KansasFest 2017 Keynote
Date: Wednesday 19 July 2017
Notes by Jeremy Barr-Hyde
Revision 1 22/07/2017 feedback from Olivier and readability by myself.
Revision 2 31/07/2017 incorporating commentary on content from Antoine.
Revision 3 17/09/2017 incorporating further revisions from Olivier
13:30 Introduction to KansasFest with overview of the Apple II product history and release dates.
13:40 Giveaway of oscilloscope – Evan Koblenz of Vintage Computing Federation (VCF) presents. Trivia: ’76 in New Jersey the Apple II was ready but delayed until Apple 1s were sold. VCF are presenting a forum next February. Building a hobby knowledge base. Steve Wozniak personally writes a supportive statement for the VCF.
Anthony Martino is the winner of the oscilloscope.
13:45 Lanyard colours – Staff = Black; Blue = Photos ok, Red = no photos please.
Code of conduct – harassment free across all diversities.
Dagen encouragement for hoarding.
Prizes awarded to those fortunate to have one or two dots on their Kfest 2017 pins.
13:50 Jason Scott assures members where camera and microphones are located and how to take best advantage of them. Encourages volunteers for management of live streaming equipment.
Dagen introduces keynote to be presented by Brutal Deluxe Software. Titles include: Cadius disk imaging, Merlin32 cross assembler, I’m fEDDup, Mount it and more. Praise for their incredible job archiving audio cassette based Apple II software; collection of serial numbers for the Apple IIGS. Highlight of their audio tools introduced in 2017 for tracking instruments.
13:55 Setup of Brutal Deluxe presentation and warm welcome from Antoine. Antoine dons Antoine Vignau t-Shirt and Olivier one with multiple choice surnames such as Olivier … Bailly-Maitre, Goguel and more. Kind reminder of their French origins and pride from growing up with Apple 8-bit computers. Slide title: ST-able of contents: Atari ST; the French market. ST-he French Models and market. More than 6,000,000 sold between 1985 to 1993 (8 years) thanks to high availability of software. ST-he competition: Apple IIGS
1400: The way we were France declared, officially, as the centre of the world! 1980s … where 8-bit computers ruled the world. The British had Sinclair Spectrum and Acorn BBC Micro (6502 based). Also Dragon Data with Dragon 32 6809 at 0.9Mhz; Tangerine Compute Systems with Oric models based again on 6502 at 1 MHz. United States of America sell the TI-9/4A at 3.3MHz; Mattell Aquarius; Tandy-Radio Shack (TRS) 80; Atari 800XL with 6502 at 1.7MHz and Antic co-processing for graphics and the XE for gaming.
Further brands: Commodore’s VIC 20 and 64. Finally Apple //e 1983 and Apple //c 1984 hitting the market for $2,000. Apples for home use were either brought home from work over the weekend or owned by the very wealthy. France present the Alice based on 6803 which sold in bright red and shipped including two manuals one for Assembly and one for Basic. Olivier explains the beauty of SCART which brinGS R,G,B and sync on composite and standard on all consumer televisions for a very clear picture (compared to RF modulation in the US).
France feature Phillips and Excelvison brands, featuring infrared input devices and slim-line design. Thomson offering 3 models 1982-1986 based on the 6809 at 1Mhz sold to educational markets and have light pen input. Microsoft Basic was edited to remove their copyright. Thomson later introduced the failed TO 8 and 9 but lost out to 16-bit. Moving on to Britain with Amstrad 464 and 6128, based on the Z80 at 4MHz. Amstrad planned for ease in connection by bundling the monitor and building in the cassette and later 3-inch removable disk. The game players choice was the Amstrad for 16 colour and price. So across generations there are over 20 models and little range of software.
14:15 Olivier continues to explain magazines and newspapers, published up to a weekly basis of basic programs for home users to re-key at home for software. Antoine explains archiving efforts of such programming magazines include manual re-key! TILT magazine was exclusive to gaming news and software, presented in full colour print. The 8-bit market had few succeeding companies, and most of them did not continue with a 16 bit model. The only four different 16 bit computers were introduced ~1985-1987, all starting with the letter A: Atari ST, Amiga, Apple IIGS and Archimedes.
1984 Macintosh release was taken very seriously with the introduction of the Macintosh II costing the same price as a new car. The real market winner was the Atari ST, especially the 1040STf* with built in 720kb floppy drive and RGB SCART, selling for $600 compared to the Apple IIGS at $2000. *1040 represents 1mb RAM; Lowercase f – floppy.
14:20 The 1985 Commodore Amiga 1000 was again expensive and sold as a graphic workstation yet limited to 4096 colour palette. 1987 remarketing efforts had it sold primarily as a gaming machine = the Amiga 500 as a cost reduced model 1000 with almost exact specifications (Motorola 68000 at 7.14 MHz and stock 512kb fast ram). Porting Amiga software to the Atari ST was relatively easy. This prompted many game titles to be available for sale and on BBS.
The IIGS was more of a challenge. Back to 1986 saw the Apple IIGS with the 65816 CPU clocked down to 2.8Mhz and 256KB of stock RAM or 128kb RAM as sold in France with entry price point of $2000-$3000. I clarified this price of the IIGS, answer is that included a single 800kb floppy and Apple RGB monitor.
The Apple IIGS used on display at the 1987 Apple Expo were cleared at $200, this how ACS /FTA members (Gogs, Deny and SPK) could catch them at a decent price. Expo 1987 had the IIGS cleared at the $200 price point.
A question about the USA pricing has Olivier explain Jack Tramiel understood the market better as he recognised price as a major factor in success.
Amiga had 3000 games, Atari ST – 2000 and the Apple IIGS on 250 including shareware. European published software titles were rarely sent to the USA with quick piracy being attributed in part to this. Despite the large number of titles, competition had pushed the quality of games to a high level. One Sega title was licensed very cheaply from Japanese headquarters and ported to the ST by programmers filming arcade cabinets to recreate the game. The game title was Space Harrier.
14:30 Acorn Archimedes in 1987 represented the fastest computer for home use at 4.5 MIPS (RISC ARM 32 bit 8 Mhz). 1995 – 2000 has Personal Computers (IBM Compatible) overtake the market. Wing Commander’s VGA graphics and Sound Blaster sound quality really took the market by surprise as the Amiga couldn’t match it. Also favouring PC was modem internet connectivity in Windows which could not be matched by 16-bit Amiga and Atari computers.
14:35 The 16-bit Demo scene provided amazing graphics and sound that tried to compete with VGA graphics. A humorous reminder that our presenters are still Apple II loyal. Main presenter is back to Antoine who begins with 1977 as the early with ISTC and Sonotec. Apple II computers were imported from the USA to make it compatible with French standards such as RGB display cards and light pen input. Interestingly distribution rights for Apple were given to Sonotec who kept the original computer name. Others had to rename them. The expensive pushed it towards business use with accounting programs. French translated versions of US software started the market, with titles such as Star Trek. Jean-Louis Gassée took over and made a huge impact on the French ][ market. He was very active in developer meetings and awards. At the end of 1983, 150k Apple ][ computers were in France.
Ciel Bleu has software like translated Sargon III (chess). This company tried to reproduce the manuals including humour in US documentation. A demonstration of original warranty cards and packing lists were shown with low hardware serial numbers.
14:45 Rare Apple Expo 1984 T-Shirt was shown. With the introduction of the Macintosh to France so came discontinuation of the Apple II support, including the Apple IIGS. Olivier and family purchased the Apple IIGS in 1989 with educational discount. The Apple IIGS shipped with free boxed copies of GS/Paint and GS/Write, however US equivalents were published by different companies such as Activision. Magazines dedicated to the Apple II include Poms which began print release before the Apple II was for sale. Tremplin Micro focused more on programming (1985-1990). Fanzines helped the market continue. A special Apple IIGS programming book was produced.
14:50 Club Apple, 1984, started subscribing people to an information exchange like service. Also sold were disks at around $5 each, copy protected. one of the most famous clubs was GS/Club started in 1989 and lasted until 2000. Brutal Deluxe have archived 66 (all) of this club’s magazine and more than 450 floppy discs. A compilation CD was issued. International agreements for software were made with publishers such as Spinnaker and Ediciel to translate and distribute in France. It was a one way agreement, meaning Ediciel titles were never translated to English for sale in the USA. Version Soft (publisher of GS Paint/Write) were successful in making an agreement with Activision for GS Paint -> Paintworks and GS Write -> Writer’s Choice Elite. Broderbund has Chairman brought over for sale in the USA, titled ‘Show Off’.
14:55 Version Soft sold more than 300,000 Apple II software titles by end of 1986. Remarkable people: Pierre Berloquin for networking company Créalude with the game Time City. Another is Chris Market who wrote Dialector and more. “Ordigrames” were a French team who wrote games on the Macintosh for the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, Macintosh and IIGS. Titles include Shuffle-Puck Cafe; Bubble Ghost; Project Neptune and more.
15:05 Brutal Deluxe is a business partnership formed in early 1990s thanks to a users meeting in Bordeaux, France. Both owned the Apple IIGS and tried to master a snooker game. More than one ball was too difficult. 1992 brought The Tinies, 10,500 lines of code, 3,200 colour pictures and an arcade game that was popular for addictive gameplay. The creation of the game was made easier with help from others. The title screen was in 256 colour which beat the competitors 16 colour limit. Competition for increasing colour depth on screen ensued. 1994 brought Cogito with 13,700 lines of code. A greyscale version was released in 1994 and 1998 brought colour 320×200 graphics. The Second Sight VGA board allowed for 640×400 resolution in 256 colours.
15:10 1995 brought Convert 3200 as a fast tool for importing or exporting graphics. 36,100 lines of code. 1996 a CD-ROM full of IIGS software sold only in France DeluxeWare.
15:15 LemminGS = 26,000 lines of code with only the ST version available as a working source. 8 months, full time work. 4 months dedicated to sprite extraction with each lemming at 20 sprites each. SynthLab music. Documentation of individual, hand coded lemminGS.
Graphics from ST,
Music from PC MIDI
Sound effects from Macintosh resource file
Title screen from Amiga.
System utilities included utilities such as image viewer, ThirdView, TextEdit patch and translation of SSW 6.0.1 into French.
15:20 Trivia: IIGS CODE NAMES: Phoenix, Cortland, Vegas, Mad Max, Columbia. The code name was changed monthly. GS stood for Graphics & Sound, Goodbye Steve and Great Shit.
Brutal Deluxe restart their efforts to crack software copy protection, produce software such as MountIt and BenchmarkeD. Development of some titles aided by late contribution to the team of source code. A reminder that softer cassettes are a major preservation focus with ~660 titles known to exist. Also preservation efforts are on manuals, software dissemble for ROM 03 compatibility and basic code for hardware markers. I’m fEDDup is related to DotNIB and development can retire thanks to Applesauce disk imaging workflows (John Keoni Morris). Brutal Deluxe have also restored source code from IIGS hard drives owned by Huibert Aalbers.
15:25 And finally a release of the game Zéphyr on physical media. La Crapule is also coming to boxed, physical media.
Second part of presentation is introduced with Olivier beginning a slide ‘The cross-dev tools!”. A full set of utilities to enable the creation of new Apple IIGS software. He explains it is logical to create software for the IIGS on modern PCs. Many times the hardware limitations of the IIGS are reached, making PC development more ideal. Explanation of assemblers and step by step cycle counting which is used in a simulator for breaking apart code. Olivier comments the creation of game assets is much harder than the binary. The Apple IIGS need a more creative graphic style compared to the //e. Hence the idea of being able to extract any game resource using Resource catcher. Small scale C compilation is approachable but quickly becomes inefficient for gaming. Algorithms are helpful such as LZ4.
15:30 Apple IIGS migration factory – 50% of the project is done and aims to reduce development time of porting Atari ST/ Amiga titles to the IIGS.
Conclusion of slides and one more thing. Olivier suggest a game does not exist but can produce box, disc and documentation. From this a game is inspired. The aim is to offer products for our market.