Graphics with old C64 colors and how to view them

April 9, 2016


Continuing presenting some of the graphics I’ve done for the Commodore 64, this article revolves around my latest picture and how to view it – in technical sense.

This picture is a bit different, since it’s made for old PAL C64 with so called “old lumas”, which I covered in my previous post. In other words I’m making use of the slightly different color palette found in early C64s. And not only the palette, I’m also exploiting the color bleeding introduced by the PAL color encoding. The result is that the picture appears to be more colorful than one might expect from the 16-color palette of a C64.

This picture requires a specific hardware setup. Namely a PAL C64 with early 6569R1 VIC-II chip. A real C64 is needed, or alternatively, an emulator or viewer that can simulate the effect of PAL color encoding/decoding while supporting the old lumas. The reason is that with this picture I’m exploiting color bleeding together with the different color palette.

Orbital Impaler micro64 screen shot

Screenshot taken using an emulator with old luma settings and PAL video encoding emulation.


Work process

Working on this piece started on Excel. I wanted to have a proper palette for the old luma colors, so I ran the same calculations that Philip “Pepto” Timmermann has made, but using the old luminance values. This way I got an old luma version of the so called pepto palette. A link to palette at the end of the post. Read the rest of this entry »

1541 – Why so complicated

May 14, 2014


The Commodore 64 has a disk drive that is unique in many ways. Not only is the Commodore 1541 said to be the world’s slowest disk drive, but it’s also big, bulky, noisy and has a reputation of being unreliable. Also, it works in an unusual way. In many ways it’s the disk drive that has defined our experience with the C64.

In addition to the original model 1541 there were also the updated models 1541C and 1541-II from Commodore. The drives have different looks, differences in hardware and in ROM versions, but the basic functionality and features are principally identical.

Some later models in Commodore’s 8-bit serial disk drive range were improved in some ways, but those have less importance today. For a C64 as a retro system, the 1541 is the de facto standard. Still, in this time of emulators and hardware add-ons, compatibility with the original 1541 disk drive is regarded as a must.

And today, for someone who doesn’t want to resort to emulators only, the large and unconventional disk drive brings some practical challenges. So understanding the 1541 helps us to understand the options we have for replacing it! Read the rest of this entry »

C64 twenty years after

August 24, 2010

This summer was my 20th anniversary of owning a Commodore 64. Yes – I got mine when it was already the dusk of C64’s commercial life. But still for many years to come it was the most popular gaming machine among my friends. But why do I still play around with mine? What it gives you in 2010? Of course a great deal of my C64 hobby is nostalgia. But there’s more.

After I had moved away from using the C64 in favour to then-modern PC, I found my interest to the good old Commodore in late 90’s when I found some demos on a BBS and ran them on a C64 emulator. I wasn’t expecting that the C64 could run such effects that could be seen in e.g. Smash Designs’ Triage demos. I was amazed and I wanted to be able to run the most amazing demos I could find on a real machine as the emulation was far from perfect by the time. At this point I had few different models of C64s and I was transferring floppy images to 5,25″ DD floppies with Star Commander. Read the rest of this entry »

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