I had my entire collection of 2500+ C64 floppy disks converted to D64 files a few years back, but I also had a few special boxes that wasn’t in on that deal. It was mostly my own work disks plus a few unique ones I had set aside for later studying. Back in April, a friend converted all these to D64 files as well.
Lately, I’ve been snooping around in these 670+ D64 files, and oh yes – there were gems to be found.
I’m going to present my findings in this blog post. Some have been uploaded to CDSb already, some are entirely new. Of course it’s mostly SID tunes, but there are a few PRG files to run as well.
I wrote down five packed pages in my notebook and it took me about a week to go through it all. It was a mixed bag. Some were work tunes, some finished. I discarded a few I found simply because they were just way too short or otherwise uninteresting. But that still left a lot of goodies to be released.
There are a total of 70 tunes in the folder. I really tried to compare and make sure it wasn’t already in HVSC, and I think my success rate was reasonably high. It’s not perfect, though. I later found out that some of Deek’s single tunes can be found as sub tunes among his extensive game tracks. Bleh.
I managed to find tunes by A-Man, Allan Kim Eriksen, Deek, Drax, myself (JCH), Johannes Bjerregaard, Link, MSK, Scarzix, Scorpio, Scortia, Trap, Zenox, and Zonix.
Some were added to HVSC #69 – and as of HVSC #70, all of them.
Most of the tunes I found merely had to be exported and then appended a SID header, but a few of them required a bit of tweaking. The tunes by Johannes Bjerregaard were raw music data that had to be paired with a player. Luckily the player at that time (about 1988-89) was available as source code for Profi-Ass, so I could enter a different address close to the music data to keep it as one contiguous block.
Those tunes by Johannes Bjerregaard are probably my proudest findings. I had four D64 files out of the work floppies that originally belonged to him, and digging up those tunes was like finding amazing treasures in the bottom of a secret tomb. Definitely worth the trouble.
I even found the single tune he made in my own editor once. It’s just a conversion of America’s National Anthem and unfortunately not that interesting. It was just a fast test he made at my place.
Some of the tunes in Laxity’s player gave me the most trouble. Scortia’s tunes were manageable, but the two Zenox tunes took all afternoon to get right. Only one voice played in the SID file, and I couldn’t figure out why until I found the spot in the player code that loaded variables from the editor code area. After putting NOP bytes there, the tunes finally played correctly.
EA on all of
DD 14 40 90 07 BD 11 40 – good thing I still know my 6502-fu.
Unfortunately, there were two other Zenox tunes that just plain crashed. I couldn’t salvage those. Maybe they could have been healed by overwriting the player, but I decided it was not worth the trouble.
Another place where I decided to cut a corner was Drax’s music. There were more than a dozen work disks packed with his tunes, and I know I’ve walked through them already many years ago. Perhaps there’s still one or two tunes to be found, but it would have been a ton of work. Postponed indefinitely.
My old BASIC sound effects
Back in 1984-85, way before I started making C64 music and players for real, I dabbled around with sound effects in BASIC. I got my first C64 earlier in 1984 and it was still all new to me. Machine code was only something I poked in from BASIC data statements. But most of it was just pure BASIC.
The BASIC programs with batches of sound effects was a tradition I had carried over from VIC-20, where my friend Axel started making them and I joined in. At that point it was primarily to try out weird loops and get surprised about the result. We often had a good laugh over those.
The “Tybbernyde” program was a conversion from my previous home computer TI-99/4A, where I tried out a note program once and came up with probably my very first composition ever (if you could call it that).
And “Havets Musik” (“Music of the Ocean”) was just an attempt at making waves with filtered noise.
Apart from making PRG files for a C64 emulator, I also created SID files for all of them. I didn’t add these to the DeepSID folder because neither of the emulators there can run BASIC programs.
All of this has also been released as one big entry on CSDb.
The first music editor
Already released on CSDb, this is the first of three major versions of the JCH music editor, made back in November 1988. It had no sequences at all – everything was just one long stream of tracker notes. I only made four test tunes in it before I realized I had to get on coding to make sequences happen.
The test tunes were Test 02.1 (just an expansion of the first test), Test 03.1 and Test 04.3. For the fourth test tune, I first composed the chords on a small keyboard. That was to be a rare exception on the C64.
Preview of Push-It
The Danish guys from Jewels and later Ikari tried making a real game at one point, but although I made an entire soundtrack for it and it had an impressive 48 levels, it was never finished. I found a preview of the game on a disk labeled May 1990. Since it had now been almost 30 years since it was abandoned, I asked the guys in Facebook chat if it would be all right to release it now? Sure, no problem.
After releasing it with a “Danish Design” intro on CSDb, it was re-released the day after with a +3 trainer. A few I knew were miffed about this, but I was actually happy I could now check out the later levels.
The game was clearly inspired by the arcade game Pengo where you had to push blocks into monsters. But instead of killing all monsters as the primary goal, you instead had to push all the happy faces into the exit door. This made it more of a puzzle game. The game was coded by Ole “Doc” (normally their ace cracker) with great graphics by Tomas “Access” – and I did all the music.
Let’s see – what else did I find?
I found my crappy test in Visage’s music editor and a nice Vibrants intro by Maduplec that used the side-border, with a logo by Bjørn Røstøen. Both were from February 1991. CSDb entries here and here.
And finally, I found a BASIC program with an animated sprite I once made. It’s probably from 1984. Click here to download it, and just type
2 when it asks you about the pixel step.
2 comments on “From JCH’s Special Collection”
The first link only downloads at a small size, and won’t open. Tried a few times. Is this the right one? Says 502 MB, but only 200+ is actually downloaded.
The link is correct and it seems to work fine on my end. I just tried it from my own PC at home and it downloaded all 502 MB.