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A warm hello from Germany

Started by linuxkostik64, 17:10, 05 April 24

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Dear CPC friends :)
A few weeks ago I registered here, and now I would like to take the opportunity to briefly introduce myself.
My name is Constantin, I'm from Germany, I work in IT and foreign language translation, among other things, and I'm quite a retro computing fan. :)
Originally I come from the Commodore area, so I have a lot to do with the C64 and the Amiga, but I am also very interested in other retro home computers. I'm particularly fond of the Amstrad CPC, which has a charm all of its own. :)
I've been reading more and more about the Schneider/Amstrad CPC recently, especially in the last few months, and I've actually been interested in it for a long time, especially as I still have a few memories of the CPC from my school days.
I remember that we used to have a CPC at school. Likewise, I don't remember exactly why, and whether it was a 464 or 6128 or whatever, but it was definitely a Schneider CPC. I only remember the long black case and black color monitor, and a game with red bricks (?) and houses, as far as my memory serves me. It was a long time ago. What you don't forget, however, is the CPC's extremely distinctive color palette for an 8-bit system.
Also, since the excellent Locomotive BASIC compared to the MS BASIC V2 of the C64 really appeals to me, I always wanted to try to get into this topic, but somehow I didn't really have the opportunity to pursue it in a more concentrated way and get myself a CPC. Fortunately, that has now changed. Since the beginning of March I am the happy owner of a really nice Schneider CPC 464!!!

At the beginning/mid of March, I started looking around for a good floppy alternative for the CPC and came across the ULIfAC from @ikonsgr After a bit of research, I ordered this device and am currently still getting to grips with its functions. And what can I say.... I am thrilled. The ULIfAC is really cool, a bit of an all-rounder like the UItimate II+ on the C64. The ULIfAC is not too expensive and offers a lot in return. I'm also grateful for the great support. I contacted John by e-mail with a few questions about the device, the answers came quickly and were correspondingly competent. What I am still missing, however, is a housing for the ULIfAC. Although STL files exist, I have no way of 3D printing my own and as far as I know, the housing is not yet available for purchase. But that's the least of my problems. It's a pity that Pinball Dreams doesn't currently work with the ULIfAC, but I as far as I've heard, John is already working on solving this problem.
I'm looking forward to the CPC community and to good, lively discussions and friendly conversations with you all. :)

Best regards



Welcome here 😊

Thanks for sharing your story with us! Have fun!


Quote from: linuxkostik64 on 17:10, 05 April 24It's a pity that Pinball Dreams doesn't currently work with the ULIfAC...
Actually this is not entirely true, pinball dreams loads fine on CPC 6128 (using either USIfAC II or ULIfAC), it has problems, only using a CPC 464 and the required "hack" to activate the extra ram.  ;D
And it's true that i'm working on a new ram functioning with CPC 464, that might resolve all incompatibilities  (like CPM+, SYMBOS, Future OS and a few games like Pinball Dreams, that don't work with the current "hack") :)


Quote from: ikonsgr on 18:30, 05 April 24Actually this is not entirely true, pinball dreams loads fine on CPC 6128 (using either USIfAC II or ULIfAC), it has problems, only using a CPC 464 and the required "hack" to activate the extra ram.  ;D
And it's true that i'm working on a new ram functioning with CPC 464, that might resolve all incompatibilities  (like CPM+, SYMBOS, Future OS and a few games like Pinball Dreams, that don't work with the current "hack") :)
Sorry, I didn't mean to spread false information.  :)

As far as I can see, my CPC runs very well with the ULIfAC, but I have noticed a little oddity in connection with my joystick and the ULIfAC:
I use the well-known ArcadeR joystick, which also works fine on my C64 and Amiga. Sintech Germany, from whom I bought the joystick, explicitly states that the ArcadeR also works on the Amstrad CPC in the standard configuration they have set. Autofire is of course switched off on the joystick, as the CPC does not support it without additional power. Now the curious thing: When I switch on the CPC with the ULIfAC plugged in and the joystick connected, everything works, except for the letter K, which sometimes - but not always - takes several keystrokes until the button reacts, i.e. until the letter is visible on the screen. This does not affect other letters. It also does not happen if either only the ULIfAC or only the joystick is connected to the CPC. In this case, the letter K also works normally. In general, the keyboard is in perfect working order and has been tested accordingly. My CPC 464 is also in perfect technical condition.
Does the joystick "draw" so much power from the port that an area of the keyboard is set to low, or what is the reason? Is it perhaps advisable to use an autofire adapter? I run my CPC with a 5V power supply designed for the CPC and an active SCART cable from @ikonsgr, plus HDMI converter. Everything else works as it should. At least as far as I can tell.

I noticed the problem with the K key through the game Chuckie Egg when I typed run"chuckie, and also when I pressed "K" to define the controls in the game.

If necessary, I can also copy this into a separate thread.

Best regards and thanks for the help



Good morning CPC folks :)
Regarding what I last wrote, after some research, it turns out that the ArcadeR joystick actually seems to be the problem. More details can be found in this post in this forum from almost 3 years ago. Since I have a newer revision of the ArcadeR joystick (about a year old), I didn't initially assume that it could be affected.
In this post, however, the use of the Retro Joystick CPC Adapter from Monster Joysticks is strongly recommended as a successful solution to the problem, as it should ensure correct wiring of the corresponding pins. Another practical feature of this adapter is that it splits the 9-pin connector into two so that two joysticks can be used for multiplayer mode. I have two of these joysticks and usually don't use Autofire on the C64 or Amiga either.

The question now is whether an adapter solution, and if so which one, would be useful here and what else there is to consider.

I wish you all a blessed and pleasant Saturday



@linuxkostik64,  Amstrad CPC doesn't have specific port for joystick, but instead, joyport is multiplexed with keyboard (and that's why you get characters on screen when you move joystick or press a fire button). In order to do that, the common-com signal (which normally would be  the "ground"/0V),is pulsed, where every 0.02 seconds goes from high to low, and only then, Amstrad scans joystick status.
Also the reason that joyport doesn't provide a 5volt power supply (which prevents the functioning of Auto fire switches and other adapters) is because it uses the 5v supply pin, to provide a 2nd common for the 2nd joystick.
Unfortunately, the implementation of the above is not perfect, so when a joystick is connected to a CPC (especially the older CPC 464) various small keyboard problems may appear, like the one you describe (other problems i've noticed occasionally, is the non-functioning of "soft reset" by pressing ctrl+shift+esc or getting a 2nd character when you press specific keys). Now, the use of diodes in joystick port signals, in order to provide two joystick ports (like the Retro Joystick CPC Adapter you mentioned does), helps to make things better, but still it's not perfect.
The REAL perfect solution for not getting any keyboard problems when a joystick is connected, would be to isolate the joystick COMPLETELY from joyport, and activate it ONLY when Amstrad needs it (e.g. when com signals goes from high to low as mentioned earlier). The electronic device that can do that, is called "3-state buffer". As we have 4 movements and 2 fire buttons we would need a total of six 3-state buffers, which must be disabled (e.g. act like circuit break or "high impendence" state) and enable them momentarily, only when Amstrad reads joystick port. Fortunately, there is a ready made chip that does exactly what we need, provide six "3-state buffers" with an extra enable/disable pin to control them.
But, enough with theory,i have design such an adapter that, not only resolves FOR GOOD the keyboard problems, but also provides the 5v supply pin to joystick port, to enable auto fire and the use of various adapters too (like using a 15pin PC joystick,a bluetooth wireless adapter and others)!


So linuxkostik64, what CPC games have you played so far and which are your favorite? You say you come from the C64 world...

Games for the C64 generally move faster, but the colors make me feel melancholic! I wish they would have made a combined 8-bit monster with the best of these 2 machines.  ;D

If you're looking for games that didn't appear on the C64, perhaps a good idea is to check French and Spanish games. With French games, I suspect very few were ported as the C64 was not popular in France (correct me if I'm wrong!). With Spanish games, more were ported, but some "big" games like La abadía del crimen (there's a recent version of this in English), Viaje al centro de la Tierra, Abu Simbel Profanation, Goody, Sir Fred and El Capitán Trueno were never released for the C64.

I also suspect you already know about CPC Power and CPC Game Reviews. In case you don't, I suggest you check them out! (CPC Power basically has everything, even non-working games, and CPC Game Reviews has around the "best" 700 games or so).

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