Lion's RISC OS archive

chat about arc/risc pc gaming & RISC OS software here (NOT the core OS!)

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Lion
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Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Lion » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:22 pm

Right. Inspired by iamannoyed's plans to archive Arthur software, I'm going to start at the other end of history.

It's long been my desire to start an archive of RISC OS software, and so today, I am beginning.

The first fruit of my labours is a hard disk image for RPCEmu, which is a brilliant RiscPC emulator for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It comes with everything you need except a ROM image, and a hard disk image.

Although blank hard disk images are available, a real RiscPC came with a whole bunch of stuff pre-installed on the hard disk. I have replicated this software in a disk image that you can add to RPCEmu to create as "real" a RiscPC as possible.

This image is only designed to work with RISC OS 3.71, so make sure you use the correct ROM.

The image contains standard RiscPC hard disk contents including Apps, Diversions, Manuals, Printing software, Replay video software, various Music files (though sound emulation on RPCEmu is a bit dodgy), Tutorials, and Utilities.

In addition, I've made the following custom upgrades and additions:
Acorn's Universal !Boot application, version 0.67. (The last version ever supplied by Acorn themselves.)
!ChangeFSI upgraded to 1.15, the last version
!SparkPlug 2.26 included, for opening zip archives
!ArcFS 0.75 included, for opening Arc archives
!ArcFSr/w 2.60 included, for making Arc archives (Now freely distributable)

This should be enough to get you started adding your own software.

Download link
To use, unzip and put hd4.hdf in your RPCEmu data folder.

Feedback welcome.

Note: This is an independent project and not associated with Stardot. Complaints to me, not them.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby station240 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:11 pm

Just tried it out, works perfectly. \:D/

You know you've put the hd4.hdf file in the right spot, when it asks you if you want to overwrite the existing (0 byte) file.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Lion » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:31 am

Progress news:

I've been going through the contents of all the various RISC OS torrents that are floating around at the moment, and I wanted to make my goals clear.

A lot of these torrents contain software which isn't "retro", it's modern RISC OS software that didn't exist when Acorn existed, which makes them even more legally questionable than normal. I will not be including anything like this in my archive.

My criteria is therefore this: If the software existed at the end of Acorn's life, it's going in my archive. The only exception to this is that if the software is still for sale, it may be excluded, but this is *not* a hard and fast rule. There's a lot of stuff which is still technically for sale, but clearly not actually being sold.

I also won't be blindly archiving everything, I'm concentrating on software which is either a) Useful for running an emulator, b) Useful for running on legacy Acorn hardware, or c) Historically important.

More to follow.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Samwise » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:22 pm

You have a PM. :)

Sam.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby CMcDougall » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:00 pm

just gave this a whirl, nice work Lion =D>

....now wheres the games, to see if it beats an Electron :)
ImageImageImage

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Lion » Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:48 pm

Hello. I still exist!

Lion's RISC OS archive has reached a kind of "stable" point for now, and is a rather worryingly enormous 18 gigabytes in size. Obviously there's a certain amount of duplication in it since some of what I am archiving is "compilation" CDs, but that's still pretty huge.

I'm not making this available for the moment. I'm still trying to figure out distribution methods and ways of not annoying the legal types. (And not going to prison.)

But - I'm feeling pretty good about having it all safely archived away. A significant chunk of 32-bit Acorn software is now safe.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Dave Footitt » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:32 pm

Does it have demos mate?

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Lion » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:33 pm

There are almost certainly some, if not really quite a lot, in the various PD collections included.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Dave Footitt » Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:34 pm

Excellent, let me know when I can get at 'em :)

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Stoppers » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:46 am

What's the deal with PD programs in collections?

I have the idea that you could re-publish/distribute the individual programs, but not as part of the collection, since that's a separate "work" that has its own copyright and restrictions. Does anyone know if that's the case?

If it is, presumably you could copy all the PD programs into a single directory and publish that without hinderance.

Also, 18GB = 12800 (packed full) 1.44MB floppies; wow!

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Andy_Hodgson » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:36 am

Stoppers wrote:What's the deal with PD programs in collections?

I have the idea that you could re-publish/distribute the individual programs, but not as part of the collection, since that's a separate "work" that has its own copyright and restrictions. Does anyone know if that's the case?

If it is, presumably you could copy all the PD programs into a single directory and publish that without hinderance.

Weeeelllllllll technically your right. The collection would come under it's own copyright, unless it was stated somewhere within the collection that distribution etc is ok.
However there are many other considerations to take into account, such as if the company that distributed them in the first case is still around, even if they are some are simply not interested in asserting any rights on them.
On the other hand if it's one of ADPL's, chances are you'll get a no.

Or to paraphrase. MINEFIELD :lol:
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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Lion » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:06 am

Stoppers wrote:I have the idea that you could re-publish/distribute the individual programs, but not as part of the collection, since that's a separate "work" that has its own copyright and restrictions. Does anyone know if that's the case?


I suspect that, in general, you're correct. But I also suspect that there are special cases. If the CDs aren't actually for sale any more, then I don't see anything particularly wrong with redistributing them, especially as the contents consist of free software anyway.

Some of them were freely distributed in the first place anyway, so there won't be any problems with those.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby AndyF » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:30 am

I have a couple of original PD CD's although I've not had the chance to look at them closely yet. As the discs themselves are a bit scratched, I thought about rawwriting the images out for preservation as I expect if they get any worse they might not be readable.

* Adds to 'to do' list for this weekend *

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby tautology » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:21 pm

Andy_Hodgson wrote:However there are many other considerations to take into account, such as if the company that distributed them in the first case is still around, even if they are some are simply not interested in asserting any rights on them.
On the other hand if it's one of ADPL's, chances are you'll get a no.

Or to paraphrase. MINEFIELD :lol:


Bah, even though I had PD distributed by APDL[1], they do not own my copyright.

Lion: if there's any of my stuff in there, I hereby give permission for it to be re-distributed by anybody (though I would like a chance to edit out the old snail and email address out first).

[1] Most of it was absolute rubbish.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby MatthewThompson » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:47 pm

Lion wrote:
Stoppers wrote:I have the idea that you could re-publish/distribute the individual programs, but not as part of the collection, since that's a separate "work" that has its own copyright and restrictions. Does anyone know if that's the case?


I suspect that, in general, you're correct. But I also suspect that there are special cases. If the CDs aren't actually for sale any more, then I don't see anything particularly wrong with redistributing them, especially as the contents consist of free software anyway.

Some of them were freely distributed in the first place anyway, so there won't be any problems with those.


All of the APDL PD CDs, and also The Datafile PD-CDs (which APDL now own) are all still available and on sale from APDL http://www.apdl.co.uk/pd.htm

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Lion » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:54 pm

I wonder if they're paying the BBC license fees for the numerous Red Dwarf video clips on PDCD 3.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby MatthewThompson » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:55 pm

Lion wrote:Hello. I still exist!

Lion's RISC OS archive has reached a kind of "stable" point for now, and is a rather worryingly enormous 18 gigabytes in size. Obviously there's a certain amount of duplication in it since some of what I am archiving is "compilation" CDs, but that's still pretty huge.

I'm not making this available for the moment. I'm still trying to figure out distribution methods and ways of not annoying the legal types. (And not going to prison.)

But - I'm feeling pretty good about having it all safely archived away. A significant chunk of 32-bit Acorn software is now safe.


Are we talking about games here? As I think it is such a shame and waste, that so many 32-bit games are basically lost forever, a 32bit STH archive is desperately needed, so many excellent titles were produced that you just cannot get anymore, and there's a fair few out there I never got and would still like to get hold of, like Crisis by Cambridge International Software, and some of the Minerva titles.

Games like Pesky Muskrats, Gribblys Day Out, Legend of The Lost Temple and pretty much everything else in the Eterna range, were high quality games, but are nowhere now, I still have all my old games, but 1) they probably don't work anymore and 2) if they do the discs are all highly protected and unusable in anything past an A5000.

So I am all for a 32bit Archive, even if it was a payable project, the 32 bit games should be preserved. However some games are still copyrighted and for sale, The 4th Dimension range is owned by APDL (again) and still on sale (almost all of it), but they are patched and hacked CD Complilation versions which now work on RISC OS 4 and install on the hard disc. Krisalis Software games are owned (I think) by R Comp Interactive. Superior Software still exist aswell.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby sorvad » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:43 pm

I have some Arc games and really do worry about them, perhaps I should get out more but they are original and if the disks are not already corrupt they soon probably will be. Copying one's own games for backup purposes I think is a murky area but I'd still like to do it but don't understand the protection used. Some years ago I posted on a site (possibly IconBar) for help on backing up but no responses.

Was there never any software produced for ripping arc disks ? People did do it as the copied disks were available back in they day.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby davidb » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:20 pm

A list of lost and found titles would be good, though it should probably be more extensive than the one on the STH, covering everything ever released for the 32-bit machines.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby SarahWalker » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:31 pm

I did come up with a method for backing up (most) copy-protected discs, albeit for use with Arculator rather than a real machine. Unfortunately, as it involves having a reasonably-specced Amiga and a lot of patience it hasn't got much use...

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby sorvad » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:37 pm

Why is it so involving ? Would an industrial disk duplicator would do it ? Suppose they must have used something like this to mass produce the disks. Wonder if some of these duplicators are cheap to come by now...

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Lion » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:41 pm

sorvad wrote:Why is it so involving ?


Mainly because copying them to another floppy disk is not the goal. Disks degrade, what we need are digital copies that work from any medium.

Copy protection, as the name implies, makes this difficult, usually by using non-standard disk formats, or intentional disk errors, but even when the disk is completely normal and you can make an image of it, the game may well use some other method to detect that it is being run in an unusual way and prevent you from playing the game.

This may have been sound business sense at the time, but now it's a problem.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby SarahWalker » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:46 pm

sorvad wrote:Why is it so involving ? Would an industrial disk duplicator would do it ? Suppose they must have used something like this to mass produce the disks. Wonder if some of these duplicators are cheap to come by now...


Dunno if a duplicator would do it. My method needs an Amiga because Amiga's can dump raw MFM streams off floppy without trying to process it at all - which is what you need to grab protection information.

If you just want to duplicate from disc to disc, then a stock A500 with X-Copy will duplicate most Archie protected discs.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby MatthewThompson » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:19 pm

davidb wrote:A list of lost and found titles would be good, though it should probably be more extensive than the one on the STH, covering everything ever released for the 32-bit machines.


I agree, and I think it would be quite surprising how many are effectively lost, a lot of people will have them in their collections still (like me) but will the discs still work ? I'd love to be able to play some of those old games again, but on an Iyonix ? no chance of that happeinng, I think Zool and Quake are about the only game that got made Iyonix compatible.

It's mainly the early stuff I have missing or some of the obscure later releases, I have a lot odd stuff, like Stib, the 2 Paradise games Overload and Inferno, Deadline by Network 23, Rick Dangerous to name but a few, but it's early stuff like the Minerva titles i'm missing a few of, things like Pon and the follow up Pon in Winterwonderland, plus other ones from the same company.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby davidb » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:42 pm

MatthewThompson wrote:I agree, and I think it would be quite surprising how many are effectively lost, a lot of people will have them in their collections still (like me) but will the discs still work ?

I think there's a good chance that the discs will still work, provided they've been stored reasonably. Having said that, the last mammoth disc imaging session I did was probably ten years ago, so it may be a bit optimistic to expect the same results now.

MatthewThompson wrote:It's mainly the early stuff I have missing or some of the obscure later releases, I have a lot odd stuff, like Stib, the 2 Paradise games Overload and Inferno, Deadline by Network 23, Rick Dangerous to name but a few, but it's early stuff like the Minerva titles i'm missing a few of, things like Pon and the follow up Pon in Winterwonderland, plus other ones from the same company.

I have Warlocks by Network 23, but not Provocator. However, it seems that someone may still have a copy of that given that the Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provocator) links to a box scan: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11935485%40N03/1204571240/

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby MatthewThompson » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:48 pm

My discs have been well stored, in proper disc boxes in a cupboard at room temperature, some discs still in the plastic bags/sleeve things that the came in, all the game boxes are all in the loft as just too big to keep downstairs really.

I don't think I have Provocator, I certainly remember the game though.
Last edited by Samwise on Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Removed unnecessary quoting

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Lion » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:55 pm

A list of games in the Lion archive can be provided, privately, on request.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby AndyF » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:07 pm

This is happening with other formats too, things like tapes (I tried to load a couple of tapes for (another make of hardware) a few days ago with not much luck. The other one that still worked was well protected, it took me a couple of hours to work out how to 'remove' said protection and save it out as a normal file and a couple of other tweaks too, but that's off topic but this topic reminded me.

Back on topic:

A 'raw' disc to disc copier would suffice I think provided the image is readable as this would copy deliberate 'bad' tracks too, I guess this is how they were made originally.

You do have a good point about even if its de protected it might not want to run, perhaps it will have some instructions in the code such as "go test track 2, if its readable then crash as this is a copy" , I do recall I think the 'B help rom had some protection on it so you could not run it from sideways ram.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby tautology » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:56 pm

Why can't we just remove the copy protection. This is certainly trivial on any 4th Dimension game and Starfighter 3000 (thanks to Mr Key's crap protection scheme).

When I were a lad I used to enjoy removing copy protection from games; if I have time to reincarnate the A5k I can probably do some. Unfortunately my collection of pirated games were thrown away a long time ago.

My collection of real game discs is quite small, all I can find is: Cops, Axis, Pacmania, Asylum, Zool, Bobby Blockhead, Swiv, Aggressor, Cannon Fodder, Corruption, Conqueror, Alien Invasion (Archie World), Wolf 3D (alpha test version), Oddball and Elite (Acorn User version).

Ian Jeffray (of Paradise fame and Burn 'Out) is an old mate of mine, so he may be willing to donate some of his games.

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Re: Lion's RISC OS archive

Postby Lion » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:10 pm

tautology wrote:Why can't we just remove the copy protection.


We can. I'm only archiving games (or indeed any other software) that either lack it, or have had it removed.


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