One of my interests is retrocomputing, primarily Commodore, and I have a particular fascination with recreations of “retro” online information systems. There have been several such amazing projects such as bringing back dialup BBSes on Telnet, QuantumLink Reloaded, NeoHabitat, and others like the NABU Network Recreation Project. There’s a ton of pre-Internet history to be found on these systems, and I only got to briefly experience the final days of this online world first-hand.
So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered a complete, boxed software package from 1984 called Videotex, designed by the Manitoba Telephone System no less (my home province) that implements NAPLPS (North American Presentation Level
Protocol Syntax) for the Commodore 64.
It’s been a while and I got bitten by the game coding bug again….here’s a sneak preview! More details soon…
Máté Sebők has created an incredible microcontroller-based hardware emulation of the Commodore 64 SID chip called the SwinSID Ultimate (based on the original SwinSID).
It can emulate the old 6581 or newer 8580 SID chips, run in NTSC or PAL mode, and so much more. It even has blinky lights right on the board!
You can read more about the project on Facebook here, and read a review here.
To help out I created a tiny menu-driven tool that allows you to configure the various options of the SwinSID Ultimate. You can download it here from the Commodore Scene Database.
A fairly major project I’ve been working on for the past few months is finally wrapping up. It’s a
Wi-Fi “Modem” for the Commodore 64.
Click here for details.
Finally got around to something I’ve always wanted to try: I designed my own circuit boards for the first time ever (not counting acid etching in high school) and got them made! I designed the boards in Fritzing, which is an intuitive schematic capture and PCB layout tool, and had the boards printed at OSH Park (as some of you can probably tell by the distinctive purple PCBs). Fritzing isn’t perfect, but it’s free and was just right for a beginner like myself.
There are two boards shown here: The first is a “Joystick Emulator” that lets you interface an Arduino Nano to a Commodore 64 joystick port through a 74LS05 buffer. The second is a little interface board that makes is easy to interface an audio source (oh, like the Sparkfun BOB-09964 microphone) to the MicroView (which I’ve posted about before).
I’ve already done a second version of the MicroView boards, which puts the BOB-09964 right underneath the MicroView. This is intended to be the basis for some cool wearable sound-reactive jewellery. It’s great to have learned a new skill, and having your ideas turned into physical reality is super cool!
I got a lot done on my new network game “Vortex 2” as presented at ECCC 2013 during the long winter, and I’d like to unveil it as a playable work-in-progress to get help with testing and feedback.
You can’t do much in the game yet. Enemy ships will fly around and chase you and each other, you can shoot at them and they will shoot back, but nothing will happen. But it’s still pretty fun, especially with friends!
Multiple Kernels #1. The extra leads are for the DualSID.
A couple of years ago I put together my “Ultimate Commodore 64” with multiple kernels, dual SID chips for stereo sound, reset button, USB, Ethernet, a 16GB flash drive, 4 Joystick Ports, and painted blue! You can get more details from my presentation at World of Commodore 2011. However, I accidentally killed the motherboard recently when messing around with my RN-XV Wifi project (oops). So, a swap was in order.
I bought a fully socketed 64C motherboard from eBay and swapped it in with the appropriate chips, then re-applied all the mods I had made. One thing I’ve done differently this time around is to use clip leads instead of soldering to my shiny “new” motherboard. I’ve documented the internals in pictures, it turned out pretty cool and is hopefully useful for documenting the top-side connection locations.
(Read More for pics)