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10/12/2019: GSTape Archive Updated to v2.1.3

Petar Puskarich has also found, searching among his long lost archives, his personal updated copy of GSTape, v2.1.3, the SCSI tape backup software. This newer version could be the difference between restoring a tape backup or not...assuming your tape hasn't already turned into a useless spool of very thin plastic film thanks to ravages of time and resulting entropy.

01/12/2019: Music Studio Bonanza!

Petar Puskarich has recently found his copy of the previously unarchived v2.0.1 update for the Music Studio 2.0. Addtionally, Petar remembered how to install and successfully run the Music Studio from a hard drive - include the "Waves" folder on the root directory of the volume it'll be run from. The Waves are the 64k collection of instrument data to fill the Ensonq DOC RAM.

I've installed it to the  Utilities & Aural Creative volume, in the Creative.Aural folder.

Another tip that Petar has for getting MIDI up and running, if you have an accelerator, is to turn it off during Music Studio's startup and inital setup with MIDI. You can switch your accelerator back on after that for continued use with or without MIDI. Additionally, Petar notes that he's only had success using the Apple MIDI box and not the Passport card based alternatives.

To mark the occasion of the convenience of now running Music Studio from a hard drive, I've finalised a new 32meg disk image that includes a huge amount of Music Studio tracks:

 Music Library (Music files to playback and edit with Music StudioDiversi TuneSound SmithNoiseTracker and ALF format ~16meg)

Gene Koh, who was the music contributor to SoftDisk GS and the composer for Pangea games Senseless Violence II and Cosmocade has created a huge number of tracks across all genres, some with customised instrument sets. Additonally, the French Rock and Jazz collections by Gorgor and Menace are on disk as well, which can be enjoyed from the Music Studio itself or from their self loading player and slideshow program – an early example of a IIGS demo. Be sure to install Tool 58 (included) though to hear the music!

26/07/2019: KansasFest 2019 Roundup

IIGS and gaming related KansasFest 2019 highlights. Let's go!

Marinetti v3.0b11, the TCP/IP stack of the IIGS, is available thanks to Andrew Roughan as an update from a ShrinkIt archive. Simply overwrite your old System.Setup file with b11 and reboot. Voila! Bug fixes and speed improvements, huzzah!

NetDisk and DiskBrowser has been released to compliment the updated Marinetti. With this, you can mount disk images (ProDOS order, 2image, Disk Copy v4.2) over the internet and use them within GS/OS (but not ProDOS 8). The Disk Browser part will let you directly connect with the Internet Archive to mount disk images there. Pretty sweet! Thanks be to Stephen Heumann. Be sure to check out his other awesome Marinetti apps if you've got an ethernet card for your IIGS - AFPBridge (which lets you connect to AppleTalk servers for file access) and VNCviewGS (which lets you connect to and control PCs and Macs if they have VNC enabled).

I've updated everything through Versions on my  Communication Apps 32meg volume with the very latest from Ewen Wannop, Chris Vavruksa and Stephen Heumann. Enjoy 21st century comms ability with the IIGS and an Uthernet I or II card.

Jesse Blue of Ninja Force was at the Nordlicht 2019 demo party to release the Shoddy Demo, with help from Dagen Brock. Shoddy is the new black, thanks to time pressures! Enjoy new visuals and tunes on the IIGS!

Burger Becky is to work on a IIGS specific version of Nox Archaist! Project lead Mark Lemmert has only confirmed that a boxed, IIGS version will be released after the initial Apple II, PC and Mac versions have shipped! This is exciting news for IIGS players wanting to make the most out of machines.

qkumba had time over KFest to do a whole heap of new ProDOS conversions:

Free Fall, Hyper Head, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, Star Thief, Star Blaster, Asteroid Blaster, The Spy Strikes Back, Seafox, Aztec, The Bilestoad, Laser Bounce, Labyrinth, Kamikaze, Frogger II, Cubit, Horizon V, Galaxy Gates, Black Magic (The Apple II's answer to Ghosts 'n Goblins), Xevious, Ballblazer, Roadblock, BC's Quest for Tires (redo), Zaxxon, Alien Typhoon (redo).

and I've included them on my 32meg archive of classic 8-bit games.

But the best to classic gaming is yet to come: qkumba and 4am's year long project Total Replay includes all ProDOS conversions up until KansasFest 2019 with an awesome program selector with attract mode including screen shots and game play demos – a great screen saver! Boot and play 203 classic Apple II games without swapping a disk! On any Apple II with 64k of memory and support for 32meg ProDOS partitions (if you've got a MicroDrive Turbo, CFFA 1 or 2 or Focus Drive, you can quickly copy the 32meg disk image to a 32meg ProDOS partition like this.

06/07/2019: Goodies Before KansasFest

All eyes will soon be turned to KansasFest once again to find out what everyone's been doing with their Apple II's since last year's biggest get-together of all things related to Apple's first line of computers.

But before July 16, there are a couple of awesome things to play with on the IIGS thanks to Ewen Wannop and Chris Vavruksa.

Ewen's added yet another feature of modern operating systems to the IIGS – a version check and download application. Yes! All of his communications programs can now be updated by Versions semi automatically when any of Ewen's popular suite of internet applications for email, usenet or FTP are updated, or Ewens utility apps as well (Breakdown disassembler, Chewbagger sector editor, Phoenix file recovery, etc). You'll need to use Marinietti and an appropriate hardware solution (Uthernet I or II, LANceGS) to connect to the internet to make it happen (which is what modern OS require for this feature as well). Ewen's extended the offer to any and all developers on the IIGS who'd like to provide their software via Versions to keep everyone up-to-date easily.

Chris Vavruksa's most recent entry into the utility scene is GSummer, a New Desk Accessory that does file checksums to maintain data integrity. Could be useful to track down those lingering bugs with the HFS File System Translator (FST) that still seems to affect large volumes using that Mac's volume format method with GS/OS System 6.

For the  System Add-ons volume, I've included The TypeChanger Finder Extra, which enables file type changes for multiple files at once. It can be found in The Finder.Extras folder.

But the best is yet to come: SysFont v2.1 NDA, which allows you to change fonts within dialogues and pull down menus separately across all or specific GS/OS apps – a godsend for providing something other than Shaston! It seems a LOT more stable than Dave Leffler's MenuMaster v1.1 NDA in doing the same thing. I've also added my updated version of the Smallville.8 font that can be a complete replacement for Shaston if you want - it even supports all the extended characters used like Apple logos, bullets, accented characters, mathematical symbols, you name it. It can be found in the NDAs/GUI.NDAs/SysFont folder. Enjoy this excellent customisation to System 6.0.x.

The documentation for each is in Japanese, so excuse the odd jumble of characters, but these programs are easy to use with a little experimentation. Both were created by Keiichi Urabe, who sadly passed away some years ago. I hope his work can be further appreciated outside of the Japanese Conversion Kit for System 6 (something I need to include in the System 6 archive).

17/06/2019: Sifting Through Applesauce to Find Little Golden Nuggets

If you haven't heard about John Keoni Morris's Applesauce yet, well, it's THE best way to create disk images. Why? It records a disk image at the magnetic flux level. To cut a long story short, this means you can create disk images (in the new .woz format) that include the original copy protection, but the program is none-the-wiser it's a copy because it's utterly perfect. Some emulators, like Virtual ][ and Open Emulator, support the new .woz format, and some hardware does too – the FloppyEmu and WDrive do (alas the CFFA3000 does not and is unlikely to).

The Applesauce is a hardware solution that plugs into your Mac (currently, the software is Mac only) and you plug your 5.25" or 3.5" disk drives into that device. You'll need to fit a sync sensor to your classic drives to record flux level detail when imaging disks. Using the Applesauce software (which is really fun to play with with the resulting .a2r and .woz files even if you don't have the hardware like me), you then specially make these disk images.

Antoine Vignau, being a renaissance man, has scanned a rather large collection of 3.5" disks for both the IIGS and 8-bit Apple II software since the format has been in developement for support in Applesauce. His efforts can be downloaded from the Internet Archive as the raw .a2r files from the Applesauce. Using the Applesauce software myself however, I've been able to convert them to 2images for general use. This means that anything copy protected won't work, but I've found some great little nuggets sifting through this collection that haven't been widely archived before.

Notes 'n Files v1.3 (I have NO IDEA what's changed in the newer version apart from the About dialogue) and a demo of version 1.0 (although the demo looks like it's copy protected!) has been found, with only v1.0 having been archived before.

Softwood GS File now has a v1.0 demo version attached to it, in French no less! Note that it doesn't work with the Sweet 16 emulator, just like the original v1.0 full version.

I also played with new images of Art and Film Director, the animation software from Epyx. Alas, nothing seems to be different from what's on archive, but it did make me think to try of moving its folder on the  Productivity & Visual Creative 32meg volume to the root directory as a possible fix for the Film Director component not running from a hard drive...and it now works! That and the newer version of Notes 'n Files is now available on this volume.

Salvation Supreme v2.0 came as a surprise – The core apps for virus checking, storage repair and optimisation are the same versions, however, the Bakkup app is now at v2.0 and supports back-ups to tape drives. Additionally, Wings, the Finder launcher alternative previously released as its own stand alone package, has been updated for System 6.0 with the Supreme bundle, previously it was incompatible with it. So another particularly nice find!

Graphic Writer v2.0 has been found and archived. Not to be confused with Graphic Writer III v1.0 and v1.1, this is the version inbetween, still maintained by its original author, Gary Crandall, before Seven Hills took over distibuting the product.

Rocky's Boots v4.1, the well known and respected Learning Company eduware has been archived and this may be the last version ever produced. Amazingly, it didn't include any copy protection and works from a hard drive without any modification. So I've included that on my 8-bit Eduware 32meg disk image.

And for classic AppleWorks fans, I've found these utilities for AppleWorks 4 and 5: Grids+, One Touch Commands for AppleWorks 5 and WaitLess Print Buffer for AppleWorks 4 have been added to the classic Appleworks .zip archive - now a whopping 19.2meg including everything I've been able to find relevant to the venerable productivity software suite.

Hopefully this will be the start of people being able to archive II and IIGS software that can be passed on to those that can crack it, without having to send the original 3.5" and 5.25" floppy disks. There will be more to come.


10/06/2019: How to copy 32meg Disk Images to a Compact Flash card? Watch and Learn!

I've created this video to help anyone and everyone with a Micro Drive TurboMicro DriveCFFA1 & 2 or Focus drive controller in getting What is the Apple IIGS? 32meg disk images over to preformatted 32meg ProDOS partitions on CF cards cards – the quickest way you can be up and running with as much hard drive installable software as possible.


CiderPress in action

The video is basically demonstrating replacing the contents of the second partition with the newer contents of the disk image. The second part of the video shows you how from a ProDOS partition on the CF card, you can create a disk image from it.

This was done on a 2014 MacBook Pro running macOS 10.13.6 with VMWare Fusion 8.5.10 (which is rather old) running Windows XP and CiderPress v4.0.1 as the necessary utility with an external USB based compact flash card reader device (a generic cheap one - QPix All-in-1 Card Reader). This DOES NOT work if you're using the WINE bottled version of CiderPress. You have to run it in a VM, or boot from BootCamp. Of course, if you're running Windows natively, it'll work for that too, but you'd want to be running a more secure versionthan XP ;-)

This method is NOT necessary for a CFFA3000 - you simply copy the disk images to CF or USB storage and mount them on the fly on the IIGS via the CFFA3K control panel.

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!