01/07/2012: IIGS News Summary

What's been going on in the Apple IIGS world?

Well, here on the site, if you follow the forums, you'll see a request was made by cbee as to locating two of John Carmack's earliest games, released for the Apple II. John Carmack is of course famous for programming Commander Keen, Wolf3D, Doom, the Quake games and most recently, Rage. The games in question are Shadowforge and Wraith: The Devil's Demise and they are now included in the beta section of 8-bit Apple II games on 3.5 disk.

Speaking of John Carmack's early efforts on the Apple II, another source of his work can also be found in Softdisk and Softdisk GS collections, original monthly on-disk publications, where the Dark Dimensions and Catacombs series of games similar to Shadowforge and Wraith made their debut, are now no longer available. Apparently another party has since bought the rights to the entire back catalogue to Softdisk Publishing, and there's been no word on re-releasing the Softdisk collections on CD-ROM as Syndicomm had done up to a year ago before their license expired.

In news away from this site (and there's been plenty of it) Ewen Wannop has created a Sweet 16 starter kit in the form of a customised 32meg 2image for the OS X emulator. It's a self booting image that loads up System 6.0.1, Marinetti, the TCP stack that allows a IIGS to connect to the internet (and with a specific link-layer, enabling you to do this all from Sweet 16). Also on the 2image are Ewen's unique GS/OS apps for handling email (SAM2), Usenet (SNAP) and FTP (SAFE2). The last is particularly useful, as not only can you access FTP sites like Asimov and the GNO Archive, but you can also access the boot volume of you Mac...handy, because now you can easily transfer files to AND from your virtual IIGS to OS X. This is a most welcome solution, as since OS X Lion, Apple removed Rosetta and with it, the ability to use the ageing ADFS program for transferring files to and from 2image archives. I plan on upgrading to Mountain Lion from Snow Leopard soon and I can relax in the comfort that this gives me in that I'll still be able to add files to 2images.

Which is a great segue to introduce Brutal Deluxe's CADIUS. The first release of an effort by Brutal Deluxe to create great cross platform development tools for IIGS software (and hinted at by Olivier Zardini in the comments section of a blog article I wrote about the state of software development for the IIGS) this software enables a command line interface for handling disk images. But more than that, it allows control over text file formats (cleaning the high-bit) as well as the precious handling of resource forked files, which both the IIGS and Mac use, but become corrupted on any Windows volumes. Stay tuned for more.

Dr Ken Franklin got in touch with me earlier this year and let me know that Plunder, which is one of my all time favourite IIGS games, is set to become a board game! Look forward to that! I think it would also make a great iOS game, or even a Facebook game, given its turn based nature.

David Finnigan has released a book called ‘The New Apple II User's Guide' - it covers the advances made to the II series since its heyday, as well as getting anyone up to speed on how to use any Apple II. And Steve Weyrich is now in the process of creating a book based on the many years of research and revision of his Apple II history. I'm envious that others are getting on top of their Apple II publishing projects!

In defence of the tardiness of my own book, there are two primary factors:

1) Life getting in the way. Those I've been in touch with the most over the last two years will know I quit my long term job in Melbourne, Australia, saw a LOT of Europe in 2010, have worked in many contract jobs in London for the last 18 months, and in between bouts of unemployment, continued to add content to this site and work quietly on the book in the meantime. I'm about to embark of the next leg of my adventure with my girlfriend Bronwen - to take in the parts of Europe we didn't have enough time to see 2 years ago and actually revisit a couple of spots we adored, including Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia and via the trans-Siberian railway, China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

2) My own surprise at learning things about the IIGS I never previously knew. As I'm continually delighted by researching every piece of software, publication and hardware I sift, discovering more than I ever knew, I hope I can re-create the same wonder in anyone who's interested in the IIGS and a visual history dedicated to it.

And the folks running KansasFest are once again preparing for another onslaught of geek heaven. If you love the Apple II and can make it to Kansas City July 17 to 22, do it!

Oh yeah, it was the 35th Anniversary of the Apple II in June, and apparently when the two Steves decided to create Apple Computer Inc, as well as the iPhone's 5th anniversary. Time flies...just hope we're still having fun!