Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...etc

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JasonCA
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Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...etc

Post by JasonCA » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:03 am

Como on, we need more support for those with Commodore floppies looking for a way to archive their floppy disks.

Currently there is no conversion for stream files to G64 with Kryoflux. And IPF doesn't apply to anything except Amiga (or possibly Atari ST) disks since it is based on a PC floppy chip core, and is closed-source.

So though technically the capturing of Commodore disks are great with KryoFlux, those in the Commodore world can NOT currently do anything with the captured data. Seems to be a lack of conversion tools for the Kryoflux streams.

I have hundreds and hundreds of Commodore disks that I want to archive. But, if I used Kryoflux to archive them, then so what? I can't do anything with the archives. There is no real long term purpose to re-write archived Kryoflux Commodore streams back to physical floppies so they can be used. Instead, it's more preferable to have the streams converted into various formats that other Commodore emulators or real Commodores can access and use.

What is the direction KryoFlux is moving in regards to archiving Commodore floppies and then having all the conversion tools necessarily to convert them to images beyond D64? Like, G64, or D71, D81, or other more authentic formats? If Kryoflux never plans on furthering conversion tools of the Commodore Floppy Kryoflux streams, then Kryoflux to Commodore users is really a DEAD END.

And for other Commodore users who may be reading this, why should they purchase KryoFlux? What is the incentive to do so?

Thanks,

Jason

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IFW
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Re: Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...et

Post by IFW » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:11 am

Hi Jason,

All the development efforts during the past few months went into writing and supporting C64 and related issues specifically - and it's been a worldwide effort with hardware and software enhancements, of which one thing you can already see; properly archiving flippy disks.

IPF has nothing to do with Amiga, it's a generic format - it's simply the Amiga platform it was originally used for. Sources are already available to developers, archives and institutes, and will be public as well, but admittedly we are very late with that.
There are IPF files for Amiga, Spectrum, CPC, Atari ST, IBM PC already.

What you are referring to is a misunderstanding: the IPF library does contain a cycle exact, very low level WD177x emulator that can use the decoded IPF files by the same library (or any other source producing the necessary data), but it has nothing to do with IPF files at all - it's just a convenience functionality for emulator and tool authors.

You'll be pleased to know that a significant amount of work is going towards C64 preservation right now, please see:
http://www.softpres.org/
http://www.softpres.org/news:2011-08-22

We plan to give C64 preservation the exact same treatment as Amiga games enjoy: fully authentic, verified and unmodified copies will be preserved in IPF files, runnable by software and hardware emulators or could be rewritten to disks.
Again, this is a huge - and actually already very expensive - effort and should you wish to contribute, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Hope this helps.

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mr.vince
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Re: Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...et

Post by mr.vince » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:30 pm

I'd like to add that e.g. G64 is sweet, but it does not really help having a format that's not properly supported by emulators and is lossy because of the data types supported. I know that there are also many emulators without IPF support, but at least when implemented via the official lib, which is working very well, images usually work as expected. G64 is problematic, e.g. track size is hardcoded in Vice (writing this from memory). I also happen to have four G64s for one and the same game, one for Vice, one for CCS64, one as it was converted by nibread and another one used to write with nibwrite because the translation back and forth is lossy.

We have released specs for the STREAM format generated by KryoFlux, so feel free to convert the data. We might also do G64 somewhen, but this really has no priority. All other sector formats should be easy to convert, take a look at the development section here.

JasonCA
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Location: California

Re: Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...et

Post by JasonCA » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:34 am

This is without a doubt encouraging:
IFW wrote:All the development efforts during the past few months went into writing and supporting C64 and related issues specifically - and it's been a worldwide effort with hardware and software enhancements, of which one thing you can already see; properly archiving flippy disks.
For the Commodore platform, it would seem then that KryoFlux is almost there, but is not quite ready yet for archiving and preserving of Commodore disks. As you said here:
IFW wrote:Sources are already available to developers, archives and institutes, and will be public as well, but admittedly we are very late with that.
There are IPF files for Amiga, Spectrum, CPC, Atari ST, IBM PC already.
Yes, your late. Therefore, there are NO IPF's yet for Commodore; at least not yet. So my understanding then is that I can only, at least right now, capture DRAFT files which are simply flux transition streams of the data on the disks. Or, as your website says DRAFT files are:

1) Website Quote:
flux transition periods, signals, signal information
2) Website Quote:
simply store the signals read from a disk. In a DRAFT file, the data has no real meaning, and there are no guarantees that it is correct, unmodified, and any copy protection usable.
On the other hand, IPF's are the interpreted signals of the DRAFT data. Or as your website says, an IPF is:
something that represents the meaningful data of a factory new disk, fresh out of duplication and guaranteed to be: correct, from an authentic source disk not modified after originally duplicated, and to provide the data as it was intended to be read by the target platform(s).
In other words, I can extract the raw signals from a Commodore disk. However, I can NOT still do anything with them. And not having the ability to do anything with the commodore data that has been captured, at least to me, is part of the problem:

1) Can't run the IPF in an emulator.
2) No IPF format yet for Commodore disks.
3) And if there was an IPF format, no support yet to convert an IPF into other formats (NIB, G64, ...etc) or other formats that better represent the actual authenticity of a Commodore disk in a USABLE form for the purpose of, say, an emulator.
4) Or, no emulator that supports the Commodore IPF format.

So it would seem then that KryoFlux is on the right path, but that it just is not yet fully there for Commodore.

Like you said, this is exciting:
You'll be pleased to know that a significant amount of work is going towards C64 preservation right now, please see:
http://www.softpres.org/
http://www.softpres.org/news:2011-08-22
However this brings up a few questions or things I'd like to point out:

1) Your website also doesn't list compatible hardware. What kind of floppy? Any kind of PC floppy?
2) For Commodore it would seem ALSO that the PC Floppy disk drives need to be modified to support flippy disks. If so, where is the list that shows what floppy disks can be modified?
3) How difficult is it to modify a PC floppy?
4) Where does one find this information out on your website? The only way to know right now is for the reader to scour through the forum; to every reader, that can be a tedious process.
5) Which PC floppy drives have successfully been modified for the purpose of being used to image flippy disks?

Again, this is very encouraging to myself and certainly other Commodore readers:
We plan to give C64 preservation the exact same treatment as Amiga games enjoy: fully authentic, verified and unmodified copies will be preserved in IPF files, runnable by software and hardware emulators or could be rewritten to disks.
You mentioned:
IFW wrote:Again, this is a huge - and actually already very expensive - effort and should you wish to contribute, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Yes, I'm thinking about contributing. I hope other readers do as well.

However, right now I'm still debating on the benefits of purchasing KryoFlux and investing my efforts towards this endeavor. For Commodore users, it would seem they need to purchase Kryoflux, a PC floppy drive, and modify the PC Floppy drive for flippy disk support (which as I said is not clear yet on your website as to how this is done, what needs to be done, or what PC floppy drives have been successfully modified for Commodore flippy disk support).

I'm sure other readers wonder the same. So I ask, so they don't have to. They can just buy the Kryoflux and know everything else they need to get so they can also start preserving their precious Commodore floppy disks for archiving or otherwise.

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IFW
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Re: Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...et

Post by IFW » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:06 am

To addres your concerns: when we mean full support we do mean it.
That includes emulation in software (emulators) and hardware (e.g. HxC); authentic, unmodified and error free disk images, write capability without any magic trick involved - creating exactly the same disk you'd have bought a few decades ago, no data is altered at all for any specific purpose.
This is already a reality for other platforms that have IPF images, and we are working on C64 now.
I am almost positive that one of the first emulators to use IPFs once they are available would be MESS - since Olivier is already adding it for ST, and due to the modular architecture of MESS other platforms using disks would be able use the generic IPF driver.
Another contender would be VICE.
As for closed source emulators, it's up to the authors - but once an emulator supports something another one doing the same would follow fairly soon, as long as it is still being developed actively.

As for flippy drive modification: there is a video tutorial available, and all the information you need to know have a thread here on the forum; if you still have any questions please do ask there.
Alternatively, it may be possible to to image the disks by someone who already has a flippy drive and then return them to you.
Currently there is one Panasonic drive type recommended for modification, but there are sure others.
In the flippy drive thread people could give advice on that, especially RJMcInty.
The modification involves modifying some mechanical parts, and adding a simple circuitry.
Note, that is exactly how (most of the) the disks were duplicated originally, a high resolution Trace machine, PC drives, modified to allow seeking to track -8 as confirmed by the company who supplied these duplicator machines at the time. They also supplied 600 RPM drives for 2x faster duplication, but it's up to you if you want to build one... it's not helpful for imaging, only for mass duplication.
The only difference we have is the price - it used be around GBP 25000 at the time - remember they started to sell these machines at 1982/83 so that was a lot of money then, and still wouldn't be considered cheap by today's standards, discounting the real inflation indexed present value of that sum...
Difficulty really depends on your experience and equipment: I can't do it as I am really a software/firmware guy these days, but others have already done it.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=253

RJMcInty
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Re: Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...et

Post by RJMcInty » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:46 am

JasonCA wrote:However this brings up a few questions or things I'd like to point out:

1) Your website also doesn't list compatible hardware. What kind of floppy? Any kind of PC floppy?
2) For Commodore it would seem ALSO that the PC Floppy disk drives need to be modified to support flippy disks. If so, where is the list that shows what floppy disks can be modified?
3) How difficult is it to modify a PC floppy?
4) Where does one find this information out on your website? The only way to know right now is for the reader to scour through the forum; to every reader, that can be a tedious process.
5) Which PC floppy drives have successfully been modified for the purpose of being used to image flippy disks?
1- Please see this thread for discussion about general PC drive compatibility with Kryoflux: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4
2- Please see this thread for discussion about flippy-compatible (not just for Commodore disks) drives: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=271
3- I would consider myself to be of medium mechanical abilities, and, with the video, find the mods to be easy. If you're trying to modify another drive, the general steps are the same: examine the drive, see what's keeping the heads from going approx. 2.25 mm past the track 0 position, remove those obstructions, and add a bypass circuit. The details of those steps vary dramatically from drive to drive.
4- This is a great point; I'll follow up with mr. vince and IFW to see if this information/links can be consolidated in a particular WIP or news update.
5- This seems to be a repeat of #2.

Cheers!
Robert

TeaRex
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Re: Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...et

Post by TeaRex » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:23 pm

IFW wrote: Note, that is exactly how (most of the) the disks were duplicated originally, a high resolution Trace machine, PC drives, modified to allow seeking to track -8 as confirmed by the company who supplied these duplicator machines at the time.
Did the company also say which kind of PC drives they preferred to do the modification on, back in the 1980s? If not, can you ask them?

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mr.vince
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Re: Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...et

Post by mr.vince » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:36 am

I am sure they won't, I assume they asked some manufacturer to deliver readily modified drives, given the amount of drives they used/sold.

Such things usually fall under NDA...

TeaRex
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Re: Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...et

Post by TeaRex » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:15 pm

Enforcing 30-years-old NDAs relating to an essentially completely obsolte technology doesn't seem to make all that much sense to me, but I guess that's the way things are.

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IFW
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Re: Come On! More Support for Commodore G64, D64, D71, ...et

Post by IFW » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:43 pm

...besides, even if we knew which company supplied the drives, I honestly doubt we could get them to make a few more again, unless it is a few thousand units :lol:

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