20/12/2009: Christmas Presents!
This year, thanks chiefly to the efforts of Arnaud Brossard, we have some Christmas cheer to spread around the Apple II community. Never wanted to dip your toes into the waters of some of the IIGS' more involved games? Well fear no longer, as we've got a hell of a lot of complete documentation for games and even a few applications as well:
We've got docs for 4th & Inches, Aaargh!, Alien Mind, Arkanoid II, Art & Film Director, Balance of Power, Battle Chess, Bubble Ghost, California Games, Copy II Plus v9, Dark Castle, Defender of the Crown, Déjà vu, Déjà vu II, Deluxe Paint II, Designasaurus, Destroyer, Dream Zone, Final Assault, Gold Rush, Great Western Shootout, Hacker II, Halls of Montezuma, Hyperstudio, Jigsaw, Keef the Thief, King's Quest, King's Quest IV, Manhunter: New York, Marble Madness, Mixed up Mother Goose, Monte Carlo, Neuromancer, Paperboy, Pirates, Questron II, Revolution 76, Rocket Ranger, Shadowgate, Shanghai II, Silent Service, Silpheed, Space Ace, Space Quest, Sub Battle Simulator, Task Force, Test Drive II, The Bard's Tale (with official hint book!), the Bard's Tale II (also with official hint book!), the Hunt for Red October, The Immortal, The Last Ninja, The Secret of Bahras, The Three Stooges, Thexder, Tomahawk, Tower of Myraglen, Volcanoes, Warlock, Winter Games, World Games and Zany Golf.
Dan Chisarick has also pitched in with a complete scan to the manual for Omega; now you should be able to program the A.I. of your killer tank. I've also scanned the docs to Fast Break, which should help you to master this complex basketball game.
Arnaud must have spent many, MANY hours scanning in each of the manuals. To compliment his hard work, I've retouched, optimised and OCR'ed every one of them thanks to Acrobat 9 Pro's terrific handling of converting documents to searchable text. That's right folks, each of these PDFs is completely searchable - find that small bite of information super quick.
I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas and that you can put all personal differences aside and cherish the times you can spend with your family.
27/11/2009: Thanksgiving Updates
Why not give an American holiday a spin for providing some much needed updates to ‘What is the Apple IIGS?'. Happy Thanksgiving!
Firstly, thanks to Arnaud Brossard at www.apple-iigs.info, we have two new software inclusions to the archive. Storybook Weaver, an educational program I've been after forever, has been included and a worthy edition it is; it takes terrific advantage of the IIGS by way of following Apple's Human Interface Guidelines, is System 6 compatible, hard drive installable and uses great graphics. The IIGS's resident cracker, Antoine Vignau, very kindly removed the copy-protection scheme for Storybook Weaver. Incidentally, there is another Storybook Weaver program for the IIGS called ‘Storybook Weaver: World of Make Believe' which was reviewed in GS+ back in their Sept/Oct 1992 issue. If anyone has any information on that title, it would be greatly appreciated.
The other new inclusion is Drive Cleaner. Released by Seven Hills Software in 1992 it came with not only IIGS specific software but a blank (and I mean really blank with no magnetic media inside) disk with which you used the included cleaning pads, placing them in the disk shell and applying cleaning fluid to the exposed area of the pad. The software would specify a certain amount of read rotations of the drive and in the process, cleaning it. The software is provided as is and you may be able to use it with other brands of 3.5" disk cleaning products, but ‘What is the Apple IIGS?' won't be held responsible if it screws up your 3.5" disk drive!
Expect to see a larger collaboration between www.apple-iigs.info and ‘What is the Apple IIGS?' by year's end.
In other exciting news, Ken Franklin, creator of perennially fun classics One Arm Battle, Plunder and Milestones 2000, has released One Arm Battle for the iPhone! Buy it now and enjoy turn based multiple player delight on the go.
Making the news yet again, Antoine Vignau of Brutal Deluxe has been up to all sorts of shenanigans. Firstly, he's been disassembling the Sword of Sodan demo and revealing all sorts of interesting clues as to the fabled, never released full game and secondly, he's been busy disassembling the IIGS from top to bottom. Hopefully more news will be revealed soon.
And now for something completely different: an awesome tribute to the demo scene - in Lego!
30/08/2009: Sweet 16 v2.1.3
Sheppy continues to update Sweet 16 and fix those lingering bugs. Version 2.1.3 fixes speed control and further improves emulation performance for PowerPC based Macs. The recent disks menu has been cleaned up as well, making it easier to find the recent disk you're looking for from the list.
Another bug that's been reported and the cause found is a 'key repeat' issue, whereby you may encounter Sweet 16 randomly repeating keys, usually occurring after you make multiple key strokes yourself. The cause has been traced to the 'EasyAccess' system setup init, and disabling it will completely fix the problem. I've disabled the extension on both the System 6.0.1 hard drive image and the image with Taifun Boot that allows you to boot into multiple different versions of GS/OS from the one ProDOS partition, to help prevent the bug appearing again.
Big thanks to Eric Shepherd for continuing to update Sweet 16, a project that yields him no monetary rewards due to the program being freeware.
17/08/2009: News Roundup
Apologies for the lack updates, life has been very busy. I picked a bad time to not have time, because there's been lots of news:
Pre-KansasFest, the web browser based online Apple IIGS emulator Active X (based on KEGS) was updated by Olivier Goguel to support Intel based Macs! To compliment it, Bill Martens has implemented this new ability into Virtual Apple ][ so Intel based Mac users can relive the Apple II (and IIGS) via Safari or Firefox.
Already mentioned was that Sweet 16 v2.1 was released at KansasFest for PowerPC and Intel based Macs running Mac OS X 10.4.11 and higher, but now Sweet 16 v2.1.1 has superseded it, fixing many bugs and improving performance dramatically. Sheppy's created an online Sweet 16 Survey through which users can let him know what they'd like to see improved.
During Mt KeiraFest, Mike Stephenson released v1.0 of Colouring for the IIGS. I love this program: when it first came out in beta, the years seemed to go into reverse, back when the Apple II still reigned supreme for children's software. Great stuff and another reason why any IIGS should be kept so kids can explore our favourite computer too.
More recently, Brutal Deluxe have been working more of their magic to improving GS/OS. Not content with their accomplishments to add improved DOS 3.3, DOS 3.2 and rDOS File System Translators (FSTs) they've now made it possible to mount disk image archives on the System 6.0.1 desktop and behave like RAM disks.
Rich Dreher's deep in development for his CFFA3000 project, an expansion card that will add a virtual floppy drive to your original Apple II hardware and allow you to boot from disk images typically used by emulators. If you haven't already, pass on a message to Rich to show your interest...and why wouldn't you be interested when this single expansion card can replace all of your physical floppy disks and drives!
I love a good icon for Mac OS X and Pixel Press Icons has released some retro goodness in the form of their most recent creations covering vintage Apple hardware.
Last but not least, we've got some new content for the site: the 'Using Appleworks GS' book cover has been submitted to us by Thomas McLaren from DigitalDinos, which incidentally, has a good range of Apple II items on sale at prices cheaper than what you'll see on eBay. Clay Cummins has also pitched in and submitted a scan of the Digicard 4 meg RAM card.
26/07/2009: Welcome to 'What is the Apple IIGS?' v3.1!
You might notice some improvements around here:
The content management system has been updated to Silverstripe v2.3 and with it, a new search feature, so you can quickly find that game/app/educational software/hardware/publication as well as filtering specific search results based on different criteria like year, publisher, etc.
Also, you'll also notice we're tapping into eBay - each individual archive will now check if it's available on eBay, as well as displaying the next few IIGS related auctions to go. Collectors shouldn't miss a thing! But that's not all: you can now rate each and every archive on the site, the results of which can be collated for everyone's benefit (especially for newcomers to the IIGS) when finding out what makes up the best of the IIGS.
Last but not least, you'll find some nice aesthetic enhancements as well: apart from substituting that distracting animated starburst in the top right hand corner of the layout with a much nicer banner, the site will now suggest to users of Internet Explorer 6 that, well, it's time to enter the 21st century by way of using newer and better alternatives like Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome. This will ensure you're browsing the site the way it was intended, not to mention rendering the pages a lot quicker as well. All of these new features are available now, so why not take a dip into IIGS nostalgia once again?
Once again, a huge round of applause to Rane Bowen for implementing these new features!
26/07/2009: KansasFest 2009 Finishing Up - Sweet 16 v2.1 announced
KansasFest, the regular, annual Apple II get together is coming to a close in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.
Eric Shepherd has announced that Sweet 16, the Apple IIGS emulator for Intel and PPC Macs running Mac OS X 10.4 and up, has been updated to version 2.1. Get all the details from the Sweet 16 v2.1.
I would have loved to have attended the Mt Keira Fest, the Australian equivalent held at the same time as KansasFest, but my work priorities prevented me from travelling interstate this year. Next year, hopefully!
24/05/2009: The Diary of an Apple II Genius
Wade Clarke wrote in to let me know about the blog of Jordan Mechner, creator of two of the most seminal Apple II gaming classics: Karateka and Prince of Persia. Mechner kept a diary during developement of Prince of Persia and it reveals all aspects of its production - video filming used as reference and for rotoscoping for the character animation, programming, a construction set program to build the levels, all the usual corporate bullshit that took place at Broderbund, a title screen created on the IIGS, choosing packaging designs, shipping the actual product and tracking its monthly sales with the hope they'll pick up (despite the fact Broderbund knew at that time the Apple II market was slowing down).
It's a terrific insight into Mechner's dual passions for film and computer games and his successful marriage of the two. Having finished development of Prince of Perisa nearly 20 years ago, it's wonderful to see that his joy of programming the Apple II and the subsequent success of the Prince of Persia franchise has come full circle and given him enough influence to allow him to write the screenplay (he was writing screenplays at the same time as producing Apple II games) and be executive producer on the upcoming blockbuster film of 'Prince of Persia', released by Disney no less, an inspiration to Mechner in the realm of animation. Jordan Mechner, we salute you!
In other more site releted news, I've added archives for Your Money Matters, Quick Click Morph, PMP FAX and FAXination, Vince Cooper has granted permission to make Complete Pascal v2.0 available again as long as it's not-for-profit and I've added a list of screen grabs required to complete that collection of visual material to include in the coffee table book. If any of these are your favourite games, please revisit them and take as many screen grabs as you can along the way.
10/05/2009: A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That
Just a couple of new inclusions:
Peter Wong sent in a scan for TML BASIC, beating Paul Zaleski by a week. Sorry Paul! :-)
Also, in my quest to obtain scans of the covers of everything Apple IIGS related I've been pursuing every avenue I can, including libraries Using the Libraries Australia site, which keeps a database on what each Australian library contains, I've found that La Trobe University has a few items relating to the IIGS. I visited there today, dusted down some IIGS related books and brought my lightweight CanoScan 1240U, but found only one publication the archive was missing - 1001 Things to Do With Your Apple IIGS. I'm making further enquiries as to what software La Trobe has in storage.
Are there similar repositories in the United States? Is anyone able and willing to visit these libraries and scan the covers of the titles listed on the 'You Can Help!' page?
In other news, I caught wind that Rich Dreher, hardware designer extraordinaire, is working on a new version of the Compact Flash Card Reader for the Apple II. He's planning on making the next revision include a virtual disk drive feature, meaning that disk images for 3.5" and 5.25" disk drives, at 800k and 140k respectively, can be used instead of using real physical media. This is FANTASTIC news, because it potentially means you'll never need to rely on floppy disks ever again, as disk images can be loaded from a compact flash card, including games (like Alien Mind or GATE) and demos (like those by the FTA) which are not possible to run from a hard drive. Hopefully some software wizardry will be included that will allow users to swap virtual disks mid-game by way of a classic desk accessory, or something similar. To encourage Rich and let him know you'd buy one as soon as they're available, drop him a line via his website.
Last but not least, the manual included within this archive for the CMS SCSI card was scanned by Andrew Roughn.
19/04/2009: Many New Hardware Inclusions
Welcome to the next round of content additions to 'What is the Apple IIGS?'!
The disc controllers hardware category now includes scans of each of those expansion cards, plus some new ones. Thanks to Clay Cummins the archive now includes the CMS SCSI card, the Applied Ingenuity Inner Drive controller card and the Inner Drive itself and the CV Technologies GS Memory card. I've had some other scans for quite a while that I just plain lost track of but, but David Wilson and Ewen Wannop provided scans for the InSyder and Cirtech SCSI cards, along with the Cirtech 4 meg RAM card.
All roads seemed to converge on Computer Eyes GS in the last month or two; I received scans from two different people, Clay Cummins and Matthew Machnee (who also sent a box and manual cover scan), after a couple more individuals let me know they could provide a scan real soon. One of which was Andrew T. Foster, who sent a complete PDF of the Computer Eyes' manual on ahead of a scan of the card itself.
David Wilson's also contributed a cover scan for the IIGS ProDOS 16 Reference book.
I've made some further eBay based purchases, and have bought Iconix, Sonix (two programs to allow BASIC to access the better graphics and sound capabilities of the IIGS from its earlier Apple II siblings) and Disc Commander (a disc utility program). All three were made by So What Software back in the day, which has seen a revamp with the launch of their newly updated site. Be sure to keep an eye out on eBay as those items regularly re-appear after auctions finish. Looks like they've got a few left in stock.
Last, but not least, ProTerm v3.1, the venerable 8-bit based comms software, has been reclassified freeware by the newly reformed Apple II Lost Classics project. As per the agreement of the freeware version, I have only included a link to that site and not included the archive here on 'What is the Apple IIGS?'.
06/04/2009: Splat! Found and Adventure Alive M.I.A.
Following a request from Michael Stephens for the Splat! source level debugger on comp.sys.apple2, Andrew Roughan sprang into action and found his copy, which had been reclassified as freeware by its author Mike Hackett back in 2005. Just goes to show some more recent software and reclassifications can get lost so quickly.
Speaking of which, who's got a working archive of Adventure Alive 1 & 2? The links from A2Central no longer point to working SHK files.