Issue 34, October 2009

http://www.commodorefree.com/
Free to download magazine dedicated to Commodore computers
Available as PDF, HTML, TXT, SEQ and D64 disk image

CONTENTS



Editorial

One thing that is really annoying; OK one of the things that annoys me; is cable and satellite television here in the UK not forgetting the Terrestrial ITV1 Channel4 and Channel 5 The choice of channels is vast on cable/satellite the quality is questionable.

The BBC are still making some good programmes, funded from the Television license we pay yearly; with Doctor Who and Torchwood still current on their schedules; yes there are other factual and Drama programmes I suppose I need to vent my frustration on other providers as I feel the BBC is doing quite well on content.

The problem I see with cable and satellite TV. Is this you “PAY” to view a channel yet after 10 minutes they show 5 minutes of adverts! So my question is what are we paying for, surely the channels should be free and you pay to “remove” the adverts. I would gladly pay more to get rid of those annoying adverts that distract the flow of a program, its got so bad for me that I watch the program so far; get frustrated and turn off or worse jump channels and start watching something else. You end up with a night of watching a few minutes here and there and feeling you just wasted your time. Why when we pay extra for the channels do we have to endure these adverts?

Strange that the Shopping channels don’t actually have any advert breaks, I suppose they are just one long advert but this is where I usually spend most of my time, if I cant find anything on the BBC I sit watching shopping channels.

Recently I was emailed by at least 3 casino/poker online games companies who wanted to PayPal me money; only if I put a banner for there sites in the middle of my Commodore Free website! Getting money for free is most welcome, heck the website isn’t free, but I do have a problem. Some of you will remember I toyed around with Google adverts in Text only on my site and it cause a few emails from people. I suppose no one likes intrusive adverts, so I removed them. A few people did click on them and that generates cash for the Commodore Free website but it didn’t feel right and so they were quickly removed.

Now I know companies are “in the pinch” at the moment trying to save every penny and generate sales but adverts seem to be so old hat, OK some are amusing and memorable sometimes, but I would prefer them to be shorter and honest

Like
“ABC white clothes wash, if used regularly helps keep your clothes clean”
Rather than

“ABC white clothes wash, makes whites white restoring the New feel”

Because they don’t; do they, no matter how you read and follow the instructions clothes that have faded over time wont suddenly go white unless heavily bleached, then if they contain colours as well will start to run and fade.

There is no escape from adverts, radio, bus they are everywhere so my question is do they work? And I suppose if they didn’t then they wouldn’t use them However in this day and age there must be a better way, like product placement where we have a show that has no adverts except an intro

“sponsored by XYZ shampoo for giraffes”

and a footer with something else like

“ABC baked beans they make your mouth turn to a spongy like jelly”

I am no marketing expert but this would be acceptable as it wont spoil the viewing also placements inside the file like.

“he reaches over and pucks up his favourite drink ABC cola and slowly takes a gulp of the delicious drink ... ahhhh he says that’s good”

So you get the idea; to be as good as the actor you need to drink ABCcola its surely more memorable than when the adverts come on; the thousands of people all dash into the kitchen to put the kettle on or worse channel hop

It does seem the UK Government is warming to the idea of product placement, whether this will replace the current way of advertising; that clearly doesn’t work, I suppose only time will tell. I for one wait with anticipation, and don’t mind any placements of products on television. Aaaaaaaaa sorry I have just drink a sip of delicious ABCcola what a great taste and refreshing smell of summer meadows,

Even so I still added an advert to Commodore computer club and other items of Commodore interest but as it’s the last pages then you are safe to ignore them, also this is relevant to the target audience slightly more than ABC cola

Take care
Here we go with another issue then .......

Regards
Nigel

Website www.commodorefree.com
Email commodorefree@commodorefree.com
Home address and personal mobile Yeh right dream on

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Readers Comments

When you talk about machines someone gets angry, my comments in the last editorial were my own recollections of the machines, I never owned a Spectrum as I took preference with the Commodore 64 here is what one reader said about my comments


I'm a fan of Commodore machines.
But infos in your magazine are pile of shit.
ZX Spectrum 48K (and later models) was the only machine in 80s with audio-out on regular 'jack'. C64 had nothing (most pitiful) - and also Atari XE. Internal speaker was only for persons poor enough to NOT to have an amplifier and hi-fi setup.
I think you're too old for flame-wars of platforms. Write truth or do NOT write anything.
Jasio

COMMODORE FREE
Jasio
Many thanks for your Comments, this is however a Commodore magazine so some bias towards Commodore will be inevitable I presume Spectrum based magazines are bias towards spectrum machines, I was often taunted at school with the my machine is better than yours, this wasn’t the intention of the Editorial, Personally I do prefer the SID sound

BTW - I found a site:
http://z80.i-demo.pl/music.html
MP3 files from that what you call "small internal speaker", which is funny for readers who know other platforms.
These tracks (from 3 channels to 8 channels) are incredible
http://z80.i-demo.pl/Tim_Follin-Chronos_a_Tapestry_of_Time.mp3
http://z80.i-demo.pl/David_Whittaker-Savage3.mp3
http://z80.i-demo.pl/Ben_Daglish-Super_Sports_A.mp3
http://z80.i-demo.pl/Cobra-Magic_Show.mp3
http://8bitcollective.com/items/music/MISTER_BEEP-A_crazy_boy_is_jumping_2.mp3
http://z80.i-demo.pl/Kriss-Love_Rave.mp3
http://z80.i-demo.pl/Prodigy_Game.mp3
http://8bitcollective.com/items/music/Mister_Beep-Logos_Part_1_(Tangerine_Dream).mp3
and others... Other 8-bitters are far far below.
Jasio

Commodore Free
Jasio well personally I prefer the sound of the Commodore Sid chip. What do other readers think? this is a Commodore magazine some Bias towards Commodore is inevitable, I do know some readers are multi platform and every platform had its strengths’ and weakness, but this isn’t a mine is better than yours taunt towards any machine.
I did find this information http://www.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/computers/zxspectrum/spec_specifications.htm

Firmware:3.54 MHz Zilog Z80A CPU
16K / 48K RAM (later 128K RAM)
Display: 32 x 22 character text display
256 x 192 pixel resolution
8 colours
Sound: 1 channel, 5 octave (16/48K Spectrums)
3 channel, 7 octaves (128K Spectrums)
I/O: Z80 bus, tape, RF television (All Spectrums)
External numeric keypad (Spectrum 128)
RS232 - Midi Out, RGB, Joystick (Spectrum 128, +2, +2A, +3)
Storage: Built-in tape recorder (Spectrum +2, +2A)
Build-in 3" disk drive (Spectrum +3)

From Winkipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX_Spectrum_%2B2 about the spectrum 2
“Sound output is through a beeper on the machine itself. This is capable of producing one channel with 10 octaves. The machine also includes an expansion bus edge connector and audio in/out ports for the connection of a cassette recorder for loading and saving programs and data.”

And from Winkipedia about the Commodore 64 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_64

Sound: MOS Technology 6581/8580 SID

Features

COMMODORE FREE
The Commodore 64 has an Av output for picture and sound it’s a round Din Connector on the back of the machine although you need a cable its possible to output sound to a hifi or tape deck (how many recorded SID tunes) and the picture to a monitor instead of a TV for a superior picture, but you knew that already

People always have a favorite machine, maybe they grew up with one and so it remains a favorite, I am not claiming the Commodore 64 is perfect it like every other machine manufactured has strengths and weaknesses, The filters are what makes the sid special (in my opinion) and as far as I know the Spectrum doesn’t have this as a feature on the machine, as this is a Commodore magazine I think it better I just refer to Commodore machines rather than create a Mine is better than yours hole to dig myself into.

Sid Music can be found here http://www.6581-8580.com/ Stone Oakvalley's Authentic SID Collection (SOASC=) compare these with the Spectrum, which sounds better?

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NEWS


DOT BASIC Update

Disc Master asked for a way to scroll text across a bitmap graphic. Here it is! Plus a couple more small yet kewl commands.
Dave

http://8bitcentral.com/dotbasic/forum/index.php?topic=55.0

Regards,
The The DotBASIC Forum Team.

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NEDFIELD formerly known as Tulip goes Bankrupt

Tulip Computers changes name to Nedfield

http://www.tulip.com/Default.aspx?cms=6&cat=2&art=169

06 June 2008
TULIP COMPUTERS CHANGES NAME TO NEDFIELD Doorn, 6 June 2008 Tulip Computers N.V. (Tulip) intends to change its name as from 26 June 2008 to Nedfield N.V. (Nedfield). Tulip, initially a computer manufacturer, has developed into a listed company focusing on selected segments of the ICT market and the cutting edge of ICT and CE.

Nedfield German subsidiary declared bankrupt

http://www.tulip.com/Default.aspx?cms=6&cat=2&art=211

Doorn, 25 February 2009
Tulip Beteiligungs GmbH (TB), a German 100% subsidiary of Nedfield NV (Nedfield), has been declared bankrupt on 24 February by a court in Braunschweig, Germany. This insolvency procedure was initiated at the request of a former director-owner of Devil AG (Devil). In accordance with the procedure common under German law, the court has taken this decision on the basis of a report from a previously appointed ‘Insolvenzverwalter’. TB holds 100% of the shares in Devil. At this point, we cannot estimate the consequences for the Nedfield group as a whole.

In line with German regulations, the provisional ‘Insolvenzverwalter’ has been evaluating possible solutions since 11 February 2009. During this evaluation, the provisional ‘Insolvenzverwalter’ implemented reappointments to the Devil management. In this period, various concrete proposals were received which may provide a possible solution to the current situation.

Nedfield cannot at this point estimate the consequences of the court decision for the rest of the group. For the moment, Devil will continue its operating activities as usual. Devil recorded an estimated turnover of around ? 307 million in 2008. We also refer to the press release published on 20 February 2009 with respect to the provisional turnover figures for 2008 and the expectations regarding a net loss for 2008. As soon as there is more information on the consequences of the current situation for the Nedfield group as a whole, Nedfield will publish this.

About Nedfield

Nedfield invests in promising companies in selected segments of the ICT market and on the cutting edge of ICT and CE. Through its subsidiaries, Nedfield offers innovative solutions in the form of products and services that provide its clients with added value. Nedfield was founded in 1979 and its shares have been listed on NYSE Euronext Amsterdam since 1984. Nedfield has its head office in Doorn (The Netherlands). Nedfield has more than 300 employees, spread across nine offices in five countries.

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GR9 STRIKE FORCE Released

http://cosine.org.uk/products.php?prod=gr9_strike_force&4mat=c64

Programming: T.M.R
Graphics: T.M.R
Music: Odie
Format: Commodore 64
Release date: 14th September 2009
Released for: Retro Reunited 2009

Pilot briefing: take control of your GR9 harrier jet and navigate through the terrorist occupied territory. Your task is to clear the way for ground forces by destroying as many of their land and air defences as possible. The GR9 Harrier can be controlled with a joystick connected to port 2 and the run stop key will pause the assault at any point when the player is in control of the plane. Pressing the Q key from pause mode will abort the current mission.

GR9 Strike Force was developed for the Retro Reunited event (12th to 13th September 2009) in Huddersfield, U.K. and stars the lucky winner of a door prize at the event, who was given a silly hat to wear before being photographed, converted and inserted into the game (and "loading" picture) live at the event by T.M.R! There are plans for a second release of this game at some point fairly soon, which will extend the current levels and add a fourth, memory permitting.

Trivia: the first player to complete GR9 Strike Force (not including T.M.R) was Retro Gamer editor Darran Jones, playing it as part of a high score competition at Retro Reunited itself on the Sunday.

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Digital Talk 87 released

Issue 87 of the German language diskmag Digital Talk is available to download.
Feedback, texts and programs for the next issue can be sent to the staff up until the 26th September 2009.

DOWNLOAD: http://noname.c64.org/csdb/release/?id=82014

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C&A Fan Issue 4 Released

Issue #4 of ’C&A Fan’ - a PDF magazine for Commodore computer users ( in the Polish language) - has just been released. The articles include: next part of the Amiga history by Jeremy Reimer, mathX software for Amiga computers, review of the 1541 Ultimate for C64, a lot of scene information and more

DOWNLOAD: http://noname.c64.org/csdb/release/index.php?id=82007

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ACID 64 Player Pro v3.02 released

A new version of ACID 64 Player Pro has been released and is available to download http://www.acid64.com

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High Voltage SID Collection Update

High Voltage SID Collection Update 51
Date: August 22, 2009

After this update, the collection should contain 36,937 SID files!
This update features (all approximates):

http://hvsc.c64.org

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IntroBase64 V1.4 released

IntroBase64 is a GameBase Collection of intros that precede cracked games on the Commodore 64. Intros can easily be browsed and started with a single mouse click in your favourite emulator.

Changes in the new 1.4 version:

This will probably be my last update to IntroBase64. RL makes it impossible for me to keep it up to date. If someone is interested in continuing IntroBase64, please let me know. I can send the source files I use for updating IntroBase64 and will help anyone who will work on keeping IntroBase64 up to date.

COMMODORE FREE
The website is in German
http://commodore-gg.hobby.nl/crackersbase.htm

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Updated version of Merlin Browser for the Amiga Released

About Merlin Browser:

The Merlin browser is simple web browser that was developed as part of NarrowCasting software. Support for CSS and JavaScript is build in, but not finished yet Its available for AmigaOS4 PPC and Amiga 68K, Windows, Apple macintosh.
(note that it also compiles on Linux, but that that version doesn't have JPEG and PNG support yet)

License:

This version is shareware but copyrighted by A.P.Spijkerman. You are allowed to download it for use on your system. You are not allowed to distribute it.

Development:

Fixed a lot of bugs and memory leaks, and made a start portal. The emphasis now is on the HTML and CSS engine, and download thread. Also with a recompile it should run on Morphos natively. Changes log http://spijk336.speed.planet.nl/software/changeslog.txt

News:

Added a couple of photos of version 0.04 running on an A4000/040. Also added a couple of pictures of the browser Running on Fedora x86 Linux.

http://home.kpn.nl/spijk336/browser/home.html

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Realms Of Quest for the VIC 20 Released

Enter Realms of Quest III, the computer game that offers you the chance to assemble a party of six adventurers who undertake heroic acts in a vast world of deep dungeons to explore, fantastic creatures to fight you, and treasures to be won.

The adventure is not for the faint of heart, it is a challenging but rewarding experience. You are invited to discover for yourself the following features that await you in this grand computer role playing game for the Commodore VIC-20*:

REALMS OF QUEST III STORY

It has been a thousand years since the great bards had written the epic poem telling the legend of a hero who had slain the demon wizard, Nikaedor. The hero, though mortally wounded, shouted a final cry of victory: “Hark! The Evil Wizard and his Eternal Orb no longer hold dominion over this land”.

It has been a thousand years since...

And now, bandits, orcs, highwaymen and all sorts of vile creatures have gotten bolder. Where they roamed before as mere nuisance, they now dare more often, and even well armed escorts are no longer safe from their attacks. They wander from their wilderness and abandoned ruins of the Land of Rivar to threaten cities within our borders. Sanctuary can no longer be guaranteed.

Then came a far worse day; a day that saw superstition pierce to reality. Dragons, as told in ancient tales from a time beyond memory, began terrorizing our lands. By these tales, it was believed that upon every new moon, the sacrifice of a young maiden, pure in heart and and virtue, would spare the fate of the dragon’s breath. And thus the villages renewed these rituals of terror in order to save themselves.

The dragons sounded a flood of orcs, kobolds, ogres and all sorts of deformed humanoids to rally and attack. Once believed our symbol of strength, peace and protection, the King’s castle was ransacked a year after the first of the dragons was seen. The great Land of Rivar was now reduced to a vassal colony and would pay tribute to all things evil.

Sages and scribes scurried through the ancient texts, desperate to find answers. In the scant remains of the Lycaeum of the King's castle, only a fragment of the ancient poem was found:

“The daemon hath been defeated and a new day begun.
A day to last a thousand years ‘til the setting of the sun.”

The scholars argued on its meaning. In the end, they settled to a one common fear: “Nikaedor”. The legends told his power was so great that he could reverse his own death by himself. All shuddered at the thought.

The King sent forth his finest on a scouting mission to the old ruins of Nikaedor's lair; warriors of unyielding strength, magic wielders of cunning sorcery. After the passing of several moons, their bodies floated in the moat of our once-beloved castle . Struck with shock and grief, a journal was retrieved from their watery grave. The final entry petrified those with ears to hear it:

“Nikaedor has returned. Death to those who fail to pay tribute on this day and forever. Hail Nikaedor!”

Video Preview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DMBlCaDlD8

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VIC-20 Sokoban Released

Name: Sokoban
Author: Hiroyuki Imabayashi
Conversion to VIC-20 by Michael Kircher
Released: August 8th, 2009
Requirements: unexpanded VIC-20, joystick, disk drive

Michael Kircher made a Commodore VIC-20 version of the classic puzzle game Sokoban. The game can be played on a real (unexpanded) VIC-20 with a disk drive and a joystick or with the VICE-emulator. Sokoban was originally developed by Hiroyuki Imabayashi in 1982

http://sleepingelephant.com/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=3350&start=20

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Tribbles 2009 Released

Name: Tribbles 2009
Author: Anders Persson
Released: August 12, 2009
Requirements: VIC-20 + 8K

Tribbles 2009
New version with an useful change!
The tribbles now sits on an alphabetic shelf before they fall down.

This makes it easier to play, for example over the internet using Skype's new function to share your screen. Or if your opponents just are too far from the computer keyboard. Let's say you are by the keyboard, then your opponent just have to say the letter where he wants to place his tribble, then you press the letter on the keyboard and the tribble will go there. Then when everyone have placed their tribbles, the shelf is removed and the tribbles starts to fall down. (It's possible to place tribbles with the cursor keys or joystick as before too.)

The shelf also makes the game a bit more logical I think... I mean, what prevented the tribbles from starting to fall before?

http://user.tninet.se/~pug510w/datormuseum/tribbles.html

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Supra Cobra for the Commodore 64 Released

DATA-LAND (Jörg Heyltjes) has released a new game for the Commodore C64 called Super Cobra. The game is a clone of the arcade classic Scramble.

http://noname.c64.org/csdb/getinternalfile.php/78717/SUPERCOBRA.D64

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REMEMBER Releases

Remember have some more games fixed and released

- Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles - The Coin-op (release number 378)
- World Games (release number 379)
- Aliens (Electric Dreams) (release number 380)
- LeMans (release number 381)
- Gumshoe (release number 382)

http://www.allgamebase.info/rem/_Rem_Aug09/REM_Aug09.zip

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The SEUCK Vault - updated

More than twenty games have been added to the Vault this August, including some of the titles we had on our "wanted" list - thanks to Mason of C64Heaven http://www.c64heaven.com/ for his help.

www.seuckvault.co.uk

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Amitopia TV 31st of August

31 Aug 2009 by M. Bergseth
Welcome to Amitopia TV 31st of August!

Program Today!

15.00: Amiga News
15.10: Efika usage
15.22: Gaming on A1200
15.25: Walls of Doom
15.30: Closed

In this release you get Amiga News, contributions by RoqueFort and Cammy and see how well MorphOS runs on Efika.

Download the link here
http://www.amitopiatv.com/ATV/amitopiatv31stofaugust.mp4

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Jeri Ellsworth creates a Nintendo purse

Retro enthusiast and designer of the DTV and Hummer direct to TV games system Jeri Ellsworth has created the ultimate fashion accessory a Nintendo Purse.

Jeri Ellsworth has managed to get a Nintendo-on-a-chip and a Commodore 64-on-a-chip into a stylish hand bag, along with an LCD screen, then connected a Nintendo controller to produce the ultimate fashion accessory

“This was a Nintendo on a chip and C64 that I installed into a purse for episode 7 of www.fatmanandcircuitgirl.com . It used a LCD from a portable DVD player and an 8 amp hour battery, which last...”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPlBeWy8Xwo&feature=PlayList&p=5371927805FC2784&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=13

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MGMT Kids on C64's Music Studio

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isFxq-Us2J8

You know what its like when you get bored you “Google” or hit “YouTube” well I do just to test my home network is still working and wondering why my C64 cant connect to anything. I “YouTube” a tune I heard on the radio and found this “MGMT Kids on C64's Music Studio (Activision).” Actually quite listenable I always found Here is the posters information “Music Studio” quite limited as you cant customise your own Sid voices, anyway see what you think.

MGMT Kids on C64's Music Studio (Activision). For more on Commodore 64 music stuff, check http://c64-music.blogspot.com

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Forth Dimension BBS

telnet://fodim.bounceme.net

I am writing a BBS program for the c64. Well, my BBS is back online after being down for a month. (64c croaked). I sort of modelled my program after C-Net 64 and Image BBS, so if you call you may notice some similarities.
Now open and accepting new users.. call in and let me know what you think of the 5 year project.

telnet://fodim.bounceme.net
-Steve

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Introducing Admiral 64

http://galaxy22.dyndns.org/admiral64/

I'm not entirely sure which forum this belongs in. What I'm working on is a project to port the Commodore operating system, including BASIC, Screen Editor, Kernel, etc... over to the Intel platform. I setup a little website with some screenshots and the source code and binaries:

http://galaxy22.dyndns.org/admiral64/

Obviously, I've had a lot of people tell me already "why not just run VICE?" but if you read what the goals are of this project, I'm not aiming to emulate the C64 or any other specific hardware. I'm just trying to build an environment that looks and acts just like a C64 but with super-duper speed and enhanced graphics capabilities. That way I can write code in BASIC that will be able to use 256-colours and speed beyond what an original C64 could do even in ML. Also BASIC will have access to much more than 38K of RAM.

Yes, I realize there have been some ports of Commodore BASIC but none of them actually give you an operating environment that looks or works anything like a Commodore.

I'm hoping to recruit some help with this project, even if that help is just in the form of suggestions because I'm really struggling on the direction of how to implement some of the features. Obviously, if anyone wants to write some subroutines, that would be great.

Goals of Admiral 64

To be a full featured BASIC operating environment, with the look and feel of a Commodore 64 (or Plus/4 or 128). That includes features likes:

PETSCII graphics

direct editing and executing of BASIC code without compiling.
"in quote" mode, where cursor movements, colours, and other screen codes are stored in quotes and variables.
Screen editor that allows full movement of the cursor and pressing enter on a line will cause that line to be parsed and executed.

Features that are not present on a regular Commodore 64, but will be available in Admiral 64:

Graphics commands, including the ability to work with text and graphics on the same screen without changing some kind of mode. ultra-fast execution of BASIC code on modern Intel processors that will most likely run faster than ML code did on the original C64. pop-up menu options to handle load/save and configuration options.

What it is NOT intended to be or do:

Not an emulator of an existing platform (like VICE, etc.)
Not intended to be binary compatible with existing games/software

List of current working commands:

CLRSCN - Clear the screen.
EXIT - Exit to DOS
TCOLOR - Change text colour to next number (will allow argument soon)
BCOLOR - Change background colour to next number (will allow argument soon)

I don't know if anyone else has used that name before, so I can always change it.. but I've started writing my new Commodore-on-Intel operating system I've mentioned before. I spent most of yesterday designing a screen-editor. It is now in a somewhat usable state. I've put the file out on my web server for anyone who wants to try it out:

http://galaxy22.dyndns.org/admiral.exe

It is only 17K and it will be even smaller once I'm able to get rid of some libraries I'm currently using but won't be needing eventually.

As far as the screen editor goes, here is what is left to do:

- implement PETSCII character set.
- implement " in quotes" behaviour.
- implement direct reading of keyboard, which will allow me to dump those extra C libraries and be able to read things like shift and control, so I can do things like colour-changes on the number keys, reverse text, clr-home, runstop/restore, etc..
- implement graphics modes

Once I have all that going, it will be a matter of writing a BASIC interpreter and load/save routines.
I plan to add some graphics commands for changing various screen modes, and plotting pixels and basic shapes.

And for the first time ever, you'll be able to operate in BASIC while in graphics mode (without doing a split-screen) I plan to have the screen editor work exactly the same in graphics modes so you could actually print text, do input statements, etc., and be able to draw graphics on the screen any way you like.

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The Wild Bunch (c64)

now complete!

After just over a year of development, the C64 conversion of the excellent Amstrad/Spectrum Firebird game "The Wild Bunch" is now complete. The game is being sold in a limited edition form with authentically and professionally produced inlays and tape labels, replicating the Firebird original release of old.

The official release date is due sometime later this month, which will be a date set in October. The game will now be shipped with the bonus of two versions of the cover printed on both sides. Previews of the cover can be seen on the project website.

There is currently still a pre-order competition running for the game where 20 people can win a free professionally produced Wild Bunch audio CD. Competition closes Midnight, Friday the 11th September.

http://www.gamesplaygames.co.uk/thewildbunch/

EDITOR mine was pre-ordered when the interview ran in Commodore Free although I didn’t receive notification but the payment did go out

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EasyFlash Commodore 64 Directly programmable Cartridge

http://skoe.de/easyflash/index.php?page=what-is-easyflash

What can I do with EasyFlash?

EasyFlash is a cartridge for the C64 expansion port. In contrast to traditional cartridges, this one can be programmed directly from the C64.

You can easily create various classic computer game cartridges, program collections or even a diagnostic cartridge to track down issues with your hardware with it. All what you need to do this is a C64, an EasyFlash, the software available here and an image of the cartridge (*.crt). As these CRT files may be quite large, a large disk drive like the FD-2000 or an sd2iec may be useful.

EasyFlash is not a freezer cartridge like the Final Cartridge III or the Retro Replay. And it's no replacement for a 1541 disk drive like the sd2iec.

How does it work?

EasyFlash is a 1 MByte Flash EPROM card with multiple configurations and banks possible. It does not use traditional UV-EPROMs, but Flash memory. This makes it possible to "burn" the cartridge using your C64, no EPROM programmer is needed.

The EasyFlash hardware is very easy to build and comes with comprehensive software for users and developers. It is easy to make your own cartridge with your favourite software on it and it is easy to create completely new software for being used with EasyFlash.

EasyFlash supports following cartridge formats: Normal 8k, Normal 16k, Ultimax, Ocean Type 1, EasyFlash.

The hardware design and all software packages are licensed under the free zlib license. This means you can do nearly everything with it.

These are the sub-projects of EasyFlash:
- EasyFlash is the name of the hardware
- EasyProg is a C64 program to write cartridge (*.crt) images to the hardware
- EasyCart is a PC program to create your own cartridge images
- EasyLoader is a menu which is added to your EasyCart images
- EasySDK is a collection of documents and code snippets for developers

Why did we make EasyFlash?

At the beginning I simply wanted to re-build an Ocean game cartridge. I didn't have an EPROM programmer and no UV lamp and I didn't want to buy this kind of stuff in the 21st century. That's why the cartridge had to use flash memory. I aimed at building a simple large game cartridge, sticking a nice label on it and give to to somebody as a Christmas present.

First, with some help by HofMar, we analysed how an Ocean cartridge worked and how we could add write access to it. The first drafts of the hardware were quite simple. At that time I did not have much knowledge about the expansion port and its timing. We got more wishes after a while: In addition to Ocean cartridges, it should be possible to write 8k, 16k and Ultimax cartridges to it. We wanted to link several of these cartridges to a multi-cartridge. One should be able to deactivate ("kill") the cartridge easily by keeping <Stop>, <C=> or <Q> pressed when switching on the C64. This all should work with no jumpers if possible. We thought that it should also be possible to write several programs, like tools and games, to the cartridge.

These wishes and the required compatibility to C128 (C64 mode) and to the Ultimax mode made the schematic a bit more complex after a while. Nevertheless we managed to build the control part with only 5 discrete logic ICs worth only a few cents. Alex and Enthusi noted that it would be very useful to have some RAM, for example to be able to backup parts of the zero page temporarily. That's why we added 256 bytes of RAM to the I/O area at $DF00.

One important point for me at this project was to use parts which can be bought easily all over the world. It should be easy to build such an cartridge. It should fit into a standard case and be as cheap as possible.

We never wanted to build a freezer cartridge or a replacement for a disk drive. So it didn't get a competitor to any existing hardware but more or less something new.

Another important point has been to release everything as open source. We wanted to provide good tools for users and for developers and useful documentation. This task is still not complete, but we are working on it. What we reached already: It's running stable, the parts will be less than 10 Euro, the PCB only about 5 Euro and the case about 5 Euro.

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sd2brwse 32k and 64k ROMs for MMC Replay/Retro Replay

http://www.retrohackers.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=525
www.retrohackers.com/download/file.php?id=203&amp;sid=ef94ebb84ec721137caa229864ac2f70

Hi All,
I just got done creating 2 ROMs for the MMC Replay/Retro Replay. This is the sd2brwse light file browser for the uIEC and the SD2IEC drives by Hannu Nuotio. It was version 0.6 that was modified. I (with the help of people from Lemon64 and retrohackers.com) have added a 4 second delay to the program and change the colours a little. Also made it so it defaults to lower case. Finally, it defaults to the SD2IEC/uIEC being drive 8 (since most games seem to like this by default.)

Please, let me know what you think,
MisterMsk

sd2brwse

2008, 2009 Hannu Nuotio
Ported to ROM by Mike Kagarise (MisterMSK)
SD/MMC card browser for devices with sd2iec firmware.

Changelog

v.0.6 - 13.8.2009
- bugfix: file name length was 1 too much in some situations
- removed obsolete (older than v0.5.1) firmware support

v.0.5 - 8.11.2008
- bugfix: load end address was ignored
- using kernal screen clear to save some bytes

v.0.4 - 7.11.2008
- added d71/d81 support

v.0.3 - 20.4.2008
- bugfix: "cd to root" didn't work
- bugfix: previous position is reset at start

v.0.2 - 15.3.2008
- added "quit to basic"
- smaller size
- added "minimal" configure option

v.0.1 - 14.3.2008
- first version with readme.txt :)

Files

sd2brwse*.prg - precompiled versions (see "Versions")
sd2brwse.a - the main source file
config.def - configuration file
Makefile - for easier development
readme.txt - this file

Versions

sd2brwse.prg is the basic version that:
- autodetects the device number
- uses normal keybindings (see "Controls")
- has all the features

Explanation of the suffixes:

- "dtv" = maps controls to C64DTV buttons (see "Controls")
- "8" = uses hardcoded device number 8
- "min" = minimal version for fast loading

Controls

Note: Selecting the first entry ("<-") returns back
to the previous directory.

Joystick in port 2:
UP - previous program
DOWN - next program
LEFT - previous page
RIGHT - next page
FIRE - load and run selected program

Keyboard: (if dtvbuttons = 0)
CRUP - previous program
CRDOWN - next program
CRLEFT - previous page
CRRIGHT - next page
ENTER - load and run selected program or change directory
BACKSPC - exit to previous directory
F1 - jump to first program
F3 - jump to last program
F7 - quit to basic

C64DTV: (if dtvbuttons = 1)
UP - previous program
DOWN - next program
LEFT - previous page
RIGHT - next page
L - load and run selected program or change directory
R - exit to previous directory
A - jump to first program
B - jump to last program
D - quit to basic

Compiling

acme --cpu 6502 -f cbm -o sd2brwse.prg sd2brwse.asm

Requires ACME v.0.91 from http://www.esw-heim.tu-clausthal.de/~marco/smorbrod/acme/

Customizing

Modify (some of) the constants. Refer to comments. Setting the constant "dtvbuttons" to 1 remaps some of the controls to the special buttons in C64DTV. "sd2brwse_dtv.prg" is a precompiled example of this.

Setting the constant "hwdevicenum" to 0 makes sd2brwse "autodetect" (lda $ba) the device number. Setting a non-zero value hardcodes the device number to the specified value. This is mostly for installing sd2brwse to the DTV flash.

Setting the constant "minimal" to 1 removes many features to save space (and still remain functional)

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Welcome to the Commodore

Lord Ronin from Q-link

OK for you guys that are experienced and well versed with the Commodore; this bit isn't for you. (Well perhaps for a reminder of those first days of using the Commodore.) Nope this is for the new guy getting just getting into Commodore, for what ever reasons he has his system in hand. Written by a lamer, but fanatical Commodore User.

So lets get this little bit started.

Hey there new Commodore User, or even returning User. Welcome to the world of computer use that they thought would die and of course it didn't. You have the worlds greatest PC, and you bet I am biased towards the Commodore 64/128. Funny thing about this is that I was just editing an article for my user’s group newsletter. Where one of the new members relates his first Commodore, back in 1984. How he had to mow lawns and other chores to gain the money to buy the store demo model breadbox 64. Its funny in a sense, because his story isn't unique, I have heard many stories of that are that style. Followed by the long hours of typing in programmes and playing games. OK and cursing at the typos and bugs in the programmes as well as the games that keep beating the players. These people can remember their system first games that they played, how long they played, the year that they gained their Commodore, and some of them could remember the exact date 25+ years later. Ah it was March 1993, a breadbox 64, Sr-3000 monitor, okidata 120 printer, cheap Atari joystick and the first game was Aero Jet. First writing programme was Word Writer 4. Well that is my memory. I Can't remember my first Amiga, and I think it was at MossyCon2 that I was given a Linux system; But I can't be certain. That also isn't unique either. The inability to remember when other computer systems arrived in the user’s life. On mail lists and in chat channels, I have heard many a times is how a user is so happy to have found others that use the Commodore. Most of them still have their stuff stuck in the closet. Dumped off other PC platforms over the years but still hold onto the magical Commodore, even if they haven’t used it for over a decade; they just can't get rid of it. I have gained several collections from people, who have to get rid of there Commodore Collection. My wife is tired of dusting it and having it take up space. They all ask that (it) gets "a good home". Sort of like having to give up a cherished and treasured pet.

So then, you have entered into the world of this magical computer. Magical because of the spell that it puts on people. Now this isn't going to go into the errors made at CBM on things. A great book called "On the Edge" by Brian Bagnall covers the history of the Commodore range and people involved. Nope this piece is to try in my fumbling manner, to give you an idea of what you have at the moment, and what you can do with it now, as well as in the future. Old time users know this stuff already. That is why I wrote this; for you the new guy. See even after 16 years using the Commodore just about everyday. I still think of myself as a new guy, a beginner. Because I don't know enough about the system yet. When I think I understand something. Blammo, here cones something new, and I am not talking about the new developments that you can read about here in Commodore Free. I am talking about stuff that is new to me, but old to other more advanced users. There is just so much for you to play with on the C=.

Going from that premise, what do you have in front of you for your system? Nah I don’t mean the model of the Commodore PC unit. Bread box, 64c, SX, 128 or l28Dcr. Nor any of the "extras" that may have been installed before you got the computer. Nope just what is it for you, and that will go into what can you do with it.

First off; the Commodore 8bit system isn't just a game machine with a keyboard. I have heard it called that over the years. Well to be honest When I first received mine, and it was my first computer. Yeah I thought it was just that, a new type of game machine. Better than the Mattel thing and the Atari thing that I had played on at friends placed. Better than dropping quarters in the machines at the tavern. I mean that the games looked just about the same as what I was playing in the bars. I Broke my cheap joystick playing Centipede. Then I discovered the Word Writer 4 programme. Now what this means is that for those that want to play games. Man there is a mess of them out there for you. Sales on eBay and other places for factory copies. Preserved copies are in files on many sites for you to grab and enjoy.

Games, most people play them on the computer. But what type do you like? I am into the Role Playing types and the flying games. Not too much into the SIM games. Do play with friends from time to time the board games. Not into the card games that much. Have been known to spend several hours on the strip poker game though; and all on the Commodore. But the first barrier to deal with is the mental concepts of the games. Not what is programmed on the disk. Nah. what is programmed in your mind. You see the majority of people I have dealt with over the years in a shop that sells Commodore and other things. They are stuck on the mega colours and the stereo sound and the 32 and more bit systems. Thinking that there can be no fun in the 8bit stuff. Right then delete that entry from your mind. As your mind is the best graphic device, and the same for sound. Given some time on the game. You will have your mind fill in what is missing to your eyes and ears. If there is really anything missing Seen that myself in several games. Where, like in the game Pirates, the images of people are just re-coloured for the encounter. But man it does actually look different enough in the course of game play.

The other thing that people have thought and told me is that an 8bit game can't be that hard to play. Nor take much time to play. And finally can't be of any interest to play. Well none of that is correct. Granted there are some real simple type in games that you can do, and that they hold interest only because you typed them in and made them work. But oh no the 8bit games are vastly greater than the uninformed think. There is a game of 4 disks, called Pool of Radiance. This is a 1st Ed AD&D game. Naturally I had to have it! Well with the books, and a walk-through It still took me just over 3 weeks to finish the game. I played in my shop, 6 hours a day and 6 days a week. So that takes out the not hard to play, as well as the not much time to play part. As for interest. Ah let me say on that one. If there is no interest. Then like why did that 64DTV toy sell out so fast. Why are there so many sites with the Commodore files on them. Which you can download, and revert from the image form of what is called a .D64, back to normal 1541 disks. Ah but then again on interest, those .D64 image files are used on other PC platforms with emulators. Meaning that you can play the Commodore game on another computer platform. So interest is there for people. Oh yeah I saw an advert for some cell phone company; where you can down load Commodore 64 games to play on your cell phone. Way past me on that one, as I don't have one of those things. But it does show that there is interest.

My bias in this part is simply this on the overall game part. Commodore games seem to make you think more than games on the more current systems. Computers as well as console games. Which are pretty and do a lot for you. My opinion is the meat of the game is in the story and the play. Not in the colours and sounds. OK what 1 am saying and it is just my opinion. Story lines and the interaction of the Commodore games is more mind work than the new things. Like the new ones have lost the meat of the game. And yeah I have hundreds of Commodore games. As well as a Linux system and several game consoles from 8bit Nintendo to the PS-2. That takes care of the basics on Commodore games. But hey I did say that the C=PC isn't just a game machine with a keyboard. Mentioned that I found the Word Writer 4 programme for writing. Well that was a bigger change for me than the games. My hands are damaged, and well 50+ years ago they didn't really want to teach left handed baby boomers. Meaning that I never really learned to do acceptable hand writing. OK also in my generation real men didn't take typing lessons. So I never learned to type. Self taught on the Commodore. Still can't touch type. But I do Role Playing Games. Meaning that I need to make the adventures and the maps. Won't go into depth on that in here, did that in another piece. Word Writer 4 put the letters and the numbers on the screen. Magical. I mean that I am looking at my thoughts on the screen in pretty and clean. easy to read documents. I'm writing this on a Commodore and seeing the characters on the screen is still magical after all these years. And these damaged hands have just enough strength to press the keys. Never had that ability with a typewriter.

Well there arc a lot of Word Writing programmes out there for both the 64 and the 128. All the ones that I have found will save your work to disk, as well as print it out for you. Personally I use Geos these days. But it requires some more outlay in hardware. May not be what you want for your writing work. Most writing programmes are good for letters and other simple documents. What I create is a bit more on the lines of what is called DeskTop Publishing. I make multiple pages of documents, adding some graphics and to be brief, even make postscript files. That on the Linux I convert to a PDF So yeah the Commodore can handle all the writing needs that I know about. Be it some simple pages to making 40 page RPG adventures, or novels. Both of which 1 am doing, and on the Commodore.

Why I even have a programme that will print out a cheque for your cheque book. Though now days there is a special ink that is wanted at some banks. Or they don't accept the cheque. But I have made and used them in the past. Not really into spread sheets. Never got my mind around that one. But there are many spread sheet programmes for the Commodore. I may still have one that prints sideways, for the long rows. Even have a box of paper for that style. Data bases, of simple talk, making files and lists. Easy to do on the Commodore. There are programmes for that from simple type it in yourself, all the way to big fancy factory programmes.

Have other ideas for things, past the above, and wonder if the Commodore can do more? Yeah that is a cheap intro to things past the usual computer stuff. Yeah, oh yeah man the Commodore can do more. Want to install a picture on the screen or into a document? Well there are programmes to do the installation part. But gang, we have a hand scanner that I have used often. We have had digital stuff, like Computer Eyes. That is a thing that will take an image from a video camera, or from a really good paused video tape, or as the booklet says from a laser disk. Hey that give you an idea how long we have had digital video capture? Oh it works from DVDs as well. Another one is called Video Byte II. That one even makes the image into a Koala picture for you to edit. That is the lead in for the fact that there are art - drawing programmes for the Commodore. Koala being what I have seen most of the other tools and programmes that I have played with, use for a standard. I prefer another one. but there are converter programmes to make one drawing art into another. So if you like to draw, or feel the desire to draw, but are worried that some one might see your work. (I feel that way). You can make the work on the Commodore save it or just delete it before some one can sec it, I do that last part a lot.

Why we even have a voice digital device. Actually there are several of them that I have seen over the years. One that is easy to find is S. A.M. This will speak out the words of a document for you. Well you can make it do other things in speech as well. This is just the most common work that I have seen for the programme. Though I have seen or is that heard the speech in games as well as in a typing programme that tells you the character that you have pressed. The other one that I use is Covox Voice Master, goes back to about 1985. Takes my voice and uses it in a programme. I used to make some voice intros to the monthly disk for my group. Till the guy that could programme that moved away. This one even states it has voice recognition. Though to be honest it isn't easy or cheap to find and get.

Games, Writing, Spread Sheets, Files. Data Bases. Drawing, Voice. What else can this fantastic machine do? Well it can make music as well as sound effects. There arc many books on that subject. Which as I write this arc being preserved. Same as Commodore magazines. Keeping the information alive for the old timers and for us the new guys. Not that your music will sound like the 101 strings doing a Vivaldi piece. But on the other hand, it isn't going to sound like elevator music either Sound effects are a thing that makes games sound and play better. Even the razz when you type in something in your work. Letting you know that you smegged it up. That is a sound effect. Buzzers* crying, blasts, shots, clink of swords, crystal glass being rubbed. Bells and whistles and vast amount more can be made. Which leads me to the last part of what your machine can do.

You can programme it! Old timers will say that this is an obvious statement. For them it is, for me it was just a simple statement that I figured I would never do in my life. Ah, I was wrong. But for the new guys, and here the younger new guys. Hey there, you can programme the Commodore. And if you are like most of the people that I have met. who use the more contemporary platforms. You don’t know what I mean by that statement. Old timers that have read this far. What I am saying here is that there is a generation of users of computers that have no idea about being able to sit down and tap the keys to make something from scratch. They don't know about type in programmes, or the simple fact that they can programme the computer, or even what the term programming means.

Right back to the new guys. What this means is that you can sit down at the blue screen on your 64. Then you can create your own programme to do something. Poorly stated in that sentence. But it is the truth, you can make your own programmes. There are several ways to approach this act. Tell you now, that not every one that uses the Commodore is interested in programming it at all. Anyway, if you have the users guide for the 64 then you have a basic familiarity to it and if you don't I heard that it is online in a PDF (EDITOR online edition http://www.lemon64.com/manual/ PDF http://www.commodore.ca/manuals/c64_users_guide/c64-users_guide-01-setup.pdf 40 column text version http://www.commodorefree.com/tools/guide/40column.txt and D64 of user guide http://www.commodorefree.com/tools/guide/guide2.zip and part 2 http://www.commodorefree.com/tools/guide/guide2.zip) That book will have you making some simple things. Well it is a real mind blower for some to see that balloon go across the screen. Or the little symbol bounce around the screen. Because they sat down and typed in the code. OK millions of others did the same thing. Majority of them felt the same sensations. I felt it and still do when I mess with Basic v2. Had a 15 year old in my users group who was blown away, when he made a simple programme that had his name appear on the screen. After a simple input prompt. I gave him the lines from my demented mind, he typed them in and was floored. Gives you an idea of the lack of hands on the machine and how far we have moved from the Personal in Personal Computer. Anyway he bought a system and became a member till he moved away. Buried himself in programming and made a couple simple demos and a text game.

There are other ways to make things for yourself in programming. The one that is called programming by some and not programming by others. Happens to be using creators. I have used some that make 2D RPG games. Learning one that makes text games. There are some that are called "Construction Set" that will make games for you to enjoy. But though there are many of these out there for you to experiment with, not everyone will agree that it is real programming. Oh there are some tools for programming. There are also languages that the Commodore will accept. At the start it has Basic v2 at your fingertips. You can start to type in lines right at that blue screen. Well that is the level my group is at the moment. So the rest of this is 2nd hand information. Most of the guys that I have talked to, that programme, went to ML after Basic. ML is Machine Language, and there arc assemblers for it, which I know little about. ML in general will make the programme do more and run faster and in some aspects be smaller. Other languages that you can use on the Commodore are, Comol, Cobol, CP/M, Fortran and others. Those are just the ones that we have books on, in the groups library. I also have a C programming tool disk from a company. Which I have never used.

OK programming isn't for everyone. Some of my members don't want to programme. They got burned out after some of the dull lessons from some of the sources we tried out. Others are real keen on the idea. Some just want to use the game creators for making their desired projects. But there is another thing you can do with your Commodore. Hardware work, that is for those that have an electronics interest. Adding a reset switch to the 64. Making, well a mess of stuff as there are books out there and in some older electronic mags, some projects that you can create and install, or use with the Commodore. I remember one in a book we have, that is sometime to do voice. That is one that a member wants to build. First I have to teach him basic electronics.

OK I am on page #5 in GeoWrite. Where I am doing this article and 100 of all my writing work. Done on the Commodore in 2009. 1 haven't scratched the surface of what you can do with the Commodore. Hey there is telecommunications. Like a BBS. and yeah I know some of the new guys don't know what that is, and no this isn't the place for that one. I have done BBS articles before. Just say that it is a place where a computer can talk to another computer over the phone line. User can leave mail, post in message bases, up and down load files and play games. Doing it with your Commodore. If you have the right connections. Like a direct dial shell account, and the Commodore with a modem and a terminal programme that docs ASCII/ANSI You can go on the Internet. I did it for over 10 years. Till I got DSL and haven't yet connected my Commodore to the Linux system to go online with DSL and the Commodore.

There is so much that you can do with the Commodore. Hope that I have demonstrated this to you the new guys. But to answer the question of what can you do with the Commodore? Simply one hell of a lot more than you expected and then some. But how to get the information to learn? Well you have started out real good. You arc reading a Commodore publication that gives you much better information and contents than I can. There are online places to down load files. They also have links to other places. Which have links to links .. you get the idea. There is a lot on line to discover. There are also mail lists, irc chats where people of Commodore interests hang out and most of them are willing to lend a hand.

So new guy. you are not alone, you have a system that will challenge your mind, and not your wallet. A system that is upgradable and 999% backwards compatible to 1982. Something that will have you thinking and creating your own things from your own interests. A system that has not fallen into the land fill. That has outlasted the company. Where people still make software and hardware for it in a cottage industry. Most of them are very helpful to the beginners. So yeah man you have the worlds greatest computer. Welcome to the world of Commodore.

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SHREDZ64

Review by Andrew Fisher

Shredz64 is a modern day game for the Commodore 64 that makes use of the Playstation guitar controller hooked through the PSX64 interface. http://www.toniwestbrook.com/psx64

Its design is modelled against the popular "Guitar Hero" series, geared toward the ability to play along to your favourite C64 music on the guitar. Correctly played notes increase your score and applause meter, while incorrectly played notes decrease your applause meter. If the crowd stops applauding, you're out! Additionally, Shredz64 features the "shredocity" meter that allows for extra points when you're doing an awesome job shredding to your favourite chip tune. Watch Shredz64 in action http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyCMM6e1Lbo or Download Now! http://www.synthdreams.com/shredz64.php

Shredz64 features the following:

- The ability to play (many) SID files, including ones added by the player.
- The ability to edit "notes" (the buttons that scroll during game play) for both built in and imported songs.
- Pseudo 3D game play to give it the look and feel of a modern day game.
- High score tracking, 5 scores for each song.
- The ability to detect when the guitar is lifted up to activate shred mode.

Further information and song downloads can be found at Synthetic Dreams.

Over the last couple of years I have spent a lot of time playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band. In fact I spent a lot of money on the games and guitar for PS2, and recently upgraded to an Xbox 360 just so I could play Rock Band. So I was incredibly excited when I first saw the YouTube videos of Shredz64, a Commodore 64 game based on Guitar Hero. Best of all, the interface allowed the player to use the PS2 guitar with the game for an authentic experience.

At the Retrovision and Byte Back events earlier in 2009 I got the chance to go hands on with the game itself, and it was as we were packing up that Steve (StarshipUK from the Llamasoft forum) offered me the chance to take it home with me. Now I wasn’t going to turn that down! Here’s my thoughts on the game, the interface and the future.

PSX64

To make the guitar compatible with the C64 required an interface, but it is much more than that. It takes any Playstation peripheral and through the small board sends signals to a standard 9-pin joystick plug. In other words, the interface can be used with any computer that has the right port, including the Amiga, Spectrum and so on. There is a small program on the disk for checking the input, and it also opens the possibility of more peripherals (such as dance mats) being hooked up to the C64.

The interface, as stated, consists of the joystick plug connected to a small PCB and a wire from that to the Playstation socket. The interface needs more power than the joystick port can provide, so a separate power adapter is needed. Care must be taken handling an “open” board like this, although I’m sure that it would not take much effort to add a case if that was a major concern.

SHREDZ64

For those who haven’t seen the Guitar Hero games, let me explain. The guitar has five coloured fret buttons and a strum bar. As the coloured notes move down the screen display, the player holds down the same coloured fret and strums when the note reaches the bottom of the screen. Points are only scored for timing the note accurately, and playing badly will eventually stop the music. The whammy bar allows long notes to be distorted for bonus points.

The software itself is very good, although it takes a long time to load. After the bitmap loading screen the menus are easily navigated with the guitar, giving three main choices Play Tune, Edit Tune and View High Scores. The green button selects an option or moves forward, red moves back and yellow enters letters on the high score table. There are ten tunes available with the original disk, and they can be started in Easy or Hard mode. Hard mode gives a smaller “timing window” for hitting the note.

The actual game display resembles the fretboard of Guitar Hero, the coloured notes moving in 3D down the screen towards the timing bar at the bottom. In Shredz, hitting the purple notes fills the Shredocity bar (just like Star Power in Guitar Hero), and tilting the guitar up when the bar is more than half full activates “Shredocity” mode, doubling the player’s score. Missing notes reduces the audience appreciation, and when that bar hits the bottom the player fails. The score multiplier also builds as the player hits consecutive notes. Reaching the end of the song and achieving a high score allows the player to input their name, with five scores recorded for each tune.

Editing tunes is a complicated business. First of all, there is a limit of ten tunes per disk. Then they have to be in SID format transferred from the PC. There are also limits on the area of memory the tune can occupy, from $0909 to $4000, and only the first tune of a SID containing multiple files will be played. But perhaps the biggest problem is the tricky controls and the regular crashes of the game when editing. (I am unsure if this is a problem caused by running in PAL). Holding down the frets and strumming enters or deletes a note as the track is playing. Strumming up on its own “packs” the data entered so far and goes back to the beginning. Strumming down on its own packs and saves the data in memory. The whammy bar can be held to slow the music by a third, which makes timing the notes a little easier. But it is a long process to “complete” a tune, with limits on the amount of notes and the way it will crash.

All in all though this is a clever package and a great idea. With more support from the creator and development, it would be great to see more tunes available to play. I’d also like to see more ideas that make use of the interface, since there are quite a few Playstation peripherals and related games.

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Welcome to Amigaworld!

Information taken from Amitopia TV
http://www.amitopiatv.com/

Red, blue and black? Confused? Welcome to Amigaworld!
Today we can call all these platforms for Amiga. Amiga is no longer tied to the 68k family. It's split into different colours In the early birth of these 2 PowerPC operating systems, there was and is still a small colour war between red and blue side of the camps.

So, who is who?

Red - Classic Amiga + AmigaOS 4
Blue - MorphOS
Black - AROS

What's the difference?

AmigaOS 3.x: Red

Info: Intuition as main GUI. Option for MUI3.8 etc.
Hardware: Amiga 500 to Amiga 4000. You can upgrade these classic Amiga machines with PPC and get PPC support through WarpOS or PowerUP. You can also buy PCI upgrading kits at Elbox today. Giving classic Amiga computers access to PCI graphic cards, sound cards and Ethernet cards etc.
More info: You can build up your Classic Amiga a lot. Mainly done as a hobby thing.

68k compatibility? YES
note: If you have an Amiga with AGA. You should get whdload. This makes it easy to run games from your HD. Classic Amiga is the best buy if you want full 68k compatibility in all directions.

AmigaOS 4: Red

Info: ReAction as main GUI. Option for MUI3.9 etc.
Hardware: Runs on Classic Amiga with PPC, Eyetech AmigaOne and MicroA1, Acube sam440ep boards and on Pegasos II.
More info: TBA

68k compatibility? YES
note: Only AmigaOS 68k programs works. No programs which depend on the classic Amiga custom chipset will work.

MorphOS: Blue

Info: MUI4 as main GUI. Option for ReAction compatibility through ClassAct
Hardware: Runs on Classic Amiga with PPC, Pegasos, Pegasos II and Efika,
More info: MorphOS runs fine on Classic Amiga and on Efika. You need at least 64MB of RAM to make it run and be useful. When using Efika etc. Your limited to 91MB Free RAM after boot. You can still use MorphOS for lots of stuff like surfing, irc, ftp and gaming!

68k compatibility? YES
note: Only AmigaOS 68k programs works. No programs which depend on the classic Amiga custom chipset will work. You also have EUAE ported to MorphOS, so you can play 68k Amiga games.

AROS: Black

Info: Zune as main GUI. AROS is Open Source.
Hardware: Runs on x86 Intel and PowerPC.
More info: You will need a PCI-based PC-AT (based on i486 or later) with PS/2 or USB mouse, PS/2, AT or USB keyboard, IDE hard disk and CD-ROM on parallel ATA or SATA configured in legacy mode, and an (S)VGA video card and monitor. At least 24 MB of RAM is required. A VESA-compliant VGA card is recommended. There are generic 2D-accelerated drivers (HIDDs) for some ATI and nVidia cards.

68k compatibility? YES
note: 68k compatibility is via uae - you need to have AMIGA ROMS and AmigaOS system for it. the work for an AROS kickstart and compatible free ROM has been started by Greg "bheron" casamento some time ago. This 68k compatibility is not the same as on AmigaOS 4 or on MorphOS

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Update on the PDF Project

Lord Ronin from Q~Link

Few days back, a guy asked me why am I spending so much time and frustration on making these Geos files into PDF files. OK I hadn't slept well, no coffee yet, there was some minor water in the shop, and of course I am biased for the C=. So perhaps that explains my head turning, framed in the mess of hair that looks like a cross between Karl Mark and Charlie Manson, smoke pouring out of my mouth, tendrils curling through the beard. Ah I had to change to a heavier pipe tobacco, with the eyes red, hopefully from lack of sleep. As I replied "Because not every one in the world is smart enough to use Geos!". Hmm I wonder if that is why the guy looked so shocked, or was it the Nam T shirt I was wearing?

Truth is that it is a new thing to learn for me, that is not just on the Commodore. I need to present the work to those less fortunates that do not have C= and Geos. OK I know that there are a lot of people that do not like Geos. Having other Word Processing and Desk Top Publishing programmes that they prefer. While others just plainly are not doing writing things on the Commodore. Even though the files that I make here, in the way that I make them can be seen by other systems. Still have to use a non C= system to put them up at this time, progressed since the previous articles. Right of I want to thank Nigel (www.commodorefree.com) and Allan (www.commodorescene.org.uk ) for their assistance in ironing this out and getting me to this point, and thanks to Destined!/weirdwolf/No.8 for his assistance in finding programmes and doing testing for me. Right then what I am aiming and missing is to present the update of the experiments in making the PDF files that are sent off from me to the poor victims, called editors of other C= publications. Part of this is a review; part of this is an update of how things have.

Next an apology for those that are reading this from the wonderful .D64 file made by Al Jackson. BTW the new menu is fantastic on the disk. This is the way that I present the issues of Commodore Free to members of my users group. Meaning that I know the images I am placing in this piece will not be seen by you. Never fear on this one. They are just some snaps I took with a camera that puts the image on a floppy. Transfer that into the RAM on the 128 with GeoDos. They are just some multi sided dice for the Role Playing Games {ah you just knew that I would have to toss RPG in here some place} Testing for clarity and scale, as they are 1" <approx 25mm> or less. Shot on the 128Dcr keyboard for reference. They look good on the camera screen, and in the eps files that I made. But really don't need to be seen for this piece, to follow what I am doing, or attempting to do with this project.

OK now a fast review of the steps that we have done in the past. Then the new stuff and then the road block. Right then the first part is to have an idea of what I want to do, since that is a rare event. I just jump in and hope for the best. Starting off by writing some text in GeoWrite in 80 column. Here I must explain that I usually write the text in Times Roman at 14 point, as I am doing for this article. But I use the bold face style. Easier for me to see on the screen, and I use in my printing an imported font. Bold has the right spacing, pretty much, for the imported font. But it does make the post script conversion almost impossible to read. Super bold, like big blobs of black. Took me some time to figure that problem. Well that means that after the bold is removed. There is more space in the document. EX: 20 pages in bold for the print newsletter. Becomes 16 1/3 on average for the non bold for the Cyberspace issue.

OK next part of the review is how I made the files. Lay out the GeoWrite file in post print 3.8. Slight aside here. If you have the PPv4, GeoPaint is cut at the top. Do not expand it in post print v4 to a full page. If so you will lose the top 3/4" in general. Just pull the image to the bottom of the lay out page, and well hope for the best. I've used 5 printers, of two different models and had the same problem on each of them. OK where was I?

Oh yeah, next is go into the print options. There I tell it to be in level 2, colour on and I am not sure of all the other settings. You know a manual would have been nice for this tool. Anyway in print, I tell it to make a disk file. There I select Linux /Amiga and Unix are in the same listing along with it being a plain ASCII thing. Tell it where to go, I am great at telling things and people that one. Give it a name and hit return. Having the SCPU makes things go fast. I now have a post script file. That is then copied to a floppy on the FD with GeoDos. Taken to the Linux system, copied to desk top and we are ready.

Well that was what I was doing. Loads of T&E to get that far. Any jpegs where stuck on the back page with a bit of text explaining what they were. Used a tool to convert the postscript file to PDF For some reason the postscript file is just one page when viewed, but becomes the full document when converted. OK so far, except that if you look at the document pages in anything but 100%. Bugger doesn't scale, I mean it looks like, well to my eyes, it looks like going into zoom in Koala, you see rectangular gray scale blocks, rather than text. Not great for people with eyes as bad as mine. Though in a test, can tell you that it prints out fine.

Two things happened to improve this work. Nigel helping me out with Allan to replicate the method that Allan used. Some differences in use, as one I am using Linux and not windows. Another is that I didn't have a working copy of GeoPub. Mine corrupted on me years ago. The major one is the use of the EPS or Encapsulated PostScript setting. Like I said earlier, be nice if there was a manual for post print. The help from these guys had me making test pages of EPS copies, and they scaled wonderfully. In fact they are sharper than the postscript files I had made. Even at 100%, jpegs look better too, better than on the camera screen. Second thing that happened was I got a copy of GeoPub again. So with the manual, the book from Bruce Thomas and help from Nigel & Allan, I started to make my work and run it through GeoPub. One other thing happened as well. I was given a new Linux system. Bigger, faster and overall more powerful. OK don't know how to operate it yet. But it is better than that 9gb HD temporary thing I was using.

Where does that place us now? Well in the short. Writing is the same, just as bad as always. Though I lay it out in GeoPub. Making some colour separators, colour some of the chapter headers. Do some boxes, and ovals in colour as well as some text. Hmm, that might be worth a report when I learn more. Sounds easy, and with some practice in GeoPub with the manual and Bruces's book, it is easy. In fact this article is going to be laid out as I illustrate here with those couple of die snaps. Hope it works for Commodore Free.

OK you can get the idea that with GeoPub we have some improvements with the ability to place images. Sure that means making the box on the lay out page, where you want it, and then in post print, putting the jpeg in the right spot. Or pretty close to it. Measurements help, but well the measurements in GeoPub and postprint are not exactly the same. But with practice it can be done, and with text inserted under the photo. More effects as I experiment. Ah now we have some things to consider. Colour happens to make the file larger. Not the jpegs I mean all of the colour bars, text, highlights. Make the document larger. That must be kept in mind when I am making a multipage file that is to be converted to PDF OK have to put in an example here. One of my early newsletters was 21 pages long for the CyberSpace issue. Lots of colour additives, 4 jpegs at 50kb or less. Fit easily on a heretic formatted 3 1/2" floppy. Bugger when converted from postscript to PDF, became 6.4mb in size. That is almost 50% of my max ability at vcsweb to attach a file.

So then in laying out things, we have the text, and then into GeoPub, where it can be done as a single page, or done in columns. I have experimented with three and two columns for my newsletter. Readers feedback was that they liked two columns better. Once the text is laid out in GeoPub, and the boxes for jpegs are created. Time to take the document to post print. Here it is easy to lay out the GeoPub document. Tell it where to go, give it a name, select the size of the document. I mean for the states, letter or legal, or tabloid if the printer accepts that size and you can make booklets in that size. Once that is done, you look at the screen; see an area that represents the size of the page. Press C= and 5. Puts the entire document you do have to select if first in the postprint document. Really would be nice if there was a manual that explained that one. For years I inserted the pages one by one. Nice if there was a manual that explained those icons on the right hand side, as well. I found the one to make a frame of different thickness and distance from the object; by accident. For jpegs there appears to be a thing to adjust the colour. Not played with it yet. Found it by accident. Anyway at this point, I go to the pages that I had made boxes for the jpegs in GeoPub. Then try to install them in post print. Practice makes perfect, as well as stress and frustration on this part.

Once that is done we go to the print option area. Here thanks to Nigel & Allan. The changes take place. Turning on the EPS. Ah gotta remember to turn it off, because my printer will not print if it is left on. But at this point the extra work takes place. Rather than make one file. I must make each page of the document a file. I mean that in the 22 pages of the most recent newsletter. I used to make a file called "vg.ps" (Standing for Village Green postscript.) Now I must make the files as "vgl.eps" to "vg22.eps". A little extra work. Does make a better end result, I hope. More on that hope part below. Well in my most recent testing, the individual pages averaged around 96kb each. Larger ones in size had the jpegs on them. Smaller ones had less colour additives. GeoDos and I with the heretic formatted FD disks had some difficulties. Some how GeoDos is seeing them at a different size. I mean they show up as one size in Wheels. When I check them and they are about the same size on the Linux system. GeoDos says they are larger, and does not do a block count to 0 before the file is closed off. Though in the Linux system, the full file is seen with the entire colour.

Now to the good news and the bad news. Good news is that in using the EPS setting I can use the underline, the italic and even the bold face style. Looking clean and proper. Outline tested out as nothing more than plain text style. I couldn't do that with any success, as a postscript file. Bad news, well look I don't want to load up 22 pages one page at a time to read the information. Want it to be one file and scroll down the pages like I do with my ebooks. So I must place all the individual pages into one file. Easy right? Maybe if I could find a programme to do that for me, Open Office didn't like the idea wouldn't import the files. Well not true, they are imported, too large, wrong fonts and at times with all the adobe postscript codes, rather than the text. Scribus was suggested to me by destined/weirdwolf my Linux tutor. OK for me it did 9 pages out of 22. Then failed, ah that is the word on the D.B. that popped up on any of the other pages in importing. By accident I found some set of files in my home folder. Look this is way past my understanding. They are ".tiff files. Got me what they are and they are the pages that didn't import. They are also all at 10.3kb.

Presented that problem to destined !/weirdwolf. At his request I sent him the 22 individual EPS files. He gave it a go with a different Linux flavour, but the same Scribus programme. He made it to 5 imported files then the same problem happened to him. He currently is testing an idea; making a 5 page document, saving it, making another till all 22 pages are done, then importing those documents into one. Finally saving that as a PDF Here is where the “my hope” part from above comes into play.

Well gang, I have laid this out in GeoPub. Made the boxes for the jpegs to be inserted, in just a few minutes, and at the moment am writing a few more lines, in GeoPub. As this is an experiment. Going to try to lay this all out, make the EPS files and then copy to the disk. After that, well on the Linux system. Let us see if I can make these 4 pages into one document, saved as a PDF If this happens. Then there is a breakthrough for us. OTOH: a lot of work for me in doing the 40 page chapters of my stories for the next MossyCon CD. As there are many chapters to lay out, make into eps files and then into the PDF I'm looking at about 400 pages in just one story of 10 chapters at the moment, if this works out. Well I will be making things that will look better than before. Not any better in subject matter or readability. But it will look better. And guys the whole thing is that it is done mostly on the Commodore. There is the big trip for all of us. Our system is still upgradable and backwards compatible. The others, well they aren't.

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Interview with Chris Snowden Commodore 16

www.Commodore16.com

The Commodore plus 4 is often overlooked by many users (myself included) dismissed as a substandard machine, however I was absolutely astonished when I met up with Chris who really opened my eyes. The Plus 4 is a machine I must have and play on, some of the demos Chris showed me were absolutely superb. I suppose with hindsight I blame the Commodore press at the time for pushing the machine as a Vic 20 replacement and with so many different versions it confused me at the time. So I spoke to Chris about the Commodore plus 4.

Q - Please introduce yourself to our reader

Hi, I'm Chris Snowden and I come from the North of England and run Commodore16.com. I've been a C16/Plus 4 enthusiast from a early age. I started off running a small video gaming website years ago, and then managed to get hold of our current domain. Even though I work all over the world these days, I still try get time to update the site, and play the C16 games I love. I've been involved in a few projects based around the C16 which include: Gamebase C16, Out On A Limb PC remake, Dark Mansion, Church Of Death, and currently slowly working on a few other games.

Q - What was your first experience of Commodore?

My first experience with Commodore dates back to 1984, when my best friend had a C64. The games were so bright and vibrant compared to the basic TV video game we had at home on our back & white TV. Before this I was just used the Computers at school which wouldn't play many games. The experience really opened my eyes and made me want to own a Commodore computer.

Q - What was the first machine you owned?

The first machine I owned was a Commodore 16, which my parents bought for me at Christmas 1984. I suppose this was the largest Christmas present I had ever received at that point. Although my friends had C64's, VIC20's and other 8 bit machines, I still adored my machine and enjoyed it so much.

Q - Tell our reader about the plus 4

The Plus 4 is a TED based machine that has 64k of RAM, built in office software and a user port. Coding on the Plus 4 is quite easy compared to many other 8 Bit machines, due to an advanced Basic and inbuilt machine code monitor.

The TED machine was originally designed to be the $99 machine, which would be affordable and profitable for Commodore. Aiming to replace the ageing VIC20, having a budget machine running along side the C64 but not replacing the C64. Somewhere along the later part of the design/marketing TED evolved into an array of different specification machines, which completely confused the market.

Q - Why is the plus 4 so over looked by many Commodore users

In many other Commodore users eyes the Plus 4 was inferior to the C64. But what they neglected to experience was that the Plus 4 had so many positives too. It had a good catalogue of software, that was ready available and some very good titles. The main reason that this machine was overlooked was the incompatibility between Commodore's other 8 bit machines.

Q - The plus 4 must have a killer application or hardware feature not available in other commodore hardware can you comment

I wouldn’t really say a killer application as such, but definitely the 1551 disk drive is the killer hardware. As this is so much faster than the 1541 and more reliable in my opinion. Although the mechanism of the drive is the same as the 1541, it connects to the Plus 4 via the cartridge port to enable greater transfer speeds.

Q - Also what is the plus 4`s weakest attribute

For a gamer, this has to be the lack of hardware sprites. Some may say the lack of a SID chip too, but TED still managed to blast out some good tunes. For example Auf Weidersien Monty, Icicle Works, Kikstart, and many other games had great titles. Later years the lack of SID chip was resolved as Christian Solder developed a fantastic SID cartridge for the TED machines.

Q - The Cassette port and joystick ports are none standard what were commodore thinking?

The only consideration behind this thinking was size and cost. There was only so much room on the machine, and moving to the smaller ports was the logical option. Also with trying to keep the machine under $99, it worked out cheaper to have the smaller ports for joysticks & cassette. Initially this was a hindrance to users as the general industry standard was the Atari style joystick port, but this was quickly over come with an array of adapters.

Q - The Commodore 16 is also very over looked; is the Commodore 16 compatible with the plus 4 machine?

The C16 is completely compatible with the Plus 4, the only differences being the Plus 4 has 64k of ram, 3+1 built in ROMs and a user port. If the C16 had 64k of ram upgrade, it would definitely run the majority of all the software. They are the same machine at heart, based on the TED model.

Q going back to the disk drive the plus 4 needed a different Interface from the c64/128 for its printer and disk interface

The TED range was fully compatible with the existing Commodore disk drives, 1541,1581 etc. But for TED it was decided to have greater speed disk drive, the 1551. It has the same colouring as the TED machines, being dark charcoal. The extra speed came from it using the cartridge/parallel port for data transfer. The speed difference is actually very noticeable.

Q - Was much software commercially released for the plus 4.

Many titles were released for the Ted machines. Some were outstanding in quality, like Trailblazer which was technically superior to the C64 port. The C16 version of Kikstart has always been superior to the C64 version, so last year TMR ported the C16 version to the C64.

Q - Chris you have written some games for the plus 4 can you tell our readers about them and where they are available.

You are correct I have dabbled with creating some games on the Ted machine. Both of the games are text adventure games. The first being 'Dark Mansion', which I created to see if I was capable of creating a game. It's a very simple adventure game, which could be completed very quickly. The second game being 'Church of Death', which was commercially released through Cronosoft. COD, is very much advanced compared to my first effort and does take a while to complete. Both these adventure games were developed using 'Adventure building system', which is loosely based on GAC. They are available to download from Commodore16.com, Plus 4 world and you can purchase COD from Cronosoft.

Q - You have also created some plus 4 Remakes for the pc what is the idea behind remakes, were the originals not very good.

I have created one remake of a C16 game, which was 'Out On A Limb'. The original game was my favourite C16 game, so it wasn't created to better the original. I just wanted to see if I could write a PC game, and I decided on 'Out On A Limb'. But for some reason I never actually completed the game, and it is very much a demo of what I could have done. Falling into the category of not having enough time to spend on it. The game has been downloaded many times from the site, so people must sort of like it.

Q - Your website has a shop are the products manufactured by yourself, what is on offer in the shop.

The whole idea of the shop was to enhance the site, by offering something different. My friend Jurek Dudek in Poland produces all the items in his spare time. Without Jurek, the shop would not be possible. We have items ranging from X transfer cables, memory upgrades etc. Very shortly we will be releasing the XU1541, which is a USB version of the X transfer cable. Also we have plans to produce a version of the 1541-III (2009) and eventually a SID card (2010). The latter being more difficult and time consuming. The whole aim of the shop is to provide value for money products, that are of good quality and enhance the site/scene and people's experiences.

Q - Tell our reader about your website www.commdore16.com

It actually all started well before www.commodore16.com . In 2002 I began a multi format retro website called www.tq-gaming.com (it doesn't exist anymore), which was great fun to do and a huge learning curve. But my true passion was for the Commodore 16/Plus 4 and although I liked the other machines it didn't feel the same. So in 2004 www.commodore16.com was created, and I have to admit it was extremely rough round the edges. Its been 5 years of hard work, but more importantly a enjoyable experience. Personally without the website, I wouldn't have met and discussed so much with other users from around the world. The website offers lots of documentation, games to download and play online, gamebase C16, reviews, our shop, high score competition and so many other areas. We have the philosophy that everyone one is welcome, whether you like playing games, collecting or interesting in the technology.

Commodore FREE the www.commodore16.com website it well worth a visit especially to new commodore16/+4 users a wealth of information Chris I think you are being a bit hard on yourself even I have know to lurk there

Q - You have a forum on the website what topics are discussed, and have the discussions ever been heated and needed editing.

The topics in the forum are generally all about TED. We get topics on software & hardware matters. We try to keep it as friendly as possible, so that new users do not feel out of their depth. Topics do sometimes get heated, especially when members are passionate about it. But generally they do not need editing.

Q - Is there a large demo community following on the plus 4

There is a huge demo community for the C16/Plus 4. To really appreciate this, you should visit Plus 4 World, which has an amazing collection of demo's etc. for the C16/Plus 4. Some of them are very impressive. If you think back to our last Commodore Computer Club meeting, we were all staggered by the quality of the 'Shade' demo. You can witness it yourself here -- http://youtube.com/watch?v=1vOgXf1GnO0

Commodore FREE yes I must say this demo blew me away watching it is a must, you will completely be blown away with the colours, dancing animation if ever there was an advert for the plus 4 this must be it, I want a plus 4 just to play this demo. Absolutely amazing, I think Chris got fed up with playing it, I must have watched it (on a real machine) 10 times

Q -If our reader would like to learn more about the Commodore 16 and plus4 can you recommend a couple of websites

Definitely so:

These are the main C16/Plus 4 sites.
www.commodore16.com
www.plus4world.powweb.com

Q - Finally do you have any comments you would like to add

If you have never used one of these machine's before I would certainly recommend you downloading an emulator and trying a few pieces of software. Or getting your hands on one of the original machines, which come up very often on the more popular auction sites. You will not regret the experience.

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Interview with David W. Murray creator of ADMIRAL64

http://galaxy22.dyndns.org/admiral64/

Q. Please introduce yourself to our readers

Well, I'm a Commodore fan since the 1980's. I was pretty active in the community when the DTV was released, but once it sort of died off, I stopped developing for it. So I've been out of the loop for a couple of years.

Q. How did you start your journey into computing?

My first ever computer was a VIC-20 when I was 6 years old. I learned to write BASIC programs within a few days since there wasn't a whole lot else you could do on it. I didn't have any games or storage devices. Over the years my parents bought me bigger and better things, a C64, a 128, and Amiga 500, and so the story goes.

Q. OK so lets see if I have this right "Admiral 64" is going to be a programming environment that acts like a Commodore 64 interpreter

Yeah, pretty much.

Q. So the main advantages are Better Graphics and speed, what about sound will this be implemented

Well, besides the fact that you can run it on a wide variety of modern hardware, yes the speed and graphics will be better. I hope to do sound eventually. That is sort of last on the list.

Q. How will be Graphics be implemented then will the user still peek and poke or are you planning to implement other commands

Well, originally I was planning this as an actual operating system for a PC to load from a boot-sector. So sure, Poke and Peek would be possible. But I had planned to introduce new commands to take care of just about anything the user might need, so there would be no need to poke and peek. That would also help make it more cross-platform if I ever get it running inside Windows, Linux, or MacOS.

Q. TCOLOR - BCOLOR I notice these commands are to be implemented, so this is a Customised implementation of Commodore Basic or just a BASIC with Commodore styled Editing features

Well, I'm pretty much designing the interpreter from scratch. I want to look and work as much like Commodore BASIC as possible. But I plan to add all the commands that I always felt like Commodore BASIC lacked. So it will be like a Commodore on steroids. The screen-editor is what really sets it apart from other BASIC environments like GWBASIC, for example. It will offer PETSCII characters and colours on the keyboard, and the all familiar "in-quote" mode for storing cursor, colour, and screen codes inside strings.

Q. I know this must have been asked before but why not just create a new BASIC why implement Commodore Basic

Well, it is the language I've coded since I was a kid. It is my favourite and I feel more at home programming in Commodore BASIC than anything else.

Q. Have you had many user complain about this project I notice many suggestions saying "use VICE" or similar emulator does this annoy you

So far people seem pretty divided by it. Some people think it is a waste of time, and some people have been really supportive of the project. And I'm talking about people who are active in the commodore community. Obviously no real programmer is going to give much consideration to it.

Q. What was the motivation for such a project?

Frankly, I miss the days where I could turn on the computer and type a few lines of code, followed by "run" and just see it work (or not work). These days it takes a new programmer two weeks just to figure out how to use the programming environment and write "hello world." By that point many give up and move on because it was just too hard. I know, because I've done it myself many times with different languages and operating systems. It was extra frustrating to me because I had been a whiz at programming both BASIC and Assembler most of my life. So I wasn't a programming novice by any stretch.

Q. Will the finished BASIC be compiled to run on any PC without the need for the environment to be loaded?

You mean the BASIC program, or the BASIC interpreter? I really hadn't given it much thought. But being the interpreter is so small, it would probably load instantaneously if I made run on top of Windows, Linux, or Mac OS. So I would imagine it could be designed to work kind of like Java where you just associate a certain file type with the interpreter. Only it would actually load up very quickly compared to Java and execute 100 times faster due to its simplicity.

Q. Bit of an (if - then) question I know, but How long do you expect the project to take

Honestly I have no idea. I have only been working on it for 2 weeks as time permits and I've already completed most of the hard work of the screen editor. I've already started work on the BASIC interpreter, but that is proving to be more of a challenge. And I've run into some road-blocks with memory usage under Turbo C that I'm not sure how to deal with yet.

Q. Can out readers do anything to help you?

Well, yeah.. I need help better understanding how the BASIC Interpreter works on a C64 as far as parsing out lines into tokens and managing of the memory. I also need some help on the MS-DOS side of the programming. And I may want to move the project to a more modern operating system and I'd really need some help with that.

Q. Have you any Comments or was there a question I left unanswered you would like to add

Well, there are a few things I could mention. I was sort of hoping to add some modern features to the BASIC. They'd be optional to the user. For example, instead of using line-numbers, maybe have the ability to use labels instead. Maybe also use longer names for the variables instead of 2-characters. I'm kind of curious what people think of that. But also another way of thinking about this project is to consider that Apple changed processor types twice over the life of the Mac. I guess what I'm hoping to do is extend the life of the Commodore operating system by porting it to a new platform. Sure, there are emulators out there, but very little new code being written. I think the best way to extend the life and memory of the Commodore is to give it a new lease on life using new hardware. After all, was it the hardware we all loved as a kid, or was it the software? If it was just the hardware, then why do we all love emulators so much?

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