Issue 51, May/June 2011

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

CONTENTS



Editorial

Hi and welcome back to another issue of Commodore Free magazine, I have been shortening the title to C= Free in correspondence, mainly as it’s less to spell incorrectly and saves me slightly from RSA, I also think it looks like of cool C=Free, Hmm maybe not then.

This issue has the usual assortment of random news; but to coincide with the recent PROTOVISON release I have dedicated most (well; all) of the magazine to PROTOVISION. With an interview and a look at, and reviews of some of the many Protovision games available. I know it may not be to everyone’s taste; but I felt after everything the company had done for the Commodore scene it was a worthy gesture. Of course Amiga users and 264, Pet users will feel alienated, maybe I could dedicate later magazines to something relevant to these users

So in the issue you will find

An interview with PROTOVISION and a review of their latest game “Jim slim,” the game is also in the news section and there is an advert in the PDF version of the magazine. By the time you have finished reading the magazine you should be pretty much up to speed with what Protovision can supply. You may even feel all PROTOVISIONED out! as they have made some truly great games and still continue to support the Commodore 64.

Readers Comments

Wow we got some! And it seems we have a couple of eBook readers, one of whom reads the issue in the bath on his eBook! Nice, thankfully he didn’t send in a picture of himself sat in the bath with the loofah out but decided just to send a picture of his eBook reader and the Commodore Free title page on screen, hurray its working then!

Someone else suggested the eBook version was better for his eyes, although wished to remain anonymous (that’s fine glad to help, erm with the eyes that is)

That’s all for a short editorial

Let me know what you thought about the issue

Regards
Nigel
www.commodorefree.com



Readers Comments

To: Commodore Free
From: A Reader
Subject: Commodore Free EBOOK

Hello Commodore Free

Thanks for continuing to publish the magazine on a monthly basis.

I have just down loaded the ePUB version of the Commodore Free magazine!

my eyes love you!!

ahahah I am suffering to read on the computer screen I prefer the contrast of my eBook.. now the Commodore Free there!! and its a very clean text format! **LOVELY**

ahah, I think I will try to convert it as audio book! ;-}

take care,

User preferred to remain anonymous

COMMODORE FREE: Glad you liked the eBook, I have had one other person mention they prefer this version to read on the move as it was formatting better than a PDF on their device, as ever comments suggestions are always welcome, feel free to get in touch and if you want to be anonymous then that’s no problem.


WOW and just like buses – erm except they come in 3`s here is another reader comment

To: Commodore Free
Sender: Francisco
Subject: Readers Comments

Hi. I have some issues for you :-)

- You are publishing the magazine in eBook format and you commented in the issue 48 that you think that maybe nobody is reading the magazine using this format. I have read the last issue (number 49) in an eBook :-) I have attached a picture of it (and yes, I also read it in the bath :-))

COMMODORE FREE: Glad the eBook version is working, and I am glad you can read it in the bath as this was the goal originally for the creation of commodore free, please don’t sue me if you drop the device in the bath though

- I have read the book "On the edge: the spectacular rise and fall of Commodore" and the book "Commodore: a company on the edge" has just been published. Do you have a copy of it? Have you read it? Do you think it is worth it?

COMMODORE FREE: OK first book I have purchased and read and yes it was worth the asking price the second book I have purchased; but haven’t found time to read so cant comment ..

- I have in the queue the article about the commodore TAP format. I am sorry about it. I hope I could send you some day :-S

COMMODORE FREE: I eagerly await the article and will gladly publish it in Commodore Free

- The project called C2N-II was finished some time ago (it is like the DC2N) and now is going to be enhanced in order to support other tape formats for ZX Spectrum and Amstrad computers (TZX and CDT formats). If you want you can use the next text as a new for your magazine:

COMMODORE FREE: Thanks you for the information

The C2N-II Datassete

The C2N-II Datassete was the M.S. Thesis of the student Pablo Tomás Campos Valladares in order to obtain the grade of Telecommunications with the speciality on Electronic Systems. This project was directed by the professor Francisco Javier González Cańete in the University of Málaga (Spain).

The objective of this project was to develop a hardware device in order to replace the C2N Datassete of the Commodore computers. This hardware is able to play the TAP image format (this format is a dump of the original cassettes). As this is a digital format, no error should occur during the load of the software (as it can occur with the cassettes). The TAP images are stored in USB Drives and the C2N-II lets you to select the file and play it.

The C2N-II has the next functionalities:

You can see videos demonstrating the C2N-II:

You can also visit the home page of C2N-II at: http://pc23te.dte.uma.es/C2N-II/

And nothing more. Only give you the congratulations for your great magazine.

Cheers. Francisco



NEWS


AresOne Price Reduction

The AresOne is now available for ~235€! And I am talking about the full pack which includes:

The AresOne comes with AmigaForever 2009 OEM and A-live X which includes a FryingPan key and CinnamonWriter for AROS

You can also buy the Kit for ~199.99€ including the software.

Visit www.vesalia.de



Snapshoter updated to v1.4.9b

New version of snapshoter is out, a lot of improvements in this version

Download your version

Changelog:

Download: www.xabierpayet.com



New Commodore 64

A look at the manufacturing process for the case of the NEW commodore 64 this is a pc in an adapted commodore 64 case, I am not sure about the sale potential of such an item, the pc is designed to be upgraded and this machine can't really be upgraded, apparently the case has been modified from the original c64 making it taller to fit in the motherboard and other components so it’s going to be difficult to type on. Still I suppose it’s a novelty item

See the video on YouTube here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcCnZc_i63c



CBM264.com

commodore16.com (Administrator) reports

The website CBM264.com is back. From this site you can legally download GEOS for the C16/Plus4.

A huge thank you to James for bringing his fabulous site back from the grave.

http://www.cbm264.com/



XSane 0.998 for AmiCygnix Released

Now available on OS4-depot: The AmiCygnix version of the scanner driver software XSane 0.998. It includes the Sane backends version 1.0.22.

This release supports only scanners with USB connector or with network interface.

Features of XSane:

For more information have a look at the included README file and the XSane homepage.

Download: http://os4depot.net/index.php?function=showfile&file=driver/misc/xsane.lha

Homepages: http://www.xsane.org, http://www.sane-project.org



Yes VIC Can

Author: tokra (graphics mode), Mike (converter)
Released: Apr 24, 2011
Requirements: VIC-20 (PAL) with 16K RAM expansion (24K for Basic Extension, 32K for SJLOAD)
Description: Demo for new graphics mode explained in a yet to come post in the "New Frontiers in VIC Hires" series.

Screenshot:

Download (with source): http://www.tokra.de/vic/yesviccan/yes_vic_can-release-withsource.zip

Pout.net-Link (with video file): http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=56893

Got 5th place (out of eight) at the Revision Party 2011



Protovision Release Jim Slim

Protovision presents their latest C64 game: "The Adventures of Jim Slim in Dragonland" (aka "Jim Slim").

As ball Jim it is up to you to retrieve a stolen skull and to save the lovely Candy. This is being done by fighting your way through the colourful mazes. You can move by rolling and jumping â the latter supported by trampoline in some places, and later through a tube system or even via teleport. Difficulty increases bit by bit with the levels: You need to find matching keys to unlock doors, and to get rid of some opponents with a shot collected earlier. And of course the clock is ticking all the while. A saveable high score list and password system round off this title.

Check out the Jim Slim trailer by Poison:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k28WMcmaNjo

More information is available here:

http://www.protovision-online.com/games/jimslim.htm

Get your own impression of Jim Slim by trail playing the two demo levels!

The full game including box and printed manual is now available via the Protovision Online Shop: http://www.protovision-online.de/catalog/



64Copy Updated To 4.43

http://ist.uwaterloo.ca/~schepers/DOWNLOAD/64CP444.ZIP

64COPY is an all-in-one file converter and DOS maintenance package. Its intended use is to convert the various files that exist for the C64 emulators. Files like D64, D71, D81, D80, D82, DNP, D2M, T64, X64, LNX, ARK, ARC, SDA, LBR, SPY, CPK and all the ZipCodes (Diskpacked, Sixpacked and Filepacked) can be converted to whatever format you need for your favourite emulator, or for use on the real C64. You still need to get whatever emulator package you want in order to use the files you have as 64COPY does not provide any emulator functionality, nor does it communicate with any Commodore disk drive.

To download a copy head here

http://ist.uwaterloo.ca/~schepers/DOWNLOAD/64CP444.ZIP



‘Escape’ Full Game Found By GTW Website

199? Timsoft

Credits

Code - Rafal Javor Jaworski
Music - Sebastian Moog Bachlinski
Graphics - Jetan, Rafal Comankh Kwasny

A big thanks to Witold Bryndza who gave us the heads up about this long lost Timsoft which recently had an article published with a download link at C&A Fan. This was a game developed by a team called Artcore for Timsoft.

This is a neat little flick screen platformer with some colourful graphics which sees you having to find around 13 special squares across the map to progress further, whilst avoiding a series of enemies such as bats, snakes and giant snails.

It seems this was another Timsoft title that was caught up in the demise of the C64 and hence never got a full release until now. Its unsure why it has taken so long to surface, but we are glad it now has.

Overall it's not the most spectacular game we have played, and it can get a little boring and samey to play, but it is rare to find an unreleased title in such a complete state, and this is a good example to digitally preserve and share with others.

Rafal Kwasny has been in touch and will hopefully be shedding some more light on their game (as well as other Artcore titles) very soon...

Go check it out and watch this space for more details...

Frank.

(Additional source credits - Witold Bryndza, Rafal Kwasny)

http://www.gtw64.co.uk/Pages/e/Review_Escape.php



Commodore News

RELEC society in partnership with website http://www.meta-morphos.org organizes a competition open to all programmers on the planet.

A development machine for MorphOS is to win: it's a EFIKA 5200B "DELUXE EDITION", a unique prototype proposed by RELEC. The list of elements is given later in this article.

Developers will send their proposal of project (which must operate at least on MorphOS and AmigaOS 4.x) by mail before May 31, 2011 at the following email address: papiosaur2 [at] hotmail.fr.

The list of all projects will be posted June 1 at the site meta-morphos.org

Voting will be by mail to the same address before 1 July.

The voting results will be posted on the website from 1 July.

The development machine will be presented at the Alchemy 2011 (France) and it will be up when the project is finalized.
In case of withdrawal or no results available after 2 months it will send the machine to the developer of the project ranked second, etc. ...

If the winner needs to develop this machine, it will be sent after 1 July.

The delivery of a diploma for "Best Project MorphOS 2011" will be officially presented at the Alchemy 2011 that will take place from 11 November to 13 November 2011 at Tain l'Hermitage (26 - France).

The development machine is composed of:



Amiga Immortal Audio CD

The fourth part of Amiga Immortal audio CD series has been released. Like the previous version, this is also a double CD. First month exclusively from maz-sound.

Most of the tracks have been created by their original authors - trademark of the Immortal series. Sometimes even playing live-instruments, you'll become earwitness when Al Lowe himself (Leisure Suit Larry) playing the saxophone, Jon Hare (Cannon Fodder) back at the microphone and Dave Govett (Wing Commander) hitting the drums.

The latest edition contains music from the following games:

Atomino, Benefactor, Big Run, Cannon Fodder, Capital Punishment, Dangerous Streets, F17 Challenge, Fascination, Final Fight, First Samurai, Flashback, Flink, Fury of the Furries, Future Wars, Gauntlet 3: The Final Quest, Jaguar XJ220, LED Storm, Leisure Suit Larry, Lemmings, Liberation: Captive 2, Paradroid 90, Puggsy, T-Zero, Tales from Heaven, TFX, Turrican 2, Ultimate Body Blows, Walker, Wing Commander, Wolfchild, Zarathrusta, Zeewolf, Zeewolf 2: Wild Justice.

There are also short previews (although only through flash player) for all the tracks.

http://www.maz-sound.com/Immortal/



IceFileSystem 2.4 Released

http://blubbedev.net/icefs/

2.4 (2011-April-11)



1541U-II Update 2.1

What is it?

The '1541 Ultimate' is a storage solution for your Commodore home computer, such as the C64, C128, C plus4, C16, etc. This piece of hardware implements a 'real' 1541 disk drive for Commodore computers. There are two versions of this board; the 1541 Ultimate-I and the 1541 Ultimate-II. The 1541 Ultimate-I uses an SD-card or MMC-card to store the floppy disks, while the 1541 Ultimate-II uses MicroSD and USB pen-drives. Both the 1541 Ultimate-I and the 1541 Ultimate-II contain a replica of all the necessary hardware to be fully compatible with a real drive.

New update of the 1541 Ultimate II firmware!

For more information look at the website http://www.1541ultimate.net/



New Masonicons

Two new icon sets in the AmigaOS 4.1 Update 1 design are available on the Masonicons website.

Masonicons Collection April 2011

Icons for Apps, Tools and Utilities like a completed RDesktop and Newscoaster set, several generic icons for backup, default icons for audio files, Hyperbench, QT and many more

Disk Icons Collection

Additional Device Icons for AmigaOS 4.1

www.masonicons.info



Automatic Monitor Switch For Amiga

André Pfeiffer (Ratte) developed a automatic monitor switch for the Amiga computer. The switch is a "Do It Yourself" project, but there is a very good tutorial on how to assemble the monitor switch. The monitor switch can be used with the Amiga 1200, 3000 and 4000 computers with a IndivisionAGA with CybervisionPPC or BVision. For all the details you can visit the a1k.org web page

http://www.a1k.org/forum/showthread.php?p=417467



TOSEC Updated

The Old School Emulation Center (TOSEC) is a website and retro computing initiative dedicated to the cataloguing and preservation of software, firmware and resources for microcomputers, minicomputers and video game consoles. The main goal of the project is to catalogue and audit all possible kinds of software and firmware images for these systems.

As of release 2011-01-19, TOSEC catalogues over 200 unique computing platforms and continues to grow. As of this time the project had identified and catalogued 389,228 different software images/sets, consisting of over 2.95TB of software, firmware and resources.

http://www.tosecdev.org/



C&A Games 3 Released

The 3rd release of C&A Games has been released, This is a polish magazine, here is a translation of the release information from the website

Written by TOUDIdel

Finally, after long wait, we are pleased to present you a new issue of C & A Games (TOC). In this third instalment of 52 pages you will find reviews of games and a comprehensive description of the " TFX "and" Flimbo 's Quest, history’s about the game , "Boulder Dash " and an interview with Thomas Lewandowski , known as Levi .

We also request to you, dear readers. If anyone feels up to and want to assist the editors in the form of articles, e.g. for games, we invite you to help shape the magazine. It depends on your contribution to the frequency with which will show new issues of the magazine.

http://ca-fan.pl/



spellchecker.library v1.0

Antoine Dubourg a.k.a. Tcheko released its latest production : spellchecker.library 1.0

This new library offers spellchecking feature based on a dictionary of words. It uses common and efficient spellchecking algorithms : double metaphone and Levenshtein distance (used in major Office package like OpenOffice, AbiWord...). This first release is aimed mainly at developer as no application currently uses spellchecker.library.

Currently, this library offers '(s)low' performances : spellchecking is done with a simple lookup table. Further version will include faster spellchecking with the help of btree.library to the price of 'huge' memory consumption. Tested with a French dictionary of more than 330.000 words, spellchecker.library took more than 80MB of memory excluding its usage on low end hardware like Efika. Some benchmarking were done to evaluate the spellchecking speed : up to 1 000 words per second was achieved on a Mac Mini@1.42 with the btree version of the library.

Still, further version of the library will be designed to handle low memory case to accommodate every kind of hardware. This library also has been wrapped and tested with OWB which offers internal API for spellchecking.

Download : SpellChecker-1.0.lha http://czeko.free.fr/public/spellchecker-1.0.lha (14KB)



Stroke World Review

By Commodore Free

Free download from Protovision

Overview

Mr. Universum was the hero of the galaxy until a bad alien ensured that he decreased some kilos.

The world and the whole universe were in sweet harmony. Mr. Universum, the uncrowned king and hero of the universe provided for security and the peace for all the peoples in the galaxy. He already struck many glorious battles, triumphed in many fights. Only with one nature our hero got along never completely: with the little green muscle eater. Now and then, always exactly then, if Mr. Universum counted to few on it, this small poison dwarf emerged - in order to make for the hero hell hot, so far however without success. Until someday...

Minimum system requirements: C64 or C128 in C64 mode, 1541/1571 Floppy, Joystick.

Also compatible with: 1541 Ultimate, SD2IEC, uIEC/SD, CMD SuperCPU with SuperRAM card.

This game is available as PAL or NTSC version!

COMMODORE FREE

Stroke World consists of five worlds; each one is divided into five sections. In each world a new graphic set awaits you. To leave a section, you have to kill all creatures on the screen and run to a little signpost to enter the next screen. At the end of each world you will get a password, so you can re-enter that world at every time by typing in this password in the main menu. After you have fought through all the levels there is a really big end boss waiting for you. Can you destroy him?

You will want to download this file as it’s a free game from PROTOVISON and is available from the following url

http://www.protovision-online.de/games/strokeworld.htm

Main PROTOVISION website is located here, and after this magazine you will remember it off hand!

http://www.protovision-online.de/

If you enter the shop and look at the games PROTOVISION have 3 categories to choose from they are

In the freeware section are the 2 games

Starting Stroke World we are greeted in German this is however easily changed by

With a joystick in port 1 press fire and you will be given a screen with options

Here you can select amongst other things the language

Select English or Deutsch and then save option

Of course it will be in German first so its this option

Ok with that set we can then start the game, the change happens instantly although you will have lost the intro in the correct language, I couldn’t find a way to restart from the intro so it seems you have to reload the game to get the intro in the correct language.

The intro sets the scene but if you don’t want to read it hit the fire button to start the game

Now I don’t know about the games history but on loading the game we are presented with our hero lost in a cavern

The basic idea is you can climb and jump and punch (to kill) you have to kill all the enemies and then go to the anvil to exit to the next level

Here labelled in the picture from screen 1 just to be sure you know how to exit

Of course you are up against the clock and you only have a limited number of shields

On later levels it’s important to plan a route as you could get stuck by jumping down and not being able to get back up.

The main character is a stick man! don’t be put off though the animation on the character is very good indeed, jumping climbing, very smooth, the other items are basically animated and the background scenery looks very nice.

Here our hero skilfully walks across a rope bridge or is it a pipe of some sorts

Of course when our here looses energy he dies (ahhh shame) and does so by “unzipping himself from head to foot and opening himself into 2 pieces, very amusing.

To kill a creature you thump it by pressing the fire button in the direction you want to thump and moving in that direction

If I could find a way to kill these stupid bat things then I would actually be quite good at the game

At the moment I am climbing ladders and pointing towards it hitting like mad in the hope I splat it into oblivion, trouble is its not working to well in this game, these sometimes are quite hard to kill off.

Left on his own our here becomes board and stats to stretch and then dance about

Here is a scene directly after I received a password

Watch out for the killer snowball throwing snowmen

Remember on the later levels you can use the joystick diagonally, this is very useful for when on the ropes/pipes to swing and jump off.

Drop from a height and our hero will complain shaking his fist violently at you, fall from a great height and its all over, you will splat on the ground.

Sonically the music is excellent nice bobby music on the intro then down to some hard hitting techno on the first 3 screens the snow man levels start to chill out with lots of white noise and a more relaxed pace of music, sadly my game playing hasn’t progressed me onto further levels.

The game would benefit from a text doc to set the scene and help with the control system but as you play it will be obvious how to control your man, it’s a very solid release and for the price FREE you would be mad not to download a copy and at least give it a test drive. If this is the sort of game PROTOVISION deem as free just think what the paid for versions are like

Review
Commodore Free

Graphics: 7/10
Music: 8/10
Gameplay: 8/10

Overall score: 8/10



Cascade Review

By Commodore Free

Overview

Your task is to pop as many bubbles as you can. In order to do this, two neighbouring bubbles must have the same colour. The more bubbles you can destroy at once, the more points you will get and if all the bubbles are destroyed you will get 500 extra points!

This game was first released at the Vision 2002 but unfortunately that version had a bug: after a while, the music was corrupted. This is the new 100% version.

Minimum system requirements: C64 or C128 in C64 mode, 1541/1571 Floppy, Joystick.

Also compatible with: 1541 Ultimate, SD2IEC, uIEC/SD, IEC-ATA, MMC Replay, MMC64, 1581, CMD FD, CMD HD, CMD RAMLink, IDE64.

This game is PAL only!

This is another Freeware game from Protovision

Available from here http://www.protovision-online.de/games/cascade.htm

This game has appeared on a number of systems from Mobile phones to full blown commercial releases Lets take a look at what PROTOVISION had to offer

First you need a joystick plugged into port two and after a brief intro and how to play the game; we are on the main screen, it’s a puzzler as you may have guessed and its another of my favourite games. The Protovision implementation is very good indeed, cool music from the start sets a nice relaxing pace for the game

As the bubbles are popped they move over to the left (assuming a space is created on the line) and join onto other bubbles

Of course the idea is to clear all the bubbles from the screen and gain as many points as possible so I didn’t do to well here. Only the same coloured bubbles connected together will pop. The main idea is to get as many as possible of the same colour together, and pop them all at once to gain extra points

The game works out when this cant be done here we see 3 dissimilar colours and so the game ends and allows you to enter a score

Functional graphics and excellent SID sounds again for FREE you cant go wrong with this one. To pop the bubbles move the pointer (using the joystick) over the bubbles you want to pop and press fire. Easy controls to master but the game due to its Random starts of bubble locations can become very frustrating, played with others watching it can soon turn to violence as different people try to tell you there strategy is the best system.

Review
Commodore Free

Graphics: 5/10
Sound: 8/10
Gameplay: 8/10

Overall: 7/10



It’s Magic 1 Review

By Commodore Free

Overview

It's Magic by Protovision is a jump 'n run with extremely cute graphics. The main character of the game is a little tomcat named Tommy - he is very curious and so he wants to be the first one who leaves his home world, the Dream Islands. To make this plan come true, he signs on at a wizard. One day, the wizard is out for some time, Tommy uses the opportunity: He takes the magic book and the crystal sphere and with the right spell, he catapults himself through time and space. Everything goes well it seems and he finds himself in the so called "Outside World". Fascinating - but soon Tommy wants to return home and realizes that this is impossible! He needs the crystal sphere for that, and some magic potions... Unfortunately, the sphere broke down into thousand little pieces, and the potions are guarded by some monsters... And so, Tommy's first adventure begins, and you can experience it with him. Meanwhile, the successor is available, too: It's Magic 2.

It's Magic consists of three worlds, each one is divided into 8 sections. In each world a new graphic set expects you. To leave a section, you have to collect all diamonds and find a magic potion. This potion is carried around by one of the little monsters which run and fly around everywhere. And when you reach the level's end and cannot leave - no problem: It's Magic scrolls to the left and the right, so you can run back any time. This is also useful in other cases: For example you can run after a monster until you get it. To do away with these creatures, you got an - of course magical - shot. Depending on the kind of the beastie more or less hits are sufficient to let it blow up in pink dust.

Minimum system requirements: C64 or C128 in C64 mode, 1541/1571 Floppy, Joystick.

Also compatible with: 1541 Ultimate, SD2IEC, uIEC/SD.

This game is PAL only!

Free download from here

http://www.protovision-online.de/games/itsmagic.htm

On starting the game we are asked if we want to use the fast loader, the choice I suppose is down to your hardware, and if it causes problems. Here on a stock machine for the review I selected yes ( however for the record it took 1 minute with the speed loader and about 2 minutes 5seconds without selecting the speed loader)

Ok either way the splash screen loads and the music comes in

WOW this is Freeware!

The music is great boppy and bubbly with sort of clashing squeals I love it, after about 10 minutes of listening I decided to play the game.

Look at the screen shot

Our hero a yellow cat? Starts his journey, and I love the clouds in the top border floating around very nice, there isn’t any in game music just the spot sound effects however this doesn’t really detract anything from the game. The controls are using the joystick with the fire button causing our hero to jump, to finish each level you must collect all the diamond segments and then find the potion, this could be carried by any creature so you are I suppose best to shoot everything on sight and ask questions later. Similar scenarios have been used on other Commodore games so the game play in that respect isn’t unique.

A sequel exists and as you can guess is called its “Dave the fish! Sorry ok its called magic 2, however this version for the review is FREE and so you have little to loose by downloading and playing the game. Very polished excellent control system and the physics (you can read this as the gravity placed on our character) is just right, you do feel he is a little light when jumping but without this he wouldn’t be able to collect everything, and how heavy are yellow cats? Playability is good and the frustrating “one more go” is here I cant really think of anything critical to say about the game, its well balanced and thought out. Oh did I say I like the clouds (oh ok sorry then for repeating that)

Excellent a very good game

Review
Commodore Free

Graphics: 9/10
Sounds: 8/10
Gameplay: 9/10

Overall: 9/10



It’s Magic 2 Review

By Commodore Free

Tom, the little tomcat, has gained a lot of experience already in his first adventure (It's Magic), his journey to the outside world. After he returned to the Dream Islands and was celebrated as a great hero, he since lived happily at his master's place, the wise wizard who taught him being a good magician as time passed.

Now the Dream Islands - there, all animals live together peacefully - are in danger. And what Tom doesn't know yet is that he himself is conjuring up this danger by mistake! More about this you will get to know in the intro... But one thing is for sure: The Dream Islands will be pushed into chaos and the only one who can save them is our little Tom!

It's Magic 1 was already nice, but It's Magic 2 tops it by all means and is on its way to become a true C64 classic amongst the jump ‘n runs. In the picturesque intro you are introduced to the background of the game. A saveable high score and a fastloader are also onboard, but as the loader can also be disabled, the game perfectly runs on your FD-2000, HD or RAMLink!

Minimum system requirements: C64 or C128 in C64 mode, 1541/1571 Floppy, Joystick.

Also compatible with: 1541 Ultimate, SD2IEC, uIEC/SD, IEC-ATA, 1581, CMD FD, CMD HD, CMD RAMLink.

This game is PAL only!

While in It's Magic 1 Tom had to proceed against his enemies with shots and had to find magic items for finishing one level, now in It's Magic 2, he has advanced his magic skills so far that he can just vaporize the enemies by jumping onto them, just in the very style of Giana Sisters! Additionally there are of course magical helpers like invulnerability or time stoppers that ease Tom's life in the fight against the occupants of Dream Island.

In the game there are five worlds in total, each with an own, precisely drawn multicolour graphic set. Also in contrast to its predecessor It's Magic 2 provides music during the gameplay, two compositions in every world. As hardly any other game, It's Magic 2 uses the ability of the C64 to display also hires elements in a multicolour charset. This way you will be able to discover hires elements embedded in the levels (like the dinosaur skeleton in level 1) that enhances the overall quality of the game graphics significantly.

Review

Released in 2000 this follow on to its magic 2 features 6 worlds with 5 different levels with approximately 40 different monsters in the game, each level has different graphics and in game music

Loading up this sequel to version 1 (how can anything get much better)

We are greeted with WELL MORE OF THE SAME REALY There does seem to be more visual details in version 2 and wow even more scrolling clouds in the borders we also see the score screen has updated along with the timer and lives

Version 1 score board

Version 2 Score board

Something else has changed we can now jump onto alien creatures and kill them in part one this would result in our hero suffering a life loss, you bounce onto a creature and kill it then bounce off, as is the case in other games like this one.
The other thing is we now don’t have an option to fire from the start

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Gameplay: 9/10

Overall: 9/10 and a bit



Bomb Mania Review

By Commodore Free

Firstly get a four player adaptor then plug in 4 joysticks and play this, of course you will need to have at least 4 friends to get the full benefit of the game otherwise you will need 1 other friend as you cant play against the commuter in this version of the classic bomb game

From the splash screen you know something is going to be very special

And launching the game doesn’t disappoint in any way

The idea of the game is to blow up all the opposition so you are the last man standing, the game has appeared on a variety of systems and versions for the Commodore 64 exist, but something is special about this version.

The frustrating game pay the jazzy boppy music, heck I have played this game over and over with friends, hours of time laughing and joking and still stone sober! Commodore Scene used to have a display with a 4 player adaptor and this game on; and the stand was always crowded with people wowing at the game and asking “where can I get this”.

The game play becomes obsessive the only downside of course is you need friends to pay as there is no computer opponent option, you can of course cheat and start the other players yourself but where is the fun in that, especially if you blow yourself up and still don’t win, Various power-ups exist and blowing up bits of wall will reveal them, some are nice others not so nice.

The graphics are good and the music excellent, I know for a fact when you beat the opposition you will be jumping around like mad shouting “in your face losers” then back for another game, Too many hours have been lost with me playing this game. Its one of PROTOVISONS Full price range at 13 euro’s and you can tell why a demo is available, follow the links from here head for the shop in your preferred language
http://www.protovision-online.de/

various levels add to the variety with pipes to climb in oh and watch out for the bombing ghosts

Ha in your face losers!

Ok you played the demo now try to stop whistling the in game music (ha ha cant can you see what I mean, you will now wake up singing this!)

Review
Commodore Free

Graphics: 8/10
Sounds: 9/10
Gameplay: 10/10 Yep honestly

Overall: 9/10



Ice Guys Review

By Commodore Free

Overview

Ice Guys is a yet another cute jump run shoot platform game from the Protovision team. The game can be played by for 1 or 2 players simultaneously. The game as you would expect has multicolour graphics and superb digisynth music.

The story so far: During the last, snow-rich winter, from some unknown location lots of little, mean monsters came and decided to kidnap some snowmen! And so, lots of these beloved creatures disappeared over night from gardens, sidewalks and parks, leaving big holes in the beautiful winter landscape. Two former Antarctic researchers, which are now retired and have opened an ice café, can't accept this impertinence by any means. They work out a plan and decide to fight against the nasty little monsters, to let the snowmen return to freedom.

Ice Guys features a unique game concept, Bubble Bobble could be a named as a far relative. The objective is to throw snowballs at the little unfriendly beasts, so that these get stuck in an avalanche. You then can push this avalanche, it will roll down and hit further monsters - but be careful, as you probably don't want to hit your team mate or even become a victim of your own avalanche! In the beginning the enemies can be defeated quite easily, so you can make yourself familiar with the game. But soon it will become harder and fighting the monsters won't be that smooth!

Minimum system requirements: C64 or C128 in C64 mode, 1541/1571 Floppy, 1 or 2 Joysticks.

Also compatible with: 1541 Ultimate.

This game is PAL only!

Ice Guys offers a number of possibilities to proceed in the game: Next to lots of extras you can also collect some special symbols which lead the player into a bonus game. It consists of a turbo sledge race (in 2 player mode of course with both players at the same time) in which you should collect as much ice as you can, as for 10 of them you are granted a bonus life, with which you even can get a dropped out second player back into the game! Also the music in Ice Guys is high above the average and the hot rhythms motivate you to play. Next to finest SID music the game features two real digisynth pieces a la Chris Hülsbeck or Jeroen Tel.

COMMODORE FREE

Super smooth snowball throwing platform game, throw snowballs at various creatures to gain points and bonus prizes and advance to more complex levels.

The game play is just right (for me) the game starts out easy and as time progresses gradually monsters speed up and grow in numbers, until its frantic paced.

Excellent graphics and Sonics accompany the game play, with smooth bouncing game play screens scrolling into play, there is little here to criticize. Throwing a snowball at a creature and hitting it x amount of time will render it defunded as the alien creature will be turned into a giant snowball, this gives out heroes chance to push the ball and kill anything in its tracks resulting in a bonanza of prizes and bonus points. So the real skill is to get a monster at the top level with the others underneath then when you push the snowball it will blast out all the opposing creatures.

You will be screaming at the TV on this game, the frantic paced action

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Gameplay: 7/10

Overall: 7/10



Metal Dust Review

By Commodore Free

Metal Dust - An Overview

System requirements:

The Making Of Metal Dust

In 1995, Big User aka Stefan Gutsch had the idea to program a Shoot 'em Up for the Commodore 64 with the 8 MHz accelerator card "Flash8". He started as the only coder and graphician, and because he is not a musician, he digitized selected MOD music from the Amiga, using the DAISY digitizer. But because of the instability of the Flash8 card, Big User stopped development soon after.

Fascinated by the project, some people could persuade Big User in restarting the project later on. Because of the lack of development tools - there was only the (a bit unstable and buggy) "Flash8 AssBlaster" - and due to some hardware problems, development went very slowly. Finally, there has been one level with some enemies and a quite big end monster. This is the level many of you know from scene parties and other occasions.

At this time, about 1997, Stefan Gutsch met Chester Kollschen, creator of the top games Ice Guys and Bomb Mania. Both coders had always dreamed of creating a Turrican-like game. The idea of an (unofficial) successor of Turrican I and II was born. To get every C64 user the chance to play the game, it was decided not to require the SuperCPU for this one. Now Stefan could concentrate on what he can do best, great graphics and creative level design. Chester started with the hard work of programming the game, work name "Turrican 3". The goal was to be not only as good as but even better than the predecessors. Finally music had been implemented, the end monsters got bigger and absolutely flicker free - using a completely new designed multiplex routine. The game could even load data while one could move the player. In 1998, the project was presented to a small bunch of people during a scene party. But during the night, the disk was stolen and the half completed game was spread around the internet. Shocked by the fact that such things could happen even in the fantastic C64 scene, Chester cancelled the work. Simultaneously, Factor 5, makers of the "Turrican" games on Amiga, threatened because of copyright issues. Half a year later, Chester started again to code, this time not a game, but a new operating system that one time shall replace GEOS. He thought that the SuperCPU offers a great deal of power and so much possibilities that there is a need for a new, SuperCPU-only operating system. CLiPS was born.

Fortunately, also Stefan regained his interest for the C64 and started coding. Surprisingly, the - actually cancelled - project "Metal Dust" was revived. Stefan worked hard on the game, although programming was not easy. Three more levels were created, also some end monsters were designed. But frequent setbacks and long bug hunts more and more slowed development down and also took away motivation. Metal Dust died again.

Malte Mundt aka ThunderBlade could not accept the thought that such a fascinating game project should never be finished. He organised a new meeting between Stefan and Chester, where a new cooperation had been decided. Again Chester took over the code work and Stefan could concentrate on the graphics. In the meantime, Chester has recoded the complete game engine. The game concept has been redesigned and extended, for example by implementing the two-player mode. Malte and Chester reached an agreement with the band Welle:Erdball to get an exclusive sound track for Metal Dust. The graphics have been improved again, the levels got much better and much bigger. Malte digitized and arranged the music created by Welle:Erdball. The old enthusiasm is back. After a long time of hard work, Protovision can now present you Metal Dust, the first Shoot ‘em Up for the Commodore with SuperCPU.

Metal Dust - Credits

Producer: Stefan Gutsch (Big User)
Programming: Chester Kollschen
Graphics: Stefan Gutsch
Level Music: Welle:Erdball
Title and End sequence Music: Lars Hutzelmann (The Blue Ninja)
Project Management: Malte Mundt (ThunderBlade) and Milo Mundt (MacGyver)

COMMODORE FREE

Now for those users without a SCPU the best I can give you is that there are various YouTube videos available

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rcJ7BRbXX4 and here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie79hicxteg

and an AVI file from the Protovision website

http://www.protovision-online.de/md/trailer.htm

When I heard about the game I became excited, I saw some of the previews and then actually managed to play the actual game at a Commodore Scene meeting. Now some may be saying that using a SCPU attached to the Commodore 64 turns the machine into something else and not a real Commodore 64, I must admit you have a point and how many people in the world actually own a SCPU in the first place. I am lucky enough to have one and also one on order from Maurice Randal that has bee waiting for him to put together for something like 6 years! I would advise you to stay away from him.

So the game looks amazing and of course the sounds are just samples replayed back through the SID chip, the music is super cool matches the pace of the game and ties the whole project together well. However I think that most of the SCPU power has been utilized to replay samples, although the massive monsters and super smooth scrolling look like the game is played on a 16 bit system, there is some confusion with objects that are in the background and foreground. From my point of view I couldn’t tell the difference and kept crashing into things I thought were background objects.

The screen is absolutely full of bullets flying and bolder ships, there is no question this looks amazing, I doo feel though that the graphics would have been better created on the C64 instead of porting them from other platforms.

Is it worth buying

Well you invested in a SCPU and lets be honest there isn’t much software that utilizes the SCPU so you really owe it to yourself to purchase a copy, its just unbelievable the response from others when they see the game playing.

On the game play front its more a question of learning flight patterns than anything else, I did see some members of Commodore Scene make it to later levels, with giant monsters virtually filling the screen.

Its s tough game but the playability does make you go back for more.

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10 Well its mainly replaying sampled music
Playability: 7/10

Overall: 8/10

It does have a Wow factor but the SCPU power would have been suited to more than just digi sounds playback



Jim Slim Review

By Commodore Free

The Story

In ancient times, there was a world under a spell of terror! A wicked demon known as the warlord Gothar ruled the darklands.

In the middle of Gothar's evil realm, there was a peaceful little kingdom called Blizland. According to the land's traditions, a magic skull had been handed down from generation to generation.

This skull had great and mysterious powers and was used to protect the friendly creatures - called Blizzies - from the evil surrounding them.

Now the warlord Gothar has stolen the magic skull.

Darkness has fallen over the little kingdom, world peace is at stake!

But mighty Gothar has also taken the beautiful Candy, your true love, captive, so this has become a personal affair to you, young Jim Slim.

You are the chosen one to rescue the beautiful Candy and bring back the magic skull.

On your search for Candy you will have to travel through unexplored dangerous woods, caves, mountains, and destroy every demon, monster or other hostile helper of Gothar that crosses your path.

On your journey through the land of dragons you can collect hidden coins, treasures and keys, which will help you to survive the battles and get you through the maze. But beware, you never know what's lurking behind the doors!

Once you reached Gothar's castle, you will have to face his menacing servants and find your way to the deepest dungeon of the castle, survive your last battle by defeating Gothar, and rescue your beautiful Candy.

All Blizzies have left Blizland, except one old wise man who gives you a final piece of advice: "The easy way is not always the good way."

You'll get yourself in the middle of extreme trouble, but Candy is surely worth it!

Good luck!

COMMODORE FREE

Jim Slim an original game started by Argus Designs and now released by PROTOVISION, who hold exclusive rights to the game.

When you are challenged to a labyrinth of 15 worlds filled with monsters, and dragons challenging mazes and superb music and graphics, especially when World peace is at stake, not to mention the honour of your girlfriend, you know there isn’t any excuse but to take on the challenge. When you are told you will be in the form of a red ball, then the challenge steps up a notch or rounds of the whole scenario! When you are then told “retrieve the stolen skull” then this is a challenge No one can turn down.

The game is a jump and roll plat former, featuring colourful graphics, that change for each world and also changing sound track. There are some 15 worlds with are split into 3 levels, the game features teleport systems, keys to collect to open doors, shooter power-ups, tube systems and trampolines
And is boxed in a oversize plastic disc case with printed instructions and another disc containing various PROTOVISION demos and previews.

Loading..

To load the game you type

LOAD":*",8,1

This loads a Pre-loader and then starts to load the game

And you must have all hardware speed loaders disabled, the game supports a range of hardware but the minimum requirements are a Commodore 64 and joystick and of course a disk drive.

Also the game is currently released as a PAL only version.

First we are greeted with the marketing glorious PROTOVISION splash screen, looking slicker than anything Sony or Microsoft could put together this really sets the scene, it’s a sort of warm feeling seeing the Protovision logo swirl into view and the music start, who ever is responsible for the logo and music must feel very pleased with themselves as this is a work of great art, superb looking, and with the letters “CLASS” written all over it, well actually its PROTOVISION but you know what I mean.

Moving On..

Pressing space starts to load the game and we are greeted with the Jim Slim splash screen, this stays on screen until the joystick is pressed, where we are taken to the story of Jim slim and something about his fate by what appears to be a high priestess, the swirly music plays and the words are scrolled on screen, the princess mouths to the words, although it would be better had she actually spoke them out loud, maybe as synthesised speech.

As the story unfolds the music begins to build up, of course whenever you feel bored just press the fire button to go to the start screen. The music is very good and really sets the scene for our hero.

All Fired Up…..

Pressing fire causes the disk to whirl as the main JIM SLIM screen is loaded into memory, the music begins to pump out and the options are given to

Start the game, enter a password, Turn the music on/off or turn the sound effects on/off

I quickly Rushed in and started the game…….

As the level is started, the music fades and the first set of levels are loaded into memory, we are given the first password, although why we need it for level 1 I am unsure anyway for completeness we are given our first password.

The happy music starts and is hero is placed on a GO square, with the object to get the “OK” Square to finish the level.

The first level takes some getting used to, not because its hard but because you need to figure out the controls, the best advice is to Read the manual, then re read the control part! and finally test things out, holding the joystick for a longer period for example; causes our here to move 2 squares instead of just one, it takes a little time but isn’t frustrating and you soon get used to the controls by level 3 you should be very familiar with them.

A handy hint is to stay over the trampoline the more you bounce the higher you will go, oh and of course a red key opens a red door. Trial and error then tells you the first “person” you meet on level 1 doesn’t seem to actually want to kill you, just to roll around; you seem quite same rolling over him!

Once you have the first few levels under your belt you soon get the hang of the control system,

Bright and colourful graphics, great animations, super Sonics power-ups and the pressure of the clock ticking away all add to the addictiveness of this platform game.

The game does have a feel of Thing on a spring and for me personally that isn’t a bad thing, I don’t seem to be very adept at this game but, from memory I was pretty poor at thing on a spring.

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Game play: 8/10
Last ability: 8/10

Overall score 8/10



Interview With The Protovision Team

By Commodore Free

Protovision is a German based label dedicated to development and distribution of C64 games and hardware.

Q- Please introduce yourself and PROTOVISON to the Commodore Free Readers

JTR: Hi everyone, I'm Tim Jakob aka Jak T Rip aka JTR and I salute to all Commodore Free users! I'm currently active as a coder in Protovision. A long time ago I started working on my 4 Player Pac Man game "Pac It" and it's still work in progress - that needs to change! But I was also involved in our current release, Jim Slim in Dragonland.

Poison: Hi and my name is Oliver Foerster aka Poison. I'm the main webmaster and I'm also in the orga-team. And I made three trailer videos for our games so far.

MacGyver: My name is Milo aka MacGyver. I am the main an organizer: I do public relations and manage news. I also manage game projects, e. g. who needs what for which project, and who could help out. Furthermore, I'm helping Poison with the website. Last but not least, I inform the press about our new releases.

Q- So what is your fascination with Commodore Machines?

JTR: Lots of things. First of all, I love both the graphics and the sound more than those of any other computer. RGB isn't my thing. And did you know that the C64 creates real sound waves directly while a usual PC sound card does not and has to go through a digital-analogue conversion process?

Second: quickness / reaction times. This might come as a surprise as the good old commies have a relatively slow processor, but what I mean is this: I turn on the computer and it is there instantly. I hit a couple of buttons and a program is loaded in no time (I use a fast loader cartridge). No modern computer can keep up with this performance! As well as this, there is never a time where my Commodore is hijacked by some other process and gives me a waiting sign. Never. I am always the master of the system and I always know what it does. Third: sleekness. I will never understand that people understand how today's computers, no matter how fast, hang at times. Maybe only for a split second, but there's always an unpredictable delay no matter what you are presenting. This definitely lacks style. Watch the C64 demo Good Vibrations / The Coders on a real machine and you will know what "sleek" means.

Poison: I think it is hard to describe the fascination for this machine. For myself: I'm addicted to C64 demos, SID Music and (of course) games. I remember when "Deus Ex Machina" by Crest was released, I took my C64 to my workplace and showed my colleagues what this 1 MHz machine is able to do. Not all my colleagues where fascinated, but most of them liked the music and what this retro machine is able to perform.

MacGyver: I love both demos and games. The C64 graphics and music have a unique style which make me coming back over and over again. While the system seems to be rather limited at first sight, the C64 has the most power by MHz, KByte, colours and voices. And there are still new tricks even after 28 years. The C64 is the VW Beetle of the computers: It gets you where you want to go, not overloaded with features, but with a lot of charm.

Q- When did Protovision start and what was the main reason for the Business

MacGyver: Protovision was founded in 1997, first as a pure game development label by Malte Mundt aka ThunderBlade and Stefan Gutsch aka Big User. I was in the background for the first couple of years. The idea was to produce games on a very high quality level, for both standard C64 and also for an enhanced C64. The first Protovision game released was Stroke World, published on GO64! magazine cover disk. Also, there were a couple of freelance game developers also from Germany who distributed their games themselves, such as Chester Kollschen (Ice Guys) and André Zschiegner (It's Magic). We offered to distribute their games, too, in order to reach a wider public by having one organization people could games easier; rather than have several small labels run by one private person.

JTR started to distribute the games. When the Retro Replay came up, we included it into our catalogue, too, as it was a great hardware. More hardware was added over time, such as the 4 Player Interface and earlier version of the Micromys PS/2 mouse adapter. When JTR had to move several times due to his studies, Poison took over distribution in 2003. He also created the first Online Shop for us. Poison ran the distribution from until 2009. Afterwards, Stefan aka Doc of Desire took over.

Q- How many people are involved in PROTOVISION and what do they do

MacGyver: We currently have 9 members. But there are quite some friends and fixed partners and freelancers cooperating with us.

Q- What does PROTOVISION stand for

JTR: Our slogan "Creating the Future" says it all. We're innovating, we create, and there's no future without Commodore computers. However, you might also like to judge for yourself what Protovision means.

Poison: I think it is easier to describe what Protovision is. Protovision is a group of enthusiasts, who sacrifice their free time to give other enthusiasts new products for their hobby. However, as JTR said “Creating the Future” - says it all.

MacGyver: Protovision stands for a modern C64 label from which you can get a lot from one hand.

Poison: No, the letters PROTOVISION weren't an abbreviation for something. It just was simple: A company that produces games that are so fascinating that you want to hack that company to get your hands on their games. And the fact that the word "VISION" is inside, is shown in our slogan "Creating the Future". But no relevance in the sense of a literal translation into German (or in another language).

Q- Is the business making a profit or is it more an intention to break even, if you do make a profit where do the funds go

JTR: We do make a lot of profit, but not of the financial kind. No really, this is a hobby and there's no point in trying to "break even" on games you work on for 4-5 years on a Commodore. We want to cover material and shipping costs, and sometimes we make a few bucks extra, sometimes also we loose. Extra bucks will be used to pay for advertisements, trade fair events or for buying copyrights to unfinished C64 games, as was the case with Jim Slim.

Poison: For example: whenever we release a new game, we give out many free boxes for magazines to review or just people who supported us in the one or other way. These free boxes means losses of sales, It takes some time to catch up these losses and sometimes we spend our private money to restock our storage.

MacGyver: As for most of our games, the major part of the profit made after we covered our costs is going to the developers.

Q- Is all testing done "in house" or do you have Beta testers in different countries

JTR: We're dependent on friends for testing, they are from different countries.

Q- Do you still copy protect disks or do you feel there is no point now

JTR: We don't do copy protections, but we do crack protections. A lot of our games have been cracked and do not play right or have limited functionality afterwards.

Q- How is a "typical" game developed what is the "usual" development plan from idea to finished product

JTR: What? You are asking for a planned, organized approach? No, no. We do have people like Milo and Oli and Stefan who are really well organized, but they do not write programs. The coders are more the mad professor type.

MacGyver: Indeed, most games have their own unique way they get developed. Typical only is that we try to make our games compatible to alternative devices.

Q- You make hardware and software and sell the items in the PROTOVISON shop can you list some of the products available for sale, also is all the hardware made by PROTOVISION or are you mainly a distributor

JTR: We are mainly focussed on producing games more than anything else, but we also distribute third party products if we feel they deserve support. For hardware, we are mainly a distributor, although we sometimes also support its development. Here's some of our most loved items for sale:

4 Player Interface

This hardware has been developed by Chester Kollschen. With this interface, you can plug in 4 joysticks to your C64.

Bomba Mania, Tanks 3000, Team Patrol

These are games for the 4 player adapter. Bomb Mania is our best selling game since ever, it is a bomberman clone with funny additions and extra features.

Newcomer

The most extensive game experience ever developed for the C64. It is a mixture between an adventure and a role playing game and is so huge that you will need half a week to complete it, even if you know the shortest way where you need to click and say what. The texts alone take about 3.5MB of space. As well, it does not require tasks to be completed in any particular order, and many things can be achieved through different ways. As it also has multiple possible endings, playing it many times can result in very different game play each time. We did not develop Newcomer, but are good friends with the team behind it, and did some support.

Metal Dust

We are particularly proud of this brilliant Katakis or R-Type space shooter as it is the first game using the power of a SuperCPU to boast effects. A SuperCPU is an enhancement to the c64 that gives 20Mhz and up to 16MB of RAM. We not only developed Metal Dust itself, but also the development tools around it (assembler, graphics and level editors) and also use these tools for other projects.

Q- Can you list the games structure for example some are free some mid price and some full price

JTR: One of our principles is that we only sell what we think deserves a price tag. We sometimes give games out for free if they do not deserve being paid for or we think it was sold enough. Ranking a game as mid price or full price is a discussion between us and the developer (if it is not us). The developer gets more or less money depending on the price in the end, while we always only take the same amount for covering our costs.

Q- What products would you like to sell and what are you doing to get these products to market

JTR: The first question is easy: all C64 games and hardware that is worth it! The second one is tougher to answer and even tougher to execute.

Sometimes we do a lot of work behind the scenes, work out contracts, bring people together, help specifying hardware or getting software to a releasable state. All of these activities are not visible to the outside world and only sometimes we are successful and get something released. For example we tried hard to get the SuperCPU produced again, we found producers and all, but in the end we did not get permission - and now the unit is practically unavailable. Also other hardware like the 1541 Ultimate (an ingenious disk drive replacement, freezer cartridge and RAM expansion cartridge replacement) are things we want to support by distributing them, but in 2005 a law was passed in the EU that disallows selling hardware without a costly registration, which renders most C64 hardware activities illegal.

Poison: Yes, I also think that this EU law block the homebrew scene. As Jakob told before, we want to support so many cool projects but it is too costly.

MacGyver: We send out a newsletter, monthly based. We also send our news to various C64/8 bit/Retro magazines. Sometimes mainstream magazines like Micro Mart in the UK or GamePro and M! Games in Germany. What is the use of a great new game or a cool new hardware if only a few insiders know about it? With our productions we can prove the C64 is living to people who would not know otherwise.

Q- If a reader has a game they would like you to produce how they would contact you and what royalties do you pay

JTR: If someone has a game that we think is worth being published for money, we offer taking over the initial costs for printing manuals, labels, boxes and keep 3-4 Euros of every order to reimburse the costs. The rest goes to the developer. We do not produce on demand.

MacGyver: They would email to contact@protovision-online.de or use the contact form in our online shop, then we see if and what we can workout together.

Q- If a reader has a part completed project hardware or software could you help put forward funding or would you rather take over the project and finish it yourselves

JTR: We prefer helping others finish their stuff themselves. It is not possible to really "fund" a project. Most of the work is done for free, by us and other hobby enthusiasts. The money you earn with a C64 game you work on for 4 years might be enough to go have an exquisite dinner or two, not more.

Q- Has there ever been a problem with the different hardware designs of the Commodore 64 for example the differences between PAL and NTSC machines and differing SIDs or even revisions of the Commodore motherboard, has this ever caused you to stop or put projects on hold

JTR: There are huge differences, and we try to stay as compatible as possible without investing too much. It is very hard to produce things that run on NTSC the way they run on PAL as the timing is very different. We never stop a project due to this, but it keeps being an issue.

MacGyver: If an NTSC user has a TV set/monitor which can handle PAL, I'd recommend they get a PAL C64 e.g. over on ebay.co.uk. This will open a new universe of C64 software to you! Our cool game Jim Slim has problems on a few C64s which can not handle AGSP, due to too weak RAM or VIC. A few of our SIDs may sound a little different on 6581 compared to 8580, but that has never been an issue.

Q- Would you consider supporting other Commodore machines like the 264 range (c16 and +4)

JTR: They are cool machines, too. But as our time is too limited even for the open C64 projects we have, we don't plan to extend.

Q- What is your best selling product and also what is the most requested product (this maybe a product you don't sell)

JTR: Bomb Mania is the best selling game, Newcomer the most requested. Newcomer is appreciation ware. Many people download Newcomer, but do not pay the appreciation fee that is included in our price.

Poison: Our 4 Player games sell all very well. This is cool, because nowadays people don’t come together to play. They sit alone in front of their PCs or consoles and use team speak to talk. It seems that the usual C64 gamer is more chummy.

Q- How much life do you think is left in the Commodore brand

JTR: A lot. You see people go crazy for commodore logos everywhere, t-shirts, computers, whatever.

MacGyver: I believe the old Commodore computers are very much alive, especially the C64. To quote from a C64 demo regarding Commodore/the Commodore sign: "It was a brand, it became a symbol!". That hits the nail on the head. The brand went through a lot of hands they didn’t do much with it. I have mixed feelings about devices like Commodore 64 web it and C64 DTV, as they rather try to emulate the original while being pretty bad at it, compared to today's emulators. C64 DTV native programs are pretty cool one the one hand, but those hardly have to do anything with a real C64. Let's see how things develop with the Commodore 64 X.

Q- You have given away free 2 games "Stroke World" and "It's Magic" why was it decided these games were freeware

JTR: Well they were always free, like Snacks 4 Snakes or Quadris? We just felt like giving them away I guess :)

MacGyver: Not everybody got Stroke World when it was published as not everybody subscribed GO64!. When the It's Magic 2 was released, we thought it was time to make part one free - to offer a nice game for free to the gamers, and also to tease people for part two ;) The were other small games released for free such as More.Gore's Space Battle Deluxe (predecessor of Advanced Space Battle). Cascade is also a nice but small game by The Blue Ninja, which is on our free games/previews disk which game customers receive in addition. Then there is also Quadtron and Zynax III which are rather old and would not be worthy to sell/buy.

Q- Do you plan to support as much hardware as possible from the basic games design for example ensuring the game will run on as many machines as possible and will run from CMD hardware and ultimate 1541 cartridges and UIEC devices etc

JTR: We try to, yes.

MacGyver: There have been many new alternative devices in the last few years. While this is great, it gets harder to stay compatible to all of them.

Q- Do you always test beta versions on Real hardware or is this really only important on later "builds" of the software

JTR: Ha! You are assuming that we'd develop on PCs and only "test" the code on real hardware...? That is true for most developers, yes, but we do not go down this road, usually. We mostly develop on the real machine, for the real machine.

MacGyver: I know that our friends in Ultimate Newcomer Crew as well as DJ Gruby/Oxyron use PCs for development and also test a lot on emulators. Still things get tested on the real thing even in rather early stages of development.

Q- Do you have any games that have been scrapped in early stages of testing and why were they scrapped

JTR: Sure. The biggest projects that were scrapped are Turrican 3 and Reel Fishing (a fishing simulator). T3 was cancelled due to legal hassle and RF was cancelled, because we got a lot of negative feedback claiming we would be "commercial", which is a slap in the face when you spend so much time unpaid for your hobby. Such attacks have demotivated us a lot and has cost us a few members.

MacGyver: Mike The Magic Dragon by ThunderBlade has been scrapped as well. The coder's time was small with his GO64! Activities, his studies, the Amiga Fever magazine project and later his full time job at QNX. The future of Enforcer 2 and Wor Wizards are somewhat uncertain.

Q- Feel free to promote PROTOVISION, what new projects are in the Pipeline

JTR: Our 4 player Pac Man game "Pac It" where you have to play in a team of up to 4 Pac Men to solve the levels with wit and action is in the pipe and you can download a preview on our website. We also have an almost finished game called Outrage from Cosmos Designs and desperately need a coder who would like to get his hands on it to finish it, and we have Enforcer 2 that has some stunning preview videos at YouTube.

However, all of these will still take time to complete - as we are doing this aside our real jobs and life, we cannot promote or commit to any fixed deadlines, but you can expect them somewhere in the next one or two decades.

MacGyver: Pieces II by Oxyron is a nice little puzzler. While development was rather slow since the release of its preview, it is going to speed up again soon. Also, the Spanish based Los Burros del Soft are going to get the English versions of their games MK II and La Carretera (aka The Road) distributed over us.

Q- How would a reader join PROTOVISION

JTR: We always need reliable helpers! There are manuals to proofread, translate or layout. There is website work to do, emails to answer, and of course music to compose and graphics to pixel. But above all we currently lack coders. Anyone can contact us and offer help, we'll try out how it feels working together and if that fits, we'll let him or her join. we are spread around the globe!

MacGyver: Most of the PROTOVISION members are in Germany, including all core members.

Q- Do you have any other comments for the Readers

JTR: Thank you for your interest in Commodore computers! You seem to have an eye for cool things!

Poison: Keep the spirit alive. And share this spirit with your friends.

MacGyver: Get involved! Support what you like.



Protovision Website

Protovision isn’t just about games they have a website with s shop store that sell a variety of things

http://www.protovision-online.de/

the main site is viewable in English and German via the use of the country flags at the top of the screen.

The site is split into Graphic areas

Clicking on the shop can take you to these areas though through sub menus

In the main shop we again see the areas split into sections

At the top we see games

Hardware

Clicking on hardware have a further option of cables

The current hardware as of this writing was

Micromys V3

Micromys originated as a mouse adapter to connect PS/2 mice from PC to the C64. individual Computers developed it further and equipped it with additional features. The new version is called Micromys V3, and as well as the C64 it can be used with other systems. The different user modes can be changed via DIP switch:

Any PS/2 mouse can be used. USB mice supporting the PS/2 protocol can be used, too. Such USB mice typically come with an appropriate USB-PS/2 adapter.

Micromys V3 has been equipped with a cable, so there is room for the USB-PS2 adapter even if space on the desk is short.

An illustrated manual is available at www.micromys.de.

4 player adaptor

Protovision extends your C64's capabilities with the 4 Player Interface - professional manufactured by individual Computers. Connected to the user port of your Commodore 64 or 128, it provides two additional standard joystick ports for you to connect. This enables up to four players - with four real joysticks! - to play together on one computer!

You can also build it yourself. Just refer to our building instructions. If you want to adapt or even code a game to make use of the Protovision 4 Player interface, you are welcome. Look at the source code example to see how easy it is.

Cartridge Cases

Cartridge case from individual Computers for MMC Replay, MMC64, Retro Replay and other standard C64 cartridges.

The cases are closed with only one opening for the cartridge connector. If a cartridge with buttons or a pass-through slot shall be used, the holes/openings must be cut into the case. This applies to the MMC Replay, MMC64 and the Retro Replay.

Cables

Cables in stock list some 19 different models

Ranging from a c64 joystick to the plus 4 adaptor

Applications

Godot

GoDot is an C64 Image Processing System.

It is continuously being improved. See www.godot64.de for downloads. GoDot is now freeware (for two Euro you´ll receive GoDot on a 1541 disk)

Virtual assembler 16

Virtual Assembler 16 is a Turbo Assembler alike tool for the SuperCPU. It features 40/53/64 column display, very big memory for source codes and labels and supports all opcodes of the SCPU's 65816 processor. Virtual Assembler 16 has been in use as an internal Protovision tool for some time. It is a great tool! We now decided to make it available to everyone. So Protovision proudly presents: Virtual Assembler 16 pre-release V2.84! The program is complete, but there are some minor bugs which will be fixed later. There are only incomplete instructions, which are in German language only. Nevertheless, we don't want to delay the release of this great tool any further, so here it is!

Virtual Assembler 16 is AppreciationWare. It means if you like it, please transfer EUR 8 to the bank account found everywhere on this site or visit our PTV-Shop to order it online. It is legal to use and copy Virtual Assembler 16 as you want. If you pay the appreciation fee, you become a registered user, which means you will receive special support.

Miscellaneous

And the miscellaneous section lists

Protovision branded

And a competition pro joystick

It's back now! The legendary Competition Pro joystick, famous for its reliability, as a remake from Speed-Link and individual Computers. The joystick is suitable for all retro systems with a 9 pin connector. These include C64, Amiga, Amstrad/Schneider CPC, Atari and MSX.

The site is clean and neatly laid out and of course you can pay via PayPal, all costs are noted when paying so you don’t have any nasty extras when you go to the pay screen. Transactions are swift and delivery is very quick (usually Just a few days to the U.k.)

Payment options:

Every order is to be prepaid (EU-Standard Banktransfer or PayPal). When launching an order, you will receive a confirmation mail with the necessary data for the means of payment. Please make sure to pay via EU-Standard Bank Transfer, which is free of charge. Foreign Bank Transfer should not be used because the bank levies charges for that.

Shipping within Europe:

For orders under 20 Euro we have to charge a low order fee of 3 Euro. For orders over 20 Euro shipping is free.

Shipping outside Europe:

For orders under 20 Euro we have to charge a low order fee of 3 Euro.

Shipping prices are calculated by the weight of your order:

0-500 G: 5 Euro
500-1000 G: 10 Euro
1000-2000 G: 20 Euro
2000-3000 G: 30 Euro
3000-4000 G: 40 Euro

If you live outside of the EU, you don't have to pay the German VAT included in our prices. Please deduct 19% to get your correct pricing (this will be done automatically when you have entered your country). There will be additional national taxes and/or custom fees depending on the type/value of the ordered items.

The shop stock varies depending on stock and availability; it also features a traffic light system to show GREE in stock and plenty to RED OUT OF STOCK! so you know a product is available and ready to send.

If products are out of stock but new stock is coming soon, then this will be listed on the site for example

Temporarily out of stock. Date for restocking unsettled.

Easy to use and nothing really I could mention as a negative I found my transactions were dealt with quickly and politely with courteous emails of progress

COMMODORE FREE