Busy day on TAPClean development

Today I’ve spent quite some time making changes and rationalisations on TAPClean’s source code. I’ve also put down a number of entries in my TODO list, which all sound quite exciting and should keep me busy for a while!

I’d like to underline that most of the following points resulted from cooperation with other enthusiasts (as per credits). Without a synergy between all parties, most of the information I was exposed to could have been unreachable or taken years to gather, so my thanks go to Ziggy72 and SLC for their efforts in that sense.

  • “Firebird” uses a very clever mechanism to avoid trying all known Tx variants: it looks for a pattern in the first CBM Header, which it then uses to extract the pulse read threshold. Once that’s done, a single variant is searched for. Can we re-use this approach for e.g. “Alternative Software (DK) Tx” since T2 and T3 can be easily confused with the default read tolerance value? A similar approach could be used for “CHR”, “Visi”, “Ocean New”, and “Snakeload 5.0”. For backward compatibility: if no Tx pattern is found then the code should cycle through all Tx variants (Luigi)
  • There is no reason for which “Ocean New” and “Snakeload 5.0” T1 and T2 should not be handled by the same module, as it happens with all other scanners; otherwise there is way too much code duplication there (Luigi)
  • The loader known as “Alternative Software variant” and used by the “Graphic Adventure Creator” should be renamed to “Imagine/Incentive tape” and the loader used by games created with it, currently referred to as “Alternative Software tape”, should be renamed to “Graphic Adv Creator tape” (Ziggy72)
  • “U.S. Gold tape” was mastered with a tool called “Pro Cass” as found out by SLC who managed to get in touch with some ex-employees: the latter also confirmed that wrong checkbytes were embedded into some tapes in order to fool crackers. TAPClean could alert on this (Ziggy72)
  • “Cult tape” should be renamed to “Freeze Machine tape” (Ziggy72)
  • “FF Tape” stands for “Freeze Frame” (SLC) which later became “Freeze Machine” (Ziggy72)
  • “CHR” titles were mastered with a tool called “Mega-Save” (Ziggy72)
    In version 1.3, (C) 1984 Choice, each supported type is referred to as:

    • CHR T1 : Mega-Speed x9 (fastest)
    • CHR T2 : Ultra-Speed x7 (medium)
    • CHR T3 : Hyper-Speed x5 (slowest)
  • Titles using the “Alternative Software” loader were mastered by “The Graphic Adventure Creator”, in fact they are all text adventures with graphics (Ziggy72)
  • Consider the unification of “Hi-Tech” and “Virgin” if they appear to be mastered by the same program with different settings (Luigi)

As you can see, preservation only starts with making digital backups of media. What comes after that is something challenging but marvellous 🙂

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