Monday, January 31, 2011

University Place Commodore Home Users Group (UPCHUG)

     A few of us got together to discuss our various projects when Greg and Steve of dropped by. Unfortunately, we scheduled it for a weekday morning, so a lot of people had to work instead of attending, but we still heard about some fascinating projects and ideas from the five who did make it. We also discussed ideas for promoting the arrangement of regular monthly meetings in the Seattle-Tacoma area, which unfortunately has not been a reality in the past year or two.

     The University Place Commodore Home Users Group (UPCHUG) dates back to at least the late 90's, and was created for like minded Commodore and Amiga enthusiasts in the greater Tacoma metro area.  They currently have a UPCHUG Yahoo User Group that keeps track of the meetings and messages by its members. Their current webpage is located at Future meetings will be scheduled in advance, and will be published on the UPCHUG Yahoo User Group forum.  Please note the user group calendar for upcoming events and meetings. Please refer to the calendar for updates and changes. Note: No meetings are currently scheduled past the 28th of January 2011.

     Contact any member of the posted Yahoo Group for further details. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Commodore Vic-20 demo: Vici Iterum MMII

For those out there that doubt what 5KB of graphics memory, and a 1 MHz processor can do on a Commodore Vic-20 you need to watch this demo. The Commodore Vic-20 was announced by Commodore in 1980 and was also called the VC-20 in Germany, and the Vic-1001 in Japan. The CPU used the MOS 6502 processor, and memory is expandable up to 64KB. Over 300 software titles were available on Cartridge, and 500+ titles on tape. Following the PET generation, the Commodore Vic-20 used a serial interface to daisy chain disk drives and a user port for RS-232 type connections. The graphics capabilities of the VIC chip (6560/6561) were limited but flexible. At startup the screen showed 176 x 184 pixels, with a fixed-colour border to the edges of the screen; since an NTSC or PAL screen has a 4:3 width-to-height ratio, each VIC pixel was much wider than it was high. The screen normally showed 22 columns and 23 rows of 8-by-8-pixel characters; it was possible to increase these dimensions but the characters would soon run out the sides of the monitor. Like on the PET, 256 different characters could be displayed at a time, normally taken from one of the two character generators in ROM (one for upper-case letters and simple graphics, the other for mixed-case—non-English characters were not provided). In the usual display mode, each character position could have its foreground colour chosen individually, and the background and screen border colours were set globally. A character could be made to appear in another mode where each pixel was chosen from 4 different colours: the character's foreground colour, the screen background, the screen border and an "auxiliary" colour; but this mode was rarely used since it made the pixels twice as wide as they normally were. 
          The Commodore Vic-20 is a remarkable and easy to use computer the was the preprocessor to the famous Commodore 64. Enjoy this video created by Pasi Ojala and music by Anders Carlsson

Saturday, January 15, 2011 - LOAD games from Internet .D64 files to your Commod...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oregon and Washington are on the move

I had the pleasure of attending one of the best Commodore clubs out there. The Portland Commodore Users Group PDX extended a warm welcome to us as we traveled from Orting, Wa.   We enjoyed an amazing evening learning about the Comet64 Internet Modem, which connects a real Commodore 64 to the Internet. It can connect to any Internet server, but in its default configuration, it connects to using virtual disk drive (V-1541) software to access your own D64 and PRG files. Newer software allows for speed up to 38.4K, blowing away speeds of a real 1541 disk drive, putting it close to Jiffy-DOS speed. There is also software that can download D64s and copy them on to floppy disks (and vice-versa) so you can archive your disk collection and share them with friends easily. And now, with VICE 2.2, you can access CommodoreServer without the need for special hardware works on the C64 emulator Vice 2.2 download.   
        A presentation was given on the new gaming service for the CommodoreServer where a new game soon to be released was demonstrated. This unique online gaming service also gives you the ability to chat on the server while gaming. It was way cool to watch. We also listened to Earl Evans from RetroBits Podcast give a presentation on Buddy Assembler for the Commodore 128 with it's unique ability to program in both Basic and Assembly Language. 
        Following Earl's presentation we were shown The Turbomaster Accelerator for the C64 that cranks up the C64's processing power to 4MHz. Karate Champ and several other programs were all tested, and without a doubt it speed up the programs. The Atari Team gave us a presentation of early development and production of Atari games for all the early consoles, including the Commodore 64. It was exciting to meet them. We had tons of questions about some of the best in early Atari gaming.
         The founders of Portland Commodore Users Group PDX have worked for years putting together a group that would gather other like minded Commodore enthusiasts to continue using and demonstrating one of the best selling and most popular computers of all time, the Commodore 64. Their intentions are sincere and genuine, with only the best ideas to help and work with other users out there. I look forward to learning chip assembly and programming at one of the future meetings. I highly recommend the group and their mission to anyone in the Washington and Oregon area. They are open to new ideas, so if you have an interest send them a line on their website

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year of Commodore Goodness

Happy New Year to everyone! I had the pleasure of attending a Commodore event last night and had an awesome time. I learned all kinds of new and interesting things about retro computing and some of the cutting edge devices I have ever seen in the 8 bit computing era. The coolest one was the Vectrex. This thing is by far one of the neatest gaming devices I have ever seen. The Vectrex is a vector display-based video game console that was developed by Western Technologies/Smith Engineering. It was licensed and distributed first by General Consumer ElectricMilton Bradley Company after their purchase of GCE. It was released in November 1982 at a retail price of $199 ($440 compensated for inflation[1]); as Milton Bradley took over international marketing the price dropped to $150 and then $100 shortly before the video game crash of 1983. 

I got to play Pole Position, and Berzerk on this console and it was truly worth the play. It feels like you are back in an 80s mini arcade. I also meet an actual Commodore digital synth musician named Andreus @ This gentleman was amazing. He takes both Nintendo GameBoys and Commodore 64 and turns them into musical instruments that he uses to create low-end 8-Bit synth beats. He gave me a sample of some of his GameBoy music on a portable amplifier he had, and I have to say I was impressed. The AllConsolesGamer shared with me some of his latest YouTube videos and adventures with the latest on Bayou Billy for the NES. I recommend subscribing to his channel. He is quite entertaining and gives great reviews on the best in video gaming.

Commodore SX-64 Executive Portable Computer