21/11/2015: Music Construction Set - Classical Music Data Disk Added
Blake Patterson asked on the Apple II Enthusiasts Facebook group whether any more Music Construction Set disks were made available by Electronic Arts and Garrett Meiers has been able to image the EA official Classical Music data disk for MCS. All tracks were sequenced by Doug Fulton, who also provided the tracks that came on the program disk (not to mention having written the music for Zany Golf and The Immortal). The Classical Music disk has been added to the archive along with other recent additions of music by François Labelle, provided by Mitch Spector, and the Player Demo Disk, provided by Antoine Vignau. Question is - are there any other official EA released MSC data disks not on archive yet? Or does anyone else have more tracks from other sources, like Public Domain Exchange? Check with everything that's now included in the MCS .zip archive and write in if you think you have more!
14/11/2015: 8-bit on 3.5" Disk Educational Titles Updates
If you've not come across the great work by 4am, cracker extraordinaire, then you've got a treat in store. The mysterious figure has spent at least the last 12 months procuring original copies of 8-bit Apple II, cracking them, then archiving them for all to enjoy...in most cases, for the first time ever even after all these years.
Additionally, the vast majority of 4am's conquests have been educational software, something I'm particularly pleased with as I hope to bond with my 1 year old daughter by playing these titles (when the time is right at varying stages of her cognitive development) on a real Apple II so she doesn't miss out on the same fairly meaningless experiences I had growing up. 8-bit stuff on its traditional media of 5.25" disk isn't within the regular scope of this site's goal, however, 4am recently came across some some 8-bit stuff on 3.5" disk, which included his/her cracks of Alge Blaster (original), Read 'n' Roll, Math Blaster Plus!, Math Blaster Mystery, Math and Me, Spell It Plus!, Word Attack Plus! Spanish and the never before archived (in either 3.5" or 5.25" disk format), orginal Word Attack (for which 4am has been generous in sharing them with this archive - just follow the previous links). These have been merged with existing archives (most of which were cracked by 'Logo', or as we better know him, Antoine Vignau) and this has yielded some newer and older versions of the programs not previously archived.
In other educational 8-bit on 3.5" disk news, I recently reviewed my DataFlow catalogues from 1992–93 and 94 and came across some interesting things. DataFlow was Australia's largest software distributor in the 1980s (and into the 90s) and it adds a lot of credence as to exactly which 8-bit 3.5" releases actually made it out to consumers (even Apple's own list doesn't seem entirely accurate), as they wouldn't have included titles that simply weren't available, especially by 1992, when there really wasn't much new Apple II software coming out by then.
As part of that, it looks like earlier Davidson titles, like the original Math Blaster and Spell It, were indeed available on 3.5" disk. So if anyone has those, be sure to image them and send them on to this site.
Another series of 8-bit educational software in the catalogue that caught my eye was the Explore-a-Story, Explore-a-Classic and Explore-a-Science series:
The reason these are particularly of interest is that they were (supposedly) released on 3.5" disk, they use double-hi-res graphics, and a mouse driven interface. The only examples of the Explore series that have been archived over the years are Explore Australia and Explore-a-Science Whales. And they're great. In Animal Watch - Whales, you can drag and drop a whales epidermal, muscular and skeletal layers – imagine doing this with Dinosaur Construction Kit! It's potentially one of the coolest pieces of software ever created for the Apple II! It NEEDS to be archived!
There are even MORE Explore-a-Story series that weren't listed in DataFlow's catalogues as being available on 3.5" disk, but would be very worth preserving despite only having been released on 5.25" disk: Explore-a-Story - The Sleepy Brown Cow, Explore-a-Story - Just Around the Block, Explore-a-Story - A Great Leap, Explore-a-Story - The Best Bubble Blower, Explore-a-Story - The Lima Bean Dream.
I've also compiled a quick list of other 8-bit educational titles released on 3.5" that were included in DataFlow's catalogues, which should prove they were released and worth pursuing creating images of them: Banner Books - On the Streets Where You Live
Banner Books - All Along the Alphabet - by Pelican Software
Banner Books - Hiking Though Habitats - by Pelican Software
Big Book Maker - Cute & Cuddly - by Pelican Software
Big Book Maker - Feeling Good About Yourself - by Pelican Software
Big Book Maker - Aussie Art - by Pelican Software
Alice in Wonderland & The Wizard of Oz - by Pelican Software
Beauty and the Beast / The Little Mermaid - by Pelican Software
Animals with Attitude - by Pelican Software
Dinosaur Days - by Pelican Software
Robin Hood / Peter Pan - by Pelican Software
Easy as ABC - Springboard Software
Early Games for Young Children - Springboard Software
Math Word Problems - Optimum Resource
2nd Math - by Stone & Associates
Logo Works: Lessons in Logo - by Terrapin Software
Kinderlogo - by Terrapin Software
Also, thanks to the Dataflow catalogues, I think I've discovered why some Unicorn Software releases (Phonics Fun, Fraction Action, Decimal Dungeon, Percentage Panic, Ghostly Grammar) have been impossible to find - it's because some or all were actually released for 8-bit Apple II models, and Fraction Action has been recently cracked by 4am. I'll keep an eye out for IIGS versions, but there's a good chance they were only ever released for the IIe and IIc.
Last but not least, I also discovered that the image I scanned for Word Attack Plus! Vocabulary was in fact for Word Attack Plus! itself! I thought it was a data disk! Always nice to know I had something in my collection under my very nose. So the entry for Word Attack Plus! Vocabulary has been removed, and the box scan I've had of that has been given to the Word Attack Plus! archive entry. I don't always miss the finer details! ;-)
So if you've got any of those titles, be sure to create disk images of them using the CFFA3000 (which incidentally a new batch is shipping), DiskCopy on a classic Mac with internal disk drive, or ADTPro and submit them to What is the Apple IIGS?
In other news, Edward Backstrom has written in to remind me that the Byteworks back catalogue of IIGS programing tools is now available much more conveniently through Juiced.GS magazine. If you visit any of the Byteworks archives under the Apps > Programming area, the links to download will now take you to the Opus ][ collection, which includes every Byteworks development tool ever released...and then some.
To wrap things up, Mitch Spector wrote in to supply some Music Construction Set tunes. In Mitch's words: "(This is a) Collection of Music Construction Set songs, 30 in total, including some unique and originally composed pieces. Arranged by Francois Labelle, from Montreal, Canada. Francois sent these to me back in 1992. From what I recall, he composed these in his early youth (only 12-14 years old?), when he belonged to a local computer club in Montreal. They had several different platforms, but the IIGS is what interested him, and that's what lead to these MCS pieces. And his eventual purchase of a GS. Mostly classical music pieces here, but extremely well done. Have a listen to some of the Beethoven pieces (Clair du Lune) and APO Le Theme is kinda cool, reminds me of stuff Miami software did....Space Shark theme. I'll try and dig up his Soundsmith music pieces, those were really awesome. He also started programming a MOD tracker and composer, which unfortunately was never finished. Still have it here in my archive. Think it was called "Track-It!".
The new MCS tracks can be found in the .zip archive on the disk image 'Music Construction Set Beatles & Einstein.2mg'.
11/10/2015: Miscellany Mélange Part II
In addition to Antoine providing full archives for the two Reading Magic titles, he's now hacked both Flodd the Bad Guy and Jack and the Beanstalk to be hard drive installable! Yes! The individual 2image archives now include the hard drive patches, but you can also enjoy them on the pre-loaded Reading, Writing and Mathematics 32meg volume I've prepared.
If you haven't seen any of my previous news posts about it before, I'm rather keen on getting all IIGS software running from a hard drive or any large ProDOS volume from some of the more modern solid state drive solutions. This is simply so anyone with any sort of mass storage device can run their IIGS software much faster than if it was running from a floppy drive and much more conveniently in terms of speed and avoiding disk swapping.
While IIGS users prize having an accelerator like the Transwarp GS or ZipGS, the most efficient way of speeding up your IIGS is to use some form of mass storage, like an IDE or SCSI based harddrive, or better yet, a solid state drive solution like the CFFA3000 or MicroDrive/MDTurbo.
If you've got a hard drive installed version of a game, app or educational program we don't have on archive, we'd love to hear from you.
Antoine's also recently obtained a boxed rare French IIGS title - Atlas2000. I'd seen this listed here and there over the years and was always puzzled by what it was, but as it turns out this is the original French language title for what eventually got released much later as GeoQuiz in the U.S. in English. So now English and French speaking users can test their geographic knowledge thanks to archives of both Atlas 2000 and GeoQuiz. Checking my own archives, I found a development version, v0.4, and have added that to the 2image archive for this title.
Andrew Roughan noticed that Clip Art Gallery didn't include it's manual/guide, so submitted a scan of his copy. What I failed to notice was that Antoine had submitted this at the beginning of the year and it escaped my attention! In the end, I've uploaded Antoine's version of the scan - the blacks are solid from the original black and white manual, so it's better quality. Apologies to both Andrew and Antoine!
Tracy Burton wrote in to share in the discovery of what the box to Cryllan Mission 2088: Second Scenario looks like.
It's on the Museum of Computer Adventure Game History, along with an addendum to the game. It states that it's an entirely new game, despite the artwork for the box and disk labels being re-used from the original Cryllan Mission 2088 release. However, the Second Scenario box does include a sticker specifying that it's an all new game, so the thumbnail and high-res image included on What is the Apple IIGS? now includes that.
And that's also reminded me that Jesse Blue, of Ninja Force, let me know about this at the beginning of the year. Oh my non-functioning baby brain! Speaking of Jesse Blue, he's asked when we'll see Kaboom! make an appearance on What is the Apple IIGS? Soon, but I've run out of time for updates this week. Stay tuned.
Oh, and got an Apple Watch? Blake Patterson might have just found a killer app for it, if you're a IIGS fan at least ;-)
06/10/2015: Miscellany Mélange
This is a long overdue collection of updates and I apologise to everyone who's submitted these additions that it's taken this long to get them onto the site.
Firstly, Andrew Roughan has submitted the following hardware scans:
GGLabs 4meg RAM Card, Carte Blanche II and the Carte Blanche I. That's made me realise I needed to create an entry for the GGLabs 8meg card as well, so if anyone has that, feel free to scan it and submit it to include in this archive.
Andrew's also provided manual cover images (in lieu of there being hard box packages to scan) for Disk Access, Spectrum, (Brendan Bellina sent them only days after Andrew submitted them) as well as the Land of the Unicorn box scan, manual and disk labels.
Antoine's also managed to procure, via eBay, very rare fully boxed versions of both Reading Magic titles by Tom Snyder Productions - Flodd the Bad Guy and Jack and the Beanstalk, from which he's scanned the box art, disk labels and the manual for all of us to enjoy. Additionally, he's also scanned the IIGS specific version of Reading and Me, to substitute the 8-bit version of the box art.
Not only that, Antoine has also completely archived Grapholie by Créalude, a clip-art collection sold only in France, as well as version 1.1 of Show Off (although there was no amendment to the manual in the box related to v1.1, so it's unsure what exactly has been updated - the only thing I've noticed is you can now format disks from the File menu, but I'm sure there are other improvements). As an encore, Antoine's also found and made a disk image of the Music Construction Set Player Demo, which basically works as a jukebox for Music Construction Set tracks - feel free to play around with creating your own mix ‘disk' with this to autoplay some tunes on your IIGS. It's now included in the 2image archive for that title.
François Michaud has been able to submit a disk image for Mini Paint from Gem Software, which eventually evolved into Platinum Paint, quite possibly the best 16 colour paint program for the IIGS. Mini Paint has been included as a 2image archive with the Platinum Paint disk images.
Kyle Wadsten, author of ProbeGS, let me know there was no official box for the sector editing application, so on his suggestion, I've used the front cover of the manual to use as a box scan.
Wade Clarke has submitted a scan of the Origin 8-bit game with 3.5" disk release 2400AD and Andrew Roughan has submitted a scan of the manual.
Frank Rossi has seen the recent interest in Space Ace and the other Readysoft games and recently found the Amiga version of Dragon's Lair II: Timewarp at a video gaming convention for $2! He's submitted a scan of the front of the box.
I got round to scanning my CFFA3000 and included a mini review - not the full blown review I've always planned to do, but I just haven't had the time. That reminds me - if you're interested in the CFFA3000 (and you should be if you have a IIGS or IIe) be sure to get your name down to reserve a card in the next production run happening in November!
And that's it for the time being...but there's still more to come, and as always, you can be a part of it. Stay tuned.
07/09/2015: Fun for the Whole Family! Zany Golf Now Available with Unlimited Strokes!
A little while ago, Matthew P. Ownby hacked Zany Golf so his kids could see more, if not all, of the classic IIGS game. I derided him as lame (in jest of course) hinting that any true gamer would suffer failure after failure until you truly mastered the game.
But you know what? I take certain things for granted, especially when I went through much heartache to complete the game and remembering, on a pixel level, how to get a hole-in-one for the first three holes, getting the right touch going with the Fans and Magic Carpet levels, not to mention when to hit the bumpers on the Ant Hill, getting to the mouse hole as quickly as possible in the Energy level and the safe path before the last hole on the mystery level. It's true to say that others won't be quite so willing to go through so much self-inflicted pain to see and hear this gorgeous game in its entirety.
And, now that I have a daughter of my own, I certainly don't want her put off by Zany Golf's difficulty curve when it'll come to playing a few rounds with her old man. So Todd Holcomb, with exquisite timing, sent the patched version of the game (as it's not available via Matthew's blog post) and now, we can all enjoy in making as many mistakes as you like before reaching the score card after the tenth hole.
Simply download the game's 2image archive again, and boot the regular version or the 'Unlimited Strokes' version for unlimited putts. Or, download the Sports and Unreleased Games 32meg ProDOS volume, go to the 'Sports' folder and open the 'Zany.Golf.Cheat' folder. Don't forget, you can press '4' on the title screen(s) for four simultaneous players of family fun.
06/09/2015: System 6.0.2, System 6.0.3…and counting?
If you follow other sources of Apple II news (Call A.P.P.L.E, A2 Central), you'll already have heard that System 6.0.2 got released, followed shortly by System 6.0.3. What, you say? Apple's made updates after 22 years? No! Let's just say that there are some folks who've managed to obtain the source code and have been spending time on making bug fix and feature additions to the last released version of GS/OS.
This illuminati (indulge me here for a little unnecessary drama folks) have created a little bit of a hot potato in that Apple could potentially come down on us for using something like System 6.0.3, but in reality, I think they've got bigger fish to fry.
Another issue I've been mulling over is if I should include newer versions of System 6 as part of this archive. Compatibility issues with existing software should be a non issue, but there is a possibility something could break with these updates to GS/OS.
I wasn't expecting new versions of System 6, and I've been happy with the amount of time I've spent putting into my 32meg ProDOS disk images and considered them...definitive, I guess (indulge me just a little further). Another issue is that my System 6.0.1 images include the GUPP patches that fix multiple bugs, some of which are addressed in System 6.0.3 and some that are not. GUPP still apparently works in System 6.0.3 without harm, but I feel it's now a slightly inelegant solution - something that now sits in the system folder and memory that's trying to fix something that's now fix, and fixing other things that haven't yet been fixed. I hope that System 6.0.4, if it's being worked on, addresses all the bugs that GUPP fixes, so GUPP can be removed altogether. Indeed, I hope all INIT based patches that fix bugs (including those released through SoftdiskGS) are addressed with fixes in the source code, so these patches are no-longer needed and enable a cleaner and leaner System 6.
Anyways, I've been persuaded to include System 6.0.3 and (System 6.0.2) into a new archive and a different version of the preinstalled version of System 6, including 6.0.3, is now available (thanks to the Easy Update feature included in the installer of 6.0.3 - if you already have a System you're happy with, you can run this over it to update to 6.0.3 and live everything else as it was). Have fun playing with them, as I will, but take caution, perhaps, that your data is backed up before relying on System 6.0.2 or greater in case any currently unknown bugs rear their ugly heads.
There's only one thing I don't like with System 6.0.3 and it's entirely cosmetic and petty: after the system loads and before the launching application appears (usually the Finder) the IIGS briefly reverts to the text display with cursor in the top left hand corner. It's likely this has been done as a trade off to support one of the new features in this release, but I'm not a fan, as no previous version of GS/OS has done this and after using GS/OS for 25 years, it jars my experience just a little bit. As I said, it's petty. Most people probably won't even see it.
My favourite new feature is how the Find File NDA will now allow you to double click on the results of a search and take you there in the Finder. That would have saved me a good deal of time when I was collating and sorting all the System Add-ons several years ago, but better late than never :-)
19/07/2015: Burger Becky Releases Mindshadow for the IIGS
KansasFest 2015 is only just wrapping up now (keep track of what's exactly been going on via the KansasFest YouTube channel) but during all the excitment, Burger Becky Heineman released the previously unreleased IIGS version of the classic Interplay text/graphic adventure Mindshadow. Also, Burger Becky gave the keynote address for this year's annual event and it's not only a great oral history of her work, but great inspiration if you're in need of a never say die attitude! Jason Scott, of the Internet Archive, has been able to provide a full audio recording of Becky's presentation.
Thanks to Jorma Honkanen for the scan of the 8-bit Apple II version of Mindshadow for the archive! (I knew starting to collect 8-bit scans of non-IIGS titles would start to come in handy!)
12/07/2015: Space Ace Source Code Released!
After Burger Becky's video cast, she's now uploaded the source code to her reworking of the IIGS version of Space Ace, allowing it to be hard drive installable. Would this be enough to perhaps rejig the code to get the Dragon's Lair series of games from Readysoft working on the IIGS? I'm trying to extract the data from the Atari ST and Amiga versions to see if we can do just that!
06/07/2015: Burger Becky Videocast Ahead of KansasFest 2015
Rebecca Heineman, programmer behind IIGS classics Tass Times in Tonetown, the Bard's Tale I and II, Neuromancer, Crystal Quest, Dragon Wars, and Out of this World, has recorded a video cast (that was originally broadcast live on twitch.tv, but is now available on YouTube) that reveals, in part, how she coded a couple of her games (including her unofficial reworking of Space Ace), and how they can be potentially recompiled using Brutal Deluxe's more recent efforts in cross compiling on more recent hardware. Rebecca includes a lot of her history and advice for aspiring coders.
Rebecca herself will be attending this year's KansasFest to deliver its keynote address. She plans to use the source code of Bard's Tale I, II and the unreleased IIGS version of Bard's Tale III to create newly compiled versions to run on recent platforms as an extra feature to Bard's Tale IV, recently announced on Kickstarter. She also recently revealed on Twitter that she'd prepared a IIGS version of Wasteland, but that suffered the same fate as Bard's Tale III when Electronics Arts got nasty after Interplay went independant and went with Activision as as distributor.
Last chance to clear your schedule and go to the biggest Apple II event of the year...in the northern hemisphere at least ;-)
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!