Monthly Archives: March 2017

MESS Merges With MAME

The original MESS QL emulation has now been merged with the MAME project. MAME is an ambitious software development to emulate multiple game systems and preserve software for the future.
Graeme Gregory wrote:
So MESS merged with MAME so MAME has QL emulation
To save you the trouble of tracking down the correct files for romdir in mame for QL + trumpcard emulation here they are in one zip.
Trump 512k is the biggest memory configuration that works, the 768k option just locks up.
And obligatory screenshot of mame running Psion software:

The Expanding Earth

Stephen Hurrell published a book on the subject of the Expanding Earth theory, available from sources listed on his website (link below). One of the longest running and most controversial theories in geology is the Expanding Earth theory. From the earliest school classes to the most advanced university geology lectures we are all taught that the size of the Earth has been constant and unchanging for thousands of millions of years, so virtually everyone is astonished when first presented with evidence for an Expanding Earth.

Be that as it may, the QL connection here is that Stephen has made available QL SuperBASIC programs he wrote on this subject in the 1990s. The programs were written to run on a machine with at least 512K RAM (the author used a Trump Card).

He wrote this program to confirm to himself that the ancient continents and ocean floor could be reconstructed on a smaller diameter Earth, just like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, and some of the original reconstructions produced by the program are published in various editions of his book Dinosaurs and the Expanding Earth from 1994 onwards.

A YouTube video is also available on the website of the program running, with narration.

Download the program and a load of information at Stephen’s website, on

BMP Update

Bob Spelten has also updated the BMP graphics viewer. Bob has extended the range of BMP file types which can be converted (most types from 24-bit to 1-bit, while conversions from QL graphics to BMP can now be done as either 24-bit or 16-bit files. Saving to a DOS or NFA named device will replace underscores with a dot. A scaling option has been introduced for viewing large files – the files are scaled to fit the window, but with aspect ratio maintained. On the command line, there is a switch option to turn off scaling if you prefer not to use it, along with an option to turn off the BEEPs if they get on your nerves. BMP can be started with a filename on a command line now, allowing other programs to use BMP as a viewer, e.g. FileInfo 2.

We are grateful to François van Emelen for assistance with testing this update.

Download the latest version 1.03 from the Graphics Programs page on my website at

SQRview Updates

Bob Spelten’s SQRview graphics viewer has had a new year update.

The first small contribution is a fix in SQRview’s RLE compression routine.The bug revealed itself while trying to use RLE2 on mode 4 & 8 sprites.SQRview at the moment doesn’t support this but as it was an item on the Forum, Bob wanted to test if it worked.

Now the RLE2 works fine packing and unpacking also these low modes but as  long as WMAN2 does not recognise these SPRs properly there is no reason  for implementing it.

Strangely these SPRs are decompressed by WMAN2 but the result is unusable.

If you have or want to use this RLE2 option on mode 32/33 SPRs, I suggest  you download this fixed package from Bob’s site:


A Per Witte utility to stretch, refresh, or defragment a hard drive on QPC2. As there is no way to extend a QXL.WIN filing container, this program takes the next best approach and formats a new one with a different capacity and copies directories and files over to the new QXL.WIN. The author states that it is freeware on condition users report any problems they have with it to him (email address in the instructions). Download it from

QDOS-SMSQ/E Reference Guide

A new version of the QDOS-SMSQ/E Reference Guide is now available from Wolfgang Lenerz’s “QL Stuff” page at

The current document, available in PDF and ODT versions, is v4.2 and, according to Wolfgang, ‘fixes a few errors (including the “it’s a feature, not a bug” mentioned on the ql-user list).’

Q-Liberator Compiler

Q-Liberator BASIC compiler is now available once more, from thanks to an arrangement between RWAP Software and Jochen Merz. The most recent version is v3.36 and costs £33 from


The QLOAD/QREF utilities, also from Liberation Software, is also available from The QLOAD part creates faster loading tokenised SuperBASIC program files, while QREF is a programming aid for BASIC, allowing you to do things like searching for variable and procedure name in a BASIC program, list occurrences of variable and procedure names used and so on. QLOAD/QREF available for £15 from

Level 9 Game Interpreter

Tomas Kral has been working on porting a level9 game interpreter for QL systems. His work so far can be seen at

During the 1980s a small British company called Level 9, run by two brothers (Mike and Pete Austin), produced a series of text adventure games for a variety of computers. These games received considerable critical acclaim and are probably the best text adventures written for the small cassette based 8 bit computers common in Britain in the 80s.

Level 9 wrote their games using a custom designed system known as “A-Code”, which evolved from games on the 8 bit computers such as the Acorn BBC Model B, the Sinclair Spectrum and the Commodore 64 to the (then new) 16 bit machines such as the Amiga and the Atari ST.

Tomas’s work could lead to the release of several new adventure games for the QL.