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27/02/2013: Hard Drive Image with Multiple Versions of ProDOS and GS/OS now ROM03 Compatible

This is something that I'd been meaning to do for a while, but the motivation was lacking. Going through my working IIGSs kept in storage at my father's place, I now know I have two ROM03 machines and that's finally given me the impetus to do a fresh re-install of a newer version of Taifun Boot, Ninja Force's utility for giving you the option to boot to different versions of ProDOS and GS/OS from the one volume, that is ROM03 compatible. In addition to the previous ROM01 only Taifun Boot volume I have provided, I've added a couple more versions of ProDOS 16, so you can quickly experience of the evolution of the IIGS's native OS from its humble beginnings all the way to System 6.

You might ask what use being able to boot to different versions of the operating system might be. Primarily, it's useful to run programs that aren't compatible with System 6 from a hard drive. For example, Superstar Ice Hockey, which I recently patched so it will run from a hard drive, will only run from System 4 or 5. So you can quickly choose System 5.0.4 from Taifun Boot's menu, then launch Superstar Ice Hockey from the Finder and voila. Another game is Bouncing Bluster, which annoyingly has only ever run from System 4. Another use is if any developer wants to test their wares across multiple OSs quickly.

Two notes: I've turned off saving Finder data (the positioning of windows and icons) for the systems below System 6. This is because earlier systems will overwrite the postitioning System 6 remembers, as well as turning the default yellow of folders back to the old white, which I personally don't like. Also, under emulation, you may notice a slight pause accompanied with the wristwatch cursor when you get to the Finder desktop from System 4 and 5. This is because it's searching for 5.25" disks. If the pause bugs you, you dip into the system folder, go to 'Drivers' and make the 5.25" disk driver inactive from 'Get Info'.

The updated image is availble from the homepage, along with the rest of my 32meg images, or here:

 All versions of GS/OS & ProDOS 16 Hard Drive Image (~13.6meg)


22/02/2013: Manuals for Mini Putt and GATE; Styleware Font Library; New Unreleased Rumours Roundup

Frank Rossi has submitted scans for the manuals of Mini Putt and GATE, as well as scans for disk labels for California Games, Neuromancer, Mini Putt, 4th & Inches and GATE. Disk labels aren't included on the archive yet, but the archive is already coming close to a full set of disk label scans for games already. Check the list to see if you can contribute labels for games, applications and educational software.

Resettling back into Melbourne, I came across a title I've had for years but neglected to archive it – Styleware Font Library Vol 1. It includes fonts specifically designed for the IIGS, which believe it or not, is a fairly rare thing, as most other fonts were directly converted from the Mac. The manual (actually in the innerside of the package) includes some interesting information on how fonts work on the IIGS (as well as the Mac) which is the most I've ever read on the subject.

Also recently, Michael Shopshin wrote in to mention that he once saw Cyan's The Manhole (an early HyperCard based title for the Mac) on a IIGS when he visited a McGraw Hill dealership in the early 90s. I'm always first to play devil's advocate and suggest that his memory was playing tricks on him, but Michael affirms that it was on a IIGS connnected to a CD-ROM drive and was in colour (which the Mac version wasn't). Anyone ever heard of the Manhole being available for the IIGS? It's possible given it could have been converted to HyperCard IIGS and the graphics given a makeover in colour.

Another unreleased game that could have been available for the IIGS is Fire Brigade, a turn based strategy game that François Michaud found when buying the DOS and Mac versions of the game. The game's manual revealed that a IIGS version was done. François then proceeded to contact Panther Games, the developer (based in Australia no less!), but they confirmed the IIGS version was scraped due to 'hardware limitations'. A shame to be sure.

Also recently coming to light thanks to Antoine's scans of catalogues that came with some Unicorn titles, is that there seem to be even more Unicorn Software educational titles released for the IIGS than previously thought. The titles are:

Phonics Fun
Fraction Action
Decimal Dungeon
Percentage Panic
Ghostly Grammar
The Logic Master

These titles haven't appeared anywhere else (reviews or mail order catalogue listings in A+/InCider magazines) so they're either rare or they weren't released either. If you know anything about these titles, be sure to write in.

Antoine was able to get in touch with Joseph B Hewitt, who worked at Unicorn in the mid to late 80s, but unfortunately, he couldn't shed any further light on these titles.

In other IIGS releated news, Ewen Wannop has released another desktop based application, called Phoenix. Like it's namesake, this program will undelete files like a phonenix from the ashes. Ewen has also updated the Byte Bagger NDA to version 1.0.4, so go to his download page and sort yourselves out.

28/01/2013: Some Classic IIGS Games Now Hard Drive Installable! Plus, More Icons!

I'm a pretty happy camper at the moment. After buying IIGS games like Mean 18, World Games and Winter Games some 25 years ago, I can now finally play them from a hard drive, thanks to some instructions I found on the TABBS CD-ROM. Thanks to Speccie for making TABBS available to all and for some guidance on using Byte Bagger and understanding sector editing!

The article by Joe Jaworski can be found here, which was originally taken from the file called ‘PATCHES.IIGS' on the TABBS CD-ROM.

It's enabled me, a complete non-programmer and even worse sector editor, to change the hard paths of some games that couldn't just be copied to a hard drive (or any mass storage volume) and run from there without requiring the original (deprotected) floppy disk volume being mounted.

I ended up using Salvation Supreme - Deliverance to sector edit. It includes some neat features like find and replace, with a case sensitivity option. Replacing all instances of paths in a couple of clicks is wonderful and potentially saved me many frustrating hours of going line by line of the represented ASCII data.

While I'm happy with what I have made work, there are still a few games that resist hard drive/mass storage installation. Dream Zone is particularly of interest, and from the TABBS CD-ROM, I've found a specific article detailing how to make that title hard drive installable - I've spent hours trying to make it work, but it hasn't. It's possible the deprotection method used on the copy of Dream Zone I have is different to the one described in the article, and I need to change that. For the moment, I'm a bit sector edited out and will come back to it later when I'm motivated again. In the meantime, if someone else wants to try, read the following.

 

 Games with Path Modifications (~8.8 meg download)


Games that are now playable from this new hard drive image:

Aargh!

Bard's Tale I (the original ProDOS 8 release, however, still needs a floppy disk for characters. Also note: found an executable that enabled it to run from a hard drive and System 6. No hard paths were changed)

Bard's Tale II (the same caveat applies to the sequel)

Blackjack Academy

Impossible Mission II

Mean 18 (you'll need to click the ‘Next Disk' button several times to find the courses on the root directory of the ‘G' volume. Also, play with a minimum set of system extensions)

Roadwar 2000 (again, needs a separate 3.5" disk for saved games)

Skate or Die (Will only run from early versions of ProDOS 16 - it WON'T work from System 6!

Super Star Ice Hockey (will only work from System 4 or 5)

Strip Poker II (will only work from ProDOS 16 and data disks must still be accessed from 3.5" disks)

Tower of Myraglen (Open the game from the ‘TWR' folder, not the ‘TOWERMYR' folder. Save games will work fine WITHOUT additional disks)

Winter Games

World Games

While this makes me happy at least, there's good news (obviously) and bad news. The bad news is that you can't change the name of the volume these games are installed to and neither can you change the name of the folders they reside in. You may be able to change some of the application names to something more user friendly, but then another part of the program, like Mean 18's Architecture program, is expecting to find ‘GOLF.SYS16' specifically for when you want to try out your golf course creations in the game, and WON'T find it if you change its name.

Here's a list of games that still aren't playable from hard drive - If anyone fancies a challenge with sector editing, or if you could just check you don't already have a HD friendly executable on your old SCSI drive, all submissions for ProDOS mass storage installable versions of games, apps and educational software are very welcome:

Dream Zone (I've had a go at trying the specific HD install with sector editing it for a few hours, but it didn't work. I'll come back to it a bit later when I'm a bit refreshed, but I won't stop anyone else from giving it a go!)

Destroyer (changing hard path doesn't look like it's an option)

Grand Prix Circuit (changing hard path doesn't look like it's an option)

Hostage (changing hard path doesn't look like it's an option)

Pirates! (changing hard path doesn't look like it's an option)

Silent Service (changing hard path doesn't look like it's an option)

Bridge 6.0 (not really System 6.0.1 compatible, and disk name of single character ‘X'! Problem!)

4th and Inches (changing hard path doesn't look like it's an option)

GBA Basketball (uses BASIC to start! Weird. Updated Prefix but no joy)

Hardball (changing hard path doesn't look like it's an option but found it uses ‘*' wildcard - can these be kept when moving to another volume? Does the ‘*' wildcard actually work?)

Serve and Volley (changing hard path doesn't look like it's an option)

War in Middle Earth (System 6.0.1 compatible. PROBLEM! Disk name is has two fewer characters to convert to the new path convention of /G/.. !!!)

Monte Carlo (changing hard path doesn't look like it's an option)

And then, some games don't even have a standard operating system and will probably never be able to be run from a hard drive:

Alien Mind

Tomahawk

The Hunt for Red October

Additionally, I've been collating more icons to make launching our IIGS games a little bit prettier. While it's still not a complete collection, we've mostly got sports covered now, most unreleased games covered and a couple more sim games. Not to mention that most of the new hard drive installable games have icons too! As always, if you can contribute with some icons of your own, it would be much appreciated. Grab the new icons by re-downloading the Games 32 meg ProDOS volumes from the home page.

22/01/2013: The Treehouse Found!

Brian Picchi has turned up another rare Apple II soft – The Treehouse! Quite possibly the last production to ever come out of your favourite 8-bit Apple II publisher and mine, Broderbund. Although it's not IIGS specific, it comes on a 3.5" disk and marks the end of an era. Brian's also provided a scan of the cover and a scan for the cover for Rampage, another 8-bit title that was released on 3.5" disk.

I promise sometime in 2013 I will be able to add links to the navigation bar to easily take you to the categories of 8-bit games on 3.5" disk and educational software on 3.5" disk. I may even add another category, apps on 3.5" disk as well! In the meantime, use the links above to get these rare wares.

13/01/2013: Now at a Store Near You – Every item from the Bard's Tale I and II

Fans of the Bard's Tale I and II for the IIGS? (which incidentally are definitive versions featuring the best graphics and sound across all platforms the game was released for.)

Clay Cummins has provided some hacked character disks that might make new adventurers a little bolder. Or seasoned adventurers wonder where on earth all these amazing items in Garth's inventory store came from.

That's right, rather than hacking characters traits and hit points, Clay has hacked Garth's Store to include every item that can be found in the game! Not only are some of the items critical to finishing Bard 1 and 2, but also include very rare and exotic weapons and armour with which to equip your party. Be warned however, you still have to save your golden pennies to purchase these luxury items.

Clay has so far provided fully stocked store hacks for both the original ProDOS 8 version and GS/OS versions of The Bard's Tale I: Tales of the Unknown and The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight. Oh, you didn't know there were newer GS/OS versions of Bard I and II? Try out these newer flavours if you haven't already, although I do still prefer the original ProDOS 8 versions myself with sample based instruments recorded specifically for both games. Just download the 2image archives for each game and enjoy with your favourite emulator or real IIGS.

Following a discussion on comp.sys.apple2, I also added another link to the programming libraries included in my post For Home Brew Just Add Hops...Skips, Jumps, Blood, Sweat & Tears. Created by Christopher Sheperd (no relation to Eric Sheperd), the libsoundGS library takes advantage of RAMfast or compact flash based storage and oversampling to play back music larger than can fit into a fully maxed out IIGS with 8 meg of RAM. Additionally, the library provides a means of adding other triggered sound effects to play in addition to sampled music. Sounds perfect for a potential port of Snatcher, but I've lost interest in that project as I don't think HyperCard is quite robust enough to do it justice on the IIGS. Needs an interpreter written from scratch.

Please disregard the spam at the end of that particular article. I will get around to fixing the holes that fill up with a favourite proverbial pork based by-product.

07/01/2013: A Belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – Goodies Inside!

I'm going to have to invent a word for delivering gifts after Christmas. Let's just ignore my tardiness for another year and get on with these late presents!

Father Christmas, or as I've always known him, Antoine Vignau, has bestowed us Apple II children with multiple gifts.

First and foremost, Antoine did some unorthodox searching looking for the extremely rare title I added to the archive a couple of years ago after stumbling upon an article in InCider/A+ magazine: YourWordBox! Antoine found it for sale on an online bookstore. He ordered it and within a matter of days during the busy Christmas period, Antoine had in his possession the only known program that was specifically designed to only run from CD-ROM for the Apple IIGS.

Antoine has sought permission from the original publisher and developer, Terry Loar (as well as the artist, Joe Szarek) and it's been granted for inclusion on What is the Apple IIGS?! In the process, Antoine asked Terry a few questions about this very rare title (the interview reveals how many copies were sold and why):

Antoine Vignau: Why did you write that title for the Apple IIGS?

Terry Loar: At that time I was a certified Apple developer and Apple assured the
educational developers that the ][ GS would remain the educational platform,
and the Mac would be used for scientific and business applications. However,
Apple reneged on their promise and discontinued the ][ GS - even though an
upgrade design was in the offing.

Antoine: Did it sell well? By which channels (direct, resellers, schools)?

Terry: I did direct selling and it sold about a dozen copies, if I remember correctly.

Antoine: Was there a volume 2 developed (as stated in the volume 1 cover)?

Terry: Volume 2 was never published.

Antoine: Is that volume 2 (and 3) available for sale? I am interested in
those ;-)

Terry: No

Antoine: Did you convert the titles to the Macintosh platform?

Terry: No, it would have cost me $250,000 to convert to the Mac.

Antoine: Have you developed other titles for the Apple IIGS? Are they available?

Terry: Your Wordbox! Is the only title that I developed for the ][ GS.

YourWordBox! is one of the most historically interesting IIGS titles ever. The program itself and what Terry stated about Apple ‘promising' to keep the IIGS as their educational platform of choice lends even more evidence that the Mark Twain ROM04 prototype was something Apple was seriously considering as their flagship for the education market. One of Steven Weyrich's recent blogs also provides more evidence for this.

Beyond the exciting find of YourWordBox!, Antoine's also been busy with some other purchases. Suitably festive, Antoine has submitted everything for Paper Models - The Christmas Kit, a set of graphics released by Activision in a similar vein to Hometown U.S.A. that you can print out, cut, fold and make paper models from.

In addition, he's also been able to provide manuals for Design Your Own Home: Architecture, Platinum Paint, Arts Parts volume 1, (which I've rolled into the Deluxe Paint manuals collection, as well as a scan of the box), The Wonders of the Animal Kingdom (also including the box), the fairly rare hand held scanner Lightning Scan GS (although we're still missing the software drivers, please help if you can!) Magical Myths (and its box) and Medley. Last but not least, Antoine's also provided a box scan for Audobon Whales.

Santa's Little Helper, or more widely known as Andrew Roughan, has also submitted some manuals. Replacing the black and white manual scan that Antoine previously had done, Andrew's scanned the manual for Apple Video Overlay Card (as well as a supplement for the Australian PAL version of the card). Another graphics card, the AST VisionPlus, has also been given the full documentation treatment as part of its archive.

As always, all manuals have been OCRed, so search within Acrobat, Preview or even from OS X's Spotlight!

Andrew's also been able help out Ewen Wannop with his suite internet apps for the IIGS. A new version of the FTP client SAFE2 (v2.2.6) was recently released, along with a new desk accessory, Byte Bagger, which enables users to change file attributes and edit the raw data of a file while never leaving whatever GS/OS app you're in.

If you didn't get that Christmas present you were after, you might find it on a relatively new eBay store.

It's a very comprehensive store, although IIGS titles aren't specified well, which particularly becomes a problem when there is both an 8-bit Apple II release and a 16-bit IIGS specific version of the same title. Ask the seller if ever you're unsure.

Don't forget the other largest Apple II store on eBay: Vintage Software and More.

And last but not least, I saw Wreck-It-Ralph just before Christmas and enjoyed it immensely. There was a name that caught me during the rather awesome end credits: Art Director - Ian Gooding...Ian Gooding, where do I know that name? Oh yeah, he's the genius who did the graphics and animation for Zany Golf and The Immortal, who later went on to work at Disney. Hope it was a nice return to the 16-bit era for him working on the film!

 

 

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to a bumper Apple II year in 2013!

P.S. If you're looking for news for the last three years (as the buttons on the right hand side only go up to 2009)...

2012

2011

2010

 

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