Commodore Free Magazine, Issue 95 - Part 8

's optical art and general glitchy aesthetics.  I
think DUBCRT bridges the gap between retro enthusiasts more into games and
nostalgia, and the electronic music / chip-music community who have more of
an interest in the sounds of the SID.  I think that is ultimately what we
set out to achieve, an interest product / format that has some broad appeal
in terms of graphics and sound and "gameplay" mechanics.

         - - - - - - - - - -

CF:  Are there any comments you would like to end with?

TK:  Thanks a lot for the interview questions - much appreciated!  Also I
would like to thank the guys for such an amazing effort in developing the
cart, something which I think we were all passionate about in trying to do
something a little different that perhaps has not been done in quite this
way before with the Commodore 64.  Stay tuned for DUBCRT V2 and potentially
some other mini cartridge projects for the C64.

    "The Program That Never Was"
         By Lenard R. Roach

If I understand my agriculture correctly, when planting a seed you first
dig a hole in the ground and bury it, then water and sunlight are added.
In a few weeks a startling metamorphosis occurs as the apparently dead and
buried seed cracks open and out of the cracked seed comes new life.  Very
soon the new life conquers any vestige of the seed until all that can be
seen is the new life.  Such was the work in coding the program "Obligator
Coordinator." It was also a work of Commodore vengeance.

Let me start from the beginning ...

"Obligator Coordinator" was a work of anger and ego.  If anyone has read my
book, "Run/Stop- Restore:  10th Anniversary Edition," then you can read
about the combat over copyright control of my work, "Check It Out."
Basically, the people who bought all the software rights from the defunct
"Run" magazine now owned it and I wanted to publish upgrades I made to the
code.  The new owners said that they would not release the rights of "Check
It Out" to me without a monetary fee.  I coded the cussing thing; I should
have some rights!  No.  According to the "work for hire" contract I
(hastily) signed, I surrendered *all* rights to the program in exchange for
money.  This also means that any upgrades I code for the program become the
immediate and undisputed rights of the contract holder.

This includes "Checkmate," which is a derivative of the code I wrote for
"Check It Out." Expletive!  There were two choices at this point:  Drop my
5 1/4" disk of work on "Checkmate" and "Check It Out" upgrades into the
shredder or file it away never to be seen by another human eye.  I chose
the latter.  This was not going to stop here, oh no!  I'm going to sit down
at my Commodore and code an awesome piece of software so fantastic that it
will make my last two projects look like the handiwork of kindergartners!
I crossed the house to the computer room, sat down at the Commodore,
trusted a blank 5 1/4" disk into the 1541-II disk drive, booted the system,
poised my fingers on the keyboard, and ...  banged my head on the computer
desk with a wood cracking thunk.  What was I thinking?  "Check It Out" and
"Checkmate" *were* my greatest Commodore achievements!  Who was I fooling?

I leaned back in my computer chair and stared at the Commodore home screen
and flashing cursor.  Dover, my yellow striped tabby cat, came into the
room and rubbed her head on my dangling right hand.  I looked down while at
the same time she looked up.  She mewed.  I scratched her head.  I watched
her as she walked over to the open cubby built into the computer desk where
I store all my 5 1/4" disk files.  She stood on her hind legs with her
front paws supporting her on the ledge of the open cubby.  A crouch, and a
leap, and she was in the cubby, but there was no room for her and the two
disk files so when laid down in the cubby, all four of her feet pushed both
files out of the cubby and onto the floor, where the files cracked open and
about forty 5 1/4" disks spilled onto the computer room carpet.

I looked at the mess, and then looked into the cubby.  Dover licked her
right front paw, stretched out, and got comfortable.  This is an amazing
thing about cats:  They can destroy your entire living room, put it all in
a pile right in the middle, climb to the top of said pile, lay down on top
of said pile, look you square in the face with a look that says, "I didn't
do a thing." Dogs:  They make one piddle mark the size of a pence on your
carpet and they *know* they have committed the greatest sacrilege.  The dog
looks at you with that face that says, "Oh snap!  He's gonna kill me now!"
Nonetheless, that stupid cat was not going to help me pick up those disks,
so I got out of my chair and started picking up.  About half way into clean
up I came across a disk label that caught my eye.  "Bill Attack Workdisk"
it read.  What was this?  It had my handwriting on it so it was something
important.  I sat back down, popped the blank out of the 1541-II, inserted
the "Bill Attack Workdisk," and loaded the directory.  The monitor showed
me several different versions of this program, so I booted the latest
version on the disk (I think it was "8") and waited.  Very quickly I saw a
data base style program used for mainly recording information and storing
that information onto disk.  I didn't see where the "attack" part of the
program was; it was more like a coordinator than anything else.  I exited
the program and listed the code.  Hmm.

All this needs is a little subroutine here and a couple of GOTOs and GOSUBs
there and this could be a viable work, but that name "Bill Attack" has got
to go.  I'll worry about that later...  It took me a couple of months of
working about a hour a day on the program to get it to where I wanted it,
but it still needed a name; one that would describe what the program did
and still make it sound cool in just a couple of words.  I remembered that
I once called this work a "coordinator" but what can I put in front of that
word to help make an impact?  Bill Coordinator?  No, that lacked pizzazz.
How about "Obligator Coordinator?" It tells what the program does and it
even rhymes.  I'll stick with that.  Now to provide a little present for
hose head publishers who scam off of hard working coders.  I got onto the
PC and pulled down a copy of Form TX from The United States Copyrights
Office in Washington DC and printed same.  But this form was for a book and
I needed to copyright a program.  What do I do?  I searched my local
library's website under "copyright forms" and I found the book, "Legal Care
For Your Software" by (name).  I went to my library and checked it out.  I
read it not once but twice and decided that this was too valuable of a
resource not to have, so I ordered a copy from my local bookseller ($30)
and read it again (my new copy had updates and new forms added).  I filled
out the TX Form and mailed it, a copy of the program text, and a $25 check
to Waahington.  Six weeks later I had a bonafide Ownership Of Copyright
paper in my hands.  Eat that you spastic, lard, pickled headed, simpletons
of the magazine industry!  You're going to have to deal with *me* now
instead of the other way around!  I win ...  or did I?

It was 1994.  "Run" magazine was out of print for two years.  "Commodore
World," a magazine division of CMD Industries had just launched and wasn't
willing to deal with me unless I "surrender all rights" to the software.
At the time I was too much of an egocentric knucklehead to be dealt with,
so "Obligator Coordinator" sat in my files never to be released.  In about
2002 I heard about Dave Moorman and "Loadstar" disk magazine and was about
to contact him via the Internet and pitch "Obligator Coordinator" to him,
but first I'd should boot a copy and see how I can best describe it's
functions.  I ran the program and started to tinker with it by creating a
false bill note to track.  A few keystrokes into the program and the
dreaded "Syntax Error In XXX" popped up.  This is not good.  I ran the
program again and inputted different information, but the same message
appeared.  Uh oh!  I listed the code line given by the Commodore and that
very line did a Harry Houdini on me and disappeared.  I panicked as a
solemn thought hit me:  What if I copyrighted a faulty text of program?  I
went through my files and found a copy of the text of program I originally
sent to the Copyright Office and looked on the printed sheet for the
missing code line.  As sure as cow flatulence the code line was gone; I did
copyright a flawed program.  For a fleet moment I was madder than a stirred
up hornet's nest, then a thought hit me:  I was about to try and sell a
flawed program to the general Commodore public and I was prevented in doing
so by heaven above and the Caretaker thereof.

I sat down with the disk and Commodore and slowly started to work through
each syntax one at a time.  Some were just missing code lines; others were
missing or misdirected GOTOs and GOSUBs.  I don't know how long it took but
I finally worked all the "bugs" out of the program, but now I was stuck
with a new problem:  What do I do with a wasted copyright notice on a
malfunctioning program?  Answer:  Nothing.  I would have to get another
copyright for the repaired work and title it under a different name.  I was
reluctant to do this since I copyrighted a bogus program in the first
place; I didn't want lightning to strike twice, so it sat, never to see the
light of day.  Only until recently have I brought this program back to the
light of day, and even then I was reluctant for the same aforementioned
reason.  I don't mind showing it at expos and club meetings, but to head to
the public with distribution was scary.  What would I do to improve
"Obligator Coordinator?" Any improvements that could have been done were
put into "The Ledger." I basically left "Obligator Coordinator" alone.  I
may put "Obligator Coordinator" out as freeware with "The Ledger" as the
purchase product.  Either way, what I thought was going to be a legal
victory for Commodore coders everywhere turned into a nightmare as the
whole thing blew up in my face.  I know now to investigate a copyright for
periodicals so I can make improvements to what I code without having to
apply for a different copyright each upgrade.  "Obligator Coordinator" was
hard to code since I didn't know how to make half of the features I wanted
a reality in what BASIC I understood.  I did learn extra commands while
coding the work so "Obligator Coordinator" was not a total waste, but a
learning experience that was treasured for future Commodore programming.


The 35 year old review


Interview with the creator of Space Chase can be found in Commodore Free


Space Chase is a 1 or 2 player split-screen shooter that was specifically
developed for the CBM II series of computers (sold as Commodore 610, 620,
710 and 720 in Europe and as B128, B256 and CBM B128-80 and B256-80 in the
U.S.).  The game has been fully programmed in Assembler, uses the full
"PETSCII resolution" of 160 x 50 and features music and sound composed by
the famous SID composer Max Hall (CBM IIs have SID chips).  Space Chase can
be downloaded for free at www.spacechase.de.


"several keys pressed at the same time" issue if you test the game in VICE.
This caused somewhere in the chain keyboard -> Windows -> VICE -> emulated
CBM2 hardware


The CBM II series of machines was "text only" and doesn't have any graphics
capabilities at all.

The only option open to the programmer is to use CBM's character set.
Space Chase manages to create a 160 x 50 resolution that is fully utilized
by the game.  On the CBM I series, only 80

11/24/2016 1:00:05 AM
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