Issue 36, January 2010
Free to download magazine dedicated to Commodore computers
Available as PDF, HTML, TXT, SEQ and D64 disk image



I am writing this with the sad news about Lord Ronin’s Death, He was a colourful character in the Commodore Scene and his determination to use only Commodore machines was a credit to him. I know latterly he was persuaded to go down the Linux route as he was a hater of other platforms. One thing I will remember him for is whenever I asked a simple question needing a yes or no answer Lord Ronin would give a 10 page answer, via email then follow it the next day with a couple more pages of text. Lord Ronin was I know midway through a series on Goes for beginners to experts, as he used GEOS and Wheels operating systems daily I thought he would be the ideal person to do such a tutorial. Sadly this will never see the light of day. From various emails Lord Ronin had heart failure. He will be sadly missed by myself and I am sure many of the Commodore Community.

It was Lord Ronin’s insistence that a Commodore magazine could not just be a PDF that drove me to produce the TXT SEQ HTML and D64 image versions of the magazine. After all how can you exclude diehard Commodore users who have no way of reading PDFs. I did point out that the Amiga could read PDF files but I took on board his opinion and decided it was all or nothing.

Lord Ronin contributed to the magazine with many interesting stories and an overview of the Commodore user guide, this tempted me to produce a d64 and 40 column text version for users of Commodore 64's

Dave Otto Edward Mohr (AKA Lord Ronin from Q~link) passed away 3rd December 2009

Commodore Free magazine hopes you rest in peace with your Commodore’s for me this is very sad news indeed...............

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Hyperion Entertainment CVBA and Amiga Inc. reach settlement

Hyperion Entertainment CVBA and Amiga Inc. reach settlement
Brussels, Belgium October 17, 2009

Hyperion Entertainment CVBA is pleased to announce that on September 30, 2009, it has reached a comprehensive settlement agreement with Amiga, Inc., Itec LLC and Amino Development Corporation, Inc., to bring all ongoing litigation and worldwide pending procedures between the parties to an end.

As part of the settlement agreement, the Amiga Parties acknowledge that Hyperion is the sole owner of AmigaOS 4 without prejudice to any third party rights.

Within the framework of the settlement agreement Hyperion is granted an exclusive, perpetual, worldwide right to AmigaOS 3.1 in order to use, develop, modify, commercialize, distribute and market AmigaOS 4.x (and subsequent versions of AmigaOS including without limitation AmigaOS 5) in any form, on any medium and for any current or future hardware platform under the exclusive trademark “AmigaOS” (Amiga operating system) and using other associated trademarks (such as the “BoingBall” logo).

Hyperion will continue development and distribution of AmigaOS 4.x (and beyond) as it has done since November of 2001.

We wish to thank our loyal customers who have supported us throughout the judicial procedures and especially the AmigaOS 4.x development team for their continued efforts and at the request of whom this official announcement was made.

As Hyperion Entertainment’s most ambitious project to date is drawing to a close in collaboration with our partners, we invite our current and prospective customers to watch this space for further updates on Hyperion’s continued efforts to revive the Amiga platform.

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Cloanto updates to Amiga and C64 Forever

Amiga forever and C64 forever are emulation packages, emulating the Commodore Amiga and Commodore 64 Both versions use licensed software and the Amiga version comes with licensed versions of Workbench and the Kick-start ROMs, Also included are many varied games and demos. It’s like Emulation heaven all in a small plastic disc.

Amiga Forever and C64 Forever 2009.1 Released - Cyber Monday Special

A few months ago Cloanto released Amiga Forever 2009 and completed the set of supported Commodore/Amiga systems by adding C64 Forever to the product line. The two packages share the same RetroPlatform player and content management framework, and also work very well together. For example, when an RP9 game file is double-clicked, the correct player opens automatically. Amiga and C64 (or VIC 20, PET/CBM, etc.) content can even be played back side by side.

Brand new features like AmiKit and AmigaSYS integration, RetroPlatform Library with live updates, RP9 Manager to import and export content, new ROMs and enhanced support for Windows 7 (both x86 and x64) contributed to making the 2009 version of Amiga Forever the most enjoyable and polished version yet. The same ease of use and refined features made C64 Forever a most welcome addition to the landscape of C64 emulation solutions. The free Express Edition of C64 Forever quickly emerged on popular download portals as the favourite C64 emulator application.

Cloanto's RetroPlatform Team is now pleased to announce the release of a major free update of both packages, with a version number of 2009.1.

New 2009.1 features include:

- Passed official Windows 7 Logo tests
- Support for Windows 7 "Recent" jump lists
- RP9 Manager: Added Rescan, Export to SD card
- "Now Playing" interface
- Updated "Tip of the Day" content
- New Software Director to check for updates
- Detection and automatic resolution of certain system issues
- Fixed a few bugs in the player
- Various performance improvements

The change logs of each package contain additional details:


Existing customers have already been sent upgrade instructions. For first time users and upgraders, a special Cyber Monday offer at a 20% discount is in place from today until the end of the week. To get the extra discount, enter coupon code "CyberMonday" at checkout in the Amiga Forever or C64 Forever store pages.

We remain committed to improving the software and cataloguing, preserving and making accessible as many bits and bytes of Commodore/Amiga history and culture as possible, delivering free RetroPlatform Library updates, games in the new RP9 format, and enabling hardware devices which can read data written by Amiga Forever and C64 Forever. All of this work consumes a lot of time and resources, and we are very thankful to our customers, for without their support all of this would not be possible.

Thank you!

Your RetroPlatform Team

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VCF East 6.0 videos posted

Subject: VCF East 6.0 videos posted

BIOS has posted two videos of the Sept. 12-13 Vintage Computer Festival East 6.0. The first is a look at the activities which include an excerpt of the 8 static Chip Tune Concert held there, a look around the exhibit hall at the various computers (including Commodore and Amiga), various attendees trying out Shredz64 (Guitar Hero for the C64), an excerpt from Evan Koblentz's talk on Computer Development and the U.S. Army Evans Signal Laboratory, the full presentation given by Bill Degnan on the evolution of local computer clubs in the 1970's and early 1980's, and more. At nearly one hour, this first video, entitled "Vintage Computer Festival East 6.0 (2009)", is at

The second video is the complete Sunday presentation given by David Ahl, editor of Creative Computing magazine, in which he humorously relates the Blunders in Personal Computing of the 1970's and early 1980's. This almost-one-hour video is at

My thanks to Evan Koblentz, VCF East organizer, for his hospitality and thanks to all the other members of MARCH who helped me out and who provided a C64 system with which I demonstrated Toni Westbrook's Shredz64 and the PSX64 adapter.

Robert Bernardo

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Commodore Plus/4 Games

RoePipi has released two brand new Commodore Plus/4 game releases: Foxish and Maze of Mazes. Both games are polished and worthy of a load up.

The authors comments:


A real-time hunting action/rhythm game written in BASIC 3.5

- runs on systems with at least 32k RAM
- real-time hunting action:
- seek and chase preys, bring them to your grateful fox family
- virtual 3D scrolling system
- enormous terrain to explore
- transient time system,
- lighting and fog effects,
- breath-taking landscape
- 30 minutes guaranteed gameplay
- intimate music scores (can be turned off)
- immensely sweet and unique graphics hidden extras

Download at

Maze of Mazes

Runs on 32k and 64k systems,

- play the mazes or build your own!
- 38 built-in maps of mazeness
- 4-way infinite scrolling mazes
- stairways and goal objects
- full-blown maze editor
- random mazes for the lazy ones
- build hundreds of mazes up to the free RAM!
- create art with just typing!
- custom colours, walls and floors for every map!
- customizable title and ending screen
- 3 different sounds with adjustable volume!

Download at

More games are on, RoePipi's homepage -

Contains a few more, older games, like
- Pipi's Stuffs,
- ▄zlet Egy
- Ty˙kÚrt, Pipitrain and Madarak Bolygˇja.

They are respectively downloadable at

Robert Bernardo
P.S. At his website, there are even Amiga games.

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Beta Testers Wanted

Forwarded Message:

Beta Testers Wanted
For My Old Commodore Software

By machine and software title, these are available at my upload:

C-64: TIMSIM - Runs under KIMPLEMENT, the KIM emulator, supplied. Includes assembly listing & slide show for the PC. See archaic BNPF format.

*PC DOS: TIMSIM - Runs under a CP/M emulator (supplied). Includes 6502 to Z80 emulator. Upload has a PC floppy disk image with image to disk converter.

(The TIM was a chipset from MOS Technology c.1977, before the KIM and before Commodore bought MOS Tech. A schematic and ROM assembly listing were supplied for the home builder.)

*C-64: QUICK BROWN FOX word processor- Same as the original for the VIC but reworked for the 64. 50+ page instructions yet to be scanned.

C-64: Flight Simulator II - All files loaded at boot are revised to standard Commodore PRG format then loaded with FAST BOOT V.2. 45 second load time, not 2:40. Includes Long Island round robin flight with map.

*VIC-20: NEW POKER - Reworked for high stakes betting. Includes some high winnings as WinVICE snapshots showing winning beyond 65535.

VIC-20: TINY BASIC - Several embellished versions including Tom Pitman’s original and his Tic-Tac-Toe (also reworked as Vic-Tac-Toe). One version runs on the bare VIC. Special tools available separately includes TBIL assembler for Commodore BASIC.

VIC-20: READ-WRITE KIM - Reads KIM tapes at any speed; writes at hypertape speed. Also includes SUPERDUP to duplicate any KIM tape at any speed. Best testing requires real KIM to verify writing. Available
separately: same for the 64 but with hardware kludge; source.

VIC-20 & real TIM: TIM BOOT - Boot up the TIM using the VIC, tape cassette and RS-232 lines. Originally required TTY.

Testers for these last two will be scarce. I’m anxious to find any VIC owner who has a KIM.

All the above preceded with an asterisk are ready to go; the others need double checking and/or additional installation notes. So allow a few weeks. Also, my uploads will be by attachment to e-mail and include D64 or PC floppy images. Most can be run on an emulator (e.g. WinVICE). If you would rather have it on a real Commodore floppy, send me the blank(s) and I will pay return postage.

You can reach me at:

Phil Lange
29 Santa Clara Ave
Dayton, Ohio 45405

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Bombjack Archive DVD

I have some DVD sets available from my Commodore Archive Website

20 DVD's full of Magazines, Newsletter, Application Manuals, Games Manuals, Books, Etc.. This is only the Commodore 8-bit items, no Amiga items yet. See Below for listing

Price = $20 + $5 for shipping (United States) or
$20 + $8 for shipping (Worldwide)


All money left after purchasing DVDs, sleeves, envelopes, and postage will go directly back into the project. Recently I was able to double the bandwidth allowed on the website from 1,000 GIG per month to a whopping 2,000GIG.

So you don't want/need all 20dvd's. Just pick the ones you do at $1 each. Example: If you only want DVDs #'s (5, 11-14 and 19) 6 total, then it's $6 + shipping. Make sure you clearly specify which #'s you want.

Give copies to your friends, share with others. As 'The Softrunner Group' used to say "WE DON'T DELAY WE'LL SPREAD IT TODAY"

DVD 001
Ahoy Magazine (All 61 Issues)

DVD 002
Compute! Gazette (All 83 Issues)
Special Issues (All 5)

DVD 003
RUN (All 94 Issues)
Special Issues (All 5)

DVD 004
Commodore MicroComputers
Cyborg Gazette (All 3 Issues)
Info (All 49 Issues)

DVD 005
Commodore Magazine (All 34 Issues)
Commodore Power-Play (All 23 Issues)
Commodore World (All 25 Issues)
Diehard (All 23 Issues)

DVD 006
Family Computing (All 64 Issues)
Special Issues (3 Issues)

DVD 007
Zzap64 (All 107 Issues)
Micro 6502 Journal (72 Issues)

DVD 008
Compute! and Gazette Special Issues (6 Issues)
Enter (13 issues)
Go64 (English) (13 Issues)
Home Computer Magazine (All 11 Issues)
K-Power (All 8 Issues)
The Transactor (55 issues)

DVD 009
Big K (All 12 Issues)
Commodore DiskUser (All 36 Issues)
Commodore Format (All 61 Issues plus Supplement)

DVD 010
ARES (All 17 Issues plus 2 Special Issues)
Blip (All 7 Issues)
Commodore Computing International
Commodore Horizons (All 27 Issues)
Compute! Apple
Compute! II (All 3 Issues)
Compute! PC
Micro Adventure (All 17 Issues)
Personal Software
Sierra News Magazine
The Guide to Computer Living

DVD 011
Compute! Issues 001-040

DVD 012
Compute! Issues 041-080

DVD 013
Compute! Issues 081-120

DVD 014
Compute! Issues 122-160

DVD 015
Your Commodore (All 84 Issues)

DVD 016
Your Commodore Special Issues (7)
Your 64 (All 14 issues)
Retro Gamer (01-55)

DVD 017
ACE (All 55 Issues)

DVD 018

DVD 019
Program Protection

DVD 020
Misc (couple video and ISO images)


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Flash Attack Game Conversion to VIC 20

Newsgroups: comp.sys.cbm
From: David Murray
Subject: new game I'm writing, with screenshot.

I decided to port Flash Attack to the VIC-20. I've been working on it for days, it is all 100% assembler and does require 24K of RAM in order to run. The code is only 2.5K but the map is very large, and requires a lot of space. However, if there is sufficient demand, I think I could shrink a few things down and maybe make it work on an unexpanded VIC or maybe with a 3K expansion...

So far it runs very fast, so I'm happy with the graphics routines, but much of the game logic isn't yet completed so the only thing you can do is drive around (and drive right through walls too!)

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Steampunk Commodore 64

COMMODORE FREE: Well I am not sure what a STEAMPUNK is but apparently this is a Commodore 64 one!

Artist Molly Friedrich has created the world's first Steampunk C64! Check out the photos at

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Bubbler Found C64

"The Bubbler" resurrected for GTW64!

After a long rescue mission, at long last the lost C64 conversion of Ultimate’s "The Bubbler" has been found and released.
The added bonus is that the game is fully complete, containing the loading picture, music and sfx. Developer Matt Young, Sailor/Triad and Jazzcat have been busy at work and reconstructing things into its final state, whilst compressing and bug fixing.

Although the frame rate suffers due to Ultimate’s demands on how the display worked, it is a massive finding and still as playable as the Spectrum original.

Wow... well, there were always a few questions about the existence of some Ultimate games on the C64, but this one was never really mentioned as a possible conversion.

But in fact this rare Speccy game was being transferred over to our beloved breadbin back in the day by an up and coming company under the name of Lynnsoft (Run by Steve Law and Paul Jacobs). The conversion was being coded by Matt Young (Chris "Quota" Young's brother) with Jake Simpson and some contribution work by Simon Jacobs.

Jason Kelk spent a lot of time at Chris Young's place in the 80's, where he played a reasonably complete version which had the main game graphics dropped from the Speccy version and an enhanced status panel by Jake and it was pretty good. The game was unfortunately a lot slower than it's Z80 counterparts, as we find out why further below.

The project was scrapped by Ultimate and the Amstrad PC based PDS machine (Written by Andy Glaister and Foo Katan) was formatted. It was rumoured that no-one was paid, but Ultimate did pay a flat fee to Lynnsoft for the conversion. Matt later went off to university and Lynnsoft folded soon after.

However, with further digging we got in touch with Matt Young and he had the following to say about the game:

"Bubbler -- that's a blast from the past! I do still have a bunch of diskettes with all the source code on (though no drive on which to read them!). We had quite a lot of the game working on the C64, and the slow-down compared with the Spectrum (which had a faster CPU and a bitmapped screen) was comparable with that of other 3D perspective games such as Fairlight. But when Ultimate saw it, they decided it was too slow and canned the project. Jake "the hat" Simpson was the guy doing the graphics.

I was always hacked off that we never got the speed thing in writing before we started. The guys at Lynnsoft (slightly dodgy intermediary company through whom we were doing the work) had a device you could plug into the Spectrum to slow it down by any amount you wanted. In hindsight we should have found out what setting took Spectrum Fairlight to the same speed as C64 one, then shown them Spectrum Bubbler with the same slow-down setting and got them to sign on the line that it was OK. But we were young and naive... (I pointed out at the time that we could probably get it running faster on the C128, but I don't think enough of those got sold to make it an interesting proposition to Ultimate.) "

So although the Amstrad PDS was wiped, not all traces of the game were lost - there was suddenly a large bundle of hope that GTW could be able to find and preserve something. We requested the possibility of retrieving the game for the site.

Whilst this was progressing nicely, we also managed to locate Jake Simpson (Thanks to Martyn Carroll) who confirmed also that it was functionally complete (Delivered as a beta, and ready for bug testing, a total of 8-9 months of work) - but there was no time given to do so or optimize further before Ultimate scrapped the project. Ultimate apparently had been looking around for someone to do Bubbler and everyone turned them down, with only Lynnsoft being optimistic enough to accept the challenge.

They were told according to Jake that it would be a lot slower if they were to replicate the spectrum code methods - mainly because of the fact that the C64's hires screen was laid out in such a bad way that it was damn expensive to draw it the way they were done so on the Spectrum. 90% of the speed issues would be with the drawing loop part of the program. No sprites were used at all apart for the display panel area.

Ultimate however still wanted a 100% conversion, down to the methods used - they were not worried about the slow downs that were warned of. Lynnsoft were given the Spectrum source code along with some discs with the original art on. They were apparently a pain to convert due to the very old C/PM machine and obscure format the disks were formatted with. Indeed in the end, the game was very accurate and smooth, an impressive conversion overall... but ran like a dog at speeds of between 10-12fps. Sadly Lynnsoft took on a little too much with the project, but only because they wanted to do something big and get their name out there.

In the next couple of months, we hear from Matt again who managed to find a friend who converted the PC based source code, but not the C64 disks. We arranged to convert Matt's disks, and within a few weeks GTW was busy converting a few boxes full.

And after only a few disks we started to encounter executable demo builds of Bubbler on the C64, even versions which were complete with music and sound effects, some with enemies and some without (running a lot faster too!). More digging found the long lost loading screen too, as well as several disks with source code. There was now serious potential of a full conversion being here, but there was a problem... there was no version with everything bolted together in one big piece.

Matt very kindly got digging into the source code again (Extracted successfully from the PDS files he had earlier retrieved) after many years and did a lot of tidying up and patched together a full version, but things hit problems with various bugs appearing. Sailor/Triad was put in touch with Matt, and both got looking into things and trying to get things working fully. After a few months, both emerged with a complete version, as bug fixed as possible and working with all the music, sound effects and titles all ready to show to the world for the first time.

And here it is!....
with a big thanks to Matt, David and Sailor/Triad, you can now check out the final conversion of The Bubbler on the C64. It is fully playable and authentic to the original - the only unavoidable issue is the speed, which can be resolved in emulation by speeding things up.

It is a huge shame that it never quite made it out and also that Lynnsoft were not left to come up with a better drawing method, as it is easy to see what an impressive job they did given the restrictions they had.

We hope you enjoy it!.... and with that we can happily say "Case closed"! :-)
Frank Gasking

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64JPX Tested and Updated

From: Nick@64HDD
Date: Oct 31, 8:27 pm

Hi all,

64JPX has now been tested with a range of Amiga software. To support connection to an A600 (or other machines where the port is shrouded) a optional compact connector can be specified. For those not familiar with 64JPX, 64JPX is a micro based interface which allows connection of Sega, SNES, NES and/or PCanalog controllers to be used with Commodore and Atari compatible systems. In addition to doing the signal conversion, the interface offers a number of "enhancement" modes tailored to various game genre.

has all the info.


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Final Expansion Available for Purchase

The Final Expansion, a cartridge with 512KB SRAM, 512KB EEPROM, and a SD Card slot is now available for purchase. Months in the making, this new cart sports a built-in SD2IEC. For more information and to purchase, go to

and click on Final Expansion on the left of the page.

I must have one,
Robert Bernardo

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Jim Brain has a Storefront


Hold the entire collection of Commodore games and utilities in the palm of your hand! No more lugging a CBM disk drive around, worrying about disk “rot”, swapping disks, and being without your favourite software. Transfer files to the Commodore simply by dragging files to the solid state SD/SDHC card on your PC/Mac. Need more storage? Visit the local bog box store or online e-tailer for gigabytes of solid state storage.

The “Micro” IEC offers that and more, supporting Secure Digital (SD) and SDHC solid state storage up to 32GB in size, emulating the CBM DOS functionality (including select CMD HD DOS operations), and supporting the JiffyDOS drive transfer protocol. The unit is small enough to embed, but large enough to satisfy even the most discerning retro-computer enthusiast.

The device even offers the ability to better itself after purchase. As new firmware updates are released, simply copy the new firmware to the SD card, reset the device, and watch it upgrade itself.

All of this in 2.25 square inches of silicon and circuitry. Grab one or more today!

More Details

Think about it, this addition to your Commodore collection is new and cost less than the going eBay-rate for a 1581. But the Storage capacity is Far beyond a 1581! Switching out SD Cards (which are cheap) is a snap - each SD Card is like adding another free 1581 drive or any other 1571 or 1541 drive. And FAST, the uIEC is faster than any mechanical drive without wearing out parts!

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Cartograph V1.1 by Arkanix Labs

Cartograph is a native Commodore 64 application created for designing tile-based maps/levels. This versatile tool allows you to create maps and levels for your games, matrices and data for demos and tools and much more. It works by importing a standard 2 kilobyte character set created with the user’s favourite editor, and allows the user to create a level as small as 40x25 (1x C64 screen) all the way up to 256x128. It supports both hires and multicolour 8x8 pixel tiles. This application was created as an internal devtool for Arkanix Labs. We’re using Cartograph extensively with our Crimson Twilight Trilogy (tile-based CRPG) and Damned: Out Of Hell (side scroller).

1) Converter tool is now built directly into editor (export feature) and will convert a map from 256x128 (Cartograph standard) to whichever size is specified in the preset menu.

2) Updated menu screen to include the above converter.

3) Fixed a start-up bug where the map size is different than what is specified in the preset menu.

4) Minor colour touch-ups to the filename requestor box in the menu.

5) Centring feature to jump to the very middle of the map in editing mode.

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Amitopia TV Release New Episode

30 minute episode including:

- Amiga News,
- AmiReporters:
- ArtEffect,
- Amiga Meeting 2009 report,
- MusicBox Presents Sadddam

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OpenCBM - XU1541 update

OpenCBM - XU1541 update
A new version of OpenCBM is available for the XU1541.

This updates a problem with when opening the LPT. The program is also Vista compatible. Before installing, please insure that you completely remove previous versions.

The XU1514 you can connect a Commodore disk drive to the pc via a USB interface

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Amiga Twitter Client

AmiTwitter - IKE is developing a Twitter client for the Amiga. Currently in alpha version. IKE is searching for people to test the program.

Features: Sends Tweets, Downloads Following Tweets (and images), Sends Direct Messages, Downloads @Replies, Downloads Most Recent Public Tweets, Displays the most recent Tweets that you have sent.

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SOASC Updated

SOASC features genuine SID recording from real Commodore machines saved as MP3 files the whole process was automated! you can search for your favourite tune and listen to it as an MP3

How can this great resource be improved! well its now

- faster,
- easier to use
- more functionality.

Excellent work I am a big fan of this project

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Chuck Peddle Interview

Watch this fascinating interview with Chuck Peddle being interviewed by Bill Herd and Jeri Ellsworth. In the interview Chuck talks about starting his career in electronics. Lots of name dropping, and heroes of Chuck are mentioned the video it starts with the words Chuck Peddle PART 1 it lasts 9 minutes 59 seconds

Jeri Comments
Chuck Peddle - One of the key designers of the Motorola 6800, MOS 6502 microprocessor and KIM 1 explains how he got his start in electronics.

I also found this interview on YouTube

VCF East 4.0 -- Chuck Peddle interview

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MIDIbox SID V2 Bassline Demo #3 c64

Although not new I though this was pretty cool is it just me or does this sound groovy I love all this squelch filtering, dance/trance music whatever you want to call it

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Interview With Mike Dailly

By Commodore Free

Mike Dailly is a 20 year games programming veteran, and cut his teeth at DMA Design working on some of the most famous games ever created. He can lay claim to having inspired and worked on both the Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto series, as well as many other well known titles. He specialise in multiplatform hardware has worked on a large number of systems, from the Spectrum, C64 and Plus/4, to the Xbox, Playstation and mobile phones. Although a coder at hart, Mike also dabbles in various bits of art from 2D sprites to 3D modelling using packages like ProMotion and Lightwave.

Q. Mike Please introduce yourself to our readers

A. Hello everyone, I'm a 39 year old coder from Dundee, Scotland, where I live with my Wife Frances and my 3 kids (soon to be four!). I don't really have many real hobbies outside of computers and retro coding, although I do enjoy home cinema, reading, electronics and keep fit. I love dabbling with old my 8-bit machines as they offer difference challenges from the kind I get during the day; you just don't have to tune code the way you used to on old 8bit machines, and you can still learn things from them - great fun.

Q. Can you tell our readers how you became involved in computing?

A. I became interested in computers when I was about 13 years old, and a school friend had just received a zx81 as a gift. I used to go up to his house and play games, type in listings from magazines and try to make our own little programs. When my friend upgraded to a ZX Spectrum my mum purchased the ZX81 for me, and after that there was no stopping me. I started to coded in Basic, but the real change came after getting a magazine with a listing of a snake game coded in assembler, but this time it had a full mnemonic listing! Not just HEX. All of a sudden, I could see how it was all done, no longer did I think coders sat with HEX numbers, it was simply another language to learn. I played around with the border redrawing routine from the SNAKE game, and was amazed at how quickly the ZX81 was able to redraw it.

A year or so later my mums office needed a database, and my mum somehow convinced them that I could write it cheaper than they would pay for a commercial one. They purchased a ZX Spectrum, a disk drive and a proper typists keyboard and gave me the lot to work with. I was about 14 and it didn't take me long to write the database using the spectrums basic. They were amazed. I allowed you to search for a client by name (thanks to the simple Basic command), whereas all current commercial database programs required a rolodex to find a users ID so you could type in a number. A rolodex is a ring of cards with the user/clients name on the top (like a file), and some basic info written on it - like the client ID). I avoided all that for a fraction of the cost that they would have had to pay. I've no idea if it was ever used though....

After giving the spectrum back, my ZX81 died and I was then left without one for about a year until my mum got me a Commodore Plus/4 for Christmas. It was very nearly a Mattel Aquarius, and I dread to think how my life would have changed if it had been! However the Plus/4 had a built in machine code monitor and I was able to jump right in.

I joined a local computer club and teamed up with other users Steve Hammond, Russell Kay and Dave Jones (these were the founding members of DMA designs), and a few years later I managed to obtain a Commodore 64 from another friend as his interests changed and I was well on my way to my future career.

I applied for Art collage and was accepted, but on a chance application was accepted to a simple HNC in computing. While the coding was simple, the rest of the course was a joke and I quickly tired of it. I was kicked out of college for basically not attending much to the disgust of my mother who then started to push me to get a real job. Fortunately Dave had decided to open an office a few months later and I got the contract to do Ballistix. I officially started working for DMA Designs in August 1989 and stayed there for almost 10 years.

In the early years, DMA Design was a blast. Lots of games, lots of playing around and trying new things. Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto both came from letting me play with concepts, both in art and in coding.

I left DMA Design in May 1999 and moved to Visual Sciences as Head of Research and Development where I started looking into technology we could use for the new PS2 platform. During my 2 years at Visual Sciences I worked on some really fun things, including making our own Devkit for the original Playstation, I even managed to make a snapshot carriage and hacked the PS2 bios to allow our own custom profiler. All this came to an end when we started doing an F1 game for EA, and they annoyed me so much I ended up leaving after just 2 years there.

I moved to Simian Industries to become Technical Manager where we wrote games for the new "3" mobile phone. We actually had the first games out on these phones and worked closely with them in the early days. However, I tired of mobile phones as I seem to spend all my time porting the same game to yet more new handsets, and even though I could do a port of a game in under an hour at times, it was never fun. Simian finally went down after 2 of the directors basically stole money from the books and there was nothing left to pay the rest of us, and so in Feb 2005 I moved to Dave Jones new company, Realtime Worlds.

They were gearing up to write Crackdown but Dave wanted me to try and make another concept work. The company had tried it before and failed, but he wanted to give it another crack. So I started doing R&D once more on that. After proving it was all possible, I became a core Engine coder and we've now moved into full production mode.

Q. What games are you currently working on

A. Can't say I'm afraid, but it's big - really big - you just wouldn't believe how vastly, hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. You may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to this game...

Q. Retro systems seem to be making a come back do you think this is people realising a game is more than fancy graphics and gameplay is the most important “feature”

A. There's some of that for sure, and in some respect iPhone coders are rediscovering this freedom. But a lot of it is also just folk reliving their childhood and games they used to love, or like me, hobbies they used to love.

Q. How do you rate the current Consoles, the Xbox, PS3 and Wii do you think the methods of interacting are more important than the actual games.

A. The Wii has proved to be a winner thanks to it's mass market games, while the XBox is the better of the other two. However this is only thanks to the games as the hardware is much the same. I have all of the consoles - since that's my line of work! (what a great excuse that is!), and I can't find any PS3 games I actually want to play. It's a much better media centre, but as a console, I'm not a fan. The Wii is fab and the XBox360 online store/arcade stuff is great. I just wish they would allow games though quicker as I'd love to more old arcade games appearing.

Q. How was it working for DMA designs and Psygnosis

A. Early on it was a blast! Doing C64 work was great fun, and although I really struggled doing PC Engine Shadow of the Beast, the SNES and PC work I did after was very enjoyable. One project teams started getting big, it got harder and harder to take a risk and try some of the ideas that were floating around. Psygnosis were pretty good, and although they gave Dave some pressure, we never felt it. We got the occasional freebee and they were all pretty nice chaps.

Q. Was it hard to find any backing for Grand Theft auto due to its age rating of 18?

A. It wasn't an 18 at the start, and because BMG had followed its progress they realised (after a bit of persuasion), that it was the way to go. So it was a fairly simple change for the team.

Q. Current games all seem to be 3D is there still room for a 2D game

A. Oh hell yeah. 3D games have their place, but so do 2D games. There’s no need to put some into 3D but many people still think that 3D=great, and that simply isn't true. I'm fairly sure Tetris wouldn't sell anymore if it was in 3D, in fact it would probably reduce sales. A good game is a good game, regardless if it's in 3D or not.

Q. What in your opinion makes a good game?

A. Fun. Over and above any "gameplay", it has to be fun. That means you have to enjoy just being in the game even if you're losing! Look at the best games, Mario, Lemmings, GTA, Sonic, Call of Duty - the list can go on and on. Each of them has this in common. Your enjoy just running around inside the game. If you can get that, then adding game mechanics will just enhance the game.

Q. Can you tell our readers a little about one of your projects entitled “FRAMEWORK 64” what exactly is it, a framework of what?

A. When I started the C64 port of XeO3, I needed a basic framework. That is a skeleton program that I can add to. These programs usually have all the basic stuff I always end up needing; multiplexor, keyboard input, interrupts, main-loop etc. They are normally a little rough and ready, but I decided to clean it up a bit and release it for everyone else to use. Because of this I added some new toys to it.

I've added 3 different multiplexors so you can pick whichever one is best. There is now some very simple collision detection so using the joystick you can move "the player" and collide with other blobs. There's a VERY fast 8x8 bit multiply, a simple random number generator, and a simple animation system for baddies. The keyboard and joystick routines have game level performance (unlike system keyboard reading!).

But what I'm most happy with is the MMC64 file loader. This is a very small (about 1k including data) file loader using the MMC64 (or compatible) plug-in card. This lets you develop multi-load games using an MMC64 card and not a disk drive. It means putting files onto a C64 "disk" is very simple as you just copy files to the card. It also means loading will be very quick, and you can distribute a ZIP for the game.

I thought it was time the C64 started using the very popular SD card add on for new games, so I'm very happy to have a simple loader for everyone to use.

All this source is completely free to use, and highly commented making it much simpler to follow. The only thing I ask is if you use it, credit whoever has contributed to it (which is currently only me).

There's also a very simple bomb jack game sample to show how you could use it, and my assembler on which it's all based.

Q. I famously now criticised Protovision’s Metal Dust, I was hoping for so much with the SCPU I think something like 80% of the SCPU processing power went to the digitised play music at the risk of being flamed would you like to comment about the game?

A. I did the same. I'm just not impressed with Metal Dust. I think the use of DIGI sound is a waste. I've played a little with the SCPU and would like to do more with it (given some free time!).

I think you can do some pretty cool things with it. Lots of software sprites would be cool, or 3D baddies as well. I would also like to do a proper dual playfield (vertical scroller). I speculated before that you could do a GTA clone. As soon as you do anything 3D(ish), you can take longer to draw the screen, and that's a HUGE amount of time. You could probably do a proper DOOM clone too, but why bother? If you want to play DOOM, use a PC.

Enforcer has shown how much you can do on a C64, and I suspect most of Metal Dust could be done on a stock machine. With the amount of RAM and SPEED, Metal Dust should have been a much more interesting game. That said... they did at least finish it, which is commendable.

Q. Can you tell our readers about the game XEO3, and how far you are into the project, I know some readers wanted the game porting to the C64 with SCPU, but having watched the demos on YouTube with a bare Commodore 64 it seems to be both smooth and fast enough, I know Jason Kelk TMR was loaned a SCPU and after getting to know the device famously said “Its just I don’t know what to use it for” can you comment?

A. We're pretty far into the game and have most of the code written. There's still some way to go, but mainly with Level design and scripting although there's no hiscore, and some primary code needs tied together. Leading on the Plus/4, I've also ported it to the C64, and there's loads of CPU time left on that version as it doesn't have to do all the software sprites. The C64 version does have more baddies than the Plus/4 version (16 over 9), but that doesn't really affect things.

I've lots of ideas for my SCPU, in fact that's the easy bit! Time is my problem. A full Lemmings, a GTA engine (top down 3D), 3D baddies over a 2D scroller - hell, a 3D background (of sorts) with a 2D scroller.... there's LOT'S you can do.

Q. Isn’t XEO3 a heavy metal band? Why choose this name?

A. Luca came up with this. XeO3 is a chemical, and Luca is a Chemist - ask him :)

Q. Do you think the loan programmer could still make a commercial game from his bedroom.

A. With the emergence of the iPhone and XNA, yes. As I said before, games have to be fun first and foremost. The rest is fluff. If you can come up with a simple concept and get it onto the iPhone/XBox, a bigger player might see it and hook you up with some real resources.

Q. Can you list you 5 favourite games or utilities for any platform

A. Not in order

Lemmings - Lots of reasons (lots)
GTA - Just love driving around (lots)
Mario World 4 - Best game ever! (SNES)
Monkey Island games - Best series ever! (PC)
DPaint - Never been equalled. (Amiga)

Q. What are you currently working on

A. Can't say I'm afraid.... Both the stuff at home and the stuff at work is secret. I hope that my current home project will get announced soon though.

Q. Do you have any final comments you would like to make

A. I wish days were 32 hours long, then I might get to do some of the other things I want to do!

⇧ Back To Contents

Commodore At Work

Daniele Redivo


In my job I take care of software configuration for big engines. The software has to control the engine, ensuring safe operation and the correct engine performance. The software acts much like a human when driving a car : when the driver wants to go faster, he just pushes the pedal deeper feeding more fuel to the engine, or when the car encounters a steep ramp, the driver has to push the pedal deeper in order to keep a constant speed . Instead of a driver, a big engine is controlled by electronic modules, that reading the speed and the load produced by the engine shaft, generate an output signal proportional to the needed fuel amount.

The idea of an engine simulator came in summer 2008. At that time I wanted to develop a tool for testing the engine software before it would be actually used on a real engine. Basically I wanted to have the engine control modules (ECMs, where the engine software is downloaded) on my desk and connect them to something that would simulate the engine behaviour, in terms of electrical signals. I needed three main things: a hardware interface for signal exchange with the engine control modules, a controller for the hardware interface and a software for the controller.

I thought that the controller could be a Commodore 64, I would prepare the software for it and also built the hardware interface.

First attempts

In summer 2008 I began doing some experiments with a Commodore 64 whose SID was removed. In this way I had free access to part of the address bus and the whole data bus, furthermore I had the read/write and chip select (for $d400) signals available. I had one read address for reading an analogue signal and one write address for 8 digital outputs. The analogue input was used for reading the fuel amount, one digital output was used for speed simulation (a square wave) and the other digital outputs for other signals to the ECMs. I packed the hardware interface all inside the C64 and it had a real nice looking. Unfortunately, I soon realized that the all-inside solution was not expandable at all. The more I went on testing engine control software, the more signals and functionalities I needed to simulate. So I thought I needed something very flexible, something that would not require to be re-built in case I needed further expansion. It came obvious that the expansion port was the way to go and that the SID could be put in its place, producing the awesome music it had always produced. After all I hated to have a silent C64!

Towards an expandable system: the opto interface cards

In January 2009 I started studying the expansion port signals and various datasheets of the available components on the market. First of all I built two cards for opto isolation between the C64 and the interface hardware: one for signal from the C64 to the external hardware and one for the other way around. Each card is dedicated to reproduce the 8-bit data bus and part of the address bus across the opto couplers. Then the data bus and the address bus signals are routed through four (two for each read/write card) ribbon cables to the other cards of the interface hardware. In this way the opto isolators ensure a safe operation of the C64, any electrical trouble on the interface hardware will not affect the C64, also because the digital part of the C64 works at 0-5V, the interface hardware cards have several voltages (-5v, 0V, 5V, 15V and 24V). Since there are several opto isolators (and these draw a lot of current) I use a C128 power supply (but I am planning on building my own heavy duty PSU).

The input/output cards

The other cards I built are dedicated to:

- 3 channels of 4-20mA output with 8-bit resolution
- 4 x 8 channels of digital outputs 0-24V
- 2 frequency channels with square wave output 0-15V (range 0- < 4MHz), 16-bit resolution
- 4 channels for 4-20mA reading with 8-bit resolution

The 4-20mA output channels are used for analogue signal generation, for example the load signal.

The digital outputs are used for enabling certain states inside the ECMs, for example the start and stop signals. The frequency outputs are used for speed generation. There is a big difference with the first attempt I made. There the speed was generated using a digital output controlled totally by the C64, using a NMI for toggling the digital output high/low state. Now the C64 sends a 16-bit (2 bytes) value, which is the number of cycles the card has to count before it toggles the output. The card has a 4MHz crystal clock onboard and acts much like a CIA timer. I added a feature so that the 16-bit value is not sent to the card counters until the low byte is written. So a write to it would be:

lda Hbyte
sta $de17 ; counters still have the previous reference value
lda Lbyte
sta $de18 ; now the new 16-bit is sent to the counters

This avoids overlapping between old and new bytes in frequency generation when writing a new value. Also, I built it so that in case the 16-bit value is zero the frequency is infinite (for simulating zero speed). The frequency cards are very useful for generating independent frequency signals and also for not keeping the C64 busy with the NMI when toggling the digital output. The 4-20mA reading card is used for reading analogue signals from the ECMs, for example the fuel amount signal. Each card has a custom burned EPROM (using the C64 EPROM burner, what a nice tool!) used for address bus decoding. I used the 27c512, which provides 8 chip-select signals per card. Each chip-select goes to a channel output and enables its latches for either reading or writing, except for the frequency channels, which need two chip select signals per channel (16-bit resolution, thus 2 bytes).

The software part

The software has also gone under big changes and developments. I originally wrote the software in assembler for time critical parts and used BASIC for monitoring what was going on inside the assembler part, by PEEKing and POKEing. For this purpose, BASIC has proved to be excellent! With BASIC I could just write a line with a conversion formula between the 16-bit word sent to the frequency output and the engine speed in rpm and get an immediate result on the screen! But for time critical stuff BASIC is just too slow and cannot trigger routines at a given instant. At the moment the assembler part of software does a lot. There are several interrupts active:

- some $d012 raster interrupt for splitting the screen for nice visualization of the speeds

- a CIA 1 interrupt at 50Hz for reading the keyboard and doing the math calculations

- BASIC program running in the background

The engine model implemented in the software, takes care not only of the engine itself but also of the electrical generator usually coupled with these big engines. Then the engine model can simulate two engines running in parallel and feeding the same electrical network.

⇧ Back To Contents

Commodore 16 Programming

John Fielden


lines 10 to 40 pay homage to The Master spare time programmer!

50 states the obvious. (It's become so obvious now that I nearly removed all occurrences and resubmitted! - enough of the silliness.)

60 no.11 relates to the numbers that we used for err... The pools. (So clearly we were allowed 1 x on the form!!)

70 Generate random number between 1 and 52, without the plus 1 zero comes up. Never fifty-three though - strange.

80 maketh thy would be prophecy oh! soulless machine. (With absolutely no consideration as to if it comes true!)

90 go round again until the "to" in 60

100 There was a somewhere on one of the commodore related sites as to which was the best command. I have to say, in my view it's this one. Simply because the better the program, the more satisfying the end is.

The Master' teaching

I can only echo memories of learning in the early days. (A simpler time) How do we stop repetitive occurrences of the same number? I was giving up by the time the TV packed in. Requires what was a new term. The Dim statement.55 DimN(52) : REM must relate to line 70, and equal the max. range. While the last instruction could go anywhere before the for next loop. The order of the next two statements is critical to the correct running of the program. let n(x)=1 ifn(x)=1 then go back and choose another. It should be easy to get the order even for beginners. Thanks again to Roy for walking me through it all those years ago. Without his help, and the editors kindness these c16/plus4 pages might not have happened.

Escape to Window

Another thing I remember getting nowhere with at the time was a window within a window. <PRINT" ESC & <related key>"> didn't work. Having long since given up on it!
When the answer came I decided to use it to try to demonstrate the question above. It goes further by allowing user input to change the numbers. ("I wonder if I'll win the lottery that way?????")

from 150 Highlights different ways of storing numbers. and hints why/ allows experiment to show why the extra dimension is necessary. Otherwise self explanatory as it is similar to above in it's main.

("How do mean it doesn't! ??! ...)


... And Shush 2! intend to stop Sound in its tracks. Either build up a long time in the former before pressing. This is less convincing than the latter where the length of the Sound is longer. As a back up. On Shush two. If a normal key press doesn't work. Press f1 key to switch off the volume.

This short program was devised when trying to work out how to stop what a musician would call 'The slurring of notes'. My limited experience of music reading gives insight that both separate (un-slurred), and "tied" or slurred. Do have their place. More Later.

Sound Data

Plays the scale as written in The c16 Manual. For some reason they forgot the flats and Sharps. Makes good use of The commands READ, and DATA statements to avoid having to type in 'SOUND1,note,duration'.


There is scope for improvement in this program. A programmer could add a rnd duration, and even whether notes are to be tied. (requires more rnd statements. Have a go if you wish or wait for its submission to this excellent magazine... And we'll save the line by line account for then! This time the DATA statements are for storing so that the rnd generator can play the notes more quickly, and without falling foul of RESTORE and DATA's short comings. It goes further by actually storing the music in RAM for replay.


Type in your own commands after line 2000. (Note: May require alteration elsewhere in the program. It is currently set to loop. As I wanted to test whether the computer has a set maximum that the command: RESTORE can be used. (I can't remember whether I've heard this or read it. But there is a way round it in any case.)

The manual states a mathematical formula to derive even more notes. -even out of range of human hearing! And just look in Prof. Andrew Colin' Introduction to programming part1 for the sharps. Which I am sure you all have.

Artificial Intelligence is involved here! The computer reads the program, but instead of blindly playing the notes checks what it is to do with them. (i.e. tied, untied, change duration, reduce volume etc.) Quite a clever program. But I've left it as a copy and complete task. (hence, again! No line by line write up... yet?)

Happy Prog'ing

Listing of: EscToWindow.prg

20 B=16:DIMBO(B):DIMO(B)
30 PRINT"{home}{home}{clr} ESCAPE TO WINDOW{down}"
50 FORJ=1TO20
60 X=INT(RND(1)*B)+1
90 PRINT"{home}":CHAR1,12,6,CHR$(27)+CHR$(84)
110 X=INT(RND(1)*B)+1
130 PRINT;J,X:BO(X)=X:O(J)=X
160 IFJ%<1 ORJ%>16THEN150
170 INPUT" TO ";X%
180 O(J%)=X%
200 PRINTT;"O ";O(T);"BO ";BO(T)

Listing of: musicprogrammer16b.prg

20 REM *(C) JOHN FIELDEN 2009*
40 DIM D(28,1):N=65:U=99:C=32
50 FORJ=1TO28
70 D(J,0)=A:D(J,1)=N
80 N=N+1:IFN>71THENN=65
100 FORL=1 TOU
140 IF E>0THEN500
490 END
540 IFE=4THENC=2
550 IFE=5THENC=4
560 IFE=6THENC=8
570 IFE=7THENC=16
580 IFE=8THENC=32
590 IFE=9THENC=64
600 IFE=10THENC=128
650 IFE>19 AND E <29 THENVO%=E-20:NE=0:GOTO130
890 IFE>3 AND E <11 THENE=0:GOTO130
900 GOTO200
1200 DATA 1,7, 2,118
1210 REM *BOTTOM C ***TO*** B
1300 DATA 3,169, 4,262, 5,345, 6,383, 7,453:DATA8,516, 9,571
1310 REM *MIDDLE C ***TO*** B
1400 DATA10,596, 11,643, 12,685, 13,704, 14,739: DATA15,770, 16,798
1410 REM * TOP C ***TO*** B
1500 DATA17,810, 18,834, 19,854, 20,864, 21,881: DATA22,897, 23,911
1510 REM *V. TOP C ***TO*** G
1600 DATA24,917, 25,929, 26,939, 27,944, 28,953
1990 REM *** ACTUAL MUSIC ***
2000 DATA1,8,0 ,1,10,0, 1,9,0, 1,28,3, 1,7,0, 1,8,0, 1,28,3, 1,28,30

Listing of: pools.prg

10 REM ************************
20 REM *(C) ROY ... D.E.R. MAN*
40 REM ************************
50 PRINT"{clr} POOLS"
60 FORT=1TO11
70 X=INT(RND(1)*52)+1
100 END

Listing of: rndsong.prg

20 VOL8 :LP=99:SCNCLR:TT=35
30 DIM D(28): DIM D$(28):DIM NO%(28)
35 DIM PL(LP,3): JF=64
40 X=65
50 FORJ=1TO28
70 IFX>71THENX=65
90 D(J)=A: D$(J)=CHR$(X):NO%(J)=X
93 X=X+1
305 PL(L,3)=TT
310 GETA$
400 X=INT(RND(1)*28)
500 IFX=0THEN400
510 PL(L,1)=X:PL(L,2)=NO%(X)
600 SOUND1,D(X),PL(L,3)
700 PRINTL, X,D(X),D$(X)
800 PL(L,0)=D(X)
810 IFA$="Q"THENA%=L:GOTO910
950 GETA$:IFA$=""THEN950
960 IFA$="A"THEN990
970 IFA$="B"THEN200
980 GOTO1090
1010 SOUND1,PL(J,0),PL(J,3)
1015 PRINTJ;" ";PL(J,1);" ";PL(J,0);" ";CHR$(PL(J,2))
1017 IFA%=JTHEN910
1020 NEXT J
1030 GOTO910
1090 END
1200 DATA 7,118
1300 DATA 169,262,345,383,453:DATA516,571
1400 DATA596,643,685,704,739: DATA770,798
1500 DATA810,834,854,864,881: DATA897,911
1600 DATA917,929,939,944,953

Listing of: shush.prg

25 REM SOUND1,7,7000
40 GETA$
50 SOUND1,7,20
60 IFA$=""THEN40
70 SOUND1,7,0

Listing of: shush2.prg

6 KEY1,"VOL0"+CHR$(13)
25 REM SOUND1,7,20
50 SOUND1,7,7000
70 SOUND1,7,0

Listing of: sounddata.prg

20 VOL8
30 FORJ=1TO28
50 SOUND1,A,35
100 END
2010 DATA 7,118
2020 DATA 169,262,345,383,453:DATA516,571
2030 DATA596,643,685,704,739: DATA770,798
2040 DATA810,834,854,864,881: DATA897,911
2050 DATA917,929,939,944,953
⇧ Back To Contents

Wild Bunch Review

By Commodore Free


Versions available

Tape / Disk / Digital download from
Tape version
Disk version


The Wild bunch Computer game was released for the ZX Spectrum in 1984 and then 1 year later in 1985 it was released for the Amstrad CPC By Firebird Software. The game is not based on the 1969 film of the same name but allegedly on the Wild Bunch gang who were around in the 1980's

Jon Wells acquired a Commodore 64 sometime in 1987 and set about a version for the Commodore 64. Sadly although the Commodore 64 version is said to be around 80% completed some time in 1988-1991 Jon Wells at the time didn’t know anything about machine code (the whole game was written for all platforms in basic) Jon wanted to exploit the Commodore 64 with interrupt driven music and sound effects, but somehow the project was put on hold.

As Reported in earlier versions of Commodore Free Jon began work again on the Commodore 64 version, after being pestered by Frank Gaskin of Games that Weren’t fame.


The Wild bunch is a text based adventure style game with the use of some limited graphics and sound, the Commodore 64 version also contains music! You (the player) find a dying man who had been attacked by a member of The wild Bunch Before the man dies he describes his attacker to you. Then he gives you his colt 45 just as the sheriff arrives.
You are assumed to be the murder of the victim and the sheriff tries to arrest you.

The object of the game is to prove you are innocent by trying to trace the real murderer and taking him to the sheriff’s office to clear your name. While trying to track the Murderer you can also arrest and take into the sheriff other members of the Wild Bunch Gang. The descriptions of the other gang members are hanging on the sheriffs office wall as wanted posters.

The games score system is based on the money you earn from arresting members of the wild bunch and “handing them into the law” You can also visit the local saloons where you can gamble to gain extra money, enabling you to purchase supplies. The salons are also good for renewing your energy by purchasing whiskey, but don’t drink to much or in a drunken stupor you may be hit on the head by upset customers. While moving between the 5 towns you could also find valuable items like a gold nugget that will be exchanged for money or some water and food to help you on your travels. You need to be careful when moving out in the open though as buffalo and vultures as well as Indians and various none mentionable creatures that attack you on your travels. The game ends when your strength reaches zero, from the fighting or being attacked on the open, be careful to when approaching the mountains as rocks could fall on you zapping away energy.

The game is won by successfully tracking and apprehending the real murder which could involve a graphical shoot out, so you need to be quick on the draw.

The game starts with the player (you) choosing a town location from one of the 5 displayed on a map each town has a saloon a telegraph office (useful for information about the agent that is chasing you for the sheriff) a sheriffs office and the shop store to purchase supplies, and of course don’t forget the salon full of smooth tasking liquor and fast card gambling.

The player (you) have to travel between towns looking for the murderer, its quicker if you can buy a horse, otherwise you will have to walk and that takes twice as long, a horse could also out run villains you meet along the way. But remember to take water and food, oh a saddle will be needed or you cant ride the horse and without food and water you both will die. You will of course need a gun and a knife, what about when it gets cold in the mountains you will need a thick coat and maybe a knife. What if you are attacked by a snake, you will probably need some snakebite location. Of course all this can be purchased before your travels in the store, but do you have enough money and or strength to make the journey. You need to also watch out for the sheriffs agents who are looking to capture you for the murder, where will they be could the telegraph office know the agents whereabouts, will this cost money to find out from the telegraph operator.

The game has 3 levels of play and once selected you need to give your self a name, do you have what it takes to survive, do you have the guts to take on “the wild bunch”

The Game

Ok so much for the intro what about the actual game.

The cassette version arrived through my door, after being on pre-order for what seemed to be a lifetime. I had never seen another version but of course reading about the potential version for the commodore 64 with enhanced sound and graphics, I had to give it a try and besides they don’t call me “Quick draw Mc giver” no-sureeebob, (they usually call me Nigel although some emails have called me other things.)

The cassette is professionally printed with an enhanced version on one side and what would have been the original Firebird Release graphics on the other side of the inlay card. A nice touch is that the tape information sticker also had been printed, and on both sides, so far so good.

Loading the game we see the enhanced graphics and animation intro for the Commodore version (on the disk version), we see the man being shot and you walking over to assist him, then we see a splash screen. The game starts.

Well its sure not going to tax the Commodore graphics capabilities, as the game still looks like its from the 80's. Mostly text and the screen updates seem to be written in basic. However once you start to get into the game you realise this is something special. Ok so its not a graphics masterpiece and we can look over the Sea shanty that plays? The sound is functional nothing more, certainly this could still be any machine producing the sounds and music.

You have to look past this, once in the game you are amerced in game play there is so much to do and think about, how many bullets to buy, where is the agent, who is on the sheriffs Wanted poster, will they be in the saloon bar!

The game is samey but at the same time different, some randomness exists and its more chance than good card playing with the salon gambling team. The location of characters and the sheriff’s officer move with each turn. You could knock the game but as the game play is so good who cares about the graphics or the fact you have to spend 12 days walking in the desert because your horse died from starvation, this is what classic retro gaming is all about.

Some bugs still exist in the game, for example don’t press the cursor keys as they crash the game with illegal quantity in line XXX this only happens on certain screens and if you are about to enter your name and hit runstop/shift you will be known as LOAD ! /there are one or two other small bugs but don’t let this put you off. The pictures in the sheriffs office show the wanted men they are all the same picture with an eye patch or a scar, sometimes its difficult to know what unique features the villains actually have and so how to track them

The only real graphical part is the gun shoot out, the rest of the game is really looking at text.

Hey I am not putting the game down, there is so much more on offer here from Jon. I am not sure why the bugs weren’t removed or why the sheriffs posters weren’t re- done for the Commodore version in colour. But this is a great game, if you love adventure and mystery you will like this, try to stop playing the darn thing, I was up for hours trying to get that pesky murderer so grab yer milk and drink yer horse ( Or something like that) lets get this pesky vermin behind bars.

Sound 35%
Addiction 100%

Overall lets give this a 70%

Some Game problems/ Features or Bugs (whichever you prefer to call them) in the Commodore 64 version
In memory the following ranges need changing, at this moment we are still awaiting a patch for the game

53d9 should be c5
53df should be 30 30

If you play the game in WINICE or Vice you can patch the game manually by doing the following
start WinVICE or Vice

- press ALT + M for the monitor then enter: 53d9 c
- then enter :53df 30 30
- then enter:
- press x and press return to go back to the emulator

These were emailed to me from Shaun Bebbington writer of the retro feature in Micro Mart magazine

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Wild Bunch Bug Update

Hi Nigel,

Just got back from holiday so have been unable to reply until today. Unfortunately some bugs do seem to have gone un-noticed, but these will be fixed and an updated digital download version will be sent to everyone who has already ordered the game for free. The disk version has not been shipped yet and this version will have those bugs fixed before shipping.

Hi Nigel

Just to keep you informed, I have now fixed the bugs including the illegal quantity error and all the minor bugs in the poker game. I have also added in the ability to go all in in the poker game. We are presently sorting out a new digital .tap image that will soon be emailed to all tape and download orders. The disk version has not been affected and will be shipped with all fixes in place.

Kind regards,
Jon & Kenz

Hi Nigel
Please find attached the Digital Download of The Wild Bunch (Tape Version) - Disk version to follow! There is also a master of the tapes on the .d64 image. This can be used if desired to replace the bugged version on the actual tape. All the bugs have been fixed including the Illegal Quantity error and all the poker bugs.

Finally the poker game has been modified so you can now go all in with all your money!
Have fun!

Jon & Kenz

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Wild Bunch Cheets Guide

Spectrum version cheets, some work on the c64 version and for the benefit of the lazy or no internet access here is the tips guide curtsey of THETIPSHOP

A central archive for all Spectrum and SAM games hints, tips, cheats, maps, hacks and pokes

I have contacted Gerard Sweeny who runs the TIPSHOP and requested to reprint these tips, he agreed as long as I made reference to where they came from and left the tipsters names in the text. Many thanks for this


When starting the game always start at 3 (Nugget city) as this gives you best options when leaving)

When you enter a city or about to leave always go to the Telegraph Office (4). You need to know where Charles A Siringo is...Always go in the opposite direction of where he is. Doesn't always work but 90/100 times he won't catch you. Don't go to that office if you have more than $100 dollars as the guy will try and charge you $61...

You are actually best to go to the telegraph office first as the rewards may go up if the wild bunch have done a robbery.

Always go to the bar and have 1 beer and 1 redeye, no more, as you will lose health.

Always visit the Sheriffs office and jot down the name and description.

Then go straight to the bar and look around (can only do this once per town) and if the description matches and you have a gun (don't go and look around if you don't have a gun(they'll run off)). If you take them in, you'll never complete the game, they always escape and you don't get the picture and name of your killer. If you've got bullets...take them to the street. If you have sound listen to the music as they tend to draw on the end of the third phase of music. If the description doesn't match.. have a guess and take them to the sheriffs office (choice 1). If you get it wrong he will fine you 10% of the money you have so best not to have too much...

If you find the bloke you are looking for take him in.. don't shoot him as he can't prove your innocence If you get it supplies.

When buying supplies always buy a horse and saddle...don't just buy the horse as you still take twice as long with out a saddle.. Buy more food for you and less for the horse...

If you go across the mountains, buy a Great coat AND a blanket.

If you go across the desert, buy twice as much water plus two.. as the horse drinks water and you are guaranteed to get caught in a sandstorm.

If you can't afford to buy a horse...get just enough food for you plus one and walk to nearest safe city.

On the travel from city to city.....
If you have a horse and from everything.. on average you save a lot of energy.

If you don't have a horse...fight everything unless you have the money to bribe...

When fighting use at least 20 more energy points than needed.. otherwise they get upset or annoyed..

If you do upset or annoy them use more than you used before otherwise they might nick your gun.

Playing poker...
Very easy to win....

If you have a royal flush (10,jack,queen,king and ace of spades)...
Either raise the bid a little of call his bet.. keep doing this until he either sees you or you cant afford to make a bid.. be careful if the bid is more than you’ve got you lose the money you put in..

If you have four 3's of four 2's
Call his bet a couple of times and then see him...don't gamble too much as the dealer gets a lot of royal flushes.

Full house's ... call his bet once and then see him.. don't risk it...

Straights...and three of a kind...
See him straight away...don't gamble.

All other hands throw a way.. when you get them.

(Peter Carr - brand new tip!) 9409

Cheat modes When out of town and fighting, you will be asked "you have **** strength, how much will you use?". At this point, enter "10-10000". The enemy will be annoyed, but when you are asked again, you will now have an extra 9990 energy. This number can be higher or lower if you wish, but not too high or your energy will be expressed in letters as well as numbers.

(Andy Pearson - brand new tip!) 10247

Thanks to the recent advances in emulation, we are able to do things not possible before on the Speccy 48k with 'The Wild Bunch'.

I know that it (the first tip) is blatant cheating, but, here are some tips on how to make it a little easier.

When you apprehend a member of the bunch, during the gunfights, slow the emulation RIGHT DOWN to like, 50% and watch the fight. Probably now would be a good time to disappear and make a coffee :) You'll have enough time.

When he goes for his gun, shoot him in slow motion. Ha. An easy reward, and there's no chance of him breaking out of jail. However, I do like doing the following - arrest them and take them in providing that they don't escape), then after they escape from jail (and you hear about it from the telegraphs office - also, because he has escaped, the reward goes UP), go and find the guy in some bar, and offer him a gunfight. Because the program can't 'refuse' a gunfight, you get to shoot the guy and claim a reward twice over :)

Playing poker - the gambler will not play with you at around $120. So, make your money (and cane him on the royal flushes), go and buy some food or something from the store (to take your money down to $119) and go back to clean him out again.

This is cheating a bit too - using the SNA (snapshot) function of the emulator. When you arrive in a new town, the wanted poster will be different each time. Before you leave the first town for the first time, save a snapshot. Now, go to the town and look at the poster (you now should have descriptions for two wild bunch members). Keep doing this until you have all of them, leave the first town (with all that knowledge) and go on your hunt.

And remember - don't shoot the one you actually want. I did this and was unable to prove I was innocent :)

Repeat ad infinitum until you have everything you need from the store and a heap of 'free' money.

If you don't like the price that the telegraphs office charges you, leave and then go back. Repeat until you get a price that you like :)

(Doctor Icemann - brand new tip!) 11848

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