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 Post subject: Acornsoft Game Authors
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 6:41 pm 
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Of the 46 games that Acornsoft published I wonder if anyone knows the authors of these ones?

1 G03 Monsters (1982)
2 G06 Arcade Action (1982)
3 G08 Cube Master (1982)
4 G10 Chess (1982)
5 G11 Maze (1982)
6 G12 Sliding-Block Puzzles (1982)
7 G18 Missile Base (1982)
8 G20 Draughts & Reversi (1983)
9 G24 Carousel (1983)
10 G26 Crazy Tracer (1983)
11 G27 Drogna (1983)
12 G29 Meteor Mission (1984)
13 G32 Tetrapod (1984)
14 G33 Volcano (1984)
15 G35 Bouncer (1984)
16 G36 The Seventh Star (1984)
17 G39 Firebug (1984)
18 G41 Labyrinth (1984)
19 G42 Go (1984)


I think the authors of the rest are:

G01 Philosopher's Quest (1982)
Peter D. Killworth & Jonathan Mestel

G02 Defender (1982) (re-released as Planetoid)
Neil Raine

G02 Aviator (1983) (reuse G02, released with G26-G28)
Geoff Crammond

G04 Snapper (1982)
Jonathan Griffiths

G05 Rocket Raid (1982)
Jonathan Griffiths

G07 Sphinx Adventure (1982)
Paul Fellows

G09 JCB Digger (1983)
Jonathan Griffiths

G13 Meteors (1982)
Neil Raine

G14 Arcadians (1982)
Nick Pelling (Orlando)

G15 Planetoid (1982)
Neil Raine

G16 Super Invaders (1982)
Geoff Crammond

G17 Castle of Riddles (1982)
Peter Killworth

G19 Countdown to Doom (1982)
Peter D. Killworth

G21 Snooker (1983)
Kevin Reid

G22 Starship Command (1983)
Peter Irvin

G23 Hopper (1983)
Neil Raine

G25 Kingdom of Hamil (1983)
Jonathan Partington

G28 Free Fall (1983)
Ian Bell

G30 Gateway to Karos (1983)
Derek Haslam

G31 Boxer (1984)
Wal Mansell

G34 Black Box & Gambit (1984)
Clive DW Feather

G37 Acheton (1984)
Jonathan Partington

G38 Elite (1984)
Ian Bell & David Braben

G40 Quondam (1984)
Peter Killworth

G43 Revs (1984)
Geoff Crammond

G44 Revs 4 Tracks (1985)
Geoff Crammond

G46 Magic Mushrooms (1985)
Neil Raine & Tom Dobson

G47 Elite enhanced (1986)
Ian Bell & David Braben

I don't know what became of game G45...

- PJ


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:45 pm 
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Here's what i could find, taken from the instructions in the disk wallets

G03 Monsters (1982) Tim Dobson
G11 Maze (1982) Tim Dobson
G24 Carousel (1983) David Shepherd
G26 Crazy Tracer (1983) W Mansell
G27 Drogna (1983) Patrick Dowling
G29 Meteor Mission (1984) Wal Mansell
G35 Bouncer (1984) Steve Jon Rew
G39 Firebug (1984) W Mansell
G41 Labyrinth (1984) Michael Mathison
G42 Go (1984) Bruno Pryzbyla, Go consultant: Charles Mathews (3-dan)

G14 Arcadians (1982)
Credited to Orlando (no mention of Nick Pelling)

G22 Starship Command (1983)
Peter J.M. Irvin

G25 Kingdom of Hamil (1983)
Jonathan Partington and Peter Kilworth

G34 Black Box & Gambit (1984)
Benjamin Finn, Philip Oliver and Andrew Oliver

G37 Acheton (1984)
Jon Thackray and David Seal

G40 Quondam (1984)
Ron Underwood and Peter Killworth

and also, Geoff Crammond is Geoffrey J Crammond (on the insert)

Which leaves

1 G06 Arcade Action (1982)
2 G08 Cube Master (1982)
3 G10 Chess (1982)
4 G12 Sliding-Block Puzzles (1982)
5 G18 Missile Base (1982)
6 G20 Draughts & Reversi (1983)
7 G32 Tetrapod (1984)
8 G33 Volcano (1984)
9 G36 The Seventh Star (1984)

unaccounted for...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:40 pm 
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Thanks for that - great info.
I'm guessing Magic Mushrooms should be Tim Dobson as well.
- PJ


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 5:21 am 
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PitfallJones wrote:
Thanks for that - great info.
I'm guessing Magic Mushrooms should be Tim Dobson as well.
- PJ


Original version by Richard Clay with improvements by Tim Dobson and Neil Raine.



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:23 am 
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Chess is by Nick Pelling too (it was one of the titles Acornsoft insisted was not credited to his pseudonym, feeling it was too 'frivolous' for a serious title!).

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Pelling and some A&B Computing article from way back when.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:38 pm 
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Wow - I never knew Orlando did that one:

He's almost the best BBC programmer ever! - here's a new thread I've started:

http://www.stairwaytohell.com/sthforums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3351


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:54 pm 
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Quote:
Which leaves G12 Sliding-Block Puzzles (1982)

will check my original box this weekend....if i mind #-o
also Picture Maker



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:26 pm 
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PitfallJones wrote:
Wow - I never knew Orlando did that one:


Also 3D Pool is a beauty


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:34 pm 

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billcarr2005 wrote:
9 G36 The Seventh Star (1984)

unaccounted for...


The Seventh Star was written by Dave Hampton (not Peter Killworth as an old r.g.i-f FAQ states). The source for this is the game database itself, which has the following entry for room 13:
Quote:
13: This game written by Dave Hampton


Interestingly enough, room 240 has a description of:
Quote:
240: D. M. Hampten . Should be an o


Which could imply that it's a pseudonym?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:56 am 
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Excellent bit of detective work there...


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:12 pm 

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PitfallJones wrote:
Excellent bit of detective work there...


Having had a look through some of the other Acornsoft text adventures, it looks like the same database format is used in most of their non-BASIC adventures.

I'm guessing it may be related to the topologika adventure format. I can post up my messy C-code to read it if anybody's interested.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:12 pm 
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I'd be interested to see that.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:13 am 

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The file getdict.c will get words, messages and room descriptions directly from the Seventh Star file $.STAR2 (I renamed it to star2 to make life easy for me).

The file getdictcor.c will pull the messages from Castle of Riddles.
Attachment:
ASdecoder.zip [2.17 KiB]
Downloaded 49 times

The two database formats seem related, but are different, I've noticed that Acheton is also similar. I'm surmising that the CoR and Acheton ones are from the original Phoenix system, which has some documentation about it on the ifarchive. I'm not certain whether I'll do anything else with them (unless I get bored).

Warning: the code is hacky, not efficient and has only been tested compiling with mingw on Windows. I generally hack together code to test whether something works, and only tidy it up if it's going to be released :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:16 pm 

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Sliding-Block Puzzles was written by Mike Biscoe-Taylor.

If memory serves Missile Base was by Andy Green - presumably the same Andy Green who wrote Protector for Quicksilva (NB my copy of a copy of a copied version of the latter credits the game as published by Abercrombie, but I wonder if that's just whoever hacked it in leaving their mark. Has anyone else ever seen mention of Abercrombie in this game?)

The "W Mansell" of several titles is, of course, Walter Mansell (given in some Acornsoft games boxes as just "Wal Mansell"), whose other credits include Smash and Grab for Superior and Sorcery for Pace.

gc


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:06 pm 

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Jeremy Grayson wrote:
The "W Mansell" of several titles is, of course, Walter Mansell (given in some Acornsoft games boxes as just "Wal Mansell"), whose other credits include Smash and Grab for Superior and Sorcery for Pace.

gc


Makes sense. Did anyone else notice that Boxer, Smash and Grab and Firebug seemed to all be the same codebase with a few modifications, and with different sprites and level design?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:48 am 
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PitfallJones wrote:
I don't know what became of game G45...

My suspicion of this has always been that G45 was a standalone 6502 Second Processor enhanced version of Elite. It wasn't available for long because it wasn't heavilly advertised and it was replaced with the combination disc that included the unexpanded version, sideways RAM version, second processor version and the then new Master 128 version on a single DFS disc. However, it must be exceptionally rare because since coming up with that theory I have never seen any official references to such a copy. Chris John Jordan from Acornsoft did tell me that he thought they had released a standalone 6502 Second Processor version, which adds credence to my suggestion.

If I'm right and anybody ever finds it, I truly hope they'll announce it here and let us archive it for posterity.

Sam.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:23 am 
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Samwise wrote:
My suspicion of this has always been that G45 was a standalone 6502 Second Processor enhanced version of Elite. It wasn't available for long because it wasn't heavilly advertised and it was replaced with the combination disc that included the unexpanded version, sideways RAM version, second processor version and the then new Master 128 version on a single DFS disc. However, it must be exceptionally rare because since coming up with that theory I have never seen any official references to such a copy. Chris John Jordan from Acornsoft did tell me that he thought they had released a standalone 6502 Second Processor version, which adds credence to my suggestion.

If I'm right and anybody ever finds it, I truly hope they'll announce it here and let us archive it for posterity.

Sam.


I "won" this on eBay a month or so ago.
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... K:MEWNX:IT

The box has a gold sticker in the top right corner

"6502
SECOND
PROCESSOR
ELITE"

and, on the reverse there is a SNG 45 label stuck over the usual catalogue number.
The disk inside though is SNG38/D, and although i've not had time to look at it properly, it seems to be the standard disk. There's also a leaflet, SBD40 (from Quondam?) and just the Dark Wheel novella, so i think it's a bit of a collection of different bits. I'll get a picture when time permits!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:56 am 
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I'd be interested in seeing a complete detailed scan of the box, when you get the time. In fact, that may be the only second processor packaging known to exist so a bit of a bargain, even if the price looks high at first glance. Glad to hear you won it. :)

I think that confirms what I was saying. Real shame tho if you didn't get the 6502 disc with it as that's what we're really missing. :/ Maybe you'll be lucky and the content of the disc will be the G45 version, they just didn't get round to updating the sticker?

With your skills, hopefully you'll be able to compare it with the G38 disc. I guess the simplest test would be to see if it works with a second processor. If it does, then it's different to the older release! And, if it doesn't have the Master version on it, then it's also different to the G47 version and you'll have found the rarest beeb Elite going. :)

Sam.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:42 am 

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joachim wrote:
Jeremy Grayson wrote:
The "W Mansell" of several titles is, of course, Walter Mansell (given in some Acornsoft games boxes as just "Wal Mansell"), whose other credits include Smash and Grab for Superior and Sorcery for Pace.

gc


Makes sense. Did anyone else notice that Boxer, Smash and Grab and Firebug seemed to all be the same codebase with a few modifications, and with different sprites and level design?



Yep. Platformers-with-cartoon-people-in-them wasn't all Walter Mansell did, of course, but you can always spot one of his examples of the genre a mile off. In a good way.

gc


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:23 pm 
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@tautology
Great stuff - I'd hacked Sphinx Adventure a while ago - that's actually Basic.

@joachim
Now that's interesting - a good way to write games I think- you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time.
I've disassembled a few games in my time but the only disassemblys I've seen posted are the three over at retro software. I was pondering recently how easy it would be to 'translate' code between Z80 and 6502.

@jeremy
Thanks for all that info, and I'd be really interested to see your list of authors if you can dig it up.

@samwise
Mystery solved!
I remember the 2nd processor Elite ads as well.
Logically as it was a product it would have had to have a code I guess.
I had a 2nd processor - great for running roms.
As an aside anyone know how many different cheese wedges were available?
Was it actually possible to have several setup at once - I bet you would need a very looong table - ha! ha!


That only leaves five unaccounted for:

Arcade Action
Cube Master
Draughts & Reversi
Tetrapod (great game!)
Volcano

Anybody?

- PJ


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:46 pm 
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PitfallJones wrote:
@samwise
Mystery solved!
I remember the 2nd processor Elite ads as well.
Logically as it was a product it would have had to have a code I guess.

Not sure I'd close the case, until we have scans of the packaging (looks like Billcarr2005 may be able to help with that) and a disc image of the standalone 6502 second processor version. Fingers crossed that's in his bundle too ...

I'm interested to hear that you remember ads for it, tho - it was my impression that there was pretty much no advertising for this earlier standalone version. Are you instead thinking of the later combined disc release with the addition of the Master 128 version? The reason the 6502 second processor standalone version is so rare is precisely because Acornsoft didn't make much of it when it first came out. I think most ppl probably only found about the second processor version when the combined disc was released.

PitfallJones wrote:
As an aside anyone know how many different cheese wedges were available?

You can start by looking through these items here:

http://acorn.chriswhy.co.uk/8bit_FI.html#Comms
http://acorn.chriswhy.co.uk/8bit_FI.html#2ndproc

Sam.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:01 pm 

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PitfallJones wrote:
@joachim
Now that's interesting - a good way to write games I think- you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time.
I've disassembled a few games in my time but the only disassemblys I've seen posted are the three over at retro software. I was pondering recently how easy it would be to 'translate' code between Z80 and 6502.


It'd be a real sod. The two processors are very different in implementation. With the Z80, you get 8 registers (and another set of 8 registers) but no zero page. With 6502 you get 3 usable registers (plus zero page).

You could probably do summat to attempt it, but it wouldn't be very efficient as you'd have to use the stack/zero page to handle the Z80's extra registers.

ETA: make that 2 sets of 8 8 bit registers(A, F, B, C, D, E, H, L and A', F', B', C', D', E', H', L'), 2 special 8 bit registers (I, R) and 3 16 bit registers (IX, IY, SP) (and the 2 sets of 8 bit registers can be combined to make 16 bit registers: AF, BC, DE, HL).


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:02 pm 
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VOLCANO
Remembered that even though the disk is fubar'd, i've got the packaging -
Author: Michael St Aubyn

That only leaves four unaccounted for:

Arcade Action
Cube Master
Draughts & Reversi
Tetrapod (great game!)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:27 am 

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billcarr2005 wrote:
That only leaves four unaccounted for:


Having checked some more original packaging, better make that two:

Cube Master - (c) 1982 Robert MacMillan
Tetrapod - (c) 1984 Nick Reeves

HTH,

gc


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 3:01 am 
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I want Jonathan Griffiths, Nick Pelling, Neil Raine and Geoff Crammond to come to my 36th birthday party next year, I'm trying to sort out an exclusive location on the moon :oops:



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:43 am 

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Very regrettably, Neil Raine wouldn't be able to come - he was killed in a hang-gliding accident in Spain in March 2006. Details reported at http://groups.google.co.uk/group/comp.s ... bd7e406524 and elsewhere. A terrible loss.

gc


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