elcome back to the Beta File, your source for the latest breaking news in OS/2 beta development. Every month we scour the OS/2 world to bring you interesting news of OS/2 software in development. If you have a product that you're sure is going to be the next killer app, or you want a little free exposure for your beta test, drop us a note!
We'll start off this month with some beta updates to programs e-Zine's already mentioned..
A new PM turn-based feudal war game by the name of WarSim is now in public beta stages. WarSim allows anywhere from 1 to 4 players to compete against each other or the computer in order to gain control of all counties on the map. Players must keep track of a variety of factors, including securing and refining resources, maintenance of popular opinion to avoid revolt, upkeep and improvement of various buildings and facilities, and research and training of the populace in the arts of war. The game allows players to have multiple types of units (serfs, scholars, warriors, etc.) and buildings (forges, schools, arenas, etc.) and also includes a variety of unsavory real-world features, like espionage, assassination, and sabotage.
The current beta demo of WarSim available doesn't include sound support, and some graphics have yet to be implemented, but enough of the program exists to play the demo map and give you a good idea of the ins and outs of the game. The author, Steven Cadotte, says that the final version of the program will also contain a full map, more intelligent computer AI, and will be either shareware or demoware. The current version can be downloaded from the WarSim web page; you're encouraged to try it out and give the author any feedback you may have.
Stuart King reports that he's now conducting a public beta test of Irie Pascal, a cross-platform compiler for the Pascal language. Using standard 32-bit Pascal, Irie Pascal runs on OS/2, Win95/NT, DOS and Linux (a FreeBSD version is planned as well). Its main feature is that programs developed under Irie Pascal can be run on any of its supported platforms without recompiling. It accomplishes this task by using a Virtual Machine Interpreter, much in the same way that a Java environment executes code in a Java VM (Virtual Machine).
Like Java applications, programs generated in Irie Pascal code are much smaller than normal bytecode, since many of the required instructions are in the Virtual Machine instead of the actual program. In Irie Pascal's case, programs can be up to 20 times smaller than those developed with typical Pascal. However, also like a Java VM, code generated by Irie Pascal has to be interpreted on-the-fly by the Interpreter, so program execution can be up to 5 times slower than regular code.
The first beta of Irie Pascal for OS/2 is available for download from the Irie Tools web page. Once the beta cycle is completed, Irie Pascal will sell for a price of around $30-40 US. As encouragement to register the program, applications developed with unregistered versions of Irie Pascal (including this beta) will only run for 7 days before expiring. Also note that registrations fees will not be accepted until the beta cycle is completed, since the registered version doesn't actually exist yet. More information and a feedback form can be found on the above web page.
Only a little over two weeks after releasing the production version of their new J Street Mailer software (a Java email client partially based on their popular OS/2 software, Post Road Mailer), InnoVal has released a new beta version of JSM. This beta contains an improved copy of Sun's HotJava browser component in the package, so JSM users can either use JSM's built-in browser or use the HotJava component. Additionally, it includes better HTML support, optional support for FAT partitions (allowing you to run it from the same directory in both OS/2 and Windows), color-coding of messages based on filters, an improved message window, and much more. A full list of J Street Mailer features is available from InnoVal.
This beta release of the J Street Mailer is free to all current Charter User Group members (basically, anyone who has already purchased the first release of J Street Mailer). J Street Mailer currently sells for about $44 US, with discounts available for academic affiliates, Java Lobby members, and users of Post Road Mailer v3. More information about email client can be found at the J Street Mailer web page at InnoVal.
PolyEx Software has announced a new beta program for the OS/2 version of their newest game, Hopkins: FBI. The cost to join the program is $39.95 (a savings of $10.00 off the game's retail price) and provides you with both the current beta copy of Hopkins and a free copy of the final release version when it's released sometime around July '98.
This beta offer will only last until 250 orders have been taken, and since the offer's been open since late last month, it's in your best interest to act as soon as possible. Also note that an update to the beta has been released -- the update, which will update Hopkins to v1.01, can be downloaded from PolyEx. For more information about the game in general, see the Hopkins: FBI web page at PolyEx.
A new image processing program for astronomers by the name of SID is now in public beta stages. The program presents the user with a schematic diagram of images, so various stages of manipulation can be viewed at once. SID can deal with real, complex and bad-map images, allowing one to alter the images in various ways: filters, clipping, fixing of bad pixels and the like. It includes various mathematical functions like normalization, scalar arithmetic and tolerances, and allows for entry fields which can be keywords, string functions and numerical expressions. SID can read files of type ASCII, FITS (Flexible Image Transport System) and GIP (General Image Processing), and save them as either FITS or GIP.
SID is shareware, although the current beta (v0.9) may be used free of charge. While unregistered, the program will only run for 20 days before expiring, and registering also provides you with a discount for future versions of the software. (when you purchase SID version x.yy, you get all versions up to x.99 for free, so purchasing the current beta 0.9 allows you all versions free until 1.0, then you get discounts on v1.0 and up) To download or get more information, see the SID web page.
Shaping up as competition against OS/2's WarpAMP MP3 player, Taneli Leppä and Samuel Audet have released the first beta of PM123, a GUI player for MPEG-3 audio files. While WarpAMP is based on the OS/2 port of Unix's AMP MP3 player, PM123 is based on one of the ports of mpg123, another Unix player.
PM123 sports an attractive interface, and has a variety of features including the expected shuffle/repeat/play/stop/pause/fast forward and rewind commands, a playlist editor, and editing of an MP3's ID3 tags. Boasting the least resource drain of all PM MP3 players, PM 123 also allows drag-and-drop, has dynamic priority, support for multiple sound cards, and allows includes streamed media support for listening to MP3s on the web as they download.
PM123 beta 1 can be downloaded from the PM123 web page, where there's also more information like an on-line manual and screen shots. The program's freeware, so if you've been using another MP3 player, why not download PM123 and see how it stacks up?
Staying on the subject of playing audio, beta 0.86 of AudioCenter is now available. AudioCenter is a GUI front-end which can be used with a number of different, including UltiMOD, Muse/2, DMP (MOD players), Timidity (MIDI renderer), MAPlay, mp123 and mpg123 (MP3 players). This gives you the advantage of having a common user interface to play a variety of file types, including MP3, XM, S3M, MOD, etc.
With features like a timer, one-button deletion, dynamic song queueing of all support song types, drag-and-drop and more, AudioCenter does a nice job of linking multiple audio types into a clean interface. You can download AudioCenter from Hobbes, and use it to your heart's content -- it's freeware. Any comments or suggestions can be sent to the author, Kevin Langman.
PowerDale IT Ltd. has released an early beta version of their Advanced Web Writer software; as the name implies, an editor for the creation and maintenance of HTML pages. AWW is set up with a list of HTML the most common tags next to your page editing area; to insert a tag, just double-click the tag's entry in the list. For any HTML tags which are not yet implemented, Advanced Web Writer is designed around a DEF file format which allows you to add whatever tags you may need to those the program supports; if you add a set of tags to your copy of the program, it's requested that you send a copy of the tag set to PowerDale, so that they can in turn add desired tags to the next version of AWW.
The program contains a few other features, including keyboard macros, but as said, it's a very early version. Should people express interest in the program, PowerDale has a variety of other ideas lined up, including automatic preview of HTML pages, extended HTML tags and definitions, templates, drag-and-drop support, and more -- suggestions are welcome. This beta of Advanced Web Writer is free for use, with the only requirement being that if you use the program, you must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let the developers know you're trying it out. For more information or to download and test drive a copy, see the Advanced Web Writer web page.
Ryan Dill is a student in Computer Science at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS and e-Zine! 's assistant editor. He is reported to be relieved that, with the advent of Warp 4, talking to your computer is no longer considered a sign of mental instability.
|Copyright © 1998 - Falcon Networking||ISSN 1203-5696|