Something interesting is on the horizon. Details to be released soon.
Steve Chamberlin at Big Mess’o Wires has successfully added Smartport compatibility to his Floppy Emu product. With the latest update, it now can read and write to most of the common disk image formats used to emulate 5.25, 3.5 and larger drives.
Compatible with the Apple IIGS and Apple //c, IIc Plus, the Floppy Emu is $89 USD plus shipping, and has additional options available (extension cable, case).
inXile Entertainment is currently running a Kickstarter to fund development for The Bards Tale IV. Yesterday, it was announced that backers at the $20 or higher level would receive free digital copies of the original The Bard’s Tale, The Bard’s Tale II: Destiny Knight and The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate along with a deluxe double album soundtrack.
These games are available now via emulation, but the experience isn’t as seamless as it should be. Not to worry, because inXile Entertainment has partnered with the original The Bard’s Tale III programmer Rebecca “Burger” Heineman and her company Olde Sküül to make the games run natively on Macintosh and PC. That’s great news but the coolest bit is that the re-releases will be based on the Apple IIGS versions of the games (not the PC, or the Amiga… THE APPLE IIGS!) and will also include updated artwork.
I believe I can predict with some certainty that this Kickstarter will be a major topic of interest at this year’s KansasFest, where Rebecca Heineman happens be our very distinguished keynote speaker.
4am is a well-known and gifted software cracker best known for releasing detailed step-by-step instructions for cracking commercial copy-protected programs for the Apple II series, and for also producing ‘clean’ cracks, which is to say the so-called ‘warez’ were free of any vanity crack screens (where the cracker usually takes credit for their exploits).
The Internet Archive (through the efforts of digital preservationist Jason Scott) are now hosting of over 300+ of 4am’s cracks online. You can download the disk image for transfer to your Apple II, or in many cases play the disk image online through your web browser. Many of these cracks are for titles that never got much love from the pirating community, primarily educational titles.
The programming ninjas at NinjaForce are certainly active lately. Today they released Ninjatracker, a “vastly modified version of the SoundSmith player” for the Apple IIGS along with the programs source code. You can read how to use it and download it directly from NinjaForce’s Ninjatracker web page.