Black Angel

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sirbod
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Black Angel

Post by sirbod » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:42 pm

Am I missing something or does travelling anywhere take ages? The first mission location for example took 40 mins to get too.

Next issue is the option to save game is greyed out, which is really annoying when you’ve traveled said 40 mins and are being shot at when you get there, by half a dozen ships.

Final issue, which looks like a bug, ships that are in local space when you set off on said journey follow along in local space and fly around you as if you’re not moving!

Dunkinator
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Re: Black Angel

Post by Dunkinator » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:13 pm

Is it one you're able to release Jon?

sirbod
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Re: Black Angel

Post by sirbod » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:42 pm

Dunkinator wrote:Is it one you're able to release Jon?
No, but David Bradforth informed me in 2015 that all The Fourth Dimension, ProAction and APDL titles would be available freely on the APDL archive site and I quote "It's not far off now."

I'm not sure how they plan to release the earlier RO2/3 only titles, I would image only the last StrongARM build versions will available so possibly not the full back catalogue. I last emailed David in July 2017 to follow up, but didn't receive a response.

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Re: Black Angel

Post by steve3000 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:05 am

sirbod wrote:Am I missing something or does travelling anywhere take ages? The first mission location for example took 40 mins to get too.
My brother played this to death BITD. I do recall it taking a long time to complete some missions, but 40 minutes sounds much too long. Is there not a way to speed up time when traveling?

Dunkinator
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Re: Black Angel

Post by Dunkinator » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:43 pm

Hopefully APDL are able to release them - a lot of the older ones no longer run and unfortuantely I only have ADF images of those I owned which seldom work due to the copy protection.

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Re: Black Angel

Post by sirbod » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:50 pm

steve3000 wrote:Is there not a way to speed up time when traveling?
Not that I can see, the manual doesn't mention it. It looks like you can purchase drive upgrades to speed it up, but I've yet to figure out how to make money.

The lack of save is the annoying bit as I've yet to get to the first clue location alive...a 40 min video of flying in space isn't going to make for a good YouTube video of the game, realistic perhaps :lol:
Last edited by sirbod on Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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danielj
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Re: Black Angel

Post by danielj » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:26 am

So far as I can tell, no progress has been made on the APDL site for nearly 3 years, and David Bradforth has fallen off the face of the planet :-?

Dunkinator
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Re: Black Angel

Post by Dunkinator » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:01 pm

I found David on Linkedin so sent him a message - will let you know if I hear back!

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Re: Black Angel

Post by Dunkinator » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:08 am

Never heard back from David unfortunately - any other ideas?!

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Re: Black Angel

Post by forestman » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:38 am

I bought Black Angel pretty much on release as was big elite and chocks away fan - but memory of it being really dull and buggy - one of the last games I bought for my Acorn computer as I was off at Uni..

If you can be bothered trawling this old archive thread is about it...

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/c ... BE14UeypwJ
StrongARM RISC PC, OS 3.70, 24MB RAM, 2MB VRAM, working front flap!

RobC
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Re: Black Angel

Post by RobC » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:33 pm

There's a mention of "stargates" in this Icon Bar thread about Gordon Key (including some interesting posts from the man himself)...

Unfortunately, although I bought a copy of Black Angel at some point (I think at a post-1998 Acorn/RISC OS show), I've never really played it and the manual is long gone.

Dunkinator
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Re: Black Angel

Post by Dunkinator » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:56 am

Does anyone have the game disks imaged?

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Re: Black Angel

Post by sirbod » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:32 pm

RobC wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:33 pm
There's a mention of "stargates" in this Icon Bar thread
And do they exist? I can't believe you're expected to fly for 40 mins to get to the first destination.

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Re: Black Angel

Post by RobC » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:55 am

sirbod wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:32 pm
And do they exist? I can't believe you're expected to fly for 40 mins to get to the first destination.
The thread would seem to imply that flying between systems is allowed but not the default means of travel. Unfortunately, it's years since I've played it and I can't remember the details.

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jms2
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Re: Black Angel

Post by jms2 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:03 pm

Good news ... I have found that I have both the discs and the manual!

I will see if I can image the discs and will scan the manual. Might take me a while though.

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jms2
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Re: Black Angel

Post by jms2 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:42 pm

So far I've found time to read the manual and try out the discs to see if they still work. The good part is that the discs do work, as far as I've been able to test. :D

The less good part relates to playing the game itself, which gave me a bit of a flashback to 1992 and reminded me why I never played it much. It isn't very playable... or at least, it doesn't appear to be. :( Who knows though, maybe someone might be able to explain what I'm doing wrong!

On the positive side, the game does seem to be very well written. In particular, the 3D ship plotting is really impressive, and all the associated stuff such as the map and communication screens are beautifully done. But it does seem that the game's raison d'etre is to technically outdo Elite in every way - the ships can have concave surfaces, stars have planets, there's an illustrated ships log, movement obeys the laws of general relativity, the map screen is not 2D, but 3D, etc etc. It goes on and on. However, it's all too much - it may be impressive, but it's far too complicated to be fun.

Regarding the existence (or otherwise) of stargates, the manual does imply very strongly that they do exist (for example, you actually start the game with a "gate pass"), but does not explain how to find them or how to actually use them to reach a destination. This gives rise to the two big conundrums that stopped me playing the game:

1) How is it possible to find the stargates, when you don't know where they are and when your spaceship is pretty much uncontrollable?
2) Given that the plot is all about finding the key to the stargates (I think), how can it be possible to use them before the end of the game?

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Re: Black Angel

Post by VectorEyes » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:21 pm

Do you think you could find somebody with an Amiga and a copy of XCopy 3, and nibblecopy the discs a few times... So that those of us who'd like to play the game at some point in the next 20 years or so know there are good copies of the game discs out there? :)

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jms2
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Re: Black Angel

Post by jms2 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:26 pm

That might be tricky, as I don't know anyone with an Amiga. However, I was planning to use ADFFS to image the disks, surely that will do?

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Re: Black Angel

Post by VectorEyes » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:06 pm

Well, up until a few hours ago I was unaware of the existence of ADFFS! If it copies copy-protected discs then that seems like a good way of preserving the game, but dunkinator's post earlier in this thread suggests that ADFs don't always play nicely with copy-protection.

(Back in the day, I remember going round to my friend's house to copy the occasional Archimedes game because his Amiga was the only machine that was guaranteed to get round the copy-protection.)

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Re: Black Angel

Post by Dunkinator » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:08 am

Yeh straight ADFs don't work - I imaged all my original games (including Black Angel) but sadly a lot of them didn't work. I imaged them pre-ADFFS so none of the copy protection worked :( Hoping someone has better luck with them as I'd love to play some of the old games again! I did try reaching out to APDL as it was mentioned they intended to release them - sadly never heard back. I would like to think someone has better luck as I can't imagine there's too many working copies left. Would hate these games to disappear altogether!
Last edited by Dunkinator on Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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jms2
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Re: Black Angel

Post by jms2 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:11 am

ADFFS can cope with protected discs, and sirbod on this forum (and indeed this thread) is the author, so don't worry!

The biggest issue with Arc games is the terrible copyright situation affecting them.

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Re: Black Angel

Post by sirbod » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:06 am

VectorEyes wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:06 pm
Well, up until a few hours ago I was unaware of the existence of ADFFS!
I guess I don't talk about it enough! If you follow the project link in my signature, you can download ADFFS along with all the games the project has permission to release, which includes all of the Minerva, Eterna, Krysalis and Alpine titles along with a selection from other suppliers such as Artex. There's also some 32bit versions of games where the project has received the source code.

And if you follow the YouTube channel link, there's videos of the majority of Archimedes games running on the Pi under ADFFS.
VectorEyes wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:06 pm
If it copies copy-protected discs then that seems like a good way of preserving the game, but dunkinator's post earlier in this thread suggests that ADFs don't always play nicely with copy-protection.
It will image the vast majority of games and comes with both an ADF (unprotected) and JFD (protected) imagers. There's a few games that talk directly to the 1772 which it can image, but won't work as ADFFS doesn't emulate the 1772 chip itself. These include the Eterna titles and the original RO2 release of Chequered Flag, the Eterna titles you can download from the project have had their protection corrected so they work on RiscPC and later machines, some don't work on Arc's yet though. There's only one title ADFFS can't image directly, which is HeroQuest as it uses sector-in-sector with explicit timing. The copy that's downloadable from the project was imaged using a Kryoflux, converted to APD and then converted to JFD, which is the ADFFS native image format.

I'm desperate for additional ADFFS beta testers, having to test over 200 games during the development cycle and prior to release is impossible if I want to get any actual development done. Anyone that would like to join the project as a tester should PM me their eMail address and full name. They should also bare in mind testing is very time consuming, boring and somewhat frustrating when there's regressions and that joining the project to just get access to games isn't acceptable.

I'm currently extending ADFFS to add 26bit Wimp task support, so games such as Elite, Black Angel, K.V. etc run on RISC OS 5. This is going to require a lot of testing, all known working games are going to need periodic testing for regressions.
Last edited by sirbod on Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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jms2
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Re: Black Angel

Post by jms2 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:16 am

Here's the manual...
Black Angel Manual.pdf
(1.08 MiB) Downloaded 18 times
EDIT: ... and it turns out I don't need to image my discs, as working .JFD images already exist on the web.
Last edited by jms2 on Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Black Angel

Post by jms2 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:05 pm

I have just been playing Black Angel again, and I think I might have written this game off too soon (26 years too soon, in fact). It's starting to look a lot better.

I realised that there is a very small reference in the manual relating to finding the Star Gates. It is buried on what feels like page 94, under the section on an instrument called the "Planetary Mass Indicator" - a thing so dull-sounding I must have failed to read it properly the first time. It says that the Star Gate is indicated by a triangle of white dots - the right way up if you're flying towards it, or upside down if flying away.

Using this, I managed to find a Star Gate. They look like a glowing hoop in space. If you fly through (using the Gate Pass that you've remembered to buy) you get a very impressive technicolour "hyperspace tunnel" effect complete with glowing fireballs which fly towards you. It's genuinely quite impressive. If you've remembered to select a destination system on the star map, then you hyperspace there. Thus I managed to fly to Atisco.

I also tried selling all my rubbish weapons and buying a MUSPAC. This is like a shotgun, and makes destroying things enjoyably easy.

I'm keen to discover more, and I'm even getting the hang of the mouse!

sirbod
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Re: Black Angel

Post by sirbod » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:07 pm

jms2 wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:05 pm
the Star Gate is indicated by a triangle of white dots - the right way up if you're flying towards it, or upside down if flying away.
That answers my original query in the OP, thanks. I'll have to give it a try and then record a gameplay video, once I've had a bit of practice.

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Re: Black Angel

Post by VectorEyes » Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:16 pm

I always wanted to play Black Angel back in the day. I'm not sure why I never got hold of a copy.

As soon as I can get my RiscPC up and running again I'm going to take a look at it!

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Re: Black Angel

Post by Dunkinator » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:43 am

Nice one - would you mind messaging me a link to the .JFD I've never had any luck finding them?!
jms2 wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:16 am
Here's the manual...Black Angel Manual.pdf

EDIT: ... and it turns out I don't need to image my discs, as working .JFD images already exist on the web.

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jms2
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Re: Black Angel

Post by jms2 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:11 am

@Dunkinator - PM sent

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Re: Black Angel

Post by Dunkinator » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:54 pm

@jms - Thanks! Can't reply as I think your private message option is off?!
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jms2
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Re: Black Angel

Post by jms2 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:17 pm

Not as far as I am aware - I didn't know you could turn them off!?

I can see that you've received my message. What kind of error message are you getting when you try to reply?

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