C64 Pic Extender version 1.1.1 released

Version 1.1.1 of the C64 Pic Extender is now available within my Software page.

This is the first publicly available version.

C64 Pic Extender: Love from Sweden by The Sarge (multicolor)
C64 Pic Extender: Love from Sweden by The Sarge (multicolor)

You might want to check the documentation that comes within each distribution archive for more information!

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Type-C USB Pro Micro update

A while back I had ordered an Arduino Pro Micro board that mounts a Type-C USB connector. At the time, I noticed how the board wasn’t a drop-in replacement for the legacy Pro Micro board (the one with a micro-USB connector).

A few weeks back, I ordered more Pro Micro boards with a Type-C USB connector from a different seller. I tested one in my IECHost breadboard and it worked absolutely fine.

Here’s a picture to compare the two boards:

Arduino Pro Micro board comparison by Luigi Di Fraia
Arduino Pro Micro board comparison

On the right side of the picture there is the board that worked fine as a drop-in replacement. The board is longer than the one I used for my old projects so, from that perspective, I can’t just use the new one in the cases I have used in the past.

In all fairness, I can’t exclude having got a rogue board the first time around. So, if you have one of the boards as the one on the left side of the picture, and it works fine for you as a drop-in replacement, then I’d like to know: please leave a comment 🙂

Stay tuned for more!

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Extended Commodore 64 pictures for PAL/NTSC machines

In case you haven’t noticed, recently I have been helping The Sarge and Raffox with code that makes it possible to produce extended multicolor pictures for the Commodore 64, using sprites in the side borders.

The technical details are quite interesting:

  • Two whole columns of sprites in each side-border, for a total of 96 extra pixels (48 fat pixels) that get the total image width to 416 pixels (208 fat pixels),
  • no glitches and no bugs in any of the sprites all the way to the external edges (try Debug borders in VICE),
  • stable for PAL and NTSC machines.

As far as I can tell, each feature is quite rare to see in a Commodore 64 picture, and they are especially rare when combined together. Possibly a world first 🙂

Of course, taking advantage of the extra pixels is not quite as simple as it might look like: sprite colors have stricter limitations than multicolor bitmaps and there are other limitations related to bad lines, which are not removed by my code. In fact, there are no demo-style nearly-whole-RAM-consuming tricks at play here, as that’s not the point.
There is some clever code that I have been developing while exchanging ideas with Flavioweb, but it’s really a tradeoff: the code requires talent on the part of the graphic artist in order for the final work to be convincing.

Here are the works created, to date, by The Sarge that use my supporting code:

Knight of Oppression by The Sarge
Natures Revenge by The Sarge

And here’s the work created by Raffox that uses my support code:

Asteroids Extended by Raffox

Stay tuned for more!

Posted in Retrocomputing, Technical | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Back on the development of TAPClean

It was the 25th of April 2021 when I last made changes to the TAPClean code repo on Sourceforge. Those changes added support for a Polish Anirog clone that was brought to my attention by Pawel.

Today I am glad to confirm that I am back on the development and enhancement of TAPClean. In order to kick off the process, I just pushed changes to the code repo that allow users to configure the path where to save report files. This change is going to be needed for when I will put together a bundle of TAPClean Front End and TAPClean for macOS 🙂

Stay tuned for more!

Posted in Retrocomputing, Technical | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

C64 Raster Effect Editor version 1.4.1 released

Version 1.4.1 of C64 Raster Effect Editor is now available within my Software page.

This is a minor release for a few enhancements and a couple more sample projects.

C64 Raster Effect Editor: macOS Monterey by Luigi Di Fraia
C64 Raster Effect Editor: macOS Monterey
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Integrator 2012 version 1.5.1 released

Version 1.5.1 of Integrator 2012 is now available within my Software page.

This is a minor release for a few enhancements, including a fully functional macOS build, which also provides the option to save datasets.

Integrator 2012: macOS Monterey
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DC2N4-LC GUI client version 4.4.1 released

Version 4.4.1 of the DC2N4-LC GUI client is now available within my Software page.

This is a minor release for a few enhancements, including a fully functional macOS build capable of performing firmware updates.

DC2N4-LC Client: macOS Monterey by Luigi Di Fraia
DC2N4-LC Client: macOS Monterey
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IECHost GUI client version 3.8.9 released

Version 3.8.9 of the IECHost GUI client is now available within my Software page. Binaries are available for Windows, macOS (Intel), Linux x86_64 and armv7l.

This is a minor release for a few enhancements and bug fixes. Details of the changes are available through the issue tracker.

IECHost Client: macOS Monterey by Luigi Di Fraia
IECHost Client: macOS Monterey
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Experimenting with themes under macOS

In order to give my GTK applications a more native look under macOS, I am experimenting with a few themes. In particular I found one that seems decent enough, named Ubuntu-Monterey. Details here.

I haven’t got much time for the details, so I am just going to share a few screenshots I took of a few of my latest bundles.

DC2N4-LC Client Monterey by Luigi Di Fraia
DC2N4-LC Client Monterey
IECHost Client Monterey by Luigi Di Fraia
IECHost Client Monterey
Integrator 2012 Monterey by Luigi Di Fraia
Integrator 2012 Monterey

Stay tuned for more!

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IECHost GUI Client: firmware updates under macOS

MacOS users will be glad to know that I managed to finish the code to perform firmware updates for IECHost from within the GUI Client application. I am hoping I will be able to release the update soon as part of version 3.8.9.

IECHost firmware update process for macOS explained

I will probably integrate the above mentioned work I did for the IECHost GUI client into the DC2N4-LC GUI Client too before releasing binaries for macOS.

Finally, I will release all Integrator 2012 packages with a few updates and the ability to save datasets. Of course, macOS binaries will be provided too 🙂

Stay tuned for more!

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