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Commodore is hard!


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#26 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:40 AM

Yeah. Fortunately, there are helpful C64 people around, amongst the sea of crabby twats that are still mad the Amiga caved and PC's took over.


My biggest problem overall is the 1541. That drive's designers, assuming they're still alive, should be punched repeatedly. Or wacked in the head with a 1541.

#27 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:57 AM

So far I've found just one demo that works perfectly (or as near perfect as I can tell) and that's Accumulator. Basically I've been slowly looking up all the demos mentioned here, and praying for no fast loaders.

I've got Apshai Trilogy on my card, but haven't tried it yet. I've briefly tried it on A8 and PC. Sword of Fargoal and Minima Reloaded are also in my queue.
I did have a decent game of Paradroid going. When c64 is fun, it sure is fun.
I'm actually having trouble finding NTSC games. Most of the time I'm downloading pal releases--or maybe the games I'm after (later 80's and 90's releases) were euro-only.

I wonder if I can run some larger games directly from the sd card in prg mode rather than .d64 mode, and if there's a handy PC utility for pulling files out of .d64 images for this purpose. Even though I'm clearly too cheap for a 'real' sd solution, I'd really like to give Space Rogue or Wasteland a try. Even Battletech and Pirates! are double-sided games, putting them just a bit out of my reach.

Edited by Reaperman, Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:58 AM.


#28 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:04 PM

Space rogue and wasteland are amazing.

I've never tried as I just used a X-Cable w/ a 1541 and made disks of the games to play. You might want to consider getting one. Theyre around 15$ and you can use a Windows or Linux PC to transfer .d64s right to real floppies. Highly recommended. :)

Or you can use a 1541 drive in VICE and play real disks on an emulator, Haha

Given Telengard a try also, and Gateway to Apshai.

Gateway to Apshai was my first C64 game. I love that game.

Edited by Arkhan, Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:05 PM.


#29 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:22 PM

The SD device you're using can't mount d64 files? I'm confused about that. It's the best way to do it, and I'm guessing that most demos will be in this format. It's far easier to find 64 software in d64 format than in any other format. You're really limited unless you do that. Unless you can't of course, then you have no choice.

#30 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:30 PM

The SD device you're using can't mount d64 files? I'm confused about that. It's the best way to do it, and I'm guessing that most demos will be in this format. It's far easier to find 64 software in d64 format than in any other format. You're really limited unless you do that. Unless you can't of course, then you have no choice.

It has 3 modes, FAT mode where it runs software right from the SD, d64 mode where it mounts d64 images, and t64 mode which I'd guess is some kind of tape mounting system.

The issue is that once I mount a floppy image, it is impossible to switch it within the program. This means I can't run multi-sided programs this way. I also believe that write is only enabled in FAT mode.

on the up side, the keyboard is finally coming back to life. It had been sitting too long and wasn't registering every key press. Felt like a dirt issue, but it's mostly gone now aside from on a few rarely used keys.

#31 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:07 PM

Okay, I gotcha. If there's no way to do a d64 disk swap, then you're right, you won't be able to run multi-disk software. If that's the case, then that's just a limitation of that particular system. There's still plenty you can do with single-disk programs though. Maybe some exist, but I've never noticed single-file versions of the multi-disk games/demos. I think it would be non-trivial to re-engineer one to run from PRG files in a directory, so it seems pretty unlikely.

#32 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:00 PM

So I'm starting to notice that only about 1/3 of the single disk games that I want to run actually fire up on my old MMC2IEC. It's left me looking at the alternatives:

SD2IEC. Which supports a number of fastloaders but nothing custom. Probably won't run any games that my current device won't (boo), but has a disk swap button for 2-sided games (yay). From what I'm seeing, usability is just zero though. Commands much bulkier than on my current unit. Not cheap either. ($60 +ship from nkc with some board stuffing left to do)

1541 Ultimate. Costs more money than I can see me ever having--really it's a lifestyle choice more than an upgrade. It has more features than I'll ever use, but at the core it gives me the usability I'm used to with my Atari SIO2SD. Easy to use, no more clunky commodore commands ever. And even if I won the lottery, the thing's not available to buy.

Real 1541. I have one, but I'm not counting this as a realisic option. Maybe I should, me being poor and all.

Edited by Reaperman, Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:11 PM.


#33 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:06 PM

The 1541-Ultimate-II is still available, I think, (or at least a used one would be, I see them on ebay occasionally). Even if current run is out, I think he'll make more. It is the best, by far, but if you can't afford it, then it's a moot point.

I'd try to find a Jim Brian uIEC, as from what I have read about it, it seems to be a great option as well, and much cheaper. I don't if he's still making one, but you could look to find a used one if not.

I don't know anything about SD2IEC.

Not sure what else to say, as usual, you get what you pay for :(

#34 98PaceCar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:51 PM

The 1541 design makes it interesting to emulate as it's actually a smart device with it's own processor and ram. Because of that and the huge number of custom fast loaders used by the software, it's very difficult to properly replace with a solid state solution. So far, the only one that does it is the 1541u. I will say that for a commodore user, this is the ultimate piece of hardware you can own. I've heard good things about the uiec, but I believe it still has issues with custom fast loaders.

If you have a real drive, you can try one writing the disks from your existing sd solution to a real floppy. I used to do that in the days of the mmc64. Worked well and was cheap enough. If you can get one though, I'd highly recommend the 1541u. Like mirage said, you get what you pay for.

#35 Hatta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:54 AM

I've been getting accustomed to loading C64 software myself recently. It's not always easy, even with a 1541U-II. Recently I wasted a bunch of time trying to get Maniac Mansion to run, turns out it won't run if there's a 2nd drive attached. Crazy!

The PAL/NTSC issue is still a problem too. I wish someone would put together a Gamebase NTSC.


I wonder if I can run some larger games directly from the sd card in prg mode rather than .d64 mode, and if there's a handy PC utility for pulling files out of .d64 images for this purpose. Even though I'm clearly too cheap for a 'real' sd solution, I'd really like to give Space Rogue or Wasteland a try. Even Battletech and Pirates! are double-sided games, putting them just a bit out of my reach.


There are PC programs that let you edit the contents of .d64 files. I use Star Commander under DOSBOX. I couldn't get 083 to run, but 082 does everything I need.

Given your setup, I'd really consider using your device to dump D64 files to disk. Get a disk copier like Maverick on .d64. Hook your 1541 up as device 8, and the SD device as device 9. Use the copier to copy itself from dev 9 to dev 8. Now you have a disk with maverick on it. You can boot that disk, load the copier util, load the d64 you want to dump on the SD device, and then swap a blank disk into the 1541. Maverick will stay in memory and copy the d64 onto the real blank disk.

I'm not sure if nybble copying will work on your device, but file copying should, and I think that's good enough for most cracked games. Obviously, this is a bit tedious, but worth it for great games like Wasteland. BTW, I had a lot of fun playing King's Bounty last night. Give it a shot!


Also, I get the vertical white lines from S-video on my NTSC C128. I figured it was the cable I built, but on reading it looks like this is a common problem. I never had this issue when I had a C128 and 1702 monitor 10 years ago. So maybe the fix is to get a C= brand monitor, heh. Some video whiz should really poke around in there and see what Commodore skimped on, and if it's fixable.

#36 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:57 PM

copy games from SD to diskette. I really like that idea because it costs the least, runs the most games, and doesn't tether me to a PC. I'll have more questions on the syntax of that when my cable order arrives. Its only down side is that it involves me needing to use a 25 year old drive that weighs more than the moon, and might not work. I'm hopeful that the cost of quality 1541 emulation will go down in the coming years, but until then this will probably be fine.

I knew that the C64 had a lot of games, but it's really been re-surprising me with just how many it got that my A8's just didn't. It's like taking the entire A8 library and adding just about everything ST ever got too. Panther is so much better on c64. I've also been having fun with mario 2 and supercars. Heck the thing even got a moderately playable port of STUN runner.

Another question. I noticed it mentioned in an old thread (here) that cycling the power may not be entirely good for my system's health and that I should use a reset button. How true is this? They seem easy enough to wire up, and carts already including them seem fairly common.

#37 98PaceCar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:27 PM

A tip to make running from disk more bearable: get either a fast load cartridge (Epyx Fast Load or Action Replay) or even better, put JiffyDos in your 64 and drive ( http://www.go4retro....ducts/jiffydos/ ). The cartridges will work with a good amount of software, though some games will disable cart based fast loaders in favor of their own built in methods. JiffyDos actually replaces the built in dos with a much better implementation and is much more compatible with games. It is switchable though, so if there are compatibility issues you can change back to the normal C= dos.

Without some manner of speeding up the loading, it can be rough. But as you've found there are a ton of great exclusives on the 64 and they are well worth the effort.

I've never heard of any issues coming from power cycling the system, but I had a 128 back then so I had a built in reset switch. It might be worth doing one if you are handy with a soldering iron or they are available on several of the speedup/cracker cartridges as well, so that may be a way to add one without soldering.

#38 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:51 PM

I've actually got Jiffydos, from my last c64 buying spree in 2008 or so. It's marked as the SX-64 version, but I've been told it will work fine for my purposes. I have yet to install either half though. I can't recall any of my system's chips being socketed (I'd think I would have noticed last time I had her open), so I've got some misery ahead with that.

I've done some additional checking and jiffydos is for certain not immediately compatible with my sd device. There is probably a way to update my device with the shadowolf firmware to gain that feature, but that's going to be a 'complex' fix, if I ever decide to try speeding it up. Probably really helps the floppy drive more anyway.

Edited by Reaperman, Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:54 PM.


#39 98PaceCar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:04 PM

I've actually got Jiffydos, from my last c64 buying spree in 2008 or so. It's marked as the SX-64 version, but I've been told it will work fine for my purposes. I have yet to install either half though. I can't recall any of my system's chips being socketed (I'd think I would have noticed last time I had her open), so I've got some misery ahead with that.

I've done some additional checking and jiffydos is for certain not immediately compatible with my sd device. There is probably a way to update my device with the shadowolf firmware to gain that feature, but that's going to be a 'complex' fix, if I ever decide to try speeding it up. Probably really helps the floppy drive more anyway.


Yea, it would be more benefit to the real floppy than the SD solution. I know the uIEC supports it and the 1541u does as well. Worth the effort to install it if you have a drive that has it. I don't know how I went so long without it!

I would be a bit leary of putting the SX version in a regular 64 though. The SX doesn't have support for the tape connector and there are a few other minor changes that may cause some problems. I've tested an SX with the roms from a regular 64 and it will boot, but I've not tested any further and have never gone the other way.

#40 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:09 PM

Most (not all) of the ROM chips in the 1541's and the C64's are socketed, so there's a good chance yours is. Especially if you have a breadbin. Throughout the life of the C64, they soldered more and more IC's, and by the time they got to the Hong Kong-made C64c's, most of them finally were NOT socketed.

I don't know why updating the firmware on your device should be difficult. Usually that sort of thing is easy, but then I've never even heard of your device before, so...

As for whether your 1541 works or not, most commonly, they just need a good cleaning. Try to get one of those floppy disk cleaner things if you can for routine maintenance, especially if you're using old floppies (well, but of course you're using old floppies!) The drive will likely dirty up pretty quickly and need cleaning more often than you're going to want to open it up to do completely.

$55 http://store.go4retr...uIEC{47}SD.html
(just sayin')

#41 98PaceCar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:50 PM

$55 http://store.go4retr...uIEC{47}SD.html
(just sayin')


I can't remember if I asked you already or not, but do you have a uIEC? I'm curious how well it handles multiloads. Looking at the info on Lemon seems to indicate that it only works for single filers, but it's never really spelled out clearly.

#42 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:53 PM

$55 http://store.go4retr...uIEC{47}SD.html
(just sayin')


I can't remember if I asked you already or not, but do you have a uIEC? I'm curious how well it handles multiloads. Looking at the info on Lemon seems to indicate that it only works for single filers, but it's never really spelled out clearly.


No, I don't have one and haven't ever used one, but Frank (save2600) does. Or, I'm sure there must be documentation out there for it. I have the 1541-Ultimate-II, which is amazing and worth every penny, but I guess only if you're hardcore, considering the price. I have heard much good about the uIEC though, and if I didn't have the Ultimate, or it didn't exist, the uIEC is absolutely the one I would buy.

#43 98PaceCar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:25 PM

I have the 1541-Ultimate-II, which is amazing and worth every penny, but I guess only if you're hardcore, considering the price.


I bought one of the first run originals when it was first released, then bought the first ethernet model, and followed it up with the II when it was announced. I think I qualify as way too hardcore!! ;)

I keep justifying it by saying if it ever breaks I will be ticked if I don't have a spare. But man, it does hurt every time he comes out with an upgraded design. I really hope the II is the last one for a while!! :D

#44 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:38 PM

Most (not all) of the ROM chips in the 1541's and the C64's are socketed, so there's a good chance yours is. Especially if you have a breadbin. Throughout the life of the C64, they soldered more and more IC's, and by the time they got to the Hong Kong-made C64c's, most of them finally were NOT socketed.

I don't know why updating the firmware on your device should be difficult. Usually that sort of thing is easy, but then I've never even heard of your device before, so...

I'll check again on the socket, I do remember the main board being dated 1983, so I believe that qualifies it as a damn old one.

As for the firmware, it's a complex story. Many of the mmc2iec devices were slight variations of the original. Mine (nkc version) lists the changes I need to make to new firmware to get it going *BUT* on top of that, the chip in them all got upgraded about then for bigger firmware. This means I have to find/modify halfing firmware, upgrade the avr a step, or live with it.

Edited by Reaperman, Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:46 PM.


#45 carmel_andrews OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:19 AM

Perhpas one of you commodore people can ask me this question (concerning these sd card upgrade things) how do these upgrades deal with multi disk programmes or games that required a two drive (or more then one drive) setup as I do recall hearing that commodore had an issue with their disk drives not being drive selectable (i.e there wasn't an onboard toggle switch in the drives to make that drive act as something other then drive 1, like you could do with the A8's 810/1050 setup's)

I believe the commodore 'solution' (if you can call it that) was to physically cut traces on the drives mobo (not a job for those that don't know what they are doing) to making that drive something other then drive 1

#46 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:55 AM

Perhpas one of you commodore people can ask me this question (concerning these sd card upgrade things) how do these upgrades deal with multi disk programmes or games that required a two drive (or more then one drive) setup as I do recall hearing that commodore had an issue with their disk drives not being drive selectable (i.e there wasn't an onboard toggle switch in the drives to make that drive act as something other then drive 1, like you could do with the A8's 810/1050 setup's)

I believe the commodore 'solution' (if you can call it that) was to physically cut traces on the drives mobo (not a job for those that don't know what they are doing) to making that drive something other then drive 1


That was true on the 1541, but the later drives had switches. Before I got a 1541-Ultimate, I used a 1541-II as 9 and a regular 1541 as 8.

As for how the SD devices deal with multi-disk games, I can only answer for the 1541-Ultimate series. There's an interrupt button on the cartridge that you push, and it pulls up the cart menu again, from which you mount the second disk. When you exit back to the computer/program, it puts you back where you were, with the game/demo asking for the next disk, and you continue however you would have had you just inserted the next disk on a real-drive system. I'm sure other disk-swap capable systems work similarly.

#47 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:10 AM

Perhpas one of you commodore people can ask me this question (concerning these sd card upgrade things) how do these upgrades deal with multi disk programmes or games that required a two drive (or more then one drive) setup

On older units (generally called mmc2iec) there is a switch/jumper block for switching drives and no multi-disk support. There is an oddball 'm2i' format that some multi-disk games have been converted to, but then they're not really multi-disk anymore.

Newer units are a bit more evolved and have either the old hardware switches for drive selection, or a command which saves the drive number info. Pretty well universally they're sporting a magical disk-change button which interests me to no end, and I can't speak for how exactly it works--such as how many disks it supports, and if you have to specify them all beforehand or if it looks for a file numbering system.

I do not believe there is currently any commodore sd device which attempts to emulate more than one disk drive at a time. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong on that. Looking down a post, I'm wrong on that.

Edited by Reaperman, Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:02 AM.


#48 98PaceCar OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:21 AM

Perhpas one of you commodore people can ask me this question (concerning these sd card upgrade things) how do these upgrades deal with multi disk programmes or games that required a two drive (or more then one drive) setup as I do recall hearing that commodore had an issue with their disk drives not being drive selectable (i.e there wasn't an onboard toggle switch in the drives to make that drive act as something other then drive 1, like you could do with the A8's 810/1050 setup's)

I believe the commodore 'solution' (if you can call it that) was to physically cut traces on the drives mobo (not a job for those that don't know what they are doing) to making that drive something other then drive 1


That was true on the 1541, but the later drives had switches. Before I got a 1541-Ultimate, I used a 1541-II as 9 and a regular 1541 as 8.

As for how the SD devices deal with multi-disk games, I can only answer for the 1541-Ultimate series. There's an interrupt button on the cartridge that you push, and it pulls up the cart menu again, from which you mount the second disk. When you exit back to the computer/program, it puts you back where you were, with the game/demo asking for the next disk, and you continue however you would have had you just inserted the next disk on a real-drive system. I'm sure other disk-swap capable systems work similarly.


Additionally, the 1541u now supports emulation of 2 drives with the latest firmware. So you can mount up 2 disks before even starting the program, provided the program is capable of supporting mutiple drives (many aren't).

#49 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:35 AM

I can't remember what I was using, but it was a nice GUI to drag/drop shit onto .d64s/.d71/.d81 and then you write back to the drive with CBM4WIN or OpenCBM. Whatever the christ they call it now.


It went ok. I suggest using a high quality 1571 drive. When you do this with 1541s, youll need to burn incense, cross your fingers, and hope the stars are aligned just right, or its going to go sbdfrdigjtr9hruhr98t5yj340ygtrkh and mess up.


Or if you put a bad disk in, it'll throw your drive out of wack and then you're using RPM1541 and trying to get it back on track. Total disaster.

the only 1541 you should use is a 1541 ultimate.

#50 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:22 PM

so I got my iec cables today, and have the 1541 on 8, my sd device on 9. On initial start, with uncleaned drive and old disks there is some knocking, some blinking and in the end about 1/3 of the programs I've tried to load into her have worked. That's pretty good for a first attempt.

I've been searching around and have been running this on the drive. On my sacrificial disk, it seems to like working with side a but hates it when I flip it over. Is that a commodore thing (always using disks right-side-up) or is it a disk/drive problem? Says it's perfectly aligned on side a, instantly dies side b.

also, about cleaning this device, is there a quick 'idiots guide' out there, or is the idiot's guide just to buy a cleaner disk? As expected, those are getting tough to find.

also, any copy utilities to recommend?

This commodore thing is making more and more sense. I still don't know why I have to load a directory listing and then list it though. And why the load/run commands aren't just one command. Also why no disk autorun? I don't think those are ever going to make sense to me though--just commodore quirks I suppose.

Edited by Reaperman, Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:30 PM.





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