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Atari 8-bit Software Preservation Initiative


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#26 morelenmir OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 8, 2015 11:23 AM

I am sadly just an observer to this.  I did at one point have multiple hundreds of disks, but they were for the vast majority cracked copies from the mid-eighties to begin with.  Literally the other day I found out how terrible the condition of these disks now is - mouldy, damp and rotting.  It was really disheartening, like losing a part of my childhood for ever; very dramatic but how I feel.

 

However, reading about this project and then thinking of my own experiences underlines to me how truly important your work is.  I wish I could help and maybe I can set up a spare server to seed full time for a while.  Nevertheless, I'd like to thank you for what you are all doing.  It makes all the difference in the world to know I can get back at least some of what I lost and in doing so help others to do the same.  I know I am not alone in voicing my appreciation for your work.

 

Thank You.



#27 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 8, 2015 4:07 PM

@Grizaptimus: That would be great! Let's coordinate once you get your system set up to see what you can image that hasn't already been done.

 

@morelenmir: Thanks, glad it's appreciated. It is strange what a bummer it is to realize disks that you booted as a kid will never boot again :-P It's even sadder to think about how titles that were never cracked may disappear forever. I hope this initiative can help can assuage that a bit.



#28 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 9, 2015 8:57 AM

Thanks to advfan, the following two titles have been preserved from original boxed copies (the first was even shrink-wrapped!):

 

Bannercatch (Scholastic)

Sea Dragon v2.0 (Adventure International)

 

Also added from my own collection:

 

Aerobics (Spinnaker)

Atari 810 Master Diskette (Atari)

Atspeller v1.0 (APX)

DOS 2.5 (Atari)

Leather Goddesses of Phobos Rel 59 (Inform)

Micro League Baseball - General Mgr/Owner's Disk (Micro League Sports Association)

Micro League Baseball - World Series Teams (1960's)

Micro League Baseball - 1986 NL and AL Teams (Micro League Sports Association)

S.A.G.A. No. 03 - Mission Impossible v5.0-306 (Adventure International)

Spellakazam (DesignWare)

Spelling Bee (MECC)

Superman - The Game (Main Street Publishing)

Suspended Rel 5 (Infocom)

Trap-a-Zoid (DesignWare)

Wingman (MicroProse)



#29 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 12, 2015 5:05 AM

Nice one Farb and to those offering titles a big thank you too..

 

Please folks do contribute so we can have a clean super set of titles, hoping there no collector mania to go on, sometimes I've seen situations where folks say "its mine, not for sharing", all that does is make sure rare titles become extinct bar a copy or two in a box, never played and stored away. Lets not do that, do what the C64 lot do, share it all bar newly released for sale stuff that is NOT put up on common to enter sites, yes it still gets cracked but not spread in an open way allowing authors to make some money..

 

Same with folks who have brought the rights to a utility or game, are you now going to expand on that property or just leave it to gather dust, if yes to dust then please share the program so we have a record of it, if you are going to enhance it and re-release it for cash then good luck to you and thank you for doing it. Or of course you could follow John Lawsons fine idea and release a new version of your work for free. John IS still working on Ultimon II but he's incredibly busy with businesses etc but I chatted to him a few weeks back and its still coming, hopefully I'll get to play with it nearer the time.


Edited by Mclaneinc, Tue May 12, 2015 5:06 AM.


#30 Shannon OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 14, 2015 12:20 AM

I have a question about the infocom games in your collection.  I noticed several in ATX form.  However I always remembered infocom's copy protection being strictly documenation.  Typically based around some of the materials included with an infocom game.

 

Did Atari 8-bit infocom games really have copy protection?  If so what did the game do if you tried to run a "copy" of a protected disk?



#31 Dragon375 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 14, 2015 10:55 AM

Seems to be quite a few new titles added.  Is there an update torrent?  I am still seeding the earlier torrent, but it seems an update may be in order.  Thanks for the preservation effort!  Most of my original disks were destroyed in a garage fire about 10 years ago, so it is awesome to be able to play those titles again.  It took my beer-soaked brain a sec to realize what you are trying to do, but once it clicked I applaud your effort!  Keep up the good work, and if you post an update I will throw it on my seedbox and seed tilll I bleed.  Let me know, k?



#32 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 14, 2015 10:59 PM

I have a question about the infocom games in your collection.  I noticed several in ATX form.  However I always remembered infocom's copy protection being strictly documenation.  Typically based around some of the materials included with an infocom game.

 

Did Atari 8-bit infocom games really have copy protection?  If so what did the game do if you tried to run a "copy" of a protected disk?

 

In the case of Infocom ATXs, that's how those titles were provided to me. They are not copy protected -- I just haven't converted them to ATR yet.

 

This raises an question I've had that I wanted to solicit opinions on. Even for non copy protected disks, the ATX format preserves things like per track sector ordering. That information is not present in the ATR format. While it isn't necessary to make use of the image, I don't know whether it's worth preserving.

 

The question boils down to: is it worth keeping "preserved" titles in ATX format even if they aren't copy protected?

 

What does everyone think?



#33 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 14, 2015 11:02 PM

Seems to be quite a few new titles added.  Is there an update torrent?  I am still seeding the earlier torrent, but it seems an update may be in order.  Thanks for the preservation effort!  Most of my original disks were destroyed in a garage fire about 10 years ago, so it is awesome to be able to play those titles again.  It took my beer-soaked brain a sec to realize what you are trying to do, but once it clicked I applaud your effort!  Keep up the good work, and if you post an update I will throw it on my seedbox and seed tilll I bleed.  Let me know, k?

 

I have not created an updated torrent yet. It takes a bit of effort to get everything torrent-ready so I don't want to do it too often. When I reach a logical stopping point, I'll put an updated torrent together.



#34 advfan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 14, 2015 11:24 PM

 

In the case of Infocom ATXs, that's how those titles were provided to me. They are not copy protected -- I just haven't converted them to ATR yet.

 

This raises an question I've had that I wanted to solicit opinions on. Even for non copy protected disks, the ATX format preserves things like per track sector ordering. That information is not present in the ATR format. While it isn't necessary to make use of the image, I don't know whether it's worth preserving.

 

The question boils down to: is it worth keeping "preserved" titles in ATX format even if they aren't copy protected?

 

What does everyone think?

 

For the sake of uniformity, I prefer to have everything in the ATX format even if not absolutely necessary, but I may be biased, as I prefer to deal with the fewest amount of file types when using them for frontends, launchers and their modules.



#35 Shawn Jefferson OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 14, 2015 11:40 PM

I think the problem with ATX files is their use is limited.  Are you also preserving the raw dump from Kryoflux (or whatever it is you are using?) If so, it wouldn't matter I don't think as no one is going to care about the sector ordering when using non-protected disks, IMO.



#36 Kr0tki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 14, 2015 11:48 PM

The question boils down to: is it worth keeping "preserved" titles in ATX format even if they aren't copy protected?

Yes, it is! Whatever sector ordering used, it is a historical artifact, too. Besides, you'll never know if it isn't a part of some copy protection, the software measuring load times and breaking in a non-obvious way.

I think that the ATR format should be used only for disks with 100% standard sector layout, as if formatted on an unmodified 810.

Edited by Kr0tki, Thu May 14, 2015 11:50 PM.


#37 F#READY OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 15, 2015 1:24 AM

IMHO only the raw images are the preservation formats. ATX, ATR, PRO and others that are extracted from the raw image, are user/emulator formats. Both are important ofcourse, but i rather loose an extracted on than the raw one.

#38 Grizaptimus OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 15, 2015 7:02 AM

Sigh, got my kryoflux in works like a champ with 3.5in drive, unfortunately my 5.25 drive seems to be toast.  Does anyone have a spare 5.25 drive around that they would be willing to part with? (preferably black faced (I know i'm horribly driveist))



#39 Shannon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 15, 2015 2:14 PM

That is a tough question.  But sector order effects load speed right?  I like the fact that when I see ".atx" it usually means the disc is copy protected and that any .atr out there is likely a cracked version that may be flawed.  Maybe there can be some way to record (keep track of) whether images are protected, or just have an unusual track order.

 

Maybe that explains why infocom games have such a crappy load speed.  :lol:

 

At the very least if you have an .atx image then you know it was imaged on a kryoflux and does not need to be done again.

 

Another question.

 

Some of the images I already have ATX versions of.  Yet the CRC was different.  Do these images supersede the images I already have?  The ones I got came from Atarimania.



#40 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 15, 2015 2:51 PM

@F#READY, agreed -- my question was unintentionally misleading. The flux dumps are the only true "preserved" image format and they definitely need to be archived. For everyday usage, however, they are huge (relatively speaking) and no emulators support them. So, knowing we need to create usable images from flux dumps, ATX and/or ATR seem to be the best option. I wish SCP was further along because it is a good candidate to address both concerns. Unfortunately, it's current software is incomplete and buggy.

 

@Kr0tki, also agreed -- the sector ordering is a historical artifact that might be worth preserving.

 

@Shannon, it's interesting to see others' perspectives. I too viewed ATX as a way to identify copy-protected disks. We could also look at it as a way to identify disks most likely imaged from originals regardless of copy protection.

 

Oh, and CRC comparisons don't really work when it comes to ATX files -- you can write out a valid ATX of the same disk in multiple ways. For example, let's say a disk has a track 1 sector order of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18. One ATX might write the track 1 data with an order of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18 and another might write it out using 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,1. They are both valid, working images of the same disk -- but they are different ATX files and a CRC comparison will fail.

 

I guess another point worth making here is that a non copy-protected ATX can easily be converted to an ATR. The inverse cannot be done since ATR is a "lossy" format in that regard -- the sector ordering is identical for every track. So ATX may be the best way to satisfy both sides of the discussion.

 

This is a good. Keep the thoughts coming :-)


Edited by Farb, Fri May 15, 2015 2:54 PM.


#41 Shannon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 15, 2015 5:59 PM

That does bring mind a question I've been meaning to ask.

 

Could you please identify what the source of the ATR images are in your torrent?  Are they dumps you created yourself or are they from a different source?

 

Thanks for all the hard work.



#42 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 15, 2015 6:34 PM

The preservation spreadsheet (a link to it is in the first few posts of this thread) has both contributor and dumper columns for all images in the torrent.



#43 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 18, 2015 8:09 PM

Attached is an updated torrent file with the latest titles.

Attached Files



#44 Dragon375 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 18, 2015 9:03 PM

Thanks Farb, I will be seeding it immediately.  :)



#45 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 19, 2015 1:16 AM

Also seeding (once I get it..)



#46 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 20, 2015 1:23 PM

Thanks to advfan we have now preserved:

 

Winter Challenge (Thunder Mountain) (shrink-wrapped!)

Tomahawk (Datasoft)



#47 Shannon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 20, 2015 11:21 PM

How come there is only a side B for action biker?  Was this one of those dual C64/Atari disks?



#48 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 21, 2015 3:28 PM

How come there is only a side B for action biker?  Was this one of those dual C64/Atari disks?

 

Yes, that was a flippy disk. I was originally tracking when the Atari version was on side B but then decided that was too confusing. I thought I had changed them all but looks like I missed Action Biker (it's now been fixed). Thanks for pointing it out.



#49 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 22, 2015 8:36 AM

Some more Infocom titles preserved from my collection:

 

Ballyhoo

Moonmist

Spellbreaker

Wishbringer

 

Alas, I also dumped "The Witness" but side B had errors :-(

 

By my count, that leaves 8 Infocom titles unpreserved:

 

Cutthroats

Lurking Horror
Plundered Hearts
Seastalker
Sorcerer
Starcross
Suspect
Witness, The
 
Anyone want to contribute? :-)

Edited by Farb, Fri May 22, 2015 8:50 AM.


#50 Shannon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 26, 2015 11:35 PM

Good job..

 

btw the Tari Trek and Temple Of Darkness cassette images have the same CRC.  I'm not sure which was confused with which.






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