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Zombeaver

C64 Dreams (massive curated C64 collection)

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Updated 5/16/19 to version 0.16 with 200 additional games. Full details here.

TLDR / What is it?

This is a huge work-in-progress collection of hand-picked C64 games (1200 currently), demoscene demos, SID music and C64 magazines. 100% of the collection has been tested, streamlined and custom-tailored to get you into the games and playing as easily and quickly as possible. It's also portable and doesn't require any front-end to function (though it does come packaged with Launchbox).

Introduction

Some of you may know that I have a website where I update older PC games to run on modern computers. While I primarily stick with DOS and Windows 3.1/95 games, I've also done a few Amiga games and even made a collection of C64 games called C64 Dreams. That was a collection of 128 of my favorite C64 games from my childhood, and it turned out relatively well. I've always been extremely picky when it came to C64 emulation. Having done my time with a real C64 as a kid, I have no desire to go back to the hassles that that entails (extremely long load times, cumbersome disk swapping, constantly swapping joystick ports from game to game, etc.) and, having been into emulation since the late 90's, I've messed around with a lot of different C64 emulators over the years. In nearly all cases there was always something that just rubbed me the wrong way; something that kept it from being exactly what I wanted. That said, CCS64 had always been my emulator of choice, because it got the closest to what I wanted. The Windows version of CCS64 has some significant... idiosyncrasies (more like bugs) however. What I ended up doing was using an admittedly rather convoluted method of setting up the DOS version of CCS64 (yes, it's that old) in DOSBox Daum which actually worked a lot better than you'd probably expect. I had custom joystick controls that allowed me to swap ports, swap disks, fast forward, have a dedicated button for up on the joystick (useful for platformers), and it had the massive boon of "Maximum 1541 Speed", an awesome auto-warp feature in CCS64. I was relatively satisfied with that collection, but knew that eventually I was going to have to expand it into a larger project. That's what I've been working on for the last 6 months.

For the first month or two I continued to do the same thing I had done with the original collection but simply expanded the library. The further I got, however, the more some things started to creep through and bother me. There were a few things that I just could not remedy no matter what I did. Fairly frequent, inescapable vsync flaws were basically the final straw for me. After literally months of work and an insane amount of testing, I finally came to the conclusion that I just needed something else. It just wasn't where I wanted it to be. I was at about 600 games completed when I decided I was just going to have to burn it all down and rework the whole thing. feelsbadman.jpg

I kindof went back to the drawing board at that point and decided to do a fresh sweep of a bunch of different emulators to see if anything would be satisfactory. I used Vice (both SDL and GTK3), Hoxs64, micro64, C64 Forever, Yace64, Frodo, and several versions of CCS64. CCS64 2.0B in DOSBox was still better than basically all of these options, which didn't exactly bode well. Finally I tried Vice in Retroarch. I love Retroarch and I've used it for years, but computer platforms isn't exactly something that it typically handles all that well, as that tends to introduce a lot of additional complications - it's just not all that conducive of an environment for it. After a fair bit of fiddling, however, I could see that there was real potential there. Something that Retroarch excels at is giving you the ability to custom-tailor your settings for individual games, which is really essential for this project. Fast forward a couple weeks and I had something working really well that was actually shaping up to be what I wanted.

Breaking down the features of my prior setup and the new one, it's a pretty clear choice. It doesn't have savestates (yet), but if that's my only complaint, I can live with that. I've actually spoken with Hidden Asbestos (he's worked on a number of Retroarch cores) about potentially adding savestate support, and he said it's something he wants to do, but didn't have a definitive time on when this would be done. C64 games are generally short to the point that a lack of savestates isn't necessarily a huge deal, and the ones that are long typically have their own save system. It would be nice to help cut out initial loads/cracktros however, as you could just load straight to a state after that.

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The Games

At this point, you're probably saying "Well that's great and all... but what about the games? What's in it and why should I care?"

Something you have to understand about the C64 is that its library is absolutely massive. There are literally around 30,000 C64 games. To put it into perspective, if you took the entire libraries of NES, SNES, Genesis, N64, Dreamcast, Playstation, and Playstation 2, combined all the games together and then multiplied them three times it still would be less games. Think you have a hard time deciding which Playstation game to play? Try diving into the C64 library some time. It's insane. My goal with this project is to bring some semblance of order to all that chaos, while providing a play experience that's as simple, streamlined, and pain-free as possible.

Gamebase64 is a collection of essentially every known C64 game. It's one release per game (often times several different cracking groups would release their own version of any given game, in some cases with 10+ groups releasing their own version of the same game), although it does include alternate regional/language versions as well. The end result is about 27,000 games in the library. It's an incredible accomplishment and an awesome resource, but it presents an obvious problem - where do you even begin with all that? For every Last Ninja or Bruce Lee there are at least 10 games that look like this.

This presents a ton of noise to have to filter out. Sure, you could find a top 50 or top 100 list of "greatest C64 games of all time" or some such and call it close (even though you honestly can't even scratch the surface with that few games), but I wanted to do a genuinely deep dive. It's a platform I've loved since I was a kid, and one that I want to help more people experience, including lesser known games; the C64 is packed with hidden gems that have never had the honor of finding their way into some paltry little best of list. When I was a kid, I had the benefit of having literally boxes and boxes full of generic hand-written label C64 disks (clearly entirely legit) that I would just pore over like an absolute treasure trove, and I found all kinds of neat and weird stuff. I guess it's all come full-circle.

So how am I going about the selection process? Well, I'm literally going through the alphabetical screenshot folders in the Gamebase64 collection by hand and picking out anything that looks interesting. There are over forty two thousand images in there... I'm currently making my way through "D". To put into perspective the amount of filtering I'm doing, there are 9227 images between # and C, and I have 555 games in the collection within that range. Once I find a game that looks interesting, I don't actually pull out the Gamebase64 version (not typically anyway). I source most of the games from csdb.dk because I like to individually pick and choose which group to use (and sometimes there are newer/better versions than what's on Gamebase64, like an Easyflash version) - I sortof have a mental flow chart of group priority, which is something like Remember > Triad > Genesis Project > Nostalgia > Hokotu Force > Laxity > Ikari > whatever else. Then I set the game up and test it. In some cases there might be some issue with a particular version of a game, like it might not work with True Drive off whereas a different version would (with True Drive enabled, it emulates the original drive read speeds, which is required for some games to work, but results in significantly longer load times), so then I'll try a different version and see if I can get around that. Only 5.58% of the games currently in the collection have True Drive enabled, which means speedy load times for the vast majority of them. In some cases I've gone through 10 different versions of the same game to find the one I want. I also set each game up to use the correct joystick port (which varies from game to game) so you don't have to guess every time you load up a game whether or not you'll need to switch it - it's done for you already. In some cases I'll add in my own custom joystick controls like with Spellbound Dizzy, a game that's ordinarily keyboard input only. I've also mapped a number of handy functions to the controller, but more on that later.

I'm currently at 1200 games complete and, as I said, I have a long way to go. This is something that I will be continually working on for, very likely, several years. However, I thought this would be a good point to put out a sortof "alpha" release to get it out there for people to play around with, see what they think, and give me some feedback. The full list of all currently available games, along with game-specific notes can be found here:

>>>C64 Dreams Game Details Spreadsheet<<<

Usage

The collection can be imported into existing Launchbox libraries, but this requires a bit of additional work. I'll be providing some instructions on how to do this and will streamline a separate import-only version in the future, but the current version is just a standalone LB package. You can copy your existing license file, if you have one, into the folder and it'll function just like your normal version of LB. It's functional without that though. If you're really set on importing it into your existing library as-is, we can walk through how to do that.

I've tried to incorporate as many useful functions into the controls as possible. These will take care of the most common situations, but it should be noted that a keyboard will still be required because you'll need access to things like the F# keys on occasion as well as other specific things in one-off cases. Disk swapping works using .m3us and, as such, functions just like any other platform in Retroarch that has .m3u support, like Beetle PSX. If you want to swap from disk 1 to 2, you would use Eject/Insert Disk > Next Disk > Eject/Insert Disk. In this case that means you simply press (on a 360/XB1 controller) Back+RB > Back+Y > Back+RB and then you just keep on truckin'.

160344262_ControllerLayout.thumb.png.9542204fb5cd0e8e60e16a5ccb6476fb.pngMany games have cracktros and trainers (cheats) before the game starts. Ordinarily you'll press space (or B on the controller) to bypass these. You'll often press N or Y to indicate yes or no on a trainer screen, and this can be accomplished with the left and right joystick buttons. Some games have doc screens (explanation of a game's story, controls, etc.) and will say to press "Runstop" in order to proceed - this is mapped to the start button. The C64 only had one fire button on the joystick, so it was somewhat common practice in platformers to use up on the joystick to jump - this will most likely feel pretty awkward for new players, so I've added an additional mapping to send an up input on the X button - giving you a dedicated jump button. If you need a reminder of the mappings, you can press Back+Start to display the above screen in-game, then press it again to go back to the game.

The keyboard can be used for joystick input as well.

8456 on the numpad = Up, Left, Down, Right
Left Alt = Fire
Left Ctrl = C= Key
ESC = Runstop
Numpad * is the combo key
Numpad * + Numpad 0 = Eject/Insert Disk
Numpad * + Numpad 8 = Next Disk
Numpad * + Numpad 7 = Previous Disk
Numpad * + Space = Fast Forward
Numpad * + ESC = Quit

While not exactly a primary feature, it's probably worth noting here that this collection does not in any way require Launchbox or any front-end for that matter in order to function. Launchbox is and will continue to be my front-end of choice, so it's what it will be packaged with, and what I use it with personally, but this collection is setup in such a way that it can function independently of the front-end, because it's all setup with .bats. Each game, each demoscene demo, etc. has its own .bat in their folders, these .bats are setup with relative paths so all you have to do is start the .bat and it does everything else for you. As far as the front-end is concerned, these are just like starting a PC game - no emulator is specified in LB, as the .bats already take care of starting programs, directing files, etc. So if you want to use something else, go for it. It should be noted that you will actually want to use the .vbs files in each folder, not the .bats themselves - the .vbs files are visual basic scripts that run the .bat for the game but hide the command prompt window.

The Collection

The thought occurred to me while I was working on this that I could expand it beyond just games, and incorporate Demoscene demos, SID music, and even C64 magazines into the collection as well. One C64 collection to rule them all, as it were. I really liked the idea of doing this because the C64 scene is still huge, and very much alive and kicking, and there's a ton of great stuff out there outside of the games themselves. This aspect of the collection is still very much in its infancy, but there's some interesting stuff here for you to check out. There are currently 25 demoscene demos, 25 SID tracks, and 66 magazines available. The SID tracks are setup both with the disk version (default launch) as well as standalone .sid files with a built-in player (accessible via the right-click menu).

The library is broken into Games, Demoscene, SID, and Magazines, some of which are further broken out into specific playlists. There are separate playlists for Commodore Force, Commodore Format, and Zzap!64 in Magazines, for example. Games has playlists of favorites, Best Of Vol. 1 (this is the 128 games featured in the original release of C64 Dreams), and Best Of Vol. 2 (this is a new set of 128 games). I'll be creating more Best Of playlists as I continue to expand the library.

The Tools

A number of additional tools were needed to bring all this together, so I wanted to take a bit of time to go over those.

AutoHotkey: This one's kindof a given. I used it extensively in the previous version of C64 Dreams, which brought about its own set of complications. The current version pared this back significantly and at this point basically all it's used for is to 1) move the mouse cursor out of the way on launch (the mouse is always visible in Retroarch if overlays are used, so this moves it off screen) 2) to start Antimicro as well as specify the Antimicro profile to use (customized in the case of certain games like Spellbound Dizzy) 3) close Antimicro and AHK once Retroarch closes. I've converted these to .exes (via Ahk2Exe) so that you do not need AHK installed on your computer for this to work, but if you want to know what's in the scripts specifically, they're available for your perusal in the C64 Dreams > C64 Dreams > Utilities > AHK Script Compiler > Completed folder.

Antimicro: This is an open-source joystick mapper, similar to something like Xpadder. I use this to map the arrow keys to the right stick for all games as well as pipe in custom controls in one-off cases.

CDisplay Ex: This is a great comic book viewer that, in this case, I'm using to display the magazines.

BZRPlayer: This a lightweight, portable music player that supports a huge range of audio formats. I use it to play the standalone .sid files in the SID platform.

FastStone Image Viewer: This is a lightweight, portable image viewer. I use it to display the commercial game message, which is actually just an animated .gif.

Known Issues

Screen Resolution

This is designed, by default, for 1080p resolution. If you use something else, it will still work, but is going to need a bit of adjustment. I have the base resolutions covered for 1600x900, 1080p, 1440p, and 4k. You can switch between these by going to the C64 Dreams > C64 Dreams > Utilities > Screen Resolution Adjustment folder and starting 1600x900.bat, 1080p.bat, 1440p.bat, or 4k.bat (I'll be adding these to a separate "Utilities" category in LB later). Thanks to @Lordmonkus and @neil9000 for helping me get 1440p and 4k sorted, and @jophran for 1600x900. However, while this takes care of the vast majority of cases, there are a few specific games where I do some custom cropping because the games made weird use of the overscan space. The base settings cover all but those games. The games in question are as follows:

Alien Syndrome
Another World
Bangkok Knights
Bear Essentials, The
Brainway
Cyberall
Dominion
Draconus
Game Over II - Part 1
Heatseaker
It's Magic
It's Magic 2
Mega Phoenix
No Mercy
Phobia
Tiger Claw
Wizball
Wolfling

This means that if you're on a non-1080p resolution, the cropping is going to be a bit off on these games. This is something that I want to remedy, and will be able to incorporate into the resolution change .bats, but only with the help of someone who has a 1440p/4k monitor at their disposal and is willing to help me test and fiddle with numbers. If you're using something other than 1080p, 1440p, or 4k, I can incorporate that as well but again will need your assistance in testing in order to do so.

If you're using Windows 10 and are using 1080p but most of the screen is cropped off, you may need to adjust your "high DPI settings". Go to the C64 Dreams\C64 Dreams\Retroarch folder, right-click on Retroarch.exe and select "change high DPI settings", select the checkmark "override high DPI scaling behavior performed by" and select "application". Thanks to @MacGuyver for bringing this to my attention and sorting it out.

Commercial Games

There are a number of modern C64 games in the collection (as I said, the C64 scene is still very much alive), and a few of these are still commercially available - 9 of them, to be exact. Because of this, the roms for these games are not included in this collection. The game details spreadsheet has links to where these can be purchased where relevant. Then you simply drop the .d64 file into the relevant folder, name it "Disk1.d64", then start the "Install Real Config.bat" in the folder and you'll be good to go. Until you do this, when you start those games, you'll just see the following message:

1834643205_CommercialC64Game.thumb.gif.9bd2bfab6d18c1d85a9223398691291f.gif

As I said though, this only accounts for 9 games in the entire collection. The specific games in question are as follows:

Galencia
It's Magic 2
Moonspire
Organism
Pains 'n' Aches
Rocky Memphis Legend of Atlantis
Sam's Journey
Steel Ranger
Sydney Hunter

Future Plans

At this point I just need to keep moving forward picking out and adding more games. That's priority number one. More music, demos, and magazines will be added as well, but that's of secondary importance. 12% of the games don't have covers, and I'm using a screenshot in lieu of one - I've been in the process of coming up with some form of generic cover that I can slot game-specific stuff into to address these, but it's not done yet. I actually really like @Lassiveran's cover project  and use those wherever available. That doesn't cover everything in here though. While I'd certainly be thrilled if he were able to take care of the missing ones, I know that's a lot to ask, so I'm not expecting that, which is why I've been trying to come up with something on my own. That's basically priority number three. Beyond that, I'm also creating video snaps for all of these. That's at the absolute bottom of the pile though and will have to remain on the backburner for a while as it's just not as important as the other stuff.

This is basically where I'm at content-wise, which I realize makes it looks like there's nothing here, but it's just that there's still a long way to go from what is already a lot of stuff.

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So that's pretty much it! I'm looking forward to having some more people test it out, provide some feedback, and let me know if there are any issues that I need to get sorted out. Have fun!

Download Here

Oh, and there are a number of people that I've either spoken to previously about this project directly or that I just know have an existing interest in C64 emulation that I thought I should shoutout here in hopes to get as many potentially interested eyeballs on this as possible :D

@CriticalCid @Belgarath @ALIE @dragon57 @bundangdon @vaderag @djsim101 @orac31 @Zeaede @InfinityFox @C64Crazy @alnyden @zorkiii @mothergoose729

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Posted (edited)

This looks awesome! 👏 Great work @Zombeaver 

When I was real young I'd beg my parents to get some specific game from a store, spent a lot of years as a kid going to friends houses and copying/trading games, going to local meetups and Commodore groups doing the same, and eventually downloading lots off BBS's. There are so many great games out there, but also many poorly made games! I remember being real excited getting a new game at a store or trading a stack of disks with friends only to find a bunch were awful. But the good ones are really really good! And still find myself playing C64. There's a mystique around the machine and whole experience and those years that I can't seem to shake. I kinda sorta started doing this same thing years ago but stopped at not too many letters of the alphabet in, there's just so much. I know I made some of my own custom video snaps for the handful of games in my Launchbox collection, and would be more than happy to share any of those with you if it helps at all. Super looking forward to your project and glad you are putting the effort in for this, it will make a ton of people happy. 

Edited by zorkiii
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Excellent put together package. You can tell a lot of C64 love went into this!

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Definitely going to check this out soon. Thanks a lot for sharing such an awesome c64 creation!

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Wow, amazing. Thanks very much for tagging me as I would probably have missed this!

I currently have a C64 setup that kinda works, but a) it has at least 6000-7000 games in it, b) there are button presses all over the shop to get through things and c) it's 50/50 when picking a game if i can get it to work!

I will be watching this very carefully - I'll want it incorporated into my existing Launchbox setup (so will keep an eye out for those instructions), and sounds like I will need to adapt to 16:10 for my monitor(?)

 

You have also inspired me to share my Acorn Archimedes work in a more robust way at some point soon... by no means as extensive as this, but I worked closely with a guy on the Hyperspin forums to get as much of that up and running as possible), so will look at posting that once i've finished my Hyperspin -> Launchbox transition!

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On 3/13/2019 at 8:21 PM, zorkiii said:

This looks awesome! 👏 Great work @Zombeaver 

When I was real young I'd beg my parents to get some specific game from a store, spent a lot of years as a kid going to friends houses and copying/trading games, going to local meetups and Commodore groups doing the same, and eventually downloading lots off BBS's. There are so many great games out there, but also many poorly made games! I remember being real excited getting a new game at a store or trading a stack of disks with friends only to find a bunch were awful. But the good ones are really really good! And still find myself playing C64. There's a mystique around the machine and whole experience and those years that I can't seem to shake. I kinda sorta started doing this same thing years ago but stopped at not too many letters of the alphabet in, there's just so much. [...] Super looking forward to your project and glad you are putting the effort in for this, it will make a ton of people happy. 

Thanks!

I'm sure most of us can relate to having that crappy experience of coming across some game that looks like it'd be awesome but then turns out to be complete trash. When I was a kid, we used to rent a game for the weekend, typically for the NES, and of course some of them sounded like they'd be awesome but then you play them and they turn out to just be completely awful... but you're stuck with it for the weekend :( That sort of situation is even more likely with C64 stuff because there's just so much of it. As you said, the good games are really good, it's just a matter of separating those from all the junk.

On 3/13/2019 at 8:21 PM, zorkiii said:

I know I made some of my own custom video snaps for the handful of games in my Launchbox collection, and would be more than happy to share any of those with you if it helps at all.

I appreciate the offer! I should be okay, it's just going to take time. Considering videos don't even work in the free version of LB, I'm just not in a particular hurry on that front. My biggest priority for those is actually to get the ones for the "Best of" playlists done, then move on to the collection as a whole. I have about 80 done right now.

On 3/13/2019 at 9:05 PM, kmoney said:

Excellent put together package. You can tell a lot of C64 love went into this!

On 3/13/2019 at 10:00 PM, bundangdon said:

Definitely going to check this out soon. Thanks a lot for sharing such an awesome c64 creation!

Thanks! :D

On 3/14/2019 at 6:49 AM, vaderag said:

Wow, amazing. Thanks very much for tagging me as I would probably have missed this!

No problem! I went through the forums and looked around at who was posting in various C64 threads haha.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:49 AM, vaderag said:

I currently have a C64 setup that kinda works, but a) it has at least 6000-7000 games in it, b) there are button presses all over the shop to get through things and c) it's 50/50 when picking a game if i can get it to work!

Yep, definitely a common situation with C64. I tell people about tons of great C64 games all the time, but most of the time if they have C64 in their library at all (which they often don't, because a lot of people just don't want to put up with the hassle to begin with), they've got a giant mess of stuff and have no idea where to even begin or whether or not what they have will actually work.

On 3/14/2019 at 6:49 AM, vaderag said:

You have also inspired me to share my Acorn Archimedes work in a more robust way at some point soon... by no means as extensive as this, but I worked closely with a guy on the Hyperspin forums to get as much of that up and running as possible), so will look at posting that once i've finished my Hyperspin -> Launchbox transition!

Cool! :D

On 3/14/2019 at 6:49 AM, vaderag said:

I will be watching this very carefully - I'll want it incorporated into my existing Launchbox setup (so will keep an eye out for those instructions), and sounds like I will need to adapt to 16:10 for my monitor(?)

So, in order to pull it into your existing library, you'll need to:

1) Copy the C64 Dreams subfolder (below) into your root Launchbox folder.

image.thumb.png.455e8e43028f23a06f7ecc05b37bc554.png2) In that folder you'll see 3 text files. "Files and Data to Import.txt" will show you what files/folders you will need to copy out of the Launchbox folder that you download and into your existing Launchbox setup. Ignore the "Adjust paths in platform xmls to make it an internal folder" bit on line 1, that's already done. This is what you'll need to copy over:

image.thumb.png.5b95c83b4aed7ec02466f07973fb3085.png 3) Here comes the "tricky" part. You need to copy the contents of "Parents XML Insert.txt" into your Data > Parents.xml at the bottom of it, one line above </Launchbox> and then do the same thing with "Platforms XML Insert.txt" in your Data > Platforms.xml. PLEASE backup your xmls before you do this. Also, you will want to use Notepad++ to make sure the formatting comes through correctly.
image.thumb.png.c87bfc3ed1409c0fd4f8215693dba5e4.pngimage.thumb.png.1b8a48d4338b012d7e383a042e140286.pngAs far as your screen, yeah we'll need to do a bit of adjustment. 16:10 is actually the same aspect ratio as the C64's, which means we'll need to turn off the overlay (bezel) first of all. Go into the C64 Dreams > Retroarch > VICE x64 folder and open up VICE x64.cfg. Change the input_overlay_enable on line 14 from "true" to "false".

image.thumb.png.74d80b09543b52ca8c8562f3d122ada3.pngNow load up a game and see what you get. Chances are it'll still be wrong, I don't know what your native resolution is. Using the BASIC screen is a good way to sort out the screen adjustment.

image.thumb.png.4f8b9f4d6765fa80f6c03b924f043533.pngThis is what it should look like on a 16:9 monitor. On a 16:10 monitor, it should look like this but the edges of your screen should be the inner (non-bezel) portion of this (16:10 is narrower). You'll want the dark blue background to cover your entire screen. Just beyond the screen that's visible here is a lighter blue color - that's the overscan space that we're going to crop out.

So to help with testing, the first thing you can do is go into C64 Dreams > Games and then go into any of the games subfolders. I'll pick 1942. You'll see a file named "Disk1.d64". Rename that to anything else. "Disk10.d64" or something. The reason we're doing that is if the name changes it won't find what it's looking for and will just sit on the BASIC screen. After you've renamed it, start 1942.bat (or whatever [game name].bat is in the folder you picked) and you should be staring at the BASIC screen. Once we're done here, rename the file to "Disk1.d64".

So, if the screen doesn't look like the inner/non-bezel portion of the above screenshot for you, we'll have to adjust some numbers. The controls here are a bit weird so bare with me. Press Numpad * and F1, then you'll see the Retroarch UI. You can move up, left, down, and right with numpad 8456. You can make a selection with left click and go back with right click. You need to go to Settings > Video and then scroll down until you get to "Custom Aspect Ratio X Pos."

The X Pos, Y Pos, Width, and Height are what will need to be adjusted. The background is semi-transparent, so you should be able to still see the BASIC screen behind it. You need to adjust these four fields until the light blue box around the BASIC screen is just offscreen. If you need to switch back to the normal screen without the Retroarch UI to be able to see better, just press Numpad * + F1 to switch back and forth.

image.thumb.png.4bea97ee056b33c06cadd714401c3d92.pngOnce you get these figured out, shoot me the numbers that you used and I'll make a new config for it and add a new resolution adjustment .bat for it.

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This looks incredible Zomb. I know the C64 by name but never took the time of checking its library or playing it. I might watch some vids on it (specs, history, and games) and get your pack (as your packs are a joy!).

Thank you for taking this monster project and simplifying it to spread its knowledge in the community.

 

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@Solo caught an issue with some fields in the retroarch.cfg. Thanks for that!

It's not something that would really hurt anything per se, but it needed to be fixed just the same. I've updated the download link. If you've already downloaded it, just go into the C64 Dreams > Retroarch folder and replace retroarch.cfg with the one attached below. You can also delete retroarch.bak.cfg.

retroarch.cfg

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Another small update here, the version I'd been using for Aliens: The Computer Game was a 1581 (.d81) version that worked but had this weird habit of freaking out/crashing if you pressed enter (right trigger) during loading. I've replaced this with an Easyflash version which loads faster anyway and doesn't have this problem.

Aliens Hotfix.7z

Just drop this in the C64 Dreams folder, select yes when prompted to merge/overwrite and you'll be set.

image.thumb.png.dc0916bc66270cf3f846f06757b3e698.png

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This is a amazing!  Thanks for sharing.  I was already using your C64 Dreams list as my C64 favorites in Launchbox, but I'm inspired by the work you put into this, and am trying to port your improvements into my existing system.  I've been using CCS64 as my emulator, but am interested in getting it to work in Retroarch.  So far so good -- I installed your .cfg file and games seem to be loading properly, screen resolution is correct, etc. (and it's nice to have a working pause menu via Rocketlauncher).  I figured out using the * on numlock to access the function menu, etc.  The biggest issue I'm having is figuring out how to get your control system working with the joystick.  I'm not sure how to import the input remap, etc.  Also, where would I put the AHK files, and finally, how to I install Antimicro so it's working properly?  Hope this all makes sense.  Thanks again!

R

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If you want to incorporate this into your existing library, you'll want to follow the instructions I posted above (copied below). I would not suggest trying to pick and choose pieces to move over. There are a lot of moving parts that you're going to have a hard time replicating from scratch.

On 3/14/2019 at 9:34 AM, Zombeaver said:

1) Copy the C64 Dreams subfolder (below) into your root Launchbox folder.

image.thumb.png.455e8e43028f23a06f7ecc05b37bc554.png2) In that folder you'll see 3 text files. "Files and Data to Import.txt" will show you what files/folders you will need to copy out of the Launchbox folder that you download and into your existing Launchbox setup. Ignore the "Adjust paths in platform xmls to make it an internal folder" bit on line 1, that's already done. This is what you'll need to copy over:

image.thumb.png.5b95c83b4aed7ec02466f07973fb3085.png 3) Here comes the "tricky" part. You need to copy the contents of "Parents XML Insert.txt" into your Data > Parents.xml at the bottom of it, one line above </Launchbox> and then do the same thing with "Platforms XML Insert.txt" in your Data > Platforms.xml. PLEASE backup your xmls before you do this. Also, you will want to use Notepad++ to make sure the formatting comes through correctly.
image.thumb.png.c87bfc3ed1409c0fd4f8215693dba5e4.pngimage.thumb.png.1b8a48d4338b012d7e383a042e140286.png

Every single game, demoscene demo, sid track, and magazine is setup with its own .bat, all of which use relative paths. The only thing you need to do is start the .bat and it will do the rest for you. As far as LB is concerned, these are just like starting a PC game. So long as everything is copied over and where it's supposed to be, it'll work.
image.png.d640aaceff9fe47cd67d438ee0cf2391.png

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1 hour ago, Zombeaver said:

If you want to incorporate this into your existing library, you'll want to follow the instructions I posted above (copied below). I would not suggest trying to pick and choose pieces to move over. There are a lot of moving parts that you're going to have a hard time replicating from scratch.

Every single game, demoscene demo, sid track, and magazine is setup with its own .bat, all of which use relative paths. The only thing you need to do is start the .bat and it will do the rest for you. As far as LB is concerned, these are just like starting a PC game. So long as everything is copied over and where it's supposed to be, it'll work.
image.png.d640aaceff9fe47cd67d438ee0cf2391.png

Gotcha.  I can see how moving specific parts would be difficult.  Thanks for letting me know!

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Wow! Downloading now. Thanks for all the work you put into this. I know next to nothing about C64, so this should be a great starting point.

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Wow, what an incredible amount of work you've put into this, Zombeaver!   I absolutely love how insanely careful and picky you are to ensure the experience is smooth.    I absolutely love the cheatsheet controller image that comes up, and how you've set up the controller with such useful features.   I plan on digging into this in a big way!

A few quick questions.  The biggest issue I had is that I couldn't get the display resolution to work correctly.  My monitor is 1920x1080 but for some reason the image appears zoomed in when I run this setup.  I even tried running the 1080p bat file but it did not help.  I will admit that I don't find the user interface on Retroarch very easy to use but I'm not familiar with it. 957536627_Screenshot(8).thumb.png.b6038f4f0b3a463efe25f986790f22a0.png

 

The other thing that was difficult is that getting to the Retroarch screen to adjust was also difficult, since it does not display wide enough to show the video settings.

 

1932034950_Screenshot(9).thumb.png.d6e91b165f3a9d45fb89ce0edd1f4466.png

I was able to fumble my way to 4x3 on the aspect ratio, so I could see everything but then the image was quite small, so I'd love to hear any suggestions on how to adjust this to be in between the two.

The other thing I noticed is that running the version of Launchbox with your package would occasionally interfere with the shortcuts for my main launchbox installation,   

Finally, the one last item I wished for is the ability for the escape key to quit, instead of representing the run stop key on the keyboard.  Is this easy to adjust?

Thanks!

 

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Is your DPI scaling in Windows something other than 100%? I'm not sure why it would be zoomed in like that on 1080p unless it's something like that. If the Retroarch UI itself isn't even fitting on the screen, something is very wrong. Scaling would be my first guess. Barring that, maybe try backing up the retroarch.cfg someplace and then deleting it.

ESC already quits, but you have to hold down the enable hotkeys key for it (or any other Retroarch hotkey) to work. In this case that's either numpad * (asterisk) or back/select on a controller. You cannot just press ESC by itself, because that would mean hotkeys were always on... Which you do not want on a platform that uses keyboard inputs, or else you'd be doing all kinds of stuff that you don't want to be doing while simply trying to type in a word, use the function keys, etc.

I'm not sure what you mean about the shortcuts. The package doesn't install anything, so it's not going to impact any existing shortcuts. If you actually *installed* a new instance of Launchbox (which isn't happening here) that could interfere with existing desktop/start menu shortcuts.

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My DPI scaling in Windows is set to 100%.    I found someone else having the same problem with Retroarch, and the solution which worked for me was to right click on the Retroarch.exe program in the C64 dreams folder, click "change high DPI settings", and select the checkmark "override high DPI scaling behavior performed by" and select "application".  Now it works perfectly!   

What a treat!  I'm really impressed how you've got the zoom level perfect to crop out the borders, and the Retroarch rendering looks incredible as far as scanlines.

Thanks very much for the explanation of how hotkeys work on Retroarch.  Makes sense.  

By shortcuts, I was refererring to the fact that sometimes when I click on the C64 dreams copy of Launchbox.exe it would install it instead of running it, and the Launchbox shortcuts in my windows Start menu would launch the C64 Dreams version of Launchbox instead of my regular installation.  Would like to avoid this, but maybe the easiest way is to just import C64 Dreams into my existing Launchbox setup.  

A few more questions

How can I change the alien type background on the sides?  

Do you plan on showing a tutorial for the process you go through for adding new games, so that I could add some more favorites of my own to this setup with the same care and attention that you have?  Based on how careful and how you are actually doing custom setups for every single game, I totally believe that it's going to take you a few years to get through the entire library.    You are doing this with the same level as an archivist, and for that I thank you!

 
 

 

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7 hours ago, MacGuyver said:

My DPI scaling in Windows is set to 100%.    I found someone else having the same problem with Retroarch, and the solution which worked for me was to right click on the Retroarch.exe program in the C64 dreams folder, click "change high DPI settings", and select the checkmark "override high DPI scaling behavior performed by" and select "application".  Now it works perfectly!   

Awesome! I figured it was something along those lines.

I added a note about it in the screen resolution section above. Thank you for bringing that to my attention!

7 hours ago, MacGuyver said:

What a treat!  I'm really impressed how you've got the zoom level perfect to crop out the borders, and the Retroarch rendering looks incredible as far as scanlines.

Thanks very much for the explanation of how hotkeys work on Retroarch.  Makes sense.  

Happy to help!

7 hours ago, MacGuyver said:

By shortcuts, I was refererring to the fact that sometimes when I click on the C64 dreams copy of Launchbox.exe it would install it instead of running it, and the Launchbox shortcuts in my windows Start menu would launch the C64 Dreams version of Launchbox instead of my regular installation. 

Yeah I don't know what to tell you there because that should not be possible. Launchbox.exe is not the installer for Launchbox. The installer is something like Launchbox-[version]-Setup.exe or somesuch which isn't included here. You can find examples in your own Launchbox\Updates folder. Launchbox.exe is just the program itself, which is portable. This is no different from you installing Launchbox on your computer, copying the folder and plopping it down on a different computer. Now, if your start menu is using something like recent applications to determine what to display, they're both named Launchbox.exe and would look the same, and it might only be able to display one of them at a time; that's about the only explanation I can think of. However, nothing here should overwrite an existing static shortcut to Launchbox in your start menu/desktop. When you install Launchbox and tell it to create start menu/desktop shortcuts, it will create ones with a path of C:\[blah blah]\Launchbox.exe (wherever you chose to install it). You starting Launchbox.exe here is not going to change that static path. The only thing that should be able to potentially change that is actually installing a new instance of Launchbox with one of the setup exes.

My suggestion would probably be to just create your own shortcut to Launchbox.exe in the C64 Dreams folder, name the shortcut C64 Dreams, and then put it in your start menu/desktop. Do the same thing for your actual Launchbox install and just leave the name of the shortcut Launchbox; that way there shouldn't be any confusion as to what you're looking at.

You can, of course, just import it into your existing library as well, though this requires some additional steps. I posted them above.

7 hours ago, MacGuyver said:

How can I change the alien type background on the sides?  

Currently you can't. You can remove it if you want, by going into C64 Dreams\C64 Dreams\Retroarch\config\VICE x64\ then opening "VICE x64.cfg" and changing the line input_overlay_enable = "true" to input_overlay_enable = "false".

Eventually I'll make some more to give people more options to choose from, but currently it's just Project Firestart.

7 hours ago, MacGuyver said:

Do you plan on showing a tutorial for the process you go through for adding new games, so that I could add some more favorites of my own to this setup with the same care and attention that you have?  Based on how careful and how you are actually doing custom setups for every single game, I totally believe that it's going to take you a few years to get through the entire library.    You are doing this with the same level as an archivist, and for that I thank you!

I wasn't really planning on it, no. That said, if there's anything specific you're wanting, I'm all ears. My plan is to release updates as I progress; probably every couple hundred games or so. So if there's something specific that you want added, I can add it in for the next batch.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks again for all the help.  I sure am going to be looking forward to your updates on this project.  I can't stress enough that in all my years of C64 emulation, I've never seen as good a presentation as what you've done here.  The games play better than on a real commodore!  What a treat.

Quote
18 hours ago, Zombeaver said:

That said, if there's anything specific you're wanting, I'm all ears. My plan is to release updates as I progress; probably every couple hundred games or so. So if there's something specific that you want added, I can add it in for the next batch.

 

I'll PM you with a separate list rather than hijacking your thread.  Thanks again!

Edited by MacGuyver
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@Zombeaver Amazing job as always!

Even though I´m normally a sucker for crt-royale-kurozumi shader, I liked yours for C64.

I had a harddrive crash recently so I tried setting this up from fresh install. I got a corruption warning on the parents.xml even though i edited it with notepad++. I´m not entirely sure what fixed it but what i did was to start up launchbox without the inserts. Then i deleted all the newly added entries, which was added by launchbox, and inserted your entries again. And now it seems to work.

I would like to change theme with the new built in theme manager for Bigbox, but I´m not sure how to do that with your custom entries. Is it as easy as just rename?

I also would like to have that controller explaining picture as a startup picture for a few seconds.. How to do that?

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