THE COMMODORE 64 (A.K.A C64) A BRIEF HISTORY
The biggest selling Personal Computer of all time (22 Million Units) and along with Atari’s Pac-Man/E.T (VCS/2600) debatably responsible for the 1983 Video Game Crash in the US.
After the success of the inexpensive but underpowered VIC-20* (the first Computer to sell 1 Million Units), Commodore looked to compete with market leaders, the Atari 800 and Apple II.
Released in the US in 1982 at an unprecedented $595 (£395 UK), the Atari 800 was $300 more expensive and the Apple II double the price, with the C64 arguably more powerful than either due to its custom VIC-II GPU (MOS 6567), SID SPU (MOS 6581**) and a ‘Massive’ 64K of RAM*** (Most Personal Computers at the time shipped with only 16K).
Aggressively marketed under the company mantra “Computers for the Masses, not the Classes”, within a matter of months the price was precipitously reduced to $299, confounding many of the existing, established computer manufactures. Texas Instruments (TI-99/4A) left the market completely with others cutting the price of their Hardware in a forlorn effort to compete, often selling at below production cost, which was obviously unsustainable and a contributing factor to the Video Game Crash.
Party, this was possible due to Commodore’s legendary founder and CEO Jack Tramiel’s questionable business practices e.g. ordering huge quantities of components from suppliers, not paying for them, then buying the company when it was forced into bankruptcy, but mostly due to the astute purchase of MOS Technology in 1976.
MOS Technology manufactured (amongst other IC’s) the 6502 Microprocessor, which along with its derivatives were at the heart of many Personal Computers (and Consoles) at this time including the C64 (MOS 6510), Atari 800 (MOS 6502B) and Apple II (MOS 6502). This permitted Commodore to use the business model of ‘Vertical Integration’ i.e. effectively acquire ring the Chips ‘At Cost’ whereas its competitors paid market rate for MOS purchased components.
Unlike the Atari 800 and Apple II the Commodore 64 was also a hugely successful in the UK and Europe in addition to the US, it was finally discontinued in 1994 giving the machine an incredible 12 year lifespan.
* The VIC-20’s advertising campaign was fronted by none other than Captain James T Kirk himself!
Link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVOTi6PPKyg
** The SID Chip is still used today in a Synthesizer, the Elektron SidStation. Acts that use the device include: Daft Punk, The Prodigy, Timberland, Depeche Mode, Linkin Park and 8 Bit Weapon.
*** I recall reading a review of the C64 in Personal Computer World where it was remarked ‘Who on earth needs 64K of RAM!?’. How times change...
I have noticed here on the Forum although most of the SD Card Images include C64 emulation (generally employing VICE) there is currently no ‘Stand Alone’ solution.
Having previously used AdvanceMESS to emulate the C64 (and posting a Guide - http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... 78&t=23113
) I have recently converted to VICE which has the advantage of being able to ‘Auto Boot’ Games Images, load Tape Images (AdvMESS doesn’t) as well as Floppy Disc’s and has generally improved Image compatibility.
The latest revision of VICE uses an SDL rendered GUI, the previous one was GTK making it unusable in Console and laborious to use via Command Line for the uninitiated/inexperienced.
The current version of VICE emulates the entire range of Commodore’s 8Bit computers, C64, C64DTV, C128, VIC20, almost all PET models, PLUS4 and CBM-II (aka C610).
Home Page - http://vice-emu.sourceforge.net/
Source Code - vice-2.4
Download Link - http://sourceforge.net/projects/vice-em ... z/download
Operating System - Raspbian Wheezy (If using NOOBS see post from necromancyr below)
Dependencies - sdl1.2-dev
Over Clock - As with all emulators it is advisable to run your Raspberry Pi at the highest overclock setting that is stable on your system
Additional Files Required - Game Images (uncompressed)
Console or XWindows? - Either (Full Screen/Full Speed in Console at 'Medium' 900MHz O/C)
Turn your Raspberry Pi on and from Console
Type: startx (to open X Windows)
Download the Source Code, open the File Manager and put it in the /home/pi Directory and extract it (uncompress) by right clicking on your mouse and select ‘extract here’
Make an appropriately named folder (I called mine C64 Images) and put any Game Images you have in it and uncompress them
NB - If you are using a fresh Raspbian Image you must update the package list first
Open a Terminal
Then Type: sudo apt-get update
Now you are going to need the Dependencies to build it
Type: sudo apt-get install libsdl1.2-dev
CD (Change Directory) into the VICE folder
Type: cd vice-2.4
Then Type: ./configure --enable-sdlui --without-pulse (enables the SDL GUI and disables Pulse Audio)
It will take approximately 60 minutes to compile the Source Code (depending on your 'Overclock' setting)
Type: sudo make install
Congratulations, you have now configured, compiled and installed the emulator!
To run the VICE C64 Binary
Type: x64 -sdlbitdepth 8 (enables 8 bit colour depth, once your settings are saved x64 is sufficient)
Pressing F12 opens the GUI: Load Images (navigate to your Images folder and select one), Sound Settings, Graphics Settings, Joystick/Keyboard Control Settings, PAL/NTSC Output (set to PAL by default) and many other Options.
NB: The default Sound Drivers in VICE are SDL, although functional, performance is greatly enhanced by changing to native ALSA
Select - Sound Settings> Output Driver > ALSA
OTHER COMMODORE HARDWARE
The instructions above install the Full Suite of emulated machines (See VICE above), they can be run in the same manner e.g.
xvic -sdlbitdepth 8 (VIC-20)
x128 -sdlbitdepth 8 (C128)
See the Directory /usr/local/bin which contains all the Binary Executables
SOME PERSONAL C64 FAVOURITE/LANDMARK TITLES
Ballblazer: Lucasfilm Games second release, a One-on-One futuristic Sports Game. The accompanying music is algorithmically generated ‘On the Fly’, always changing, never repeating.
Beach-Head: Bruce Carver’s multi levelled War Actioner. While researching this article I discovered he had died in 2005. Bruce also programmed Leader Board, every Golf game since has in some way copied his innovative control/layout design, RIP.
Crazy Comets: Mad Planets clone programmed by Simon Nicol with music by legendary SID composer Rob Hubbard, covered by 8 Bit Weapon.
Link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOVf3eaqbYg
Dropzone: Archer MacLean's Defender Clone/Homage.
Encounter: Paul Woakes First Person 3-D Shooter.
Ghostbusters: Atari VCS/2600 programming luminary David Crane’s first C64 Title, one of the very few excellent Film Licences on ANY System. "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!"
Impossible Mission: Platform/Puzzle Game with ‘Rotoscoped’ animated character.
Mercenary - Escape From Targ: Paul Woakes’s seminal ‘Open Ended’ 3-D Space Adventure Game.
Pitstop II: Dennis Caswell and Stephen Landrum racing game, it was the first 3-D racer to implement a split-screen two player dynamic.
Rescue on Fractalus: Lucasfilm Games first release, a Space Rescue/Shooter. The fractal landscape code was written by Loren Carpenter, who also programmed the ‘Genesis Effect’ CGI sequence from Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan.
Spy vs Spy: Nick Scarim’s innovative split-screen ‘Trap Em Up’ based on MAD Magazine's famous characters.
Uridium: Andrew Braybrook’s ‘Arcade Quality’ Shooter.