Time Out for Some 8-bit Fun, IIGS Style

Posted by Alex Lee on 12 October 2014 | 11 Comments

Tags: DOS 3.3 Launcher, FastBoot, binary, single load, crunched, Choplifter, Wavy Navy, Hard Hat Mack, Galaxian, 8-bit, Apple II, Games

Over the last couple of years I've been dabbling in a sideline - 8-bit stuff. Not so much to take the focus away from archiving stuff for the IIGS, but I've been keen to put together, as definitive as possible, a collection of single load / crunched games on a 32meg ProDOS volume that'll work not only for emulators and the CFFA3000, but also as a standard partition for use with the CFFA v1 or v2, MicroDrive, Focus or SCSI drive.

 

Using the Finder and DOS 3.3 Launcher

 

I came across DOS 3.3 Launcher, a software based solution for running DOS 3.3 programs from GS/OS, originally created by fellow Australian John Maclean and then updated by another good Aussie fellow, Andrew Roughan. I loved the idea that you could load DOS 3.3 programs from GS/OS by simply double clicking on the binary files in the Finder - a nice integrated solution, and it also automatically sets the IIGS speed to ‘Normal' and when you quit a game (by accessing the IIGS text based control panel and entering the DOS 3.3 Launcher CDA) it automatically goes back to ‘Fast' speed when returning you to GS/OS. I've given the binary files a colour coding system from the System 6 Finder - green means no issues encountered, orange means there are some issues (those crunched games that use QuikPak GS compression don't seem to successfully return to the Finder when quitting from the DOS 3.3 Launcher CDA). And Yellow denotes games that are hacks of original games, tried turning into new games...I think. They're mostly badly designed pinball games!

 

Choplifter from System 6.0.1!

Choplifter from System 6.0.1!

 

Not only could you try this with single loader crunched binary files, but you could do it for whole disk images as well, for those games where there isn't a crunched file...but it comes down to how closely the disk routines are to DOS 3.3 that allow it to work with DOS 3.3 Launcher, and unfortunately, quite a lot of classic Apple II games branch too far away from the way DOS 3.3 works for DOS 3.3 Launcher to run from GS/OS or ProDOS 8. However, I've discovered quite a few games that work perfectly - Gremlins, Donkey Kong, Elite, Starglider, Jungle Hunt, etc.

Anyways, I scoured many existing collections of single loader games (and unfortunately, lost track of which collections they were, but it does include the Definitive File Game Library), and assembled them in one volume.

 

FastBoot v3.4 in conjunction with DOS 3.3 Launcher

 

I also wanted this collection to be of use to 8-bit users as well. I stumbled upon a ProDOS 8 program launcher called FastBoot v3.4 by Ron Dippold, which opens ProDOS 8 programs, but also looks for DOS 3.3 Launcher in a folder and if it's present, will also load single loader or disk images through DOS 3.3 Launcher! Nifty! Booting the provided 32meg image (see below) this actually provides an incredibly quicker way of accessing each game as well, without having to wait to return to the Finder, which takes longer. FastBoot really is fast, and includes nifty keyboard shortcuts to quickly jump into directories, load executables and loading binary files. Alternatively, you can use the arrow keys to navigate around.

But FastBoot itself has some limitations, in that you can only have 26 files in any one directory, so I broke down the list of single loader games this way. The DOS 3.3 Launcher executable also has to be present in each of those directories, but that's not too big a problem given we've got the space of a 32meg ProDOS partition.

 

Hard Hat Mack (with infinite lives, damnit!)

Hard Hat Mack (with infinite lives, damnit!)

 

This collection's not perfect however - Hard Hat Mack is missing and there are probably a couple of other favourites not included as well - if you have single loaders of these, please test with DOS 3.3 Launcher first and if they work, send them on for me to include in this archive. In my quest to find a single loader of Hard Hat Mack that would work, I came across some patched games that allow you to cheat - allowing you infinite lives, it seems. That can be cool, but it's less of a challenge to each of those games.

 

Wavy navy (with infinite lives as well, unfortunately)

Wavy navy (with infinite lives as well, unfortunately)

 

I've also included, after more happy findings, a couple of helpful Classic Desk Accessories, to be accessed from the text based control panel by holding down the apple, control and escape keys. The first is called BW and it correctly changes Apple II hi-res graphics to monochrome on a IIGS. The IIGS has always done that for Double Hi-res graphics from the Display control panel, but it's never affected normal hi-res graphics. BW fixes that. Also, you might find it nice to have a quicker way of switching between Fast and Normal speed modes on the IIGS, thanks to speed switch - you can change the speed of your IIGS from the list of CDAs, rather than having to enter the control panel and then the speed option.

 

Swashbuckler!

 

On top of THAT, I've also copied across some ProDOS 8 games that seem to run fine from a hard drive (which don't require DOS 3.3 Launcher)...including a specially hacked version of Lode Runner, including Championship Edition with Level Editor...all from a 32 meg hard drive. I hope Doug Smith would have been pleased that his game was so loved that it was hacked to even run from GS/OS and a hard drive.

If you've got single loader games that work with DOS 3.3 Launcher that aren't included in this collection, feel free to send them on. Additionally, if there are any full disk image based games you find that work with DOS 3.3 Launcher, send those on as well. To save you time, I've included a folder in ‘DiskBasedGames' called ‘Duds', for games I tried and for which didn't work through DOS 3.3 Launcher - you'll know not to bother to try those ones. And let me know if I've missed any ProDOS converted games as well.

 

Alien Typhoon

 

For both, it's preferable to upload the full 32 meg 8-bit Games 2image with your modifications and let me know what they are so I can integrate them into this ‘official' archive. In the meantime however, enjoy this new archive:

 8-bit Games (A collection of oldschool Apple II games you can launch from GS/OS or boot from this 32 meg disk image ~14meg)

1/6/2016 Update: I've added P8CDA to the 8-bit games image. This allows classic desk accessories (only works on a IIGS) to be used even when only booting ProDOS 8, so now the CDAs for turning hi-res graphics to black and white and the quick fast/normal speed change are available when booting this disk image. 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.

8/10/2016 Update: I've included ProDOS 8 v2.4.1 by John Brooks on the 8-bit games volume. Thanks John for all your efforts into making this happen! Also, I've added more recent ProDOS hacks by qkumba, including my favourite 8-bit Apple II game, Airheart – complete with high score support! Other new additions also include Arkanoid, Crossfire, Repton, Sneakers, Agent USA, Paperboy, Robotron 2084, Beer Run, Defender, Dig Dug, Flip Out, Formula 1 Racer, Frogger.

10/10/2016 Update: Fixed BC's Quest for Tires with a newer version. Included USO's ProDOS conversions for titles that qkumba hasn't done: Bill Budge's Trilogy of Games, Nibbler, Pick-a-Dilly Pair, Sabotage, Starblaster, Stargate, Succession, Suicide and Tubeway.

12/10/2016: Added ProDOS conversions for Tomahawk and Donkey Kong by qkumba. Added Pipe Dream (8-bit), a new crack by T-Rex. Also added Hunt for Red October (8-bit) from an old archive supplied by Francois Michel back in 2002 that I forgot about!

23/10/2016: Added ProDOS versions of Victory Road (Ikari Warriors 2) and Cannonball Blitz by qkumba. Also added a ProDOS conversion of Norad by Chris Bower. Nick Westgate and Javier Rivera pointed out that on 8-bit Apple IIs, booting the 32meg disk image displays a 'REQUIRES AN APPLE IIGS' message, then quits to the new Bitsy Bye program as part of ProDOS 2.4.1. That message is only describing that 8-bit Apple IIs can't load the P8CDA application, which enables CDAs to be loaded on a IIGS without booting ProDOS 16 or GS/OS. For 8-bit users, simply delete the P8CDA and the message will not display again. It should also correctly launch FastBoot, which is the program launcher that will open single binaries as well as ProDOS conversions of games.


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Comments

  • I personally really like this 8-but IIGS style, its pretty good! I read about it in an essay writing and have really liked it even then. It has been wonderful and am really glad to have read about it over here again, amazing!

    Posted by http://www.punchyreviews.com/why-students-use-essay-writing-services/, 14/02/2017 1:40pm (12 days ago)

  • Wow, there's one major pet peeve I had with DOS 3.3 Launcher via the IIGS Finder. Music and sound are distorted if launched through GS/OS. Garbled and low pitched. Try listening to the opening tune in Canyon Climber for example. The only workaround, of course, is to start DOS 3.3 Launcher directly from ProDOS 8.

    Posted by Geek Peak Software, 30/12/2016 3:20pm (2 months ago)

  • Alex: In the 25 years since I upgraded from a ROM 01 to a ROM 3, I've yet to find a single piece of 8-bit software that has compatibility issues, so let's scratch that. :)

    In fact, GOOD NEWS, I figured out the problem and got FastBoot running on my ROM 3! The system file was corrupt (I downloaded a new copy of FastBoot and installed that). Not sure if the corruption is from the original image or something that happened on my end, but it could explain Justin's difficulties.

    So now that I have FastBoot running, audio sounds as it should (no distortions) and I can quickly and easily jump from program to program. Awesome, I haven't played some of these since I was 12 years old!

    I have noticed some of the images won't start (particularly the "disk based" images) and some hang if you try and quit back to FastBoot via the CDA menu. Maybe more tinkering is needed?

    Posted by Mitchell Spector, 10/12/2014 5:03am (2 years ago)

  • Justin: Have you got a fully loaded System 6.0.1? i.e. with lots of system extensions? It's possible that's interfering with DOS 3.3 Launcher working properly. Try a shift boot, temporarily turning off extensions to see if that helps. Try multiple different games.

    Mitch: Hmmm...my guess is still a ROM03 issue. Don't have time to check it under emulation right now (as I don't have a real ROM03 machine on hand, but if you can check it on a ROM01 either real or emulated, try that.

    Posted by Alex Lee, 06/12/2014 3:11am (2 years ago)

  • Hi Alex - ROM 3, but how often do you run into 8-bit software that doesn't work on the ROM 3. As a matter of fact, the ROM 3 is more compatible with 8-bit software than the ROM 01. Maybe the copy I have is corrupt or not configured correctly?

    At any rate, seems I have the opposite issue of everyone else. The games launch just fine from GS/OS, but crashes if I try to launch from ProDOS 8. I'd much prefer the ProDOS 8 route, much faster switching in and out of games and no sound distortions. I'd love to get this working, let me know if you have any suggestions.

    Posted by Mitchell Spector, 04/12/2014 12:17am (2 years ago)

  • Hi Alex. Every time I launch a Dos 3.3 file, GS/OS launches the Dos 3.3 Launcher, and then crashes to the monitor. Oddly, I can launch my own Dos 3.3 files just fine, and the ones on your disk image launch just fine if I only run them from ProDOS 8. Weird.

    Posted by Justin Sevakis, 03/12/2014 9:58am (2 years ago)

  • Heya Justin,

    What happens exactly when they fail to run from GS/OS? Is the Finder looking for the DOS 3.3 Launcher executable? Or something else?

    Posted by Alex Lee, 29/11/2014 6:02am (2 years ago)

  • Huh, strange. All of these games fail when launched from GS/OS, but work just fine if I boot off the volume. At any rate, great collection, thanks!

    Posted by Justin Sevakis, 24/11/2014 11:36pm (2 years ago)

  • Hey Mitch, are you using this 8-bit games image on a ROM01 or ROM03 IIGS? It's possible FastBoot doesn't work with ROM03 machines. I haven't had any issues running it on my ROM01.

    Posted by Alex Lee, 24/11/2014 12:48am (2 years ago)

  • Awesome! I remember tinkering with DOS 3.3 Launcher when it first came out (in fact it still resides in the bowels of my GS hardrive somewhere) but back then only had the patience to convert over about 10 or less physical disks. Well, just downloaded that image partition to my real GS and thrilled at all the games to check out--without digging through hundreds of 5.25 floppies! And wow, some of these I literally haven't played in 30 years and had forgotten about! (seriously, it was 1984 when I got my first Apple II).

    No luck with FastBoot if it's the file labeled "Boot.system". It immediately crashes into Monitor, even if launched directly from ProDOS 8. Would prefer that for speed over the Finder when quitting out of games...

    And speaking of that, there's one major pet peeve I had with DOS 3.3 Launcher via the IIGS Finder. Music and sound are distorted if launched through GS/OS. Garbled and low pitched. Try listening to the opening tune in Canyon Climber for example. The only workaround, of course, is to start DOS 3.3 Launcher directly from ProDOS 8.

    Posted by Mitchell Spector, 23/10/2014 8:46am (2 years ago)

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