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-   -   Acorn Archimedes Software Preservation (http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=43299)

MarkYoungIW 09 March 2009 22:29

Acorn Archimedes Software Preservation
 
I am sure I am not the only one that has noticed that the Acorn Archimedes software seems to be disappearing very fast with very few attempts to stop this happening, so the purpose of this thread is to find people with original copies of Archimedes software so that images can be sent to SoftPres for IPS archiving and also to compile a list of sucessful Hard Drive installations.

I can start by giving a list of old commercial games that I know of that can be run from HD(with and without modification), and which I have tested and can confirm working on an A3010.

2067BC
Aggressor
Air Supremacy
Alerion
Alien Invasion
Aliped
All-In-Boxing
Apolcalypse
Asylum
Big Bang
Blitz
Bobby Blockhead versus The Dark Planet
Break 147 & Superpool
Bug Hunter In Space
Bughunter/Moondash
Cannon Fodder
Spheres of Chaos
Chuck Rock
Conqueror
Cycloids
Dragon Ball
E-Type
Fervour
Fireball 2
Fish
Guile
Hamsters
Hero Quest
Holed Out
Iron Lord
Ixion
James Pond
Jet Fighter
Lemmings
Oh No More Lemmings
Lemmings the tribes
Mad Professor Mariarti
Manchester United Europe
Mr Doo
Neubulus
OdBall
Pacmania
Pipemania
Poizone
Populous
Quest for Gold
Sim City
Speedball 2
SWIV
Talisman
Terramex
TopBanana
Twinworlds
Zool (requires a code wheel, which is the same as the amiga one)

I am adding to this list as I go, as still digging more old software out of the loft.

The reason for coming to an Amiga forum with this is the apparent lack of software preservation.

In fact, I had not heard of SoftPres at all until I started browsing here.

If anyone from SoftPres is on this board it would be interesting to know what you have had sent to you so far.

So, it begins.........Hope there are some other Acorn users here!!

Charlie 09 March 2009 23:21

Hi MarkYoungIW,

A truly fantastic idea, count me in. :cool

It's about time the rot was stopped & something like the effort that's put into preserving & sharing Amiga games/software was done for RiscOS before it's all lost forever.

I shall certainly chip in with the contents of my collection, I'm sure there must be others here who can contribute too. :D


Npbea pna fgvyy gnxr bire gur jbeyq!
Ebyy ba gur R N(pbea) O.

alexh 10 March 2009 10:01

If I were you I'd choose an open source solution to give your time to.

SPS is a great organisation, with very smart members. But there is no getting away from the fact that their work is closed source and so it is not really preserved at all! Just converted to another format that whilst it will not degrade... you still cannot read it :)

MarkYoungIW 10 March 2009 10:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by alexh (Post 521999)
If I were you I'd choose an open source solution to give your time to.

SPS is a great organisation, with very smart members. But there is no getting away from the fact that their work is closed source and so it is not really preserved at all! Just converted to another format that whilst it will not degrade... you still cannot read it :)

Hmm.......I thought there had been moves on their part get one on of the Archimedes Emulator programmers to include IPS support, which was the main reason I mentioned it, that and the fact the system is already in place. What is Cyclone20 looking at writing to and from!?

alexh 10 March 2009 11:10

The emulators and the Cyclone20 both use pre-compiled plugins which SPS provide for various platforms.

Try to port an emulator to a platform with no precompiled plugin (e.g. XBOX, PSP, GP32 etc.) and you're stuffed.

The source code for the guts of the plugin is closed source. Which seems ironic to me considering this is supposed to be a preservation society. (Who preserves the SPS plugin?)

Love them all to death, great idea, very smart guys. I sort of understand why they want to keep control but at the same time this is not true preservation until they open source the plugin(s).

Interceptor 10 March 2009 18:37

i really dont want to get into the politics again, i disagree with alex but obviously i respect his opinion. oh and i am biased.

so getting factual about SPS/archimedes.....

* we've had a lot of archie titles dumped, may of them from that list.

* archie disks will be supported with the 'generic mfm' version of the library, which is still being worked on, right now in factm despite lack of website updates (some things needed to be rewritten, which is causing a lack of 'forward' progress sometimes' with regards to getting closer to release)

* Tom has expressed interest in adding IPF support to arculator when we're ready, he will be given the developer API and any assistence needed to get this done.

*the archie disks were dumped using the normal amiga setup with the standard dump tools, no changes, no extra hardware.

*when cyclone 20 is released, you'll be able to use that to dump raw images to simbit to us instead of using an amiga.

*i have an A3010, with HDD too, and cant remember how much ram, 2mb i think :)

in case anyone is interested, alongside archie support and emu implemtation, we also have in the works working ST IPF, Speccy IPF, Amstrad CPC IPF & Sam Coupe IPF, we have already test files working on test emulators internally here. so when we go live with this, it will be well supported from the go.

and of course, we are very interested in getting any more dumps of archie games wherever possible. not all the dumps we have are good, some are modified with high scores etc.


HTH

killergorilla 10 March 2009 18:44

I'll have to dig out my Archimedes disks. I only have a few but who knows they may be clean versions.

Off the top of my head...

Mig-29 Fulcrum
Orion
Zarch

MarkYoungIW 10 March 2009 19:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by killergorilla (Post 522219)
I'll have to dig out my Archimedes disks. I only have a few but who knows they may be clean versions.

Off the top of my head...

Mig-29 Fulcrum
Orion
Zarch


Sounds good. Not seen Zarch in a long time.......still play the demo though (Lander).

killergorilla 10 March 2009 19:01

Ah yeah I have the demo somewhere, not a clue where though.

Plus some Artisan disks, oh and some yellow 'disks' to keep the dust out :) Think they'll need dumping? ;)

MarkYoungIW 10 March 2009 19:45

Check everything!!!! Yellow or not!! ;)

Find cotton buds work wonders on old discs.

Oh yeah, I have Atelier to add to that list above.

Hmm......Need a Games, Apps and Stuff list!!

MarkYoungIW 10 March 2009 22:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Interceptor (Post 522215)
i really dont want to get into the politics again, i disagree with alex but obviously i respect his opinion. oh and i am biased.

so getting factual about SPS/archimedes.....

* we've had a lot of archie titles dumped, may of them from that list.

* archie disks will be supported with the 'generic mfm' version of the library, which is still being worked on, right now in factm despite lack of website updates (some things needed to be rewritten, which is causing a lack of 'forward' progress sometimes' with regards to getting closer to release)

* Tom has expressed interest in adding IPF support to arculator when we're ready, he will be given the developer API and any assistence needed to get this done.

*the archie disks were dumped using the normal amiga setup with the standard dump tools, no changes, no extra hardware.

*when cyclone 20 is released, you'll be able to use that to dump raw images to simbit to us instead of using an amiga.

*i have an A3010, with HDD too, and cant remember how much ram, 2mb i think :)

in case anyone is interested, alongside archie support and emu implemtation, we also have in the works working ST IPF, Speccy IPF, Amstrad CPC IPF & Sam Coupe IPF, we have already test files working on test emulators internally here. so when we go live with this, it will be well supported from the go.

and of course, we are very interested in getting any more dumps of archie games wherever possible. not all the dumps we have are good, some are modified with high scores etc.


HTH


This is good, clears up a lot of questions I have about SPS. Hmm.......With what you've done so far, if I was going to buy an amiga to do some dumps for you what would you suggest (eg should I just buy a plain old A500?)

Can you give us a list of what you so far have as was thinking about hunting round eBay for the rest if it helps. I did look on your site, but no Arc titles listed.

Interceptor 10 March 2009 23:01

Right now I'd not suggest anyone buy an amiga for dumping as the spec needs gets expensive these days as eBay prices are stupid.

The cyclone 20 looks to be the way forward, the dumping solution is nearly ready.

We have very few multiple copies, so currently all titles require dumping.

MarkYoungIW 11 March 2009 09:39

OK, will wait for the Cyclone20 then for the dumping, but in the meantime will carry on with HD installs, and .adf's

So, just to clarify you need dumps of everything!?

Have you had Sensible Soccer or Magic Pockets yet!? Reason I ask is I am unsure of my copies which appear to have disc errors. For example about the last 5 tracks of Magic Pockets throws up disc errors. I am guessing this is the copy protection, but not sure, and was wondering if you could clarify this.

alexh 11 March 2009 09:54

Wow, I cannot believe that no-one other than myself cares that SPS titles are not truly preserved.

I can understand why the dumper, and the analyser are not released open source, it helps maintain the quality of available IPF images. But the emulator plugins?

MarkYoungIW 11 March 2009 10:10

Naturally I dont wish to go to a lot of work getting all the titles together and having them on a format that doesnt ensure their longevity, but in the same breath the way I see it is that currently there isnt really an alternative, and putting them in this format with the Cyclone20 and the HxC does leave room to transfer them to another format at a later date.

I know it becomes a copy of a copy, but if the IPF format is as good as it seems to be, then its a way forward.

Coming from the Acorn scene we have seen things like the BBC Domesday Project lost, and although attempts to preserve it have been made for the people who would still find it useful there is no way of accessing it.

I certainly appreciate your comments though Alex, and any suggestions are valued as the more formats the discs are stored as the more likely they are not to be lost.

Interceptor 11 March 2009 17:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by alexh (Post 522416)
Wow, I cannot believe that no-one other than myself cares that SPS titles are not truly preserved.

I can understand why the dumper, and the analyser are not released open source, it helps maintain the quality of available IPF images. But the emulator plugins?

we always said we'd release the source code eventually, when we're ready. if we cant continue with the project then this would also be a good reason to do it then.

in the meantime we'd not like to encourage others to create their own IPF files. right now there is no such thing as a bad, fake or otherwise poor quality IPF file, and from the majority of conversations i've had or seen on other forums and this one in places, thats the first thing the source code would be used for.

and, if we did release the souce of the plugin to preserve it as you say, that doesnt mean it will, or will ever be, 'open source' / GPL etc.

mr.vince 11 March 2009 18:13

Quote:

Originally Posted by alexh (Post 522416)
Wow, I cannot believe that no-one other than myself cares that SPS titles are not truly preserved.

I can understand why the dumper, and the analyser are not released open source, it helps maintain the quality of available IPF images. But the emulator plugins?

Aren't these two completely different things?

IPFs are truly preserved. They have all the information present on the original disk. We keep copies in different places, and we also give the IPFs back to the contributors, which can also store them. Or distribute them - it's up to them, not us.

Now for the lib. It's available for all major platforms. I see that some people are scared because it is not open source, still there are many projects using it. HxC even uses it for making the original content available as flux data to a real computer and C20 once again uses the HxC sources to convert the IPF data to its own intermediate format called .C20. I don't see anything stopping anyone from doing the same and archiving the games in another format he likes (if he does not like IPF that is). That would of course mean writing and designing your own format.

Being open source does not mean everything is better. In regard to PDFs, you now have the light and the dark. By opening the file format, Adobe has lost control over it. This of course also freed users to chose from whatever application they want to use for viewing. I really like that. But it also leads to documents being misinterpreted, i.e. looking somehow bad, with elements missing or simply shuffled around. I also tend to get some PDFs that do not display properly with Preview, included with MacOS. This is not Adobe's fault (you just can not blame them for this, which I regret, because I really do not like their domination in regard to monopoly and pricing). It's because different codebases did not include particular functions or, even worse, did implement things the wrong way.

Do you really want to give preservation into the hand of novices, that can code but have no understanding of protections or similar? Do you want them to mess with the codebase, just because it is open source? Do you want them to reverse the library to also write IPFs? To see dozens of IPFs of the very same title, called "alt1", "alt2", "+8", "fixed"...

While "slightly off", "shuffled" or whatever still enables you to read most of the text in a PDF document, "slightly off" or "shuffled" in regard to flux data being interpreted means reading wrong data. Copy protections won't work anymore, programs will read corrupted data files etc.

In fact, UAE is open source. I have not seen many useful distributions with any functionality I am currently missing. I am very sure that if Toni should ever abandon the project, there will not be many people available to fill the gap. Writing C code is easy. But emulating a complex machine with several custom chips (down to the gate level) is as well rocket science and requires a large amount of knowledge. That's not inside the source, but Toni knows what to change where without breaking other things (ok, even happens to him from time to time).

The SPS library takes a different approach. It is available to anyone. On many platforms. You can do with it what you like (well, mostly). You can read the data like it would be coming from a real floppy. But we can make sure, the format itself is consistent, and the data is consistent as well.

I just do not get the point why this would be a showstopper for preservation.

And to be honest: Of course all modern operating systems might vanish. Somewhen. I still bet there'd be emulators for them. Somewhere, somewhen. So you could still use. This would however mean there is nobody of the SPS team around anymore... no heier to the legacy. I just do not think we'd not be giving away the source one day before the end is near. We have been thinking about this, but it's simply not necessary right now and we have to make sure we can differentiate between IPFs made by us and IPFs made by others (which could be done with the source).

We're currently looking into adding a signed digest added to the IPFs so users can be sure they are getting the real deal and not anything forged or changed. Please note that this is not DRM, so please have a read on what signed digests / hashes are used for.

MarkYoungIW 11 March 2009 18:50

So for an Acorn Archimedes Software Preservation Scheme.......I certainly believe it would be safe to say that preserving original discs with IPF and making as much software as possible run from the hard drives too is a reasonably sensible way forwards......yes!?

We agree that IPF preserves all data on this disc in a digital format!?

So, the only thing that ideally needs doing at the moment is IPF support added to an Arc emulator, as for the machines themselves the IPF data could be written back to disc using the cyclone20 or could be supplied to the computer with an HxC.

The way I see it now is we need to track down original discs (this shouldnt be too hard via Archimedes owners and eBay!!)

Image these with Cyclone20 and send to SPS

And create patches to allow run from HD (patches from an acorn point of view should also include RiscPC support as well as copy protection removal).

All sounds so easy doesnt it!!!

So, I think for now anyone that owns and Archimedes or knows someone that does should start cataloguing and documenting on here what software they have. Copies should also be documented as this will cut down on the work needed to create patches for the originals.

So........Will get listing and await Cyclone20 to be ready.

Interceptor 11 March 2009 19:51

yep and as i already said before, IPF format archie disks are already in the works, its been started.

sadly there hasnt been much interest from the community yet but hopefully this will change.

also worth noting that some companies still see new copies of these old games, we dont want any wars going on :(

MarkYoungIW 11 March 2009 21:21

Yeah, is the awkward bit about the Acorn is stuff still being for sale.

The way I see it though is that the ipf's dont cause a problem as you only send them back to the owner of the original disks.

With regards to the rest that gets catalogued here naturally the people that have it have the originals and their copies were only done so that there originals werent worn out and didnt get high scores saved to them etc. And any patches written will only be able to be applied to original software (for instance NoDisc on the Acorn could only be used to bypass copy protection on 4d Games if the keydisc was present when NoDisc was used).

Its that straight forward!!! :D:D:D

With regards to the Amiga spec for imaging, I know very little about the
Amiga, but I think a friend of mine may still have his A500 with 0.5mb upgrade. What sort of spec would I need for imaging for SPS with the Amiga!? Just thinking I might get one anyway to play some of the classic games I remember playing on them as a kid!!


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