COMMODORE FREE MAGAZINE

Issue 19 May 2008
www.commodorefree.com
Free to download magazine
Dedicated to Commodore Computers

Available as Text, Html, PDF, SEQ and Commodore 64 D64 disk image

Editor

Another issue arrives
Quite exciting times as recently I received my DC2N and ultimate 1541 interface, although as of this time I haven?t used them! I am hoping to find some time to test out these devices.

We continue with this issue the Beginners guide to the Commodore 64, and move another step closer to the goal of a competent user. Also in this issue I managed to pin down Robert Bernardo and obtain an interview, that is quite enlightening about Commodore and the C1 and Dtv devices that were designed by Jeri Ellsworth finally we finish with a review or write up of the recent Mossycon4

Rather disappointing is that No one entered the PPOT competition to win 1 of 3 cd roms of the bands music, so does that mean all readers don?t want competitions or all have the Cd`s already I wonder if the question of putting pen to paper is of putting for some users so I will re run the competition at a later date maybe with a 1 question you need to email and answer to and if no one replies I can take it competitions are not wanted in the magazine

Regards
Nigel

HOW CAN I HELP COMMODORE FREE
Ok the best way to help would be ?write something about Commodore? (yes for the observant I spelled the company correctly this time) _grin seriously though articles are always welcome,

WHAT ARTICLES DO YOU NEED
Well they vary contact me if you have an idea but I am looking for
Tutorials ? (beginners and Expert)
Experiences with Commodore
Why I love Commodore machines
Interviews ? maybe you have access to a power user


Contents


CONTENTS
Editorial and Contents		Page 2

NEWS
uIec news			Page 3
General news			Page 4
Behr Multicart for the VIC 20 
PAL VERSION 			Page 5

PROJECTS
Wild bunch project		Page 6-9

REVIEWS
DIRMASTER version 2		Page 10-13
MOSSYCON 4 Personal Review	Page 28-30

INTERVIEWS
Interview with Robert Bernardo 	Page 14

TUTORIALS
DMC Music Editor		Page 21-22
Commodore 64 Beginners guide 4	Page 23-27




NEWS

uIEC and uIEC/CF are projects

Jim Brain
More options Apr 15, 12:26 am

Newsgroups: comp.sys.cbm
From: Jim Brain
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2008 23:26:16 GMT

For those who do now know, uIEC and uIEC/CF are projects to allow a IEC-based CBM computer (VIC/64/128/etc.) to utilize a IDE drive Formatted with a FAT file system or a Compact Flash (CF) card with such a file system.

uIEC development took some very interesting paths this year (more details if there is interest), but I am happy to report that the unit is working and I'm now concentrating my efforts on making it CF-card
agnostic (testing various cards I have here), and trying to increase compatibility. I have a deadline to have units for sale in time for the CCCC expo in late June.


I've taken advantage of the long list of features in another project (sd2iec) to make uIEC even more compatible and useful.
So, here is a combined list of features:

o Supports IDE and CF cards (uIEC supports IDE/IDE, IDE/CF, or CF/CF if you have an IDE->CF adapter for the second card. uIEC/CF supports single CF card)

o Supports drives of any size, though support for >137GB drives needs more testing. :-)

o Supports FAT12/16/32 partitions of any legal size
* Supports partition-less cards/drives, or up to 4 primary partitions or 3 primary and 12 extended partitions. (Email me if you have more than 12 extended partitions on a drive :-)

o Supports FAT Long filenames
* Transparent support for PRG/SEQ/USR file extensions, with REL support planned.

o Transparent support for P00/S00/U00 files, with R00 support planned.

o Supports read and write of D64 images.

o Block level disk access supported on D64 images

o Most CBM DOS commands (Scratch,Initialize,Rename,etc.) supported.

o CBM general config commands (U0, U+, U-, UI, U9, U:, UJ) supported.

o CBM block level commands (B-R, B-W, UA, U1, U2, UB) supported when in D64 image.

o CMD-style partition ($=P) support

o CMD-style subdirectory (MD,CD,RD) support.

o CMD DOS Commands (G-P, G-<shift-P>) support.
* Long form CMD directories ($=T:*, $=T:*=L) supported

o 1581-style/CMD-FD/HD-style wildcard matching supported ($:JIM*RAIN)

o JiffyDOS fast loader equipped (PAL and NTSC support). Can be enabled or disabled via DOS command. & Firmware can be updated by copying new firmware file to root dir of first drive, first partition and resetting unit.

(* noted items are in my WIP codebase, & are features in mainline codebase I need to enable in my variant)

I want to publicly thank Unseen of sd2iec for creating a very impressive codebase that made my feeble original attempt pale in comparison. Although I will regret not being the originator of the uIEC firmware, it
simply made no sense to duplicate all of the features and require sd2iec to re-implement features already in the uIEC project. I think Unseen also appreciates another developer on his firmware project. My additions have primarily been to the FAT LFN code, the CMD HD commands, and multiple drive support.

In process is time-based directory pattern matching (>00:00:00 and <00:00:00), support for programs that determine drive type via M-R, and D71/D81 image support.

I'll refrain from listing the ideas in the enhancement bucket, but there are quite a few. At this point, I am prioritizing features that might make HW changes necessary, for obvious reasons. Firmware-only additions can be made after shipping.

I'm happy to answer questions in the thread.

http://groups.google.com/group/comp.sys.cbm/browse_thread/thread/9b8ea39e1f5dc75a?hl=en




NEWS

Vintage Technology Magazine

Is available to download now up to version 6 priced at 0.99 back issues are available
Go to www.vintagetechnology.co.uk to download latest issue (May '08).


This issue features:
Old-school computer learning
Will my vintage electronics collection still work in 100 years time?
Flight sims - flying with home computers
Defender - the thinking man's arcade shoot-em up
Commodore PET computers
Early modems in the US & UK
Tomy handheld electronic games
Vintage LED clocks
Learn about maths the vintage way
Vintage voice recorders
First 'personal' radios
Interview with Richard Hanson - Superior Software founder
Repairing handheld games
HP calculator memories

FREE online sample Edition is available http://www.vintagetechnology.co.uk/download.htm


Jeri Ellsworth at the NotaCon /BlockParty FPGA Programming

This is Jeri Ellsworth at the NotaCon/BlockParty April 4th, 2008. She is talking about creating a demo in FPGA.
http://blip.tv/file/821819
Commodore brand name in trouble again

Escom paid $14m for the Commodore name, then they suffered problems and closed Tulip rescued the name in 2004 they sold the brand name to Dutch firm, Yeahronimo who tried to market the brand name by selling M3 players and the Gravel, the company suffered poor sales and looks like they are now in financial problems This doesn?t affect Commodore gaming who are a separate company altogether.

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2008/04/18/commodore_lawsuits/print.html


#Amigaguide

The first edition of this English pdf magazine is now available for download. In this edition the following: disk.info, How to use floppies, Kick Off 2, Tilt, Trashcan, Amiga Laptop and Sandnes BBS. You can download the pdf after you register (for free). http://amigaweb.net/index.php?function=amigaguide

3 ReadMeFirst - Editorial
4 Disk.info - News
7 Floppies...Floppies....Floppies
- Erlend writes about what we can use all
those floppies for...
8 Kick Off 2
- Did you know there is a very strong world
community gathered around the famous
Amiga soccer game Kick Off 2? Learn more
about Kick Off 2 WC, Cups and community
by reading this!
12 Tilt - game review
- Michal writes about Street Rod 2
13 Trashcan
14 Tilt - game review
- Michal writes about another Amiga game
15 Sandnes Amiga BBS
- Sandnes BBS is still running after 10
years, and still uses an Amiga 1200 as its
host computer. SysOp Firestone writes a
little computer history....
20 Amiga promotion products


Behr Multicart for the VIC 20
PAL VERSION

I am happy to announce that I now accept orders for the PAL version of the Behr Bonz multicart.
The price is the same as the NTSC version: 30$ canadian. Shipping to Europe or Australia is 11$ for up to 5 carts. Please visit www.8bitcentral.com

(COMMODORE FREE) Ordered and waiting with anticipation will do a review for the magazine once I have my hands on the device

List of games included in the PAL version:
A
AE/ Aggressor/ Alien Blitz/ Alphabet Zoo/ Amok!/ Arachnoid/ Artillery Duel/ Astroblitz/ Atlantis/ Attack of the mutant Camels/ Avenger

B
Black Hole/ Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom

C
Cave-In/ Centipede/ Choplifter/ Cloudburst/ Clowns Joystick/ Clowns Paddles/ Computer War/ Congo Bongo /Cosmic Cruncher/ Cosmic Jailbreak/ Creepy Corridors/ Crossfire/ Cyclon

D
Deadly Duck/ Deadly Skies/ Defender/ Demon Attack/ Dig Dug/ Donkey Kong /Dragonfire/ Droids

F
Fourth Encounter/ Frogger

G
Galaxian/ Gorf/ Gridrunner

I
In the Chips

J
Jawbreaker II/ Jelly Monsters/ Jupiter Lander

K
Keyquest/ Krazy Antics/ KStar Patrol

L

Lazer Zone/ Lode Runner/ Lunar Leeper

M
Maze/ Medieval Joust/ Menagerie/ Mine Madness/ Miner 2049'er/ Mobile Attack/ Money Wars/ Monster Maze/ Moon Patrol/ Mosquito Infestation/ Motocross Racer/ Ms Pacman/ Mutant Herd

O
Omage Race/ Outworld

P
Pacman/ Paratrooper/ Pharaoh's Curse /Pinball Spectacular/ Pipes/ Poker/ Polaris/ Pole Position/ Predator /Princess and Frog/ Protector

Q
Q-Bert/ Quackers

R
Radar Rat Race/ Raid on Fort Knox/ Rally-X/ Rat Hotel/ Renaissance/ River Rescue/ Road Race/ Robot Panic/ Robotron 2084

S
Scott Adams: Adventureland/ Scott Adams: Mission Impossible/ Scott Adams: Pirate's Cove/ Scott Adams: The Count/ Scott Adams: Voodoo Castle/ Sargon II Chess/ Satellite Patrol /Satellite and Meteorites/ Scorpion/ Sea Wolf/ Seafox/ Serpentine/ Shamus/ Sir Lancelot/ Skibbereen/ Skyblazer/ Space Ric-o-shay/ Spiders of Mars/ Spike's Peak/ Spills and Fills/ Springer/ Star Battle/ Star Post/ Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator/ Sub Chase/ Submarine Commander/ Super Amok/ Super Slot/ Super Smash

T
Terraguard/ The Sky is Falling/ Threshold/ Topper/ Turmoil/ Tutankham/ Type Attack/ Typo

V
Video Vermin/ Videomania/ Visible Solar System




THE WILD BUNCH PROJECT
THE C64 CONVERSION

http://www.gamesplaygames.co.uk/thewildbunch/
http://www.gamesplaygames.co.uk/thewildbunch/music/jonwells_wildbunchstory.mp3

THE STORY SO FAR.......
It was back in Nov 1987 when I got mitts on a shiny new C64! Having been a Classic on the good old Spectrum (which I also owned) and Amstrad, and a firm favourite of mine, I was very surprised when I found that Firebird hadn't made a C64 version! By early 1988 I was increasingly getting more interested in the programming side of things and so started to learn 64 Basic. What with The Wild Bunch being mostly written in Basic I quickly decided to do my own conversion as a sort of pet project and learning curve. Having acquired the full Spectrum Basic listing of the game it placed me in good stead to undertake what was then a mammoth task.

I learned a lot during the conversion, but unfortunately I couldn?t finish it as I needed Assembly experience to handle the Gunfight bitmap sequence and music. Also, around then I had

limited time due to starting college and also getting contract work with Cult/D+H Games. Around the time the work was put on hold (mid 1988) The Wild Bunch project was completed to around 80% and fully playable.

Now 20 years later, following an email from Frank Gasking of GTW regarding the project and after finding the lost disks with my original conversion work on, The Wild Bunch Commodore 64 conversion has been resurrected and is to be completed once and for all! With the original Wild Bunch approaching its 25th birthday at the end of this year the intended deadline is scheduled for a New Year 2009 release.

ORDERING INFORMATION
The Wild Bunch will be made available as a one-off Special Limited Edition tape for the Commodore 64 and will cost only 3.99 + 1.00 UK P&P, outside the


UK Overseas P&P is 2.50. Once all copies are sold there wont be any more duplication runs so to guarantee your copy, you should pre-order securely using PayPal.
http://www.gamesplaygames.co.uk/thewildbunch/

NEWS - 13th April 2008
The Gunfight street scene is completed! Check out my diary below for screenshots!

NEWS - 12th April 2008
Work has started on the Gunfight street scene today, keep an eye on the diary over the next few days as I'll be attempting to complete this scene over the weekend!

NEWS - 8th April 2008
The Wild Bunch Loading screen is complete. See my Diary entry for more details!

NEWS - 6th April 2008
The Wild Bunch has now been made available for overseas pre-orders. I Have also added Kenz's Diary entries in a new section below.

NEWS - 12th March 2008
Kenz to contribute to the project! Following a few emails to my buddy and all round C64 hero Jason 'Kenz' Mackenzie of Binary Zone, BIT Live and BITS fame he has agreed to contribute to the project! He will be helping in various areas and designing the full colour inlay and label packaging using the original Spectrum's into a fully authentic Commodore 64 version! Our intention is to produce a one-off special limited edition small duplication run on tape with full colour authentic packaging for Commodore 64 collectors. These will be closely based on the original Firebird Spectrum & Amstrad packaging to make it as authentic as possible.

To cover production/duplication costs this will be sold for 3.99 with 1.00 postage for UK and 2.50 postage for Overseas orders. There will only be one duplication run of this product so to reserve your copy you should pre-order using the UK or Overseas paypal
DEVELOPMENT DIARY
12th-13th April 2008
I started work on The Wild Bunch Gunfight street scene. I used the Spectrum screen that Kenz had sorted out for me on a c64 disk, which I converted onto PC first. Using Congo I converted this straight into multicolour mode to see how it looked in 64 multicolour form at its most basic. As you can see from the screenshot below a lot of work would be needed to enhance this fully!


The other problem with this screen is that it?s smaller than the 64 screen size. The spectrum screen is 256 x 176 pixels, whereas the 64?s screen size is 320 x 200 pixels. I decided the best way would be to keep the original size of the Speccy?s and just add the extra border around the outside and continue the buildings into this area. I did this using Photoshop and a half an hour later the original

Spectrum screen looked like this:

Following this I added in some brickwork effects on the buildings in Photoshop before the initial conversion was to take place in Congo and upon doing this it actually wasn?t too bad at all, but it still needed a heck of a lot of work to optimise it for the 64. I spent the next 3-4 hours editing and tweaking, but still a lot of work left to do. I decided to spend most of the next day (Sunday 13th) finishing it off. I continued more work on the Gunfight scene today, but before I began I coded a quick routine in the CCS64 emulator and loaded in the existing bitmap to get it to display on the screen. This was saved for later use. I proceeded with the bitmap in Congo doing a good 3 hours more worth of tweaking, changing and playing around with various looks and eventually I managed to get it to a stage I am happy with. Now during the development of the bitmap I had an idea to make the most from the bitmap in which I can change the colours of the building, sky and ground in-game. About 4-5 colours were not used so I colourized each building using any unused colours including purple, green, red etc. Following this I adapted my code so I can use a lookup table and replace the red, green, purple colours with any colour I like. The great thing about this is that I can use the same bitmap, but make the scene look different by mixing the 16 colour palette and building colours. I can also darken the
ground and sky to make the scene look like night-time or dusk for example which will give each Gunfight scene a more varied look!

Once this was complete I downloaded Sprite Pad on the PC and started work on the actual Gunfighter sprite. I simply magnified the original Spectrum Gunfighter and copied him pixel for pixel into 64 sprites, but I added an additional multicolour sprite for underlying behind the Hi-res black outline. This gives the Gunfighter full colour for his face and clothing and I can vary these colours in the game depending on who you are having a gunfight with. This will again add some variety to the scene. As an additional extra I created a Hi-res cactus for the background. Finally, I bolted all this together into my code and tested it for various scene styles, two of which you can at last see below.

I have a few plans for the Gunfight sequence which will add something extra for the 64 version compared to the Spectrum and Amstrad, though I'm not saying any more as that'd spoil it for you. You'll have to find this out yourself when you play the game!


8th April 2008
The Wild Bunch loading/title bitmap screen has been created! This was developed over a 3 hour period last night. I used the original Hi-res Spectrum loading screen which I opened into Photoshop on the PC. From here I added a rainbow effect on the red sky, I then saved and loaded this into the Congo PC graphics tool, this allows you to convert an image into any Commodore 64 bitmap form.

Before I started I had to resize the image into 320x200 pixels for the full 64 screen. Following this I used the dithering feature to convert the rainbow effect and hi-res picture into C64 multi-colours and spent some 2 hours tweaking the rough edges and adding my own colouring to the sun, cactus, and wording. I may come back to this at a later stage to see if I can improve on it further, but for now you can see the results in the screenshot below!

5th April 2008
The Wild Bunch project website goes live!

27th March 2008
Kenz produces The Wild Bunch website layout for me to modify and use for the pre-order, news and diary of the game.

26th March 2008
I have created more music for the game, the jingle which plays when the map is shown. Also the music that plays when you take a shot character or prisoner to the sheriffs office following the gunfight sequence.

22nd March 2008
Kenz finishes first proof version of The Wild Bunch inlay. See below! Wow, very nice!

21st March 2008
The story so far intro music has been composed. I'm using the Commodore 64's Dutch USA music player tool on my PC running the excellent CCS64 Emulator to handle all the audio music for the game.

Click here http://www.gamesplaygames.co.uk/thewildbunch/music/jonwells_wildbunchstory.mp3
to download an mp3 snippet of the track!

18th March 2008
The original Spectrum inlay and tape label is scanned and sent to Kenz for re-designing and development.

16th March 2008
Using some handy emulation tools the original Spectrum 48k Basic listing is re-printed and my Commodore 64 conversion listing printed for comparison and reworking to ensure the conversion retains the same strategy elements and formulas as the Spectrum. With these in hand I can make any changes to my old source to bring it much closer to the original. It'll also make it easy for me to read through and pick up from where I'd left off 20 years ago!

2nd March 2008
I find my lost C64 work disks with the old Wild Bunch conversion source on! This was no mean feat, what with well over 500 work disks to sift through it took me quite a few days to actually find all the disks with the Wild Bunch source on. There were so many different snippets of source and work data that I've done across many disks over the years that it was very difficult to label and keep track. I use my old Windows 98 PC a CBM 1541 disk drive and PC to 1541 cable and convert the Wild Bunch disks into .d64 images on the PC. Now I can work on this project using the CCS64 Emulator on my modern office PC!

KENZ's DIARY
22nd March 2008
My next job was to airbrush the front of the inlay to change the yellow border from the Spectrum version to a red border to show it's a C64 game. Using the C64 Firebird game 'Arcade Classics' as a guide I noticed the bottom section of the border on the C64

game was still yellow but the top section was red so I carefully airbrushed the top section of the Wild Bunch inlay to match. I then lifted the COMMODORE 64 / 128 text from the Arcade Classics inlay and placed it onto the Wild Bunch inlay. I then produced a red box to go on the spine of the inlay to show that it is the CBM 64 / 128 version of the game. To finish off the inlay I retyped all the instructions and added C64 loading instructions. I also changed the credits to suit this new version of the game. And voila! The C64 inlay was complete. I then printed a test inlay, took a few photos of it in a tape box and emailed them to Jon for his feedback.

21st March 2008
I began working on the Wild Bunch inlay today! My first job was to remove the creases where the original tape inlay had been folded. This took a good few hours as I had to rebuild the pictures of the cowboys shown in the background on the inlay. I also had to carefully restore the sky and ground so it all blended together nicely. Ironically, this was the hardest part of the inlay to produce and you probably won't notice any of it as the inlay will be folded once again when it gets put into the tape boxes! After that I removed any remaining blemishes, creases and small marks from the inlay and then set about getting rid of the two holes from the back of the inlay. These were the holes that the 'tape lugs' on the tape box went through to keep the tape secure in the box. Nowadays you can get clear tape boxes with no lugs (which I think look much nicer) so I got rid of the holes. This meant more art working to restore the background images and I also redid the screenshots as one of the holes was punched right through where the screenshots are illustrated on the inlay. I used nice cripsy clear screens from the emulator on the inlay which look much sharper than the ones on the original Spectrum inlay.

18th March 2008
I received the tape inlay scans from the Spectrum version of the Wild Bunch from Jon today so I set about creating a tape inlay template in PhotoShop to ensure my artwork prints at the correct size. I then dropped Jons scans into the template and worked out what needed to be done to the artwork. Jons timing was perfect as it's Easter in a few days which means I'll have a bit of extra time to work on the inlay artwork.

12th March 2008
I received a very interesting email from Jon today which mentioned he was resurrecting his old conversion of the Speccy / Amstrad budget title 'The Wild Bunch'. I was rather excited by this news as I used to LOVE that game on the Speccy as it was one of the early Firebird budget games I bought. Anyhoo, Jon mentioned he would like to produce a special edition of the game on tape complete with authentic artwork so I offered my photoshop services and requested that Jon send me hi-res scans of the inlay to have a fiddle with. It looks like me and Jon are now collaborating on a C64 project after all these years. COOL!

27th February 2008
So there I was minding my own business when **SHAZAM!** an email arrived from my good C64 chum Jon Wells. I had tons of fun working with Jon (along with Alf Yngve, Paul 'FeekZoid' Hannay and Jason 'TMR' Kelk) on various C64 projects back in the 90's so it was great to hear from him again after all this time. I was also really pleased to hear he had been working on a new C64 release - the Sideways SEUCK Project - so I crafted a little banner for him in order to help promote it. But that was only the beginning ... !

Commodore Free
would like to thank the project Jon Wells for providing permission to reprint this information





DIRMASTER version 2
http://style64.org


DirMaster is a Windows graphical disk management tool for manipulating commodore disk images using windows drop and drag features and supporting a wide range of disk image types, but it is a lot more than that.

DirMaster
How do you improve on the best!, I guess you just have to listen to feedback and make your application that bit more special. Well that?s exactly what?s happened with DirMaster. This is a superb tool, that has recently been updated to version 2.0; and although I looked at an earlier version in Commodore Free magazine I decided to do a full review of version 2.0

To install DirMaster you will need a Windows machine with either windows 2000, Windows xp or vista although the documentation says it may work with windows 98 there are no promises to that effect. As with all Windows installations you will need to have administrator privilege over your machine. Download the installation package and double click to install it?s that simple.

But hey aren?t there hundreds of these tools available for creating and manipulating Commodore Disk images?

well yes there are versions for dos as well as windows and they all work, some are clumsy and some do support dropping and dragging some are quite good but nothing seems as slick as this application, read on and you will see why.

Smooth as silk
First let me explain the dragging and dropping on the application, select a file lets say it?s a text document, first run the DirMaster and create or open a disk image now left click the file and HOLD the mouse button, drag the file onto the disk image and then let the mouse button go, hey presto as if by magic the text file is now in the disk image this function alone is a real timesaver, I am sure windows users will appreciate this.

The opposite also works so lets say you have a text file in a disk image and you want to extract it to another folder or your windows desktop for example, open the disk image, and left click the file HOLD the mouse button down and move the file to its new location on the desktop or in another folder, let go of the mouse button and the file is extracted! Double clicking on the text file in the disk image will open the file for reading as shown in the screen shot of Issue 17 March 2008 Editor comments.

Hey wait that?s just one feature of the application;
You could for example open 2 disk images and copy files between the 2 using drop and drag. You can also open the application and drag a disk image onto the running application; this will open the disk image for viewing. Or you can run the application and select file ? Open but that?s just a bit dull. You can multi select disk images, drag them over the running application and they will open in separate windows for viewing. Disk images that have changed by adding modifying or deleting files will show there status of a change without being saved by adding an asterisk to the file name as shown the disk image is godot127.d64 I changed one of the files by deleting it and the disk status has changed to godot127.d64 *

Ok I am getting way to excited lets look at some of the menu items starting left to right

Open a Disk image
Well fairly self explanatory click this icon to open a disk image for viewing or editing, also when installed if you want you can have the application assign itself to d64,d81 etc so double clicking a Disk image will open a disk image

Save a Disk Image
Guess what this saves the current disk image, also closing the disk image will prompt the user ?the disk image has changed do you wish to save?

Find disk
Very nice feature you can hunt for a file in a disk image by selecting a folder to search and giving the filename as shown below

Show Commodore tool
Pops open a box with the Commodore character set, inversed video normal, small case and commodore characters? you can then click on one to enter it in the name of your applications title

Show separator tool
some disk images use separators? between filenames clicking this tool provides a preset number of separator files for the user to click and enter into there disk image

Change the case
Toggles the case in a disk image or in a text file so upper case letters become lower case and vice a versa

File Properties
Shows the properties of a selected file giving
Name / Type (prg etc) / file size / tract and sector /date etc

Bam Edit
If you don?t know what BAM edit is this wont be any use to you,

Move Up or down
Moves the file in a disk image up or down so its higher or lower in the disk listing order

Jump to sector
Opens the Sector editing tool

Change to parent directory
Changes

Toggle font size
Changes the size of the text and so reduces the size of the disk image windows there are 2 sizes normal and small to toggle between

Toggles Hidden characters?
Turns on or off hidden characters? in a file

Show Deleted files
Toggle?s on or of the display of deleted files in the disk image

Colours
Changes the display background and text of a disk image purely cosmetic the first sets the background colour the second the text colour, again this is just the amount of attention to detail the programmers have added to the application, its not an essential item to have but makes things easier on the eye

These are the main parts of the program you will use again all very intuitive and if you cant remember what one of the icons does hovering over it will show a text hint,

Other functions from the pull down menu are Validate disk, batch processing

If you click in the disk window on a basic program for example, then you are shown the listing of the basic application shown below is a disk from Loadstar, the loader application is in basic and double-clicking on the file opens up a box with the basic listed, right clicking on the text allows the copying of selected text to windows clipboard and pasting into any application as shown below (a selection of the highlighted text)
I would have liked to have seen an option to print the text out preserving the Commodore character set and special characters

dv=peek(186):ifdv<8thendv=8
5 poke32767,13:poke53371,0
6 poke65534,1:rem s-key on
10 poke53281,0:poke53280,0:print RSTUVWXYZ []{}"":ifpeek(653)=0thenpoke53265,11:gosub100
11 poke53265,27: tq=ti:poke198,0:ifpeek(653)=0thengosub1000:goto13
12 poke53280,11:poke53281,11:goto50
13 rem

Also the display can be toggled between 40 and 80 column mode to allow more or less text on the screen,

But I am really out of space in this what was supposed to be a mini review


The minimise maximise and red cross close buttons and the borders of the screen in the DirMaster review are copyrighted to Microsoft corporation as well as the trademarks Windows, windows 98, windows 2000, windows vista and windows xp and the abbreviations xp,vista,98,2k




Interview with Robert Bernardo Commodore enthusiast
and Commodore promoter

COMMODORE FREE ? Please introduce yourself to our readers.

ROBERT BERNARDO ? Hello to all my Commodore and Amiga friends! I'm Robert Bernardo, long-time C= enthusiast and president of the Fresno Commodore User Group (FCUG).

CF ? What do you do for a living?

RobertB ? I'm an English teacher at a middle school in California. Specifically, I teach English as a Second Language to students in grades 6-8 (ages 11-14). I'm in my 29th year of teaching.

CF ? How did you first come in contact with the Commodore brand? Can you remember your first Commodore machine, and do you still own the machine?

RobertB ? Back in 1981, I took a class for teachers; if I remember correctly, it was something called, ?Computers in Education?. This was a whole new world for teachers. Using computers in the public school setting was a new and mysterious frontier, because there were so few classroom computers in our area. Well, we met in an office setting with rows of Tandy 3 computers ready to be used. We were taught the basics ? how to turn them on, what a floppy disk was; how to load, run, and save; how to use BASIC language. We moved slowly through the day-long curriculum. By the end of the day, I received a pat-on-the-back in the form of a certificate, and I thought that was that.

In 1982 I started seeing magazine advertisements for the inexpensive Commodore 64. At the same time, I took another teachers' class in MS-DOS which had me relearn the basics of using a computer, in addition to those MS-DOS commands. In 1983 with more and more advertisements for the Commodore 64, I started feeling the need to get one. My best friend at that time had the same notion. We scanned
the magazine and newspaper ads constantly for a good deal. Finally in August of 1983, Federated Electronics, a chain store throughout California,
advertised the C64 for $199.95 plus if you bought it, you'd get the CBM bonus cassette pack for free. What a deal! At that time, I was still a poor teacher with no credit. I bought it, but it was about 2/5 of my monthly net salary! The computer was such a best-seller that the store ran out of the bonus cassette pack, and I had to get a raincheck to pick it up later. I was so excited; I brought the C64 home and eagerly pored through the user's guide, keying in the sample programs and watching what they did on screen of the little black-and-white t.v. I used. However, I couldn't save anything, because I had no disk drive nor cassette drive.

It was only a month or two later that I bought a cassette drive for it, but not the CBM cassette drive because it was more expensive; I bought a knock-off drive for $30. I bought my data cassettes from Radio Shack in the belief that those C-10 or C-20 blank cassettes were superior to regular cassettes. I saved the few user guide programs but had no source for more. For what else could I use this new-fangled wonder? Then I bought my first commercial program, the Quick Brown Fox word-processing cartridge. Its manual humorously led me through my first steps in writing a document, but I had no printer to use! Then after using it a few times, I accidently pulled the cart out with the computer on; I had shorted out the cart, and it was useless.

In 1984, the computer magazines started coming out ? Home Computer, Compute!, Computes! Gazette, etc.. Also the stores started having shelves just for computer software, not just one or two pieces of software but dozens and dozens. I bought Totl. Text 2.6, a word processor on cassette. I was back into using the C64 usefully. My best friend bought a disk drive and a 1525 printer, the printer capable of printing graphics. I had my choice ? buy a 1541 disk drive for $400 or buy a Royal daisywheel typewriter with Centronics interface for $400. A letter-quality printer... I had to have it. Not only was it a sophisticated typewriter, but it would become a peripheral for my Commodore. O.K., printing graphics was not a high-priority for me. With the additional Centronics cable that I had to order for $20 and a type-in program included with the typewriter, Totl. Text 2.6 was able to use the Royal typewriter. Because my best friend was deeply interested in Commodore, too, he would key in magazine type-in programs for me and save them to cassette so that I could use them. A lot of those programs were games and utilities, and some were educational programs for children.

In the summer of 1984, I took a teachers' university class on what was basically word-processing class with the program, Bank Street Writer for Apple II. Yes, there were rows and rows of Apple II's for teachers to use, and though I dutifully did my lessons on the Apple II, I always thought of the alternative of the C64. For our final project, we were to write a multi-branching story for students to read. The other teachers used the Apple II's, but with the permission of my instructor, I brought in my C64 and datasette drive and wrote the story with the C64 and Totl. Text.

By September, 1984, I brought my one C64 set-up to the classroom ? one of the first teachers to have a computer in the class. With the typewriter/printer and the C64, I was able to write letter-quality papers and then mimeograph those for the students. The students used educational games from the magazines, like Sea Route to India (a simulation) and Hangman.

When the Gemco department store declared bankruptcy in 1985, the store had a clearance sale of everything, including a huge selection of Commodore items. I bought my next Commodore computer then, a SX-64, for $400 plus tax. I now had a disk drive, and that opened up the bigger world of Commodore programs on disk. Students were now able to use commercial, disk-based programs, like Cave of the Word Wizard.

Good thing that I got the SX-64, because the old C64 had become flaky. I had replaced the original power supply when my best friend had his C64 die due to a bad power supply. That bit of prevention wasn't enough. The keyboard became unresponsive. Some replacement 6526 CIAs and a keyboard cleaning couldn't help it. I had to retire it.

Later in 1985, Commodore 128s and 1571 disk drives had dropped in price to $200 each. I went to the Montgomery Ward department store, bought the 128, and reserved a 1571, because those drives had sold out. A few weeks later when I came back to pick up the delivered 1571, I had to show my driver's license just to release the 1571 into my hands; those drives were in such demand.

The 80-column display was a special treat; what I saw on the screen was more akin to what was printed out. I was on the hunt for C128 programs that specifically catered to the machine's abilities. In those days, I was not part of a user group, the nearest, the Stockton Commodore User Group being 3 hours away, with meetings held on a weeknight. I had to depend on C= magazines and retail stores to keep me informed on what was happening with Commodore. I'd go to the local bookstore to pick up the monthly Loadstar disk magazine; I'd go to Sears, Montgomery Ward, Software Etc., or Software & Such to select C64 and C128 programs off the shelves. I'd go to the gigantic Commodore Business Machines-sponsored World of Commodore shows that were held in Los Angeles in one year and San Francisco the next year. Thousands and thousands would go to those shows! I remember in 1986 I walked up to the CBM booth and directly asked a representative if CBM was going to drop support for the C128 in favor of the brand new Amiga computer. The rep gave me a look of disdain and denied that the C128 support would be cancelled. Of course, now we know the truth.

By early 1986, I was doing class grades with the Info magazine-rated spreadsheet program, Vizastar 128. In the middle of doing my first grades with Vizastar, the C128 system decided to quit working! Grades were due in a few days! Not knowing whether it was the C128 or the 1571 that had gone bad and not having time to repair the system at the local Commodore repair shop, I ordered a C128DCR from Lyco Computer in Nevada. It was over $600! The computer came in time, and I was able to finish my grades. That computer served me well; from 1986 to 2003 I used it to calculate the grades. It was only in 2003, when the school district told me I had to do grades on their system, that I stopped doing grades on the C128.

Over all those years, there would always be a Commodore in the classroom, first with the C64, then the SX-64, and then finally a mix of C64s and C128s. During the heyday of my putting C= computers in the class, I had up to 4 or 5 systems on the side tables, ready for the students to use. By 2003, the district was pouring Windows desktop computers into the classroom, and the Commodores had to be moved aside for those. However, I still have a C128DCR in the room. Earlier in 2007, I brought in a PET 2001 for students to ogle; when I told them that they were looking at a 30-year old computer, they all said, ?Ooooo!?

CF ? The Fresno Commodore User Group ? http://videocam.net.au/fcug/ Tell our readers about this group.

RobertB -- Throughout the mid-1980's and the early 1990's, though the faraway Stockton Commodore User Group was hours away, I tried to maintain contact with that group. By December 1994, the president of that group told me that there was a Commodore user group in nearby Fresno. In January 1995 I eagerly drove over to Fresno and found the Fresno Commodore User Group, meeting at the downtown public library. The members warmly greeted me, were helpful to the Nth degree, and satisfied my need to belong. I immediately became a member. Two years later I was elected as president of the group, and to my chagrin, I'm still president. In all the years that I've been with the group, at various times I've served as disk-of-the-month editor and as newsletter editor. Nine months into my membership with FCUG, I started writing for the club newsletter, and I've been writing ever since that time.

The history of this Fresno Commodore club started back in 1981. Our oldest members told me that back then there were 2 C= groups, which finally combined forces to form FCUG. What an organization it was in the early days! Meetings were held at the local adult school which had banks and banks of Commodore 64s to use. Attendance at such meetings was 150-200. Meetings were bi-weekly.

Nowadays FCUG meetings are monthly, held on the third Sunday of the month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pizza Pit Restaurant. As mentioned above, when I joined up, meetings were in the public library. However, the library kept reserving the meeting room to other groups, though we supposedly had a long-term lock on the room. After being frustrated several times in getting the room, we made arrangements to meet at the public meeting room in a shopping mall. After several months of using that, we were moved into the senior citizens' center of the mall. We thought we had a permanent meeting place for sure, but after a few years there, we were told that the room was to be used for other purposes and such a senior citizens center would be moved out... somewhere. That answer was not good enough for us; it might have been months before a new venue would be found. With the help of another FCUG member, we discovered the Pizza Pit, the owner being happy to host our group (and also make some money from our hungry members, I'm sure).

The Pizza Pit is a good place to meet, though when the Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500 races are broadcast on the big-screen t.v.'s there, the place is too crowded and noisy to hold our meetings. We then move to a nearby, calmer Mexican restaurant and its meeting room.

Membership in our club has stayed steady at about 25, but few are now from the Fresno area. The rest are spread throughout the United States and England. Our treasury has stayed steady, too; in other words, we have plenty of money in the treasury. Our newsletter, the Interface, is nominally a bi-monthly newsletter. In the early 2000's we had three different newsletters coming out of the club ? the Interface from our editor, C= Voyages from me, and The Halfling, a more folksy newsletter from another member. Yeah, we were writers in those days.

In 2005 Jeri Ellsworth, creator of the CommodoreOne and the C64 DTV, contacted me about organizing a West Coast Commodore show. I then contacted Bruce Thomas of the Commodore Users of Edmonton, who had the same idea of such a show, too. If it were not for the backing of FCUG and the Clark County Commodore Computer Club (of Las Vegas), the Commodore Vegas Expo, CommVEx, would have never gotten off the ground in 2005 and would not have continued to this day.

When I joined FCUG in 1995, there were several clubs throughout California, like the Commodore Hayward User Group (CHUG), Fremont-Union City-Newark-Hayward User Group (FUNHUG), C= West/AWest in San Francisco, the Diablo Valley Commodore User Group (DVCUG), A Bakersfield Computer User Society (ABACUS), the Valley Computer Club in Modesto, the Long Beach Commodore User Group, the C64 Preservation Society in Red Bluff, CIVIC 64 in Ventura, the Sacramento Commodore User Group, and the Stockton Commodore User Group. I visited most of those clubs. By 2007, FCUG was the only one still in existence. Sure, there are two Amiga clubs and at least two retrogaming groups left in California, but if you want nearly 100% Commodore, you come to FCUG. We remain devoted to Commodore.

CF - How would our reader join FCUG, and what would they be entitled to as a user?

RobertB ? Club membership is only $12 a year. You'd send us a check/money order to our club address at 3487 E. Terrace, Fresno, California 93703. Alternatively, you can send us the money through Paypal (but no credit cards through Paypal).

For your membership, you get at least 6 issues of our Interface newsletter, access to our disk library of 2,000 to 3,000 disks, and interesting, late-breaking C= news by e-mail.

CF - Are you a member or promoter of any other Commodore groups?

RobertB -- I also belong to The Other Group of Amigoids (TOGA), an Amiga club out of the San Jose area of California. I'm an honorary member of the Fort Collins Commodore Club (FC3) of Fort Collins, Colorado and of the Anything Commodore User Group (ACUG) of Astoria, Oregon. Also I'm trying to start up a new club in Southern California called SCCAN ? the Southern California Commodore/Amiga Network (formerly known as CAN). Based in the northern area of Los Angeles, we've had monthly meetings since December and now those meetings are bi-monthly, the next one being in May.

CF - What makes Commodore special?

RobertB - A Commodore computer is a friend, and for many of us, a long-time friend. It's a way of life ? a multi-functional device long before the 2008 machines we have today. On it, we run games, compose and play music, write documents, publish our newsletters, balance our portfolio, keep our records, draw our art, digitize our photos, make our animations, and code our programs. It's a fun computer... with a different feel when compared to the Windows and Mac computers of today. It has its quirks, as all computers do, but these quirks are familiar, understandable, and comforting.

CF - Our readers have noticed your photo and name appearing everywhere related to Commodore. Can you comment?

RobertB - That is just a misconception. I can't be everywhere in regards to Commodore. I just report and record the shows and meetings that I attend. I just spread Commodore news to users ? whether through e-mail, at the forums, or in the newsgroups. I just try to be helpful, friendly, and interested in all things Commodore and Amiga. If that makes me a cheerleader for Commodore, then so be it. Of course, when I retire from the teaching profession, I'll have a lot more time to attend many more Commodore and Amiga events and meetings.

At such events I've met many good people and some famous ones, too. Whether they are C= newbies or veterans, regular users or industry types, it?s been a honor to meet all of them. Speaking of those in the industry, it was quite exciting to meet such CBM notables as Jack Tramiel, Bil Herd, Dave Haynie, Bob Russell, and Dale Luck.

CF - Tell our reader about your treks to collect and redistribute Commodore hardware.

RobertB - I usually get e-mails from former users who have discovered the FCUG website. They want to unload their collection of Commodore and Amiga goods, but they don't want to dispose of the goods in the landfill. They want to donate those items to our club in the hopes that others may productively use the Commodore and Amiga goods they once enjoyed.

I've been up and down the state of California and into Oregon and Nevada in order to rescue the items; that's a lot of gasoline used and many hours on the road! Usually, the rescued items are in good to excellent condition. Those items are packed into my large car; sometimes I must make several trips to the same former user just to finish getting everything. Then those items are brought to one of four storage places ? my house, the rental storage facility, my parents' house, or the ?storage? house. From there, they can be distributed to those who need hardware and/or software.

If a FCUG member needs an item, he/she has first crack at getting it. If an inquiry comes from someone outside the club, I do my best to find that item. (We don't have a database of all the goods we have. To make up such a database would take months of cataloging!) If the item has a good prospect of being sold, then it is brought to the few shows where we have a vending table. We've had a vending table at the Vintage Computer Festival and at the Classic Gaming Expo. Perhaps this year we'll have a vending table at the Commodore Vegas Expo. The only problem ? who is going to transport all of that stuff all that way to Las Vegas?!

I think our vending prices are more than fair, maybe even outrageously low ? just enough to cover the cost of the table and put a some dollars into the club treasury. Five dollars for a C64 with power supply and box (if provided), five dollars for a 1541 disk drive, ten dollars for a flat C128 with power supply, ten dollars for a 1571 disk drive, 1701/2 monitor or similar - $15, 1902 monitor or similar -- $20, packaged software -- $1, cartridges -- $1 to $2, extra computer magazines and books ? take them away for free. Compare those with prices at eBay.com, a place I rarely visit these days when I have so much in storage already.

I remember one year at VCF; we barely covered the cost of the table, having only a few dollars of profit to put in the treasury. It's chancy; one year software sells big; another year it's hardware. You never know what the public is into. A big thank you to all those who have bought items at our table!

CF - "I ADORE MY 64" What's all this with the badges? When we met, you presented me with one. I wear it all the time, but the clip is slightly broken and sometimes falls off. I really need a new one; are they for sale?

RobertB - Hey, the badge is there to show our solidarity in Commodore! I used to sell the replica badges for $3 each at shows, but now I just give them away. I'll give you another one.

CF - Videos and pictures of many Commodore events are credited to you. Can you tell our readers why?

RobertB - I started taking photos and videos of the shows in the late 1990's. First and foremost, they were a record to which I could refer when I needed information. Then I found out that other people wanted to see the photos. Not having a personal website, I relied on the kindness of others to host the photos, especially our club treasurer who has put up many of the photos at his website. In the late 90's and early 2000's, when anyone wanted a copy of the show videos, I would transfer them to VHS tape, Beta tape, and later DVDs for a nominal cost (a dollar or two to cover the cost of the tapes, some cents to cover the cost of DVDs, and a few dollars more to cover postage and to put into the FCUG treasury). I think the most we have ever sold was 10 sales at one time. Who would have known back in the those early days that there would be video-sharing websites on the Internet now? (I didn't know back then, and so, you can hear my comments and other utterances while I was taping. Nowadays, I'm much more careful.)

There are those who want me to put all the videos up on the Web now. However, as I have explained before to such people, I only have a dial-up connection at my house, and at work the school district would take a very dim view of me uploading hours and hours of video on their work computers. For my friends or those who buy the videos, I am not loath to them putting up the videos on the Net. In my circumstances, I myself just can't do it.

Just recently, Ian Matthews of Commodore.ca and Dave Haynie (former Amiga engineer who runs his own video production company) have been kind enough to post some of my videos but not all. They ask; I can provide. If they don't ask, then I don't force any more videos upon them.

CF - What Commodore machines do you own and use?

RobertB - Too many! I have my main C128DCR set-up, several back-up C128DCRs, a couple of SX-64s (one highly modded), a few Plus/4s (NTSC and PAL), a few VIC-20s, several brown and cream C64s (NTSC and PAL), a PET 2001, a PET 4032, a couple of PET 8032s, a 64GS, a C128D (plastic, PAL), an Argentinian Drean C64C, a calculator or two, many different drives including CMD, C64 DTVs (NTSC and PAL, unmodded and modded), Hummer DTVs, CommodoreOne, Amiga 1000s, 500s, 2000s, an A3000, an A4000, and an AmigaOne.

CF - Do you own any other "non" Commodore machines ?

RobertB - I own various classic game consoles ? two Intellivision IIs, a Colecovision, a Nintendo Entertainment System (8-bit) , and the one which I constantly feed with homebrew games, the Vectrex. I also have a 1978 Star Trek pinball arcade machine and am looking for a Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator electronic arcade machine and the 1991 Star Trek 25th anniversary pinball machine. In the collection, there's also a Texas Instruments TI-99 for which I have the Star Trek: SOS cart (it talks!) and an Apple IIGS computer.

The IIGS has had an interesting history. Other than myself who has kept 8-bit computers in the classroom, one of the veteran science teachers at my school kept Apple II's in the his room, long past the time when other rooms and labs had switched to Windows computers. He used Apple IIe's, a IIc, and a GS. However, by last June, he had dumped all the Apples onto the sidewalk; he was replacing them with slightly newer Mac LC's and Power Macintoshes (formerly used by the school, too). The school janitors hauled away the remains of the Apples, but I was able to rescue the GS, due in no small part to what Jeri Ellsworth said to me, i.e., that a GS is a great computer. When I got to show her the GS haul, she was amazed that it even included an accelerator card. She said that all I have to do is find a hard drive for it.

As you can see, in terms of 8-bit computer longevity in the class, the Commodore and I have even won out over the Apple II and the science teacher.

CF - Tell us about Star Trek. What is the link with Commodore?

RobertB - Star Trek has had a long history with Commodore. Before Commodore was in the computer biz, Star Trek games were played on mainframe computers in universities. Back in the mid-1970's, fellow students invited me to go to the computer center at the University of California in Davis and get onto the terminal of the mainframe in order to play Star Trek. Too bad I never had the time because of my English studies!

Then when the Commodore PET came out, William Shatner, Captain Kirk of Star Trek fame, started advertising for it. I didn't know it at the time. When the Commodore VIC-20 came out in the early 1980's, I may or may not have seen the television commercial starring the good captain. He also did print advertisements for the VIC-20.

With the release of the C64, there were several Star Trek games developed, many looking like or improving upon the old mainframe ST games. I thought that it was a marvel that the VIC-20 and the C64 had the Star Trek: Space Operations Simulator. Based on the arcade game of the same name, these 8-bit versions had the same, revolutionary, 3-windowed screen of the arcade version, minus the vector graphics and certain sounds.

Star Trek games continued being developed, e.g., there was Star Trek: 25th Anniversary for the Amiga 1200/4000.

These days I still enjoy the Commodore/Star Trek connection. As a member of Shatner & Friends, International, we get to meet with William Shatner once a year, have lunch and/or dinner with him, and follow him in his activities, like attending a filming of his t.v. show, Boston Legal, or going to the Hollywood Charity Horse Show and banquet which he hosts. And every year I've brought a Commodore item for Bill to autograph ? first a 1581, then a VIC-20, the next year a Commodore telephone, another year C64 DTVs, last year a Star Trek: SOS cart and a Star Trek: 25th Anniversary package. This year I was thinking of bringing him a PET 2001 keyboard (but not the entire case!) and a SX-64.

Then there is the long-planned Star Trek game that I want to create on the Commodore or on the Amiga. Being no programmer, I would do such a game with the Shoot 'Em Construction Kit. Yes, get it made the down-and-dirty way! I've already planned a storyboard for it; now where did I put it?

CF - Would you like to comment on what you think went wrong with Commodore? If Commodore did make a comeback, what should they make and sell and why?

RobertB -- I don't like to speculate on what happened to Commodore Business Machines nor on what would have been if CBM were to have gone a certain way. I find it fruitless to be involved in such sort of imaginings... kind of like political discussions... nothing is ever decided, but the argument continues ad infinitum. I was never a part of the internal workings of CBM and thus cannot truly say what went wrong. All I can say is that parent company support for Commodore and Amiga computers was never really there and that third party companies and the users were the people who kept the C= dream alive.

As for a return of CBM, that would be more speculation but one on which I will comment briefly. In order to stay profitable, such a returning company would need products that would sell well and sell consistently. Would those products support our legacy computers or even be new versions of our legacy computers? It would be nice to think so, but as products that sell well and consistently, no. The company would have to have a product or products that would be the core business, and hopefully, the company would have the money to then produce legacy products that satisfy us legacy users. Such a company would have to have deep pockets to afford such market risks. At the end of its product lifespan, the C64 had less than $5 of parts and was selling at $90 retail. Jeri Ellsworth has mentioned that the C64 DTV had less than $8 or $9 of parts and was selling for $30 retail, with 600, 000 produced and 100,000 of the Hummer DTVs produced. If you do the math, you are talking of large amounts of money and big production runs. Would such a company expose itself to satisfy legacy users? That is the question.

Let's take it a different way. Mammoth Toys produced the C64 DTV and the Hummer DTV. When she worked for Mammoth, Jeri proposed a $40-45 laptop computer, ostensibly marketed to children, based on the DTV ASIC chip. Think of it... a new C64-compatible computer! Mammoth turned down her proposal.

CF - Commodore Gaming. Would you like to comment on this venture?

RobertB -- When I've tried to contact them after the Commodore Gaming Party of July 2007, they've either been extremely slow to respond or haven't responded at all. Though the company does not really support our legacy computers, I have nothing against them, and I wish them the best in their ventures. At least they have a C64 emulator and a selection of games in their Windows gaming computers.

CF - Many items of Commodore hardware are now failing for users (due to the age). What would you do if all your machines and hardware suddenly stopped working.

RobertB -- Ha, that would take a long time, because I have plenty of C= systems in storage. Also with repair craftsmen as Ray Carlsen and Charles Gutman, any repair needs are satisfied. As for Amiga computers, that is more difficult ? fewer systems in storage but thankfully there is a repairperson in the TOGA club.

CF - Commodore is available in an emulated format on various systems. Would you like to comment on emulation?

RobertB -- I've seen a few emulators running on Windows, Mac, and Amiga computers. They are interesting, but they are not for me. I prefer to use the real thing. However, there are those who are big into emulators, and if it fits their needs, then more power to them.

CF - Have you any projects in the works or meetings/conventions you will be shortly attending?
Would you like to promote any meetings/conventions users can attend?

RobertB - Naturally, there are the monthly FCUG meetings that I have to attend. In addition, I try to get to the TOGA meetings, though those are about 3 hours away. Then there are the bi-monthly SCCAN meetings, and those are less than 3 hours away.

I have a slew of events that I've attended or will attend this year ? just one in the Midwest United States this year, because all monies are being devoted to Europe and the events over there. First up was the small MossyCon 4 in Astoria, Oregon on March 16. Then there was the BlockParty 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio on April 4-6. I'm going to try to make it to the June 13 South Essex Amiga Link meeting in Wickford, England. Then I will be at the Netherlands Commodore Show in Maarssen on June 21 (I've been asked to give a presentation.). There is a tentative Commodore Scene meeting in Bradford, England, but the June or July date for that has not been finalized. Then I'll be at the Monastery Party 2008 in Opava, the Czech Republic on June 28-29. After that is the Diengestraff Commodore meeting in Bochum, Germany on July 1. A few days later I'll be at the Amigaclub meeting in Antwerp, Belgium on July 5. On July 27-28 there is the Commodore Vegas Expo which is hosted by our club and the Clark County Commodore Computer Club of Las Vegas, Nevada. In October I'll be at the AmiWest Show in Sacramento, California. The final show of 2008 for me will be the Vintage Computer Festival 11.0 the first weekend of November in Mountain View, California.

CF - Some Commodore users are very passionate to the point they almost reject other users who don't know as much. Can you comment?

RobertB - I suppose you are speaking of the ?elite? or the elite wannabes. They are totally opposite of what I try to promote; they want to exclude people; I want to include people. As Commodore chairman Jack Tramiel said, ?Computers for the masses, not the classes?. The elite take it upon themselves to set up a class of people who are above everybody else.

CF - Why would users reject others with less knowledge? Shouldn't we all stick together in the common cause?

RobertB - In the elite mentality, such people think of themselves as being too good, at a higher plane than all others. Haven't done a demo? Then you are not elite. Haven't programmed? Then you are not elite. Haven't cracked a game? Then you are not elite.

Then there are the cyber-bullies. Unfortunately, the Commodore community has them, too. Whereas, the elite tend to ignore those who don't meet their standards, these cyber-bullies like to socialize and get their jollies by fear, intimidation, threats, and insults. The unmoderated C= newsgroups have them; the C= chat rooms have them. The cyber-bullies reject others, because they want to feel superior, to feel in control. These cyber-bullies love to corner a victim, and they are most obsessive in causing emotional pain to their victim. They revel in wreaking havoc; they are quite proud of their dubious accomplishments. Sorry to say but these people have severe behavioral problems. Best thing to do is to ignore them but document everything they say. Maybe one day, there will be laws to curtail the worst of their behavior.

CF - People now see $$$$ with anything Commodore related. I have been asked to remove game pictures because of copyright infringements. Would you like to comment on this?

RobertB - Well, I think that is just silly. If we are talking about classic game photos and screen captures, I do not see the harm in these showing off. My question is how do other magazines get past this copyright quagmire, e.g., what does RetroGamer magazine do? RetroGamer is full of photos and screen caps of classic games.
CF - How do you rate Commodore Free magazine?

RobertB - Commodore Free is good and getting better! The variety of articles is nice to have. Some detailed proofreading is needed. Run those articles through a spellchecker or have a real person (an English teacher?) find the typos.

CF - I know you are a friend of Allan from www.commodorescene.org.uk Allan had to close the magazine due to lack of subscribers. Personally, I miss the magazine, and it's why I started Commodore Free.

RobertB -- Thank you for publishing Commodore Free. An English language C= magazine is necessary, because the German language magazines just aren't enough.

CF - Allan owes users a large amount of money ? taken from users in order to buy CMD products from Maurice Randall. Now 3 years later, these readers are demanding a refund due to the time it's taken. Maurice seems to have gone quiet and refused to answer Allan's emails for a refund. So, Allan has had to refund from his own pocket.

RobertB -- I was truly sad when I found out that information. Not only did Allan close out Commodore Scene because of the subscriber situation but also because of the customer refunds he has had to make due to Maurice not sending him any CMD products. I commend Allan on his diligence in making good on his customer refunds, especially since he has a wife and children to support.

CF - Do you think someone, like Jens Schoenfeld, should offer to bail out CMD www.cmdrkey.com ?

RobertB -- As I have mentioned to others in our club, Creative Micro Designs does not need bailing out. Maurice has manufacturing and distribution rights to CMD hardware and software, but CMD still owns the copyrights/patents. When Maurice took over the above rights, he mentioned at a convention that he had to pay a hefty monthly fee to CMD for those continuing rights. When Maurice bought those rights and the C= inventory of CMD, the price was $17,000. Whoever wants to take over those rights would not only have to negotiate with Maurice but also with CMD.

CF - Maurice seems to be a great guy, keen to help everyone, and I think he has bitten of more than he can chew. Would you comment?

RobertB -- When I've met him at conventions, he was always affable, and in past years he was helpful on the C= mailing lists, forums, and newsgroups. He hasn't made a public appearance since the Louisville Spring Expo of 2005. I do not know the exact story on why Maurice is not distributing CMD products, and I don't like speculating on this situation.

CF - Would you like to comment on the C=One machine and on the DTV?

RobertB - Oh, each one of those would be a massive story! I'll limit my response to the current state of each system. The CommodoreOne started life as a brilliant idea; however, its execution was damaged by greed and short-sightedness. In order to save a few Euros per board and thus increase profits, the board was cost-reduced to being handicapped. What was eventually produced was not what Jeri Ellsworth envisioned. It is now a board short on FPGA space, a board patched with soldered wires to make it work, a board that cannot contain the super C1 core that Jeri planned. In a surprising statement about what the C1 had become, Jeri said to me, ?The CommodoreOne is crap.?

Finally, in 2006, Jens Schoenfeld tacitly admitted that the C1 was in need of a FPGA overhaul so that development could continue on the super C1 core and other cores. He would produce a FPGA ?extender? board, and it would be sold for 99 Euros. However, late in 2007, thinking that such an extender board wouldn't sell, Jens pulled back on the idea of producing such a cure for the C1. Thus, we are back to square one, back to the year 2002 in which the C1 has been stuck.

The C64 DTV 30-games-in-one joystick also started life with much promise; its eventual execution was damaged by greed and short-sightedness, too. Though ostensibly a toy, Jeri Ellsworth had slyly convinced the producers that including many Commodore features would not cost them another cent. To those in the know, the C64 DTV could be converted back to a computer with enhanced features. It sold well. However, the partner company that paid Jeri for the DTV wanted more. They refused to pay Jeri her royalty per DTV joystick, citing that the DTV was losing money! Though it was supposedly losing money, they still wanted Jeri to continue work on the DTV ASIC chip so they could make a new run of DTVs, possibly with 100 games in the joystick. Without being paid her royalties from the first production runs of the C64 DTV and the Hummer DTV game console, Jeri refused to work on any more modifications and sued the partner company. The lawsuit dragged on for months, with Jeri spending quite a bit of money out of her pocket in order to pay her lawyers to pursue the case. In the end, the partner company conveniently ?disappeared?; there was no company left for Jeri to sue. Jeri did not receive her royalties; the C64 DTV never would have another production run.

CF - Do you think Jeri Ellsworth's creation of the DTV and work on the C=1 computer has raised awareness of the Commodore brand again?

RobertB - It has made certain people aware of the Commodore again. With only over 100 C1 boards sold, the public impact was miniscule. With over 700,000 C64 DTVs and Hummer DTVs sold, the general public's consciousness of the Commodore brand shot to the forefront for a short while. When the C64 DTV started selling on November 26, 2004 at midnight Eastern Time on the QVC shopping t.v. network, QVC received call after call live on-air from people around the U.S.A. who said they remembered the original C64 and wanted to have that same gaming experience with the DTV. The network did a stellar job at promoting it, advertising it, and selling it quickly.

These days with no new production runs of the DTV, with no presence on the store shelves, the general public has forgotten about it. Time after time at shows where we have a club table and where we display Commodore items including the DTV, people would come up to me and ask if they could buy the display DTV or ask where they can buy such an item. Now I have to tell them that the most common place is eBay.com.

CF - And with this new awareness do you think people who once owned/loved Commodore machines are "coming back" as it were to the C= community?
RobertB - This brief surge in awareness brought about by the DTV has brought the hardware hackers into the fray. The DTV board has been used to replace C64 original motherboards, has been housed in miniature game consoles, and has even been turned into a handheld computer with its own LCD screen. The ingenuity of such hardware hackers is quite amazing when you see some of the products they develop just based on the DTV board. With the hardware hacking has come the software hacking of the DTV; various utilities, modded games, and even demos are available for it.Yet, this flurry of DTV hardware and software hacking has quieted down now that the DTV is no longer readily available.

CF - If you had 1 million pounds, what would you do?

RobertB -- That would be 2 million dollars or so, based on today's exchange rates! Well, if I had such a large amount of money, I would pay off my credit card debts, invest some of the money, spread some of the money to the family, donate to charities, pick up a few high-priced Star Trek souvenirs, get some more storage for Commodore and Amiga stuff, and fund some Commodore projects. In the past, I've funded some C= companies and projects, and with that much money, I could fund more. For example, long ago Jeri Ellsworth mentioned a CommodoreTwo project, a new board that would be free of the faults of the Commodore One, a board that would be manufactured here in America, because she found out it would be more economical to do it here. The Commodore Two would be built the way Jeri meant the original C-One to be ? no shortcuts, no cost-reduced components but the best components in order for Jeri to work her C= magic on it. She would be given free reign to design it and not a limited voice. She would have the time, the resources, and the money to accomplish her goal.

CF - Is there any question you would have liked to have been asked and why?

RobertB - The general state of Commodore programming and user groups here in the states. Why? Because I see a slow but steady decline in activity. When I review my articles from the late 1990's and the early 2000's, there was so much more C= energy to report. Over the years, Maurice Randall and Todd Elliott, the best GEOS/Wheels programmers, have disappeared. Jim Butterfield, fabled C= programmer, died in 2007. No new development on WiNGs, the C64 multi-tasking operating system requiring a SuperCPU. Loadstar disk magazine is published irregularly, and it will only have a limited run until its final issue at #255 or #256. Genie, Delphi, and Compuserve, and their dedicated C= areas are gone. Few new demos from the NTSC groups, though individual demosceners go on.

As reported above, where there used to be several C= clubs in California; we are now down to one with another one trying to get off the ground. Where there used to be several in Oregon, they are now down to one. The same in Washington state. One in Nevada. One in Colorado. None in Arizona. The clubs that still survive do so due to the determination of a few. If it weren't for ACUG chancellor, Dave Mohr, that Astoria, Oregon club would fold. If it weren't for 5C's president, Al Jackson, that Las Vegas, Nevada club would have a hard time staying together. Several times, our treasurer has told me that if I weren't president of FCUG, our club would have closed some time ago. With older members passing away or moving away, all the clubs are having or will have a more difficult time staying together.

CF ? Robert, thanks for your time and commitment.




http://www.redesign.sk/tnd64/music_scene.html

Created by Richard Bayliss
with Special thanks to Rio / Rattenrudel

Commodore Free would like to thank Richard Bayliss for his permission to reprint this guide Many users would like to make more of there machines, we all have various talents and if you felt inspired to create music on a Commodore 64 where would you begin, in this guide you are lead through the various options, for creating music with versions of DMC music editor
Commodore Free
The Guide has been broken down in sections the first part will cover as highlighted the disk image that accompanies this series is available from here
www.redesign.sk/tnd64/DMC%20Music%20Editors%5BTND%5D.zip

the disk contains
DMC V2.1 (GRAFFITY), DMC V4.0 (GRAFFITY) + Docs (By Richard), DMC V5.0, DMC V5.0+ (CREAMD/C64.SK), DMC V5 PACKER, DMC V5.0 SCANNER and DMC V7.0 (GRAFFITY+UNREAL)

  1. Introduction 1.1 Preface 1.2 DMC Versions
  2. Getting Started with DMC 4 or 7 2.1 Main Menu 2.2 Sound Editor 2.2.1 ADSR


1 Introduction
1.1 Preface
1.2 DMC Versions

2 Getting Started with DMC 4 or 7
2.1 Main Menu
2.2 Sound Editor
2.2.1 ADSR

2.2.2 Wavetable
2.2.3 Pulse / PWM
2.2.4 Filter
2.2.5 Vibrato
2.2.6 FX
2.3 Filter Editor
2.3.1 Parameters
2.3.2 Filter Envelope
2.4 Track Editor
2.4.1 Channels
2.4.2 Options
2.4.3 Commands
2.5 Sector Editor
2.5.1 Options
2.5.2 Commands
2.5.3 Time Control
2.5.4 Global Filter and Pulse
2.6 Quick Recaps and Examples
2.7 Packer
2.8 Relocator

3 Getting Started with DMC 5
3.1 Introduction
3.2 The Sound Editor
3.3 Making your Drumkit


3.4 Making your first piece of music
3.5 The Other Bitz!
3.6 Packing your Music

1 Introduction
1.1 Preface
Richard's Preamble:
Welcome to the 'Music Scene' tutorials. All the resources are my and rio's work ? previous versions are appeared in Commodore Scene. We start from the BASICS to the advanced music composing using my favourite music composer, which is Graffitys' Demo Music Creator V4.0.

Rio's Preamble:
Regarding to Richard's welcome, i want say hello too. Inspired by Richard's DMC tutorial and my own experience using that editor, i was motivated enough to update and to overwork the article completly (with detailed chapters and some artwork too). I added a table of content and as well as further infos and knowledge about using SID and DMC 4 and 7 (that's my fav editor). Some chapters are united by richard's and my work, so that people, who want to start composing in these days have a compact documentation about one of the best editors for Commodore 64.

Why we do this?
Because we have fun making music on a C64, sharing some knowledge about Editors which are use the unique SID synthesizer for composing tunes.

What you need for using DMC?
You can start with a real Commodore 64 with 6581 or 8580 SID in it (you will need some storing hardware too, like floppies etc.) or an emulator like VICE or something else, which can manage disk commands and sid emulation etc. Notice that there is a difference between the SID types. More details will be given in the chapters below. Notice as well, if you use an emulator, there will be another key assignment. Please read about the emulations software for yourself. The whole tutorial will be referenced to original C64 keyboard assignment.

Further you should know something about bits and bytes. A understanding for hexadecimal number system will be necessary. But for those, who don't know: It's a number system with a cardinal number of 16 (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,A,B,C,D,E,F). So every parameter or counter have to write down as a hexadecimal number. Parameter or command in this documentation will be described with variables, like:

SND.xx
or
FX: xy

If there are two x variables - a 8 Bit parameter will be expected. If i talk about x and y variable, then two 4 Bits (nibbles) parameter will be expected. In some cases x and y represent a state of a flag for each parameter (e.g. FX, Waveforms). Then every bit of a byte (8 Bits) can be set for a specific state. For example, if we want to change Bit 0 (it's first position), we write a 01 as hexadecimal number. If we want to change Bit 1 and Bit 2 we write down a 06, because 0110 (bin) is representing a 6 in hexadecimal system. If you have some special comments or annotations, we are pleased if you add your queries in TND forum.

1.2 DMC Versions
The predecessor of DMC is the GMC - Game Music Creator, written by Brian of Graffity. You will find some similar elements in that editor too, but the following DMC versions are more improved. The way of DMC development (2,4,5,6,7) was accompanied by several groups and is at least mainly split in two programs: DMC 4 and 5. Some groups have done modifications in both DMC version, so you will find a mass of different releases. Most of them should never be spreaded. DMC 7 (by unreal) was using the code of DMC 4 and it's fitted out with some special functions. So the first tutorial part is for up for both versions.


2 Getting Started with DMC 4 or 7
So many people in the C64 scene uses DMC 4 and we are two of them. Well, if you were expecting the old Music Scene by Andrew, think again. This is because Richard has decided to take over 'Music Scene' and now i (rio) have updated the whole tutorial (Richard hopes Andrew didn't mind).

We have decided to teach you all how to turn yourselves into cool C64 music composers. For those of you who are interested in learning to use DMC 4, we'll be teaching you how to compose, using sid fx's and dmc commands. You will gain a small amount of knowledge about synthesizers and of course using Commodore 64 SID chip for your own style of music. Anyway, let's forget all this nitty gritty and get on with some serious experimenting. The DMC 4 and 7 player has various options and editors, which can help you create your own demo songs by using the 3 Channels of SID. You can even use up to 8 different tunes in one file, by using tune switching. Furthermore DMC 4 / 7 allows you to monitor playing notes in 'LIVE PLAY SYNTHESIZER' Mode (listen to notes, by touching keys) and to record sequences? in a time-dependent 'RECORD MODE'. Direct Monitoring (VOICE ON/OFF) allows you to listen to everything you tap in. DMC 7 is fitted up with a trace play mode.

If you start the editor, it will look something like this:

2.1 Main Menu
The DMC has various menu options involved. There are sound and filter editors, a music setup, a disk menu (or I/O menu) and different player setups. By pushing ? (DMC 4) or CTRL (DMC 7) you will get into the main menu. Use the CRSR keys to highlight an option, use RETURN to choose one.

The Sound Editor is for creating your instrument set. The filter editor is for editing filters, which can be assigned to a special instrument from Sound Editor.
In music setup (tune setup) the global speed and global volume can be defined. Activating the disk menu or I/O menu will switch into file operating menu, where you can load and store your tunes or use some Commodore DOS commands. In most DMC versions are different player routines integrated. You are able to choose a player (e.g. A or B). Some are better in quality, others have a better raster timing.


2.2 Sound Editor
First of all, you need to build the instruments yourself. Highlight the 'Sound Editor' option in main menu.

Okay, now take a look at the image below. It shows you what the Sound Editor looks like. If we go the first time in the Sound Editor the first instrument will be choosen automatically. Watch out after SND: xx parameter at the right-upper corner. xx shows the current selected instrument number. Up to 23 instruments are possible (16h), which we can select with + / - keys. You are also be able to copy and paste instruments by pushing: ? Arrow (Copy - part of the screen flicker in green) and @ (Paste - part of the screen flicker in red). The TRO: 0x value below, represents the transpose of a playing test note (C-x) by pushing space. The tone transpose can be selected with SHIFT_R and + / -. As you can see, the sound data are full of zeroes, therefore there is no sound. Press space to test the sounds. you cannot hear the sounds at all, due to no data.

If you want to change a parameter, you can select it by using CRSR keys Left and Right. To set up a parameter, simple press a key (0..F). Possible properties for an instrument in the Sound Editor are as follows
ADSR: 00EA

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT MONTH?




In the Beginning Part 4
By Lord Ronin from Q-Link

Had some fun with the keys, and played some with the colours. A good part of that is from the manual. Just presented a bit differently <weirdly>than the manual. Most Basic books that I have seen do about the same income form. Now lets go into some of the features from the manual.

This first stuff is going to sound and seem lame. At least to today?s readers. Remember the time that this was written and for the people at that time. We are going to start with one of the most commonly used terms in Basic, PRINT. Correct that is the term and for this moment in time. Consider that is exactly what it does. As I understand it is a bit of a hang over from the early days of Basic back in the 60s. Where when you said PRINT. That is what happened. The stuff printed out on paper.

May sound weird to you. But there weren?t really anything that looked like a monitor in those days. Well what we today would consider a monitor. My class in the computer language FORTRAN in 1974ce, in college. Well it was done on punch cards that was fed into some monster of a hopper. Big reels of magnetic tape spun and a gigantic printer would print out the result on fan fold paper. Oh yeah and the room that all of this was in, well it was as sterile and clean as possible. Being a slob, it really irked me to be in that room. Funny thing is that there is more power in the 64 than in that machine and the 64 is faster. OK it is one hell of a lot friendlier and fun to use.

What I want you to do now is do a little screen typing in the start of programming. Don't freak out. I'm telling you in advance that this is a sort of programming. Book doesn't do that, it sneaks it upon you. Oh right I forgot to say earlier. Why yes, you can programme, code, or just plain write your own programmes for whatever you want on the C=64. Books and magazines that came out where full of these, and it is how many people learned to programme. Who today are in computer fields on other platforms. Good news for you is that I am not at that or even near any aspect of that level of programming. I am just a user and lamer programmer.

OK here is what to do. Type on the screen as follows.

PRINT"SMEG HEAD" Well you can type anything you want. Just make sure you have the word PRINT and what you want in the quotations. Now press RETURN. Using my example you should see on the screen.

PRINT"SMEG HEAD"SMEG HEAD

READY<cursor sitting here>


If you see the scary words of ?SYNTAX ERROR. Check to see if you have the quotes correctly. Also see if there is anything else on that line. Like other text or graphics.

Computers deal with math. At least we don't have to worry about that mess of binary and other forms of math. But now you get to turn the C=into a big calculator. I'll tell out his point, that I had a LED digital watch that did most of the same math functions. But this point will show you the math part that you can use, straight or in programming. Type the following.

PRINT 15+15 <press return>

You should see a 30 right under the PR in the word print. At this point you can try more numbers. Big ones, little one and several of them at once, rather than just two. Just press return at the end of the list of numbers. As you can guess by now you can also do subtraction. Same as above but with the - symbol. Yeah you can do multiplication. This uses the * symbol. Division uses the/ symbol. Examples follow <G>

PRINT 15+15+35+16.89+.11

PRINT 300-150

PRINT 25*4

PRINT 10/5

Basic 4 parts of math. But the crippled handed old man is also lazy. Meaning that typing PRINT each time is a bore. Good news, there is a short cut. Just type ?.

?15+15

is the same as

PRINT15+15

Now a word on what you have seen. Most programmers do it the way that I have placed above. Book shows it as follows PRINT 15 + 15. Each of those spaces do take up memory space in the computer. You can type about 80characters in a programme line. No spaces keep it so you can have more characters in the programming line. This will make more sense later on.

A thing that you may not ever need in your entire use with the C=, comes next. EXPONENTIATION, this is the ability to raise a number by a power. Ok more simply stated, you can square or cube a number. Try this one...

?2~2 <two to the second power or two squared> Press return. Now go ahead and try other number like ?27~34. OK that is a bit of fun, and I have not ever really needed it in my work. But it is a feature of the C=64.

However the next part I have used a lot. Since I have that useless degree in electronics. This is Scientific Notation. On the C= it is read this way, 1.76E+9. Basically this means that there is a total of 9 places to the right of the decimal point. A way of writing very large numbers in a small space. 1.76E-9 would be, right negative numbers. You may or may not need this for your work. All the math operations will work with this form.

Manual does go into the idea of precedence. Or the order in which math functions? are done in formulas. I?ll take it that you read this sort of stuff before, or can access it in some way. So we can bypass it for now.Here is something from the book that is interesting. Combining some of the things that we have covered. Type in

?"5+5 = ";5+5press return and you should see...

5+5 = 10

And now lets stop for a bit. Take a look at where we are now at in the C=64. Because at this point we are at the divergence.

Fancy words to mean that we are going to move in more than one direction in this series. Because the book goes one way and you may not want to go that way. To make myself clearer, the book goes into the rank beginnings of programming. Great for those of you that want to learn some level of Basic v2 programming. However, not everyone is interested in learning to programme. Some people like a little understanding of programming.

Perhaps to appreciate the work done to create the programme. Others, sure want to learn everything about programming and start right off. But there is a large group even today that just want to play with the C=64. Using "canned? programmes for their interests. For those readers, I am stopping the bookwork and going into a bit of drivel about the C=64 programmes. Then I shall return to the manual little programming items.

What do you want from the C=64? By that I mean what you are going to do with it? Oh, balance the cheque book, keep a journal of important things, print out a calendar, learn algebra, teach the little ones shapes and colours and, well that goes on and on. Naturally you want to play some sort of game as well. Funny I have met only few people that admit they have a computer to use for different things, including game play.

Games are one of the most numerous programmes for the C=64. Factory ,type in, homebrew and the like. These range from simple little guess the number game <we will do that one from the manual> into 15+ disk side adventures, with graphics and sound. Now I am not going to say what are the best games. My opinion is mine and will most likely not reflect our interests exactly. I like Role Playing Games. Semi-enjoy strategy games, get bored with card games, and loath text adventures. Yet I know people that have the reverse feelings.

What I intend to present here is some comments about the games for the C=64. Because from my experience over the years, people have wrong ideas about the C=64 games. So lets jump in and get to it.

Most of the classifications of games that you enjoy on consoles and computers. well they were devised, developed and labelled on the C=64.Many of them were also ported over to other platforms. Examples would be Pool of Radiance and Wasteland. The latter was made for the IBM system and is on a CD of games for it today. There is a yahoo group list for it that deals with the different platforms for that game. On the 64 it is just one double sided disk of play. Don't think that you will finish it in a day. Try weeks of playtime. There is just so much to tryout in that game. Pool, was ported to the Amiga PC platform. Heard of but not seen copies for the IBM system. That is the game that took me three weeks of 6 hours a day, 6 days a week to complete.

Sid Meir's Pirates, also just called Pirates, is another one that comes to mind. Commodore to a game console to as I understand not only an newer game console but a non C= computer platform. Or at least that is the impression I gained from a friends computer game magazine.

Japanese game of Go is out there for the C=. As are several types of chess games. One of those even allows for different boards <I like the 3D one>and set up placement. Not a big Chess player, OK, a lamer level chess player. I think that the part about setting pieces is like for those chess books, and moves that are in the newspapers of my youth.

Card games explode with the C=64.One of the first things I did from a type in book was a simple card game. No graphic, only text. A 21,blackjack game. All the way into specific graphics created images on the face cards. In between are the simple ones just using the C= graphics off of the keyboard for the cards. Can't tell you the games. There are so many, I mean a couple people used to make a few card games each month for the disk magazine loadstar <back issues are available from loadstar>and this was done for several years. Besides I am a dum ork and don't know that many card games by name and or rules.

Board games, besides the above chess and go are out there, or even in your collection. Monopoly, official Parker Brothers one, and those that are not exactly official. I like the one that is London and the money is in BritCit pounds. Clue is another game. Have to admit that the game, on the disk, and I mean the official game. Well it is a bit different than the board game I played in the 60s. More rooms and characters as I remember. Of course there is an almost infinite list of these games. Some that are computer board games. I didn't know they where board games when I first found them.

Sort of board but not exactly are a set of the War games. Hard to explain these to the non player and newbie C= user. Many are simulations from Victory and or Avalon hill. Nothing fancy in the graphics. Mostly a grid looking thing and you command the forces. Gotta tell you that I personally have problems with this style. When you don't have the dox, or instruction. A problem that I have on most of the copies I have found. Anyway should say that there are online preservation sites of the manuals and dox for many of the C=programmes. Themes for this are just about any major battle of campaign in history.

But there is another style of this war game theme. Perhaps not as historically accurate. For my tastes ,a bit more fun. Not to say that they are any easier. This style may have a proper name, but I never learned it, so they are sort of action simulations for a lack of the proper word. In this type you are a more integrated part of the war game. Dam Busters is a great one for this. Doing an actual WW II mission from the British. You are flying the special bomber. Dodging enemy and yeah there is also different views that you can select. Right it is allin graphic. Some sound effects as well. And no it isn't easy. I've never finished it, well if I was the German side I won <BG>.

There is even a game where you an explore the Titanic on the floor of the sea. Pictures are from the early remotes that Ballard did on the wreck. A game where you can run a submarine. The book or it says you can be allied or German navy. But my used copy is corrupted and never got to play it, need to find are placement copy in some form.

Text adventures deserve to be mentioned by themselves. First I must say that there are two major types. One is just plain text, the other is one that has text and some graphics. The latter part being illustrated pictures on the screen.

This type of game has its points and fans. Also its drawbacks and detractors. There are statements that this form of game was the first style for computers and goes back to the 60s. I've read the stories about that in different books and online. Today you may not have a clue to what the game looks like or how it functions. So I'll explain as best as possible. First off I dislike these games with a pink and purple passion. Good got that out of my system. Lets move to the positive points. This form of game was exceptionally popular for the 8 bit realm of existence. True text adventures are just that, they are nothing but text. All the sounds and pictures must come from your mind.

OK I'll add that from some companies, specifically one called Infocom, would add a mess of props to the game box. I do have some of these in my collection. In simple terms you enter the game world. Read the story line, then make certain choices at each text entry. Things like picking up something, going in a direction, using an item. Oh yeah and looking/examining things in the area that you are located.

An important thing to do in this game style is to make a block map of your travels. Other wise you will be lost and go in circles in the game. Creating a gigantic sense of frustration along with the feeling that the programmer intentionally did this to you. <what he didn't?>

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In programming it is worth a lot more in memory space. That I guess is the reason why text adventures where very popular. Instead of having a mess of images and sounds. A huge game world with twists and complexities could be created. Letting you paint the picture in your own mind. Sort of like an interactive book I was told. Variations on this would have perhaps an image and a sound effect at a specific place in the story. I have seen a couple that use what appear to be C= coloured digital images. A few seconds of sound to set the mood, and then back to the text part of the game. Another version uses just the C= keyboard graphics <gfx> for the information. This type is in one of my type in programming books for text adventure games. In this example there is a keyboard command that will show you a map. Displaying the areas you have explored. All done with keyboard graphics. A real big help in game playing for me.

Before I explain another type of text with gfx game, and one that I can play. Must tell you the down side to the stock text only game. Trying to not wax on this too much on the psych or cultural stuff. Big problem is "WHAT ARE THE FRELLING WORDS?". OK some of the games have a command called "VOCAB", or something close to that type of word. Typing that in will give you a list of the accepted words for the game. Not all the games have that option. Some do have a? HELP" command. Again not all of them. Personally I find my self lost early on in the games. Because Haven?t a clue as to what words to use at that time. As an example the game Mist from Infocom. That company was considered to have the best text games.

My character is at the gates to the grounds of the mansion. How-to get through the lock gates on the stormy night. Understand that I have the props for this game. I have the story as well in the manual. Even a handful of the words. Though Infocom had a way to use a lot of words in their games. Took me hours of real time to make it past that gate. Oh it was blow the horn of the car. Like I would think of that right off the bat? Not that it would be done, but that it could be done in the game. BTW: that was the first encounter in the game. I never got past the second encounter.

Words, the right ones and their use is one of the problems. Another is the right things to do. That is naturally based on the authors sense of values. But also the time frame of the games creation. Sort of a time capsule of the world. Some games of this nature use a bit of the current pop fad language jargon in the text. Not in what you need to type in, but in the words that you read in the descriptions.
As you can tell I have problems with this sort of game. But to be fair. I have met people that love these games. They hunt to this day, for ones that they have yet to play.

Now then there are two variations to this type of game. These have actually gfx in them. One has a static picture at the top of the screen. Illustrating some point of the game. Based on your location. There is a bit of descriptive text at the bottom half. Now there is either a blank line for you to enter the words. Or there is a set of words for you to select. This type I have played with some success, and remember fondly the Lord of the Rings in this form. A more advanced type is set up the same way. Having the top part of the screen with the scene. The bottom part with the words. Maniac Mansion is the first one of this style that I played. Difference here is that the top screen is animated. In game play you move the character around the screen(s) with the joystick. At first you must select the team of characters for the adventure. Done with the joystick. Next you take them, one by one, to the front of the mansion. Now to get in you need to score the key from under the mat. This requires looking around and reading the text information that is presented.

Getting the clues for that action. But to do it, you must select the action in a set of commands at the bottom of the screen. You can probably guess that I like this game. Well I only finished it with the help of a couple of walk troughs?. Like most of the games I have experienced on the C=. They are more in depth and take longer than expected.

Rest your eyes a bit. That is a lot of information to digest as well. Point is to accept and understand that there is a wide variety of games. Asteroids, Defender, Mario Brothers and more classic coin op arcade games. Like Frogger, and Donkey Kong <ever find the Donkey?>,Pac Man and the clever one called Plaque Man that was a special dental care game for kids. Well assuming I spelled it correctly. Shoot' Em Up games. In fact there is a construction set to make that type of game. War games, and yes there is a construction set to make them as well. Adventure games, you know the type where you explore the world, defeat the bad things and eventually save the day.

Yuppers there is a construction set to make them as well. Oh I was just reminded that some readers may not know what exactly is a construction set. Simply stated it is a utility tool. Which will allow you to create the above types of games. Then pass them around to your friends and others that use the C=. Yeah a creative thing.

That brings me to other things the C= can do for you. Besides the games. Quadratic <spelling?> equations, may not be your bag. But I had a programme that taught them to you. In fact basic math into Geometry I have on disks for the Commodore. Had one that would teach you the bones of the body. Typing of course, and that is one that I should really use myself. Grammar, and that too is another one that I should use myself. Have a few English ones. Side note they specifically state that they are Canadian English, not American. I'll stop there with the educational programmes.

Pretty much you name it, and there was something for it on the C=. One part that I will add. Some of these were adjustable. I mean that if you wanted to say update the information for the lessons. You could do that in the programme.

Print Master+ & Print Shop, these are the two most widely seen programmes for creating, greeting cards, stationary, banners, calendars and a bit more. Each one has additive disks to the main programme. Adding more gfx, fonts and borders for your use. There are some others, but you see the point. We have three voices and 9 octaves for the C=. Yes there are programmes to create music on the C=. Many hundreds of these where on Q-Link for free download. I have an almost 2 mega byte file is zip format of an unknown amount of the songs. That a guy saved from Q-Link and sent to me.

The News Room, that is a programme that allows you to make your own newsletters. Contains fonts and gfx images. The latter you can alter a bit, or create your own. There are a few additional disks of fonts and gfx that you can pick up as well. I have most of this set. Want to draw your own things? There is a wealth of art programmes. No idea how many are out there for you. However the most popular ones that I know about and have used are, Koala <which seems to have been a standard hi-res art prg .Since it is used in a lot of intro screen things> Blazing Paddles, Animation Station, Doodle, FlexiDraw are the ones that I have used. Koala and Animation Station are both tablet style drawing programmes.

There is a crack running around for Koala that allows the use of a joystick over the tablet. FlexiDraw has a mess of extra programmes, that I have yet to use. Can be used with other input devices. I though have only used it with the light pen. Each of these has its own pluses and drawbacks. As well as their dedicated fans. All I can tell you is that I have seen some really great art work. Nothing that I could attempt to create myself.

Games, educational, creative programmes. Those are just major category titles. Now then, the thing that I do most of the time, writing. Honestly I thought at first the C=64would be a game machine for me. Ends up I do more writing stuff than anything else on it. No I am not going on about what to write or how-to write. I am a rather poor example of that stuff. Nor can I tell you which is the best programme to use.

In fact since space is running out. All of that will be in the next part. At this time I want to impress on you that there is a gigantic amount of programmes of an almost endless variety of styles and subject matter for the C=. When you add that people are still doing programme writing on a 25+ year old PC. What else can be created? Obviously not everything as of yet. OK next session continues with the programme overview and then back to simple from the manual BasicV2 programming.





MossyCon 4 Personal Review

Written by Lord Ronin from Q-Link
Edited by Robert Bernardo


?Da fullowin iz ritten da next murn and wth liddle sleep un nah coffeieeee yut.?

Sunday morn at 3 am. We are still on the phone with our dedicated #8 (weirdwolf) who through the mega-graces of the bus system in the Portland Metroplex missed the bus from there to Astoria. #8 will have his rants on that one I am certain. 'Cause I gots mine {EG}.

Expected here at 9 pm Saturday night. Was not a pleasant thing to see his nickname show up in the chat around that time, as we were to burn the CDs for MossyCon and he was going to show us how that was done, plus a few other computer related problems were to be rectified without Lord Ronin (myself) using the ever-present big and heavy hammer.

Between 9 pm-ish and 3 am, using Xchat for IRC switching between screens, creating a minute problem for #8's phone and having to recharge it, we did burn the 10 CDs for the Con.

A lot of thanks go to #8 (supercommodore-Destined!/weirdwolf...) for taking all that time to work with us on how to burn a smegging CD with this new Linux flavour. Finding out that the CD/DVD burner isn't working, and we had to replace it with the old one from the previous set-up. Then, files that were downloaded not installing for the burn, and I guess those that use non C=64/128s are familiar with this scenario a lot more than I.

Up at 10 am, or earlier. Coffee on the boil, cats demanding food. Set-up time was to be 10 am at the pizza place. Reminds me some or a few of us attendees should send some letter of thanks in some format to them. Well, at 12:10 pm, over an hour after the event was to start and 2 hours after the set-up time, no ride yet, and that was a bit worrisome, after last year's medical problem for Robert. Worries started to cross our minds. Nope, things were just running a bit late. I called the pizza place... yeah, me using a phone... hey, it was a real, rotary dial C= phone. Talked to Gene Woods, who told me Robert was on his way. Shortly after that, Robert was at the shop.


Couple of bags of things from us, along with #30 and myself, crammed into the boat of a car of Robert's. Well, compared to those Tonka toys that are on the road now, it has been called a boat, even if the backseat hadn't been stacked with items. Well, the interior of that car is made for Robert. Not 6'2" me or 6'7" #30. And I hate seatbelts as well. Oregon mandates the use of them. Political rhetoric aside.

Stopping at the back boor of the pizza place, I showed Robert the back way there (really, it is legally highway 30) to avoid the centre of town traffic. We off-loaded ourselves and the bags. Now I must add here that through a misunderstanding, we had previously collected a supply of Amiga items. These were originally to be for Robert. They were put in the
trunk and back seat. Want to thank Robert here for being so understanding about the mix-up and then seeing that many of the items were dupes for his group and allowing us to keep those items in order that we may start to rebuild the Amiga section after the sho-vah stole the club's stuff.

There was a line of tables that held many items that were just for the show. Robert had the one that Jack Tramiel signed at the CMH event in December. Really, that C=64 should have been under glass and with an alarm system. An Amiga 4000 with several autographs as well as a128DCR keyboard also autographed by some of the engineers.
A lovely presentation of a collage of the late Jim Butterfield. Going past that to the right was a collection of electronic controls that reminded me of my homebrew days in electronics, though cleaner and neater. This was connected to a SX-64. Along in that area was a Lt. Kernal system that as I understand has a few additives and is working. At the end of the line past a FD-2000 was a VIC-20, for which #30 and Steve Jones had to return to the shop in order to replace the PS that went out on it.

But at the start of the line, right next to the back door was a Commodore PET 2001. Not working and was slated for Ray Carlsen for repair. Neither #30 or myself had ever seen a real PET 2001 in real life before. Now I understand the reason for the term that was used to describe the keyboard. But hey for us lefties, the cassette thing is on the left side of the keyboard.

Met Steve Jones and a man whose name escapes me, but I think it was Bilud, and his handle is Nightlord. Wasn't his accent that tossed me as his English is very good. But that it just had to happen that day. Sinus problems blinded my left eye (I'm left-eyed dominant), and the ear infection returned so I was deaf in the right ear. Plus I am horrible at remembering names. There was also Gene Woods, who has popped by the shop from time to time seeing how things are going with us, even though it is a few hundred miles and several hour drive for him. Good that he could come to the event, as originally that wasn't in the plans for his schedule. Bad that he could come to the event, because his main schedule got frelled.
Robert had set up a tab at the pizza place for us. Didn't know that at the start. At the first, since most of us had not met each other at least in real life, we sort of just talked about ourselves and C= related things. Had some pizza and drinks, mainly soda pop for the group. Of course, I had to be different and have beer, but as the oldest one there, I can be eccentric at times (most of the time). Talked to Nightlord about role-playing games. He had played some in the past, 2nd Edition AD&D, and IIRC he had done that in college with friends in his native Turkey. I think that I went overboard on the desires we have to create C= RPG games and tools on the C= for RPG games, but he did seem interested in the idea.

Wildstar arrived, having to walk over the hill, and it is a mean hill; I can't do it anymore. Plus it was a nice cool day with drizzle. OK, people from Southern California may call it a rain, but those of us in the Northwest would call it a light drizzle.

Did have the enjoyment of a couple of deer going past the windows, as they came up from the bay and back into the woods on the hill. Nice touch for the day. Eventually, we had to settle down some time around 2-ish. Nightlord (hope I have his handle correct) did the first presentation. Now I couldn't hear well so some others should go into this one. Also the tech level was not the same as mine. In essence, he created some demos in the scene which he had shown earlier on a non C= laptop with the emulator. Looked very good, and the speed was smooth. At that time he was explaining many points of how it was done. I caught the part of using the cpu and mem in the 1541 at the same time things are being done in the 64.

But that wasn't his main presentation. This was his compiler thinggy; I can't do the name justice. So basically, I can say that he has created a Commodore C++ compiler. Does only work in emulation for creation. But as I understand, the work can be placed on stock 1541 disks. He knows his tech and was presenting it well to those other hardware people who asked some poignant questions. MossyCon was honoured with the display of a Tetris clone that runs at a good speed. Created with this new compiler for us. Sadly, he could not release it yet. Still working on the documentation first. He wishes that to be done before the item is released.

Next up was the fat, old, hippy freak. My presentation was on the use of Geos, such as GeoWrite, GeoPaint, GeoPub, PostPrint and GeoDos. In the creation of the items that I was able to convert into .pdf files and burn onto the CD. Only the burning and the converting was done on the Linux system. The rest, even the zipped .D64s, were done on the C= with the SCPU. Passed out most of the CDs we had made. Few games and a lot of the writings that I have done for the group. Showed off the actual raw 96-page copy of a 1st ed AD&D adventure completely created and printed on the C=.

SMJ (Steve) was up next. He described his Prophet 64 thing. Now I could follow some of this, because I do have an ancient background in electronics and once could play musical instruments. But there was that hearing problem, and most of his presentation had a crying baby and an irate child screaming in the other part of the pizza joint. What I could see, and the screen was on a SX-64, was a bit small for my eyes. Well, the screen showed a lot of items that were to me impressive. But the sounds that he was able to create with his homebrew box and some other modded electronics equipment, well, I have never heard SID sound so clean... as if it was one of those
megabuck synthesizers. True, he had modded the SX to be a stereo with two sid chips. Started off his presentation with his laptop, where he had documented in pix the different steps and alterations of the SX-64. I could follow that part. But even deaf in one ear, that sound was fantastic.

Robert followed with showing the different units that he had brought. Starting with the PET and going through the different autographed C= items. Now if I had my own transport and could run fast enough, he would have had less to take back with him {VBG}.

I left out that there was a framed set of stamps. Robert had sent a pic of Jeri to a place that places the image on a real, usable, 41-cent USPS stamp. This one is framed for display. He donated one sheet for the raffle, and I understand another will be for another con/expo raffle.

But for the actual hands-on work, we had to borrow my SCPU in order to see the Metal Dust game. This was placed on Robert's SX-64, the one that I would like to liberate for the ACUG. I mean it does have in the second drive bay a FD-4000. But I am addicted to C=. By using a cord, this was able to be connected to the 1702 monitor at the VIC-20. Not sure about the entire game. Around three 1581 disks in a nice box. Robert did state that it has a tendency to try to save the high score, but when it does that, it smegs up a file on the disk, and the game is dead. What I saw with a couple of volunteers was a multi-colourful, fast, sideways scroller. Spaceship shooting at the asteroids and planetoids that race from the right side of the screen. My working eye had trouble with the background and the foreground. There is just so much on the screen, at least seen about 7' away, that I couldn't tell what was what. But I'll accept that the eye problem was to blame.

Another hands on display was a set of finger joysticks in a box. This is an actual C= game, from about 1984 IIRC
what was on the paperwork. Does use a disk, and one cannot use regular joysticks. I was struck at the sight on the table of how the box and joysticks reminded me of a RC plane set-up. Good thing I did, as that is what this game is about. You are flying a RC model plane. Well, the testers did give it a try. High marks for innovative crashing all around. {LOL}

Last in that demo presentation was the VIC-20. There was one cart that had IIRC 38kb or ram, but a switch out of the three broke off, cancelling that one. But we did see and play with the 100+ games in one cart for the VIC-20. Ah, no one got even close to finishing the first level of Donkey Kong, and playing Congo Bongo with the keyboard was a bit hard, though there is a joystick options.

One last thing, and it is out of place in the demo part. Robert showed off the new MMC2IEC IIRC it is called. He had both sets, but lost his PS unit for the display. I was impressed at not only the fact that here is another new piece of C= related Hardware, but looking at what appeared to be a micronised DreamCast memory cart and finding it was at least a gig in size. Then learning that one can place 1541s onto it and use it like a 1541 drive. I think that I will learn more and save up.

Well, a lot more happened, but this is very long. We left the place around 8 pm. Later, Robert & SMJ arrived at the commune, where, yes they did see and Robert had some of the Kittybox cake. More pix were taken. Talked on games and the like. Went to the shop, the ACUG GHQ. Spent time there talking about C= things and looking at the items in the shop. Eventually, at some point past 2 am, the guys headed back to the motel. I crashed, and for some inane reason, was up early in the morning. Oh, yeah, I am up. as Robert was bringing some Amiga things for us. Great time, met new C= friends IRL, and hope we will be doing this next year.

BCNU
Lord Ronin from Q-Link

COMMODORE FREE
Messycon was recoreded by Robert and is available for purchase on 2 DVD-R in NTSC format, The pictures in this review were extracted from the video, you can contact Robert by the website http://videocam.net.au/fcug/
Fresno Commodore Users Group



THE END
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