Author Topic: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?  (Read 1092 times)

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Offline arkive

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Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« on: 23:56, 28 March 20 »
I was wondering if such thing exists. I have recently browsed CPC-POWER database for a bit (it seems to be the most complete resource) and saw that even the latest TOSEC has big gaps in content. In fact, the latest TOSEC's Amstrad section is marked as "2015", so it's quite outdated anyway. Gamebase on the other hand has a lot of entries but only fraction of them is available as dumps.

CPC-POWER has these games available for download, so I'm curious if perhaps it's all available somewhere as a single pack?

EDIT: I've just figured out that I got it all wrong re: gamebase - due to my bad GB setup the Amstrad one displayed only some games as playable. So I thought there are only roms for these. Now, if only they were all in the dsk format :)

Also, have discovered the NVG collection in the other thread, it's quite amazing.
« Last Edit: 19:29, 03 April 20 by arkive »

Offline ldaneels

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #1 on: 20:57, 03 April 20 »
Hi,

Glad you managed to set it up.

The goal of Gamebase CPC is to preserve original CPC software. As such, some games exist only as cdt (tape format), crt (cartridge format) or rom (rom format).That being said, at the bottom, if you click on the "version" tab, you have a download link that will take you to the CPC-Power entry, where you can find disk conversions (but obviously not original & it might be modified). 

As a warning, not all links will work as Kukulcan changed the website & all links were modified. I am in the process of going through all entries & entering the right link, but it will take me some time...)

If I'm not mistaken, the current release of Gamebase CPC includes 3300 individual entries (plus many variants). There are a few that do not have a proper dump (39 in my up to date version). Not much I can do until I find a clean original. 

Enjoy,

Loic
« Last Edit: 21:00, 03 April 20 by ldaneels »

Offline Johnny Olsen

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #2 on: 03:05, 04 April 20 »

 As a warning, not all links will work as Kukulcan changed the website & all links were modified. I am in the process of going through all entries & entering the right link, but it will take me some time...)

Hi Loic
There is a shortcut.
If you open database "Amstrad CPC.mdb" with an office program you can change the link there.
Go to the "GAMES" table and open the "V_WebLink_URL" tab
eg the game "Hotshot"
Old link
http://www.cpc-power.com/pages/download.php?fiche=176&dsk=4
change this part of the url
pages / download.php? fiche
with
index.php? page = detail & num
New link
http://www.cpc-power.com/index.php?page=detail&num=176&dsk=4
You can now change all links at once with "search and replace"

Offline ldaneels

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #3 on: 08:43, 04 April 20 »
Hi Johnny,

Thanks for the tip, but I can't seem to open the mdb file with any of the Office products. This is due to an incompatibility with older office files (mine dates back from 2006 (Office XL, I think) & can't be edited in the current office release). I have been toying with the idea of installing the old Office XL, but I would then lose all the newer functionnalities, which I need on a daily basis...

I have been trying to find a program that can open (and decrypt/convert) the mbd files, but nothing seems to work reliably. If you know of a solution, I'm all ears :)

That being said, the goal of going through every single entry is to link the new RAW/CDT files and clean up the data, so it's not in vain. But it would certainly make things infinitely easier...

Cheers,

Loic

Offline robcfg

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #4 on: 08:54, 04 April 20 »
Have you tried installing an older version of Windows/Office in a virtual machine?

Offline ldaneels

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #5 on: 09:59, 04 April 20 »
I have a headache just thinking about it :)

Yes, I have entertained the idea of setting-up a VM, but that entails so much work I'm not sure I have the energy for that (well, okay, I'm quite sure I don't...).

Sure, if I can get an already set-up Win7/XP + Office XP in a VM (I've used both VMWare Workstation & VirtualBox), I'd be extremely appreciative, but it's been too long for me & I have painful memories of setting-up VMs.

The choice is simple for me: I can spend a few hours setting-up a VM for edge cases (namely changing/adding fields in the .mdb file & in this specific case batch-modifying links) or spend these hours updating GBCPC. Let's just say I prefer the latter...

So, I don't think I would ever get to setting-up a VM, but if someone would be to offer an already set-up VM, I'd take it in a heartbeat (I have the licence keys for Win7/XP + Office XP, by the way, so they don't need to be activated - I'm not asking for illegal stuff)
Loic
« Last Edit: 10:02, 04 April 20 by ldaneels »

Offline stevensixkiller

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #6 on: 20:29, 04 April 20 »
The generic jdbc driver UCanAccess is compatible with mdb files after access 97. So you should be able to modify the mdb using DBeaver.
« Last Edit: 20:31, 04 April 20 by stevensixkiller »

Offline ldaneels

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #7 on: 21:53, 04 April 20 »
Ooof... I just tried to fiddle around Dbeaver & UCanAccess and this is no joke :(

I am not even sure where to start.I tried to open the mdb file, but it automatically starts it in the current version of Access. I am still interested in understanding how this would work but the program itself is way too technical for me...

At any rate, the point is probably moot as someone is providing me with a VM installed with WinXP + Office XP, so I should be all set soon(ish)

Offline arkive

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #8 on: 19:48, 06 April 20 »
If I'm not mistaken, the current release of Gamebase CPC includes 3300 individual entries (plus many variants). There are a few that do not have a proper dump (39 in my up to date version). Not much I can do until I find a clean original. 

Hi Loic, thanks for replying, and of course for your hard work on the CPCbase. I've been a great fan of these collections for many years, and must admit that yours is at the moment probably the best one, at least when it comes to the quality if the extras.

My problem is that I'm trying to use original hardware with Gotek, and it only allows .dsk files. It's similar with other micros but there are programs to convert ZX or C64 tape files to disk. But I can always fire them up in emulator anyway, or load from actual -duino thingy.

The worse thing is that I have a completist bug, at least when it comes to 8-bit games (I'm trying to research and write about them)...and CPC Power lists ~6600+ games. Do you think these are individual entries? if so, it'd be a big discrepancy against GBCPC, which is why I'm on a lookout for the "fullset" from my OP. The NVG has about ~4200  individual games.

I thought about building one myself combining NVG, GBCPC and CPC-POWER, but downloading them one by one from the site would take forever (especially with their catchpa).

Also, I think I saw some errors in GBCPC, eg Alien 8 was released in 1985 not 1984. If you want I can give you a shout whenever I find some mistakes like that.

Offline GUNHED

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #9 on: 20:45, 06 April 20 »
There is more in this world than games, and CPC Power got it all.
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Recent update: 2019.08.07)
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Offline ldaneels

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #10 on: 08:12, 07 April 20 »
Hi Arkive,
Thanks for the support :)

GBCPC & CPC-Power have very different goals:

- GBCPC aims to reference every single original release with all original material (except for a few exceptions). If I do not have the original, it will not be added to GBCPC. As such, it is a a very drawn out process & will take forever to be exhaustive. The advantage is that if the software is in the database, you will also get the packaging, the manual, extras & 100% clean dump of the original (or no dump if the original is damaged - until I can find a working one).

- CPC-Power references every single release for the Amstrad CPC (including type-ins, homebrew, hacks, prototypes, demos...). As with GBCPC, this is an unending project as we will keep discovering new software (including originals & of course new releases happening regularly). The main difference is that you will not always find material for the originals (packaging, manuals...) & dumps are not always clean & representative of the original releases.

That being said, I am in contact with Kukulcan, so everything that I dump/scan/find will eventually find its way on CPC-Power (but there are also many other contributors) & I link back to CPC-Power in GBCPC. That being said, I will very rarely get dumps/scans from CPC-Power (it does happen, though) because I insist on scanning everything myself (yes, I'm that kind of person...). The advantage is that GBCPC is very consistent in its presentation & quality of scans/dumps (well, aside from the fact that I changed scanners in 2013 & scans are drastically different before and after).

If you are interested in fullsets (which do not exist in the first place for the reason mentioned above), your best best is TOSEC or GoodCPC. I have not checked these out, so I don't know to what extent they are "complete", but their aim is to collect every single dump for every single system. That of course includes hacks, modifications, variations & so on. I typically don't find that very useful as there is a lot of crap in there (do we need x different version of game Y with hacks, cheats, bugs,...?) along with clean dumps. The advantage for you is you will get all dsk versions/conversions. I don't have any links as I have not looked into these for a very long time, but a search should do the trick.

As for pointing out errors in GBCPC, please do let me know if you find any (which there probably are plenty, I'm sure). That being said, the manual & tape for the CPC release of Alien 8 both state 1984, so I'd be curious to see a confirmation of the 1985 date. I realise that game was released initially on ZX Spectrum & maybe UPTG kept  the date but released the CPC version in 1985, but I need solid evidence if this is the case.

Cheers,


Loic
EDIT: actually, the 1985 date for Alien 8 might be the Ricochet re-release, so that would explain the two dates.
« Last Edit: 08:19, 07 April 20 by ldaneels »

Offline Johnny Olsen

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #11 on: 12:48, 07 April 20 »
It says 1985 in the opening screen of alien 8
otherwise we have to do a carbon 14 test of a cassette.  :D

Sorcery does not work.

Loic, I'd love to hear your opinion on original software that doesn't work, for example. Anarchy levels 11 and 12 had dark screen, impossible to play, I made a poke that made them visible. After level 16, the game stopped working. Nicholas Campbell and Cngsoft have fixed that problem. Now my questions?

1) Do you want an original game that is impossible to play?
2) Do you want a playable version?
3) Do you want an original version with an additional loader to solve the problem?

Offline ldaneels

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #12 on: 13:39, 07 April 20 »
Ah ok, thanks for the tip. I corrected the Alien 8 entry.  Keep the corrections coming if you find more inaccuracies.

I don't know about doing a carbon 14 test, that might be outside the scope of GBCPC :)

I just tested Sorcery & it works fine, but then again I have undertaken quite a big change & cleanup. I am now using CPCEPower as the main emulator & started using raw files instead of dsk files. Is CPCEPower the main emulator for the version you're using? If not, you can use that one, it's working fine with it. If it is using CPCE, you can also add the following lines to the script (by pressing F2):

AMSDOS=No
464=Yes


I tested it & it works fine with these changes.

Ah, you had to choose Anarchy :) Well, yeah, I would rather have a bugged original than a fixed original. Now, luckily this is a very rare case & there are not that many games that need a fix to work at all (most have some minor bugs, nothing game breaking). 

As it happens, this is one of my favourite game, so I might be biased, but I also included the fixed file in the Games directory (Anarchy (E) - Fixed.dsk). As a general rule I don't like to use modified software, but I do make extremely rare exceptions. But they are never directly linked in the database, they just sit in the games folders.

Remember that the goal of GamebaseCPC is to preserve original software, warts & all. As such, if a program is imperfect, it remains so. If I cannot get a proper dump, I do not include a file for it (there are 38 programs without a dump in my current version). I know this is not what a lot of people are looking for, but I want to stay true to my vision for the project. 

That being said, it is an easy fix: you can simply follow the link to CPC Power in Gamebase CPC & download any version you prefer & replace the one provided in the database. But please do not publish modified versions of my project (or files), I insist it remains as true to the vision as possible.

I hope that clarifies things a bit. As usual, I'm happy to discuss GBCPC :)

Cheers,


Loic

Offline arkive

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #13 on: 19:11, 07 April 20 »
Hi Loic,

Thanks for the detailed reply. I the idea of different approaches of course. I do respect you vision (I am also a fellow archivist, who has spent quite a few years building a niche project) but I can't say I wholly agree with it. That's because GB collections were always about being as complete as possible (at the time of the release at least), including all available soft regardless of its purity. This is why I've always used them, as ultimate 1G1R repositories, often trumping other available collections - and that's just talking about roms themselves, not the wealth of extras or the huge convenience of a searchable and customizable database. This, and the ability to easily flip between countless systems within one frontend makes it an invaluable tool in research and learning about these forgotten gems - it's not just about playing some games.

As commendable as your approach is, the completeness of this collection is unfortunately dependable on one man's buying power, and given the state of the market and the amount of years passed, hefty amount of luck. Looking realistically, I doubt GBCPC will become complete in any foreseeable future, most likely never, seeing as surely some games only exist as dumps and not in physical, buyable form anymore. By complete I of course mean, "complete" compared to other resources at the time being.

So if it was up to me, I'd combine the "pure" approach, with the high quality stuff from your collections given priority, with other, dirty-but-available sources. Which you could then replace as you go acquiring the originals, or keep them side by side if there was any worth in them (like other Gamebases do).This way we could have a complete one-stop Amstrad software collection, with added bonus of the magic & flexibility of Gamebase frontend, and all of it connected to all the other gaming platforms within the GB ecosysytem.

Other solution could be to make to at least make an entry for the assorted other soft, even without the dump itself, with just link to the POWER. Then the users would be aware that such thing exists and the GB, as an archival record, would be in a way complete.

Alas, I'm sure you've heard it all before, so I don't expect to change your mind here :)

EDIT: thinking about it some more, how big do you think is the discrepancy between the POWER and GBCPC if we forget about type-ins, PD and modern homebrews? The 6600 number comes after I have used the "Games" filter, but it still includes the non-commercial titles.



Thanks for reminding me about the Goodsets, it's been years since I have used them. Surprisingly, the CPC one seems more complete than the TOSEC itself, which is rather strange.

But this now leaves me with 4 or so sources, none being usable as a standalone from the completeness point of view. What headache. Ah, the joys of #retrogamingproblems :)

If I had one wish, it'd be for the good folks of CPC-POWER releasing their stuff as a downloadable archive. By cross-comparing all these collections I can see theirs is the most complete one. If it was possible it probably would've had happened a long time ago though, so I'm not holding my breath.
« Last Edit: 19:27, 07 April 20 by arkive »

Offline ldaneels

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #14 on: 20:20, 07 April 20 »
Argh, I was in the middle of typing a nice & elaborate reply to your post, but I closed the window and lost everything :(

So I'll make it short & revisit my answer later. I am not interested in changing the approach because I would then lose interest in the project.

I also reiterate that there is no such thing as a complete CPC collection & will never be, even if you remove software released post 2000.

As for CPC-Power, I can assure you Kukulcan will not make the full archive downloadable (heck, not all files are even accessible to begin with).

Offline arkive

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #15 on: 21:37, 07 April 20 »
Nothing more annoying than losing a big chunk of a reply due to a mishap. Happened to me zillion times, hate it  :picard:

In any case, there's no need really to split hairs over this subject. Like I said aready, I'm fully aware that neither you will change your mind not anything from CPC POWER will be released. It was just wishful musing.

Let me just point out that in my opinion the only real way to be effective in long-term preservation efforts is to produce content both centralized (as in non-splintered) and widely distributed. Speaking from bitter experience, because I have seen too many projects either disappear overnight or remain unfinished. All it takes is one accident of fate in real life. Hopefully it will never happen, but it's entirely possible eg, for CPC-POWER to go down. All we'd be left with then would be some Wayback Machine links - thank god for their existence, btw - but all the dumps would be up & gone in a digital puff of smoke.

But, well, that's how I see it.


You are wrong, however, about impossibility of making a complete collection. Of course, I have already quantified what I mean by complete: "compared to other resources at the time being". By this definition other Gamebases*, like the GB64 for example, are very much complete (not mentioning other platform-specific projects). They gather stuff from all the available sources under one roof, and this is the best we can do, really, and the fact  that there might or might not be some game discovered week after the release does not matter (it will go into the next one anyway). We also know that such miracle discoveries are becoming increasingly rare and that the base ground is pretty much covered by now.

*of course some of them have not been updated for years, but at the time of the release were pretty much complete.


Anyway, I don't really want to argue about this, so this is my last word on the subject. My intention for starting this thread was to find out what the state of CPC collections is, and this has been pretty much accomplished. My dilemma remains, though it increasingly seems it will end up in a big ol' DIY package, really not looking to solving CPC-POWER's catchpa several hundred (if not more, *shudder*) times, but, oh, well :)

Still, Loic, wish you and GBCPC all the best. Like I said earlier, your scans really are best in class. Wish the other GBs had the same standard of extras' quality.

Offline ldaneels

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #16 on: 22:16, 07 April 20 »
I understand what you're saying & never assumed it was anything else, rest assured.

I still want to reply in full, because I believe it would bring light on some interesting aspects of preservation.

Offline arkive

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #17 on: 23:24, 07 April 20 »
Feel free to reply, of course. I was just saying I won't have anything to add on this subject, since it's clear we have different opinions. And over the years I have participated in countless similar exchanges re: preservation. Agree to disagree, etc.

Regarding my "fullset" quagmire, I have just finished adapting the NVG collection to  be more Gotek friendly. I think I will go with this as a rom base and cross check it with a list of games exported from CPC POWER, filling gaps as I go. Will use GBCPC to look at extras. Bit cumbersome, but workable, I think (that puzzle-like catchpa is the only real pain in this scheme).

Offline scruss

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #18 on: 02:47, 08 April 20 »
There is more in this world than games, and CPC Power got it all.
It does? It's missing both Wapton Village Race and Zakil Wood.

Offline GUNHED

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #19 on: 14:56, 08 April 20 »
It does? It's missing both Wapton Village Race and Zakil Wood.
And the German version of Gunship. And maybe even 4 or 5 titles more.
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Offline arkive

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #20 on: 14:58, 01 May 20 »
I have recently stumbled upon AmstradMania again (forgot about it, since the UG days) the old Amstrad Gamebase. It's not been updated since 2014 (I think, judging by .mdb) but it's still a very accomplished collection. It has 5787 individual entries, so it's a bit closer to the CPC-Power ideal so far, making it the most complete game collection in 1G1R format.

I did a little cross-check vs CPC-Power and the missing entries are mostly new productions. I'm interested mostly in the retro stuff, so I'm using it now as my base collection.

An added bonus is the fact that most of the titles are in .dsk format (even though there is an additional dir for extra cdt versions) so they can be used on my DDI device. Thanks to the Gamebase's versatility I also have  a script (thanks .mad.!) letting me extract filtered games (eg "year 1985") to a directory, so it's all good now.

Offline Johnny Olsen

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Re: Amstrad up-to-date games fullset?
« Reply #21 on: 18:35, 01 May 20 »
After you had trying all the games, please point me to the best one.  ;D