Categories
Amiga

PiMIGA: Amiga on the Pi

The Commodore Amiga was an amazing 16 bit computer of the 80’s and 90’s and is still used today by people who love the system.

WinUAE is the best Amiga emulator for modern systems and it has been ported to many operating systems. FS-UAE is a great port I use on Mac and Amiberry or Amibian use the uae4arm port that runs on Raspberry Pi boards.

To load games and apps on the Amiga you used 3.5 inch discs but if you had a hard disk back then the Amiga supported it. I never did so I put up with the relatively slow loading of the discs.

As I have been spoiled by much faster loading of modern systems, loading games from discs in an emulator soon became a bore. Many games used to (slowly) load an intro with thumping music and an animation, but after hitting fire on my joystick I’d be prompted to “Enter disc 2” for yet more loading.

Enter WHDLoad, a system that patched games so they could be loaded from a hard disk image. It sounds great in theory but over the years I could never get it working the way I wanted. I just wanted to see a nice Workbench desktop UI with an disk image of games to play around in.

I’m not the only one apparently. Through this video on alternative operating systems for the Raspberry PI I found out about PiMIGA. It’s a 32GB disk image you burn to SD card for RPI 3 and 4 and when booted up presents a rather nice Workbench desktop with lots of games and apps. BTW, the password is ViWsC7oU3.

It’s based on Amiberry, and uses WHDLoad of course and everything is set up for you!

I haven’t tested it yet myself. My RPI3 is busy running Plex, Backuppc and Pihole but I want to get an RPI4 to give it a go!

Here’s a word of warning however. The video above shows a virus checker running and it finds a couple of viruses that are removed (in Amiga apps) so I would isolate the Raspberry PI device from the rest of your network if you can. Use the guest network of your router perhaps or just leave the device offline.

An alternative to PiMIGA is AmiKit which appears to do something similar but runs on Windows, Linux and Mac (and RPI4 with some fiddling around) and even lets you launch Windows, Linux or Mac apps from within Workbench. It looks rather nice!

Categories
C64

Oddities of C64 BASIC

1 BORDER=1

Can you tell me why the very short BASIC programme above has a syntax error?

1 BRDER=1

But then the one with a slightly renamed variable name is perfectly ok?

It turns out it’s one of the limitations of Commodore BASIC V2. As explained here:

Variable names were limited to two letters. Or, specifically, any variable name longer than two characters was truncated, so that MARKUP and MAINTOTAL would both point to a single variable named MA.

Can somebody confirm this? IIRC, the C64 could handle longer variable names, but it’s a long time ago so I could be wrong.

Correct, the first two letters of a variable name must be unique. Also, your example variable MAINTOTAL contains the reserved word INT which would produce a ?SYNTAX ERROR.CarstenKlapp

http://wiki.c2.com/?CommodoreBasic

The word BORDER contains the BASIC command OR that cannot be used in a variable name!

I have no idea if I knew this back in the 90s. I presume I did but it had me scratching my head for 10 minutes last tonight trying to figure out why my BASIC programme wasn’t running.

The (re)discovery that variable names shouldn’t be longer than 2 characters long also explains the terse variable names I used in the BASIC portion of DMSREADER. We’re spoiled these days.

I also discovered that petcat doesn’t like uppercase BASIC commands but I have a nice Makefile now to compile BASIC and ASM portions of Disk Masher and copy them into a D64 for testing so it was a productive night.

Categories
C64

Retro Reading in 2019

Reading about retro computers in 2019!

You can be nostalgic about something for a lot longer than that thing was current. So it is with the Commodore 64, the Speccy and early computers in general.

I had a rubber keyed Spectrum 48K for a couple of years followed by a C64 that I used every day for another 4 years or so and here we are in 2019 and I’m reading about those ancient computers. I’m not the only one. There are vibrant communities around both computers and it’s great to see!

Somehow I can’t see myself feeling the same way about Windows 3.1, but I have to admit I have maybe not so fond memories of tuning autoexec.bat to get a few KB more memory in the DOS days…

What are the books I’m reading and where can I get them?

  1. The latest issue of FREEZE64 fanzine.
  2. Crash Annual 2019.
  3. The story of the Commodore 64 in pixels_.
Categories
C64

Vice – autostart with a directory

Vice, the Commodore 64 emulator is a cross platform emulator that works on Windows, Linux, MacOS and other operating systems. It also allows you to emulate the Vic 20, C128 and other early Commodore machines.

Double clicking on a Commodore d64 disk image file will load x64, the Commodore 64 emulator and load the first programme on the disk image.

LOAD”*”,8,1

Quite often I want to look at a D64 image directory listing instead of running the first programme on the disk.

You can do this by unchecking the “autostart” box on the file open box of course but it’s not as convenient.

So, last Friday I asked on Twitter if it was possible to drag and drop a D64 image onto Vice to display the disk contents. Logiker replied and helped me by DM to handle double clicking on a C64 disk image.

What I needed to do was load the disk image and then feed the directory listing command to the C64.

LOAD"$",8
LIST
LOAD”$”,8

Getting MacOS to accept the command line was harder to achieve. In Windows you can change the start up parameters for a programme. In MacOS it should be possible to modify the emulator “package” with a script that calls the real executable but I couldn’t get that working.
In Linux I would have just created a shell script that called the emulator. 🙂

What did work in MacOS was using Automator. I created a “Run Shell Script” action and filled it in with the following. If you want to follow along at home you’ll have to change the path to x64.


/Applications/Vice64/x64.app/Contents/MacOS/x64 -8 "$@" -keybuf load\\"$\\",8\\nlist\\n

I saved that as a new app in ~/bin/ called “Vice64”, and associated all D64 images with that application. Now double clicking on a disk image shows me a directory listing!

It doesn’t work unfortunately when I have an Action Replay cartridge loaded. Maybe I need to add F3 or F7 to the keyboard buffer?

One of the advantages of looking at the directory structure is the directory art some demos have. Here’s one from Pearls for Pigs, a D64 I happened to use while testing this but there are loads of them. I saw that Logiker has a page dedicated to directory art!

Happy times! 🙂

Categories
Games Music

Megablast Banjo Remix

Here’s rather impressive remix of the Xenon 2 Megablast main title tune created by a talented banjo player!

Long time readers may remember I used the original music in a video for a short but fun game of Bad Company 2. We joined a game with nobody on the other side so we had fun with the crates, grenades, bullets and smoke. Looking at the date on the video I can’t believe that was almost six years ago!

Categories
C64

We are Demo – Commodore 64 – [Revision 2016]

If you ever owned a Commodore 64 and remember playing games on it in the 80s or very early 90s be prepared to be blown away by this demo released in 2016.

Categories
C64

A C64 intro in CSS

CSS3 C64 is an old school C64 intro created completely in CSS, the technology that is normally used to style web pages. You can read more about it here, and the source code is available in your browser, but also on Github. No need for an Action Replay cartridge to peek under the hood this time!

Thanks Commodore is Awesome for the link.

Categories
C64

A Commodore 64 in Police Academy 3

I honestly don’t remember this at all. The C64 was just a prop, but it’s still nice to see the breadbox there! It’s a pity they used the arcade version of Paperboy and not the C64 conversion however.

Categories
C64

17,827 Euro for a Commodore 65 on Ebay

The Commodore 65 was a prototype computer produced by Commodore between 1990 and 1991 to be an improved Commodore 64. I’ve hardly ever come across it online and never heard of it back in the day, but when Commodore was liquidated they sold the prototype machines. If you have one and are willing to part with it you could be in for a nice surprise!

c65 on ebay

This one on Ebay went for €17,827 last month. It’s not as if much can be done with it as it was never official released but I guess you can run it in C64 mode.

Anyone got one or played with one? (via)

Categories
C64

Happy Birthday Commodore 64!

issue 50 of Zzap 64!
Issue 50 of Zzap! 64

The Commodore 64 is 30 years old this year and it went on sale in August 1982 so I think it’s about time I wished it a happy birthday. Back then I was messing on a Commodore Vic 20 (or more likely it was 1984 or so), then I had a Speccy and I didn’t get my hands on a C64 until 1989. It was already declining somewhat but it still had a few years of life left in it. Issue 50 of Zzap! 64 was the first issue of that famous magazine I owned. My brother and I bought it in Paul’s Street Shopping Centre! The newsagent is long gone but I have that issue around here somewhere ..

Matt Allen visited a primary school and a secondary school and asked kids there what they thought of the Commodore 64. I don’t think they were impressed by loading errors and long loading times. He probably should have brought a 1541 disk drive and an Action Replay cartridge!

Continue reading “Happy Birthday Commodore 64!”