The main issue with the Commodore 8050 and 8250 drives is: How do you get data onto them? The units use 100tpi floppy drives that are incompatible to the regular 48tpi and 96tpi disk drives used in the 1541 and in PC DD and HD drives. So there is no chance using those. However there is the ZoomFloppy, which is an implementation of the XUM1541 interface and it comes with an optional IEE488 plug! We can attach the 8050 to that, and use the OpenCBM tools to read and write data to and from the floppies.

Let’s Code MS DOS 0x24: Low Level Keyboard Programming

Getting input from the keyboard can be as easy as calling the getch() function. But for games we need a better solution. For games on MS DOS machines you need quick, unbuffered input. To simply get the state of keypresses we need to talk to the keyboard controller directly. Let’s have a look at how that’s done!

Let’s Code MS DOS 0x23: 2nd Reality Lens Effect

In 1993 the Future Crew released the seminal demo “Second Reality”. Last episode we re-implemented the tunnel effect, this time we try to understand and replicate the lens effect. A bouncing, tinted glass ball that distorts the background image. Thirty years back it was pretty jaw dropping, and even today we can learn something!

Let’s Code MS DOS 0x22: 2nd Reality Tunnel Effect

In 1993 the Future Crew released the seminal demo “Second Reality”. One of the more simple effects they showed in this demo was the “Dot Tunnel”. It is a simple, yet mesmerizing oldskool demo effect. We can build on our knowledge of fixed point maths to implement this effect and maybe even improve on the original!

The ReSeed SID Sound Card for the Plus/4 & C16

The Commodore 264 machines, which include the Plus/4 and the C16 used the TED chip for video and sound. The audio capabilities were not great: two square wave channels. The Commodore 64’s SID chip on the other hand was a proper three voice synthesizer. So back in the day people built expansion cartridges for the Plus/4 utilizing the SID and eventually games and demos using this were published. These cards are pretty rare, but now there is a homebrew clone of the card!

Let’s Code MS DOS 0x21: 3D Fixed Point Maths

The 3D Wireframe cube is part of every demoscene coder’s learning curve. Today I want to talk you through the principles of 3D programming in general and especially the idea of fixed point maths, where you use integers instead of floating point numbers to represent fractions. Older CPUs before the 80486 had no built in floating point support, and even the FPUs were quite often rather slow and hard to program for, if available at all. So people had to opt to use integer arithmetics in stead. But 3D graphics requires fractional numbers, so how do we get both things together and manage to display a rotating wireframe cube on our MS DOS machine?

Repairing a 40 Year Old Commodore Disk Drive

Recently I acquired a matching floppy disk station for my Commodore PET 3016. It is the CBM 8050, a single sided, dual disk drive using quad density floppies with 96 tracks per inch. This is a rather rare format, but with a bit of luck we should be able to use high quality double density (48 tpi) disks instead. But first problem is: The drive can’t even format a single disk. It is probably not a surprise as this particular device was manufactured in 1983. First order of business is to take it apart and do some diagnostics and cleaning!

Game Boy Color: Funny Playing IPS Screen Mod

The Game Boy Color was a step up in the evolution of the most popular game handheld. But its screen was still without backlight and rather dim. Nowadays you can have a nice high resolution IPS screen with backlight. Here I show you how to mod the Game Boy Color to use the FunnyPlaying V2 Q5 IPS screen. It’s a procedure that requires a bit of patience, but is by no means very hard. Optionally a bit of soldering is required to be able to use the on screen menu for setting up the screen.

Our First PC: Highscreen Colani 486SX

The first PC that our family bought back in 1993 was a Vobis Highscreen Colani 486SX-25 Desktop. It was a rather run-of-the-mill low end 486, but it had one special feature: the faceplate of the case was designed by famous industrial designer Luigi Colani. With its rounded, organic forms it definitely was a looker! I now got my hands on a pretty well preserved Colani desktop. So let’s restore it to its former glory, upgrade some bits and pieces and take it for a spin!

Let’s Code x86 Assembly: 0x08 Sizecoding Game Of Life WITH “MUSIC”

In this episode we take a look at a tiny 256 Byte intro that I originally coded for the Outline 2023 demo party. However as I couldn’t attend the party in person, it wasn’t used in the competition. So instead I walk you through the code here and explain how to fit Conway’s Game of Life into 256 bytes and also have some MIDI music, for lack of better words!