[Acorn Gaming]


Iron Dignity

Latest preview here

December 1999

Although work continues on TEK, Artex's main development efforts are now focussed on 3D battle strategy game Iron Dignity. Despite a lot of the development effort now being PC-led, Artex have confirmed they will still publish a Risc PC version of the game. Indeed they've said that although their newest released screenshots (below) are of the PC version of the game, the Acorn version is identical but will simply run at a lower resolution - it also runs fast enough to be playable even when texturing is switched on.

Latest preview pictures - click to view at full-size:

[A settlement
[Firing missiles]
[Flying over a river]

A release date for Iron Dignity has not yet been announced. Artex have referred to negotiations with publishers for the rights to the PC version, but no deal has yet been publically announced.

[Iron Dignity - new screenshot]
Screenshot from an earlier version

Iron Dignity began life as a non-interactive rolling demo produced by Frank Foehl, and it was only later that Artex Software took over the project and brought development in-house. Artex's successful track-record includes Ankh, Exodus and Botkiller 2, and they are also working on the forthcoming TEK. Frank Foehl has been responsible for such top games as Oregan's 3D asteroid game, Magnetoids.

The picture nearest above shows the game running on an Acorn machine in a 16 million colour mode at a resolution of over 480x300, complete with texture-mapping, real-time reflections and translucency effects. Artex are producing the graphics, sound effects, music and films for the game, as well as the overall designing. They're also handling the presentation, playtesting and marketing. The most recent public demo of the game, intended to be run on Acorn's now long-abandoned 'Phoebe - Risc PC 2' machine, was included on the Acorn User 200th edition cover CD-ROM in autumn 1998 - quite how the game has evolved since then (and been retargetted at the slower, existing Acorn hardware) is not entirely clear.

The first announcements about this game were made quite some time ago, in April 1997. Dated from back then, here's an earlier article on this game:

[Iron Dignity demo logo]

This impressive-looking screenshot may look prerendered, but it is in fact a frame taken from the real-time demo of the forthcoming game, Iron Dignity. Frank Foehl, author of the 3D Asteroids game Magnetoids, is the author of this highly promising game.

Iron Dignity is an ambitious campaign simulation game set in a fictional world, which will allow players to control troops of soldiers, giving orders to single units or groups thereof. You can also take a first-person perspective view and control of any unit at any time. Although the demo contains just a landscape, a walker and a ship, the final game will contain many features, including forests, cities, vehicles and various animated objects, as well as buildings with doors you can enter through.

[Screenshot 1]

The demo will run in different colour-depth modes - as supplied it runs in a 24-bit mode - and features such effects as transparency, light-shaded and texture-mapped robots and ships, Gouraud-shading and a circularly-graduated sky. The resolution can be changed, as can the level of detail, allowing the game to run more acceptably on slower machines, although a StrongARM remains highly desirable. This demo doesn't have any shadows, but these are planned for the finished version, thankfully. Many graphical niceties such as lens flare, sky features and triple buffering have still to be implemented, and in general the graphics engine is not yet complete. But as a taste of what is to come, this is a highly tantalisting demo!

[Screenshot 2]

You can download the demo from the URL ftp://sidonie.imag.fr/AcornDemos/FtpArea/3D_engines/, choosing the files Demo020_1 and Demo020_2, but be warned that in total they are 1,864,515 bytes long! And you'll need !PackDir or !SparkFS to decompact them.

[Screenshot 3]

The programmer can be contacted by email: Frank Foehl, foehlfk@tick.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de. There is lots more information about the proposed game available within the downloadable demo archive, or if you just want this text file you can click here for the !Help file from the game (which is copyright the author, of course).

[Screenshot 4]

...this page last updated: 18/12/99...
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Dark Future
Eat My Dust
F16 Fighting Falcon
Iron Dignity
Super Snail 2
Toybox Dreams

Abandoned games
Darklands, Fantasia's ToyParty and VOTI's EMD have all reported signs of life in the recent past, whilst Skirmish is apparently still ongoing but is way behind schedule and it looks like it might well never make it out. TEK and Iron Dignity are still on the way, although again both are pretty heavily delayed. And as for R-Comp's port of F16 Fighting Falcon, it looks like it will never be released, having been killed by frame-rates that were just too low.

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