Time Out for Some 8-bit Fun, IIGS Style

Posted by Alex Lee on 12 October 2014 | 12 Comments

Tags: DOS 3.3 Launcher, FastBoot, binary, single load, crunched, Choplifter, Wavy Navy, Hard Hat Mack, Galaxian, 8-bit, Apple II, Games

Over the last couple of years I've been dabbling in a sideline - 8-bit stuff. Not so much to take the focus away from archiving stuff for the IIGS, but I've been keen to put together, as definitive as possible, a collection of single load / crunched games on a 32meg ProDOS volume that'll work not only for emulators and the CFFA3000, but also as a standard partition for use with the CFFA v1 or v2, MicroDrive, MicroDrive TurboFocus or SCSI drive.

 

Using the Finder and DOS 3.3 Launcher

 

I came across DOS 3.3 Launcher, a software based solution for running DOS 3.3 programs from GS/OS, originally created by fellow Australian John Maclean and then updated by another good Aussie fellow, Andrew Roughan. I loved the idea that you could load DOS 3.3 programs from GS/OS by simply double clicking on the binary files in the Finder - a nice integrated solution, and it also automatically sets the IIGS speed to ‘Normal' and when you quit a game (by accessing the IIGS text based control panel and entering the DOS 3.3 Launcher CDA) it automatically goes back to ‘Fast' speed when returning you to GS/OS. I've given the binary files a colour coding system from the System 6 Finder - green means no issues encountered, orange means there are some issues (those crunched games that use QuikPak GS compression don't seem to successfully return to the Finder when quitting from the DOS 3.3 Launcher CDA). And Yellow denotes games that are hacks of original games, tried turning into new games...I think. They're mostly badly designed pinball games!

 

Choplifter from System 6.0.1!

Choplifter from System 6.0.1!

 

Not only could you try this with single loader crunched binary files, but you could do it for whole disk images as well, for those games where there isn't a crunched file...but it comes down to how closely the disk routines are to DOS 3.3 that allow it to work with DOS 3.3 Launcher, and unfortunately, quite a lot of classic Apple II games branch too far away from the way DOS 3.3 works for DOS 3.3 Launcher to run from GS/OS or ProDOS 8. However, I've discovered quite a few games that work perfectly - Gremlins, Donkey Kong, Elite, Starglider, Jungle Hunt, etc.

Anyways, I scoured many existing collections of single loader games (and unfortunately, lost track of which collections they were, but it does include the Definitive File Game Library), and assembled them in one volume.

 

FastBoot v3.4 in conjunction with DOS 3.3 Launcher

 

I also wanted this collection to be of use to 8-bit users as well. I stumbled upon a ProDOS 8 program launcher called FastBoot v3.4 by Ron Dippold, which opens ProDOS 8 programs, but also looks for DOS 3.3 Launcher in a folder and if it's present, will also load single loader or disk images through DOS 3.3 Launcher! Nifty! Booting the provided 32meg image (see below) this actually provides an incredibly quicker way of accessing each game as well, without having to wait to return to the Finder, which takes longer. FastBoot really is fast, and includes nifty keyboard shortcuts to quickly jump into directories, load executables and loading binary files. Alternatively, you can use the arrow keys to navigate around.

But FastBoot itself has some limitations, in that you can only have 26 files in any one directory, so I broke down the list of single loader games this way. The DOS 3.3 Launcher executable also has to be present in each of those directories, but that's not too big a problem given we've got the space of a 32meg ProDOS partition.

 

Hard Hat Mack (with infinite lives, damnit!)

Hard Hat Mack (with infinite lives, damnit!)

 

This collection's not perfect however - Hard Hat Mack is missing and there are probably a couple of other favourites not included as well - if you have single loaders of these, please test with DOS 3.3 Launcher first and if they work, send them on for me to include in this archive. In my quest to find a single loader of Hard Hat Mack that would work, I came across some patched games that allow you to cheat - allowing you infinite lives, it seems. That can be cool, but it's less of a challenge to each of those games.

 

Wavy navy (with infinite lives as well, unfortunately)

Wavy navy (with infinite lives as well, unfortunately)

 

I've also included, after more happy findings, a couple of helpful Classic Desk Accessories, to be accessed from the text based control panel by holding down the apple, control and escape keys. The first is called BW and it correctly changes Apple II hi-res graphics to monochrome on a IIGS. The IIGS has always done that for Double Hi-res graphics from the Display control panel, but it's never affected normal hi-res graphics. BW fixes that. Also, you might find it nice to have a quicker way of switching between Fast and Normal speed modes on the IIGS, thanks to speed switch - you can change the speed of your IIGS from the list of CDAs, rather than having to enter the control panel and then the speed option.

 

Swashbuckler!

 

On top of THAT, I've also copied across some ProDOS 8 games that seem to run fine from a hard drive (which don't require DOS 3.3 Launcher)...including a specially hacked version of Lode Runner, including Championship Edition with Level Editor...all from a 32 meg hard drive. I hope Doug Smith would have been pleased that his game was so loved that it was hacked to even run from GS/OS and a hard drive.

If you've got single loader games that work with DOS 3.3 Launcher that aren't included in this collection, feel free to send them on. Additionally, if there are any full disk image based games you find that work with DOS 3.3 Launcher, send those on as well. To save you time, I've included a folder in ‘DiskBasedGames' called ‘Duds', for games I tried and for which didn't work through DOS 3.3 Launcher - you'll know not to bother to try those ones. And let me know if I've missed any ProDOS converted games as well.

 

Alien Typhoon

 

For both, it's preferable to upload the full 32 meg 8-bit Games 2image with your modifications and let me know what they are so I can integrate them into this ‘official' archive. In the meantime however, enjoy this new archive:

 8-bit Games (A collection of oldschool Apple II games you can launch from GS/OS or boot from this 32 meg disk image ~14meg)

1/6/2016 Update: I've added P8CDA to the 8-bit games image. This allows classic desk accessories (only works on a IIGS) to be used even when only booting ProDOS 8, so now the CDAs for turning hi-res graphics to black and white and the quick fast/normal speed change are available when booting this disk image. In addition to this, I've also included the recent ProDOS hacks that qkumba has done, including Conan, Karateka, Impossible Mission II, Lady Tut, Mr Do, Moon Patrol, Swashbuckler, to name but a few.

8/10/2016 Update: I've included ProDOS 8 v2.4.1 by John Brooks on the 8-bit games volume. Thanks John for all your efforts into making this happen! Also, I've added more recent ProDOS hacks by qkumba, including my favourite 8-bit Apple II game, Airheart – complete with high score support! Other new additions also include Arkanoid, Crossfire, Repton, Sneakers, Agent USA, Paperboy, Robotron 2084, Beer Run, Defender, Dig Dug, Flip Out, Formula 1 Racer, Frogger.

10/10/2016 Update: Fixed BC's Quest for Tires with a newer version. Included USO's ProDOS conversions for titles that qkumba hasn't done: Bill Budge's Trilogy of Games, Nibbler, Pick-a-Dilly Pair, Sabotage, Starblaster, Stargate, Succession, Suicide and Tubeway.

12/10/2016: Added ProDOS conversions for Tomahawk and Donkey Kong by qkumba. Added Pipe Dream (8-bit), a new crack by T-Rex. Also added Hunt for Red October (8-bit) from an old archive supplied by Francois Michel back in 2002 that I forgot about!

23/10/2016: Added ProDOS versions of Victory Road (Ikari Warriors 2) and Cannonball Blitz by qkumba. Also added a ProDOS conversion of Norad by Chris Bower. Nick Westgate and Javier Rivera pointed out that on 8-bit Apple IIs, booting the 32meg disk image displays a 'REQUIRES AN APPLE IIGS' message, then quits to the new Bitsy Bye program as part of ProDOS 2.4.1. That message is only describing that 8-bit Apple IIs can't load the P8CDA application, which enables CDAs to be loaded on a IIGS without booting ProDOS 16 or GS/OS. For 8-bit users, simply delete the P8CDA executable (which enables useful CDAs on the IIGS, but doesn't for the IIe or IIc) and the message will not display again. It should also correctly launch FastBoot, which is the program launcher that will open single binaries as well as ProDOS conversions of games.

22/7/2017: Thanks to qkumba, Prince of Persia now runs from a hard drive and ProDOS! Probably the hardest hack to make for a game so well programmed by Jordan Mechner that it eaked out everything from a 128k Apple II, which doesn't leave much room for ProDOS to load ahead of it. It works great when booted from ProDOS 8 or GS/OS too on a real IIGS, but crashes to monitor using the Sweet 16 emulator (emulators should address these sorts of issues internally). qkumba is planning another release which includes being able to edit the game's attributes and isn't so quite tightly packed to meet a 128k memory limit. I've also added qkumba's other recent ProDOS conversions: Tubeway, Ribbit, Starblaster, Starblaster (Softsmith), Stargate, Spiderbot, Succession, Crisis Mountain, Dino Eggs (some replaced USO's conversions which didn't work from GS/OS).

2/12/2017: Qkumba has done it again! Ultima V, the last game in the role playing series and a behemoth at 4 double sided 5.25" requiring a lot of disk swapping over 8 sides, can now be played without storage medium interuption now that it's been made ProDOS and hard drive compatible! This has reminded me that I never put Deckard's ProDOS and HD compatible hack of Ultima III on this 32meg disk image collection – that has now been corrected. Also to be found in the 'ProDOSHackGames/U' folder is Ultima I, the re-release of 1986. So that's THREE Ultima games that can be played from a single ProDOS storage device now.

8/12/2017: Qkumba squashed a bug with the Ultima V ProDOS port, so you should enjoy trouble free gaming now. In the meantime, he's also added Norad, Nibbler, Sabotage and Bill Budge's Trilogy of Games. All are now availbale on the 32meg volume here.

17/12/2017: Qkumba's now added Ultima IV to his list of ProDOS conquests.

7/2/2018: Todd Holcomb wrote in to let me know about about port of Castle Wolfenstein done by Jerry 'awanderin' way back in 2014. And then by the time I found time to include that on this collection, qkumba came out with his version! I've included both in the 'ProDOSHackGames' folder under 'C', the 'alt' version being Jerry's version. Also, I've updated Ultima V as a new upload was made to Asimov, but I have no idea what the differences are or what was fixed, but it's likey to be a better version.

8/3/2018: With all the renewed interest in Ultima V thanks to qkumba's ProDOS patch, a lot of fans of the game have been keen to get it working with Mockingboard compatible cards and MIDI setups, which Ultima V famously supports. However, out of the box, the game's sound output options didn't work with the IIGS. Stephen G Van Siclen has pointed me in the direction of 'U5MBwGS', a BASIC program that patches IIGS memory to correct outputting Mockingboard and Passport MIDI music.

To use, boot this 32meg image (it won't work from System 6.0.x). Press escape to quit out of FastBoot, because sadly, it can't run BASIC files, only ProDOS 8 and single binary executables. You'll then be taken to Bitsy.Bye, from which you should go to the 'ProDOSHackGames/U/Ultima.V folder and select U5MBWGSLAUNCHER. Choose the slot of your sound card and you can also set border, background and text colours here for the game as well. Save your settings, then select launch the game. It'll ask which slot to launch from, so choose slot 7 (where which ever slot youve assigned to your mass storage volume) to reboot into the 32meg 8-bit games volume. The patch stays in memory despite the reboot. Staying in FastBoot, or choosing Bitsy.Bye, run the Ultima V ProDOS executable now (LOADER.SYSTEM). Going to the Activate Music section to finalise configuration of Mockingboard or MIDI setup.

Hopefully, that works. Unfortuantely, I can't test it myself, having neither a Mockingboard nor a Passport compatible MIDI card. Let me know how you lucky people with these sound cards get this to work. All the documentation for this launcher talks about enabling Mockingboard support – hopefully, MIDI support is enabled as well. Good luck!

10/3/2018: Thanks to Stephen G Van Siclen and Eduardo we can confirm the Ultima V launcher does in fact enable Mockingboard and MIDI music support on the IIGS. Also thanks to them I've added the Ultima IV patch, but again, it's untested at my end. But you can all try it out for yourselves in the meantime.

17/4/2018: I'm a bit late in adding this, but qkumba has released an unpacked version of Prince of Persia, just as he promised. This may require more RAM to play (although that won't be a problem on ANY IIGS) but it allows modification (the saved game is a file you can look into if desired) and all the game's easter eggs are intact (which are detailed in a text file included in this new version's directory 'PrinceOfPersiaU' in the ProDOSHackGames/P/ folder. The older packed version is still included under the folder 'PrinceOfPersia'. Enjoy!


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Comments

  • Awesome! I remember tinkering with DOS 3.3 Launcher when it first came out (in fact it still resides in the bowels of my GS hardrive somewhere) but back then only had the patience to convert over about 10 or less physical disks. Well, just downloaded that image partition to my real GS and thrilled at all the games to check out--without digging through hundreds of 5.25 floppies! And wow, some of these I literally haven't played in 30 years and had forgotten about! (seriously, it was 1984 when I got my first Apple II).

    No luck with FastBoot if it's the file labeled "Boot.system". It immediately crashes into Monitor, even if launched directly from ProDOS 8. Would prefer that for speed over the Finder when quitting out of games...

    And speaking of that, there's one major pet peeve I had with DOS 3.3 Launcher via the IIGS Finder. Music and sound are distorted if launched through GS/OS. Garbled and low pitched. Try listening to the opening tune in Canyon Climber for example. The only workaround, of course, is to start DOS 3.3 Launcher directly from ProDOS 8.

    Posted by Mitchell Spector, 23/10/2014 8:46am (4 years ago)

  • brilliant!

    Posted by Sean Fahey, 12/10/2014 10:26pm (4 years ago)

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