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21/04/2019: Pelican / Toucan 8-bit Creative Titles Now With Documentation

A couple of years ago Antoine and 4am nailed archiving a sub-genre of creative 8-bit software released by Pelican Software and later handled by Toucan software. I've also collated these titles onto one of two separate 32meg volumes in an attempt to get as much 8-bit educational software running from Apple II mass storage solutions.

Now Antoine's caught up with scanning all of the documentation for these titles!

Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz (1992-Queue) v1.4

Animals with an Attitude (1992-Queue) v1.4

Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid (1992-Queue) v1.4

Big Book Maker - Cute and Cuddly (1992-Queue) v?

Big Book Maker - Favorite Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes (1990-Pelican Software) v?

Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz (1992-Queue) v1.4

Animals with an Attitude (1992-Queue) v1.4

Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid (1992-Queue) v1.4

Big Book Maker - Cute and Cuddly (1992-Queue) v?

Big Book Maker - Favorite Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes (1990-Pelican Software) v?

Big Book Maker - Feel Good About Yourself (1992-Pelican Software)

Big Book Maker - Let's Pretend (1992-Queue)

Big Book Maker - Letters, Numbers, Shapes (1992-Pelican Software)

Big Book Maker - Myths and Legends (1992-Queue)

Big Book Maker - Quentin (1992-Queue)

Big Book Maker - Tall Tales and American Folk Heroes (1992-Queue)

Big Book Maker - The Rain Forest (1993-Queue)

Dinosaur Days Plus (1988-Pelican Software)

Robin Hood and Peter Pan (1992-Queue)

Robot Writer Plus (1988-Pellican Software)

Big Book Maker - The Three Princesses (1992-Queue)

Transportation Transformation (1991-Pelican Software)

Thanks again Antoine!

17/03/2019: Updates and the Current State of Solid State Storage

Following on the last series of updates, Antoine's now been able to scan the tricky manual for Color+, one of those ones that goes recto/verso when you disassemble it and have to reassemble it in the right page order once scanned. Additionally, Antoine's been able to crack The Word Master, although the hard drive installation patch will take a bit more work. Thanks as always to Antoine for his incredible diligence for archiving IIGS stuff!

Chris Morrison has let me know (some time ago) that some of my 32meg disk images (available at the bottom of the home page) show up with different file sizes – 32,768k and 32,769k as they appear in Windows. Images that are 32,769k can't be loaded onto previously formatted 32meg ProDOS partitions for use with the MicroDrive Turbo (or CFFA1, CFFA2, Focus, etc.) when using the Windows Apple II volume and file utility CiderPress. I don't know how some images ever became 32,769k, and as Chris noted, it's never been a problem using them with the CFFA3000 and emulators, but I've recently been setting up a MicroDrive Turbo for a friend's IIGS setup (and in the process added the driver disk and manual to the archive entry here on WITA2GS?), and came across this very issue – it's frustrating. So, I've fixed all the 32 meg images (available from the homepage) – so now no-one should have any problems loading these images onto 32meg ProDOS partitions on compact flash cards.

However, I've come across another weird problem with the MicroDrive Turbo – some (but not all) ProDOS 8 based IIGS games (Rastan, Task Force, Pipe Dream, Battle Chess, Neuromancer, Gnarly Golf, Zany Golf, John Elway's Quarterback, Bard's Tale I & II (the original IIGS versions) fail to run from a MicroDrive Turbo. But Tass Times in Tonetown and Antoine's crack and hard drive installable versions of Gauntlet and Paperboy, all ProDOS 8 based, work. The problem presents itself in GS/OS with it asking to insert the disk it's actually currently on, but can't seem to find the data it's looking for even though it IS "inserted". The same happens if you boot directly to ProDOS 8. From my personal testing, this behaviour is not present on a CFFA2, CFFA3000, Apple High Speed SCSI card with SCSI2SD or even a 40meg Vulcan hard drive, so the issue lies firmly with MicroDrive Turbo. Anyone with a bit more tech know-how want to look into this issue to see what the common cause is?

This also relates to a weird issue found with playing the IIGS version of the Black Cauldron with a FloppyEmu. After the game asks for disk 2, ejecting the disk image on the FloppyEmu and replacing it with the disk image for the second volume, the program can't seem to see the change and won't continue loading. However, the same disk images run fine from real 3.5" floppy disks, as well as a CFFA3000. You can also combine the contents of both disks to run it from a "traditional" hard drive without issue as well.

The bottom line is that while all these solid state solutions are great, not one product seems to offer 100% compatibility with IIGS software. Even my preferred CFFA3000 can't boot custom operating systems (like FTA demos) for which bootloaders depend on the IWM chip on the IIGS that can only be accessed by the floppy port. The FloppyEmu CAN load custom bootloaders however, because it's directly connected to the floppy port.

No one solution is perfect – but the perfect solution would be something like the CFFA3000, which enables you to mount and hot swap between disk images with a well designed control panel, but at DMA speeds and full compatibility with the IWM. And something like SCSI that handles I/O so you can take the heat off the processor, which as everyone knows is slow enough as it is! Hope someone's up for the task of creating the ultimate solid state solution for slot based Apple IIs!

03/03/2019: Welcome to 2019! And Updates Galore!

It's been awhile between drinks! In fact, I missed my usual Christmas fanfare entirely. I've been changing career, skilling up to become a User Experience Designer and that hasn't been kind to the Apple II hobby.

So it's time I caught up on what's been going on the last 3-5 months and summarising that for you long suffering readers!

Word Perfect IIGS is now Y2K compliant! The individual archive has been updated with Antoine's v2.1b Y2K fix, as well as on the Productivity & Visual Creative 32meg volume.

Antoine's been busier than that though. Got an Apple High Speed SCSI card and an Apple 300 series or greater CD-ROM drive? (I actually do!) Until Antoine fixed this, you couldn't control music playback with this combination, but now you can thanks to the SCSI-2 CD Driver. Details and individual archive available here or you can download my System Add-ons collection and find it in the "Drivers" folder.

Something else you'll also find on the System Add-ons 32meg disk image is Clip Copy Plus v1.1 from Chris Vavruska - updated with bug fixes for this useful Finder Extra that enables you to cut, copy and paste files and folders from window to window instead of having to drag them as Apple expects.

Networker v2 from Ewen Wannop has been released. Based on the earlier version, this rewrite offers multiple utilities to give Marinetti a good work out - Ping, Lookup, Traceroute, Whois, Port Scan and Explorer. All details can be found at the program's dedicated page. It's also been included on my self booting 32meg volume of Communication Apps.

Wrapping up the latest in IIGS software developements is a new programming concept for our Sweet 16 – MUMPS. Tom Raidna has developed a an efficient interpretive way to code on the IIGS. Version 1.3 is currently in beta with version 2.0 planned with a full GUI. Tom's providing lots of info to work with, even insightful video tutorials, to get you up to speed. I've included a new archive in the Shareware Apps section on WITA2GS? for MUMPS, but you'll find more resources at Andiar Software.

If you've been looking for the ultimate solution to output video from your IIGS to a modern 16:9 aspect ratio HDMI monitor or TV then the VidHD is for you. There's no product dedicated website to get it, but you can see how well the output of the card is from this playlist of videos that co-creator John Brooks has produced. More details can be found in the first and second video's description - including how to buy one. The card has been well received, but there have been issues especially affecting non-16:9 displays, but the first firmware update has fixed these issues.

The RAMPro IIGS manual and other details are now available thanks to Tim Buchheim (and thanks to Daryl "Aunty Entity" for creating his own in lieu of the definite article showing up).

Antoine's also been able to provide packaging scans for Stickybear Math (8-bit), Word Master, Aesop's Fables (along with scanning the manuals for these two Unicorn Software titles), as well as the interesting Color+ paint program.

Qkumba continues to do great work converting classic 8-bit games to run under ProDOS (and in most cases, GS/OS). My second favourite 8-bit game ever (after Airheart), is Captain Goodnight and I'm delighted it can be played from mass storage. You can quit the game after losing by visiting the high scores. Qkumba's also removed the need for the decoder wheel – there's now no message when you reach the submarine giving you the info you need to decode for when you reach the Doomsday Device at the end. It's still a smoking hot challenge to get that far though!

Also of note is the inclusion of the Quicksilver ports of mid to late ‘80s arcade games. They were definitely stretching the limits of the 8-bit Apple II in trying to resemble the fast animation and gameplay of the originals, but some of their later efforts made the most of double hi-res graphics for maximum affect. These games include Bad Dudes, Ikari Warriors, Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road, Commando, Heavy Barrel, Platoon, Batman, Kid Niki and Robocop.

Other games include: Picnic Paranoia, Genetic Drift, Quadrant 6112, Russki duck, Will Harvey's Lancaster, Lost Tomb, Alien Typhoon, Eggs It, Zenith, Hadron, Phaser Fire, Portal, Tunnel Terror and Photar.

All of these updates can be found on my self booting 32meg 8-bit Games volume of classic games.

The last tradition is that it's time again to provide easy access to old news. These links will take you back, year by year, into past announcements and inclusions of content on What is the Apple IIGS? Happy exploring!