February 25th, 2015

John Carmack starting his kids programming on the Apple IIc

Cult of Mac has a nice story of DOOM co-author John D. Carmack starting his kids out on programming with the Apple IIc. John posted via Twitter, “Teaching my kids programming on an Apple IIc is like kung fu training in the primitive wilderness.” We couldn’t agree more, but we’d add that there is an oasis of knowledge to be found in that wilderness, that will last a lifetime. #parenting_power-up

February 11th, 2015

Microsoft BASIC source code for 6502 revealed

Egan Ford posted via Usenet comp.sys.apple2 a couple of interesting links for BASIC buffs pertaining to Microsofts BASIC for the MOS 6502. It’s good reading, so we’re sharing it here.

IT World – The source code behind Microsoft BASIC for 6502 comes to light

PageTable.com – Microsoft BASIC for 6502 Original Source Code [1978]

February 10th, 2015

Introducing DiscoRunner multi-dialect BASIC interpreter


discodudeicon

DiscoRunner is a multi-dialect BASIC interpreter. Its initial release supports Integer and Floating Point (Applesoft) BASIC from the Apple II.

DiscoRunner is different from other BASIC interpreters in that it is 99.5% compatible with the original languages. It accomplishes this by heavily simulating the host hardware (the Apple II) almost to an emulator level without the drawbacks of running an actual emulator. For example, BASIC programs are saved as text files. We can also add new functionality, such as an editor, a navigable CATalog and a coloured LISTing mode.

DiscoRunner comes with a library of close to a thousand classic programs to play, edit and muck around with.

January 31st, 2015

Latest update on the Apple II Pi from UA2/RM

Whew! Busy week trying to complete the next version of the Apple Pi prototype. This version has a Clock and Firmware. We’re hoping with some help from David Schmenk to eliminate the need for a floppy when booting directly to the Pi. We’re also hoping to add support for the ‘B+’ version of the Raspberry Pi. Some users have also inquired about the feasibility of using the Ethernet port on the Pi for the Apple II. We’re looking in to this as well. If possible this will add yet another amazing feature and reason to own a Pi. We’re confident if anyone can find a way, Dave is our man.


pi

One of the biggest questions we get asked is “What is the Apple Pi and what can it do for my retro computing experience?” So once the next version is ready for release we will put together a FAQ video demonstrating what the Pi can do for you, and all it’s available features.

A bit more testing and possibly another board revision and we’re hoping to have something worth sending out to people for reviews. Keep an eye on A2Central.com and an ear on the Open Apple podcast (www.open-apple.net) for sneak peaks and news about availability!

January 23rd, 2015

It’s official, CiderPress 4.0.0 released

After a short public testing period, Andy McFadden has put the final touches on the indispensable toolkit CiderPress 4.0. Andy’s announcement is attached.

CiderPress, the Apple II disk and archive utility for Windows, has been updated for the first time in several years. An installer for Windows can be downloaded from http://a2ciderpress.com/.

The last official release, v3.0.1, came out six years ago. A summary of the changes made since that release follows.

** New Features **

  • Support for viewing and extracting the contents of AppleSingle files.

** UI and Usability **

  • When opening files, CiderPress no longer restricts you to a specific type of file (ShrinkIt archive, ACU archive, disk image, etc.). Just open the file and CiderPress will figure it out.
  • The custom file+folder selection dialog, used when adding files, has been rewritten. The long-absent “Accept” button has been restored, and the newer style of dialog is easier to use.
  • The custom folder-selection dialog, used when selecting the folder to extract files to, has been replaced with a much nicer standard system dialog.
  • The font used in all dialogs has been updated to take advantage of ClearType.
  • Help files have been migrated from WinHelp to HtmlHelp, so it is no longer necessary to download the WinHelp viewer on Windows 7 and later.
  • Non-ASCII characters in the Mac OS Roman set — used for HFS filenames and IIgs documents — are converted to Unicode in the file list, file viewer, and many dialogs.

** Bug Fixes **

  • Corrected the default size of the file viewer, and the initial position when viewing tall SHR images.
  • Teach and AWGS conversions now handle “shadow” and “outline” (though you need to open the converted file in something like Word to actually see it). Applesoft listings with carriage returns embedded in REM statements now match LIST output.
  • Fixed the 640-mode palette offsets in the SHR converter. (This was actually fixed a year ago by Bill Buckels, and available in v3.0.2-d1, but the patch wasn’t part of an “official” release until now.)
  • Expanded Gutenberg disk support to include Gutenberg, Jr disks.
  • DiskCopy images with resource forks (e.g. on the ByteWorks Opus ][ CD-ROM) now open with double-click.
  • File type associations, i.e. what makes it so you can double-click a file and have CiderPress open it, started breaking a bit with permission changes in WinVista. This has been fixed, but not perfectly.

** Internal changes **

  • Moved from a CVS repository on sourceforge to a git repository on github.
  • Registered a2ciderpress.com and moved the web site to it (now served up by github).
  • Updated the build files, which were originally set up for Visual Studio 6 (which dates back to 1998). It now builds cleanly “out of the box” with Visual Studio 2013.
  • Switched from _MBCS (narrow strings) to _UNICODE (wide strings). This affected all strings used in the user interface and in file names. The NuFX and disk image libraries still primarily use narrow strings, because they also build for Linux, but the Windows-specific parts are fully converted.
  • The help file “source code”, which used to be stored in a proprietary format, is now just plain text and HTML files.
  • Made various global changes to the source code, such as converting tabs to spaces, switching to variadic macros for debug log messages, and replacing vague C types like “unsigned short” with explicit types like “uint16_t”.
  • Fixed the Linux build, which had suffered from bit rot.
  • Updated to the latest version of DeployMaster (which creates the installer).
  • Expanded and updated developer documentation.

The net effect of all these changes is an application that looks a bit better, works a bit better, and will be much easier to patch and update in the future.

The newer build tools don’t support WinXP by default, but can be configured to do so. This required a few extra megabytes of DLLs in the installer. Earlier versions of Windows, such as Win2K and Win98, will not be able to run this or future versions of CiderPress. For those systems, version 3.0.1 should continue to be used.

Coincidentally, version 3.0.0 of NuLib2 has been released. The update was primarily a code refresh, with build fixes for Mac OS X, Win32, and Linux, but also added support for Mac OS Roman filenames on Linux and Mac OS. No meaningful change for Win32, though being built with the VS2013 compiler means the executable won’t work on older versions of Windows. Visit http://www.nulib.com/ for more information.

January 2nd, 2015

Open Apple #42: 2014 Year-End Roundtable, Eric Shepherd, Sarah W., Carrington Vanston

This month on Open Apple, we close out the year with our traditional Year-End Roundtable discussion. We’re joined by Eric ‘Sheppy’ Shepherd, Sarah W., and Carrington Vanston. We talk about alternate universes, our collective love of the IIgs, and Quinn takes cheap shots at Carrington. It’s the holidays, so Commodore users are given a respite. Well, a bit of a respite, anyway. Meanwhile, Sheppy solicits hatemail, Carrington calls shenanigans, and Sarah keeps everyone honest. Count the euphemisms! So many euphemisms!

As usual, we have lots of news to talk about as well. It’s been an amazing year for the Apple II, and we have new games, new hardware, and new video histories to share. I/O Silver is here, John Romero is there, and JSMESS is everywhere.

http://www.open-apple.net/2015/01/01/open-apple-42-december-2014-2014-year-end-roundtable-eric-shepherd-sarah-w-carrington-vanston/

December 22nd, 2014

Bill Buckels releases Bmp2DHR v1.0 ‘best Apple IIe graphics converter on the planet…’

After much tinkering and optimizing, Bill Buckels has released v1.0 of Bmp2DHR, a graphics converter for 8-bit Apple II computers. Check out Bill’s site for the impressive results!

December 22nd, 2014

Dagen Brock’s ‘Winter Demo’ for the Apple IIGS


SNOW

Get the disk image here

December 22nd, 2014

Classic Rogue ported to PLASMA by David Schmenk

To prove that PLASMA is capable of real algorithmic development, and looking forward to some Lawless Legends investigations, I built an intermediate project for your amusement. Harking back to the days of yore, when text terminals were the norm, I present: ROGUE.

Text based dungeon crawlers were quite popular in the ’70s and ’80s. One of the first for micro-computers was Telengaurd Dungeon, written by Dan Lawrence. He was the local computer hero at Von’s Computers where I worked as a Freshman at Purdue. He died just a few years ago from heart failure. This is a bit of a tribute to that early genre.

This version of ROGUE is somewhat different than others. It is very simple in most ways, but I have developed a (I think) unique visibility algorithm that runs extremely fast. Fast enough to run interpreted by the PLASMA VM on a 1 MHz 6502, and space efficient enough to allow for large (in the future) dungeons. The unique feature of this ROGUE is that lighting becomes critical and strategic. You are in dark catacombs, after all. You enter with a lit lamp, throwing off a circle of light. There are also torches throughout the catacombs that light up a small surrounding circle of light. Other items in the catacombs are mana (health+energy increase), a key, and gold. You will also encounter a number of enemies that will track you down to try and kill you. You will also encounter doors, locked doors, windows, water, and crevasses.

As you travel through the catacombs, you must watch your health, energy, and lamp oil levels. Once health reaches zero, you are dead. As energy reaches zero, your vision will narrow and you will no longer be able to run. When the lamp oil runs out, you will be cast into darkness. If you see any torches in your field of vision, you can navigate to them. Taking the torch will extinguish the torch and replenish some of your lamp oil. Note that as you travel through the catacombs, your map of what you have seen will automatically fill in. But, if you are in the dark, you cannot read your map. You must turn on your lamp or get next to a torch before you can read the map again. If you are in the dark and can’t see any torches in your field of vision, you are in complete darkness. It is easy to lose your bearings. As such, the absolute direction movements no longer work – you will end up in a random direction if you try. However, the relative turns (left/right) and forward/backward controls continue to work (*that* you can do in the dark).

Being in the dark can be advantages, however. All the enemies in the catacombs can see you if you are in light, just as you can see them. If you are in darkness, they can’t see you, and you can move around without being tracked. Don’t run into them! Also, don’t fall off a crevasse. You will hear certain noises giving you feedback on what is going on. A simple beep when you run into walls. A groan when an enemy moves towards you. A bleep when you pick an item up. Other noises when you fall over an edge or win a battle. These can be used strategically when moving in the dark.

Rogue_Keys

Whenever you and an enemy end up on the same tile, battle commences. As you win fights, your skill increases, improving your attack effectiveness. As you advance through the catacombs, the enemies become more powerful. You will need to replenish health and energy with mana. Don’t forget, the alternative to fighting is stealth in the darkness. During battle, you have the option to run. If you have low energy, you won’t get very far. Also, when fighting, you get turned around so you can’t depend on the direction you were facing before fighting. Running (‘Q’uick) will get you away from enemies but will use much more energy.

Download:
http://schmenk.is-a-geek.com/tarfiles/ROGUE.PO

There aren’t really any Easter Eggs in this game. But, being in the Christmas Season, try booting this disk image on an Apple /// (real or virtual) :-)
Enjoy,

Dave…

December 22nd, 2014

Roger Wagner’s ‘Assembly Lines: The Complete Book’ re-released under Creative Commons

Announced by Chris Torrence via Usenet Comp.Sys.Apple2

Assembly Lines: The Complete Book is now available! The book contains all 33 of Roger Wagner’s articles from Softalk magazine, as well as appendices on the 6502 instruction set, zero-page memory usage, and a beginner’s guide to using the Merlin Assembler. The book is currently available for 40% off on Lulu.com, and will be available at Amazon in a few weeks. Note: Roger Wagner has released the book under a Creative Commons NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, and I’m currently working on the eBook version.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/roger-wagner/assembly-lines-the-complete-book/hardcover/product-21959093.html

FYI, I uploaded disk images of the Assembly Lines programs to the Asimov website:

ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net//pub/apple_II/images/programming/assembler/AssemblyLinesWagnerDOS1.DSK
ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net//pub/apple_II/images/programming/assembler/AssemblyLinesWagnerDOS2.DSK
ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net//pub/apple_II/images/programming/assembler/AssemblyLinesWagnerProDOS1.DSK
ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net//pub/apple_II/images/programming/assembler/AssemblyLinesWagnerProDOS2.DSK

There are DOS and ProDOS versions. Disk1 contains the programs from chapters 1-17, while Disk2 contains the remaining chapters. Note that a few of the programs (in the DOS chapter) will only work in DOS, not ProDOS.

You can download a copy of the Merlin assembler for DOS at:
ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net//pub/apple_II/images/programming/assembler/merlin/Merlin-8 v2.48 (DOS 3.3).dsk

And for ProDOS:
ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net//pub/apple_II/images/programming/assembler/merlin/Merlin-8 v2.58 (ProDOS) Disk 1-2.dsk

Brief Table of Contents:

Preface
Introduction
1. Apple’s Architecture
2. The Monitor
3. Assemblers
4. Loops and Counters
5. Loops, Branches, COUT, and Paddles
6. I/O Using Monitor and Keyboards
7. Addressing Modes
8. Sound Generation
9. The Stack
10. Addition and Subtraction
11. DOS and Disk Access
12. Shift Operators and Logical Operators
13. I/O Routines
14. Reading and Writing Files on Disk
15. Special Programming Techniques
16. Passing Data from Applesoft BASIC
17. More Applesoft Data Passing
18. Applesoft Hi-Res Graphics
19. Calling Hi-Res Graphics Routines
20. Structure of the Hi-Res Display Screen
21. Hi-Res Plotting in Assembly
22. Even Better Hi-Res Plotting
23. Hi-Res Graphics SCRN Function
24. The Collision Counter, DRAW, XDRAW
25. Explosions and Special Effects
26. Passing Floating-Point Data
27. Floating-Point Math Routines
28. The BCD, or Binary Coded Decimal
29. Intercepting Output
30. Intercepting Input
31. Hi-Res Character Generator
32. Hi-Res Character Editor
33. The 65C02
Appendix A: Contest
Appendix B: Assembly Commands
Appendix C: 6502 Instruction Set
Appendix D: Monitor Subroutines
Appendix E: ASCII and Screen Charts
Appendix F: Zero-Page Memory Usage
Appendix G: Beginner’s Guide to Merlin
List of Programs
Directory Listing for Program Disks
Index
Quick Reference

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