the blog

Some Toys I Got

I had fun playing with the Amiga 500, eventually got it up to 4MB of RAM, 750MB of hard disk, upgraded the Kickstart ROMs to 3.1, and put a ton of WHDLoad games on the hard drive by way of RS232 and ZModem (I kid you not). Eventually I got kind of stuck with its slow speed, lack of affordable upgrade path, and worst of all, no ethernet to speak of (yes I'm aware of the rare sidecars or the possibility of adding a Zorro card, good luck with that).

So it's in a closet now. In its place is a brand spankin new Escom Amiga 1200. I got a PCMCIA ethernet card, a 40GB (!) internal 2.5" HDD, 8MB of clockport RAM from Germany, and a brand new Indivision AGA internal scan doubler from their most recent run. The Amiga and Apple IIGS now each get their own displays thus:


Hey, what's that thing sitting on top of the Apple IIGS? The postman also brought me an AE Audio Animator for the Apple IIGS. I always liked the stupid mixer box, but I haven't tried the MIDI yet. In that shot, the Amiga is running Lion King AGA. Let's have a shot of System 6.0.1 and AmigaOS 3.9 side by side:


You can barely see it, but there it is, in 640x480 mode, with colorful icons and the enormous red mouse pointer. I should add that with the Indivision AGA, the Amiga 1200 can push 1024x768. Unfortunately the un-upgraded 14MHz 020 is rather pokey and it runs you out of graphics RAM. Someday I'll spring for what (the Amiga supermarket!) calls a "turbokarte", but for now I'm satisfied with the Amiga collection.

Lately I'm getting back to my IIGS video game development (what can I say, goodness takes time), using the IIGS partitions off the CF card, dumped into KEGS-OSX. I'd really like to release something, but I want it to be good. Someday.


What Is The IIGS Disk Images

The What Is The Apple IIGS people have come through again.

They appear to have recently gotten onto a CompactFlash kick, by way of the CFFA card. And they've published 10 .hdv hard drive partitions on this page. I've been installing a game or two at a time onto my (Microdrive Turbo) CF card as time permits, but they were way ahead of me. Someone out there actually made sense of all the HD installers and patches.

After playing with the .hdv images in KEGS-OSX and seeing that they were in fact awesome, I ran to Walgreens and paid way too much for a new 256M CF card. Here's the procedure I followed, using a Mac with USB CF reader (which came up as /dev/disk1):

1. Insert old (256M, 8-partition) IIGS CF card, and

dd if=/dev/disk1 of=cfimage bs=512 count=256

This gave me a backup image of my original CF card. The first 256 blocks hold the Microdrive configuration and the partition map, and I need to carry that information over to the new card.

2. Insert new IIGS CF card, and use Disk Utility to re-partition it as 1 partition of 'free space', to keep it from automounting, which kept me from being able to use /dev/disk1. Then,

dd if=cfimage of=/dev/disk1 bs=512

3. Select .hdv partitions to use and install them:

cat WhatIs/System\ 6\ +\ Free\ Games.hdv  WhatIs/Action\ Games.hdv  WhatIs/Adventure\ and\ Sim\ Games.hdv  WhatIs/Sports\ and\ Unreleased\ Games.hdv WhatIs/Social\ History\ and\ Computers.hdv  WhatIs/Reading\ Writing\ and\ Maths.hdv WhatIs/Board\ Games\ and\ RPGs.hdv WhatIs/Productivity\ and\ Graphics.hdv > cfimage

dd if=cfimage of=/dev/disk1 bs=512 seek=256

Bingo, just like that, it worked. But understand that because of that 256-block header, the last partition is going to be 128Kbytes short, so some files or directories might not exactly work properly (I think just Emerald Visions 2 in this case).


Between this, and a Golden Orchard CDROM in the AppleCD drive, a stunning percentage of All Things IIGS is available for the clicking. Forgive me as I waste another beautiful Key West Sunday playing games on the Apple IIGS.


Adventures Continue

You know how these things go. Work happens. Life happens. Actually, first work got out of hand, then I may have overreacted by moving to the Florida Keys to enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere as it were. But I assure you I'm no stranger to retrogaming despite the recent transplantation of my entire life.


Who's that next to the IIGS? Yes, its old nemesis the Amiga 500. They say they've gotten over that stupid misunderstanding from their BBS years and are the best of friends now. Which is nice because they share a scan doubler (I hesitate to lay out the cash for another one of those).

I've become a Master Detective on Where In The USA Is Carmen San Diego?, having solved some 37 cases. I've also played a ton of Gateway To Apshai on the Atari 130XE and Commodore 64 (DTV Joystick actually) and pondered the ease of porting it to the IIGS, particularly in light of rather complete documentation of how the entire game works.

Thank you to the gentleman who emailed me a couple weeks ago. The dream is alive, and I'll keep these pages up to date.