How my pixels got into ROM

February 26, 2016

P0-Snake-cart-header

This time I’m writing about a C64 game and how I got involved with it, rewinding to early 2015.

For my part things got in motion when my Out Run Memories picture got some positive attention at the time of its release. Thanks to that I got in contact with Antonio Savona, who kindly asked me if I could make a loading picture for his game P0 Snake. Antonio had already created the game for the RGCD C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition 2014, and the game ended up winning the competition by a fair margin!

And it’s no surprise. It’s a clever snake game with a twist, with varied levels and gameplay, and an ingenious one-button game mechanics! On top of the solid game design there are some surprising features for a 16k game like a password system and digitized speech samples! I mean, the game fits into 16 kilobytes. And when that game greets you with a speech sample saying “Welcome to P zero Snake” and introduces more samples during the gameplay, it does raise an eyebrow! There’s an interesting article at the game’s development blog about the challenges with the audio and how it was pulled off.

Just take a look. Note the clever references to various classic games:

Thanks to the 16k game’s success and popularity, it was going to have an extended RGCD C64 cartridge release. And for this extended version I got to make the intro screen! Read the rest of this entry »

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Soulless

July 24, 2012

Not too long ago, the C64 community saw a release of a new game, Soulless. New games for the C64 gets released every once in a while, but what made Soulless stand out from the usual new C64 game releases was the passion put into it’s proper commercial release. I was impressed enough to order myself two copies of it!

Release

The game was released under Psytronik Software label and is being sold by two UK based retro game stores; Binary Zone Interactive and RGCD. The game was released simultaneously in all imaginable C64 formats: Cartridge, floppy disk and tape, plus digital downloads to complete the lineup. RGCD distributes the top of the line cartridge version and Binary Zone sells the floppy and tape versions of the game, and the digital downloads. I ordered the cartridge version from RGCD and the premium disk version from Binary Zone. As a nice touch the fellows from both stores sent the game as digital download by email after confirmed order.

The game is identical between all the versions, one can just choose the option that fits one’s retro tripping the best! Cartridge, floppy and tape versions are only for a real C64 of course, but the digital downloads can be used with emulators and devices like Chameleon, 1541 Ultimate, sd2iec drives and so on.

Both stores additionally offers a choice between a budget and a premium version – the game can be bought as a cartridge/disk/tape only or with extras. I’d recommend getting the game with all the extras, as all that stuff makes it feel a genuine old school game!

And besides – just look at all this stuff! This is the cartridge version from RGCD:

Read the rest of this entry »


EasyFlash fastloader comparison

December 26, 2011

Unseen has finally released a new version of the sd2iec firmware. This new firmware version of 0.10.2 does not bring that many updates, but one that I have been waiting for; sd2iec has now support for the fastloader that has been in EasyProg since ages.

I wanted to make a little comparison of the now supported fastloader’s performance using uIEC. Which is faster, EasyProg fastloader or JiffyDOS? Will it take even less time to flash the cartridge if the cartridge image is compressed using EasySplit?

Hardware & software configuration:

The image I flashed several times using different configurations was Prince of Persia C64 version 1.1. It is a 513 kb cartridge image, closely half of the flash memory size of EasyFlash. When the image is compressed using EasySplit, the file size is 159 kb. In Commodore terms, the images were 2069 and 644 blocks respectively. Read the rest of this entry »


Getting familiar with C64 graphics converting tools

November 23, 2011

Like I told in my previous post I wanted to enter one of the graphics competitions in this year’s Alternative Party. I wanted to make my picture using C64 graphics formats, but I wasn’t planning to pixel the picture in native formats in the first place. Instead, I was planning to draw the picture using modern tools and then convert it! Shocking!

I already had a concept in my mind that I wanted to try out: to combine and use different screen modes for different parts of the picture. Of course it wasn’t possible to actually use different screen modes with the picture, especially with my non-existing programming skills. So the road I had to take was to draw the picture elements separately which I then converted to different graphics modes. The parts would have to be combined, and then finally, converted into final picture.

This gave me a good reason to start checking out the different graphics converting tools. Read the rest of this entry »


C64 EasyFlash

February 13, 2011

New hardware for the C64 appears like it was still a production machine. It’s amazing. This time I’m talking about EasyFlash cartridge. EasyFlash has existed for some time already, and now I got myself one of those.

I bought mine fully assembled from Mike Betz via Lemon64 Forums. These carts are nicely finished with quality case, stickers and all. And of course I peeked inside – the case hides the real quality of the cartridge; Professionally made PCB, all socketed chips and flawless soldering make up these EasyFlash cartridges.

So what’s EasyFlash?

EasyFlash is a Flash memory based programmable cartridge for C64. Basically it works like any original game or software cartridge except that the cartridge binary (data, or cartridge image) can be easily erased and rewritten. And this is done using no other tools than the C64 and software called EasyProg. Any standard (8k & 16k) or Ocean Type 1 (128k & 256k) cartridge image can be written into EasyFlash and it effectively “becomes” that cartridge. Read the rest of this entry »


Tips for using sd2iec

October 4, 2010

It’s been already a while since I got the uIEC – one of the available hardware running the sd2iec firmware. I did some experimenting with it on how to make the best use of it if the nicely accompanying JiffyDOS is not present. I posted my experiences at Lemon64 forums, but I thought it would be nice to share them here as well. Still, you might want to read that instead for shorter, less detailed description.

Note that I’m describing sd2iec-firmware being used on uIEC/SD-hardware with Commodore 64. Many different hardware combinations are possible.

The principle

With sd2iec loading files from the SD card’s root folder is like loading files from a floppy disk. The very basic loading procedure is exactly the same – except that the default device number is not 8 but 10. So LOAD”$”,10 or LOAD”GAME”,10,1 works just like one would expect.

Things get more complicated if you want anything more. Something like to enter a directory on the SD card or to mount a .d64 disk image. A real Commodore disk drive wasn’t designed for such things so you don’t even have the commands for something like that. Since uIEC is connected only to the serial port of C64 it can be interfaced only using the IEC bus. Enter the command channel! Everything like directory navigation, disk image mounting and device configuration is done by sending drive commands over the command channel. Read the rest of this entry »


ACID 64 Player Pro supports SID emulation!

September 15, 2010

This should be interesting to majority of SID music lovers. Starting from v3.0.4 ACID 64 Player Pro supports JSIDPlay2. Up to this point ACID 64 Player Pro has been a SID player software only for HardSID users as it has been supporting only HardSID for output device. But it’s now possible to configure JSidDevice as the output source!

What this means is that SID sound lovers who don’t have a genuine SID sound card setup can now enjoy today’s state of the art SID emulation with the wonderful ACID 64 Player. Read the rest of this entry »


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