found it) and whether it contains what the label says is another matter again.

It's now stored in my desk drawer with those other discs pictured further upthread, pending the attempted resurrection of my A3000 and a RiscPC.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby leenew » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:21 pm

Interesting!
Let's hope the disc is readable [-o<
If you don't fancy trying it in your own drives, our admin Danielj has a gizmo called a Kryoflux which has a good track record of reading the unreadable :D

Lee.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:20 pm

Let's hope the disc is readable


Subject to a number of ifs, it might not matter: If the A3000 works, and if its hard drive still works, and if the original games and the software to put them on disk are still on that hard drive, then it doesn't matter if the floppy disc works! :)

I'm hopeful that either one of these scenarios works out, though - whether it's the disc being readable (and contains what it says) or the A3000 works and I can find the games on there - because of the second line of the label. Although I don't have the original version of some games, I do have later versions, with one notable exception: I do not have a copy of Return to Exeria at all.

(Some aspects of Return to Exeria made it into Floopy, and there's also some history that dates back to an unfinished project on the Beeb and Electron. I really should think about writing some of this down instead of keeping it my head! Perhaps I should draft up a piece about the history of each game for softrock.co.uk, publishing it as and when each one is made available again. In fact, yes, that's a good idea, so I will.)

If you don't fancy trying it in your own drives, our admin Danielj has a gizmo called a Kryoflux which has a good track record of reading the unreadable :D


Something like that would have to be a very last resort - I can't be certain that I didn't at some later point use it as a random disc I had to hand to store (for example) backups of client data which could contain confidential (or personal) information.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:10 pm

Looking a bit further for my HDMI recording gadget, I've still not found it...

But I have found another 3.5" floppy disc with a handwritten label describing it as a "new" master disc for Escape from Exeria (along with (a couple of unlabelled discs) - I probably created a new disc at some point in case the previous one started to suffer.

This one will have seen less use (and therefore wear and tear) than the original, and may have been in use for only a short time before I put the hard drive in the A3K. Combining that with where I found it means it stands a much better chance of being readable - so the biggest question is whether the label is correct!

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby leenew » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:30 am

Any luck with those discs? [-o<

Lee.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:43 pm

I suddenly remembered this thread mid-way through watching a fillum - and I see it's been, um, 'a few weeks' since I last posted anything.

Given the original subject of the thread was the old games collection CD sold by APDL, it's probably worth noting that I'll have a new collection CD (and USB stick) on sale at the London Show this Saturday. It's not 'just' about the games, but the games that will be on the disc are:

Escape from Exeria - Three variations on the '94 rewrite: The Arc version, the higher res RiscPC version, and the sound-disabled version for StrongARM and beyond. In addition to those three, there's also a modified version I've been using to test new graphics and level designs. Also, I think I've fixed an old bug whereby after the player dies, the count of items to collect goes wrong and the doors open too soon.

Guardians of the Labyrinth - two versions; the Arc version, and a version modified to run in a higher res screen (with the same size play area in the middle) to work on newer machines that don't support MODE 15.

Drop Rock - Again, the mid '90s rewrite. I think it's three versions (but the RISC OS computer's off now, so I can't check) - the Arc version, the RiscPC version, and the sound-disabled version for StrongARM and beyond.

Switch! - Two versions: The Archimedes version, and a sound-disabled version modified to work in a higher res mode for StrongARM and beyond.

Note: For all of the above, I've modified them so that stuff like high scores etc is saved in Choices: if you have a modern !Boot system (which applies to anything after the late 1990s IIRC). Otherwise they save within the app directory.

Floopy - I've famously lost the source code for this, so this is just the original version for use on the Arc, or on later machines via emulation.

And then the text adventures:

The Sacred Pyramid (aka various) - two versions; the original MODE 15, and one modified for computers that don't go that low.

The Purple Crystal of the Heavens - as per Pyramid.

Quicksand - three versions; text only, 32K colour photos (RiscPC with 1Meg VRAM), 16M colour photos for anything that can better that.

There will be other stuff on the disc/USB - but those are the games.

I've priced the Collection at £15, with the first edition (i.e. until I change the contents) to be sold at £10 - I expect to keep it at the first edition until at least Wakefield 2018, so if you can't make London, there's always the Southwest Show and then Wakefield.

Most (but not all*) of the individual games/versions detailed above will be online for free download at some point, but I fully intend to drag that process out - so you can wait and grab stuff for free, but it might be a long wait.

* The obvious exception is the test version of Escape from Exeria. I have no plans to upload it anywhere in that form - it's included in the Collection as a bonus item.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby lurkio » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:31 pm

RISCOSitory wrote:I suddenly remembered this thread mid-way through watching a fillum - and I see it's been, um, 'a few weeks' since I last posted anything.

Sorry for being thick, but do any of the games you mention in your last post run on the BBC Micro?

:?:

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby dfeugey10 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:11 am

Will it be possible to buy it online (with P&P fees of course)?

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:08 pm

lurkio wrote:do any of the games you mention in your last post run on the BBC Micro?

:?:


No, sorry.

There was a BBC version of Escape from Exeria back around 1990ish, but I think you can count the number of copies I sold on the fingers of one hand - and I no longer have a copy.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:09 pm

dfeugey10 wrote:Will it be possible to buy it online (with P&P fees of course)?


I hadn't thought about doing that until I saw this question - I don't see why not, but I'll just say "TBC" because it'll be a case of "when I get around to it..." and I'm notoriously slow at getting around to things.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby dfeugey10 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:12 am

Can be something manual (send on demand).
I'll buy one, for sure. Or an access to the software on Internet :)

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby leenew » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:22 am

So did the disc in this post: http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... 86#p157921 not in fact contain the BBC versions?

Lee.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:24 pm

I have no idea - I still haven't attempted to resurrect a machine on which I can then attempt to read it!

Edit: I should point out, if it does contain BBC versions it won't be the BBC version of Escape from Exeria (AFAICR), but of the two adventure games Crystal and Pyramid.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby lurkio » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:09 pm

RISCOSitory wrote:... it won't be the BBC version of Escape from Exeria (AFAICR), but of the two adventure games Crystal and Pyramid

It would be great if we could recover Crystal and Pyramid, as I don't think they're available anywhere else.

RISCOSitory wrote:I still haven't attempted to resurrect a machine on which I can then attempt to read it [the floppy disc]!

Have you considered making use of the informal, time-permitting "service" provided by danielj of this parish, who has successfully wielded a Kryoflux to forensically recover data from old floppies on many occasions? Hope he reads this. (I think if you say his name three times, he magically appears.)

:?:

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:22 pm

lurkio wrote:
RISCOSitory wrote:... it won't be the BBC version of Escape from Exeria (AFAICR), but of the two adventure games Crystal and Pyramid

It would be great if we could recover Crystal and Pyramid, as I don't think they're available anywhere else.


Well, apart from the RISC OS versions, no! :lol:

But I presume you specifically mean the BBC versions, which were included on the disc with the Arc version of Exeria.

lurkio wrote:
RISCOSitory wrote:I still haven't attempted to resurrect a machine on which I can then attempt to read it [the floppy disc]!

Have you considered making use of the informal, time-permitting "service" provided by danielj of this parish, who has successfully wielded a Kryoflux to forensically recover data from old floppies on many occasions? Hope he reads this. (I think if you say his name three times, he magically appears.)

:?:


Note that I said I haven't attempted to resurrect a suitable machine, not that I haven't been able to do so.

Also, I'll quote what I said further upthread when the Kryoflux was suggested previously:

RISCOSitory wrote:Something like that would have to be a very last resort - I can't be certain that I didn't at some later point use it as a random disc I had to hand to store (for example) backups of client data which could contain confidential (or personal) information.


I should really add emphasis to the "very" of "very last resort" and probably repeat the word many (MANY!) times, to make clear just how much of a last resort something like that would be - which is to say it ain't gonna happen. But this paragraph kind of removes the need for that emphasis.

Provided one of my old machines can be coaxed into life - and at least one of the RiscPCs was working last time I checked - and if the disc(s) are readable, getting the contents onto one of my current systems won't be difficult in technical terms.

It's only difficult in terms of effort and my general approach of never doing today what I can put off until tomorrow*. Those tomorrows continue to be an ever moving target until and unless there is some kind of deadline, or until I randomly decide to actually do one of the many things I keep putting off, just "because" and/or "why not".

* This is also due to actually being busy with work related stuff - but if I've had a long day (or week - or sometimes more) then come the evening (or weekend - or an eventual free day) I just want to sit back and do as little as I can.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby lurkio » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:25 pm

RISCOSitory wrote:But I presume you specifically mean the BBC versions, which were included on the disc with the Arc version of Exeria.

I do.

:idea:

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby leenew » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:23 pm

Hi,
We understand that you're very busy. But if you do happen to find time to try and archive Crystal and Pyramid, and save them for posterity, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your patience.
Lee.

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Re: Soft Rock Games Collection Help needed

Postby RISCOSitory » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:17 pm

leenew wrote:Hi,
We understand that you're very busy. But if you do happen to find time to try and archive Crystal and Pyramid, and save them for posterity, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your patience.
Lee.


No worries.

As I said, as long as the working RiscPC is still working, and the small pile of discs I now have waiting to be checked work, getting their contents onto something more useful will be a piece of cake - even if it's not the RiscPC with a network interface: I just have to copy the contents onto a DOS format disc, and use that in an external USB drive on one of the PCs, then set the filenames and types back to what they should be once its on a RISC OS box.

It's just a matter of me actually deciding at some point that it's about time I actually tried.


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