Software

Inferno and Star Fighter 3000 patches

Today, the game is different. Well, it’s still the same, but patched.

Christopher and Martin Bazley, two of a trio of siblings fairly well known in the RISC OS community, released patches for a couple of old games back in March.

The first of these, released by Martin, is a patch for Inferno. Originally released by Paradise in the late 1990s, Inferno is a shoot ’em up that would have set you back a quite reasonable £10, but the game featured a copy protection mechanism which required that the original floppy disc was in your drive before you could play it – a system that, in a good example of copy protection inconveniencing legitimate owners, prevents the game being used on emulated systems – and at all if, or even when, the original floppy disc ever fails.

Martin’s patch removes the copy protection, and thus that inconvenience – though it should be noted that the game itself remains 26-bit only software, so it doesn’t make it playable on modern RISC OS computers.

The second, released by Christopher, is a patch for Star Fighter 3000, a “futuristic combat-dedicated flight action shooter” that was originally published in 1994 by Fednet Software for £30. The original version, supplied on two floppy discs, was incompatible with the StrongARM processor, which became available in 1996, and further problems came to light in 1999 with the release of RISC OS 4.

Christopher released a patch in August 2000 to resolve these incompatibilities, and those changes were incorporated into a new version of the game released on CD by iSV Products. Since then, more patches have been released, and a 32-bit compatible version of the game was released in 2003 by APDL (who by then had taken over from iSV as publisher) – and in 2005 an upgrade was released for users of all versions of the game, including the original floppy disc version.

The latest patch, updating the game to version 3.15, adds an option to scale the display to 320×480 when running in full-screen mode, to prevent letterboxed displays on VGA-type monitors.