March 17th, 2017

Alien Downpour preorders now available

Michael Packard of Snacking On Software has announced the imminent availability of his new 8-bit shmup, Alien Downpour — "a fast-action arcade-style shooter". It is developed in assembly language and will run on any Apple II with 48K of RAM.

Alien Downpour will be available mid-April 2017 in disk image format. Additionally, a limited run of DOS 3.3 cassettes and 5.25" floppies, packaged in Ziploc bags, will be sold for $20 each, including shipping anywhere in the world. Preorders are being accepted via PayPal.

March 16th, 2017

Dagen Brock releases GSplus, buckshot & ksynthed

Dagen Brock, prolific software developer and host of the GS Programmer’s Home, recently produced a software hat trick of Apple II tools he’s developed.

GSplus is an open-source, cross-platform Apple IIGS emulator based on KEGS and GSPort. Despite still being in alpha, the latest build supports drag-and-dropping disk images onto the emulator to have them show up in the Finder desktop.

buckshot is an open-source, cross-platform image conversion utility. It takes modern image formats (PNG, JPEG, BMP, etc.) and converts them for use on the Apple II.

ksynthed is a small music editor and player library for Apple II, based on ksynth. The player library can be loaded into Applesoft BASIC, then CALLed to play songs (or notes).

Brock demonstrates all three tools in this YouTube video in which he uses GSplus, buckshot, and ksynthed to create an Apple II game called Applezini:

March 15th, 2017

Found internal Apple memos about Apple II copy protection

Ben Vandermeer, an Apple enthusiast in Seattle, was at a Goodwill thrift store when he discovered a stack of Apple’s internal memos from 1979 detailing "Software Security from Apples Friends and Enemies" (SSAFE), a form of digital-rights management (DRM) that Apple was developing. Writes Vandermeer:

This was a proposal to bring disk copy protection in-house to sell as a service to outside developers. Inter-office memos, meeting notes and progress reports all give a good idea of what a project lifecycle was like. Different schemes and levels of protection are considered, as well as implementation primarily on the Apple II+ and the upcoming SARA (The Apple ///) and Lisa computers. Randy Wigginton is featured prominently throughout, along with mentions of Woz and many other familiar names.

All 116 pages of memos have been scanned and made available in the Internet Archive.

March 14th, 2017

A glimpse at Nox Archaist

Mark Lemmert of 6502 Workshop recently blogged about the current development status of Nox Archaist, the upcoming 8-bit tile-based RPG, and what the game will be like when it launches later this year.

The post includes a discussion of the tone of the game, a preview of a few villains players can expect to encounter in the adventure and details on expected combat system mechanics. Some highlights:

  • The game engine is approximately 75% complete
  • Programming for the combat system is about 50% done
  • Players will be able to:
    • Place spell casters and archers behind fighters
    • Select a specific mob target for each player attack
    • Aim area of effect spells at large groups of mobs
    • Collaborate between thief/assassin and fighter types for increased critical hit chances
  • Nox Archaist will be a fairly dark game, featuring such foes as demon lords and death knights
  • Characters will be able to choose separate armor to protect their head, torso, feet, and hands
  • Dungeon graphics are being designed by Hollywood animation artists Bill Giggie and Robert Padovan
  • Gameplay will be balanced between combat and non-combat activities

For a more in-depth preview of this game, read the entire blog post.

March 8th, 2017

Oz KFest 2017 – August 30th – September 3rd

The next Australian multi-day retro computing gathering, Oz KFest, will be happening on Bribie Island near Brisbane, Australia, August 30 through September 3, 2017. Come join us down under for a few of days of retro inspiration, Aussie ingenuity and camaraderie!

The goal of the event is to provide a user group style environment to exchange ideas and discuss new developments in retro computing hardware, software, preservation, emulation and other related topics.

There will be a few attendees of past KansasFests and Oz KFests in 2009, 2013, and 2015 and we hope to imbibe the spirit of these events into Oz KFest once again.

Having grown in numbers of attendees over the previous 3 events, this year’s event will take place at a venue that provides onsite accommodation and catering which will further facilitate interaction between participants and provide an experience very similar to the well known and loved KansasFest.

The presentations during the weekend will come from the participants and therefore an invitation is extended for session proposals to be made via email to ozkfest@gmail.com

If you have an idea for a session that you’d like to present, please let us know so we can allocate a time slot for you. If you would like to learn something, let us know what that is and we will try to find a presenter for that topic.

Registration for the event is not yet open. However, now is the time to block out the dates in your calendar, arrange how to get there and plan your session topics. If you need help, let us know how we can help.

For event details, see http://ozkfest.net and for breaking updates follow @OzKFest on Twitter.

Reminder that the ‘Downunder Chat’ happens every Friday night from 9pm Australian EST in irc.a2central.com #a2.chat

March 4th, 2017

Open Apple #68 (February 2017) : Emulator Updates, EDD, Softalk #3

This month on Open Apple, Mike and Quinn sit down with each other and catch up on all the news they’ve been neglecting lately. We discuss the disappointing 8BitDo controller, get excited about remanufactured printer ribbons, and pretend to know anything about EDD. Follow along as we review Softalk volume 1, number 3. The ads are always the best part! Meanwhile, we manage to sneak in one more Kevin Savetz reference, and a Boo Atari in the same breath. That’s the Open Apple Way™. You won’t want to miss this month’s Apology to Call A.P.P.L.E segment. We’re going to need a bumper for that (and the Australians) soon.


Open Apple podcast

March 3rd, 2017

DarkSound by ByteBoosters

Alexander Krauss of ByteBoosters writes in to let us know that their Apple IIGS Stereo Sound Card and Digitizer with line-out is now available:

DarkSound by ByteBoosters. Take full potential of the IIGS Ensoniq sound chip by enabling Stereo output. Furthermore use the Audio Digitizer feature to sample sound and use them on your IIGS with virtually any IIGS digitizer software such as AudioZap.

Head on over to eBay to get yours now!


March 2nd, 2017

Brutal Deluxe to deliver KansasFest 2017 keynote

KansasFest 2017, the 29th annual Apple II convention, is scheduled for July 18 – 23 in Kansas City, Missouri. Antoine Vignau and Olivier Zardini, the French Brutal Deluxe Software programming team known for countless original Apple II programs and archiving efforts, will join us with a keynote presentation to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apple II.

Vignau and Zardini founded Brutal Deluxe Software in 1992 focusing on 16-bit software. The team created programs, such as the Convert 3200 graphics tool, and adapted games like Bille Art, The Tinies, Cogito, Blockade, and LemminGS. The team remains active and has since released numerous titles, including Cadius (disk image utility), Merlin 32 (cross-assembler), You, DustHead! (disk head cleaning utility), i’m fEDD up (disk archiving), MountIt (disk image tool), and Fishhead (file copier). They also created comprehensive archives of cassette tapes, French cracking and underground groups, machine serial numbers, and unique documentation.  This year, Brutal Deluxe published demonstrations and tools for playing quadraphonic and octaphonic sound on the Apple IIgs. A quarter-century of continuing Apple II innovations and personal perspectives on the European computing scene are sure to delight and inform KansasFest attendees.

KansasFest is an annual convention offering Apple II users and retrocomputing enthusiasts the opportunity to engage in beginner and technical sessions, programming contests, exhibition halls, and camaraderie. KansasFest was originally hosted by Resource Central and has been brought to you by the KFest committee since 1995. Any and all Apple II users, fans, and friends are invited to attend this year’s event. Registration details will be announced on the KansasFest Web site, and registration will open on March 31. For photos, videos, and presentations from past KansasFests, please visit the event’s official Web site.

Brutal Deluxe

(Warning: Picture from 1994. Products shown may vary from actual products.)

March 1st, 2017

Juiced.GS Volume 22, Issue 1 now available

Juiced.GS Volume 22, Issue 1 (Mar 2017)Volume 22, Issue 1 (Mar 2017) of Juiced.GS, the longest-running Apple II publication in print, has now shipped. This issue features a tutorial for telnetting to bulletin board systems from your Apple II; reviews of the AP40 wireless Bluetooth game controller and the Floppy Emu storage device; an interview with Joe Santulli, co-founder of the National Videogame Museum of Frisco, Texas; a behind-the-scenes look at ProRWTS, the filesystem controller by Peter Ferrie being used in the game Nox Archaist; and much, much more!

This is Juiced.GS‘s first quarterly issue of 2017, its twenty-second year in print. The complete 2016 volume is now available as a bundle. Subscriptions for 2017 are $19 each for United States customers, $24 for readers in Canada and Mexico, and $27 for international customers.

February 9th, 2017

T2A2 – The transputer is finally here!

Axel Muhr from Germany has released his T2A2 card, a transputer card for the Apple II. Read his announcement and get yours soon!

 

Hey a2central gang,

I’d just like to send you a quick heads-up, that my T2A2 (“Transputer to Apple II”) interface finally became a real PCB – 6 years after you ran a news-line about the prototype (http://a2central.com/2683/t2a2-apple-ii-transputer-interface/). Well sometimes it just takes a tad bit longer :-D

http://www.geekdot.com/t2a2-for-everyone/

I ran a first initial batch of 20 as I have no idea how big (or small) the interest is, as this is really something, uhm, ‘special’ ;-)

T2A2 Transputer

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