Jun 272015
 

Games from Artex, Eterna, Minerva and VOTI gain software E-numbers.

Jon Abbott announced a week ago that the Archimedes Software Preservation Project now has an agreement with the former owners of Artex Software, Eterna, Minerva, and Visions of the Impossible (VOTI) to release their original Archimedes titles through the project.

The Project is usually referred to by the acronym JASPP, with the J typically not expanded in the title, but presumably referring to Jon himself, and its online presence takes the form of a forum. A number of titles covered by this new agreement are already available for download, such as Exodus and Bubble Fair.

Visions of the Impossible were responsible for such titles as Sunburst, Eat my Dust and Super Foul Egg, and the group’s Nathan Atkinson said that trawling through the VOTI archives – something they hadn’t done in a very long time – “brought a few sad feelings but also many fond memories of our hey-day” and offered “Thanks to our VOTI fans of days gone by, without you it just wouldn’t have been worth it.”

Eterna, the company behind Bubble Fair (linked above), Rockfall, and a number of other titles, developed games that Jon describes as “some of the most devilishly difficult on the platform and will keep gamers frustrated for hours,” complimenting the software by adding that “most are unique in both design and technical accomplishment.” With such high praise, then, it’s no surprise that Jon describes it as a privilege to make their titles available via JASPP.

Minerva, who also released desktop applications, such as home accounts software and a genealogy application, brought out a number of games including Ibix The Viking and Talisman. Artex Software, meanwhile, were responsible for Exodus (linked above) and Ankh, amongst others.

Jon Abbott offered his thanks to a number of people involved in the software houses – Jan from Artex Software, Frédéric and François from Eterna, Nova and Meryln from Minerva and Nathan and Owain from VOTI – who all support the Project, and are enthusiastic about seeing their titles working again on newer hardware. In some cases, that might ultimately be natively – Jon says that JASPP is looking to update some of the Artex and VOTI titles “to be natively 32-bit” with the first being VOTI’s Sunburst. A ‘work in progress’ video of the game running natively on a Raspberry Pi is now available on the JASPP YouTube channel:

Jon also offered thanks to the JASPP testing team, who have put a lot of effort into testing the games, and particular thanks to Steve Harrison – who demonstrated RasterMan at Wakefield 2015 – for his work on the Eterna game music.

In order for old games to work on modern computers, the Project provides ADFFS, a piece of software that allows disc images in ADF, APD and JFD format to be seen by the host computer as though it is a disc mounted in a floppy disc drive, along with the ‘magic’ that allows the software so far released through JASPP to run.

At the same time as announcing the newly formed agreements, Jon also announced a new version of ADFFS – 2.50 (beta) – which allows most of the newly available titles to run on the Raspberry Pi.