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#26 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 11:37 AM

Personally I'd like to see someone start cataloging and reviewing all the Apple II games out there like AtariMania does with Atari stuff. There are so many hidden gems (and complete dogs) in the Apple II library but no one ever finds out about them because they're just a file name over on Asimov. The closest thing we have is What is the IIgs? but that's only for IIgs stuff.

#27 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 11:39 AM

Perhaps just a regular Apple ][ Subforum first?

..Al

That would be best I think. There are plenty of Mac forums already anyway (68K Liberation Army for example).

#28 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 11:43 AM

So what sort of development would we like to see on the Apple II? The Apple II is one of the least capable 8-bit home computers, with just a 1mhz CPU and no custom chips. It would be difficult to port Atari 800 (1.7mhz&ANTIC/GTIA) or C64 (VIC-II/SID) games to it. The TRS-80 uses an entirely different CPU. Ports from the PET might be doable, but what software would we want on the Apple II?

The Apple II was popular for RPGs and simulations/war games. It's well suited to that.

The Apple II pretty much predates the demo scene, so there might be opportunities there. But the Apple II has no custom chips that we could exploit, and the graphics techniques have been pretty well explored by games.

I'm not sure how well the Apple would work for whirling/spinning/scrolling demos.
The graphics are pretty speed constrained... although you can drive quite a few sprites around if you only do a certain number per frame.

What about an artillery game? There is one on the Apple II already, but it's written in BASIC. I bet one reimplemented in ASM would be cool, could probably find the CPU time to add some nice explosion effects.

No great speed would be required so it should work well for that.

I created a Mockingboard music player that I posted in the 'It's on line Donkey Kong' thread from a month or two ago.
With a little more tweaking it could also play one shot sounds and it might need some debugging in the setup/start/stop code since starting playing seemed delayed.
I'd be happy to do some more work on the player if someone will actually use it.
The Mockingboard is supported by the Applewin emulator... which btw could use a separate window for the debugger if someone were to get ambitious. :)

#29 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 11:46 AM

BTW, the stock Apple II doesn't have a vertical blank interrupt and you need a mouse card (from what I've read) or a Mockingboard to generate a timed interrupt.

#30 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 11:48 AM

Among all the classic computers, the Apple II is the closest to a tele-type terminal one can get. Remember the Airport reservation terminals in the 1970's? The Apple 2 series is closer to those than it is a VCS, or Intellivision. Sorry to say it, but that's fact. Just study the architectures. This lends itself to attracting utility and minor hardware upgrades more so than any kind of game creation. And there aren't many undiscovered tricks left in the book.

For the 2 series to become as popular as a VCS or 400/800 it will need a good emulator and extra hardware. And to make it worse, this extra hardware would need to be supported in the emulator.

Consider the Stella/VCS deal, they support Harmony, DPC, bank-switching, all of which are kick-ass enhancements to the original VCS made in 1978.

I believe it would be high-time to make another Arcade Board or Sprite Board, and have it have emulator support. With this combination going, you'd see one hell of a gaming streak take off! Or even just a blitter chip on a card, something to push memory patterns around.

It's going to take new blood to get something like that off the ground. Something I don't feel the existing Apple 2 community is capable of.

#31 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 12:03 PM

I believe it would be high-time to make another Arcade Board or Sprite Board, and have it have emulator support. With this combination going, you'd see one hell of a gaming streak take off! Or even just a blitter chip on a card, something to push memory patterns around.

The problem with Apple II cards is that people never seemed to want to support them. Even the more popular add-ons (like the Mockingboard) got minimal support. For some reason this didn't carry over to the IIgs where add-ons like hard drives and accelerators were well supported (and in some cases even required) by games.

#32 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 12:13 PM

People have to be willing to accept some sort of hardware upgrade as a standard equipment item and we are talking about people that are often set in their ways.
That doesn't exactly work out.

The Mockingboard makes some sense for the Apple II since it's already out there and supported by a few popular games.
It didn't get more support due to the price tag at the time. But now cards go for around $100... but does that mean someone will buy one just to play new games?
I don't know.

A new graphics board... that's going to be a tough sell.
There was one back in the day based on the TI chip... but it was a flop and disappeared quickly.

OTOH, there is already the IIgs and all you need to drive a lot a crap around the screen is a speed upgrade.
At 8MHz you can drive a lot of large sprites around.
At stock speed you have a limit to the number and size of sprites but you can still do some cool stuff.
You also have access to more RAM and 65816 instructions with the IIgs.
But then the standard Apple II doesn't support IIgs graphics and the IIgs has better sound than the Mockingboard so what do you support?

A sound card compatible with IIgs sound would be awesome for the other II machines and I think that would sell because it came from Apple originally.
Games written for standard Apple graphics would certainly run on a II with a sound card or IIgs.
But then you are limited by Apple II graphics.

Personally, most of the serious Apple II junkies have a IIgs and I don't see anything wrong with developing specifically for it.
But then I have a IIgs with 4MB RAM and a CFFA 3000. All I need is and accelerator.

Edited by JamesD, Thu Mar 7, 2013 12:15 PM.


#33 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 12:20 PM

Just an FYI:
http://www.brutaldel...tools/mrsprite/

#34 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 12:21 PM

What about:

APPLE II
*stickies for noobies* with links to csa2, org.za, asimov, perhaps more, or we make our own list of goodness
*stickies for interfacing* this covers LCD/TV hookups, required drives and cables and cards. ADTpro, CFFA
*stickies for learning* here you link to the original Apple published manuals and a few select 3rd part books

1- Programming
2- Hardware
3- ?
4- ?

It doesn't have to be complex or rocket science. And if it goes over well, you could similar for the mac later. I also feel that if a community is good enough everyone will want in; at the expense of shrinking other groups.



Now, I remember back in the day, first bringing home a II+ and getting all hyped and stuff. Only to find out that connecting the Composite out to TV's RF didn't work. Boy was I let down. I didn't know what to do. I had mommy get on the case and she discovered, by way of the local TV repair shop, that I needed something called a modulator. And it would cost me another week's worth of yard work to pay for it.

I got into programming and wanted extra speed, so I used INT instead of FP. Soon it became clear I need a 16k ramcard or language card. Another $200 expense.

And then, later, I discovered word processing, and it needed special software, like Magic Window II or something. Another extra purchase. And quickly I learned what 80-columns was about, and that meant a $379 80-column card + a real monitor dispensing with NTSC entirely. Everything was new and a learning experience.

These are the kinds of problems anyone new to the platform will encounter. Discovering and learning what is needed to make a system really be a system! Back then I was a noob, and today we have new noobs. There is no excuse for us veterans to rag on the newcomer. Absolutely none! And anyone that does so is an ass. In fact, isn't mentoring in classic computing supposed to be a fun thing? If you don't find it fun then you're too old and crusty to be in this hobby.

This type of guidance is vital to newcomers in the Apple 2 sphere. Best we respect them and guide them because one of them might write Phantoms Five part II or Sea Dragon: Neptune's Lair.

Ohh the burdens.. Pffagghhhhh!!

So with a comprehensive sticky we can say take two FAQs and post in the morning.

#35 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 1:05 PM

But Apple people think different... you can't expect them to react like regular people. :-D :evil: :grin:

#36 Hatta OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 1:17 PM

Yes, a game database with links to reviews and downloads would be a great resource for the Apple II.

Turn based strategy would be well suited to the Apple II, but there are tons of SSI games already. It would be hard for a hobbyist to design a game that would compete with SSI. But now that I think about it, Settlers of Catan came out in 1995, so there's not going to be an Apple II version. Maybe that would be a good fit?

I'm not too keen on the idea of developing for a non-stock computer. If it wasn't possible in 1980, why not just do it on a modern computer?

Is it possible in theory to work around the lack of a vertical interrupt by counting cycles?

#37 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 1:33 PM

The problem with Apple II cards is that people never seemed to want to support them. Even the more popular add-ons (like the Mockingboard) got minimal support. For some reason this didn't carry over to the IIgs where add-ons like hard drives and accelerators were well supported (and in some cases even required) by games.


I see your point. And I feel it was part of the climate of the era. Cost and widespread adoption were another thorn.

Another shit-kicker was that anything necessary to do enhanced graphics or sound was often more complex (in design) than the host computer. I think at this point interest seemed to fade when the peripheral has the potential to be more powerful than the host. And then there's the Harmony cartridge which contradicts what I just said.

The Video Overlay card is one example, Transwarp Accelerators are another. These two cards recreate the Apple II's bus structure, processor and memory. The motherboard in the main computer becomes a dumb terminal, providing support services.

In my opinion.. every time I open open up my //e (any pop-top Apple) I "smell" business, and functionality, and seriousness. Mainframe. Text manipulation. I don't see the the Zaxxon jet flying out or anything. Can this change today? IDK.. Maybe the Apple II is simply too old? And the user base even older.



Personally I'd like to see someone start cataloging and reviewing all the Apple II games out there like AtariMania does with Atari stuff. There are so many hidden gems (and complete dogs) in the Apple II library but no one ever finds out about them because they're just a file name over on Asimov. The closest thing we have is What is the IIgs? but that's only for IIgs stuff.


This has been neglected for so long it would take a team effort to get it rolling. And you have to filter out the 10k Integer Basic programs.



People have to be willing to accept some sort of hardware upgrade as a standard equipment item and we are talking about people that are often set in their ways. That doesn't exactly work out.

The Mockingboard makes some sense for the Apple II since it's already out there and supported by a few popular games.
It didn't get more support due to the price tag at the time. But now cards go for around $100... but does that mean someone will buy one just to play new games? I don't know.

A new graphics board... that's going to be a tough sell. There was one back in the day based on the TI chip... but it was a flop and disappeared quickly.

OTOH, there is already the IIgs and all you need to drive a lot a crap around the screen is a speed upgrade.
At 8MHz you can drive a lot of large sprites around.
At stock speed you have a limit to the number and size of sprites but you can still do some cool stuff.
You also have access to more RAM and 65816 instructions with the IIgs.
But then the standard Apple II doesn't support IIgs graphics and the IIgs has better sound than the Mockingboard so what do you support?

A sound card compatible with IIgs sound would be awesome for the other II machines and I think that would sell because it came from Apple originally.
Games written for standard Apple graphics would certainly run on a II with a sound card or IIgs.
But then you are limited by Apple II graphics.

Personally, most of the serious Apple II junkies have a IIgs and I don't see anything wrong with developing specifically for it.
But then I have a IIgs with 4MB RAM and a CFFA 3000. All I need is and accelerator.


Cost has always been a factor. And $100.00 today is too expensive for additional sound. It has to be priced around $29-$49 tops. And with the 2 series, everything was about upgrades, that's the experience of the Apple II, upgrades. C-64 and 400/800 guys aren't accustomed to that kind of nickel and diming. Typically they get the console, a drive, and some cables and joystick. That's it.

Not so with a 2. When you buy a 2 series console. You are getting the bare metal minimum. Plan on spending 4x - 6x that in peripherals to start rolling in style. Not only do you need to worry about the basics like a C-64 guy, but you need to get the other half of the computer in the form of interface cards and memory and tedious-to-find mounting brackets. Everything is piecemeal. And everything has 10 different versions - especially something vital like a disk interface.

The very thing that made the Apple II popular and accessible back in the day is now working against it. C64 and 400/800 guys got it easy, their computers have built-in interfaces. And while 2 series enthusiasts boasted customization/capability back then, today we bemoan it. Quick! Someone get me a SASI Sider interface!

And it seems that while 2 series machines are still readily available, the clean functional ones are fading in quantity. Thus leaving the noob with a double whammy in the form of a troubleshooting session. Hardly a welcoming scenario.

Everyone needs to realize the IIgs and //e are two separate hardware platforms entirely. In the IIgs box there are 2 distinct bus structures sharing a CPU. And that CPU has to downgrade itself. That's why you can't switch between //e & //gs without a restart.

#38 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 3:56 PM

Well that fits the criteria for discussion I was looking to participate in.

It is possible to read the data bus and get the state of the screen in pre//e machines.

Frankly, there are some demo tricks possible, and I have a couple in mind...

Re: GS sound or MB. I will consider these standard. Why not?

Re: Graphics. Well, I want to stuff a micro into an Apple 2 series machine and do some stuff and provide VGA output, etc... Just need to get off my duff and do it.

For now, I'm working on a modern build of the PoP code, which has a lot of great routines in it.

#39 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 4:11 PM

I think different even for an Apple ][ fan :P

But yeah, I'm relatively young for an Apple ][ user over on csa2 - got into them as a kid, rather than being already grown up when they came out. :P

#40 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 4:44 PM

I'm kind of in exploration mode. Been jamming on Atari / CoCo machines for a looooong time and just kind of settled on the Apple for a bit. I really like the machine from a programming / get stuff done stand point. I also like many of the design oddities / decisions because it has a unique flavor. Built in capabilities are pretty great with a monitor and software disk system, among other things.

Game ports / new title / demo discussion would be very welcome chatter for me. It is a 1Mhz machine, but the CPU does not wait for refresh, nor video DMA and is cycle clean but for every 64th cycle being a shade longer than the others. (See, Inside the Apple books for more detail on that)

Hardware projects are always fun, and maybe the Apple expectations are different. if people can actually get the hardware, they might install it as it's not a solder job, nor does doing hardware projects generally impact the machine otherwise.

IMHO, a standard setup is ][ series, Mockingboard, Super Serial, Disk Controller, 80 column device. I personally will target the upper end, //e enhanced, similar to how we've done other machines. The //e has the signals one needs to do tricks, where the Plus technically doesn't have them. Some clever programming can get around all that, but it's a bit of a pig when the //e series machines work well. This is sort of like the issue of getting an 800 to run stuff made for XL / XE... Nothing we've not done before.

I kind of want a GS. Not enough to get one yet, but I kind of want one.

I also wouldn't mind having an Apple serve stuff up through SIO to the Atari one day for an all retro setup.

@Keetah: Yes. FAQ, newbie docs important. That can be a big of a pig too.

#41 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 5:12 PM

Disagreed that a "standard" Apple II system has a Mockingboard of any kind. The serial, disk controller, and 80 column are OK. I think that the Apple //c (not the //c+) is a good benchmark for an Apple II standard, as it also matches the majority of the Apple II+/IIe configurations for both the period and what can be easily obtained now.

Obviously it's silly to stick with the lowest common denominator or stock, but making requirements too high is equally pointless. A $500+ hardware requirement for "membership" is obviously going to become restrictive and exclusive.

#42 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 5:29 PM

Agree to disagree. But I tended to think there were too many "standards" BITD.

You had -
uFonics voice card
SuperTalk'r
Mountain Hardware Music System
Various configs of the mockingboard
Votrax Type'n'Talk
Many variations on the Echo
Phazor

And more I'm sure. I suppose *the* standard was dual-voice right through the speaker. I've seen and heard the most music through that than anything else, despite having both MCKB and MHMS.

#43 The Usotsuki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 7:03 PM

The most common config I've seen is what I have - 128K //e, SSC, floppy controller, and not usually anything else (I do have a Z80 card, but it's not in the machine atm). The //c is equivalent to a //e with 128K, floppy controller and 2 SSCs.

Apart from a 128K //e, a ][+ with 48K, maybe 64K, and the same daughtercards is probably fairly common.

Mockingboards cost a few limbs and I've never actually seen a computer with one.

#44 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 7:22 PM

The most common config I've seen is what I have - 128K //e, SSC, floppy controller, and not usually anything else (I do have a Z80 card, but it's not in the machine atm). The //c is equivalent to a //e with 128K, floppy controller and 2 SSCs.

That is the most common one you'll see today and a good LCD. There are some people who still stick with 48K or 64K Apple II+'s, but they're a minor minority.

#45 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 8:58 PM

Well, I think "I have an Apple", or "I want an apple" is all that is required. Really, I just wondered if there was interest in the machines. Beyond that, to each their own.

Good that 128K is more common. I really have little interest in a 48K plus, like I have little interest in a 32K 400. (Which mine is, and it plays Star Raiders and looks cool, but that is about it)

#46 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 9:32 PM

Just about anything that won't run on a IIgs will run on a II+ with a language card (64K total)... which is why I have a IIgs and a II+.
Programs that don't like an enhanced IIe are extremely rare but I understand there are a few.

The IIe was produced much longer than the II+ and sales were much higher at that time so there are more IIe's.
Non-enhanced IIe's were produced for a short time so the majority of IIe's are enhanced models.

As to 128K... most of the IIe's that show up on ebay don't have the RAM card and a lot of the school machines didn't either.
The IIe I was given didn't have a RAM card either.

I don't think it's unreasonable to require some sort of hardware upgrades like at least 128K but I have my doubts about them being more common.

#47 Albert OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 9:33 PM

Seems like there's a lot of Apple ][ technical knowledge here. Perhaps a programming forum is in order. :)

..Al

#48 simbalion OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 10:06 PM

I'm all for a regular Apple ][ subforum. Have mine put away right now, but still a great computer line.

#49 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 7, 2013 11:13 PM

To me, a //e should be enhanced with MouseText and 128K & 80-columns. I can't imagine it being any other way. Of course there are purists that dig the lesser variants like 48K II+ and 16-32K II models. That's fine. But for the person getting into the hobby the enhanced //e is a good way to go.

I think those things + 2 disk drives and SuperSerialCard is the minimum system one should put together. This way you get easy copying ability, DHR graphics, ability to experience a 64K ramdisk. Appleworks works. And you can make mondo-sized basic programs by bankswitching. You can also store variables in that 64K area too. Well, 62K actually.

And if you happen to be looking around for that 128K Ram & 80-Column card. The best ones to get are these: they have proven to be the most reliable. Low parts count, compatibility, no sockets, low heat. All advantages for longevity. And great component spacing + filtering capacity on the Micro-SCI. This very card you see in the pic, the Micro-SCI, is from the BBS days. And it hosted a ramdisk full of nefarious text files. The el'shrimpo card is the one that comes standard in the Platinum //e.

DSCN1146.JPG


Edited by Keatah, Thu Mar 7, 2013 11:15 PM.


#50 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 8, 2013 8:13 AM

I agree, a stock Enhanced //e should be the standard platform these days. Mockingboard? I know it makes things much, much easier sound-wise (not to mention more pleasant sounding), but they just aren't that common, even with the clones that were from ReactiveMicro. (BTW, does anyone know if they're ever coming back?)




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