26

01/11

Apex Games Arrive

21:01 by akylas. Filed under: Games

A few weeks ago, shortly after Christmas, I ordered myself some of the best platform games made for the Commodore 64:

They finally arrived last week. Apparently the shipping delays in the United Kingdom have had far reaching effects on all shipments leaving the country.

Mayhem in Monsterland, Creatures 2, and Creatures

Unfortunately as it turns out, all the premium disks you see in the photograph above (the second row of the two) are in PAL. The seller I purchased these from, kindly gave me NTSC versions of Mayhem in Monsterland and Creatures 2, but not Creatures. I tried searching for a NTSC version of Creatures, but the three that I was able to find, none of them worked on my NTSC C64 (of course I used my XA1541 cable to transfer it). The only method I had of playing Creatures was through the VICE emulator, which unfortunately is not nearly as fun as in person. The sound does not even compare.

Left with no other option, I had to move onto Creatures 2, which I was able to play on the C64 using the included version from the seller. This game is amazing. It is even more amazing that it is able to accomplish all that it can on a Commodore 64. It’s a rather bloody game, which is pretty surprising given its otherwise tame environment (from the art and gameplay perspective). I’ve only gotten up to Stage 3 so far, since I’m not looking up how to accomplish the stages, but trying to figure them out on my own.

One final note, both the Creatures and Creatures 2 introduction screens are amazing. I only booted up Mayhem in Monsterland just to check to see if the included NTSC disk worked (up to the start of the introduction), so I haven’t actually seen its introduction yet or any gameplay.

12

01/11

Converting .d64 images onto floppy disks

21:08 by akylas. Filed under: Hardware,Software

The first thing I did was hook up my XA1541 cable to my Windows XP machine. If you’re looking for instructions on what to do to actually get the images onto floppies, do the following steps prior to hooking up the drive the first time:

  1. You first have to download opencbm. Download and unzip that in a folder.
  2. There’s an executable that installs the drivers to recognize the 1541 drives when they are connected to the PC. Install those.
  3. Unless you like working via the CLI, you’re going to want to download cbmxfer.
  4. Unzip those files into the same directory that contains the opencbm executabkes.
  5. Shut down your computer.
  6. Hook up the 1541 drive using the Xx1541 series cable to the LPT port on the machine of your machine. Turn on the 1541 drive and then turn on your computer.
  7. Once your machine is back up and running, open cbmxfer. Configure it as appropriate.
  8. Click the ‘Status’ button. If you get the drive information in the field in the lower right hand corner, you’re good to go.
  9. This is now the relatively tricky part. The first two and a half hours I used this application, the 5.25″ floppies I used either were not formatted correctly, or my drive(s) simply did not like them. I would get occasionally write errors, and many instances of 74,DRIVE NOT READY,00,00. If you get that, and you know your drive works fine, it’s probably your disks. Before I copy a .d64 over, I always format the disk. If it fails formatting, I don’t use it. Format it, then image it. Works great after that.

    I’ve loaded up GEOS 2.0, and geoLink now. They’re working great with my 64NIC+ !

11

01/11

At last! My XA1541 cable arrived!

23:48 by akylas. Filed under: Hardware

I came home from work late today, and found this gem in my mailbox:

XA1541 Cable

I immediately hooked up my AMD 800mhz machine running Windows 98, only to discover that cbm4win only has an NT/2K/XP driver for the 15xx series Commodore drives, or at least appears to be judging by the description. Fished around my closet and pulled out another machine, with an LPT port, running Windows XP.

As I type this post, I’m attempting to burn my first .d64 image (geoLink actially) onto a floppy. I’ve been waiting to use my 64NIC+ for a while, so I think it deserves the first test. Hopefully I’ll be posting relatively frequently over the next few days as I begin to test out all the software and play all the games I listed in prior posts.

The fun is just beginning!

05

01/11

Commodore Games

23:28 by akylas. Filed under: Games

What’s one of the first things I’m going to do with that XA1541? Play some Commodore games. A lot of Commodore games. Here is my list of games I’m just waiting to try out:

I purchased the following games, which are expected to arrive sometime in the next couple weeks:

This is going to be quite exciting.

05

01/11

ZoomFloppy launches soon

00:36 by akylas. Filed under: Hardware

As I sit here waiting for my XA1541 cable to arrive, we are days away from the anticipated launch of the ZoomFloppy, a device created by Jim Brain that allows you to hook up a Commodore floppy drive (e.g. 1541) to a modern-day PC via USB.

ZoomFloppy - Image courtesy of RETRO Innovations

As mentioned in a previous article, the easiest way to connect a Commodore floppy drive up to a PC of the 21st century is using the Xx1541 series cables. However, this requires that the PC you’re trying to connect to has a LPT port. With the ZoomFloppy, all you need is that device. You simply will be able to connect the floppy drive, using the same cable you would use to connect it to the commodore, to the ZoomFloppy device, then use a microUSB to USB cable to connect the ZoomFloppy to the PC. The PC would be providing power to the unit over USB.

Unfortunately, I purchased a XA1541 cable prior to knowing about the ZoomFloppy’s existence. I still may pick one up, as I haven’t pre-ordered it. Granted, it’s always good having multiple ways on hand to connect the 1541 up to a computer. I’m sure many hobbyists can attest to that. Also, my XA1541 is coming over from the UK and is estimated to take two to three weeks. I can probably order now and receive the ZoomFloppy before my XA1541 cable arrives.

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