So Long, Blogspot

So Long, Blogspot

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Finished migrating this blog from Blogspot/Blogger to my own domain.  Instead of a bloated, plodding, XHTML/JS-driven piece of crap hosted on a restrictive external service -- this is now a self-hosted, static site delivered straight to you without the need of a database or any client/server-side scripting (thanks go to Hugo for making it easy).  This means I get to control my own content, and you get a much leaner and meaner site. ...
Steel Survivor: an IBM XT Tale

Steel Survivor: an IBM XT Tale

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This month actually marks the IBM 5160's 35th birthday, so why not show off my working (and pretty much complete) specimen.  This is one of the later models: half-height floppy drive + ST-225 hard drive, 640K motherboard (fully populated), last BIOS revision (05/86).  The latest date code on the chips is 8649, so this machine was made shortly before the XT was discontinued altogether.  I received this from Trixter, truly a gentleman and a scholar, along with a separate box of stuff to round it out: an IBM PC/XT keyboard, a joystick, some software/games (including a boxed IBM PC-DOS 3. ...
Happy 35th birthday, IBM PC!

Happy 35th birthday, IBM PC!

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August 12, 1981 introduced us to the IBM PC, and to PC-DOS along with it. The latter included extensions for the machine's ROM BASIC, plus a slew of demonstration programs proudly showing off these indispensable capabilities: 4-color graphics and 1-bit beeper sound. One of them in particular went on to live in certain infamy as Bill Gates' first (and only) direct personal contribution to video game history: the inimitable DONKEY. ...
Keen 4 Mystery Code Demystified

Keen 4 Mystery Code Demystified

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In my post on Keen 4 I mentioned a seemingly-unused routine in v1.4-CGA, which I ended up using as patch space for my own code.  Having no idea what it was for, I consulted the sources for Keen Dreams, and found that it looked an awful lot like a KDR routine which caches level data - specifically, CA_CacheMarks in ID_CA.C.  At some point during Keen 4's initialization, a single pointer gets set to this code; but immediately afterwards the address is replaced so this function is never executed. ...
Yet another 16-color CGA makeover: Keen 5

Yet another 16-color CGA makeover: Keen 5

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After giving Keen 4's CGA version a 16-color composite overhaul, I figured I'd have a go at the next episode, since the code has nearly everything in common with Keen 4, and the composite enhancements detailed in my previous post could be applied without too many essential changes (other than different offsets/addresses, of course).  Let's strap this one to the rack then: As before, the distribution is a runtime in-memory patch (using CK5PATCH) and you'll need the original KEEN5 CGA files (v1. ...
Dopefish goes NTSC: Commander Keen 4 Composite CGA Patch Notes

Dopefish goes NTSC: Commander Keen 4 Composite CGA Patch Notes

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If you're just landing here at random and wondering about the title: this is a 16-color 'remaster' of the original CGA version of Commander Keen IV: Secret of the Oracle, with code patched and graphics redrawn and reworked to take optimal advantage of CGA's composite output capabilities. For more info (plus the download link), see the VOGONS thread - all sorts of cool stuff in there, like videos recorded from real hardware, and a DOSBox build patched with some useful additions for running this. ...
Olympiad: IBM Prototype Fonts Unearthed

Olympiad: IBM Prototype Fonts Unearthed

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My Ultimate Oldschool PC Font Pack got some pretty cool responses, and one of them contained something quite unexpected: a set of files transferred from twenty-five 5.25" floppies, containing internal snapshots of font development done at IBM around 1984. These prototype fonts were designed specifically for a project codenamed Olympiad.  Familiar?  Probably not, but it came to light a couple years later as the IBM 6150 AKA the RT PC, a RISC workstation and grandaddy of the PowerPC architecture. ...
So-called "IBM" Freeware Games from the Early '80s

So-called "IBM" Freeware Games from the Early '80s

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(...and the Cryptic Code Conundrum) This is a question I've already raised in the usual suspect places, but without much success, so here it is again on the off chance that anybody knows anything. Going through compilations of very early BBS-fodder for the IBM PC (shareware, freeware, public domain), I frequently see this bunch of games and programs that seem to have a few things in common: ...