04/12/2012: Pangea Software Celebrates 25 years of Game Development via YouTube Video
Pangea Software, who started on the 8-bit Apple II, but first gained attention through the IIGS and its commercial game Xenocide as well as its 24 hour games and shareware games Orbizone, Senseless Violence I & II and Cosmocade, has posted a video on YouTube Celebrating their 25 year anniversary. The video reveals how Brian Greenstone started the company back in college and reveals some very interesting facts and tidbits from not only the IIGS era, but his later working relationship with Apple and then further success with iOS. A great watch.
12/11/2012: Accrued Updates: Hostage Box and docs! Plus many more docs! Mad Libs Box! The Joy of Hard Drive Image Submissions! MultiScribe GS Returns!
Right, submissions have been accumulating over the last couple of months and it's time everyone's hard work to archive the IIGS was enjoyed by all!
Antoine Vignau (did you REALLY think he'd stop helping?!) has submitted something highly prized, to me anyway: The IIGS box of Hostage. In the 10 years I've been scouring eBay for IIGS stuff, this has never appeared. Through a haul in Belgium, Antoine was able to secure the box, as well as the manual and disk label scan. All are available from the Hostage archive, except the disk label scan - those will appear at a later date on the site. The new box replaces the old Amiga version placeholder I've had for years, that has the incorrect 'Hostages' title.
And just for an encore, Antoine has also provided the Big Red Computer Club versions of manuals for the following programs: the Bard's Tale I and II (which include interesting manual addendums for the newer GS/OS versions of these two classic games), Mazer II (possibly the most enigmatic IIGS game ever, where a manual should provide more of a clue), Zany Golf, The Immortal, Cartooners and Instant Music. Additionally, better quality scans of the documentation for Ultima I are available. After answering a request on comp.sys.apple2, we also have the full manual (albeit in black and white) for Apple's Video Overlay Card. One last piece of documentation very welcome is the English translation to the docs for Photonix II.
If that wasn't enough, Antoine has also found the ultra rare Sound Source Star Trek Audio Clips for the IIGS. Originally comprising three disks, these classic Trek samples are among the best quality sound bites I've heard on the IIGS and you can setup each sound using System 6's sound control panel for different functions of your IIGS that provide audio feedback. The documentation is also included.
Another Mac to IIGS release for multimedia is the Bruce Jones Design Inc. Maps!Maps!Maps! collection. Whew. Thanks Antoine!
Adding to Antoine's manuals, Andrew Roughan has submitted the manual for the Second Sight card, the third party solution enabling VGA graphics capabilities for the IIGS! Andrew's also let me know I need to create a list of manuals still needed to complete the archive...I promise I'll get onto that soon!
Matt Reichert made a surprising find - an Apple IIc+ specific version of California Games. Although screen shots were included on a IIc+ review for the November 1988 issue of A+, I just assumed there was a 5.25" disk drive hidden away in the background, but it turns out that was a bona fide screen shot with the game being run from the built in 3.5" drive. Really, the only difference between the IIc+ and the version for the IIe and IIc is the disk medium - the IIc+ version comes on a single 3.5" disk and doesn't require disk swapping, and that's a genre this archive is wanting to collect for. You'll find the disk image, box and IIc+ manual addendum all from the California Games (8-bit) archive. It also works perfectly well for the IIGS, but preferably, you'd want to play the IIGS specific version with better graphics and sound.
Another welcome contribution has been made by your favourite YouTube poster and mine, Brian Picchi. He's scanned the box to Mad Libs, a hard to define title that I've included under Reading and Writing.
Clayton Cummins has submitted something new that I'd love to see everyone submit more of: entire hard drive image dumps. Why do I want to see these types of archive? If they're from SCSI or Vulcan drives from back in the the IIGS' heyday, they might include some rare software, system add-on, icon or imagery, etc. that's not yet archived. And in the case of Clay's contribution, it's turned up exactly that:
Shareware games Backgammon by Phil Doto, Memo Cards by Carole Fox (translated into English from the French original) and Solitaire by Bill Hamshire (adding to his collection of well executed card games).
I've included these new additions on the System 6 bootable image that includes Shareware and Freeware games, trying to keep together the other works of Phil Doto and Bill Hamshire. Just a suggestion for a 32meg volume 2image - if anyone's got a fully installed GNO/ME with lots of executables installed with it, I'd love to get my hands on that.
Robert Gomez has quite rightly pointed out there's no downloadable archive for MultiScribe GS, the precursor to BeagleWrite GS. So if you now download the zipped archive, it will also include v3.01 of MultiScribe GS. The older version still seems to exhibit intermittent unresponsive mouse clicks when used with Sweet 16.
Buy a CFFA3000 for your real IIGS if you haven't already. I believe there are still quantities of this amazing card, so order one to enjoy your Apple II with a major speed boost without physical drives and multiple storage mediums!
27/09/2012: Major Update to System Add-ons
This is easily the biggest update to the System Add-ons 32 meg volume. Apart from the new additions listed below, some duplicates have been removed, others put into more suitable categories:
System Add-ons (~12.5meg)
Most notably, added software from Aaron Pulver — there's some very cool stuff here! Firstly, there's the NetTime CDev. This nifty control panel will enable you to sync to a time server (if you've got an Uthernet or LANCGS ethernet card and Marinetti installed), which helps allay the problem of incorrect time on your IIGS if your Battery RAM (BRAM) is dead (short of you having to manually update the time).
Another gem is Aaron's Address Book NDA. This little beauty includes cellular/mobile phone and email fields, something no other address book NDA does on the IIGS.
What's better still is that I recently got in touch with Aaron to ask for permission to include these system add-ons (along with Bisquit INIT, Freek NDA, Second Sight Toggle CDA) for Aaron was happy and also alluded that he's returning to IIGS programming to improve these system extras - hopefully to enable NetTime to be automatic on start-up (which in league with other BRAM system extensions, would negate the need for replacing your IIGS' BRAM!) and getting Address Book v1.0 final. Look forward to those updates!
And there's lots of miscellaneous new additions:
Finder Extras (FExts)
v1.0.1 updates to Chris Vavruksa's Finder Extras: CD Remember (a cool utility that remembers open Finder windows from write protected volumes (like CDs) when you return to the Finder after checking out an app, as well as Finder Refresher (redraws Finder windows) and Work Sets (which allows you to record a bunch of folders to open in the Finder at once).
rPacker Finder Extension by Brian D. Wells. An interesting Finder extension that saves drive space (and possibly load times) by deleting empty or placeholder resources. Back up your data (as the docs say) and give it a go - it might enhance the performance of System 6 on your IIGS. It doesn't seem to work with Sweet 16 however - using the same System 6 install I put rPacker on, it works fine with ActiveGS, but crashes the system on Sweet 16. When it works, I managed to save 62k of data running it through my System 6 install with shareware and freeware games. Not bad. Although I only scrounged 2.5k from the Action games volume.
Also from Brian is Fix Finder Windows. It's a patch that apparently fixes the ‘About', ‘Help' and ‘Preferences' windows and dialogue, although I can't fathom exactly what the problem is. I'll be trying this one time patch out regardless. Perhaps GUPP (the Grand Unified Patch by Nathan Mates) fixes the problem? It's included for completeness and is in the Patches folder.
Teach Reader Finder Extra by Jupiter Systems/Chris Trimble has been updated to v1.01, including several bug fixes.
Newer version (v2.0) of DiskOpen Finder Extra by Greg Betzel.
rBundle Banger FExt by Clayburn W. Juniel III. In the spirit of improving resources, rBundle Banger helps sort which filetypes are linked to what application you want opening them.
AZERTY NDA by Huibert Aalbars - for AZERTY keyboards, obviously, but not sure if it's needed for System 5 and up.
BRAM Detect NDA by ?, complete with source code.
A time waster NDA - Bugs by ?
RAMDisk Manager Demo NDA - only a demo, but purports to speed up RAM disk 3 times faster.
Minehunt NDA game by Nathan Mates.
Accessory Chooser by Alberto Paglino is yet another NDA to load other desk accessories.
AE RAMKeeper CDA - should provide useful utilities for those with these cards.
Switch Control Panel CDA by Tim Grams. Not sure what this does, but for use with the IIGS control panel and ProDOS 8 apps.
Nexus by Tony Morales - adds commands to NiftyList.
There's a CDA that unmounts Appleshare volumes. No docs included.
BASIC Errors CDA by John Link
CDA Term by Guy T Rice now includes all docs and source.
TWGS Reporter by John Link, another CDEV that provides info on your TranswarpGS, which I haven't been able to test without access to a TWGS. It may only work with System 5.0.2 as well. Can't imagine it would hurt too much if you gave it a go with System 6.0.1.
Newer version of Font Edit (v2.01) with docs. and Font Scan v0.5.
Newer version of Font Doctor (now v1.0b11 over v1.0b9)
SF Fix - an init that fixes a bug specifically with System 5.0.4 and prefix #8 when returning from ProDOS 8 programs - never encountered this bug myself.
Le Fix - an init that fixes potential crashes caused by programs that incorrectly setup the line edit toolset incorrectly, apparently TML Systems' demos are the main offender.
Nicon patch by Jeff Dickson allows you to decide if startup icons for CDevs and Finder Extras appear at boot time. Useful for limiting the number of icons appearing when System 6 boots.
Ultra Blanker v2.06 by Robert S Claney is now included, but v2.0 is still included, as that still allows it to be run from System 5.0.4.
OnHold INIT by James Stanford that replaces the usual wristwatch waiting cursor with a spinning beachball (which is actually the last thing I'd like see whilst emulating a IIGS under OS X!).
Some new random Icons:
And even a couple of new finds for shareware/freeware games:
Let it Ride Texas Hold-em Poker game by Thad T. Taylor (a bit rough around the edges, but enjoy)
Battleship by Chad Faragher and Jim Gauld (I remember liking this back in the day, but it doesn't seem to let you quit!)
As always, Antoine Vignau is to thank for a lot of this stuff (especially from his recently re-released DeluxeWare CD-ROM). I hate that guy. He's the nicest guy and the most amazingly talented programmer and cracker you could ever hope to get encouragement and aid from! ;-)
Even after all this time and existing software, there are still some system extensions I'd like to see on the IIGS.
1) AutoMenus, but configurable so you need a single click to pull down menus (currently, existing AutoMenus versions simply reveal the pull down menu if you mouse over them). With a click, this would mirror the convenience of Windows and OS X.
2) I'd love to see a Finder Extra that simply added the ability to restart the IIGS, changing the boot scan slot to 5 or 6. This is a feature that was included in MouseDesk, as well as Instant Access, and it's a great way to quickly start up that DOSless demo or game without having to manually change settings in the control panel. Good for real 3.5" drives, emulated ones, or with the CFFA 3000!
3) There's probably a third one, but now I can't remember it. Anyone else have any ideas as to what they'd like to see enhanced in System 6.0.1?
Anyone got a copy of Fontasm v2.x in English?
And now for something completely different:
Mitch Spector has found this rather interesting blog on a special IIGS game that was never released. What do you make of it. The site possibly hasn't been updated since 2005, but I've emailed the author. Hope he gets back to me.
01/07/2012: IIGS News Summary
What's been going on in the Apple IIGS world?
Well, here on the site, if you follow the forums, you'll see a request was made by cbee as to locating two of John Carmack's earliest games, released for the Apple II. John Carmack is of course famous for programming Commander Keen, Wolf3D, Doom, the Quake games and most recently, Rage. The games in question are Shadowforge and Wraith: The Devil's Demise and they are now included in the beta section of 8-bit Apple II games on 3.5 disk.
Speaking of John Carmack's early efforts on the Apple II, another source of his work can also be found in Softdisk and Softdisk GS collections, original monthly on-disk publications, where the Dark Dimensions and Catacombs series of games similar to Shadowforge and Wraith made their debut, are now no longer available. Apparently another party has since bought the rights to the entire back catalogue to Softdisk Publishing, and there's been no word on re-releasing the Softdisk collections on CD-ROM as Syndicomm had done up to a year ago before their license expired.
In news away from this site (and there's been plenty of it) Ewen Wannop has created a Sweet 16 starter kit in the form of a customised 32meg 2image for the OS X emulator. It's a self booting image that loads up System 6.0.1, Marinetti, the TCP stack that allows a IIGS to connect to the internet (and with a specific link-layer, enabling you to do this all from Sweet 16). Also on the 2image are Ewen's unique GS/OS apps for handling email (SAM2), Usenet (SNAP) and FTP (SAFE2). The last is particularly useful, as not only can you access FTP sites like Asimov and the GNO Archive, but you can also access the boot volume of you Mac...handy, because now you can easily transfer files to AND from your virtual IIGS to OS X. This is a most welcome solution, as since OS X Lion, Apple removed Rosetta and with it, the ability to use the ageing ADFS program for transferring files to and from 2image archives. I plan on upgrading to Mountain Lion from Snow Leopard soon and I can relax in the comfort that this gives me in that I'll still be able to add files to 2images.
Which is a great segue to introduce Brutal Deluxe's CADIUS. The first release of an effort by Brutal Deluxe to create great cross platform development tools for IIGS software (and hinted at by Olivier Zardini in the comments section of a blog article I wrote about the state of software development for the IIGS) this software enables a command line interface for handling disk images. But more than that, it allows control over text file formats (cleaning the high-bit) as well as the precious handling of resource forked files, which both the IIGS and Mac use, but become corrupted on any Windows volumes. Stay tuned for more.
Dr Ken Franklin got in touch with me earlier this year and let me know that Plunder, which is one of my all time favourite IIGS games, is set to become a board game! Look forward to that! I think it would also make a great iOS game, or even a Facebook game, given its turn based nature.
David Finnigan has released a book called ‘The New Apple II User's Guide' - it covers the advances made to the II series since its heyday, as well as getting anyone up to speed on how to use any Apple II. And Steve Weyrich is now in the process of creating a book based on the many years of research and revision of his Apple II history. I'm envious that others are getting on top of their Apple II publishing projects!
In defence of the tardiness of my own book, there are two primary factors:
1) Life getting in the way. Those I've been in touch with the most over the last two years will know I quit my long term job in Melbourne, Australia, saw a LOT of Europe in 2010, have worked in many contract jobs in London for the last 18 months, and in between bouts of unemployment, continued to add content to this site and work quietly on the book in the meantime. I'm about to embark of the next leg of my adventure with my girlfriend Bronwen - to take in the parts of Europe we didn't have enough time to see 2 years ago and actually revisit a couple of spots we adored, including Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia and via the trans-Siberian railway, China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore.
2) My own surprise at learning things about the IIGS I never previously knew. As I'm continually delighted by researching every piece of software, publication and hardware I sift, discovering more than I ever knew, I hope I can re-create the same wonder in anyone who's interested in the IIGS and a visual history dedicated to it.
And the folks running KansasFest are once again preparing for another onslaught of geek heaven. If you love the Apple II and can make it to Kansas City July 17 to 22, do it!
Oh yeah, it was the 35th Anniversary of the Apple II in June, and apparently when the two Steves decided to create Apple Computer Inc, as well as the iPhone's 5th anniversary. Time flies...just hope we're still having fun!
14/04/2012: (Fashionably Late) Easter Updates
Apologies to everyone for not getting these updates out sooner (particularly to those who contributed), but at last, What is the Apple IIGS? has some new content! Andrew Roughan has submitted the following manual scans:
François has sent in scans for My Paint IIGS reference cards and a nice box scan to replace my original manual cover which I tried to pass off as the box! Hopefully we'll be able to make a working disk image of his version 2.0 copy.
Speaking of which, between François and Antoine, they’ve been able to produce a disk image for Shadow Dial – all those in France, be sure to play with it – you’ve only got until the end of April when the MiniTel service finally closes down. Be sure to take a few screen grabs with Shadow Dial so we know how it looked on the IIGS!
The most exotic find this month has to go to Mauro Rospocher. He's come into the possession of a fairly rare card for the Apple IIGS (and II, II+ and IIe) called the Floating Point Engine. Combined with the drivers, this card will boost GS/OS applications by way of a maths co-processor. An image of the card, the software necessary to use it and the manual have all been included on a new archive dedicated to this piece of hardware.
Oh, and just a little specific request – if anyone has Nibble issues April 1987 and October 1987, could they scan the covers please? I realise Nibble can be bought from the original publisher Mike Harvey, however, I am compiling a complete cover scan collection that will be very high resoluton and retouched to maximise quality.
08/01/2012: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...no, for 2011 of course!
Well, it WAS that time of year again. You know, Christmas.
But I've been so busy with my new job in the UK and in the lead-up to Christmas, had no time to prepare my usual Christmas cheer!
But fear not, although you've already put away the Christmas tree, here are some things you could have put under it:
François Michaud, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last November, has contributed a few scans from his amazing collection (maybe I'll see it one day!): ShadowDial (now we just need a disk image for this rare IIGS communications program), Show Off, Life and Death IIGS Reference, McGee Reference and Balance of Power IIGS Reference Cards.
For another round of treats for which I can claim no responsibility for, subscribe to Brian Picchi's YouTube channel, predominantly featuring Apple IIGS game reviews, but some other great Apple II tidbits as well. Speaking of which, if you're more into 8-bit Apple II stuff, then check out Highretrogamelord89's channel for some great overviews of Apple gaming goodness.
Another gem I've recently found comes by way of Arnaud Brossard. He's managed to secure what is surely one of the very first CD-ROMs dedicated to the Apple II and released in 1990 - GEM (the Generous Efforts of Many) which was a comprehensive collection of freeware and shareware up to that point, and released in a very professionally put together package. I always love going through archives like this, as there's bound to be a few finds that haven't appeared on other archives. Sure enough, it's revealed a few more shareware games, which I have placed on my System 6 with free games image and the Sports & Unreleased Games image (which also includes shareware games).
Additionally, I've scanned through the NDAs, CDAs, INITS and icons of the GEM disc and included whatever wasn't included in my own System Extensions collection, including:
Xordan BiClock (Human and Alien Clock)
Crayon (change desktop colours)
Dates v1.1 by Joel A. Quejada
File Info by Steven White
Palette Puller by Ed Robisheaux
FixColour CDA (which prevents black and white Apple II desktop programs (like MouseDesk, Publish It!, Springboard Publisher, etc) from going into colour after visiting the classic control panel.
DeskTop Mod INIT by CK Haun
Dr Daily INIT by Guy T Rice (virus checker)
But surely the best Christmas gift we could have ever hoped to receive has come from Stephan Kleinert, who, to appease his girlfriend due to the growing size of his vintage Apple computer collection, has written a brand new game for the IIGS to keep her, and now us, amused! The name of the game is Mitosis, a clone of the existing game Ataxx, a 2 player strategy puzzle game that features cute graphics and sound wrapped in a nice simple interface that follows Apple's standard GUI.
The only (minor) problem with the game is when you quit - it crashes the system. Stephan has been unable to figure out what's causing it and so has included the source code along with the application. If anyone can make any suggestions, it would be most welcome. Hey, we might even turn Stephan away from developing on the Mac and iOS and to make IIGS toolbox programming his full-time ambition if we can solve this ;-)
You can also find Mitosis on the System 6 image with shareware and freeware games.
My new year's resolution is to finish collecting every piece of commercial Apple IIGS software and even every 8-bit educational and gaming software for 2012. Hope you can help ;-)
Oh, and as with last year, you'll notice all the news items from the last couple of years are no longer accessible. However, that's not quite true, although I don't have an elegant solution to present news from 2011 and 2010 at the moment. The alternative is this: Click on the 'NEWS ARCHIVE 2009' button in the right hand column. Then, go to the URL bar. Notice that it's 'http://www.whatisthe2gs.apple2.org.za/news/2009'. Swap '2009' for '2010' or '2011' and you'll have access to those years worth of news again.