I have decided to add another option to the scoring of games from this issue onwards; I call it “PRODUCTION”. This is the overall packaging and overall quality and attention to detail of the release. It’s easy to dump a d64 on a website and expect people to download it -- a quality game will stand out on its gameplay -- I know that. However, I think we now expect more from our games or releases and I know many titles I purchased back in the day were just from the quality of the packaging. The game may have been unplayable, but the packaging looked cool.
Protovision have set the standard here (again) with Heroes and Cowards, releasing the tin version. This is what you would expect, and of course wins the first 10 in Commodore Free magazine (for production). Indeed, even a tape release can be made special by the packaging. Further, I am also thinking that a d64 image with title screen instructions and extras would also be judged on this, rather than just releasing the game with something like z =left x =right space =fire on the title screen. It’s these little touches that lift the game or release to another level and as Commodore users we are expecting that.
With all that in mind, I would like to introduce another issue of Commodore Free. True, the release is about three months late, and the production is up to its usual standard! This issue has limped its way to a version you're reading, with some blood, sweat, tears, and of course, swearing and cursing.
In this issue then: As stated, we review the extraordinary point and click adventure for the Commodore 64: Heroes & Cowards – The Pentagram of Power. The packaged versions sold out very quickly with 50 lucky people owning special versions of this in a metal tin and a cd soundtrack. It sounds like this game will be a very sought-after collector’s item very quickly. The packaging is just unbelievable, and I think we expect this now for any machine as a standard to aspire to. Jam it on the Commodore 64 is reviewed again, although I reviewed only the tape release. The quality of this title is again very high; the standards of release for all Commodore platforms seem to have gone to another level this year.
I look back on my Microsound 64 keyboard, and wonder why mine is in a wooden box and not in a plastic box like all the others I have seen? Mine also doesn’t seem to have a connector for the sound sampler (not that I have seen the sampler in the wild) but it would be nice to see even a picture of the whole setup. So if anyone can help tracking down the creators it would be appreciated. I also have the original press release information about the device! I can remember ordering it as soon as I saw a preview in the British computer music magazine. I am unsure of the cost but it did take rather a large dint out of my spending money for some time!
We have (after the rather excellent VIC release of pulse) an article by pixel about how he mastered tapes for the released version, from emails it took some testing, but the final tape release I have seemed to work faultlessly on even the most “dodgy” datasette machine.
Finally we have Growing Pains Part Tres -"The Envelope Addressor" (TEA) v1 and v4.2 by Lenard R. Roach, and a look at how to overcome the pain of writing out those pesky addresses for sending out things called letters. Remember those things where you had to put stamps on and put them into the post and a man would walk to your house a shove it through the door?
That brings us to the end of the issue. Thanks for reading and enjoy.
Not Commodore related but...
The BBC website writes that the ZX Spectrum computer is re-released as a handheld computer! Looks quite neat.
Diminutive 'R-Kade Zero' hits Kickstarter
A group of Brit geeks has hit Kickstarter with the R-Kade Zero - a diminutive piece of gaming kit based on the Raspberry Pi Zero.
Described as "one of the smallest and minimalist gaming controllers around", DTronixs' R-Kade Zero comes in two flavours - the JS/4 (joystick plus four control buttons), and the 2STIK (two joysticks):
Read more here
He chose 'name@host' scheme for directing mails between computers.
Raymond Tomlinson, a formative figure credited with just about inventing email, has died. He was 74.
As Tomlinson's Internet Society Hall Of Fame biography points out: “In 1967, he joined the legendary research and development company Bolt Beranek and Newman (now Raytheon BBN Technologies).” Working on the TENEX operating system at BBN made Tomlinson very influential: the software eventually became the TOPS-20 operating system that powered Digital Equipment Corporation's mainframes. Tomlinson is best remembered, however, for the fact that in 1971 he “invented email,” or at least email between different computers.
Read more here
Return magazine is a German printed magazine featuring everything from A to Z on 8-bit computers A (Atari) to Z (ZX Spectrum).
In this issue are the following articles:
Sam's Journey (C64), Bomber (Atari XL / XE), Sqrxz 3 (Amiga), Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES), ToeJam & Earl (SMD), AmigaOS (3), Blazing Star (Neo Geo ) Azure Dreams (PlayStation), Bandai WonderSwan, Multi-ROM Interton VC-4000, Tiger Electronics, Super Potato, David Timsit:. Fight, Amiga 30 Years, Root Beer Tapper and Rampage
Retro Commodore has a number of high-quality scans available. The most recent added scans are: DAN-JOY, Colossus Chess 2.0 (C64), computer, AsmOne manual (German) Amiga User Interface Style Guide, C64: getting the most from it, Amiga Active, Data Becker Catalogue (Danish) Commodore 64 Games Book, An overview of the AAA chipset, Amiga 30 years 27th June 2015 Microfiche Manual from Software Vision Inc., Den Store Floppy Bog 1541/1570/1571 from Data Becker (Danish), Spiders Disk Cover Dansk Amiga Catalogue 1989- 90 (Danish), Amiga Kataloget Efterår 1990 (Danish), Installing and Learning Amiga Unix - System V Release 4 and ZAP! POW! TREE! Arcade games for the VIC 20
FRGCB is the (Finnish Retro Game Comparison Blog) the website has retro games comparisons between different computers such as the C64, Amiga, MSX, NES, CPC, DOS, etc. The most recent comparisons: Chuckie Egg (A'n'F Software, 1983), Painterboy (Tikkurila, 1986), Silkworm (Tecmo, 1988), Unique Games: Afterlife, Part 2, Santa's Xmas Caper (Zeppelin Games, 1990) and Olympic Skier (Mr. Chip Software, 1983).
Wiebo de Wit continues his blog about programming a Tetris game in machine language.
In this update:
TOSEC (or The Old School Emulation Centre) is a group of people who are concerned with the preservation of games and programs for the home computer and game consoles. In this update: 13 new items, 118 updated and 2 deleted.
Clay Cowgill has created a demonstration video about removing chips from a circuit board using a Hakko 850 hot air system to remove the DIP chips from a two-layer printed circuit board from the year 1987 (Atari 130XE)
Retro Gaming Couch is a YouTube channel for fans of retro computers. The latest video is about a housing for the UK1541, developed by Thomas Christoph, the SaV64, a surge protector, developed by e5frog and Skydivingirl, and retro covers for Commodore computers.
This winter edition of the Retro Challenge competition was held between 1-1-2016 and 31-1-2016. Anyone could join the retro computer project. People behind the projects were: AdamGR80s, Erazmus, Shell Dozer, Yorgle, Vintage Volts, Urbancamo Abraham Vreugdenhil, Spencer Owen, Harry Culpan, 16kRam, Canal, Minu56Bits, TriadnaComputers, Wgoodf, Retrocosm, Brouhaha and Paul Robson.
Although now in the past, the website does show the winners and some further information.
The Toronto PET Users Group has published a series of photos from the World of Commodore meeting.
At this meeting were present among others:
Yewchuck Bob, Jim Brain, Joe Palumbo, Zbigniew Stachniak, Leif Bloomquist and Trevor Grove
Bo Zimmerman has set up an FTP archive for the Commodore PC models. On the Ftp site You can find everything about the Commodore computers such as Bios and Character ROMs, floppy disks and system manuals.
I wonder with the colour scheme if someone at Microsoft was a secret Commodore 64 user.
Check out the picture of the editor and the colours on the right.
If you don’t know what the group policy editor is it doesn’t matter, just that the colours in this Microsoft editor seem strangely familiar
This is an English disk magazine with the following articles:
Foreword, Scene News, News of the groups, IDE64, Zoo 2015, Generation 64, Halt and Catch Fire, Joysticks and an interview with Cash / TRIAD
The Compute's Gazette SID Collection has been updated, COMPUTE!'S SIDplayer was a music system, designed by Craig Chamberlain and Harry Bratt for the Commodore 64. The purpose of the Compute's Gazette Sid Collection is to get as many of those SIDplayer music collection files. Currently there are 14522 MUS, 4139 STR, and 5066 WDS files.
Bart Venneker has made a video about a faulty Commodore C64 he had bought, but after switching the machine on there was a memory error message. The solution was the replacement of the memory chips.
This is in the Dutch language.
SEUCK School is a web page from Richard (the master SEUCK guy) for people who want to make games using SEUCK. The website has tips and tricks, programming, the basis of assembly, many programming examples as well as utilities to develop your own better games.
Tapex is a program for analysing, verifying and cleaning Commodore 64 cassette files (TAP V0 TAP V1 and DC2N RAW files (16, 24 & 32 bit) The features are: Clean / noise removal, adjustable "gap" limit "skew" limit and autosave after cleanup.
KC has a web page for all of his Commodore 64-related projects. The currently available projects on the website are: IntroBase64, Intros reorganizer, GameBase64 Manual, and GBXfer. There will be more projects added in the future.
ACID 64 player is a cycle based Commodore 64 music player designed for playing SID tunes on sound cards/devices that have a real SID chip (6581/6582/8580) on board like the HardSID PCI cards and the HardSID 4U, Uno, and Uplay USB devices. It also supports network devices that emulate the SID chip like JSidDevice that is part of JSidplay2.
Stray Tree has written a blog about the SID chip. You can read about and listen to SID music played on five different 5 SID revisions. The SIDs he used: 6581 R2, 6581 R3, R4 6581, 6581, and 8580 AR R4 R5.
If you liked that then you need to look at this the SOASC website (Stone Oakvalleys Authentic Sid collection)
An update is available for the High Voltage SID Collection. There are now over 47,500 SIDs in the collection. This update has 672 new SIDs, 132 better rips, 812 SID data improved, 133 SID model / clock info, 14 tunes identified, and 34 moved tunes. You can download the update from the HVSC web page.
Chris Abbott and Kenneth Mutka have started a crowdfunding project to make a Symphonic Collection of Commodore C64 music with a real symphonic orchestra.
On the first CD you can find: Forbidden Forest, Grouting, Kentilla, Black Light, Times of Lore Master of Magic, Barbarian II, Nemesis the Warlock, Ghouls and Ghosts, Dragon's Lair II, Spellbound, Firelord, and Beyond the Forbidden Forest.
Wilfred Bos has released an update to SID Known . This version is compatible with the latest version of HVSC (# 64). SID Known is a tool that can identify SID tunes from SID and PRG files.
Bios Rhythm has converted a Commodore SX-64 to a DX-64.
In his blog you can read how he performed the conversion. During the conversion, he had various problems such as the cartridge connector IEC cables and the original SX-64 has very little space available.
GeoAnas has started a series of articles about the famous SID chip. The most recent articles are interviews with:. Markus (c0zmo), Jason Page, Cristina Ekstrand (Xiny6581), Sascha Zeidler (Linus), and Kamil Wolnikowski (Shame)
From: "Commodore Forever"
Subject: Excellent link with LOT of NEW Commodore hardware
I found out your magazine on web six months ago, and it is really top notch for Commodore news!
Keep up the good work!
I'll give you link, you'll see you can write many articles in your mag about lovely new hardware Commodore items there:
I found a couple of videos of someone who was repairing some C64 for a friend.
The YouTuber says, “You might find them useful for similar troubleshooting.”
Singular have released an update to their popular Funkpaint application .The tool is a multi-format editor supporting hires, multi, multicolour interlaced pictures. It runs on a Commodore 64/128 and supports various input devices and memory expansions.
Released by: Hein a multicolour character editor
Hein released an update for his music composition tool.
The features for the tool are:
Main editor: sequencer, patterns, instruments, and step and FLO programs. Jam mode: mono, poly or layered. Selection of instruments, song, octave or song speed and a diskette menu.
Ricardo has developed a character editor with the following features: Import, export, rotate, invert, clear, shift to left, right, up and down. Changes in this recent version include: Improvements for Koala import and VICE snapshot import support.
Music Studio 2.2 is a Windows-based SID music creator software. For an accurate C64 sound, it utilises the newest RESID-FP emulation available, both old (6581) and new (8580) SID chips. MS2 is capable of creating 1x speed tunes and alternate many SID chip parameters directly with various commands. Classic and new C64 sounds can be created with envelope parameters that can be set up in few simple steps.
Released by: Delysid
A car race game based on the Honda CRX car. I am unsure of the instructions as I only read English and Google Translate didn’t help much.
Released by: Delysid
An interestingly titled game, the object of this game (played with the joystick) is to click the fire button to stop the left to right scrolling block and stack them one on the other. It’s more just a case of clicking the joystick button at the right time.
The game reached 10 in the Mixed Competition at BCC Party #10
Released by: Steveboy
Written in BASIC, the program is like the old fuzzy felt kits you used to buy where you get a model and dress it in various clothing options. Quite a clever idea for the computer.
Released by: Bytebreaker
Needing no introduction, this is a snake game. Eat the dots, you get bigger and try not to crash into yourself or the screen edges. It’s a simple version with crude graphics, although the game plays very well. The text in the game seem to be in German though (I think).
Released by: Hermit
Web Audio API is supported (and contained) by browsers (according to Wikipedia) since these versions: Firefox 23, Chrome 10, Opera 15, Safari 6, M$ Edge 12,
Chrome for Android 28, Mobile Safari 6 (restricted), Mobile Firefox 23, Tizen
Released by: Dr. TerrorZ
Runnable on MacOS, Linux, and Windows as 64- or 32-bit applications, this very competent paint package has been updated.
Multipaint allows you to draw pictures with the colour limitations of some typical 8bit Computer platforms. The display formats supported are Commodore 64 high resolution, Commodore 64 multicolour, ZX Spectrum, and MSX 1.
Meant to encourage a way of creating 8bit pixel images in direct dialogue with the colour limitations of the target platform. 8-bit visuals are often defined by a presence of a colour grid which is coarser than the actual pixel resolution, which is quite low to begin with. Working with and around these limits often means trying out a variety of approaches as you go along.
Released by: Pond, SDW Developments
A game using the joystick in a sort of keep-it-up way, you have to apply the correct lift by hitting the fire button to keep your spaceman up in the air. Too much lift you hit the screen and die, not enough and you sink in the goo or gloop. Also, you need to avoid the asteroids or rocks that float over this scrolling screen. Very smooth and some great tension-inducing music.
Released by: Steveboy
I have no idea what this game is. The game is in the Hungarian language and played with the joystick. It’s some sort of text adventure and that’s about all I know!
Released by: Covert Bitops
Take the role of Kim, a low-clearance security guard working a permanent night shift at the Throne Group Science Complex. One night she wakes up inside a cargo container converted to an improvised emergency operating room. All she remembers are multiple unknown hostiles firing at the staff, heavy rounds hammering into her chest and everything going black, then finally the shouted words filtering into her consciousness: “Massive trauma.. Need artificial circulation.. Prepare the nanobot injection now!”
Released by: Oliver Orosz
Nice little SEUCK game with great graphics. Very playable, although it could do with a makeover in the sounds department. Doesn’t seem to suffer as many of the SEUCK games do from the strange glitches, this seems really smooth and well thought out.
Seems to be a follow up of the game JANI that is similar although with different colour and back drop
Released by: Hokuto Force
This is the information from his website http://blog.worldofjani.com/ Click the Commodore link on the right for more information.
It would appear this tool was designed to fit on a cartridge to test floppy disk drives, as loading from disk on a fault drive can prove frustrating!
This is why I created a 1541 Diagnostic Cartridge.
The website says: --
“The challenge was to get all these tools to fit into an 8K cart. I wanted to keep the hardware simple and a 16K cart would have overwritten the BASIC interpreter.”
The tools are optimized to be as small as possible.
Released by: Psylicium
Just a set of keyboard shortcuts and hints for using SDI more commonly known as Sid Does IT and the application is available from here
SDI Cheat sheets
Released by: Singular
A C64 image file viewer.
The viewer is intended to be invoked with the filename as a parameter from the command line. This is usually done by associating it with the image file types of interest.
Project page: http://sourceforge.net/projects/view64/
Released by: C64 Club Berlin
Another file browser for standard disks and mass storage devices (sd2iec). The browser just works correctly in showing .DIR/IMAGE/MUSIC e.g. suffixes if the file on the disk/SD-card ends with .sid, .d64, .d81, .t64 eg.
Also, remember that the length of the filename/dirname should be max. 16 chars.
Released by: eightbits
An all new and improved version of the game Telengard
More on the original here
Lemon Forum info on release here
Released by: Hack n' Trade
Yet another update on the popular forth application. This time the Recent updates include:
The website lists a manual in PDF format, cartridge and D64 image as well as the source code to freely download.
Released by: Reset Magazine Staff
Lovely version of the rock and diamond game. Just in case you need further info, you move around collecting diamonds but need to beware of removing earth and rocks falling on you, they are heavy and kill you! Just a bit jerky on the movement and animation, but immensely playable. Take a go, my first game lasted an hour (with various restarts) grrrr its soo morable!
Released by: Reset Magazine Staff
Reset #08 is an adventure-themed issue celebrating the classic genre on the Commodore 64. In this issue, a look at Heroes & Cowards (Protovision), as well as Caren and the Tangled Tentacles (PriorArt) and Knight ‘N’ Grail (Psytronik). Ant delves deep into the murky depths of the D42 Adventure System and Ray Carlsen returns to tell us all about his replacement PLA chip. Martin Grundy makes his Reset debut, taking us back 30 years to January 1986 in his Reset Reloaded column. Playtest of the recently unearthed Daffy Duck, and Paul chats to Frank Gasking and Martin Pugh about its discovery and eventual release. On the Mix-i-Disk, a new game by Graham Axten, as well as some fresh goodies, courtesy of Wanax and The New Dimension.
Download it from here
CF: (although I don’t agree with the scoring of Frak see Commodore free issue 79 the BBC version was head and tails over the c64 version) http://www.commodorefree.com/magazine/vol8/issue79.pdf
First version of a GEOS font catalogue (PDF):
This contains the fonts from Dick Estel's geoSpecific disks. I'll be adding more as time permits.
Comments from Cottonwood BBS below
After a little over a year of being offline due to a complete hard drive failure, Cottonwood BBS is back up and running. Operating on a Commodore 64 computer running Colour 64 software, it's accessible via Telnet at cottonwoodbbs.dyndns.org.
In addition, Borderline BBS continues to run via Telnet *and* dialup.
The Telnet address is borderlinebbs.dyndns.org:6400, and the phone number for dialup access is 951-652-1690. Borderline BBS is also running on a Commodore 64 computer, but it's running All American software.
Both BBSs are up and running 24/7, so give them a call today! :)
THE 64 ™ is an exciting and respectful re-imagining of the original home computer, the Commodore C64.
Developed using the latest (old) technology, the highly passionate team behind THE 64 ™ is excited to bring you not only a classic desktop version of THE 64 ™ but also a brand new handheld version meaning classic gaming, on the go!
More information and to donate go here
YouTube information page here
Hugo Hunt is an action game played in a maze with ghosts and pills that you have to eat. The game, created by Angel Soft, features cute graphics, fun music, and sound effects. The game can be played on a C16 and PAL / NTSC compatible. And there's also a level editor available.
Interestingly, the download also had a version for the Commodore 64 and a mobile version although this seemed to be the same as he C64 version.
This is a German diskette magazine in (d64) format for the Commodore C116, C16 and the Plus /4 featuring the following articles: Tips & Tricks, Linear Regression, Nicomachus, Kopfrechnung Crazy Marker, Super Break, Computer Pass, hardware, SOS Schiff Bruch, Rolo Buff, jumping Joe Cityrunner, Borrowed Time, Adventure Building System, and other systems.
The group TLT (Tron Lamer Team) has released a new demos for the Commodore Plus/4. Ghost Town featuring a remix / sampled version of Ghost Town (Adam Lambert). The demo is compatible with PAL machines minimal 64 Kbyte memory.
The web page Plus4world has a number of new programs, games and demos released from the Moldi collection. A few examples are: Optika, Az Itélet Napja, Register 2000 Easy Turbo +4 Caddimat C116, Disk Cracker, ROM Modifier V1.0, Profimon, No Limit !, First From Genius Music Simulator 2 Cocom Demo, My Dream Cars, Csomagoló Üzem, Trade, Plus / 4 Invaders, Cracker Ball 3 Diamond Hunter, and Turbonibbler V2.0.
There is a new version of YAPE the Windows emulator for the Commodore Plus/4. The changes in this version are: Improvements to the GUI, SID and the disk drive RPM. Autostart randomization now works correctly.
Plus4world a has a number of programs, games and demos released from the Moldi collection. Some examples are: ABC, Atlos Fényujság, Disk Lister V3.2, Ékezetes Képújság, Háztartás-kalkuláció, Catalogue Maker Mágneses Indukció Számítása, Pluto, Assembler Speed, Super Speed Loader, Uni Header, Drakula Kastélya, Hanoi Torony, Kukaèka, Logikai jatek, Memóriajáték, Tekergõ, Tenisz, Castle Demo, Demo Micro II Outrun II Demo Party in Mezokovesd, Terror Music Box, Variációk Egy Temara
Plus4 World has updated its game endings. The latest additions are: Mac Coin, Nibbly 92 3D Time Trek, Battle Axe, Crazy Tennis, Sqij, Power Ball, Simple Puzzle, Zolyx +++, Pilot X, Memento, Bit Fox, Star Wars, Tower Of Evil, grid, Flaschen Hannes, Xargon Wars Skramble, Pharaoh's Tomb, Micro Painter, Go Ahead!, Turd, Break Dance, Dizzy 3 Mr. Puniverse, Leapin 'Louie, Jack Attack, Jabba Otthona, Strange Building, Dodo, Adventures In Time, and Majesty Of Sprites.
Erich / Unlimited has released a new 2-disk set full of images called Hires Colour 10. The disk slide show is created with the Magica program.
Tynemouth Software LLP is preparing a new cartridge for the Commodore VIC20. With the following features: RAM expansion 3 Kbytes - 32 Kbytes. Read only option for RAM blocks 3 and 5. Configuration and reset switches and ROM cartridge emulation.
The unit will eventually come in three variants (MIDI-only, RS232-only, or both); the initial batch will support MIDI and RS232 out of the box. Currently No case is included. The unit comes with 512kB of FLASH ROM and 128kB of SRAM. It is Ultimem compatible.
Mike has release a version of Mah Jongg for the Vic 20 with the following Requirements: VIC-20 with +24K RAM expansion, Joystick (another +8K in BLK5 for SJLOAD).
For anyone unsure, Mah Jongg is a tile-matching board game
Clear the board by matching tiles.
Move the cursor with joystick and select the two tiles with fire. Use the bottom menu to restart the game, undo moves, ask for a hint, and quit the game.
There are 36 groups of four tiles that match each other, 144 tiles in total. Two of those groups are the Flowers and Seasons set. The four tiles of those sets show different faces:
Read more and discuss Mah Jongg
On 2 April 2016, the Dutch KickOff second championship held in Amsterdam. The game is played on classic Amigas and you can participate in each two halves of 5 minutes each. The location of the championship is the Cafe Batavia in Amsterdam.
GadgetUK164 has made a YouTube video about repairing a "Zydec" power supply from an Amiga 500. Although the same power supply could be used to power the 600 and 1200
A500Flash Kickstart is a change-over switch which makes it possible to switch between available ROM files, by holding down the Ctrl + A + A keys.
Works with Amiga A500, A500 and A2000 + models. Support 512KB or 1MB ROM files. The programming of the flash chips is possible through normal AmigaOS software.
For AmigaOS 4 a new version of the Atari ST / STE emulator. Hatari emulates nearly all ST / STE hardware including joysticks and hard disk images. Hatari is also available for Linux, Apple, BSD, Windows and BeOS.
Changes in this version:
Improvements STE joy pads, ACSI / IDE, GEMDOS HD, CPU, MFP, MIDI, and DSP.
Amiga Ville is an English PDF magazine for the Amiga user, news and descriptions of games and programs.
In this edition:
News, Descriptions: From Gloom to Doom, Pacmania, Hero Quest Deluxe, Galaga AGA, Castlevania, and Prince of Persia.
The results of the best games of the Amiga 2015 are known. AmigaOS 68k Zero Sphere (Code Red / Alexander Grupe). AmigaOS 4.x, MorphOS, and AROS: Wings Battlefield Ultimate Duel Edition (Cherry Darling). The complete results can be found on the Obligement web page.
A new episode of the Personal Computing podcast is now available. In this episode: Amiga Forever 2016, MorphOS, TRS80, FreHD in a Kaypro 2/4, SGI systems, Amiga 500, Amiga 1000, Amiga 4000 040 / 25MHz, Amiga 1200, Amiga 3000 - Video Toaster, Amiga 4000 - IV24 Picasso II board, and the Amiga A2000.
Joshua Gerth has released a game called Rebound. The game is based on the classic game Diamonds from the early nineties. The game has eight levels, but you can create more using the level editor.
The GGLABS A520HD HDTV is the equivalent of the classic Commodore A520 TV modulator. But Instead of Amiga video signal to convert to a low-quality composite output, this converter uses the RGB output there to make a YPbPr signal that is compatible with HDTVs that have a component input.
There is a new version of AssaultCube Reloaded available for the Amiga. The changes in this version are: New overload mode: destroy the enemy base HUD waypoints, Garnet throw timer Hiding shooting range, more UI options, Scoreboard ranking, and server owners can now define their bone limit.
Zerosphere is an 68k/OCS platform game with a twist. As a preview version, it won the interactive compo at evoke 2015.
A new version of the Amiga core is now available for the FPGA Arcade.
Changes in this version:
2 Kbyte instruction and 2 Kbyte data cache. The performance is now 11.3 MIPS / 10800 dhrystones with sysinfo 4.0. The RTG blitter works now and scan doubler is adapted for improved performance with DVI monitors.
A new edition of the English and German Amiga magazine Amiga Future is now available.
In this edition:
Foreword, News, Amiga Racer Wings Remastered, Playfield, ALICE, Deathbringer, Ricky, Jump Block Jump, OS4 Depot Games, AmiCloud, Amiga Forever 2016 A1K Turbo Board "Matze", Amiga30th Retrospective, Demoscene, Demo Effects # 7, Alchemy, Amiga Meeting Bad Bramstedt, botfixer @ home , Arctic (Wolf Software & Design), and Krzysztof "deadwood" Smiechowicz.
880 Gamer is a English pdf magazine for the Amiga user.
In this magazine the following:
News, Cover Disc, Game On !: Cartoon Classics Pack, Tear Away Thomas, Belial, Fears, Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge, and Star Wars. Bleeding Eyes: Impassioned, Iraq demo and Vertigo. Cheats and TalkBack.
WHDLoad allows you to play Amiga diskette games from your hard drive. New support for: Action Replay MKII / III Loader, Spellbound Dizzy, Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego. Modified: Dragonstone, Magic Land Dizzy, The Crystal, Mad Professor Mari Arti, Mean Machine, Castle Of Dr. Brain, Alien Syndrome, Volfied, Dino Wars, Rampage, Aladdin, Space Quest, Archipelagos, Where in the USA is Carmen, African Raiders-01, Ultima VI: The False Prophet, Muzzax 2 Muzzax, Black Cauldron, Bards Tale, Reunion, and Musica Tion.
Elbox has introduced two new mediators for the Amiga.
The Mediator 1200 TX is equipped with an additional status LEDs.
Mediator PCI 4000 Di is a bus-board with four PCI 2.2 slots, supporting 3.3 volt PCI cards, and four Zorro III / II slots.
A new Kickstarter project is the game The Dream of Rowan for the Amiga.
In the game you are Rowan and you have to dodge hundreds of obstacles and defeat powerful wizards and other creatures to save your family, friends, and the world. System requirements: Amiga with 68030 / 50MHz, ECS, 2MB CHIP Ram or an emulator.
The Sum adapter allows you to connect USB HID keyboards on your Amiga 2000, 3000, 4000, or CD32. The Sum is based on a 16-bit Microchip microcontroller and has the following features: PS2-DIN connector, built-in USB stack configuration mode, ingebouwd EEPROM memory for the voorkeurs institutions boot loader for firmware upgrades, and a status LED.
Nittamituaki issued a special X-mas version of Jet Set Willy, Elves called Dreamland.
The game is a 2D platform game created using the map editor of "Jet Set Billy" (Niilo Paasivirta). You must collect all the 200 items in the game to win.
Amiga Ville is an English language PDF magazine for the Amiga user.
In this edition:
News, Ruff and Tumble, Fire and Ice, Rødland, Holiday Lemmings 1993, and Tubular Worlds. What's on your Christmas list? Where has all the fun gone and The Grumpy Git Column?
Accelerator board Vampire 2 for Amiga 600 - done in FPGA (compatibility is very high), HDMI out, SD card for HDD, two times faster than 68060/50 MHz (!), in plan for this card is SAGA (super AGA chipset) and FPU.
Amiga A600 Vampire II Hardware Accelerator - Tested and Reviewed!
Much like the C64 Reloaded, the Amiga Reloaded will be a new Amiga motherboard using original MOS/CSG chips. It does not directly compare to any existing Amiga mainboard, but if you want a comparison basis, then an A1200 is probably the closest match. However, there are differences that also make it very much "not A1200".
AmiKit X video preview
Have you ever wondered what the mysterious Rabbit Hole is about? Check out the video preview:
AmiKit X on A.L.I.C.E. laptop launches and runs Linux apps on Amiga desktop, thanks to the feature called "Rabbit Hole".
(A Laptop Incorporating a Classic Experience) utilizes ordinary PC Laptop hardware to achieve extraordinary results. Read more about A.L.I.C.E. http://amigaworld.net/modules/news/article.php?storyid=7569
AmiKit X (version 10) is a special version of AmiKit being developed for A.L.I.C.E. laptops. It will contain many enhancements compared to AmiKit 8.
AmiKit is a free project, powered by enthusiasm, that turns your computer into legendary Amiga. It includes more than 350 of the finest applications.
Join the Facebook fan page for the latest news and previews: https://www.facebook.com/AmiKit
You can Download the AmiKit 8 for free for Windows, Linux and Mac. The portable version is even able to boot your computer from USB Flash Disk!
AmiKit website: http://amikit.amiga.sk (HTML5 browser required)
Enhancer Software package for PowerPC & 68k Applications, utilities, datatypes and classes for the AmigaOS
The press release is available here
As part of our ongoing commitment to develop quality software content for both PowerPC and 68K AmigaOS systems A-EON Technology Ltd is pleased to announce the upcoming release of the Enhancer Software package. Enhancer Software is a collection of applications, utilities, datatypes, and classes that will enhance the AmigaOS experience on your PowerPC or 68k Amiga.
A powerful mix of productivity and utility software which includes:-
...and many more.
The Enhancer Software package will be available from AMIStore and participating Amiga dealers.
For more information please visit: http://enhancer.amiga.org (coming soon)
Most people who experienced the excitement of slapping a brand new game into the datasette want that feeling again. There's always something new coming out for our beloved Commodore computers but not enough tape releases by far to put the biological clock on hold. For a reason: trying to make a tape release is like opening a can of worms. For me it was a good source of several panic attacks, light sleep, and getting pushed to the edge of substance abuse. Just kidding. This article shall guide you around the pitfalls of making your own physical release. Don't worry. That'll still remain to be a metric cartload of work.
This is what you probably only want to do to fire off a turbo loader. Even if your release is a tiny 3K game for the unexpanded VIC–20 it would take relatively long to load without. The advantage is that your product might actually outlive you when treated right. The CBM tape protocol was designed to cope with cassettes of such a low quality that one might wonder how they even managed to put music on them. CBM tape files start with a very long leader, intended to keep users from recording on the thicker, non–magnetic tape that is used to fix both ends to the wheels as the thinner, magnetic tape would rip quickly. If you record such files rewind your tape fully to save loading time. The KERNAL only wants a little bit of the leader before the real data begins. Lots of time saved right from the start.
Be careful though with thin C90/C120 tapes cut to length for C20 cases. Small bumps, caused by the place where the tape got fixed, might spoil the fun by corrupting the header then. In this case better do the opposite and start with a long, 15 seconds or so, pause.
You want to ask for the thicker types anyway. They should be type 1 ferric C60, or even better, C46, which are hard to come by. C90/C120 tapes are determined to go belly up, like turning into vitamin–free salad. You should prepare them (indeed you should do this with all your blanks) by doing a fast–forward and rewind to make sure they're sitting tightly and evenly on the wheels. In my experience half of C90/C120 type tapes quit before you can even bag them. Better power test those before passing them on.
Expensive Chrome or Metal types don't come with advantages for data recording and the Metal ones might even be bad for datasette heads.
Tape quality improved greatly in the 1980's. Sony invented the Walkman, sold it like fresh rolls and, at once, there was a huge market for high–quality durable tapes. That made turbo loaders possible which knocked out the 1541 disk drive in matters of speed. Unlike the CBM tape protocol turbo loaders use a much higher bit rate, use less pulses to encode a single bit and they don't write data blocks twice. (Yes, the 70s were really, really hard times.) With modern 21st century tapes you can turbo tape 500 bytes per second without having to worry about it really. However, dialing it down a notch is good for the longevity of your baby and for owners of arthritic datasettes as well.
On the first glance one might think that this is the very best idea of them all to make your tapes. Original hardware should be the best choice, shouldn't it? Ermh...no. First of all this way to go about it requires extra software and if existing tools like Turbo Tape are not to your liking you'll probably end up liking to write them yourself even less. Even if you are a machine language expert chances are that getting the timings right makes you dream away about more pleasant things. You could nail it down to the microsecond but in the end you're bound to splitting up your data into blocks due to lack of working memory and restarting the motor forces you to write gaps that keep you from doing seriously cool stuff, like writing TAP files in one go that need it. Or playing audio samples from tape in real–time. Generating a TAP file on the other hand is super–easy and one “just” has to write a loader.
To work around the limitations of recording with original hardware there once was Cassadapt which allowed to connect PCs to datasettes via sound cards but it's not manufactured anymore. Still, using this kind of setup has some drawbacks that might sneak up on you and bite you in the back when you least expect it: it's hard to come by ways to make sure the alignment of the datasette's read/write head is correct. Back in the days, when games on tape were mass–produced, they didn't use arrays of datasettes but regular audio tape duplication plants, effectively making those the reference for datasette head alignment. Accordingly, if you make your tapes with correctly aligned tape decks you're not to blame if someone else's datasette got hearing problems.
The datasette is suited to deal with rectangular waves. The problem with that is that there are no rectangular waves in this universe. They break up into a bunch of sine waves as soon as you try to establish them. This mix of sine waves distorts the signal beyond your control. You really want to transform those beloved rectangular waves into single sine waves with no overtones. As you're sitting in front of your personal supercomputer on which you just developed that nice little game that would have sold several truckloads of copies thirty years ago, you can just generate them in the first place, connect your machine to a tape deck and hit record – with amazing results due to unsurpassed accuracy.
That's where Audiotap (for Windows) comes in. It converts TAP files into WAV files of sines. You should be all set with this tool: it also works the other way around for data archaeological purposes.
If you can't use Audiotap because you take issues in having Windows around you can write such a tool yourself with just a couple of lines of script code using the sin() function. But make sure the resulting samples only produce half the volume possible to avoid distortions on their way out to the tape deck. To get absolutely perfect results this very simple strategy does the job: calculate the waves at the CPU's clock frequency and sample them down in the process.
With your master WAV file ready, set the output of your computer to full volume and also adjust your tape deck's input so that it sticks to about ¾ of the green area – again to avoid distortion of the signal. Last but not least any sort of Dolby as well as MPX filters have to be switched off. Finally, the bass/treble settings should be turned to average.
As a rule of thumb this works great. But to make sure, record the tapes back to your computer and examine the result in your fave sound editor. Also listen to the recording to check if something is winching!
Another problem to be solved is the software and hardware with which you play your master WAV files. Many media players apply some softener like oversampling or re–sampling if your sound card operates at another sampling rate than your WAV file. If something like that kicked in, the difference between the CBM file leader recorded with a datasette and the re–sampled one in your WAV is clearly audible. Both should give you a clean, high–pitched ear piercing with no funny patterns in it. On Linux try the command–line tool “play”.
When in doubt (and who wouldn't be) make WAV files with 44.1 kHz sampling rate – all sound cards can handle it as it's also what audio CDs provide. The latter are the ideal solution if your OS cannot be coerced into playing cleanly or if you want to delegate making copies to some company. If they don't know about computer recordings, send them an audio CD and insist that they play it with a regular audio CD player, not on a computer!
With the bits and bytes rambling on you'll see a steady signal in your editor just like you want it. But when you zoom in on the first pulses you recorded you'll notice that the universe is still sneaking up on you – the recorded wave is not centered in the middle as the sudden start of it gives rise to a low frequency sine wave. That's why tape data is introduced by a pilot, also known as a leader or whatever other name they have for it below the Alps. It's a workaround to let the signal settle before the real data starts. The same goes for the end of a block, which is why there are usually also trailers in order to not spoil the last bit. If you're in desperate need for small pauses, better fill them with the pilot of the next block instead.
Something that's not tested doesn't work. Just a regular test of your recordings on a real machine is OK. But if your stash of tapes is large enough you can write a steady sine tone onto them, record them back to your computer and spot future breaking points in a sound editor (like the drop out shown in the beginning of this article). Such things are normal at the very start of a tape. If they occur in the middle of the tape, a game may miraculously load one time but not another and then again it does. One day it'll quit for good at one of those spots. If you have the option to sort those tapes out, that would really add to your charms.
If you see audio cassette tapes in an electronics store, they're probably the last ones you'll ever see. Cut–to–length ferric tapes are available from Tapeline Ltd (UK) to be found at http://tapeline.info. They're also much cheaper than anything you find in a store. Plus: they work. They also have the right labels and cases. At the moment they only have thin C120 type tapes that tend to scramble up in a datasette right away, or, if they played through on both sides, are meant to last. As said before: expect half of them to say “Auf Wiedersehen!” in your datasette. A little bit annoying but still cheap.
To make the retro computing community happy, Tapeline is currently trying to source the thicker 18µm C60 type tapes.
In the next part we'll bang together a TAP file containing a CBM file, so you can get started with your own turbo loader. Until then: have fun bringing your favorite retro hits to the real thing yourselves!
Jam It is to be released on cartridge as well as disk and tape and of course the usual digital download. Check out the following sites for how to obtain a copy and more info.
I love the action replays in the game, where the players reverse then slow go through the action, a very good and amusing effect.
Well Jam It, as you should be able to guess, is a basketball game where up to 4 players can control the action with the help of the 4 player multi adaptor from Protovision. Fear not, one player can play against the computer or a friend, with your computer offering a variety of difficulty levels or play against.
The main game shows that there is only one basket and so you all have to try and throw into this with all “teams”. It feels like school where they could only afford one basket! The gravity on the game is superb, the ball feels heavy and the people seem to jump well and fall convincingly.
I am unsure about the running backwards with the ball, but Heck this bad boy even has a cheerleading session at halftime. (Grasp the bromine, not that you will need it though)
And a prize giving ceremony
The Graphics were as good as I expected in the main game. If you remember Commodore's international soccer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVqCpjpDabM (that CRL managed to release on tape) then this improves on the quality, with smaller sprites, and better animations. The player you're controlling (with the computer) flashes his shirt, and the manual goes into great depths about how the various shots are achieved. There is more than just moving around and pressing the fire button; there is some real skill to this game. This is not just a game you pick up quickly and jump about, you will need to read the manual to get the best out of the game. Not that this is an issue, but if you don’t put in the effort then the game won’t work as well as you think, and you will be losing out on the quality and gameplay.
Sound effects are ball bounces, some white noise for the shooting, and crowd cheering. The temptation to add a techno soundtrack during the game happily hasn’t entered the programmer's mind, thank goodness! But what can you add to a basketball game in the sounds department? The crowd flashes their cameras during key moments which is a nice effect, and the ceremonies and presentations add some more interest. When you score the winning team gets a band of colour showing who won the point at the bottom of the screen, but the stats are constantly shown on the right hand side, so there is no question of who is winning.
The main title music is questionable, especially for basketball. Although I am not an expert on basketball music, it sounds more like a blues track, but I may be missing the point somewhat.
I could make comments that the crowd are just purple outlines and not real quality or realistic looking, but then I would be nit picking. Had this arrived after Commodore's International soccer it would have sold like the proverbial hot cakes, and probable been a 10/10 in every magazine available. However, it is a very high-quality release that can hold its head against any recent release.
The packaging and just the sheer options in the game, added with the various NBA stats in the manual add to a high release, it’s more attention to detail.
Ok, the sounds could be better but this doesn’t detract from the very high quality and realistic game play, high quality packaging, manual, and attention to details. Overall an amazing release
As I sat down in the genuine fake leather chair behind the keyboard of my stock Commodore 128, the screen was already displaying the main menu screen to my greatest Commodore BASIC program to date: That of what has come to be known as "The Envelope Addressor" v4.2, or its better known acronym, "TEA 4.2". As I looked at the display, I leaned back in the chair with my hand on my chin, and asked myself, "How can I make this program better?"
If I remember my Sherlock Holmes correctly, the best thing to do when considering a course for the future is to seek counsel from the past, so I guess it would be best to start where "The Envelope Addressor" came from...
I was sitting at my desk one Sunday afternoon going over the bills for another month. My previous successful program, "Check It Out" was already loaded into my Commodore 128 (in 64 mode) and printing checks as I called them off. I won the battle with the pain of writing dozens of checks a month by hand, but the task of putting the return and recipient address onto the envelopes still remained. The selfish reason for coding "Check It Out" was my blasted carpel tunnel that set in over the years. It was getting too painful (and sometimes numbing) for me to wrestle with pen and ink over checks. With "Check It Out" the problem solved, but new revelation revealed only half the problem was solved. Now I have to deal with the same recurring pain and numbness addressing envelopes as I did when I was writing checks. I looked at my (then) Star NX10-C printer with a freshly drafted check sitting in the rollers and said to myself, "If I did it before, I can do it again." So, that very evening I started drafting the source code for what, in the next three months would become, "The Envelope Addressor" v1.
The program ran similar to "Check It Out" in format; the program would guide you around your envelope allowing the user to put in the "To" and "From" addresses, but as a bonus, the program saved your input data to a small, compact, one block sequential file before going to print. My wrists were saved and my pain almost a memory. On a whim, I contacted Dave Moorman of the "Loadstar" Commodore disk/magazine fame and inquired him in an email if he would be interested in seeing the work. He politely agreed so I sent him a image copy of the work, and I waited.
Two or three weeks went by before I nervously attempted to contact Mr. Moorman on how my program fared under his scrutiny. The next day he sent me a .d81 image copy of the latest issue of “Loadstar” with "The Envelope Addressor" neatly tucked into the digital pages along with his personal comments about the work, but not comments on the program, per se, but on its structuring. Mr. Moorman stated that it has been a long time since he has seen a Commodore BASIC program so well uniformed that "The Envelope Addressor" was worth the "stopping of the presses" as it were, and fitting the program into the latest issue of "Loadstar". He went on to say that usually he encrypts all the programs published in "Loadstar" to deter piracy, but "The Envelope Addressor" was such a well-structured program that he left its code unencrypted in the final print of the disk-zene so future contributors to "Loadstar" could see how a Commodore BASIC program should be presented. Score! I think....
Then came the acid test, or as I liked to think of it as the "jack" acid test, and that test came from the noble, wise, and venerable men and women of the Commodore Users Group of Kansas City (Missouri). When they viewed the program from the disk they got from "Loadstar," they had some suggestions. They didn't want to change the code; they had some ideas to make the program more practical. A few examples were: Make the program print on smaller envelopes, like the smaller size #7 style. Get rid of the "Attn:" format. That's good for businesses but most Commodore users nowadays are more home users; they won't need that feature. What about window style? Can you code a feature for those style of envelopes? Our resident United States post office worker suggested that, since Mexico is starting to adopt US Postal styles like zip codes, a "Country Designation" feature should be printable on the face of the envelope. Despite the ego boost given to me by the editor and publisher of "Loadstar," my wise Commodore comrades pulled my head out of the stratosphere and placed me again on good ol' terra firma. At first I was hurt by their criticism, but the more I used "The Envelope Addressor," the more I knew they were right -- again. So, two years later, on another Sunday evening after paying bills using "Check It Out" and "The Envelope Addressor," I listed the program text to view on my Commodore 1902 monitor screen and started tinkering around with the source code.
When I started working again with the code as a programmer instead of being an end user, I saw my Commodore friends were being too nice to me; there were a lot of things I could do to make "The Envelope Addressor" and much more handy and viable tool in the hands of the “every month” accounts payable person. Taking their suggestions, and a few of my own that I thought of, in the span of another two months I all but completely recoded "The Envelope Addressor" into a Frankenstein model of its former self. I added an extended main menu; I recoded the directory to allow the user to see which file was the "From" address (F/) and which was the "To" address (T/); I expanded the print lines to include #10 size envelopes, #7 size envelopes, single window envelopes, and double window (pay check style) envelopes; I coded more sub menus with easy "back out to the main menu" access in case a user got lost in the maze of menus and sub menus; I did a lot of upgrading to it, so much so that "The Envelope Addressor" was no longer the same; similar, yes, but not the same.
A remodelled program needed a remodelled name. Nothing totally off the beaten path, but something that said, "I'm back and I'm buffed! Fear me!" Throughout the household of Roach, the program was jokingly called "TEA", so the family came up with "Tea For Two", which I translated into Commodore-eze as "TEA 4 2," which later transcribed into its final version, "TEA v4.2." With that little conundrum settled, and the recoded program in place, it was a matter of redrawing an opening graphics boot screen, putting it in place on the master disk, and voila! Another Commodore masterpiece wrapped in the bacon of BASIC. Oh, before I forget, the graphics screen I drew was of two steaming cups of hot tea in heart and diamond studded tea cups, which really looked more like coffee mugs. I used the "Screen Gem" med-res graphics illustration program written by Billy Godfrey many moons ago when the Ivory BBS package was the big thing in the United States.
One thing about both "TEA" and "TEA v4.2" was that they were the only programs I coded that I actually wrote documentation for. It was my first attempt to write "on screen" text, so I used hundreds of Print Statements, followed every several lines by a short subroutine which allowed the reader to "flip" back and forth among "pages." Two pages of handwritten text became twenty pages of "on screen" text. Since direct BASIC Print Statements do not word wrap, I had to physically space out the words so that the text would look uniformed on screen. That was tedious, long, boring, and mind numbing, but it did make for a great visual presentation on the Commodore monitor.
So, what happened to "TEA v4.2?" Lightning struck twice as I sent the new version of "The Envelope Addressor" to Mr. Moorman of "Loadstar" and he published it in a disk/magazine as well. "Loadstar" headquarters was hit by a tornado not too far from the close of the first decade of the 21st century and never recovered. Another great Commodore publication hit the dirt.
With all that out in the open we go back to the question that started this article: What can be done to make "TEA v4.2" a better program? With magazines like "Commodore Free" in publication and Commodore users coming together from all over the globe under its banner, I think making "TEA v4.2" more universally usable. I know in its present form, the program can be used in the United States and Canada, but what about European or Eastern countries? How are their postal codes formatted? A project worth possibly perusing.
Also, I would like to make "TEA v4.2" work with the click of the Commodore mouse or tap of a Commodore joystick. Commodore has written a BASIC program in the appendix of "The Commodore 1351 Mouse Users Guide," and it works well, but, how do you make the mouse highlight what the arrow lands on and how do you make it understand that where the pointer is what you want to access?
You use the left mouse button to access the desired field.
How do you make the program understand the clicking of the mouse button?
It's the same code as the using of the fire button on a joystick.
AND WHAT CODE IS THAT? SON OF A CUSSING CUSS WORD, I'VE HAD IT! I'm going to play "The Three Stooges" or something! At least there I have a reason to deal with silliness!
Good day and thanks for reading....
Minimum system requirements:
C64 or C128 in C64 mode, 1541/1571 Floppy.
Also compatible with:
|Produced by||Byteriders and Out of Order Softworks|
|Author||Steve Kups und Sebastian Broghammer|
|Program||Sebastian Broghammer, Stephan Lesch and Helfried Peyrl|
|Interpreter code||Steve Kups|
|Graphics||Phillip Bergmann and Martin Schemitsch|
|Sound||Stefan Hartwig and Taxim|
Limited boxed version
Digital download for German and non EU citizens only
Digital Download for all countries (itch.io)
This is a Joystick driven menu system where the user must recover all 5 rubies of power, retiring them to the pentagram of power, this will break the curse of Morlon and return the town folk. You select the verbs and nouns from a provided list, you also use the joystick to move to different locations, each location gives information of the areas you can move into and your status in the game.
Some 20 odd years after Brubaker, Sebastian Broghammer and Steve Kups make a long-awaited comeback on the Commodore 64 with the help of Out of Order Softworks and Protovision. "Heroes & Cowards – The Pentagram of Power" is the long-lost adventure game that fanatics have eagerly waited for.
Protovision's website gives this storyline
He just wanted a comfy-chiller night in front of his TV when our hero was cast into a distant, medieval world by a mysterious force. The inhabitants of the cosy little country of Dartenwood were turned to stone by nasty magician Morlon - and only the Pentagram of Power can break the spell. However, its rubies are scattered throughout the land ... All of Dartenwood's hopes are now resting on a chosen one who's supposed to get everything under control. By some inexplicable cosmic twist of fate, YOU'RE supposed to be the one! Your journey from zero to hero includes a whole lot of jeopardies and unsolvable riddles - are you up for it? Are you a hero - or a coward?
While it may not be the most original of stories, the game promises to be something really special. In fact, the demand has already outstripped supplies, with Protovision's shop running out of boxed sets in an unprecedented amount of time! The site lists two versions of the boxed set, and to be honest, it’s the boxed sets rather than a digital download you want from Protovision’s store. Not only is the packaging exemplary, but the extras more than make up for the extra cost over just a downloaded version.
There are two different boxed editions available at Protovision!
The Hero-Edition is a unique edition limited to only 50 copies. The game on disk comes in a hand-numbered steel box with an extensive handbook and a Dartenwood's citizenship of honour, including a sealed certificate. The game's digitally mastered soundtrack album is also supplied on CD
The more economical standard edition (the Coward-Edition) comes in a classy steel box with manual, disk, and keychain, too. But without Dartenwood's citizenship of honour and no CD soundtrack album.
Further is a digital download
Standard-Download including a D64 image and the handbook in PDF format.
The digital Premium-Download includes the mastered digital soundtrack album in MP3 format and some exclusive bonus tracks for the game with a playing time of more than 50 minutes.
Back in the day Byteriders were an integral part of the young and creative German game developing scene on the C64. With classic adventures like Logan, The Yawn, and Crime Time, they were able to gain a reputation as smart creators of adventures in the early 90s. However, after 1992 you did not hear much from Steve Kups and Sebastian Broghammer. Riding high with their magnum opus Brubaker, they won DM 20,000 (€ 10,000) in a competition set up by Computec Verlag, only to vanish completely after the game’s release.
In 1999 GO64!-editor Volker Rust established contact with Steve Kups. They arranged for an interview which also re-activated the second half of the Byteriders, Sebastian Broghammer. The interview revealed that there was a secret, unreleased Byteriders-Adventure by the name of Heroes & Cowards. The game’s prototype was hiding somewhere in Steve’s or Sebastian’s attic. Eventually, after an extensive search, Out of Order Softworks were finally provided with the game’s prototype.
Known mainly in Germany, Bytriders software wasn’t on general release in the U.K. or even the U.S.A. Now however, the rest of the world can appreciate some of this work, and indeed hunt out some of the early releases.
As the music kicks in we are treated to some artwork but more than that, is the great music track, very nice and medieval. You need to hear it as I can only describe music in words. The Slick and almost TV-quality of the Protovision (designing the future) logo appears on screen in TV style with its lovely floating protons.
Ok, we finally get to start playing. It’s taken me some time to review this properly, and while I claim no adventure-like skills in my game testing resume, this game was surprisingly absorbing. The game itself is a select or a click and select adventure; you can play with a joystick or with the cursor keys and return to SELECT an items or action.
As the game starts the original music is replaced by even more medieval flute style Sid Sonics. Again, very competently done. The interface, although similar to other point and click adventures, is well laid out and very intuitive to use. Similarly there is no need to enter text or type in commands; sometimes, pushing the joystick in the direction you want to move is enough.
Once in the game, the screen is split into two with the room or locations graphics at the top half, and the description on the bottom. The dialogue of the location is extensive enough and the graphic locations, although small, are expertly drawn. The puzzles! Well, it depends on the player, some seemed easy to solve while others were not as obvious and you seem to be wandering around for ages before the plot finally clicks into place. The English translation seems on the whole rather good, and can be quite funny, although I suspect some of the German humour is maybe lost in translation. The text does breathe a breath of fresh air into what could otherwise be yet another stuffy adventure.
The game will of course draw similarities to the Lucasarts range, and while that’s not a bad thing, it’s original and absorbing enough to stand out on its own as a release. It seems that the locations pictures can change depending on what you are doing, the music changes from locations adding more atmospheres to the game.
It goes without saying the text needs careful reading as it will hold the clue to solving or moving to other locations within the game. Talk to everyone, admit to nothing, and wear dark glasses to blend in with the background.
I found a YouTube Sceneworld review of the game narrated by Andrew Fisher here
Watch the game being played here, in a number of episodes!
Although it is as River from Doctor Who would say, “SPOILERS” although it is in German.
Absorbing, easy to pick up, but difficult to put down. As usual the Protovision production packaging makes an ultimate release. I am sure it is already a collector’s item, as the metal tin versions are already sold out.
Looking online I found this website with some retro scanned sound-related magazines. The link is to the Microsound 64 information; it’s not much and clicking at the top of the page gives more pages and scans to other magazines. I note the keyboard picture also shows a plastic modelled version! (More about this later)
Some of this review was written for commodorescene.org.uk
However, after being asked about it from a friend, then pestered to sell the unit and told it was mega rare, I thought a little re-write and re-print into Commodore Free was required.
I think I first saw this keyboard advertised in “Sound on Sound" magazine. My unit seems to be manufactured from some sort of plastic coated chipboard, and not plastic like the advert. I know I bought one as soon as they came out and it was “ordered” and had to wait for a unit to be made so I presume mine was very early. Later they produced the plastic moulded versions to keep costs down.
My unit is dated 1983 and my manual says “Autographics Ltd” the software itself says “microsound Ltd”
The keyboard is well-made with very responsive springy keys over a 4 octave range. The keyboard has two connectors that plug into the joystick ports on the Commodore 64. I have only ever seen one other unit (in the wild) and this was also manufactured in plastic, so clearly my version must have been an early version. It's rumoured that there was to be a sound sampler that would somehow connect to the unit so you could play samples (the magazine review mentions this). I do not have this and haven’t ever seen one. The keyboard also has two analogue sliders that are assignable (more on this later).
The software I have came on cassette. It's two programs, the first loading up the second. However, if you load the 1st program then save it to disk (without running) then load the second program and save this to disk (without saving) you can run the software from disk! When you load the software from disk it asks where it’s loading from, disk or tape. The first part is loaded as msound64 and is run with sys2973. This loads the second part of the software RTL-64.
Sadly the software runs REALLY slowly with painful screen updates, feeling like a non-compiled BASIC application. The accompanying manual on my version says it's version 2.3 and states that on the keyboards back is a 25 pin D way connector (I presume the sampler would connect here). However, on inspection, my keyboard version doesn’t have this connector! Nor is the wiring in place on the inside for adding one!
The keyboard is merely a fancy way of triggering the software so you have three-note polyphonic keyboard (you can play three notes at once). This is because you are playing or manipulating the SID sound chip. The keyboard itself can’t produce any sounds, the sliders can be user-assigned, for example to vca cut off etc. The keyboard doesn’t need any external power and the manual says it draws the 5 volts it needs from the joystick ports.
This is the main opening screen after the credits and is a real-time sound manipulation program. Here you can change the characteristics of the sound by manipulating the ADSR (attack Decay Sustain and Release). You can also apply Ring modulation and filter can be set as low, middle, or high. You can also set the keyboard to play mono or three-note polyphony, and the sound can further be tweaked by selecting the wave form Triangle, Sawtooth, pulse and noise. Pressing T lets you fine-tune the sound to mix with other instruments. Pressing P lets you configure the sliders: they can control filter cut off, frequency, pulse width or low frequency oscillator. Once you’re happy your sound preset can be saved for later use.
Of course it goes without saying that the SID chip can produce some very unique sounds. These are the same sounds that people are trying to emulate, but nothing beats the real thing!
The three-note polyphony was another real down point for this keyboard, and although at the time three notes was better than one, it’s a real limitation. I tend to play a phrase and sample it!
The software also has a very helpful HELP screen with the keys and what they do! Just in case you get lost and can’t be bothered with the manual.
I haven’t used this function very much, but ...
This is a real-time or step-time sequencer, i.e. it will playback what you record on it. Once the sequence is recorded it can later be edited. This is useful for playing those IMPOSSIBLE sequences where it sounds like you’re a better player than you really are, or for creating some arpeggios that have to be played so fast they are impossible! Limitations are that only 200 notes per channel can be recorded, but there is a command programming language which looks like this:
LO4 FN5 LN20 GRO SP5
This would turn off the screen for clearer playback,
Play 4 times the sequence from note 5 to 20
With a playback speed of 5
My manual has numerous spelling errors and even corrections with liquid paper. Mentioned in the manual is something called SEQUENCER 2. Nothing further is mentioned -- only that it existed, so if you’re reading and can send a D64 I would appreciate it as well as a PDF of the manual!
One thing I remember was my original tape failed to load. After contacting the company I received a working replacement tape then next day!
There seems to be very little information on the internet about this keyboard or the company that made the device. I also wonder why mine is made of wood and the others I have seen are made of plastic moulds. I would also like a wiring diagram as mine is faulty (some of the internal wiring is loose). Although the cables are colour coded there is no way to know where these loose cable were once connected too.