21/06/2015: A new IIGS Demo Scene Emerging + NinjaTracker Released
Could the IIGS demo scene start up again in a place where we've never seen anything done for the IIGS before? A new Brazilian production called 'Look Behind You' by Shadow Memory has been released and it's a great first demo including some neat effects not seen before. You can find the demo on the Odds and Ends volume in the 'Demos' folder under 'Look.2015'. Not heard of the Odds and Ends volume? That's because I forgot to mention it when I originally included it on What is the Apple IIGS?, but you'll find every hard drive installable demo I've found over the years on this volume...and then some!
Of course, the 8-bit Apple II demo scene has been ignited by French Touch, whose demos are impressive even when run on the IIGS. Be sure to check them out too. But Shadow Memory is hoping to find collaborators to assist with graphics/illustration and music sequencing for future productions. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to contribute to new awesome and cool IIGS demos.
By the way - the music player comes courtesy of NinjaForce, called NinjaTracker. It's the same music engine used in their Mega Demo and Kaboom! (hope you all got the version 1.0.1 update) productions. What's the difference between this, SoundSmith and Amiga MOD format? Well, part of the NinjaTracker package is MOD Convert II, which will precisely convert Amiga MODs to NinjaTracker format with all effects intact. The compromise is that you can only have up to 64k of instrument data, as much that can fit into the Ensoniq's DOC RAM, allowing muisc playback with relatively little hit on the CPU. This is great for demos and games, as the 4 channels used for music allows other channels for sound effects.
Antoine Vignau and Olivier Zardini of Brutal Delixe have made it even easier for developers to include NinjaTracker into their programs by creating a new system Tool, Tool 221, which can be easily tapped into to allow NinjaTracker music playback support.
Enjoy these new products and I hope we'll be seeing a lot more IIGS software development in light of these recent products! Apple II Forever!
12/04/2015: Kaboom! Released and OzKFest Looms!
Although I had my doubts that it would never happen, I still kept hope that Kaboom!, Ninjaforce's longtime gaming project for the IIGS, would officially see the light of day. That day is today...or strictly speaking, yesterday!
If you're not already familiar with it, Kaboom! is a faithful, although unique, reproduction of the classic console game Bomberman. Between Jesse Blue for coding, Clue for the graphics and Dreamer for the sound and music, this is IIGS gaming that really stretches the limits of the machine to give you a truly 16-bit console gaming experience. System requirements are relatively demanding - you'll need a IIGS with at least 2 meg of RAM, high capacity storage (either hard drive or compact flash card solution - just having a 3.5" disk drive won't cut it) and highly advised, an accelerator (either a Transwarp GS or ZipGS).
The single player Blockbuster mode is oldschool unforgiving and fiendishly hard. This is great however, because the game poses a real challenge. The opening Beginning levels make sure you understand and appreciate the underlying strategies of the game that only by passing yourself could you ever hope to conquer the Mastermind levels.
The multiplayer option is a hell of a lot of fun. Even my wife's been a little addicted playing against me. The computer AI is incredibly good and difficult to beat. It's so good in fact, it sometimes takes the IIGS down with a crash. Hopefully those AI bugs can be worked around, but if you've got at least 2 human players, then you don't need any AI players at all thanks to loads of configuration options as to how you can setup multiplayer games.
All I can say is enjoy this long awaited title, and thank the hard work of Ninjaforce, who've developed this title on and off over the last 20 years. It's releases like this that make our Apple II retro computing hobby so enjoyable! And I would have paid for the experience, yet NinjaForce is giving it away for free!
You can download a disk image for use with emulators, or to get it to a storage device your IIGS can use (the CFFA3000 makes this easy, as you can simply copy the disk image to your compact flash or USB based storage and mount the disk image from there). Or, you can play the game right inside your browser if you have the FTA's ActiveGS plug-in installed in your preferred browser.
Hope you all have a blast (pun intended) !
In other news, OzKFest, the Australian equivalent to KansasFest, will begin in just under a week's time in Melbourne. Hope to see you all there...and play some competitive Kaboom! while we're at it! :-)
08/02/2015: Lots of Contributors Contributing Manual and Box Scans as well as Missing Software!
This update has involved more volunteers for new content than any other update! Thanks to everyone involved to help keep plugging the gaps in the archive!
Antoine Vignau has provided documentation scans for Solitaire Royale, Pick 'n Pile and MathTalk Fractions (along with the box scan as well).
Herbert Fung has provided manual scans for Ancient Glory, Perfect Image (which can double for a box scan) and the 32k cache upgrade for the TranswarpGS. He's also managed to find some really cool rarities - official clue books for Dragon Wars and The Immortal. I never knew there was a clue book for The Immortal!
Robert Spitz let me know that I'm missing a specific CDEV on the System Add-ons volume - Transwarp GS Reporter will allow you change speeds and other settings from the graphical control panel. This now provides another option apart from the TWGS ‘Speed' CDEV for playing around with your TranswarpGS graphically. Check out the CDEVs folder for this new inclusion on the System Add-ons volume.
Alexander Crouzen dug up his useful 1991 memory comparison utility, DoubleDump v2.0, on the Apple II Enthusiasts Facebook group. I've added it to the Audio and Utilities 32meg volume - look in the ‘SW.Utilities' folder for it (that's where I include all collected shareware utils).
Karl Horster has submitted the full Programmers Online Companion for the IIGS. This has until now been in the Publications > Books section, because I thought it was a book. More important than its printed pages is the Classic Desk Accessory contained within - it provides access to Toolbox calls that you can search, as well as copy to the clipboard for pasting into your code. Pretty nifty if you're still using the IIGS as your primary coding platform. Keep in mind that Brutal Deluxe is inching ever closer to a full development environment outside of the IIGS.
Andrew Roughan has submitted the very comprehensive Teacher's Guide to 8/16 Paint, written by Roberta Swartz and Michael Callery, who were behind the regular ‘Speaking of Graphics' column in A+ magazine, which I simply loved. I wonder if they still have all the graphics that were submitted to appear in their monthly galleries? This addition has also made me realise we don't have a scan of the actual 8/16 Paint manual! And I own a boxed copy! Shame on me! I'll try and correct that soon.
Last but certainly not least, Matt Reichert has been able to submit box scans for Arthur: Quest for Excalibur, Centauri Alliance, Journey, Knights of Legend and Zork Zero from his personal collection. Nice one!
10/01/2015: Merlin 32 Released for Easy Cross Platform Development! Tarot Added to the Archive!
Antoine Vignau, the most upstanding citizen of the Apple IIGS community, has been able to provide a disk image, box scan and complete manual (in French) for the rare card game Tarot. There's no known English version of this game, which is a shame because the game looks interesting to play and has nicely rendered card artwork, but if anyone wants to translate with a sector editor, be sure to send on an updated disk image ;-)
Antoine's also recently got hold of the equally rare IIGS version of the strategy game Gold of the Americas, so we've now got an official vesion of the box art and the manual as well.
Saving the best until last, Antoine and Olivier have officially released Merlin 32, a cross assembler for use currently on Windows and others are working on getting it up and running on Mac OS X and Linux. This will enable you to write, test and run code super fast and more conveniently on modern platforms for your IIGS and Apple II development projects as part of Brutal Deluxe's Cross Development Tools.
04/01/2015: Happy New Year! RAM Pro Scan Acquired
Happy New Year everybody!
Following another discussion on the Facebook Apple II Enthusiasts group, Steve Eggers shared his joy and woe of obtaining a IIGS, but the monitor dying on him. Showing everyone what was part of his system Andrew Roughan spotted that the RAM card, a RAM Pro IIGS, hadn't been archived on this site. So I asked Steve if he could scan or photograph it, and he's kindly been able to add it to the archive. Looks like a clone, but I'm not sure which one it's based on.
UPDATE: Again, thanks to the lively discussion that goes on at the Facebook Apple II Enthusiasts group, Robert Spitz reminded me of a RAM card he submitted to me a few years ago and not having been able to identify it, I kept it on the backburner and forgot about it. I've now included this Sequential Systems 4meg RAM card clone as part of the archive - if anyone has any information about its name, producer, or anything else, let us know about it.
Speaking of older news, we're facing the same year on year issue that the buttons down the right hand side for News don't include years beyond 2009. Fear not, as you can revise all previous years' news from the links below: