- HeadFirst PD
company_name = HeadFirst PD
Public Domain Library
Southall, United Kingdom
Gareth Boden, James Treadwell
industry = Video games
HeadFirst Public Domain was a library of
public domainsoftware for the BBC Microand Acorn Electron8-bit computers. It also offered several discs of software for the Archimedes.
It was set up in December 1992 by two friends, Gareth Boden and James Treadwell [ [http://www.acornelectron.co.uk/eug/07/a-head.html Launch of HeadFirst PD library announced, December 1992, EUG Magazine] ] . Gareth Boden seems to have done the majority of the programming. The friends were just leaving school at the time. It was a bedroom enterprise and HeadFirst PD produced paper catalogues of its products. The catalogues invited people to buy discs full of public domain software from HeadFirst PD for £1.25 per disc [ [http://www.acornelectron.co.uk/haven/cats/headfirst.html Scans of HeadFirst PD Paper Catalogue, March 1993 & October 1993, Acorn Electron World, 16th August 2008] ] .
There are relatively few demos on the
Acorn Electronand HeadFirst PD was unusual in that it released the majority of its software for the Acorn Electron, not the more-popular BBC Micro. Indeed, several of the better HeadFirst PD demos were Electron-only. The "Invader Demo" and the "Vortex Demo" were prime examples.
There are several different 'versions' of some HeadFirst PD discs, as the demos were sometimes revisited and slightly improved. The early versions of the discs were superseded. The early HeadFirst PD catalogues, for example, typically had one demo per disc. By the latest catalogue, seven or eight demos - although not all were programmed by the two authors - were typically on a menu-driven disc.
Not all games on HeadFirst PD discs were in fact programmed by HeadFirst PD. Many other public domain groups were going strong at the time, and each library 'borrowed' programs from the other. Some titles on HeadFirst PD discs also appear on
BBC PDdiscs and Mad Rabbit PDdiscs.
HeadFirst PD was closed down in 1995 [ [http://www.acornelectron.co.uk/eug/22/m-head.html Closure of HeadFirst PD library announced, October 1995, EUG Magazine] ] . The two friends were contributors to the
Electron User Groupmagazine and the launch and demise of the library is documented in full between issues #7 and #23.
The whole library of HeadFirst PD discs was 'lost' in 1995 when the library stopped supplying discs. In 2008, the library was re-discovered by Gareth Boden and was made available on the
Acorn Electron Worldweb site [ [http://www.acornelectron.co.uk/eug/68/a-news.html Discovery of entire catalogue of HeadFirst PD library announced, May 2008, EUG Magazine] ] .
The best known demos from HeadFirst PD remain the "Invaders Demo" and the "Vortex Demo" [ [http://www.acornelectron.co.uk/eug/68/a-vort.html HeadFirst PD Vortex Demo] ] . "Invaders" shows a scrolling parallax stars backdrop with a simple space invaders game coupled with scrolling message. "Vortex" shows a spiral with interrupt-driven music and colour switching.
HeadFirst PD also produced several games, and 'data-packs' to such popular professional titles of the day such as
White Magicand Repton Infinity. In fact, their extension 'data-packs' are the only surviving fan-based extensions to these popular Electron games.
HeadFirst PD also produced a spin-off library of images for use with the
Stop Press 64desktop publishing program [ [http://www.acornelectron.co.uk/haven/cats/sp64_discs.html Library of Stop Press 64 Clipart Images Also Produced by HeadFirst PD] ] .
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