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21/09/2016: Day 4 of Apple IIGS 30th Anniversary Celebrations (Star Saga One Completely Documented)

This is something I've been working on for a while and I'm pleased to share it with everyone now that it's complete.

Herbert Fung, over a year ago, was very generous in sending over his fully boxed, almost untouched copy of Star Saga One: Beyond the Boundary. The package arrived safe and sound here in Melbourne, having come all the way from Herbert's native Canada.

The game is quite rare and particularly sought after as one of the designers behind it, Andrew Greenberg, was one of the designers behind the Wizardry series of RPGs. Something of an influence for all role playing games that followed, if you don't already know.

Normally, having scans of a IIGS game's manual is a nice thing to have, but in the case of both Star Saga games, it's a necessity. The computer is only one part of multiple pieces to playing the game, those other elements being a board where physical pieces are placed to show progress, character information booklets and story booklets only to be read at the right times dictated by the computer...and ideally, at least one other human player to play with, or as the game supports, up to another 5 human players.

Perhaps, with the relatively recent resurgence of board games, this particular game now holds even more fascination. I was hoping to get everything scanned and in optimised and high quality PDF format before KansasFest 2016 (because in previous years, the game was attempted to be played but I think fell by the wayside due to its complexity and the hard to ignore activity of the biggest Apple II gathering on the planet), but better late than never. If you've ever been curious about this game, but didn't have a spare $200 to fork out to buy the game when it appears on eBay every couple of years, then now's your chance!

But this is not all folks! Stay tuned...we may have complete scans of all the required game materials for Star Saga Two: The Clathran Menace to closely follow.

18/09/2016: Day 3 of Apple IIGS 30th Anniversary Celebrations (including the 28th Anniversary of the Apple IIc+)

Alas, this is more than a day late, but I ran into some work/technical/toddler issues that prevented me from getting it out on time.

But the good news is that day 3 is here! And to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the Apple IIc+, I've majorly revamped the 8-bit apps on 3.5" disk category - IIGS and IIc+ users get to enjoy it equally (and enhanced IIe owners who've got 3.5" disk drives of some variety connected).

Antoine has submitted PFS Plan, PFS File and Report, MouseWrite and On Balance. Joo Jun has submitted PFS Write. 4am has submitted all major versions of Copy II+ that were available on 3.5" disk. François Michel, from whom I received his incredibly well archived collection of IIGS software back in 2002, can be thanked for the multiple versions of AppleWorks, Family Matters, The New Print Shop, Print Master Plus, Personal Newsletter and VCR Companion. Paul Hagstrom can be thanked for the VCR Companion manual scans. François Michaud can be thanked for the excellent scans of Publish It!

There will be more to come...

16/09/2016: Day 2 of Apple IIGS 30th Anniversary Celebrations

Our second day of IIGS 30th anniversary celebrations involves helping out and then subsequently interviewing the person behind all those excellent Pangea games' graphics - Dave Tripplet.

15/09/2016: Happy 30th Anniversary Apple IIGS!

On this day 30 years ago, Apple released a new computer that was equal parts new and old, pushing and pulling, wonderful yet flawed.

 

 

Happy 30th Birthday Apple IIGS! Happy 40th to me!

 

This photo is actually the cake from my 40th birthday held earlier this year that my wife secretly organised. But I needed something both ‘Apple IIGS' and ‘birthday' to kick off a series of posts to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the IIGS, especially when my originally intended celebration would have been to release the coffee table book I've been working on all these long years. Alas, life has gotten in the way of that, as has still trying to track down everything devoted to the platform to archive.

While seeing my rendered likeness in pure edible icing sugar in all its caricaturist glory, it may look that I've ‘conquered' the IIGS. Alas, when it comes to archiving all IIGS software and hardware, the main aim of this website and the coffee table book, this couldn't be further from the truth.

But the work goes on, which will be evident during this week-and-a-bit celebration of the IIGS. Stay tuned over the coming days and I'll unveil some nice new things with which you can enjoy with your IIGS.

Happy birthday to our favourite Sweet 16! It's the cute little flaws that keep a guy interested!

 

13/08/2016: Genie & Delphi Archives Via MacGUI Vault

David Finnigan, of MacGUI.com, has been able to restore the file and message archives of the Genie and Delphi services that were great resources for Apple II users back in the '90s.

I've had fun sifting through those archives to see what might have been missing from the archives on What is the Apple IIGS? I found a newer version of the handy image and animation displayer Show Me NDA and Finder Extra (v1.1.1) and some additional icons (if you've got a Zip drive working with the your IIGS, you're going to love those). These have been updated on the System Add-ons volume. Another interesting find was SpeedRead Plus v3.2, a shareware text viewer from 1999 by Terry Morris that can read text files (of any format, including AppleWorks and AppleWorks GS), very quickly and of any size regardless of memory limitations, as well as adding bookmarks for you to come back to later. That's been placed on the Productivity & Visual Creative 32meg volume in the 'SW.Productivity' folder. An older v2.2 version of the NDA version of this is also on the System Add-ons volume, in the 'NDAs/Text.Editors' folder. If anyone has the newer v3.2 NDA, be sure to write in with it - it might just replace my tried and true Hermes NDA for reading and editing text files. Also, DeleteGS was found, a cute app that will securely delete files so there's no chance of them ever being recoverable. That's been placed on the Utilities & Aural Creative volume. You'll also find on that volume updated versions of the recent utility programs by Ewen Wannop - Chewbagger, Phoenix and BrkDown.

For games, I found an update (v2.5 from v2.4) for the Bill Hamshire card game Euchure, which you can find on the System 6 and freeware and shareware games volume. I also came across some saved tank designs for the commercial game Omega. I've placed them in the Adventure and Simulation Games volume, in the Omega folder called 'Other.Tanks'.

The really big find were several archives of Nathan Mates' work on enhanced modules for the Twlight II screen saver. These efforts would have constituted v2.0 had it been completely finished. It includes the newest version of the Flying Toasters (Toast) I've come across and now also includes the Aquarium (Fish) – two memorable modules 'borrowed' from the classic After Dark screen saver for the Mac and Windows. There's also S.L.E.D., a major improvement on the L.E.D. module, which affectively lets you create your own scolling texts (like from scene demos) with lots of effects, which you can easily setup using script like commands. There's also Flames, for demo scene style illumination to prevent screen burn-in. There are the games MultiTris, Power Grid and Mine Hunt, however these required the newer v2.0 executable - which has yet to be archived. Even out of all these new and improved modules, there still isn't a nice simple slideshow one that will display common IIGS image formats from a folder - anyone want to volunteer to write such a module? To get the new and updated modules, simply re-download the 2image archive again from the title's entry, and copy the items from three disk images to the Twlight II folder that you'll need to pre-install if you haven't already installed it.

25/06/2016: Alien Mind crack now ROM03 compatible and a single volume for CFFA3000!

A long time ago (that it feels like it could be from a galaxy far, far away) the French United Crackers Klan cracked the classic IIGS only game Alien Mind. This crack had to circumvent the game's customised operating system and disk format (which allowed for 920k of data on a double density disk!), which meant when you include a save game disk, it required four 3.5" disks to play! If you had the original disks to Alien Mind (mine survive to this day) it would work fine a ROM03 IIGS, but the crack unfortunately would only work on ROM01 machines.

Regardless of the crack, Alien Mind (and other games Tomahawk, Hunt for Red October and GATE, as well as FTA, FUCK and many other customised OS demos) would not work with the CFFA3000 either, their boot routines relying on the IWM chip utilised by the 3.5" disk drive - which the CFFA3000 can't tap into.

Until now. Newcomer 'Ballmerpeak' has hacked the FUCK crack to make it work on the ROM03. And then went one giant, massively convenient step further - hacking together ALL four disks into a single volume that will boot and play from the CFFA3000 or emulators. You don't need to swap disks, even for saving and resuming games now. Heaven. He's written a write up for the hack in one and two parts. You can download Balmerpeak's work from the archives found on the links in this post to What is the Apple IIGS? archives or from Ballmerpeak's own site.

Not only has Ballmerpeak greatly enhanced Alien Mind, but he's also made the only fighting game for the IIGS, Sensei, compatible with the CFFA3000. At the moment, high scores are not supported, but hopefully they will be in a future update. As well as the classic FTA demo Modulae.

I'm quietly hoping that Ballmerpeak has more hacks in the pipeline and that further announcements will be made around KansasFest...along with a lot of other exciting news to coincide with the biggest annual event on the Apple II calendar. Don't miss it if you can make it to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, July 19-24 2016.

23/06/2016: Obscure Educational 8-bit titles on 3.5" Disk Added to the Archive

Leaving no stone unturned, Antoine has been able to provide some fairly obscure (read, I'm not 100% sure what these programs do) educational software that was developed for 8-bit Apple IIs, but with the convenience of being a single 3.5" disk instead of across multiple 5.25" disks.

The first title is 40,000 Selected Words, which seems be literally just that - a database of that many words that are accessed by choosing different phonetic inclusions across those words...which you can then print. Why you'd want to, I'm not sure. But I'm sure teachers could find lots of valid uses for this software.

The other title is Assist Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests, which as far as I can tell, is a way to collate test results from a standardised way of written examinations (?).

if you feel like you've mastered every other type of Apple II software out there, why not set yourself a new challenge and figure these two out! The full manuals are included to help make your quest a little easier. Antoine's also scanned the front covers and disk art for these titles.

Also, Antoine's found the short manual for Triad Venture's Hyper Stuff Collection Clip Art Plus.

Oh, and I discovered that What is the Apple IIGS? now has 1002 archive entries. Whew.

01/06/2016: Roger Wagner Publishing Title Updates and Tweaks to the System Add-ons and 8-bit Games 32meg Images

Mike Maginnis, of the Open Apple Podcast and apple2scans opened a can of worms when he shared on Twitter that he'd scanned the manual to Macromate, a classic desk accessory for the IIGS that was released by Roger Wagner Publishing back in 1988. I asked Mike if I could include the PDF based manual on the Macromate archive on WITA2GS? Except when I went to check, I didn't actually have an archive page for Macromate! Whoops. A quick check of all my archives revealed a copy that wouldn't boot to the provided system, so I asked Antoine if he had another and sure enough, he did. So now we have a fully working disk image archive including the manual and some screen shots of Macromate!

As part of the Macromate documentation, it includes info on a program written by Dave Lyons called P8CDA. This utility allows you to load IIGS specific classic desk accessories WITHOUT booting ProDOS 16 or GS/OS, using ProDOS 8 only, but using the same System/Desk.Accs file path as GS/OS. How ingenious I thought! Again, I trawled through all my archives and to my surprise, came across it as a v1.1 shareware vesion, presumably before Roger Wagner picked it to publish commercially. I've since added it to my comprehensive System Add-ons volume that tries to collect every freeware and shareware system extension ever made – take a look in the CDAs folder. If anyone has the Roger Wagner version, which hopefully is newer than the v1.1 shareware version, let me know. Apparently P8CDA has some limitations - it isn't compatible with a lot of newer CDAs, i.e. CDAs made after its release that took advantage of newer features of GS/OS, but it's worth trying to see what works.

Macromate and Roger Wagner Publishing's other release at the same time, Softswitch, could really benefit from P8CDA. Imagine having AppleWorks, a double-hi-res paint program, a DTP program all running together in Softswitch, and Macromate also accessible from the control panel? Potentially, not a bad setup, even with a IIGS with only 1 meg of RAM.

I've also added P8CDA to my 8-bit Games image, which is a collection of classic 8-bit games that you can run from a hard drive and System 6. You could already boot this image (or use it through System 6 and DOS 3.3 launcher to play 8-bit games via the IIGS Finder) but now you also get the great little desk accessories 'BW' (which changes colour hi-res to black and white hi-res and a neat shortcut to changing the IIGS speed to fast or normal without having to go into the inbuilt control panels, and then speed, and then to tunnel out of those options to exit again. In addition to this, I've also included the recent ProDOS hacks that qkumba has done, including Conan, Karateka, Impossible Mission II, Lady Tut, Mr Do, Moon Patrol, Swashbuckler to name but a few.

But wait, that's not all! Antoine has also supplied a rare Hyperstudio Clip Sounds bundle – including 2 disks worth of great sound effects I'd never heard before on the IIGS and also some XCMDs to use in your own stacks. It even comes with the manual! Antoine's also been able to supply the manual for Hyperstudio Clip Art, which has nicely revealed it was Donald McIntosh who created all the clip art. While doing this, I noticed I didn't have the 'active' flag set for the Triad Venture Hypermedia extras I included to the site a couple of years ago - whoops! These are now visible from the Hypermedia category on the site.

UPDATE: Thanks to Antoine, the commercial release of P8CDA, including its manual, has been included in the archive as well. It now also allows the loading of INITs, as well as CDAs. Wonders will never cease!

11/05/2016: More Manual Mania

Time for some more manuals to provide a useful written background to all these apps and games we have on archive.

François Michaud has kindly submitted manual scans for the database program Notes n Files and the AST RamStack Plus.

Antoine Vignau, never wanting to be left out, has submitted scans of documentation for Drive Cleaner, Draw Plus, Postcards, Talking SpellerTalking Greek Mythology, Talking Addition & Subtraction and Talking Classroom.

4am has submitted many more manuals for 8-bit titles on 3.5" disk: Alge Blaster, Bank Street Writer III, Spell It! PlusThe Dark Heart of Uukrul, Math Blaster Plus, Monsters & Make-Believe and Word Attack Plus. UPDATE: a few more manuals have been added: Reader Rabbit, Speed Reader II, Sensible Speller and Writer Rabbit.

10/05/2016: 4Soniq Card Details Emerge

Jon Co, one of the Australian developers of the 4Soniq card recently announced at WOzFest /// now has an official press release with details of the card. Go to their site to check it out.

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