Southwest show news summary

It’s the final countdown round up, dododoo-doooo, dodo-do-do-doooo…

As anyone who is anyone should know, the 2024 RISC OS Southwest Show is taking place in just a few days time. If anyone is somehow not in the know about this, I can only assume they’re either not RISC OS users, or they’ve only started using it and reading this site in the last few days. For their benefit, then, the show will take place on Saturday, 24th February, at:

The Arnos Manor Hotel,
470 Bath Road,
Arnos Vale,
BS4 3HQ.

The venue is very easy to reach by car – and there are some handy directions if you need help – and by train, being just a very short bus trip from Temple Meads station. With a £6.00 entry fee for members of the public, the doors will open at 10:30am and remain open until 4:00pm.

As always, as an exhibitor myself (wearing my Soft Rock Software hat – I really do have one somewhere, but okay, I probably won’t actually be wearing it) I have things to do to get ready, while also keeping my eye out for show-related announcements in the run up to the event, which need to be posted on this site.

This time, however, I’m taking a slightly different approach in order to make my own preparations less stressful – I won’t be posting individual announcements here, and instead posting a summary of any that have come my way, or anything else I’ve spotted. And I will probably take the same approach for the other shows this year, as well.

So, with no further ado, let’s get rounding up…


The big announcement from R-Comp is called Project N.Ex.T, with that strange looking second word being an acronym (if spoken out loud – not sure if it can be called one with that punctuation) that expands to NVMe Extreme Technology.

NVMe, for those who don’t know, expands to Non-volatile Memory Express, and is a protocol for accessing storage devices, usually connected via a system’s PCI Express bus – and the most obvious benefit of using it is speed. Usefully, a number of systems already in people’s hands and running RISC OS have the necessary ports on them – they just need to be supported in software (and in some cases, a bit of hardware may be needed as well).

What Project N.Ex.T will bring is both software and hardware, with a software pack available initially that will enable NVMe support on certain platforms, and an optional software/hardware bundle can also be ordered.

R-Comp will also have their usual array of hardware and software on display – and usually also have new versions of a few pieces of software.


Another source of NVMe goodness is RISCOSbits, who were demonstrating their own NVMe solution at the Midlands event in December – although at that stage it wasn’t quite ready and releasable.

It now is, though, and will shortly be released as FreeNVMe. Yup, that begins with ‘Free’, and that’s what it will be – RISCOSbits (along with other major RISC OS partners) will be releasing their NVMe driver as a free and open source product.

It will also be demonstrated at the show on Saturday – currently working on systems based around the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, but with a road-map to bring it to other platforms – and will be selling a range of NVMe-enabled machines.

And of course, we’re talking RISCOSbits here, and they have a reputation for great names (and pun-based names – the jury’s out on whether anything based on a pun can be considered great), and with that in mind, the show will see VENOM unveiled. This is a 4GB system, with a real time clock, twin HDMI ports, three USB ports, gigabit ethernet… the sort of things you generally expect, but for storage it includes a 32GB eMMC solid state boot device, and a 256GB NVMe drive – all for £249.00.

Switching to an existing machine in RISCOSbits’ range, the PiRO Qube has been updated into one that includes a 128GB NVMe drive alongside its 32GB eMMC boot drive, available for £199.00, with an upgrade path available for people who already have the machine.

And almost making an appearance at the December Midlands event, but proving too shy on the day, the Chimera machine will be available. In this case, the computer will cost from £469.00 – but that price tag will get you a beast with two heads, one of which runs RISC OS and the other Linux simultaneously, each with its own dedicated 256GB of NVMe storage. Future plans for this machine include a third head to run Windows (on x64, not ARM).

And there will of course be lots more on the stand.

Michael Grunditz

Flying in from a mysterious far off land (that’ll be Sweden, then), Michael Grunditz will be showing off the work he’s been doing towards getting RISC OS running under Genode, an operating system framework (rather than an operating system) that allows multiple projects to run in parallel.

He’ll also be showing off the web browser he’s been porting to RISC OS – OWB, or Origyn Web Browser – and if you’re quick off the mark (because supplies will be very limited) he’ll be able to give you a copy on a USB memory stick.

RISC OS Open Ltd

The boys from Cambridge (I think there was once a well known company based there that may have been important to the history of RISC OS) will have a wealth of things to show off and talk about – and a number of things you can take away in exchange for your readies, from a range of merchandise (ROOLers, t-shirts, and so on) to things that are actually useful in the context of RISC OS computing: the Desktop Development Environment, for example (with an incremental update due out real soon now), manuals, the OS itself on SD cards, and much more.

They say they’ll also have something in beta that they say is “expected to be Great in the future” – which is a really terrible way to present Git as though it were an expanded acronym. How about just Great in time? In the context of the quoted sentence, ‘in time’ would be read as in the future, and it’s a much better play on words. Grrr!


What can you expect from an outfit that somehow manages to release a new game at every show? Yup – a new game. How did you guess?

This event’s new title is Wizard Lore, in which you play – no prizes for guessing here – a wizard. You have been imprisoned by your nemesis, an evil wizard called Igen

The logo for Wizard Lore from AMCOG Games
The logo for Wizard Lore from AMCOG Games.

Igen has inflicted a spell of amnesia on you, but while the spell mostly worked, it wasn’t fully effective, and you do still remember how to carry out three spells – levitating objects, throwing lightning, and turning objects into rocks.

Using these three spells – and while you have the energy to do so – you must try to escape.

AMCOG will also have a wide selection of other titles available as well.

Soft Rock Software

My stand will feature another game – although it isn’t yet on sale. I’ve been working for a while on a new title using one of my old games as a starting point, hitherto making use of the old graphics and old levels…

The old game is Drop Rock, and while the changes so far have really only been to accommodate new a new map size and those new graphics, the latter of those haven’t been implemented – until now. While still in draft form (i.e. not complete, with some temporary), you’ll be able to see the game running and looking something like how I intend.

As a new game, Drop Rock: As Yet Unsubtitled will be a sequel to the original, and the road-map is to finish the graphics and possibly add some of the planned new features by Wakefield, and then to work on a whole new level set and finalisation during The Long Gap until London, at which point it will be available to purchase.

But forget the future (!) – pop along to the Soft Rock Software stand to see how it looks today, and while you’re there don’t forget to buy the Soft Rock Software Collection, and Escape from Exeria.

Elesar Ltd

I’m not sure if Elesar will be appearing as an exhibitor, or if the company’s Rob Sprowson will be part of the RISC OS Open Ltd contingent. Either way, though, if you want to purchase something from the range of hardware and software Elesar has available, their usual ‘click and collect’ option is available again. That means you can order something from the Elesar shop and arrange to pick it up from them at the show, saving on the cost of posting out the item(s).

I’m not sure what the deadline is – obviously, once the journey towards Bristol begins, the window for ordering has closed – so I would assume that if you wish to take advantage of this, you should probably order some time tomorrow (Thursday).

And with that…

The RISCOSitory bunker will now be closed until a few days after the show. I do have at least one thing to write up and post that isn’t show related, but I’m afraid that’s going to have to wait!

So all that’s left to say is the usual: See you there… right?

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