Category Archives: Retro computing
I’ve found a seller on Aliexpress that has bootleg GB/GBC carts so I ordered few. Yes, they’re not original, but it’s more practical to carry one cart with ~100 games than 10 original carts with one game :).
And since I already have them I though why not make a list of games so other people can see what’s on them.
Now that we have CF card all set up lets see how to install Workbench and set it to automatically load patched/updated scsi.device so we don’t have to worry if it’s loaded or not.
Lately I’ve noticed a lot of questions on how to partition and prepare Compact Flash card (or HDD) for use with Amiga, so I’ve decided to write this tutorial on how to do it and format them as PFS3 partitions.
At least this is how I do it :). Using PC with WinUAE to prepare everything and just pop finished card in Amiga, ready to go.
They all work fine, but somehow I like AGLaunch the most. It’s lightweight and fast. Sure, it doesn’t have game screenshots, descriptions and flashy interface, but that’s why it’s fast. If you don’t have accelerated Amiga it might take a bit to start the game with first two, but with AGLaunch it’s just few clicks away. Another reason why I got used to it is that it comes with Classic Workbench pack out of the box so it’s always at hand. Another reason why it’s fast is that it uses Amiga guide system, format that most of Amiga documentation is written in, it actually displays prepared guide files with game lists so it’s kinda native to the system.
And that’s its biggest drawback, it doesn’t have any system to update these guides except manual edit. Which is OK for few files, but if you have few hundreds, or even thousands of games… let’s just say it gets boring, really fast. Even if game pack author makes these updated files, like Turran does over on EAB, you might wan’t to make your own custom lists.
Now that we’ve made SD2IEC device it’s time to use it. Apart from SD2IEC we also need an SD card, regular size in this case (if you want you can modify the schematic and build it to have micro SD card slot instead). But of course, you can use mini/micro SD cards with it via SD card adapter you usually get with these smaller cards. It supports SDHC cards so even 32GB ones should work, but there isn’t so much C64 software to fill it :). SD card should be formatted with FAT16 or FAT32 file system. Read the rest of this entry
It’s time for some C64 stuff. For those new to all of this, SD2IEC is floppy drive emulator that emulates basic functions of Commodore 1541 floppy drive. Although I say C64, as far as I know it works with C128 and some older Commodore computers that can use 1541 compatible floppy drives. Back in the day I had C64 with cassette tapes. Surprisingly old tapes still worked after 20 years, but it was far from practical to use them. Even with Turbo cartridge that can load compressed games. Alternative was to get real floppy drive, but then again, 5.25” floppies are not that easy to come by, or reliable… Next alternative was to get some of commercial floppy emulators, like 1541 Ultimate, Ultimate-II and so on. Problem with them is that they tend to be pricey. In the end I stumbled upon SD2IEC which can be done at home. You can also find them prebuilt on ebay, but where’s the fun in that? 🙂 Although, to be fair, they have one characteristic that makes them somewhat more interesting than home made version. They’re way smaller since they’re professionally made and usually have cute cases that look like original 1541 drive, only waaaaay smaller :). Read the rest of this entry
It’s time for something more complicated than rewiring premade stuff. After joysticks and gamepads, next thing that you can’t replace that easy is the mouse. After searching the net for a bit I found the solution on Aminet. Small device with microcontroller (MCU for short) that translates signals from standard PC PS/2 type mouse to signal Amiga understands. I also found versions with USB connector, but it’s actually a bit of deception. “Real” USB mice aren’t supported. As far as I understood there are too many variations in USB implementations to implement USB support with these small microcontrollers. It is possible, but it would need more powerful MCU and would subsequently cost more. It could be made with simple MCU but then it would work only with mouse type that it was tested with during development, even so far that it could happen to work only with that specific model, not the whole brand.
Gamepads from previous article have pretty short cable, unless you’re going to have computer in your lap. All in all not really practical. So, next step is making extension cord.
Basically it’s simple, connect corresponding pins on two connectors (pin 1 from one to pin 1 from the second and so on). Connectors are not the problem, you’ll need one female and one male DB9 connector. They’re pretty standard thing in electronics shop, and there’s bunch of them on ebay.
The real problem is the cable. Joystick connector has 9 pins, that means we’ll need (at least) 9 pin cable, that’s where I got stuck. Here in Croatia there aren’t that many electronics shops and I haven’t found similar cables in shops that sell tools and similar stuff. Problem is that they’re kinda pricey. I’ve found 10 wire round cable but price was almost $3 per meter (one meter is 3.28 feet, you can round it to 3 feet for easier math 🙂 ) . I planned to make two cables of at least 2 meter in length (cca 6 feet), that would make $12 just for the cable. There are cheaper ones, but they’re flat cables and that doesn’t look that practical.
These days it’s getting hard to find joysticks or gamepads that would work on Amiga, Comodore 64/128 and the rest of the compatible computers. Of course, you can find used ones on ebay and like, but from what I’ve seen most are pretty banged up and/or expensive so I don’t consider them a thing to be relied upon.
Sometimes you can stumble upon new ones, so called NOS, New Old Stock, or if some company makes a series for vintage fans, but again, any option is pricey. In my opinion that makes sense for collection, so you can have everything nice and shiny for display. But if you intend to use it cheaper, more replaceable, stuff would be nice.
But luckily there is cheap alternative. Sega Mega Drive 1, 2, 3 (basically the same console) or Sega Genesis as it was called in North America. It uses the same 9 pin DB9 connector as these Commodore computers. They can even work out of the box on them but it’s highly discouraged. Especially in Commodore 64 case where they can kill it. I’ve seen few versions, for starters I ordered cheapest ones I found on ebay. Price is about $6 for two. They even came in boxes, I expected just the plastic bag 🙂 .