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Atari 8-bit Software Preservation Initiative


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#1 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 4, 2015 6:19 PM

Hi all,

 

I've spent the last couple of years slowly imaging and cataloging my Atari 8-bit disk collection (both originals and copies). This has been done primarily with a Kryoflux and a 5.25" drive I modified to read both sides of a disk.

 

 

I had originally offered to work with the SPS team to get these preserved but their poor communication proved an impediment. I also briefly worked with someone on the Atarimania team to get these into ATX format but was ultimately disappointed by the continued lack of a fully-documented ATX specification. Despite that, I've contributed a number of images to that site.

 

I put the imaging initiative on hiatus until recently when Phaeron announced his a8rawconv tool that can convert Kryoflux and SuperCard Pro images into ATR/ATX format. I have had a lot of success using this and it has reinvigorated my desire to help preserve original Atari software. I'm currently at over 100 ATX images that are not available through Atarimania or other sites and more than double that in ATR/EXE/BAS files.

 

I've been meticulously comparing my images to both Atarimania and TOSEC dumps to identify duplicates and am maintaining my own set of TOSEC-formatted files that I'm sharing with the TOSEC team in hopes that they will integrate it into their database. This includes corrections to existing database inaccuracies. The current state of my work is here:

 

https://bitbucket.or...t-tosec-dat/src

 

Throughout this effort, I've found that some of my disks no longer boot properly. Fortunately, using the imaging hardware and Phaeron's excellent a8rawconv program, some of these disks have been recovered since they make multiple reads of each sector to obtain a good image. Others, sadly, were not recoverable.

 

I've already spent more money than I care to count obtaining original titles for purposes of preservation. My original plan was to sell the titles I've already preserved in order to obtain others. However, lack of time and a dislike for eBay has prevented this from happening so I figured I'd ask the AtariAge community for help.

 

What I'm proposing is this -- I'd like to borrow titles that have not already been imaged from AtariAge community members that are willing to participate. These would preferably be original disks but even a copy made using a drive modification that can duplicate copy protection would be helpful. These will be handled with the utmost of care, imaged on both a Kryoflux and SuperCard Pro and returned in the same condition in which they were received along with the images generated from them. I realize this is a risk (especially for owners of rarer titles) so I'm also willing to discuss giving some my original software (some of which I believe is reasonably rare) to those willing to let me borrow theirs if that makes the risk a bit more justifiable.

 

My ultimate goal is to contribute the results of this effort back to the Atari community by my contribution of information to TOSEC as well as the images themselves through some sort of file sharing mechanism (perhaps torrent or other means).

 

To get the ball rolling, below are some examples of titles that I personally would like to see imaged:

 

221B Baker St (Datasoft)(US version)

221B Baker St Case Libraries (Datasoft)(US version)

Air Support (Synapse)(US version)

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (Quality Software)(US version)

Alley Cat (Synapse)(US version)

Beyond Castle Wolfenstein (MUSE Software)(US version)

Boulder Dash (First Star Software)(US version)

Boulder Dash II (First Star Software)(US version)

Brimstone (Synapse)(US version)

Clowns & Balloons (Datasoft)(US version)

Dodge Racer (Synapse)(US version)

Drelbs (Synapse)(US version)

Eidolon, The (Lucasarts)(US version)

Encounter! (Synapse)(US version)

Essex (Synapse Software)(US version)

Eternal Dagger (SSI)(US version)

Gemstone Warrior (SSI)(US version)

Juno First (Datasoft)(US version)

Kennedy Approach (MicroProse Software)(US version)

Koronis Rift (Lucasarts)(US version)

Lost Tomb (Datasoft)(US version)

Mercenary - Escape from Targ (Datasoft)(US version)

Mercenary - The Second City (Datasoft)(US version)

Mindshadow (Activision)(US version)

Mindwheel (Synapse)(US version)

Moon Shuttle (Datasoft)(US version)

Nibbler (Datasoft)(US version)

Ninja (Mastertronic)(US version)

Phantasie I (SSI)(US version)

Phantasie II (SSI)(US version)

Quasimodo (Synapse)(US version)

Questron (SSI)(US version)

Rainbow Walker (Synapse)(US version)

Return of Heracles (Quality Software)(US version)

Rosen's Brigade (Datasoft)(US version)

Sands of Egypt (Datasoft)(US version)

Shadow World (Synapse)(US version)

Spelunker (Broderbund)(US version)

Spy vs. Spy II (First Star)(US version)

Spy vs. Spy III (Epyx)(US version)

Star Raiders II (Atari)(US version)

Survivor (Synapse)(US version)

Trivia Quest (Royal Software)(US version)

Warriors of Ras - Dunzhin (Screenplay)(US version)

Warriors of Ras - Kaiv (Screenplay)(US version)

Warriors of Ras - The Wylde (Screenplay)(US version)

Wizard's Crown (SSI)(US version)

Worms? (Electronic Arts)(US version)

Zeppelin (Synapse)(US version)

 

So, is anyone interested in helping out with this?



#2 F#READY OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 5, 2015 3:03 AM

Hi Farb,

Nice to see you're still working on this subject!
You know we have the same goal :)

We already have metadata and storage infra in place. Will support both Kryoflux and Supercard Pro raw images.

Let's join forces and talk again, ok?

Regards,
Freddy.

#3 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 5, 2015 10:05 AM

Hi Freddy,

 

Good to hear from you -- it's been a long time since we last spoke!

 

I'd be happy to team up with you guys to further this cause :-)



#4 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:53 PM

I've been asked for a list of what titles have been "preserved". I've started putting one together here:

 

https://docs.google....dit?usp=sharing

 

My current criteria for being on the list is:

 

1. Anything that Atarimania has flagged in red for its D, T, or K dumps.

2. Anything that has a [!] in the Atari cartridge list that Kr0tki has been maintaining. I'm still in the process of adding these as I've been converting the .rom files to .car.

3. Anything I've dumped myself and successfully created a working ATX file from. I've also indicated whether my dump came from an original or a backup of an original.

 
I definitely welcome comments and contributions to this list.


#5 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:11 PM

A huge thanks goes to Orpheuswaking for loaning some of his collection for imaging. We have now preserved:

 

221b Baker St.

Adventure on a Boat

Baja Buggies

Copter Chase

David's Midnight Magic

Eidolon

Gauntlet: Deeper Dungeons

Infiltrator

Juno First

Kennedy Approach

Koronis Rift

Nibbler

Nightmare, The

Ninja

Rescue at Rigel

Rommel - Battles for Tobruk

Spelunker

Spy vs. Spy - The Island Caper

Star League Baseball

Survivor

 

The preservation spreadsheet has been updated to reflect these new titles.


Edited by Farb, Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:13 PM.


#6 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 2, 2015 5:35 PM

Some more thanks go out to:

 

walter_J64bit for contributing:

 

Mercenary

Mercenary: Second City (this dump is questionable)

 

and advfan for his huge contribution:

 

221B Baker Street Case Library #1

Auto Duel

Axis Assassin

Battle for Normandy

Battle of Antietam

Blade of Blackpool

Carrier Force

Colonial Conquest

Computer Ambush

Computer Baseball

Crisis Mountain

Crystal Raider

Deadline

Decision in the Desert

Despatch Rider

Eagles

ElektraGlide

Enchanter

Eternal Dagger

Field of Fire

Flight Simulator II

Free Trader

Galactic Chase

Gettysburg - The Turning Point

Gulf Strike

Guns of Fort Defiance

Hellcat Ace

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Hollywood Hijinx

Infidel

Kampfgruppe

Kik-Start

Knights of the Desert

Lapis Philosophorum - The Philosopher's Stone

Laser Hawk

Lords of Karma

Match-Wits

Mickey in the Great Outdoors

Midway Campaign

Mig Alley Ace

Mindshadow

NAM

Night Mission Pinball

Objective: Kursk

Operation Market Garden

Operation Whirlwind

Panzer Grenadier

Pole Position

Quest, The

Questprobe #2 - Spider-Man

Questprobe #3 - The Fantastic Four

Rails West!

Rampage

Reforger '88

Rocker Repairman

SAGA #5 - The Count

Sands of Egypt

Scrolls of Abadon

Sons of Liberty

Spare Change

Spitfire 40

Spitfire Ace

Starbowl Football

Stickybear Numbers

Stratos

Super Huey

TAC

Tigers in the Snow

Top Gunner Collection

Trailblazer

USAAF

War

War in Russia

Zaxxon

Zeppelin

Zork I, II & III

 

The verified list has been updated with everything.



#7 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 2, 2015 5:41 PM

I think it's now at a good point to share what's been preserved thus far. I have never created a torrent file before so please be kind if there are problems.

 

The torrent file is attached.

Attached Files



#8 AtariGeezer ONLINE  

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Posted Sat May 2, 2015 7:56 PM

Downloaded and seeding :)



#9 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 2, 2015 8:17 PM

Thanks, AtariGeezer.



#10 Dragon375 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 2, 2015 11:23 PM

Downloaded and added to my torrentbox, will seed for a few months.  Let me know if you update it so I can seed the most recent version.  Thanks for this, I would love to see tons more added to this!



#11 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 2, 2015 11:34 PM

Thanks, Dragon375. I'd like to see more added to this as well :-)

 

I encourage anyone that can contribute to please do so. There are already a couple of people that can vouch for the care I take with their disks.

 

Time is ticking on all the physical disk media -- let's save as much as we can!



#12 danwinslow ONLINE  

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Posted Sun May 3, 2015 4:41 AM

Are people physically sending you disks? I'd be glad to send some, and can cover the postage both ways. I have 250 or so collected over the years. Whats is the address?



#13 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 3, 2015 8:44 AM

Are people physically sending you disks? I'd be glad to send some, and can cover the postage both ways. I have 250 or so collected over the years. Whats is the address?

 

Yes, some have physically sent me disks to image for them and others have sent me images that they created themselves. I'll PM you with more information. 



#14 poobah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 3, 2015 10:27 AM

seeding



#15 advfan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 3, 2015 11:12 AM

Are people physically sending you disks? I'd be glad to send some, and can cover the postage both ways. I have 250 or so collected over the years. Whats is the address?

 

Hi,

 

thanks for your help. 

 

Before sending anything it's best if you post a list. Not everything is needed and there may be some items more sought after than others.

 

Also, if some people use Ebay to bid for certain items for this project, we should coordinate so that we avoid a bidding war for the same purpose.

 

I recently acquired Bannercatch and Winter Challenge (US release of Winter Olympiad) and had them sent to Farb.  Let's hope they still work and can be converted.

 

Also, when bidding, sealed software or at least in their original boxes is preferred, but if not and only sold as loose disks, at least it should have the original sticker. 



#16 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 3, 2015 12:53 PM

Before sending anything it's best if you post a list. Not everything is needed and there may be some items more sought after than others.

 

Posting a list, while helpful, is not completely necessary -- contributing anything that is not currently on the preservation spreadsheet would be helpful.

 

As advfan said, original disks with their labels intact are preferred. You can also contribute copies made using a drive modification such as Happy, Super Archiver, etc. However, those will be flagged as non-original media in the preservation list and later replaced with an image from an original if possible.



#17 Dragon375 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 3, 2015 12:54 PM

I have a ton of .atr files.  Been weeding out most of the non-working ones.  I could upload them somewhere if you have a spot.  I am at the point where sorting them is taking too much time and hassle.  We need a unified archive so it can all be sorted and all the broken images gotten rid of.  There are huge archives online already, but most of them contain too many broken/non-working images.  Hopefully, this project can see an end to all that.



#18 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 3, 2015 1:28 PM

I have a ton of .atr files.  Been weeding out most of the non-working ones.  I could upload them somewhere if you have a spot.  I am at the point where sorting them is taking too much time and hassle.  We need a unified archive so it can all be sorted and all the broken images gotten rid of.  There are huge archives online already, but most of them contain too many broken/non-working images.  Hopefully, this project can see an end to all that.

 

There is already a project out there that is attempting to catalog all of the existing image files out there -- it's called TOSEC (http://www.tosecdev.org). As a first step, you might want to download the TOSEC .dat files for the Atari 8-bit and run your ATR collection through a tool like Clrmamepro or Rom Manager. Those tools will automatically put all of your recognized images into ZIP files using a consistent naming scheme. It will leave files it doesn't know about alone and will likely make the job of organizing your collection much easier.

 

The goal of this project (at least at the moment) is a bit different. Rather than try to figure out what existing images are good or bad, it's creating new images from original media complete with copy protection where present.

 

I do like the idea of a unified archive, though, and it doesn't seem like it should be that hard to figure it out as a community.


Edited by Farb, Sun May 3, 2015 1:31 PM.


#19 Shawn Jefferson OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 4, 2015 8:24 PM

How is what you are doing different than what Atarimania has been doing, or are you working with those folks?



#20 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 4, 2015 10:48 PM

This project is complementary to what Atarimania has been doing. The preservation list includes Atarimania's work, my own work and the preservation efforts of several others in the Atari community.

 

However, there are a couple of differences:

 

1. I'm using publicly available tools such as Kryoflux, SuperCard Pro and a8rawconv for preservation purposes. This includes actively providing feedback to the authors of those tools to help improve them. Atarimania has historically been opaque about the tools they use and even the full details of the ATX specification. In my opinion, this limited the velocity that preservation efforts could achieve and I wanted to take an active part in changing that.

 

2. Along with the software images themselves, I'm recording meta-data about the images such as their checksums and how they need to be run (e.g. BASIC, OS-B, etc.) in a consistent and machine-readable way. I feel this is important so people can make use of the data to do interesting things. For example, a developer could use it to make an emulator automatically recognize image files and seamlessly alter the emulator settings so it runs properly. I personally am using the data to auto-generate a Clrmamepro-style .dat file that can be used by anyone to organize and maintain the images preserved by the project.



#21 Shannon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 5, 2015 1:08 AM

I'll help with seeding the torrent.  However my internet has been sketchy the last 3 weeks so I've been limiting the time I run uTorrent to about 4-8 hours a day if possible.

 

If not it creates connection issues for other devices in the house like my sons xbox 360.

 

Knock on wood but last night the internet seemed pjretty speedy so hopefully that problem has been corrected by the ISP.



#22 David_P OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 5, 2015 9:14 PM

My NAS has been seeding it for several days.  By my math, if I permit 25000 people to download it completely, every month, I'll still have about half my monthly cap available... so I think I can leave it accessible for a while yet ;)



#23 F#READY OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 7, 2015 2:16 PM

http://ataripreservation.org/

 

We focus on real (physical) collections and all kinds of variations (box, labels, dumps etc.).

 

It would be good to relate the original owner and original copy to the digital dump.

 

I hope you're also recording that info Farb?

 

Would be nice to exchange ideas about our preservation process.



#24 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 7, 2015 6:24 PM

 

Would be nice to exchange ideas about our preservation process.

 

 

Agreed. Let's talk offline and discuss.



#25 Grizaptimus OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 8, 2015 9:52 AM

I have a Kryoflux on the way, I would be willing to lend a hand If you would like






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