Universal Commodore 64 cartridge speeds up demo production

As a life long lover of his venerable Commodore 64, [Frank] was looking for a way to speed up the development time when writing C64 demos. His solution is a universal C64 cartridge that will connect to a PC over a USB port.

The board is powered by a CLPD and a microcontroller loaded with code from [Frank]‘s previous C64 USB controller adapter. A 16 Mbit flash chip is able to store 31 classic games like Pitfall, Dig Dug, and Lode Runner.

On his Google+ announcement, [Frank] says this is a very early prototype. He plans on reducing the board size to fit inside a standard C64 cartridge, and the firmware for the micro and CLPD aren’t finished yet. That being said, [Frank] does have a board that does what he wants it to do: extremely rapid C64 development.

Check out [Frank]‘s demo after the break of him compiling and re-uploading a simple demo to his cherished computer in just a few seconds. That’s a lot faster than it would take with a 1541 Ultimate or other SD card reader.

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C64 joystick adapter

[Marcus Gritsch] wanted to do his retro gaming using retro hardware… or at least using some retro hardware. Although he was playing his Commodore 64 games in an emulator, he figured that using an original controller would boost the nostalgia quite a bit. This is a vintage Competition Pro joystick that has buttons and a joystick of a similar quality to arcade hardware and a DE-9 connector. He managed to connect new to old by building his own USB to C64 joystick adapter.

His project started out by breadboarding a circuit based on a PIC 24FJ64GB002 microcontroller. This does all of the work, having native USB support, and no problem reading and translating the signals from the old hardware which are simply conductors for each internal switch that pull to ground when actuated. Once working, he soldered everything to some protoboard; a connector at each end, the chip itself, a voltage regulator, and some passive components. It’s a, robust build that should give him years of emulated fun.

Jamin’ to Bach, Commodore 64 style

[thrashbarg] missed the sounds of the Commodore 64 and longed to hear the great masters in 8-bit glory. To get his fix, he created a midi device using the original Sound Interface Device from those long-dead systems. He’s interfaced the MOS6581 SID with an Atmel AVR ATmega8 microcontroller. The receiving pin for the AVR’s UART is used as a MIDI-IN connection, with the microcontroller converting midi data into the proper sound generation specs for the SID. The result is the 10 minutes of [Bach]‘s Brandenburg Concerto heard in the embedded video above.

We have no idea where he picked up this obsolete chip, but if you want to give this a try, perhaps you’ll have some luck emulating the MOS6581 by using another ATmega8.

C64 Visual Debugger

c64ICU

Root Labs wrote about ICU64, a Commodore 64 emulator with a couple unusual features. The most special of these is the ability to show the entire working RAM of the system. Each RAM address lights up when accessed. The user can also zoom in or change the values at each address if they want. This sounds complicated, but the demo videos demonstrate the power of these abilities. This would also serve as a great primer on lower-level code’s memory management. Unfortunately [mathfigure], the author of ICU64, hasn’t released this out to the public yet, but should be released soon.

ICU64 has been released!

[thanks to mathfigure for following up with this]

Videos after the jump.

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C64 Twitter client

c64_twitter

The last of the Commodore 64′s shortcomings has been addressed; it finally has a Twitter client. [Johan Van den Brande] wrote BREADBOX64 for use on the C64/128. It’s running on top of the open source Contiki operating system. The hardware is an MMC Replay cartridge with an ethernet adapter. If you don’t have the hardware available, you can run it inside an emulator like VICE. Embedded below is a C128D running the program.

(P.S. all of our posts are on @hackadaydotcom)

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Commodore 64 laptop

c64

[Ben Heck] has just completed one of his more unique laptop game consoles. This time around it’s a Commodore 64, which he’s been attempting since 2006. Recently he scrapped everything and started fresh on what turned out to be the fastest build yet. While it certainly looks similar to his other laptops, he put in a lot of effort to give it the appearance of an 80′s computer from the beige color to the texture. He used an original C64C motherboard since it was the final and smallest revision and coupled that with an original keyboard. A 1541-III-DTV allows use of an SD card as a floppy device. Just drag any disk image onto the card and it’s ready to go. Check out a video of it in use below.

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Wireless TAC-2 joystick

wjs

[Aki] had a broken TAC-2 joystick that was just begging for some new and improved use.  Since it was the cable that was broken, [Aki] had the idea to make it wireless. He designed custom boards for the transmitter and receiver. Each is controlled by an ATTiny2313. He fitted it with the stock connector so it could possibly even still work on a commodore 64. He hasn’t tested that yet though.

[via the Hack A Day flickr pool]