Designer Castles..

discussion of beeb/electron applications, languages, utils and educational s/w
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alex_farlie
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Designer Castles..

Post by alex_farlie » Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:01 pm

Does anyone recall this?

And a long shot, does anyone have any notes on the save file format of the Castle/Village / Environment data ?

It would be nice to be able to (copyrights permitting) print old designs on modern systems.

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lurkio
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by lurkio » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:40 pm

alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:01 pm
Does anyone recall this?
No, I've never heard of it -- but it sounds intriguing!
alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:01 pm
And a long shot, does anyone have any notes on the save file format of the Castle/Village / Environment data ?
It's possible that the only way the file format will be analysed is if you can upload the disc-image and the ROM-image here and see if someone is willing and able to dissect them.
alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:01 pm
It would be nice to be able to (copyrights permittg) print old designs on modern systems.
Indeed! Copyright can sometimes be an issue, but given that all we're trying to do is preserve thirty-year-old software that would otherwise be lost forever, it's likely that we'll be spared the wrath of the intellectual property lawyers -- or at least, that's usually the case (with one or two notable exceptions).

See Daniel's previous reply to you.

:idea:

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billcarr2005
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by billcarr2005 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:43 pm

I *think* i recently acquired this.

I'll image and upload it later, unless somebody beats me to it, or it turns out I don't have it :lol:

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lurkio
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by lurkio » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:49 pm

billcarr2005 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:43 pm
I *think* i recently acquired this. I'll image and upload it later
Please do! You might also want to compare your copy with the one uploaded here -- which I think is missing the ROM:
:?:

alex_farlie
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by alex_farlie » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:29 pm

billcarr2005 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:43 pm
I *think* i recently acquired this.

I'll image and upload it later, unless somebody beats me to it, or it turns out I don't have it :lol:
The original package was a Disc+ROM

The ROM had the WIMP/ and Support functions , whereas the DISC had the Software and resources ( such as the model sections. and Icon sets.).

The ROM was physcially a single ROM, no complex banking as far as I could tell, so it should be image-able with SWR tools like any other ROM. My experience of how it operated suggests it was largely written for a BBC B type environment, but only used legal instructions as it ran on a BBC Master without issue.

There was also a version for RISC OS around the A3000 era but I've only seen that in a review...
Last edited by alex_farlie on Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lurkio
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by lurkio » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:32 pm

alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:29 pm
The original package was a Disc+ROM

The ROM had the WIMP/ and Support functions , whereas the DISC had the Software and resources ( such as the model sections. and Icon sets.)
Are you able to image the ROM yourself, alex?

:?:

alex_farlie
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by alex_farlie » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:33 pm

lurkio wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:32 pm
alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:29 pm
The original package was a Disc+ROM

The ROM had the WIMP/ and Support functions , whereas the DISC had the Software and resources ( such as the model sections. and Icon sets.)
Are you able to image the ROM yourself, alex?

:?:
Not currently, No monitor I know have can go down to the scan rates used by an old school RGB output, and the drives I have aren't reliable...
Last edited by alex_farlie on Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by alex_farlie » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:39 pm

lurkio wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:40 pm
alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:01 pm
Does anyone recall this?
No, I've never heard of it -- but it sounds intriguing!
alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:01 pm
And a long shot, does anyone have any notes on the save file format of the Castle/Village / Environment data ?
It's possible that the only way the file format will be analysed is if you can upload the disc-image and the ROM-image here and see if someone is willing and able to dissect them.
I asked because in an off forum discussion, someone mentioned potentially coming across some "documents" created with the package. Given that people have preserved 'document' files from old systems on some other platforms...
Last edited by alex_farlie on Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lurkio
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by lurkio » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:48 pm

alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:33 pm
lurkio wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:32 pm
Are you able to image the ROM yourself, alex?
Not currently
Would you be willing to post the ROM to a Stardotter who could save the data off for you?

:?:
alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:39 pm
in an off forum discussion, someone mentioned potentially coming across some "documents" created with the package.
It would be good to get a copy of those files or "documents" (not sure why the scare-quotes!) and preserve them.

:idea:

dp11
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by dp11 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:52 pm

IIRC there is something funny about the ROM ( e.g. 32K ). I have memories of moding it to run from SWR.

alex_farlie
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by alex_farlie » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:43 pm

My last efforts to track down the authors (in 2007) led me to a web design firm called Wonkey Monkey in Huddersfield, where one of the authors had responded, expressing they still had an IPR interest in Designer Castles, which is partly why I am reluctant to just upload an image on a public forum like Stardot.

I sent a much longer follow-up e-mail to them , but didn't get any further replies (and my then ISP's mail service had issues at the same time IIRC).

If there are Star Dot contributors in the Huddersfield area that want to try and track down any further information....

Data Design itself become a firm called TelePresence systems based on a correspondence I had with them (1999 or so)... given the time elapsed since I am not sure they'd still be an active concern...

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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by alex_farlie » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:49 pm

dp11 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:52 pm
IIRC there is something funny about the ROM ( e.g. 32K ). I have memories of moding it to run from SWR.
BAnked?

I seem to recall some other BBC roms like Quest Paint had additional logic on their chips, Not sure if this is something current emulators can handle.

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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by dp11 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:57 pm

I don't recall any extra logic . I was using a Master at the time and Masters can take 32K ROMs.

alex_farlie
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by alex_farlie » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:20 pm

dp11 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:57 pm
I don't recall any extra logic . I was using a Master at the time and Masters can take 32K ROMs.
How does that work?

I thought ROMS were 16K because of the upper 16K of ROM being the OS? You mean 32K Roms that appear in the Memory map as 2 16K slots?
In using the Printware ROM on a Master128 I don't recall it's image appearing in more than one ROM slot, so I am sure it's a 16K ROM, unless I am not understanding how the memory layout works..

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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by dp11 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:43 pm

A master can have a rom which takes two banks 16K banks.

It was a long time ago so I may have bits wrong.

alex_farlie
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by alex_farlie » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:53 pm

dp11 wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:43 pm
A master can have a rom which takes two banks 16K banks.

It was a long time ago so I may have bits wrong.
You still have the image, or at the very least the patch code you wrote?

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billcarr2005
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by billcarr2005 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:17 pm

alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:20 pm
... In using the Printware ROM on a Master128 I don't recall it's image appearing in more than one ROM slot, so I am sure it's a 16K ROM ...
It is indeed a 16K ROM :)

alex_farlie
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by alex_farlie » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:21 pm

billcarr2005 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:17 pm
alex_farlie wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:20 pm
... In using the Printware ROM on a Master128 I don't recall it's image appearing in more than one ROM slot, so I am sure it's a 16K ROM ...
It is indeed a 16K ROM :)
So no problems in imaging, the issue is tracking down the ownership so it can be archived properly (or the user data format looked into. :)

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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by dp11 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:19 pm

I wonder, does it have protection to prevent in running in SWR ? there was something I had to do to get it to work. I'm pretty sure I had to load multiple swr banks. Was there a later version with a bigger rom ?

alex_farlie
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by alex_farlie » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:13 pm

dp11 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:19 pm
I wonder, does it have protection to prevent in running in SWR ? there was something I had to do to get it to work. I'm pretty sure I had to load multiple swr banks. Was there a later version with a bigger rom ?
The Disc needed a serial number IIRC

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billcarr2005
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by billcarr2005 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:42 pm

Better late than never!

I've removed the old / original registration and replaced it with stardot. An 8 digit serial number is required, but this is only requested if registration hasn't already occurred.

The "design" is stored / saved from &95F to &CFF, length &3A0. In theory, I guess the memory could be inspected when each item is added to check what changes and the format dissected.

The ROM is 16K, couldn't find any copy protection, unless it appears later. "PRINTWARE.ROM" can be installed on the emulator of your choice, or *RUN PSR on the disk image will load it into sideways RAM.
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Designer Castles.zip
Designer Castles
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Last edited by billcarr2005 on Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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klintworth
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by klintworth » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:14 pm

Here's a pdf of my Designer Castles manual. Paul :D
Designer Castles.pdf
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BBC B Issue 4, BBC B UNB09 Issue1 (USA), Electron & A7000+

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Kenelm
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by Kenelm » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:25 pm

Many thanks for this! I own the disks, but the ROM had been lost, and I have been curious to have a look at it.

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billcarr2005
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Re: Designer Castles..

Post by billcarr2005 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:51 pm

klintworth wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:14 pm
Here's a pdf of my Designer Castles manual. Paul :D
Thanks for scanning & uploading this, saves me scanning mine!

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