LOAF Fixes a Macintosh

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Fantastic news LOAF!

I'm going to make sure to make a trip to NH this weekend (maybe Friday after work) and find those TM sticks.

This makes me kind of want to ask my dad if he has his old 8500 or IIci I could fire up to play SWC on as well!
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
First of all, awesome shots - it is forcing me to reconsider searching for and obtaining Super Wing Commander!

Super Wing Commander is kind of a pain to locate--it might be valuable if there were anyone really looking. I think I've only ever owned two copies in my life--one I gave to Dundradal when we were kids and this one here. I find that Amazon's 3rd Party Sellers can be a good place to find the Mac ports, though... that's a place to watch.

(Now that I think about it, I also have a Japanese-language SWC Mac.)

Lastly, I'm a huge Lego loser and auto enthusiast, and I've never seen the microbus model - it's like taking too passions and combining them. Add THAT to my plans for the weekend now...

It's new! It's a Lego Store exclusive, but if you don't have one in your area you can get it online: http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Volkswagen-T1-Camper-Van-10220 (There was a similarly sized VW Beetle kit a year or so back and it was one of my favorite builds ever, so I was eager to get this one as soon as it was available.)

One other bit from digging around on the Usenet today: Wing Commander IV was /developed/ on a Power Mac 6100... so that might be a good (and cheap, they go for $1 on eBay) basis for similar projects in the future. I think going a *little* faster might be the better choice, though...

Also, everything I'm learning about the missing WC4 demo makes it sound more appealing. It came out a while before the 'net' version and included a note about how it was just the beta version of the game... so it should be a really interesting thing to try out. It was on an Inside Mac Games cover disc at some point between February and July 1996, likely June.
 

wcnut

Rear Admiral
Oops, yah OS9 is quirky that way with manually setting the memory for apps. Quite often the recommended RAM for a program wasn't right setting. Interesting that your keyboard was plugged into the mouse. Both my old macs it was the other way around, mouse into keyboard. With my Gravis joystick it was even worse! Mouse into Joystick into Keyboard into Computer, with the option of daisy chaining a second joystick into the mix. ;-) If you get a chance I highly recommend Bungie's Marathon series which they released for free to their old adoring Mac fans.

http://trilogyrelease.bungie.org/
 

Worf

Vice Admiral
Memory management pre-OSX is manual.

What you do is select the application then press Command-I (for File->Get Info). This will pop up a dialog and two of the fields would be memory. One would be "Minimum memory" and the other would be "Recommended memory". What happens is MacOS tries to give the program the "Recommended memory" amount. If it's not available, and the amount of free memory is higher (see "Apple->About this Mac") than the minimum, it'll load it up still.

The amount there is quite finicky. You can try setting the recommended amount lower or something.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Good morning!

I don't have a LOT to report today, but... I'll drag it out!

Yesterday at work I made a CD with some toys for the mac: the Super Wing Commander and Wing Commander IV net demos, a couple of patches, those Mac sound files from the old Origin site and the Mac OS 9 version of Ultima III! After years of lovingly archiving a stack of ".hqx" files I would finally see if there was something in them.

I started off with the Wing Commander 4 demo, which was a peach. One click and it was ready. It's actually VERY interesting--the game is cut down to bare bones in order to fit into a six meg zip. It's not identical to the PC version--things like the Intrepid and the frigate and Dekker's ship have been cut out... and at least in my play through, I only ever fought against pirate Arrows! Also, it was fairly surreal seeing the later Prophecy-era blue and white Origin logo displayed before Wing Commander IV.

The whole thing makes me more eager to find the 'CD demo' that seems to have been lost to history. I can't find copies of Inside Mac Games CDs ANYWHERE. I dug around the darker parts of the internet, though, and shot out a few e-mails to people who may have it... we'll see what happens. (Every bit I uncover about this demo makes it sound more interesting--apparently it was released earlier than the other one and it starts by warning the player it's a beta version... I want it!)

Super Wing Commander's demo was decidedly NOT a peach, though. Putting the version from the CIC onto the hard drive gave me an error message about needing to have a Super Wing Commander CD in to start it... despite the fact that it includes an 'ALERT' readme file that warns you you must copy the folder to the hard drive before you run it.

I now realize that what I should have done was just put the CIC demo on a CD-R and tried that... but instead what I did was find an ISO of an old Mac Demo disc which I recreated with Toast on my Mac Mini and started the whole thing fresh. THAT worked! I'll post the disk image to the CIC for safekeeping tonight.

The SWC demo is the first mission of the game. Note that having both SWC and the demo on the same machine can confuse the demo... it will, for example, see that you have saved games from the full version and let you load them--which then breaks the thing when it finds it's missing that mission or its conversations and movies.

(Another funny SWC note--there's a Rapier II on the Tiger's Claw's deck as you're taking off, despite the fact that you still test fly the first ones later in the game.)

Ultima III zorked right in and ran properly, and the registration code I bought for it worked just fine without an internet connection. Nice and legal! (My 10 year old self would be SO impressed with me, BUYING shareware...)

ultima3reg.JPG


And here's the hard drive now:

bigbertha1013.JPG


Per ELTEE's suggestion, I have renamed the volume 'Big Bertha' (despite the fact that my cell phone has more RAM than she does hard drive space.) The whole thing makes me curious about this Mac--I wonder who named it and probably loved it a decade ago.

Next step--System Shock should show up any day now... and we need to FIND THAT WC4 CD DEMO! Exclamation point!

Also, this Mac needs a new home beyond sitting on the octopus rug next to my TV. And to accomplish this I'm going to need to de-hoarder my former computer desk. We're talking a solid cube of stuff that needs to be sorted and find new homes. That's a weekend project, at best. I'll take pictures!

Interesting that your keyboard was plugged into the mouse. Both my old macs it was the other way around, mouse into keyboard. With my Gravis joystick it was even worse!

I just had the wording backwards--my brain is going. The mouse is, indeed, the end of the chain.

The amount there is quite finicky. You can try setting the recommended amount lower or something.

For future reference--setting it to 8 megs of recommended memory seems to work. I've needed to do this for SWC, WC3 and the SWC demo.
 
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Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Quick afternoon update: after a work day of tossing and turning through the weird, weird underbelly of the internet I now have a VERY GOOD lead on the lost Wing Commander IV CD demo... but I can't confirm I have the right version it until I get home and unpack it on my mini. Cross your fingers!

... and now USPS tells me System Shock will be delivered this afternoon! I hope it's in good shape. Tonight's plans for Bertha just got a lot more interesting! I'll update everyone when I know more... the last two hours of work today are going to go slowly!
 

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
There's a question just begging to be asked following your last post LOAF - does work ever really go by quickly?! :D
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Great news!

System Shock arrived and it was in PERFECT shape. Never used--I felt kind of bad unsealing it. By the way, that breath of 1990s Victory-Streak-tasting air you get when you unseal an Origin game is like a drug. Somewhere, serious game collectors are shivering.

I was very surprised by the system requirements--System Shock wants a Power Mac 7100/80, which is far and away higher than any of the Wing Commander games (Wing Commander IV was developed on a 6100.) What I didn't realize is that the Macintosh port of SS came a full two years after the original PC release.

ssbox.JPG


System Shock would have to wait, though: I had a serious lead on the Wing Commander IV CD demo.

I have searched every dark, dirty corner of the internet for the mid-1996 issue of Inside Mac Games that includes the large demo. Nothing. I've contacted IMG's current iteration, I've registered for message boards to contact people who have mentioned owning a copy in the past... no replies. The archives of Inside Mac Games are lost forever, as best I can tell.

... but then I got to thinking: what if it was on another magazine cover disc? There couldn't have been THAT much Mac software in 1996. Perhaps it was lumped on to some general disc around the same time. The old usenet posts from Lion Entertainment only mentioned IMG... but that wasn't happening, so it was worth a shot.

Then, while at work yesterday I found a site with an enormous collection of old Mac cover discs from that era. Shareware game collections, MacAddict, MacHome, MacWorld and so on. Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful ISOs. And they had a fancy database you could download to search for individual files, using a Macintosh-based database tool! I was at work without any Macs* at all, though, so I stuffed the database file into EditPlus and searched through strings for Wing Commander. Nothing in MacWorld, nothing on the shareware game discs... but then BAM! A Wing Commander IV demo file. Everything was garbled but I could make out the file list, which included MOVIES.TRE--which wasn't with the 'net demo. I couldn't tell which issue (and they had hundreds) but I was confident I had /something/.

(Note that unfortunately the same site hosts a range of illegal downloads (including Super Wing Commander) and so I don't feel comfortable linking to them... but I will put the Wing Commander IV demo at WCNews.com soon for all interested.)

The last two hours of work dragged by, like a... thing that's really slow and bad at analogies. It was hell. I had to get home and figure out what I had here! Hey LOAF, want to see a movie? Grab a drink after work? NO! I HAVE TO GET TO A MACINTOSH!

Finally home, I brought up Bertha's little sister, a Mac Mini that nominally acts as my HTPC, and installed the database software. A quick search through the MacAddict archive revealed that the Wing Commander IV demo was on the very first cover disc, September 1996! More good news: the demo was fifty megabytes, indicating tha this was the droid I was looking for. My search also revealed that there was a Wing Commander folder icon in a set of shareware icons on cover disc number 9. What the hell! One tedious download and two tedious CD-burnings later I was ready to do this thing!

littlesister.JPG


Bertha's sister was originally purchased to stream every episode of Star Trek, before NEtflix started doing that for me.

The rest was anticlimactic. I copied the demo folder to Bertha's hard drive and bam, I was on the money. After fifteen years of being lost to the world, a new slightly different Wing Commander mission was being flown. It included the original demo trailer and a more complex version of the gauntlet mission from the other demo. Oddly, the options menu is extremely fancy instead of the plain Mac options menu in the finished game.

wc4democd.JPG


System Shock installed properly and is a real beauty. Smooth and detailed, runs perfectly! Another disconcerting Origin logo, too--it starts with that orange version used briefly in Crusader!

ssgame.JPG


... and here's the finished volume! The Wing Commander III folder with the Combined Forces logo on it was the one from the shareware package. I'll post it on the FTP for folks who might want that, too.

allicons.JPG


So there we have it! Bertha still needs speakers and a joystick setup... and a proper home, and maybe a nicer monitor (need to look into what resolutions I can get on an LCD)... but all the big questions have been answered and she's been configured to correctly run everything I set out to do. I'll work on prettying up her somewhat in the coming days, but this should be the last *big* update for now.

* - Not entirely true, someone put a Mac SE in the display case outside my office:

hiddentreasure.JPG


- One thing I need to learn: how to get Mac screenshots. Perhaps a new era of Super Wing Commander images for the Encyclopedia is coming! Of course I'll need to connect her to the network somehow...

- Also, Bertha's battery has seen better days, I *think*. She loses the time/date if she's unplugged. Was that normal back then or should I dig up whatever CMOS battery goes in a Power Mac?
 
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Worf

Vice Admiral
Mac screen shots - Command-Option-3. Same as OS X (OS X kept the shortcut).

It puts it as a PICT file though, which is Classic's native bitmap format. You'll need to use a converter to turn that into a more normal bitmap.

And that display case may have an AAUI-to-10BaseT adapter in it - all you need to get your Mac connected to your network and saving yourself a bunch of CDs.
 

Madman

Vice Admiral
When I did screenies of the swc nav maps for the encyclopedia I used basilisk. The date issue though definitely sounds like a cmos battery - should be simple enough to replace, surely not even apple would make a battery a custom part!
 

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
...should be simple enough to replace, surely not even apple would make a battery a custom part!

Famous last words! The Zeos sliced my 3 times trying to get to that damn battery the first time I tried.

Thanks to LOAF, that Zeos is going to get reconditioned over the holidays this year. I've been inspired!
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Well, this is an embarrassing one: I'm working today to open up a long-abandoned desk to put the Mac (and eventully more WC stuff) at. A WC nook, as it were..

Anyway, I brought out the DSLR to take a few BEFORE pictures which really do look like one of those hoarders TV shows. I've been cramming whatever needs to be stored into this desk area for quite a few years now.

Well, here goes:

https://www.wcnews.com/loaf/wcreference/hoarding/

(The first picture is a cat.)

I will have a funny-but-embarrassing story about joysticks later, but I need to talk to Dundradal first.
 
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Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
I will have a funny-but-embarrassing story about joysticks later, but I need to talk to Dundradal first.

So I've been briefed. Apparently LOAF and I had already discussed this months ago as my dad was cleaning out his basement for a remodel. I'd already grabbed them from his house and actually shipped them to LOAF! So when I went to look last night at my dad's house in NH, not only did LOAF and I forget but so did my dad who just kept saying "I haven't seen them in a while." I could have sworn I'd left them on this one bench, but nope they weren't there....because they were down the East Coast in Maryland, at LOAF's house. ;)

At least he can provide some cool pics of the Mac version of the F-4 FCS and WCS sticks.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
The big news is that we have gone from this:

IMG_2292.JPG


... to THIS:

cleanerdesk.jpg


And boy are my arms tired!

I'm well on my way to turning this abandoned desk into a Wing Commander nook.

My goal is to rebuild my Wing Commander PC to share the same monitor and area and then to put together a modern PC to live where that all-in-one and stack of cables is. The other side facing the Mac, which is still stacks and stacks of books, is going to be shelves to put copies of the games themselves!

But that's long term. For now I'm incredibly psyched that I finally started organizing all this. I had kind of given up hope of ever getting to the desk again and the process was like archaeology. You could tell where you were based on the souvenirs I found.

- I don't know why there's a poster of a baseball player back there. I guess they were giving them out at a game and I stuck it up there? I'm not some big sports guy, I go to maybe one Orioles game a year. And according to the Wikipedia, that player retired in 2001. Which seems to be the 'starting' date of the mess. It's somewhat collaborated by the little postcards of New Minis stuck in the vent, which I distinctly remember finding in the men's room of a fancy French restaurant when they first arrived in the US (which Wikipedia confirms was 2001.) (Much earlier on there was a clear 2008 layer, too, identified by the presence of a John McCain action figure.)

- I am very, very happy that I did not find the burrito that Chris Reid once indicated he left in the room several years ago.

- That is Hobbes' helmet from the Wing Commander III film shoot on top of the monitor! I bought it from the great Captain Johnny some years ago. You only ever see it in his postage stamp VDU movies, so it may not be as obviously familiar as a regular Confed helmet. (... where is my regular Confed helmet?)

- Freddie Prinze Jr.'s goofy submarine hat from the Wing Commander movie is on top of the Mac game boxes.

- The mass of tangled black stuff on top of the all-in-one are various special controllers and pieces for Wing Commander games, including a PC WCS/RCS setup for the DOS games, a Microsoft Sidewinder FF for Prophecy, a 3DO Flight Stick Pro, a Roland SC-55 external MIDI device, a GameCube joystick (for using with Prophecy GBA in the GameBoy Player) and others. I'll need to figure out a system for them all at some point...

- You can find both an Origin Christmas ornament (grey thing) and an Origin beer cooler around the Mac.

- The star chart (that's falling off the wall) shows the location of the 'real' Lesnick System, which WildFire bought for me years ago after seeing my name on the WCU map.

- I don't know why there's a Christmas stocking with little stuffed fish hanging off it on the wall either. I'm worried it has candy from the late 1990s in it, though.

Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed that fun trip through my psychosis. I'm probably going to move the Mac itself to the floor since it sticks out of the desk too much... but it's great for testing right now (also, I worry that the 21" monitor is going to break the Ikea desk without something else there holding it up.)

As Dundradal has said, though, the big surprise was that I ALREADY HAD A MAC HOTAS SETUP! Yes, I had mentioned having an old Mac to Dundradal months ago and he was kind enough to ship me his... and then we both forgot. Note that I found them the /morning after/ Dund drove to his father's house (in another state) and tried to find them again, returning to #WingNut to report that he was mad at his dad for throwing them out.

And here they are!:

sticks.JPG


I'm actually going to look for a new set so I can send these back to Dund when he does the same project. But I guess I have a little time to do that.

I found that Thrustmaster keeps their old Mac setup software available for download... hidden under "Legacy" and then "PC" at their support site. I also dug out my old Rudder Control System from my PC setup, which works on both Macs and PCs. Everything set up nicely and it all calibrates correctly, although I haven't found any way to get the Wing Commander sticksets to recognize the rudder (and as best I can tell the throttle doesn't actually /throttle/ in the games--so more to tweak there.)

The bad news is that Super Wing Commander hasn't been entirely stable. I've been getting a lot of conflicts where it either crashes finder or crashes itself... so I think I'm going to roll the dice and try going back to Mac OS 8. I bought a copy for $10 on eBay last night and I'll see what happens. I don't know for sure, but I think Bertha is kind of a mess right now--like they gutted a lot of her important parts when she was being sold. Applications that should be there aren't and she loads a million seemingly unnecessary extensions and panels when she's booting up. I'd kind of like to go back to a basic system if possible and build from there.
 
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ELTEE

Vice Admiral
...identified by the presence of a John McCain action figure...

A John McCain action figure? Wow - I had no idea that existed. Can you get the "I just bailed out" version?!

...Dund drove to his father's house (in another state) and tried to find them again, returning to #WingNut to report that he was mad at his dad for throwing them out...
OK, at this point it sounds like you two need to start writing notes to yourselves regarding what's been shipped!

(Though I must admit that the last time I was home I yelled at my parents for taking yet another of my legacy pc's to their office to use for real, responsible work only to discover it...right where I had 'hidden' it some two years before, so I guess we all have our moments....)

EDIT - oh, and Thrustmaster rules. For so many reasons. Period.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
OK, at this point it sounds like you two need to start writing notes to yourselves regarding what's been shipped!

EDIT - oh, and Thrustmaster rules. For so many reasons. Period.

In our defense, it was probably 3-4 months ago and my dad also forgot as well. The drive isn't that bad. I live just north of Boston and my dad lives just over the border in southern New Hampshire. Maybe a 45 minute drive and it's good to get out of Taxachusetts and return to the Shire every now and then. :D
 

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
In our defense, it was probably 3-4 months ago and my dad also forgot as well. The drive isn't that bad. I live just north of Boston and my dad lives just over the border in southern New Hampshire. Maybe a 45 minute drive and it's good to get out of Taxachusetts and return to the Shire every now and then. :D

Ha, that's why I left Waltham Taxachusetts for beautiful, scenic Nanuet NY ;)

Well, that and my job and the service, but you get the idea...
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Nothing too exciting to report--I was out last night and didn't do anything with the Mac. I guess I'm waiting on my copy of Mac OS 8... and if anyone is familiar with the installation process for 'downgrading' a Mac, please let me know. There's shockingly little documentation online.

There's another MWCS up for auction now and I put a few bucks on it.

Surprisingly, Amazon sells CMOS batteries for Power Mac 7300/180s: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A0R01M I'll pick one up on payday.

Now, if someone would be willing to spot me four million dollars, I have a GREAT home in mind for this Mac. Britannia Manor II, Richard Garriott's previous home, is on the market! http://reatx.com/idx/mls-6720025-8207_two_coves_dr_austin_tx_78730 It would make a GREAT headquarters for WCNews.com. It has secret tunnels and an observatory and all kinds of cool oddities. We could build a Wing Commander museum and a room full of networked computers for Armada multiplayer and... a little theater that only shows the Wing Commander movie...

OK, at this point it sounds like you two need to start writing notes to yourselves regarding what's been shipped!

I THINK that what happened is that he sent me some books and the joysticks and I was all excited about the books and immediately forgot that the sticks existed, since putting together the Mac was some distant plan I'd had in the back of my head for several years.

A John McCain action figure? Wow - I had no idea that existed. Can you get the "I just bailed out" version?!

Sadly, much like the real John McCain, the action figure has now been relegated to a box in my attic.
 

Madman

Vice Admiral
I don't know about wc3 or 4 mac but I found that SWC worked great on OS7 (which is available for free from apples website)
 
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