After a short break for the holiday period we are back again with another issue of Commodore Free. The thing that surprised me was the number of people who emailed to ask:
Ok then first question,
I don’t relay have the time to create and maintain a blog; so it would be to quiet, and also what would I blog about how far behind I was in the issue creation, because I was updating the blog?
Hmmm didn’t think anyone was interested in this sort of thing; it was just a one off!
Although I may do another “what I have been watching” editorial issue, is that what you “really” want? See the watching text lower down, do you really want to read about these items?
NO ! and no plans to be!
Not that I am against such things! But time is one problem, and it scares me about all that information floating around and how it will be used. I know I am not the only Commodore user to think this; and not the only person in the world to be “not on Facebook”. However I don’t have any plans to join this phenomena soon.
See the Changes text
Right with all the questions answered let’s get back to the issue and what’s in it this month!
Well it’s the usual news and information from around the world, and do feel free to send me items of news if you think I will miss them; or you want more publicity for something you are running/creating. Quite a few games reviews for Commodore 64 machines and the 264 range (c16 plus4 etc) are in this issue and the last (for a while) Cp/m instalment, Did you enjoy reading this section and do you want more on Cp/m? Finally we have an interview with a new software house! (new software house for Commodore the 64 this must be exciting news) Well yes it is
I would like to thank all the people who send me news items and text for the magazine, and keep them coming please.
You will see some changes this issue; both in the magazine “design” (I use the term loosely) and in the way adverts are being handled. After some great thought and the fact I have to pay for webhosting, and also adverts make money for others but do nothing for the magazine. I have decided that I had to take the action of charging for an advert!
Now don’t get all uppity and dance around; only the adverts are being charged for. Commodore Free is; and always will be; a free magazine, so how much is an advert then.
Well again I thought about this long and hard and realise people are making things for love and not money so I have hopeful kept the costs as low as I think I can do.
Therefore If you want an advert for just 1 month then it’s £1 for a full page.
This keeps things simple for me to work out
As you are aware I am no artist; and so it would be better for yourselves to send in a design to me as a JPG or PDF or even a disk image! Heck why not!
So all adverts you see remaining in the magazine are now paid for.
Ok I said I wouldn’t do this but..
For the curious persons out there who keep asking what I have been watching on TV, well currently I have been engrossed in Wheeler Dealer. The two presenters 1 a car sales man and the other a motor mechanic. The sales man tries to buy what he calls a “classic car” as cheap as possible for the mechanic to repair spruce up and then sell on for a profit. What`s interesting is how the car technology has changed over the years, any new car is filled with computer systems and a nightmare to work on; but these older so called “classic cars” are just an engine some wirers a steering wheel and some seats. Some of the designs look amazing and the work that goes to restore them is very detailed. Its amazing to think how old some of these cars are and they way the body work has held out to the rigours of time is unbelievable. (they don’t make em like that anymore)
Oh nearly forgot the next issue sees what should be the start of a free to download cover tape or disk image, Richard Baylis will be compiling these in a similar fashion to the Commodore scene tapes of old. If I told you what the first tape image will be you would be too excited and continually email me for a copy (I am currently playing it now) Just for the record it’s a great game with lovely graphics. You lot upset yet!
I do still need text for a Commodore 64 special issue (the next issue) I have had very little in response to this plea. I also am planning a 264 special issue (c16 and plus4 etc)
If you feel up to the task of writing something about these machines feel free to drop me an email, the text could be about, personal experiences with Commodore or even just the joy of un-boxing the machine on Christmas day (or birthday present) You could write something about emulation or commodore history or about the club you are or were in. You could write a tutorial about programming sound graphics or games or even about the commodore hardware
Thanks and signing out for another issue
Issue 49 of aMiGa=PoWeR is available.
aMiGa=PoWeR is a French newspaper
Released for the Commodore 64 and available to download free a version of the game Spike Dislike
You can Download it from here
This is my first ever Commodore 64 game and it's an adaption of the excellent game Spike Dislike (iOS/PC) by James Gamble.
The original Spike Dislike
The game is reviewed later in this issue of Commodore Free
Mark Jones started has created a web page site dedicated to Ocean software. On the web site is a variety of information about Ocean including
This new site launches in celebration of the veteran publishing house, OCEAN SOFTWARE. This site aims to have the most exhaustive list of Ocean assets all in one place. You can already check out the gallery and see a growing repository of images, some never seen before.
The German computer magazine CHIP has release a special edition all about the C64 you can read more (in German language only) from the link
Taken from the website !
Icaros Desktop is a pre-configured AROS desktop environment for the PC platform, distributed on a bootable live media. The AROS Research Operating System is a open source lightweight, efficient and flexible desktop operating system, aiming at being compatible with AmigaOS 3.1 at the API level, while improving on it in many areas.
Icaros Desktop 1.4.3 should fix issues with Development stuff some users of 1.4.2 complained about. Please notice that only Live! users could use Icaros to code software: the Light version misses almost all necessary files, due to CD size limits. Installing 1.4.3 on a Light installation will add about 120 MB of software, so pay attention if you're using a tight partition or a tiny USB pendrive. Some programs have been updated, for instance WildMidi library, MP3 Player and LoView have been brought to a more recent - if not their latest - version. This version does not include any other new feature, but refreshes AROS system files to a recent nightly build.
Looking for something special!
then why not try a new website that can help you search
The site can look into 25 different servers and bring back search results, you can filter out the search by just selecting the specific thing you’re looking for like a PNG file or a PDF or just search for everything. You can even select which servers you would like to search under.
Looking for something for the weekend Sir !
The following articles have been added to the website of the French Amiga/MorphOS magazine Obligement (http://obligement.free.fr) during the last two months :
It was a long work but finally here it is, the long awaited HVSC update #57.
This time we were not only able to break the 42,000 SIDs barrier, but also provided a whopping 3100+ credit fixes to nail down many inconsistencies that were there for too many years.
After this update, the collection should contain 42,212 SID files!
The High Voltage SID Collection (HVSC) is a freeware hobby project which organises Commodore 64 music (also known as SID music) into an archive for both musicians and fans alike. The work on the collection is done completely in the Team and contributors' spare time and is proudly one of the largest and most accurate computer music collections known.
------------- Original message --------------
From: Nicholas Coplin
Subject: 64JPX is now available again
64JPX is now available again for sale from the www.64hdd.com website. This is a limited re-run; many thanks to those who pre-ordered to help make the re-run possible.
For those who haven't been following developments, 64JPX is a micro based interface which allows connection of Sega, SNES, NES and/or PC analogue controllers to be used with Commodore, Amiga, and Atari-compatible systems.
In addition to doing the signal conversion and protecting the C64 port, the interface offers a number of "enhancement" modes tailored to various game genre.
http://www.64hdd.com/64jpx/ has all the info.
Following our announcement that we have secured the future of RadeonHD graphic drivers for AmigaOS 4 we are pleased to reveal we have now made an agreement with ACube Systems which will allow owners of new AmigaOne 500 and Sam460 systems access to the new RadeonHD drivers and future updates. Registered owners of these new systems will be able to download free RadeonHD driver updates from the A-EON Technology website as and when then become available. Details of how to register will be made available in the near future. Pre-existing AmigaOne 500 owners will also benefit from this agreement. Pre-existing Sam460 owners will still be able to purchase the RadeonHD driver from the A-EON Technology website. ACube's Max Tretene commented on the new agreement, “We're all happy about the securing of the driver development (for AmigaOS 4)”, while Trevor Dickinson added, “Driver support for the latest RadeonHD graphics cards is a massive achievement for AmigaOS 4 and I'm pleased that ACube's customers can benefit from Hans de Ruiter's work. These are exciting times for AmigaOS 4 users.”
We are also pleased to confirm that Hans is making excellent progress with the RadeonHD driver as he works towards the version 1.0 release. The latest version (0.46) has just been uploaded to the AmigaONE X1000 beta test team for testing. Registered AmigaONE X1000 "First Contact" customers will be able download the latest update from the A-EON Technology website in the near future.
About Hans de Ruiter & HDRLab: Hans de Ruiter is an electrical & electronics engineer and leading AmigaOS developer and Amiga enthusiast. His website - HDRLab - details various projects, many of which are AmigaOS related. The biggest of these is the RadeonHD driver for AmigaOS, an ambitious project that aims to deliver modern graphics capabilities for the AmigaOS platform.
About AmigaOS: The AmigaOS dates back to 1985 with the introduction of the landmark Amiga 1000. Today, under the guidance and control of Hyperion Entertainment, AmigaOS has evolved into a modern operating system without losing that intrinsic "Amiga" look and feel.
About the AmigaONE X1000: The AmigaONE X1000 is not like other computers. It is a culmination of efforts by real Amiga enthusiasts and developers to create powerful, modern desktop hardware for the AmigaOS. It is the natural evolution of the Amiga's PowerPC lineage and is based on the PA-Semi Dual-core PA6T-1682M CPU and includes Xena, a "Software Defined Silicon" co-processor. Above all it runs the latest version of the AmigaOS.
About ACube Systems S.r.l.: ACube Systems are the designers and developers of the Sam440, Sam460 and AmigaOne 500 computer systems for AmigaOS 4.
A-EON Technology secures graphic card support for AmigaOS 4
A-EON Technology is pleased to announce that it has signed a new development agreement with premier AmigaOS graphics specialist Hans de Ruiter which ensures the future compatibility of AmigaOS 4 with the latest RadeonHD graphics cards. In addition to the HD4000 (R700) graphics drivers released with the AmigaONE X1000 “First Contact” system, we have now contracted Hans to create a series of drivers for the RadeonHD family. This also includes support for Evergreen, Northern Islands and the recently released Southern Islands HD7000 series. These new drivers, which are exclusively licensed to A-EON Technology, will support the X1300-1950, 5000, 6000 & 7000 series RadeonHD graphics cards and provide AmigaOS 4 with access to the latest in graphic card technology.
Trevor Dickinson commented, “This is a major boost for the AmigaOS and is the first time that these modern graphics cards have been supported on non x86 systems. Hans has already released several updates to his RadeonHD driver and support for Evergreen and Northern Islands cards is already up to the standard of the R700 drivers released with the AmigaONE X1000. He has also made excellent progress with drivers for AMD's Southern Islands cards. Hans de Ruiter replied, "I was initially disappointed when supply of Radeon HD 4000 series became scarce but now I'm proud of what has been achieved. The RadeonHD driver once again supports some of the latest cards available." His comments were echoed by a long time AmigaOS 4 developer and A1-X1000 beta tester who stated, "Looks like OS4 won't have to worry about availability of compatible graphics cards anytime soon". We can only agree.
The AMD RadeonHD series to be supported include:-
Although the RadeonHD driver is exclusively licensed to A-EON Technology for AmigaOS 4, owners of ACube's "Next Generation Amiga" systems need not despair. They will be able to purchase RadeonHD driver updates via the A-EON Technology website for their Sam460 and AmigaOne 500 systems. AmigaKit will also be offering RadeonHD graphics cards and driver bundles. Please visit the AmigaKit website for more details. Customers who purchase the new driver will qualify for free upgrades, up to and including version 1.0 of the RadeonHD driver. Registered AmigaONE X1000 "First Contact" customers will be able download driver updates free of charge from the A-EON Technology website.
News from Stefan Egger
The Goal of the project is a replica of the first prototype CDTV Remote control unit. Because there are no further pictures of the remote, the labelling of the keys maybe different to the original. But will use all information available to do it as exact as possible copy. I will also use information from the production model remotes as well as maybe the function of the keys, if there are any.
The keys on the remote are plastic, not rubber. It has less quality compared to the original CDTV remote. But for Audio CDs it would be an interesting alternative to the large original CDTV remote control
NEWS from Amiga.org - Amiga News and Community Announcements
After 18 months of intense development, Airsoft Software is very proud to announce the immediate availability of the long awaited fourth incarnation of our famous Hollywood Designer. Hollywood Designer 4.0 is a multimedia authoring system that runs on top of Hollywood and can be used to create all sorts of multimedia based applications; for example presentations, slide shows, simple games, and programs. Thanks to Hollywood, all multimedia applications created using Hollywood Designer can be exported as stand-alone executables for the following systems: AmigaOS3, AmigaOS4, WarpOS, MorphOS, AROS (x86), Windows (x86), Mac OS X (PPC & x86) and Linux (PPC & x86). This is a feature that is totally unique in the Amiga world.
Hollywood Designer 4.0 is a huge update and has many new features and improvements over the previous version. We do not want to bore you, so here are just some of them:
Hollywood Designer is no longer limited to "just" being an authoring software, it can now also be used as a flexible graphics editor because it supports many features of modern graphics editors like multiple layers with filter effects, vector graphics, image import, and text.
Without a doubt, Hollywood Designer 4.0 is the definitive multimedia solution for all Amiga compatible platforms, but as a picture is worth a thousand words, we have made some screenshots of Hollywood Designer 4.0 running on MorphOS and AmigaOS 4 for you to see here.
Hollywood Designer 4.0 is a very stable and mature multimedia authoring system. We would like to emphasize that it is not only suited for personal use, but also for professional commercial customers. Ferrule Media, for instance, have created an info channel containing over 700 unique slides in a single project with Hollywood Designer. Hollywood Designer was designed to handle these huge projects efficiently so that they can run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week without any visible memory fragmentation!
Hollywood Designer 4.0 comes on a CD-ROM that contains versions for all supported platforms: There are native versions of the program for AmigaOS3 (m68k), WarpOS (PPC), MorphOS (PPC), and AmigaOS4 (PPC). A download version is also offered. If you order the download version, you will have to download an ISO image which you need to burn on CD-R then. If you already own a previous version of Hollywood Designer, you can buy a discounted upgrade version.
Please note that Hollywood Designer 4.0 runs on top of the Multimedia Application Layer Hollywood 5.0. Thus, Hollywood 5.0 is strictly required for Hollywood Designer 4.0. Both programs are available in a special bundle which is the ultimate package for every power Amiga user who wants to see what his system can do with Hollywood 5.0 & Hollywood Designer 4.0.
Power up your Amiga system with Hollywood 5.0 & Hollywood Designer 4.0 and order now!
EasyCLI is a command shell for the Commodore 64 computer.
EasyCLI is packaged as an EasyFlash cartridge. This gives EasyCLI the ability to boot the computer and bring the user straight to the shell without having to load and run a program from disk.
When it comes to running EasyCLI, you have a few options. First, you can run the downloadable cart image directly from here and load that cart image in VICE. The emulator will detect the cartridge as being in EasyFlash format and automatically configure the emulator.
The second way to run EasyCLI is to use EasyProg to write the downloadable cart image to an EasyFlash or EasyFlash 3 cartridge.
EasyCLI comes packaged with several built in commandlets, each of which is its own 8K program that is stored in the EasyFlash cartridge and loaded on demand. The following features are planned for version 1.0 through implementation as commandlets:
In addition to the commandlets that will be included with EasyCLI, the dispatcher understands the following verbs internally:
Hitting the RESTORE key at any time re initializes EasyCLI and forces it to enumerate the drives again. This is handy if you turn on a drive that wasn't on when starting EasyCLI.
EasyCLI will use a very simple scripting language that can be used to chain together commands. Scripts reside on the physical devices, not in the EasyCLI cart image. An example of a script that cleans up a couple of CMD-DOS partitions and then copies in new files from a uIEC is as follows:
#10 @cp50 del :somefile @cp1 cd //path del :someotherfile @cp50 #11 cd image.d64 copy :somefile 10#0: #10 @cp 1 copy 11#0::someotherfile
The 2012 Commodore Vegas Expo v8, a.k.a. CommVEx, is coming July 28-29 (editor Hmmm you may have missed this by now) to the Las Vegas Club Hotel, 18 Fremont St., Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.. Once again we are looking forward to a good show with an international group of attendees enjoying the Commodores and Amiga computers that will be exhibited. Members of the Fresno Commodore User Group, Clark County Commodore Computer Club (of Las Vegas), the Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network, and the Portland Commodore User Group (PDXCUG.org) will be swarming in. For more information, go to
http://www.commodore.ca/forum and click on ComVEX
We'll have a number of raffle prizes, everybody has a chance for door prizes, we'll have a sales table, and there is the freebie table. We'll have the games competition for cash and more. And we'll be busy with presentations of old and new software and old and new hardware. That's right... new hardware which will be premiering at the show. If our event is not enough to whet your show appetite, you can also wander off to Def Con ( http://www.defcon.org ) and get into really subversive hacking or to RollerCon ( http://www.rollercon.net ) and attend classes and watch the roller girls race around the track. See you at CommVEx!
Fresno Commodore User Group
News From Synthtopia
Jeri Ellsworth showed a new project at the "Bay Area Maker Fair". by developing a Commodore 64 bass guitar. Combining both a bass guitar with a C64 FPGA system. The FPGA system reads the signals from the guitar strings and the C64 keyboard. The input is processed by the FPGA and send to a real SID chip to produce the sound.
de la Mancha has released basic 65, a monophonic synth, inspired by the Commodore 64 and its legendary SID chip: Building on the waveforms and signal path of this famous chip, basic 65 adds further features and options to take things a step further. The double arpeggiator allows complex versions of that retro 8-bit game sound and the modulation options inspire experimentation via the mod envelope and 2 comprehensive LFOs. Pulse width modulation, ring modulation and oscillator detune/sync are key ingredients in the signature sound. Throw in some pitch drift, bit drift, a sprinkle of dirt and randomisation and you have a wide range of lofi, chiptune, retro-tastic sounds at your disposal.
This version is the update to the popular basic 64, redesigned from scratch, with many improvements, new features and all new presets. basic 65 was co-developed with sink, who also made the amazing presets.
Basic 65 for Windows (VST) priced at $24
Gideon Zweijtzer (of 1541-Ultimate fame) and Rutger Bevaart have teamed up to bring renewed innovation to the Classical Amiga by announcing the UltimatePPC today, the ultimate CPU expansion card for the Amiga 3000 & 4000. This new card will bring unparalleled performance and many great new features to the Amiga series of computers that were not available previously and give current users a viable upgrade path for aging components. It also opens new possibilities for newer versions of the Amiga Operating System or alternatives to run on your classic hardware with great performance. The UltimatePPC puts your Amiga right back on your desk as the most versatile and fun computer that has ever existed!
Right now the UltimatePPC is in active development, we expect to be able to take pre-orders at the end of 2012. Please visit our project website at http://ultimateppc.nl for availability information, specifications and detailed status reports.
Gideon & Rutger
The UltimatePPC provides many new features. The current shortlist of features for "Revision A" is,
RedPower2 is a 6502 emulator inside Minecraft, created by Eloraam. This "mod" gives you the possibility to build your own 8 bit computer based on the 6502 processor. The available blocks are: CPU, monitor, disk drive and ribbon cable to connect them all together. The CPU can be programmed in assembly or with the Forth programming language
XSIDPLAY2 is a QT based music player for SID music. It is based onto Michael Schwendt's XSIDPLAY, the historical SID player for Linux, that is no more developed by the author
Jack is a great, multi-purpose commodity for AmigaOS - and now AROS, Classic Amiga and MorphOS.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5DmlQmyzbY (February 2012)
Get it now on OS4Depot - all OS versions.
Please remember to check the upload queue first before downloading.
computer collection Vienna is proud to present you the first P1565 prototype unit. It was printed out on a 3D printer (Z650 series) in 4 hours.
Please see attached the first picture of the prototype unit.
Also check out the introduction video and 3D models at:
If you need any further information, please ask. The project is In the final stages and it will be a fully functional external 3,5" Amiga Disk Drive. Further photos will be available on the homepage and also on the Facebook page of ccv:
Project P1565 - when dreams come true.
Parallelogram is a demo running on the Commodore One extender board, which contains an Altera Cyclone III FPGA and an SDRAM chip. The logic design was made from scratch, including a homebrew CPU, FM synth and blitter with pixel shader support. The demo won the wild compo at Revision 2012.
Ahh the amount of hours I have spent staring at the BBC style Graphics of the Text pages that are Ceefax, now digital TV has thrashed and closed the analogue signals Ceefax will be no more! Depending on your view point this could be a good or bad thing. Plus sides for the pages were fast loading of pages and hundreds of them! The negatives were it looked; well basic and text like with no pictures although I will miss the Ceefax style art. So long then and thanks for all the fish.
Game and watch fans may like a new Commodore 64 game with a curious name Nu, pagadi !
Player catches eggs. The Counter on the display shows number of successfully caught eggs. As the game progresses so the game speed of eggs increases. After 3 foul shots game terminated. After 200 or 500 points all foul shots are cleared.
Released 8. April 2012, Falcon soft Created by Hamar & Mitchell
Debian Linux is now available for AmigaOne X1000 First Contact customers.
Debian has support for both cores of the PWRficient PA6T CPU and can also access more than 4 GB of RAM.
Debian requires some know how to install and use. A special installation guide has been prepared which explains everything you need to know.
A special thanks goes out to Varisys for the initial kernel, A-EON Technology for the firmware changes and all the volunteers that have made this possible.
Registered customers can download the required installation guide and kernel directly from Hyperion Entertainment http://www.hyperion-entertainment.biz/ in the downloads area. Registration enables customers to also download future AmigaOS updates and gain access to the support forum.
After reviewing the information from these four articles, I realized that this is as far as I have been with CP/M. With this realization, this will be the last article of the Rediscovery series. However, there is a lot of information I would like to research and I plan to use the Checklist and List of Resources for this purpose. I also have plans to write more articles with this information as well.
There has been a lot of information to absorb during the first three Parts and this article is no exception (this is the largest one so far). I have organized this article as follows...
This intro, briefly discussing my progress, overview of checklist items solved, a look to perceived future dabbling in CP/M, more on ED, more command utilities, Summary of learned concepts; followed by the Checklist and List of Resources.
I like the idea of the Checklist. It helps me to keep an organized list of questions and things to do. As I delve deeper into CP/M, there will be additional items to add. As I find the answer to a question or problem, I will cross it off the list. For easier reference, I will place at the end of each item that has been crossed off-where I found the answer and had documented it (like this... < Part 4 >).
I have been able to strike some from the list since Part 3. Refer to the Checklist at the end to see what has been accomplished.
Due to the amount of referencing I do, the Digital Research Guides (the one with the User's Guide, Programmer's Guide, and System Guide) I will simply reference them accordingly. If reference is to other sources, I will do so in a way which will be easy to distinguish. Be sure to check the list of sources at the end of the article.
In this, the 4th instalment, I wanted to continue with more work on the ED utility. I have been able to create a file and save it to disk. I have also re-opened the file to try to add more text. When I went to insert text into the file, it did not display the text already there. When I typed in some text and saved it, the new information was appended to the beginning of the file. I expect to gain a greater understanding of how this utility works (by now I would assume that many of you are thinking that I should just find a good word processor - and that is definitely one to add to the Checklist).
My List of Resources has grown as well. I have been on the internet searching for additional material and have found quite a bit! You will probably notice this as you view the List of Resources, and I have listed individual files with the internet address for convenience.
Also, this information is (or soon will be) available on my website (as well as any software I can get a hold of - see List of Resources for the URL).
Looking ahead to the future, I see a significant investment in time to learn more sophisticated concepts - such as programming in CP/M. This is likely to be a high-level language along with some work learning Z80 assembly language. From my current perspective, I see this being a bit more difficult as I do not have direct access to a network of actual CP/M users. However, I am confident that with the amount of digital and paper material I have collected, I will be able to do quite a bit. After the basics, I have an interest in areas of programming software (and hardware too), so I will probably focus future efforts there.
I tried to access a 5 ¼ CP/M disk on my tower (windows 98) machine. I was not able to read this disk. I was disappointed I was not able to immediately access this disk. However, I thought that maybe there is a utility somewhere for Windows 98/DOS that can read a CP/M formatted disk (add to checklist)
I found the MS-DOS program AnaDisk. However, I was unable to read the CP/M disk with this program also.
I Downloaded and ran FreeFile from Herne. This MS-DOS utility does not copy or read CP/M disks, although it boasts the ability to format disks in numerous formats (I might try this feature later).
The date which is displayed on startup is the date of the System Disk. It is likely I’ll have to find a newer updated version (strike one from the checklist and add another). See how to set the date after the section on ED.
I have found there are many high-level languages available for CP/M. Among these are: BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, APL, C, and PASCAL. Some programs can be found on Zimmer’s website her (www.zimmers.net).
Before I started this session, I did finally buckle under and switch monitors. I decided the convenience of an 80 column display was worth it. Although, for those of you who do not have access to such a monitor, you should still be able to follow along – remember that to scroll to the other half of the screen using the CONTROL key with the cursor right/left (the cursor keys at the top of the keyboard).
I figured out how to edit an existing text file. Here’s more of what I learned. In order to see the text from the file, the text must be loaded into the memory buffer. When ED starts, there is RAM allocated for text. However, unlike most editors I have seen, ED does not load the text from the file into the buffer, this must be done manually. Here’s how to do it…
ed test1.tex <RETURN>
ED will start with the TEST1.TEX file. Then the ED prompt will be displayed…
To see the text from the TEST1.TEX file, we need to Append (copy) the text to the buffer…
Now the text is copied and ED shows this…
Enter this in at this prompt again to see the text printed on the screen…
ED is showing the line numbers of the text in the file. The line numbers are not contained in the file itself, but are there for ease of editing. If there is a need to change a specific line, the line number is provided.
Here is what my screen displays…
A>b: B>ed test1.tex : *#a 1: b#t 1: another line. 2: 3: 4: 5: Here is a text file for testing on the Commodore CP/M machine. 1: *
The actual text was displayed following the ED commands ‘b#t’. Before explaining these commands, I think it is a good idea to go over what a Command Point (CP) is…
“ED treats a file as a long chain of characters grouped together in lines. ED displays and edits characters and lines in relation to an imaginary device called the character pointer (CP). During an edit session, you must mentally picture the CP’s location in the memory buffer and issue commands to move the CP and edit the file (User’s Guide, p. 6-8)”.
To successfully operate within the ED environment, it is crucial to understand what the CP is and how to manipulate it. By knowing exactly where the CP is in the text buffer, we can manipulate our input, changes, or deletions with exactness. Remember, as we are working with ED, while in Insert mode, we cannot use the DELete key as we would in a word processor. If there is a mistake, text will have to be manipulated via the editor to correct it (and it is a little more difficult than just using a word processor). One thing for sure, as soon as I get my hands on a decent text editor, I’ll be ‘shelving’ ED. Anyway, continuing on...
Going back to the screen listing above, I will add text to line 3. Here is how it is done…
This will be done using the ‘L’ (Line command) to instruct ED to move the CP to line 3. Enter in the following…
Now go into Insert mode by typing the letter i followed by <RETURN>. ED is now awaiting input for that line. Let’s type in the following…
new line. <RETURN>
ESCape out of Insert mode. Type in the following…
and ED will display the updated buffer text file.
Notice the additional text entered on line 3. I used the Line command to position the CP. Here we specified 2L and the CP was placed in position for line 3.
When I typed in ‘b#t’ ED executed two commands. The ‘b’ is actually the command that moves the CP to the beginning of the buffer, and the ‘#t’ is the Type command telling ED to type out the lines of text from the CP position to the end of the file (buffer). This is an important point to notice. Multiple commands can be entered at the ED prompt to perform more than one task at a time.
Another thing to watch out for – notice that there are now 6 lines. ED actually inserted another line between 2 and 3. This is where the new text was placed. What if I did not want to have a blank line 4? Simple, I will use the Kill (k) command. Enter in the following (two commands will be used)…
ED will show a 4: prompt, at which time enter in…
and now ED should have printed the following on the display…
1: another line. 2: 3: new line. 4: 5: Here is a text file for testing the Commodore CP/M machine. 1:*
So now what do I do if I had mistakenly typed this instead…
Here is what to do (well, one way to do it)…
Basically I deleted the line and inserted a new one in its place. But, there is another way of inserting text to a line. While analyzing the commands in the User’s Guide, I found another way of entering text. This method allows the use of the delete key, if I catch the mistake before committing it to the buffer. Here’s how it works…
At the ED prompt, enter the following…
iNew line. <RETURN>
Notice the ‘i' and the ‘N’ are not spaced? ‘I’ signals ED to insert the characters immediately following to the current CP in the buffer.
This brings up another question, how do I insert text or make a change to an existing line (as opposed to typing the whole line over)?
The User’s Guide (p. 6-10) provides us with what we need to know. Moving the CP requires us to input certain commands at the ED prompt (we must mentally picture where the CP is). By issuing the ‘B’ Command, we move the CP to the beginning of the buffer. If we wanted to go to the end, we would enter ‘-B’. To move to somewhere in-between, we use the ‘L’ (line) command. To go to line 12, the command would look like this - 11L <RETURN>. If we need to move the CP within a line, we use the ‘C’ command. Like the Line command, we need to put a number before the ‘C’. A positive number moves the CP to the right, a negative number moves the CP to the left.
:* b Move CP to beginning of buffer :* 2L Position CP at beginning of line 3 :* 10C Move CP 10 characters to the right :* iMore text.CTRL-Z Insert text at current CP. Use CONTROL-Z to finish :* b#t Move CP to beginning of buffer and List text to screen
Deleting characters is done this way...
:* 2L Move CP to beginning of line 3 :* 10C Move CP to the 10th character of line 3 :* 10D Delete 10 characters from CP to end of line :* b#t Move CP to beginning of buffer and List text to screen to be sure 'More text' was deleted
To me, I found ED to be a bit strange and awkward to work with. The User’s Guide specifies the purpose of ED is “used primarily to create and edit program source files (p.6-10). For now, what I have learned about this utility will do.
CP/M has a command available to set the date and time. If you plan to stamp your files with the date and time, this has to be set for it to work properly. Here is how it works...
A>date <RETURN> Thu 08/01/85 01:00:00:10 A>
Entering the command DATE, CP/M looks for the DATE.COM file and if it finds it, displays the current system date and time.
A>date set <RETURN> Enter today's date (MM/DD/YY): 02/26/12 ERROR: Illegal time/date specification. A>
I removed the disk from drive A and entered DATE. This is what CP/M showed...
CP/M Error On A; Disk I/O BDOS Function = 15 File = Date .COM A>
I placed the disk back into drive A, entered DATE SET, and CP/M then prompted for the date entry. This version of CP/M does not recognize the year 2012! So I entered the following:
A>date set <RETURN> Enter today's date (MM/DD/YY): 01/26/88
Then CP/M responded with:
Enter the time (HH:MM:SS):
So I entered in 13:54:00 and CP/M displayed:
Press any key to set time
After pressing a key, I was back to the system prompt...
I checked to see what the new current date and time was...
date <RETURN> Fri 02/26/88 13:54:04 A>
I may have crossed the path of an update somewhere, I’ll just watch as I search the internet and see if I find it (add to checklist).
The USER command offers the ability to manage multiple users on one machine (disk). Today this technology is obviously outdated as most organizations use sophisticated networking technologies. However, I could see a small business still being able to use this feature (here’s an idea...attempt to implement CP/M in a real work environment!).
The USER command can be coupled with the password feature to improve file access security. I entered the USER command at the prompt (I set drive B as default) and was asked for a user number. For fun, I entered 3 and the monitor displayed the following:
I took a directory and was given a NO FILE response. This was CP/M telling me that there were zero files identified as belonging to user #3.
The User’s Guide (p. 5-86) states, “The SET command initiates password protection and time stamping of files in the CP/M 3 system. It also sets file and drive attributes, such as the Read-Only, SYS, and user-definable attributes. It lets you label a disk and password protects the label. The SET command includes options that affect the disk directory, the drive, or a file or set of files...To enable time stamping of files, you must first run INITDIR to format the disk directory”.
I would like to initialize my data disk for date and time stamping - this I could use. So according to what I just read, I will need to run the INITDIR command to prepare the disk for this feature. So I inserted the data disk in drive B and entered the following:
A>initdir b: <RETURN>
CP/M then displayed the following on the monitor...
INITDIR WILL ACTIVATE TIME STAMPS FOR SPECIFIED DRIVE. Do you want to re-format the directory on drive: B (Y/N)?
I typed the letter ‘Y’ and pressed <RETURN>. INITDIR then processed the disk in drive B. To check to see what it has done, I took a directory of B...
dir b: [date] <RETURN>
This prompted CP/M to check the disk in drive B for files with a date stamp. Here is what was printed to the screen...
Scanning Directory... Sorting Directory... ERROR: Date and Time Stamping Inactive. A>
O.k., I forgot to use SET to activate the disk! So the next thing I did was scan the User’s Guide on how to do this. I found it on page 5-92. So I entered in the following:
set b: [create=on] <RETURN>
SET then displayed the following...
Label for drive B: Directory Passwds Stamp Stamp Stamp Label Reqd Create Access Update ---------- -------- -------- ------- ------- B:LABEL . off on off off A>
After this I entered in DIR [DATE] and the screen filled with information on each file (I had already copied several files from the system disk).
I have been able to do quite a bit for this article. Finding a way to copy CP/M files from a Windows or MAC based machine is proving to be more challenging than first thought. I have been able to obtain access to a few resources that may be able to shed light on this problem. As I go deeper into more sophisticated concepts and processes, I am predicting more time investment to learn.
ED is proving to be a somewhat do-able text editor, however when I figure out how to access a CP/M disk from one of my other computers, I will be able to try some software I have downloaded that is easier to use.
DATE, SET/INITDIR, and USER commands provide convenience with proper file organizing abilities. DATE has a limitation with accepting years past 1999. USER is a command that I do not see an immediate need for since I do not have multiple users on my Commodore 128D. Commands SET and INITDIR enable greater functionality from a disk by allowing such as date and time stamping of files and password protection.
For me, all information researched up to this date is as far as I have been. CP/M and the Z-80 is not bad (I’m still preferential to the 65xx though). I see many similarities to MS-DOS (Somewhere I saw information that Microsoft stole much of CP/M for DOS, not much of a surprise).
Well, there it is…the end of the Rediscovery series! I know, it was only four articles, but to continue wouldn’t exactly be “rediscovery” since I would need to write about things I haven’t learned before. But don’t expect this to be the end as there is a lot of stuff I plan to research. I still have that checklist with a lot of questions needing some answers and these would make for some great future articles! Here’s a great idea…my next CP/M series of articles are expected to be “Commodoreman’s Checklist – Exploring CP/M” or something similar.
‘Till next time, keep up the great tradition of supporting Commodore!
Hard drive (note: logical drive capacity cannot exceed 512 MB – CP/M Programmer’s Guide, sec. 1.5, p. 1.11). Find out more about this feature (can I still get one?)
Questions or comments can be emailed directly to Commodoreman - firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact the staff at Commodorefree.
|Title:||Tower Of Evil|
Download the program from here
I will try keep the introduction brief. Many years ago, Andros was banished from the court of King Salimos, destined never to return until he finds some treasure and rescue a beautiful (?) princess called Diana, who was kidnapped by a wicked Necromancer and his minions and taken to the Tower of Evil. Andros has one powerful aid given to him by his friend the court wizard. The power to hurl fireballs through his fingertips.
His journey starts in the tower. His objective is to collect all the treasures, find the keys to the gates which will enable him to teleport to the next level. A drink from a goblet will grant him invincibility or double his strength for a short while.
On the final level (there are 7 levels in total), after he's collected all the treasure, Andros must then deposit them all into the chest, and then finally rescue the imprisoned princess. There are many minions who will try and stop you. They vary in type from level to level. Some don't fire back and are easy to pick off. Others may fire horizontal, while others fire vertical. There are over 60 rooms to explore.
There are two versions I will be looking at. The original 1985 Commodore 16 release, and a later 1989 crack for the Plus/4. http://plus4world.powweb.com/software/Tower_Of_Evil_THS Both games look and play exactly the same, except that the Plus/4 version has music playing instead of sound effects. The original C16 version is incompatible with the Plus/4 but was later fixed for a budget release.
After loading, you're shown the title screen over the first room. You can select one or two players to begin. Each level is a maze of caverns you need to explore and pick up everything you find.
Movement of Andros who looks suspiciously like a walking egg is very fast and fluid, just the kind of stamina you need when you're suddenly surrounded by evil minions. Why he has his hands stuck permanently on the side of his hips though looks a bit suspect. As this is a multi-screen maze-type adventure you leave the present room through one of the sides of the screen.
The graphics are fairly bland but there's enough crisp colourful detail to appreciate them and know what's happening.
Holding down fire whilst moving the stick will make him fire whilst glued to his spot. Fortunately you can also fire diagonal.
The game itself is quite easy. You start off with 5 lives and that's plenty enough. It didn't take me too long to explore every room, find all the treasures, keys & potions, locate the treasure chest and rescue the princess who comes immediately running up to you once you've achieved all you need to. By the looks of her though the evil Necromancer had put an ugly spell on her too. The game then loops over and you get the opportunity to try again for hi-score.
The Commodore 16 version has very basic sound effects, I quite like the plodding sound when you move. It's blandly functional at best but this is an early simple maze-adventure game after all. The Plus/4 1989 cracked version on the other hand has no sound effects, but it does have a very nice jolly piece of music which loops throughout.
The game itself is simple and easy to beat sure, the graphics and sound effects are bland yet functional. The Plus/4 music is great however and the game itself is quite good fun for a while. There isn't much more to add except to give it a go yourselves.
|Presentation||5||Joystick or keyboard control. 1 or 2 players. Hi-score. Nice title screen. Good enough.|
|Graphics||4||Bland, but colourful enough and fluidly functional.|
|Sound (C16)||3||No music for C16, some simple basic effects.|
|Sound (Plus/4)||7||The Plus/4 version has no sound effects but it does have a great little ditty which plays throughout.|
|Playability||7||Very easy to get into. Very easy to beat too.|
|Lasting Appeal||7||But pretty hard to put down, it's worth coming back for hi-scores.|
|Overall||7||A good old-fashioned fun multi-screen maze adventure.|
Clocked (twice) by Sixteen Plus
Ikari Warriors is a 1986 arcade game by SNK. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNK_Playmore The player takes the role of commando-like warriors named Ralf and Clark, who must try to reach the village of Ikari and rescue Colonel Cook. Armed with a machine gun and grenades, enemy units who will attempt to kill the warriors include tanks and enemy soldiers. You will occasionally find tanks to use at your disposal and also tank refuel dumps to help the player to achieve victory. If you run out of fuel before your player exits the tank, kaBOOM!
The original arcade machine was unique in a sense that the joystick controls were not standard. Apart from the usual movements, you could also turn the stick to change the direction your character faces and fires, independent of the direction he's moving. Unfortunately it means that this feature is lost on all home conversions. Short history lesson over.
Whenever an arcade machine was converted across to our system, we were often let down. Will this break the cycle? Read on and find out.
The first thing you will notice is that as well as a single player game, they have managed to include the co-operative 2 player mode. In fact this is the only co-operative game I can think of discounting sport games. This is fantastic news.
Controls are via joysticks, and holding down fire will release one of an infinite supply of grenades. The arcade machine I believe has a limited supply and so you often had to find more, this makes things a bit easier.
One thing I have noticed is that you have no directional-fire whereas the enemies do, you can only fire upwards. This is more than a little unfair and makes the game a lot tougher than necessary. But all the enemies have set movement patterns to them so with a bit of planning you can try pick them all off one-by-one. Did I forget to mention that there is such a thing as friendly fire in co-operative mode? Be careful who you shoot.
There are also large building gun emplacements but for some reason they do not fire at you, if this is an oversight then it's a fortunate one as this game gets very tough later on. You can use your grenades to quickly see them off, just don't bump into them.
Shooting through the army of soldiers who also carry machine guns and grenades is pretty tough going. There are no other special power-ups in our version but you will occasionally find tanks you can climb into. This is one of the most important features of the game and I'm glad that they kept it in this conversion as it's your most powerful weapon at your disposal.
Machine-gun bullets can't harm you whilst you're in the tank, however enemy tanks and hand grenades can still blow you apart, and you can still kill your comrade. Your tank holds little fuel capacity so you have to find more if you want to keep going. When you're running low on fuel, there will be a few seconds beeping indicating you to either refuel quickly or to promptly shift your arse out of there before it explodes. They're not exactly made to U.S military specs.
There are rocks scattered around too, they can be helpful in tactical battles. For instance, enemy tanks cannot fire through them so sometimes a well placed grenade from behind a rock will see them off. There are no bridges or lakes to wade through in our version, but given so little memory to play with this isn't a major necessity and quite forgivable.
Later on you will occasionally come up to large impassable defence walls spanning the entire width of the play area, just throw a grenade at its door or blast it apart with your tank and you're quickly on your way again. Again don't bump into the doors or you'll lose one of your 3 lives.
That's the basic gameplay. But does it come up to scratch?
Fortunately Elite has learned from their mistake with Commando and actually gave us a game that is not only worth playing, but captures the feeling of the original really quite well.
The scrolling is nice and pacey and the game characters move around quick and smooth. No jerkiness and getting around is easy. Nice rapid firing too.
The warriors and enemies are as finely detailed to what you would expect on our system, although as our warriors are only able to face forward, it gives them a silly looking side-step. The defence walls look pretty good but the background and rocks seem a little wishy-washy, but nothing is too hard on the eyes.
There is no music and the spot FX are nice enough, and there's plenty of them.
The difficulty level is consistent. It starts off fairly easy and gradually becomes more difficult. But the lack of directional-fire whilst the enemies are able to does make the later stages extremely hard to beat.
All in all, apart from that and a few minor game omissions, this is still one damn fine playable game. This has got to be one of the best arcade conversions on the C16/+4, if not the best. Single mode is great fun but it's something special in co-operative mode. Give it a blast now. Just be careful not to shoot your friend in the back.
|Presentation||7||Joystick control. 2-player co-op mode. Hi-score. Tanks and grenades at your disposal.|
|Graphics||7||Nice explosions and character sprites although our heroes should join the ministry of silly walks once their service is over. Pacey movements and silky scrolling. Rocks and background are a bit gaudy-looking though.|
|Sound||5||No music but some nice decent spot-FX throughout.|
|Playability||8||Great fun. It starts off easy but gets gradually more difficult, very difficult.|
|Lasting Appeal||8||But you will keep finding yourself coming back for more.|
|Overall||8||The best arcade conversion for the Commodore 16 and Plus/4.|
Clocked (with infinite lives cheats) by Sixteen Plus
This game is based on the BBC's old "Late, Late Breakfast Show". Here is the Basic storyline according to the inlay.
Long ago, in a faraway land, where dinosaurs ruled the earth, men were men - women were women - a new breed of man was born.
Skin and bones, pallid, harmless, tearful, timid, basically inept - "Wimps" had arrived!
No more, would animals fear all men.
No more, would man be the hunter.
Wimps, their destiny to have sand kicked in their faces! Lead by the weakest, weediest, most pathetic of this new minor race. Mr. Puniverse.
Undernourished and barely alive, Mr. Puniverse has to solve 25 problem filled locations in his search for the vitamins that will keep him alive.
Sounds like my kind of game. It must be one of the most outlandishly humorous plots ever. This is the official sequel to Big Mac (The Mad Maintenence Man) http://www.retrogamer.net/show_image.php?imageID=4090&page=1 which also graced the C64, but Mr Puniverse is totally exclusive to our system, lucky us.
This is a multiscreen platform adventure. The simple aim of the game is to explore all 25 rooms and collect each vitamin pill from each. Once you've achieved collecting all of these then you've won the game.
You have the option of either joystick or keyboard control, and you can select one or two players which is turn-based. You start off with 8 yes 8 lives, for you will find that you'll need them. Mr Puniverse...ah let's just call him Eric, he looks like an Eric... Well, Eric may only move left and right but can also thankfully jump (otherwise there wouldn't be much of a game).
There is also a health meter bar. But depending on which room you are in, the meter will go either up or down and fast or slow. So whenever you are low on health, just find a room preferably with a fast health replenisher.
Each room poses their own set of problems such as crushers that go up and down ready to squash poor puny Eric. You also need to avoid cannon fire. Some of the cannons spit bullets randomly left or right and some just spit them out in one direction only, you need to time your jumps carefully. There are also some electrified platforms you cannot land on or electrical barriers you cannot touch without losing a life.
Many pills are placed in such a way that you need a little logical thinking to get to them. 4 of the rooms require you to flick switches to turn off any electrical barriers, and another room where a switch lies to remove a platform. This may not sound a lot, but there are many other rooms with their own different set of problems which require some great dexterity to avoid, like cannon fire and crushers at the same time. Luckily, Eric is able to quickly change direction mid-jump for crucial timing when needed.
There is also a room with dissolving floors, one which may see you in an inescapable pitfall trap where you will need to press D to lose a life if you're unfortunate enough to find yourself in it. There's a few pitfall traps around so be sure to judge carefully how deep any drops are. There are a few ladders too which can only be ascended with the jump button, you can't go down them. Just make sure that the final pill you collect is the one back on the first screen otherwise it's game over no matter how many lives left, that's the ultimate trap. Finally there's a couple of exits in other rooms which will take you to another room altogether that's not directly next to it, one of these is very handy for a bit of tactical play. I'll leave you to work that one out.
That's the gameplay. But how does the game look, sound and play?
Well, the graphics are virtually identical to Big Mac as it uses much of the same code, although Eric (Mr P) looks far less defined. Maybe it's just a deliberate representation of his total punyness. But he and the rest of the graphics does look a little less colourful compared to Big Mac though.
The sound is OK. The music on the pretty nice title screen is pretty good. The white noise death explosions are OK, although the sound Eric makes when he jumps and falls is quite piercingly high-pitched so make sure you turn the sound down a bit, or you could just turn it right up so to annoy the dog.
The controls are at least nice and fluid. As I said before you can turn direction in mid-jump which becomes crucial for timing. Eric doesn't walk very fast though but not extremely slow either. Collision detection is very good. Unfortunately there is no scoring, just the total time played and the amount of limited 25 vitamin pills you collect.
Sometimes though when you enter a room a certain way, you may find yourself heading straight for an unavoidable crusher or cannon bullet. This means that if you lose a life this way then you will be placed back in exactly the same situation on your next life. This is the Jet Set Willy syndrome, so you will need some game strategy to avoid ending your game swiftly.
It is a pretty tough game to crack but I wouldn't call it overly difficult. It's quite beatable once you work out the map and with plenty of practice which will take a while.
Overall it's a very fun fine game and which becomes quickly addictive. I easily put it somewhere in my top 5 of platformers on the C16. It's a recommended game for every retro platform fan. An exclusive classic on our system.
One niggling question though. If he's the most weakest, weediest, pathetic and inept of them all, then how can he possibly lead all the rest of the wimps?
|Presentation||6||Joystick or keyboard control. One or two turn-based players. No scoring though except for the total time played and pills you collect.|
|Graphics||7||Virtually identical to Big Mac although Mr P appears a little more ill-defined and the screens feel slightly less colourful.|
|Sound||7||Jolly title tune. Nice enough explosion SFX, but the jump/fall sounds are enough to make a dog howl.|
|Playability||8||Very straightforward and simple to play with nice responsive controls and good collision detection.|
|Lasting Appeal||8||The exploration is just half the fun. The strategy involved will have you burning away the hours for a long-time to come.|
|Overall||8||A puny man, but a BIG game and a BIGGER C16 classic.|
Clocked by Sixteen Plus
Based upon the classic 1982 arcade game Moon Patrol http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_Patrol by Irem, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irem it soon quickly arrived to our system a mere 3 years later near as soon after we tore off the festive wrapper off our good old grey breadbin on 1984 Christmas morning.
As the basic plot goes, you are a sector commander in charge of the moon base defences. On a routine patrol you have suddenly come under attack by alien forces supposedly operating from the huge star cruiser stationed just beyond the horizon (according to the inlay blurb). Your mission is to get from point A to point Z. Your All Terrain Moon Buggy (or A.T.M.B as the military prefers to call it) is fitted with high speed vertical laser missiles to blast the aliens back from whence they came. Also fitted is a tank cannon in front of the vehicle capable of blasting away rocks and enemy tanks which inevitably gets in your way.
There are also many craters and mines to avoid. Fortunately your A.T... ah sod it, your moon buggy is capable of jumping over these extremely hazardous obstacles (maybe they installed short burst thrusters underneath). It can also accelerate and decelerate which you may find you'll be doing quite often.
All the alphabetical checkpoints in the game which you see at the top of the screen altogether are divided into 5 zones. After every zone is completed, the landscape changes colour and you gain an extra life before continuing on. If a stray bullet hits you or if you crash intro a rock, a mine or a tank or fall down a crater you will inevitably lose one of your lives. Luckily you have 5 lives at the start of the game, that's plenty enough. If you manage to clear all 5 zones then you will receive a 2500 point bonus, then the game repeats itself back from the start for you to go plough through again and for your hi-score.
That's the game. On with the review. This is an arcade game which I have very fond memories of playing whilst on holiday as a 10yr old child. Whilst obviously the C16 will not match the arcade original in cosmetics, it matches up pretty well in the gameplay.
Some of the background graphics, particularly the rocky surface many may recognise from Skramble also by Anirog. I'm guessing that some of the same code was used as Jef Gamond programmed both games. The mountainous scenery in the background uses some parallax scrolling with twinkly stars above them which looks quite impressive for its time. The aliens look half decent too and with the cool way they materialise themselves. The explosions are also particularly nice. The rocks and mines though are just basic rocks and mines, they look OK if nothing special. Everything looks nice and colourful. But the moon buggy itself though looks quite bland where it's only made up of one dull grey colour, yuk. But at least that the low gravitational jumping is effective. The horizontal scrolling is pretty smooth too.
The sounds are really just your usual standard basic affair. Nice enough explosion FX and stuff, but the moon buggy firing sounds are a tad grating and tinny which you may find turning the volume down a bit for.
Playing the game itself is a doddle, but it's also a fair decent challenge. The controls are good and extremely responsive whenever you need to speed up or slow down to avoid the enemy fire. The collision detection is pretty much accurate too. The buggy's vertical bullets are extremely rapid, but for horizontal fire there's only one bullet at a time on screen here I'm afraid which also may take a couple of clicks to release the next one after.
It may not take anyone too long to complete this game though, but it still pretty much remains challenging, and as it wraps itself back around to the start after completion, this makes for a perfect game for hi-scores.
There are few arcade ports on our system, and much of them aren't really very good apart from a few exceptions. Fortunately this is one of those few exceptions, and I would easily tuck it in somewhere in the top 5 of my arcade conversion list. So if you're a fan of the arcade, or even just a general fan of vintage shmups then give this one a play now.
|Presentation||6||Joystick or keyboard control. Hi-score. Seems to have all the main elements of the arcade.|
|Graphics||6||Some decent parallax scrolling. Nice use of colour and some decent graphics. The buggy itself looks a bit wiffy though.|
|Sound||4||Some simple spot effects which might have you turning down the sound a bit.|
|Playability||7||Simply straight-forward to instantly pick up and play, and fun from the word go.|
|Lasting Appeal||7||This is one of those classic games that you'll always have time for many years later.|
|Overall||7||A faithful and extremely playable representation of an arcade classic.|
Clocked by Sixteen Plus
|Title:||Saboteur! - Plus4|
The classic game which was immensely popular on the bigger systems eventually arrives on the Plus4. The blurb reads... You are a saboteur, highly trained in martial arts. You are employed to infiltrate a central security building which is disguised as a warehouse. You must steal a disk that contains the names of all the rebel leaders before its information is sent to the outlying security stations. You are working against the clock, both in getting to the disk, and in making your escape.
What the blurb fails to mention is that you also need to plant a bomb in the warehouse, although this is detailed more in the instruction booklet.
I've already reviewed the C16 version and it's quite accepted that it's not that great. Does the Plus4 version fare any better?
So your main objective is to first locate and pick up the bomb, then locate the disk and swap the disk for the bomb within the given time limit.
Once you've swapped the disk for the bomb, a new timer countdown begins where you have to quickly make your escape via the helicopter before the bomb explodes.
In the meanwhile, you need to avoid the enemy cameras which fire upon you. Avoid or kill the dogs and security guards. You can slowly sneak up on the guards but if you get too close too quickly then they'll hear you.
The graphics unlike the C16 version I am happy to say are top notch, nicely detailed and large as it's meant to be, much like the C64 version. The sound effects are basic yet functional. At least it has sound unlike on the C16. The title screen music is OK if nothing special. The title screen itself is quite nice and there is a high-score table.
The animation and movement of the saboteur himself is great and the controls are fluid and responsive. You have all the weapons as in other higher platform versions at your disposal, well basically the whole game is here, nothing has been left out including the trains and helicopter which are missed on the C16 version.
Playability wise, it's great fun and there is a lot of replay value to be had for the higher skill levels, nine in all where the bomb will be placed in a more difficult location and specific terminals to open specific doors you will need to find to progress further.
Overall, this is a fantastic conversion for plussy owners or C16'ers with a 64K memory upgrade, and given that you also have the inferior yet slightly playable C16 version for free then it's very good value. This game is undoubtedly one of the biggest Plus4 classics and comes highly recommended.
|Presentation||8||Joystick or keyboard control, 9 skill levels. Hi-Score table. Excellent presentation throughout.|
|Graphics||8||Large, smooth and finely detailed.|
|Sound||5||OK title tune, basic sound effects.|
|Playability||8||Compulsive from the start, a huge map to explore and very engrossing.|
|Lasting Appeal||8||Once you beat the easy level, there's plenty to come back for in the later levels for years to come.|
|Overall||8||It's a Plus4 classic which C16'ers can only envy over.|
Clocked by Sixteen Plus on Level 1
|Title:||Saboteur! - C16|
The classic game which was immensely popular on the bigger systems eventually arrives on the C16. The blurb reads...
You are a saboteur, highly trained in martial arts. You are employed to infiltrate a central security building which is disguised as a warehouse. You must steal a disk that contains the names of all the rebel leaders before its information is sent to the outlying security stations. You are working against the clock, both in getting to the disk, and in making your escape.
What the blurb fails to mention is that you also need to plant a bomb in the warehouse, although this is detailed more in the instruction booklet.
There is a separate Plus4 only version which I will be reviewing next, but first we shall review the C16 version which also works on the Plus4.
So your main objective is to first locate and pick up the bomb, then locate the disk and swap the disk for the bomb within the given time limit.
Once you've swapped the disk for the bomb, a new timer countdown begins where you have to quickly make your escape by the roof before the bomb explodes. The C16 version does not include the helicopter at the end due to memory limits.
More on the memory limits. The programmers state "Saboteur is a martial arts arcade adventure with 112 different screens, which was originally designed to run on computers with a least 48k of RAM. So to fit it in the C16's much smaller memory we have had to make a number of cuts (for example, you cannot kill the guard dogs, or use a joystick). This version occupies almost every single byte available on the C16 - we are sorry for the cuts, but we believe you will still find it very enjoyable to play".
This is fair enough. I'm sure even the best programmers would struggle to fit the full original game within 16K of memory.
However what they fail to tell you is that the playing area and game characters are much smaller. The graphics are extremely crude and there is no sound whatsoever. There are also no cameras which try to shoot you, and the two main noticeable factors are that there are no trains and no helicopter at the end.
The toughness of the game I feel is a little easier compared to other versions, you don't take damage quite as quickly although it does take a little longer for the energy to replenish itself I feel. At least though that the map is more or less the same as other versions. There are the usual nine skill levels where the bomb is placed in a more difficult to reach location. Also, at least that they give you the actual C16 screenshots on the back of the inlay cover which is quite honest for a software house given the state of this conversion.
Your saboteur moves quite well considering, and the game is basically the same as other versions that it does feel a little that you are playing Saboteur, but the limitations of the C16 really seems to let it down but this isn't the fault of Durell.
I applaud them for their effort. They took on a seemingly impossible job and at least made something recognisable including most elements of the game, but it is quite laughable all the same when you compare it to other versions on how it's meant to look.
At the end of the day, there are just some games that just don't really work well enough on an unexpanded C16, but there is some fun factor to be had if only for the lols. It's really not that good a game but I've seen far worse conversions on the humble C16, and if you take the limitations into consideration it actually doesn't play too badly which actually takes some doing.
|Presentation||3||Only keyboard control, a very cut down version with a tiny playing area. 9 skill levels.|
|Graphics||3||Very minimalistic and bland.|
|Sound||0||The silence is deafening.|
|Playability||4||It is playable. The graphics and lack of sound are a little deceptive but they managed to cram in most of the basic gameplay.|
|Lasting Appeal||3.5||But there's limited enjoyment and little lasting replay value, but if you don't make comparisons then you just might have another go.|
|Overall||3.5||Not totally terrible and kudos for effort given the memory limitations of the C16. Check the Plus4 version out though if you can.|
Clocked by Sixteen Plus on Level 1
Having never played the original version of the game I am as it were coming to the game in the shape of a virgin player and not knowing what to expect!
You can download the game as the news section in Commodore Free said from here
And a YouTube video here
The download has a text file and a single PRG file,
Use a joystick in port #2.
Pressing any direction or the fire button moves the player to the right. Avoid the spikes coming towards you. The interesting thing about the game is the scoring system. Each time you pass a spike your combo-bar will fill up, if you keep passing spikes without letting the combo-bar run out you will get more points for each spike. Also, if you keep the button pressed while passing multiple spikes, a multiplier builds up (to max 4 times the points) which makes an aggressive playing style really rewarding, but also dangerous.
Loading and running the game sees us on what could loosely be called the main screen , we see the play area and the title and the name of the games creator and the name of the coder who converted the game to the Commodore 64.
Again looks don’t mean that much it’s how the game plays, but to be fair what else do you really need, maybe a option to press a key for instructions?
With Joystick clasped in one hand and a cup of hot beverage in the other I press cup of tea, Ahh ok let’s swap them over and press the fire button, (wiping the tea of the other thumb with a towel and moving quickly on as no one actually saw the mistake) at this point I haven’t really read the instructions and so am Totally in the dark as what to do. (sounds like an ordinary day at work for me then)
It’s a game that is easy to pick up; and is as easy to play; as it is frustrating to play! there is nothing wrong with the game it’s all very simple, this simplicity hides the frustration of when you die, because the game and idea are so simple it makes the player thing arghhh why did I do that!
Moving the joystick to the right moves our guy in this case a small ball to the right if you stop pressing the ball stops moving to the right (the ball bounces at a constant speed whatever you do) you can also move by just pressing the fire button. The idea is to simply avoid the spikes littered all over the screen in various heights, if you manage to miss one and another you get combination points, these soon stack up, or in the case of this player they didn’t. Some spikes you could jump over some you must duck under dependent on the screen position of said spiky items.
The music is ok! Erm moving on then
It’s quite a nice little game, bit repetitive but good for a few minutes to waste a little time while waiting for something to load on another machine. This sort of this is perfect for mobile devices, it works on the Commodore but it’s something to pick up and put down quickly rather than any engrossed gameplay.
It is however I feel crying out for some sort of additions, like more animations and parallax scrolling random bonus points etc hey that my idea only!
But it works as is for a simple yet addictive game
you may play it a couple of times; then leave it but you will go back
Welcome to the first installment of Mini Game Reviews Corner. The games aren't Mini, but the Reviews are. Sometimes it isn't obligatory to go into too much detail about Commodore 64 games, because most C64 game titles are full of 8-bit dynamics of pure simplicity, and pure brilliance. It's what makes the Commodore 64 unique, and still so popular.
I will choose games that are more common and well known to some veteran users, than others. It is a look at the best the Commodore 64 has to offer, from different time periods, to assist people in making a wise selection and to find that hidden gem they may not have played before (in fact, particularly suitable for beginners and hobbyists). Read On...
UWOL is a platform game, where you move around static screen levels, collecting all the coins, then making it to the exit. There are obstacles, enemies, that may block your path. It takes careful navigation around the platforms to get in the right positions and achieve success. Upon level completion you are shown a pyramid of rooms/levels you can enter. There are many differently laid out levels, all of which provide a different type of challenge. Platform formula = different arrangements, same design.
The graphics are well defined and look good. Your main character has a slightly odd sense of inertia, in that he floats around more than he moves around. The playing area is slightly small. Overall, the presentation is high quality. The gameplay is not exceptional, but is better and more interesting than many other games of this type. Games of this particular genre and style are more common on the Spectrum ZX. This game will keep you pleased for a while.
|Detail||80%||well presented and quality graphics detail|
|Playability||79%||movement is a bit floaty|
|Overall||81%||a cute game that will appeal to many|
Okay so everybody knows Asteroids, right? Every conversion I have played, even the original, is somewhat disappointing to me. It is a classic game, and finally a proper implementation of the concept can be found on the Commodore 64. The vector effects are virtual perfection, and as you start your first game, you find that it is extremely playable. It is a masterful and a gorgeous piece of code. The movement is smooth, the difficulty level is appropriate, and you will find it enjoyable to play.
I think the last sentence has summed it up perfectly. Asteroids has never looked so good, it has never played so good, and the attention to detail (from the players view) is everything that you would need and expect to make a great game. I love all the classic arcade games like Pacman, Centipede, Galaga, Galaxian, Dig Dug etc. Now I have found the ultimate Asteroids-style game, and so have you - If you haven't played it, then you should.
|Detail||94%||for this type of game, well adapted|
|Playability||94%||you will be hooked|
|Overall||92%||a superb rendition of a classic|
Here is a blast from the past. A perfect vertically scrolling shoot em up, done in true style. This is an example of what a shoot-em-up construction kit game could only dream of being like. The graphics are detailed and add atmosphere to the whole game. The title picture is great, and as you play the game you will be slowly immersed into the gameplay. The backdrops are well detailed, like all the graphics - it is creating an other-worldly impression, and it does it well.
Movement of the space ships is smooth as you make your way through the alien landscape. In essence, it is a much more professional and modern looking version of games of this similar genre, such as Lightforce and Warhawk. Some people may find it a bit monotonous and sparse, but it stands out as a shining light amongst other games that I have played in this field. A perfect game for a rainy afternoon, try it and see.
|Detail||84%||quality, everything you would expect|
|Playability||85%||ready to rumble|
|Overall||90%||a seminal c64 title|
Here is an early title, a Centipede game, done by Anthony Crowther, master of ceremonies and possibly one of the most talented C64 game makers, in my opinion. His other obvious game is Bombuzal, which I consider probably the best puzzle game ever made. As far as this game goes, it is a great Centipede clone, and possibly the best Centipede game on the Commodore 64. Certainly the best one I know about. The graphics have such a vibrant character, and add a uniqueness to a well crafted title.
The dynamics of the game are completely fluid, everything plays perfectly - and surely this title was a sign of the times to come, for the Crowther talent certainly had its flashes of brilliance. The playfield is large, and the whole game becomes incredibly addictive quite quickly. If you love Centipede, you will love this. It is cute, different, unique, and totally Crowther - totally awesome.
|Detail||90%||crowther-esque, need I say more|
|Overall||88%||a faithful rendition of centipede|
That's it this time around. I would like to thank the makers of Jarte, the perfect small word processor. Ideal for this type of writing. As a brief end note, to all the critics of Commodore Free - show some respect to Nigel and the others who put this magazine out on a regular basis. See you next time!
Q. Hi can you introduce yourself to our readers
My name is Jamie Alvis, I am 28 and have a Degree in Cultural and Media Studies and just recently achieved a PGCE. I am a massive fan of anything 8bit, specifically Commodore 64. I am also a big fan of synthpop music - some great new stuff out there as well as the classics.
Q. What made you involved with Commodore as a brand
It started Christmas 1990. I was bought a Commodore 64c (Playful Intelligence pack). Christmas morning was nothing but hell. We had several games on cassette and had the C2N datasette but had no idea how to load up the games, although we did have the four game cartridge and loaded up Flimbo's Quest which was the first ever game I played on the C64 and love it the same today. A neighbour finally came to the rescue after Christmas dinner and loaded up Rastan - even he struggled to understand how to load up games. It was amazing, the excitement was just awesome - waiting for a game to load with a funky background tune as well as stripy lines waving around! Some of my first games were: Batman Caped Crusader, Batman the Movie, Wonderboy, Rampage, Green Beret, Rambo 3, Robocop, Bubble Bobble.
Anyways. The computer was sold around 1993 to fund for a Master System or NES or something similar - I regretted it to this day. I got back into Commodore 64 a few years back and started collecting. I realised there was still a cause for it/a scene and am still amazed that software is still being produced.
Q. You plan to start a very ambitious plan can you give a brief outline of what you are trying to do
Indeed a very ambitious plan!
Originally I was intending to just design the artwork for titles from yesteryear which never had them the first time around. There are some amazing titles out there that I have recently discovered - Bobix to be one of them. I was given the coders email address (Mark Van) and told him about my ideas, he gave me full permission to rerelease the game complete with artwork, however as Mark stated he sold the rights of the game back in 1994. Since then I have been told that the people who bought it back in 1994 sold it to someone else; then that person sold it to someone else...a real nightmare to find out who owns it here in 2012! So after much thought I decided not to have a website which would be based around this idea. I then thought about other ways where I could contribute to the Commodore 64 community. I have always dreamed of owning a software house and thought it would never be possible. I am one of those people who will have a go at anything. And so Flimsoft was created! I aim to deal with new game programmers and work with them to release their games. Flimsoft is also going to be a fairly cheap software website for these new releases. Programmers submitting games will be guaranteed to be working with a 100% professional service. All games will be released with artwork etc.
Q. So you are setting up a software house, what machines will you cater for
At this moment in time I would like to remain exclusive to Commodore 64. Although you never know what the future holds.
Q. You mentioned you were taking to a Commodore programmer to bug test etc how will this process be handled
Yes! The legendary Jason Kelk! I am absolutely delighted to have him on board, he is a wicked character and I am glad to know him. The process is simple; When games are submitted I pass the details to Jason who will then clean up any bugs and generally tidy up loose-ends. He will also be incorporating the software house name 'Flimsoft' into the games which is going to make them look smart and professional.
Q. Obviously this is a labour of love; and I presume breaking even is the goal! But if you do get into profit what will you spend the money on
It is predominately a labour of love much like anyone else in the scene. I am not looking to profit and never thought about profiting, as long as I can make some money on the cost of printing and shipping and the cost of disks - I am very happy! If I were to make mega-money, I would expand on the website and 'behind the scenes', maybe even try and buy the rights to some big games out there! Most probably though, it will go towards website maintenance.
Q. I presume the programmers will be paid for the work how will this work for example a percentage of each sale?
This is an area that I haven't thought through at this moment in time. Programmers are guaranteed to have a very good deal though. Just send me an email at email@example.com for more details.
Q. What sort of price range will the games be offered at
I am aiming to sell new releases at a fairly reasonable price. Having said that - printing, disks, and cases all cost money. I would like to say cassettes would be something like 3.99 - 4.99 and disks around the 9.99 - 11.99 mark. I would imagine that there would be an option for choosing to have the whole package such as artwork etc.. that way would save the customer some money. I also need to take into account of what it will cost Flimsoft to produce - materials all of this is reflected in the final prices.
Q. If one of our readers has written a game how does he approach you for publishing, also what games will you take, for example would you accept games written in Basic or SEUCK and how will you decide on the quality?
If a reader has written a game please send the details to: firstname.lastname@example.org I am open to any type of game - the worst we can do is say no! BASIC and SEUCK games will be considered. It really depends on how well the game plays. Decisions on quality will be different each time depending on the genre. Like I said - just send the details and a demo of your game and we'll take it from there.
Q. if a reader has a half finished game would this be of interest, and will you be putting together a team to finish or create new software titles
If a reader approaches me with a promising-looking game that is half finished; I will talk to my contacts about finishing it off. I would like to assemble a team at some point to create new releases. Again - if you are personally interested in doing this for Flimsoft - just give me an email.
Q. How do you feel you fit in with other Commodore publishers, are you competing or complementing the software available
I am entering the world of Commodore publishing with nothing but admiration for other publishers. I will not be competing against others. I am a big, big fan of Psytronik and own many of their games. Also RGCD are excellent, and I have also bought games from Protovision which are equally good (please bring your store back online!!). I would like to think that Psytronik inspired me most of all. I Love it! I think they started something very good a few years back and I have nothing but pure respect for them all. So I would like to say a big thanks to Psytronik for inspiring me.
Q. Some Commodore publishers offer the game at full price then after a year say , offer the game to download free is this something you may consider?
That will be the plan. If customers are anything like myself - I will buy the game anyways to add to the collection regardless of if they are free to download. Just love buying new releases to add to my collection.
Q. If A programmer offers the full package game and artwork would this be more advantageous
Good question. I would say that would be a bonus!
Q. How will the art work be created?
Artwork will be created by myself and my partner. It is initially sketched by hand, scanned in and then finally Photoshopped to perfection. I have been working on artwork for Bobix the past week or so - it looks fantastic as well; but not sure if this should be released on the website due to copyright which is a long story...I guess I will release it at some point somewhere as fan art perhaps?
Q. Does the programmer still own the rights to the game or will they be transferred to yourselves? Also would you require the source code
Yes, the programmer will still own the full rights of the game. Flimsoft will sell the game as well as market it.
Q. If in bug testing if for example a major problem is found; will the tester then work with the programmer to rectify the problem ?
So far, Jason has been a diamond towards this project and been nothing but encouraging towards everything that I am doing. I shouldn't have thought it would be a problem, I guess I would have to discuss this with him.
Q. How would a reader who wanted to become involved in the project and what staff would be needed
At this moment in time. I am looking for someone to put the website online for me.
As long as I can access the website myself and add new content - that would be awesome. I have created the website in Photoshop and can hand over the jpegs and so forth. So someone who is good at doing such a thing is more than welcome to contact me.
Q. Will staff members be paid a small fee?
It depends on their level of contribution; and to be agreed between myself and that member of staff.
Q. Will the inlay covers all be printed in house or will this be subcontracted out
Inlays will be printed in high quality via a local printing firm who are very good at what they do.
Q. You said that you may plan to sell second hand titles as well
Yes, in addition to the new releases aspect. Flimsoft will also sell a range of pre-owned titles. It also gives the customer more variety when they visit the website and make it that much more dynamic.
Q. I presume you will be testing all the second hand titles to ensure they load ok
Absolutely. There are people out there who don't! - I have had the experience and it is not nice. It is a waste
of my time and customers time, besides who really wants bad publicity?
Q. One of the problems I see is getting the company "out there" meaning spreading the word how will this be done initially
I announced on Lemon 64 around a week ago that a new software house was in the works and so this has been advertised I will also be advertising on various other forums eventually.
Q. Do you have any other comments
I would like to express my thanks to those on Lemon 64 for being optimistic towards this project. I would also like to say a personal thanks to Jason who has done nothing but offer me expert advice and working with me on this adventure. I would also like to say thanks to you (Nigel) for giving me this great opportunity to showcase my project in your magazine/ezine. Keep up the good work!