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29/08/2020: Good News and Bad News...

There's good news and bad news.

First, the good news: Qkumba has begun applying his talents for wrangling software to work in ways never originally designed, and we now have new hard drive installable versions of Alien Mind, Dream Zone and Transylvania III.

Alien Mind works fine if you boot into ProDOS 8 from any configuation with the san inc pack. This has the advantage over the older Balmerpeak Smartport Edition in that you can now easily play this from any mass storage volume on a IIGS (whereas before it was really only convenient for the CFFA3000). Qkumba's still tweaking it to work under any configuation to work from GS/OS as well – it may work for your configuration, or it may not (it doesn't work for my two IIGS setups, a ROM01 with a Transwarp GS + CFFA3000 and a ROM3 with a ZipGS + CFFA3K). A good trick you may not know is if you hold the 8 key down while booting System 6.0.x, it will bypass loading GS/OS and quickly boot to ProDOS 8 and take you to the BASIC prompt. From there, you can type BYE, and you'll either go to the old PrODOS launcher or the newer Bitsy Bye launcher (with ProDOS 8 v2.4.x) and you can launch ProDOS 8 applications from there.

Another ProDOS 8 game you'll need to load this way is Transylvania III – it's now playable from mass storage, but it is completely incompatible with GS/OS.

And lastly, Dream Zone, Naughty Dog's second ever game after Ski Crazed, is now mass storage friendly, so enjoy more convenient play of this IIGS original game from GS/OS (any System version should work from ProDOS 16 v1.3 onwards).

All games have Qkumba's san inc disk images attached to their individual archives – see links above attached to each title. I've also added them to my 32meg volumes – Dream Zone lives on the  Adventure and Simulation Games volume, but Alien Mind (if you restore game 8 from this volume you'll be on the last level, but you now have maximum health, so once you're through this challenging level you may have enough hit points to best the alien at the end and win!) and Transylvania III are on the  Games with Path Modifications volume, as there's no room left on the Action or Adventure Games volumes.

Now, onto the bad news. What is the Apple IIGS?, in its third incarnation, has been runnnig for 12 years now and some of its dependencies are no longer supported in a near future server update. So the site is going to go static while we update to newer versions of back end things and fix what's going to break before going live again. In the meantime, I may be able to update .zip files for 32meg volumes and individual archives howver, so as more Qkumba conversions come in, I'll let everyone know via Facebook and Twitter.

30/07/2020: KansasFest 2020: IIGS Summary

KansasFest 2020 is over.

This year had more attendees than ever, with 459 people registering a week before it started. This was made somewhat easier by the fact that it exclusively an online event thanks to our now old friend, COVID-19.

Like a lot of surprises about living under some kind of lockdown, one didn't expect a pandemic to do more for promoting the Apple II in ways that had never worked before. But that's what's happened with this new surge of interest in our love of Apple's fledgling platform.

If you missed it (as I did, because I was asleep) you can watch the whole shebang from Friday morning kick off, to the end of the first day, to the following Saturday morning and the concluding Saturday afternoon.

But you want to know what's IIGS related quickly. Here's a breakdown of what happened that's especially relevant to the IIGS:


Twilight II v2.0, the premiere IIGS screen saver, was released by Call A.P.P.L.E. The last version of the build was found (2.0b4 by Jim Maricondo) and then Antoine tidied it up for release. He needed to regenerate its original Orca/M development environment to assemble it, user end installer scripts were prepared, a couple of resource issues were corrected and the source code was prepared.

Anyone who knows the flame wars back in the mid to late ‘90s on comp.sys.apple2 may remember a beta version of Twilight II v2.0 was leaked and spread. A lot of work was by Nathan Mates and in protest of this and other incidents that freely spread the works of new Apple II developments, Nathan publicly let everyone know he would no longer develop for the IIGS and sold all his gear.

Well, it's officially here now! It includes many games as part of the new version (possibly overkill for a screen saver, but testament to how modular and powerful Twilight II is), but my new favourite is S.L.E.D. Yes, now anyone can create scrolly messages like the FTA. Leave a message on your IIGS' screen to let your family know you're out for some much needed fresh air during lockdown. If you get your hands on the documentation and are a coder, you might like to make your own Twilight II modules yourself – I think it's begging for a slideshow module for both images and Paintworks animations where you can set the duration between them.

Another very welcome addition is beta 4 of the modified HFS File System Translator (FST). Firstly, for those who don't know, the HFS FST is what allows System 6.0.x. to be able to read and write to HFS volumes. This format was popular on the Mac from the mid-to late ‘80s up until Mac OS 8.1 in January 1998, where it was superseded by HFS+, which in turn was only recently supplanted by APFS since macOS High Sierra and Mojave.

A patch by Jawaid Bazyar has been available for many years and everyone assumed it fixed all data corruption issues. However, as larger volumes became more easy to come by, it was being noticed that file copies would sometimes become corrupt and the only way to fix the corruption was to reformat the volume.

Petar Puskarich has been stringently testing (through lots of repeated folder and file copying) Geoff Body's modification to the current HFS.FST with volumes over 1 gigabyte big and found it to be currently stable. Having said that, this is still beta software and you may still want to take caution when copying files over to large volumes, especially if you're using RAMFast SCSI cards, which may have issues of their own. But given there was a danger of corruption before, you may as well try this new version.

To install, first deal with the current version of the HFS.FST file in the System > FSTs folder. Delete or make it inactive through the Icon Info function of the Finder. Then, simply copy HFS.1.04b.FST into your System's FSTs folder and reboot. You can find this updated FST in the FSTs folder of the  System Add-ons volume.

Ninja Force, in response to the online nature of KansasFest 2020, has updated their Classic Desk Accessory IRC client, Samurai, to version 1.1.1. This fixes a few things to make it easier to access an IRC server. To use with System 6.0.x, simply drag Samurai onto the System folder and it will automatically copy it to Desk.Accs folder within. Reboot and access via the classic control panel by simultaneously holding down the open apple, control and escape keys. This is also in the  System Add-ons volume in the CDAs folder. It's also installed to my self booting  Communication Apps volume. Samurai requires the Marinetti TCP stack installed to run and the relevant hardware as well, such as the Uthernet I or II.

Rebecca Heineman did a presentation on how she ported Out of this World (aka Another World) to the IIGS when everyone at Interplay said it couldn't be done. She's also recounted that IIGS versions of Ultima II, Bard's Tale III and Wasteland are sitting on her hard drive and that art is required to complete them. Although I get the feeling rights issues are going to have to be sorted out as well before they could be released publicly. Rebecca confirmed that she's still contracted to do the IIGS version of Nox Archaist, but that the original 8-bit version needs to be complete before she can work on a IIGS specific version. Speaking of which, the 6502 Workshop also revealed new elements of gameplay during the KFest sessions.

Not IIGS specific, but you'd be mad to miss out on the latest version of Total Replay if you have any form of mass storage on your IIGS. Play over 300 classic 8-bit Apple II action games from a customised front end on a single volume! With screen grabs, super hi-res artwork for packaging scans (to which I've now contributed) and now a help system (to which I've also submitted some summarised info for).

To finish, somewhat mysteriously, the brand new, cycle accurate IIGS emulator, Crossrunner is coming soon to a Windows machine near you.

10/05/2020: Last 1% of Pegasus Pascal Found. An extra 0.0.1 version found for Express

Antoine, despite not being an ORCA based IIGS developer, figured out the missing PrintMgr.pp file from Pegasus Pascal can be replaced from an ORCA install. Hoorary! Pegasus Pascal now seems to be complete, but it's still going to require a brave soul to test it, and you'll need a full install of ORCA to do so. Disk 1 has been updated from the archive, so get the new version and overwrite your old disk 1.

Bill Scheffler wrote me with his newer version of the IIGS print spooling software Express, now at version 2.1.1. The previously highest version number held in the archive was v2.1. Thanks Bill for looking so carefully at the version numbers on WIT2GS? archives.

18/04/2020: Pegasus Pascal Found! 99% of it Anyway

Petar Puskarich has dug deep into his personal archives to find the full version of Pegasus Pascal, which Ken Burtch used to develop his IIGS shareware games Quest for the Hoard and Treasures from Heaven, as well as his SoundSmith Jukebox app in conjunction with his PegaSoft DrawTools. Even Ken himself no longer had a copy of Pegasus Pascal, so this is a particularly lucky find because it was not on archive anywhere.

But it's not without issue – the archive was retrieved from a Shrink-It archive which extracted successfully except for a single file – "PrintMgr.pp" within the "Tool.Interface" folder. I hoped this file was part of the demo of Pegasus Pascal we did have on archive, so we could simply replace it with that, but it wasn't a part of the demo, sadly. How limiting this will be will have to come down to a soul brave enough to try playing around with it. I think it requires the ORCA shell to work as well.

Additionally, Petar has also found the official Music Studio 2.0.1 update documentation which he has scanned, which is now available alongside version 1 and version 2 manuals – download the .zip archive for the manuals to get all three.

16/02/2020: Mass Stickybear / Optimum Resource Updates

Antoine's back with a vengeance.

Being something of a fan of the efforts of Optimum Resource / Weekly Reader Software, the makers of Stickybear and Antoine's all time favourite game, Run for It!, he's been collecting more from the developer/publisher and archiving everything that hasn't been scanned or imaged before.

We've now got manuals for Sentence Fun (as well as a box scan), Stickybear Math, Stickybear Reading Comprehension, Stickybear ReadingStickybear Spellgrabber and Stickybear Typing. I've put them through Acrobat Pro to OCR them so text is completeable and conveniently searchable.

Stickybear Shapes has been completely and newly archived, including the box scan, manual and a fresh disk image with crack. I own and have scanned everything as part of the IIGS Talking Stickybear Shapes, but this 8-bit version, on 3.5" disk no less, has never been archived anywhere else before.

I've also created a dedicated archive for Rocky's Boots, which was the official 3.5" disk release (previously imaged by Antoine). At version 4.1, it could be installed to a hard drive / large ProDOS volume without any modification and is part of the beta collection of 8-bit apps that can run from a hard drive.

09/02/2020: Additions, Additions, Additions

Antoine's back! And he's been cracking!

We now have fresh cracks for Anthony Beckett's recently Applesauced disk images for:

Tales of the Arabian Nights, Read-a-Rama, Aesop's Fables and the 8-bit on 3.5" disk title Car Builder, along with a better box scan.

Antoine's also been able to source some more material himself as well:

Snoopy's Reading Machine (including the manual, packaging and disk label scans - this is the first time a copy has been found of the rare IIGS version). Antoine's also made fresh disk images (after many attempts and cleaning the magnetic media itself) with a newly working crack as well.

Your Money Matters - packaging scan and alternative disk images for v2.0f with a manual scan to come.

Geometry (which is literally a much cleaner deprotect than the FUCK crack)

Dan Chisarick's scanned in the Shadowgate manual, IIGS reference and print out certificate at the game's completion AND the official hint book! Big thanks to Dan for this and for donating some boxed IIGS titles to add to my physical collection for permanent reference.

Milliken Story Teller now has a box scan and disk labels for its Classics II add-on collection. Huge thanks to Kevin Savetz for scanning these very obscure materials after sharing photos of them in a recent haul that mostly included boxed software for other platforms. He's alright for an Atari guy ;-)

John Leake has expertly scanned Stavros Katsordoris' copy of the rather hefty TML BASIC manual after a request was made by Andrew Roughan to see it archived.


15/01/2020: Late Christmas Gifts 2: New Packaging Scans, Manuals and more to come...

Fellow Melbournite Anthony Beckett, who I've had the pleasure of meeting, has in his posession a sizeable collection of boxed Apple IIGS software, that he's been steadily archiving with an Applesauce as well as scanning packaging, manuals and all included materials for posterity.

He's been uploading to the Internet Archive, but he's happy to fill in the gaps I've been trying to find materials for for years. As part of those gaps, he's fully archived Unicorn Software's Aesop's Fables and Tales from the Arabian Nights and First Byte's First Letters & Words along with box scans and their included instructions.

For apps, Anthony's archived Independance v1.2, which was newer than what was on archive. The drivers and fonts included for this printer driver package haven't been updated themselves, but included online documentation has since been added from earlier versions, through the Seven Hills and Ewen Wannop creation Help! system, filling another gap in providing GS/OS with the same functionality as macOS System 7. This includes the new disk image, as it wasn't copy protected. Another Seven Hills title to benefit is Super Convert 4 – it now includes the manual.

Anthony's scan of the box for VCR Companion is now included in the archive (disk images and manual was already available).

Additionally, he's scanned the box for Car Builder, although it's quite damaged, along with the manual. If anyone has a better condition box for Car Builder (even if it's not the 3.5" disk version) and a scanner, an alternative scan would be great.

A disk image will have to wait for now, but Anthony's also been creating .woz files for all these archives with his Applesauce for these archives, but until they're cracked and made available in 2image or .PO format, I won't be including disk images on What is the Apple IIGS? I'm currently evaulating how to add .woz support to What is the Apple IIGS? It's increased file size's effects on bandwidth and management of another format doesn't bode well for my lack of free time. Antoine's taking a break from the Apple II at the moment, so does anyone else want to check out his earlier cracks made on similar titles for Unicorn Software, First Byte and Optimum Resource/Weekly Reader Software and try to crack from the .woz files Anthony's made available on the Internet Archive? It's a task made even more complicated by the fact no IIGS emulator yet supports .woz format, so you'll have to use 8-bit tools to sector edit the cracks. Although, a IIGS emulator that does support .woz format might be coming out real soon now. It's a brand new emulator with an eye towards being cycle accurate and providing a plethora of tools to make IIGS development easier than ever. Stay tuned.

The list for requested materials for a complete IIGS archive has been updated and I encourage everyone to check through their own collections to see if they can fill any gaps.

13/01/2020: Late Christmas Gifts 1: BOOTi & Floppy Emu Reviews

Happy New Year everybody! I'm trying to re-start my old tradition of late Christmas gifts to share, absent last year as I was simply too busy to keep up.

I received a new BOOTi card before Christmas and put it through its paces. The result is a comprehensive review of this great little card by David Mutimer and Marko Ramius.

On the subject of disk controller cards, I've also (finally) completed a long overdue review of the FloppyEmu (model B) by Steve Chamberlain.

My perspective is always around the IIGS, so see how these controller cards, along with other popular cards such as the CFFA3000 and Micro Drive Turbo, stack up.

The tradition that will not break however is accessing old news – get your links to old news across What is the Apple IIGS here: