17/06/2017: 8-bit Eduware on 32meg Disk Image

With the recent addition of so many 8-bit educational titles (see the Pelican / Toucan archives), I've decided to finish up a ‘beta' version of a 32meg image including nothing but 8-bit eduwares...some of which run correctly from a 'hard drive' or any large ProDOS volume. Others, not so much.

 8-bit Eduware (A self-booting collation of 8-bit educational software, ~15.2meg)

Why am I particularly obsessed with hard drive installable software? Well, if ever there was going to be a museum that allowed people to use Apple IIs to see what it's really like to use one, I feel having a solid state drive is a good compromise - yes, it does remove the experience of using real 5.25" and 3.5" floppy disks (but at the same time, putting less wear on these mediums and the drives that read and write to them), but it will provide (after a three finger salute reboot if a program doesn't offer a ‘quit' option) a more intuitive and familiar way of presenting a menu to select which program to load next. Also, this method should be much faster than traditional media, allowing more time to actually explore the software and less time waiting for things to load. Using 3.5" disk based 8-bit software is a good base to do this as the software has been designed to run the program and its data from a single volume, where as many 5.25" disks ask for different disks – this may simplify the process of getting as many working titles onto a ProDOS mass storage volume.

This 32meg image self boots and runs Sneeze v2.2 by Karl Bunker, a great program launcher (and then some, with some file management abilities and allowing you to read text files and view graphic files). 8-bit eduware is allocated across folders representing different educational categories. I've used the IIGS utility Universe Master to alphabetise the order of the files in every directory, which should help find what you're looking for more quickly if you keep this in mind.

The following is a list of what does and doesn't work on this 32meg ProDOS volume. It's possible that many of these titles could work if, when sector editing, the hard path looking for the program's data is changed to a file path for this 32meg volume. HOWEVER, this crude method (the only way which I am capable) might be limited by the already large number of characters in the volume name and then the name of a sub directory.

I encourage anyone with more programming and sector editing skills than I to see if you can correct any of the following:

40,000 Selected Words - Seems to work great
Alge Blaster - The only executable is SHELL.SYS...which takes you to a shell. Then what?
Alge Blaster Plus - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name
Algebra Shop - Seems to work perfectly
Animal Watch Whales - Explore Version date display - then hangs
Atlas Explorer - Hangs after launch
Banner Books Across America - Works perfectly
Fairy Tales Big Book Maker - Works perfectly
Children's Writing & Publishing Center - ‘*** UNABLE TO FIND STARTUP ***' error message, suggesting
Classmate - Asks for original disk. Now works from a hard drive, however is still looking for data on floppy disks.
Destination Mars - Works great
Electric Crayon - All work great
Explore Australia - Displays a crack date but then hangs
Gertrude's Secrets - works great with v2.3
Hollywood Squares - Works perfectly
Homeworker - Asks for original disk
Joshua's Reading Machine - Works perfectly
Magic Slate II - asks for original disk
Magic Spells - with v2.3, this could be hard drive installable. v2.2 hangs on title screen.
Math and Me - Works great!
Math Blaster - Fails after launching the BASIC startup program
Math Blaster Mystery - From System 6, works great with v1.3! ProDOS 8 - quits immediately!
Math Blaster Plus - Asks for original disk (may also require patch for record keeping to maintain students' progress)
Math Rabbit - Works perfectly
Math Shop - ‘CHECK YOUR DISK DRIVE' error message
Math Shop Fractions & Decimals - ‘CHECK YOUR DISK DRIVE' error message
Monsters & Make Believe - Works perfectly
Nature Park Adventure - Seems to work fine
Perfect Career - Error! Disk #2 not found message
Playroom, The - Works fine from ProDOS 8, but hangs when run from System 6.
Pow Zap Kerplunk Comic Book Maker - Works perfectly
Read n Roll - Works with v1.1, HOWEVER, recording keeping is still looking for the floppy disk - patch required to save students' progress
Reading & Writing with the Boars - runs but with graphic glitches
Reading and Me - Runs perfectly!
Reading Team People and Places - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name
Report Card - Works from GS/OS, but I haven't found how to make it work from Sneeze.
Return of the Dinosaurs - Hangs on HGR screen ‘Please wait'. Works only from the root directory!
Scholastic Slide Shop - Works great! (essentially Powerpoint for the 8-bit Apple II!)
Sensible Grammar - Seems to work great
Sensible Speller - Seems to work great
Sesame Street Learning Library Volume 1 - Seems to work great
Speed Reader II - Fails after launching the BASIC startup program
Spell It - Fails after launching the BASIC startup program
Spell It Plus - Works perfectly!
Story Starters Science - Works perfectly!
Story Starters Social Studies - Works perfectly!
Studymate - Seems to work perfectly
Super Print - Works perfectly
Super Print II - Works perfectly
Super Story Tree - Works perfectly
The Treehouse - Works perfectly
The Whole Neighbourhood - Works perfectly
Think Quick - v1.4 works with ProDOS 8, but doesn't with System 6
Vocabulary Team Science & Health - Asks for original disk to be inserted
Where in Europe is Carmen? ‘Error 45 on file 00' error then hang
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? ‘Error 45 on file FF' error then hang
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? - Crashes to monitor
Where is Carmen Sandiego in America's Past? - Works great, but this isn't cracked - you can play 1 case before the game then asks for a word look-up in the manual.
Word Attack - Fails after launching the BASIC startup program
Word Attack Plus - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name. Updated with version 1.2.
Word Attack Plus French - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name
Word Attack Plus Spanish - Asks for original disk to be inserted after you enter your name
Writer Rabbit - Doesn't work. According to the documentation the Learning Company released regarding newer versions of their classic eduware, there isn't a newer official version that will support hard drive installation. it will require a hack.
Your School Day - Works fine

With recent 8-bit 32meg disk images being done by John M Holmes Jnr and Jason Kersten on the Apple II Enthusiasts group on Facebook, Jason did a particularly good job using Prosel-8 to make a menu selection screen. I think I'll adopt this approach instead of using Sneeze for future revisions of this 32meg image of 8-bit educational software, as it's much more user friendly and efficient to loading each of the programs, not to mention that if the only to fix some programs is changing the hard path, an edited menu system can hide the ugly folder naming that would be required for hard path changes.

For those who have been in close contact with me, my wife and I have just had our second child and it's getting increasingly challenging to find time for the Apple II. For the meantime though, I'll get this 'beta' version out there so all can have a play with it, and if you're inclined 'fix' some of the programs listed above that aren't currently working on this volume.

UPDATE: 18/6/2017 – qkumba has already been able to hack Alge Blaster Plus! to work from a large ProDOS volume! The disk image has been updated with the newer version.

UPDATE: 19/6/2017 – qkumba has now patched both Explore Australia and Whale Watch and they now work perfectly from the 32meg image! Marco Verpelli has also done great initial work – Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego is now playable from any directory, and we've now also got the rare ProDOS based version of Where in the U.S.A is Carmen Sandiego – now fully working from any large ProDOS volume. Great work! There will be more to come!

UPDATE: 28/6/2017 – qkumba and Marco have been making great strides, meeting each new challenge with aplomb! Marco's got the entire 8-bit Carmen Sandiego series working from a hard drive (with thanks from Antoine Vignau for providing a disk image of the ultra rare Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego on 3.5" disk). But it's turned out it's not as simple as that – additional patches had to made to ensure saved games 'stick' after a restart, that references to saving games to floppy drives are removed, and there are still vestiges of each program asking for manual word look-up after the first case is solved, although entering anything will work. But it's awesome to play each of these influential titles from a single volume. For an encore, Marco's also made Math Shop and Math Shop Fractions and Decimals work.

qkumba's fixed Whale Watch and Explore Australia, and they required more than simply running from a hard drive too, requiring additional patches to load and save data after editing the built in stories. This has also led to adding additional 'Explore' titles, which have only been found in 5.25" format, but run beautifully from a large ProDOS volume including Rosie the Counting Rabbit, A Brand New View and What Makes a Dinosaur Sore? There are still many more in the Explore series to be found, so please archive them if they're on 5.25" or 3.5" disk – they are currently unpreserved. Additionally, qkumba's also made the Perfect Career and Classmate work from a hard drive, as well as the original Math Blaster and Spell It!

UPDATE: 8/7/2017 – I checked if there were other Pelican / Queue titles that had been archived on 5.25" disk to add to this collection and sure enough, there are: Monstrous Monsters, Bulletin Board Maker - City and Country, Bulletin Board Maker - Your Neighborhood and Banner Books - All Along The Alphabet - all thanks to 4am. Copying their application files to a folder created for each title, then creating a new folder in each called 'Pelican.Art' and copying all the artwork files from the 3 other 5.25" floppy disk images seemed to be doing the job of the single volume 3.5" disk release...although I also copied the 'DISK.INFO' file from other 3.5" disk releases to replace the one found on the first 5.25" disk image for each of these titles. Then they work great from a hard drive, not expecting files to come from the 5.25" disk drive.

In reviewing everything done for this 8-bit 32meg Eduware disk image, I found I forgot to copy over the 3.5" disk version of the original Word Attack – that's on the 32 meg image now, but still requires a patch to make it work from a hard drive, as well as look locally in its folder for additional files from separately released data disks. The same patch still needs to be done for all the original Davidson releases - Math Blaster, Spell It!, and Speed Reader II.

I also realised I forgot to copy over Read 'n Roll, so I did that from the v1.1 800k disk version 4am archived. Conveniently, it works from a large ProDOS volume straight away, HOWEVER, further testing revealed that record keeping is still looking to load/save from a floppy drive, so a patch will be required to provide full functionality to the game. This in turn also made me realise that I forgot to copy over Reading Team People and Places and Team Vocabulary Health & Science to the 32meg volume and In doing so, we've now run out of disk space (Team Vocab is too large to fit). Apart from shaving 3k from the Icons file, I'm out of ideas of saving more space on this volume for more programs!

One other minor note was that I tried 4am's crack of Math Blaster Plus! (a rather definitive educational title for the Apple II) to replace the version previously on the 32meg image that would quit back to the launcher almost immediately. The 4am crack will now load the 'fake' desktop of Math Blaster Plus, but now a dialogue appears asking to insert the floppy disk. At least that's progress. Old version must have been corrupted somehow.

Also, Report Card works fine from GS/OS now, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how to make it run from ProDOS 8 and Sneeze.