With my new (old) Commodore 64 setup on the desk, I’ve been enjoying a weekend of retro goodness and with thoughts of the new Robocop movie trailers still buzzing around in my head, it wasn’t long afterwards that thoughts drifted to the original C64 game.
It might have been multi-load hell (on tape that is) but to my mind it’s the best movie tie-in that Ocean software ever did…..as well as Batman on the Amiga of course…..and The Untouchables wasn’t too bad either.
It’s a great game on the Commodore 64, although…in my youth as a Commodore kinda guy through and through, it pained me to admit that I secretly coveted the ZX Spectrum version. Of course, something like that wasn’t admitted in the school yards of old – but man when I played Robocop on my mates shiny new ZX Spectrum +3 and already wowed by the fast loading of the integrated disk drive, I was just taken in on how much more playable the game was compared to the C64 – not that the C64 version is at all shabby you understand (yay Commodore!). However, the C64 version does have it’s plus points and that’s why its still fished out of my software library from time to time -
a) it is a great game
b) has some real sweet SID tunes
c) the tape version has the foot tapping-tastic Ocean loader tune
it contains that famous loader picture of Officer Murphy not looking so minty new.
It was whilst the game was loading did an idea begin to form to have a little fun with Photoshop and create a new loader image based on the Robocop 2014 film and then have it display on the C64.
So..to the Google to find me a nice image of the rebooted Robocop and a few other items to help make up my composition. Here’s what I’ve come up with -
To prep the image for the C64, I’ll be using a program called Retro-X
I’ve previously blogged about this neat little retro graphics converter (and other tools) which you can read here - http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/retro-computer-graphics-tools/
Retro-X has two modes for the C64 – High and Low Res. Sadly, no matter what I do, if I select High Res, the application crashes :-( At first, I though it was because I was using Windows 7 but even trying with compatibility modes and running the app under Microsoft Virtual PC and VM images of Windows XP and Window 98 still shows the same error. If anyone else can get this to work, could you let me know how please?
Dammit….well at least it didn’t virtual bsod.
Low res it is for the time being then and I find that the Midtone H.Q setting and a little tweaking with the RGB sliders seems to give pretty good results. It’s also worth noting that there’s no need to resize the image prior to loading in Retro-X.
Once done, you can save the output as either jpg, png or bmp but as I want to load this on my Commodore c64, I’ve chosen the old Koala format.
To view the image, on the C64 I’ll be using two pieces of software. I’m sure there’s probably easier ways of doing this but I found that, as I use both of these programs for other things, I’m kinda used to using them.
The viewer is called Pic-Manager EX and you can download in .d64 format from CSDB - http://csdb.dk/release/download.php?id=101556
It’s very easy to use once you know your way around the interface and there’s also a few example pictures included too – WARNING, a couple of these are pornographic so use with caution – your C64 might melt!
To add my own image I’m going to edit the disk image Pic-Manager EX. For this, I’m going to use a rather handy dandy PC tool called – DirMaster v2.2 - http://style64.org/
Launch DirMaster and open Pic-Manager EX.d64
You will see a list of the program files contained within Pic-Manager EX .d64 file including all of the example pictures. All you need to do to add your own Koala image is simply drag it into the disk menu.
Save the amended disk image which can be loaded on a Commodore 64 emulator or on the real thing after copying the image to a suitable device. I’ll be using my SD2IEC.
Load PIC-Manager EX and press the C= key to continue after reading the instructions if you wish.
Press F1 to load the image list from the disk.
To view an image, you need to select it first. You can either select a single image or load multiple images to play back as a slideshow. To select an image, press any number key from 3 to 0, 3 being the first image file as 1 and 2 are the actual program files. e.g. if I wanted to select the image ‘PIC Titanic’, I’d press the number 4 key. Selected images will have a tick icon appear next to them.
To start the show, press F7.
‘Robocop 2014 by Ocean Software – probably not coming to a C64 any time soon’