A500-X has arrived

So my new project has arrived.

One very tidy looking Commodore Amiga 500 complete with original mouse, power supply and 1084S monitor donated by my old mate Robert.

It is (well, was until I got it) a virgin Rev 6 Amiga 500, still had the original warranty stickers intact.

Those are now in pieces as I strip down the system to inspect it, confirm what version chips etc are installed and see if anything requires replacing.

It came with a Commodore A501 RAM expansion card with battery installed – but NOT a Varta battery by the looks of it. Put it this way, theres no leakage that I can see so far – they soldered the shielding around the expansion, so to get into it, I need to get a soldering iron (I only have a heavy duty one).

So whats the plan ?

I’m going to (over time) replace the floppy with a GoTek drive, upgrade the Kickstart ROM to 3.x and maybe even get an ‘030 CPU for it with RAM expansion and IDE connector to allow a HDD to be connected.

It will be known as the “A500-X”.

So wish me luck, and keep up to date on my progress via the Amiga menu link.

Amiga 500 – Mine. Wow.

I’ve had a few Amigas in my possession over the years, but always ended up passing them along for various reasons, but lately I’ve been looking out for another one to keep and upgrade with something such as a GoTek drive.

In New Zealand, the prices on them has sky rocketed over the past couple of years, base A500 units WITHOUT PSU’s going for $200NZD+ which is insane.

Recently I remembered that one of my old mates from my childhood, had an Amiga at the same time as me – I wondered if he kept it after we lost touch (he moved to Australia) – so I asked my folks to ask his parents if it was still in the family home.

The response was “Yes”.

The parents contacted my mate and asked if he wanted to keep it or could it be moved on, and if so, that I was interested in it.

He apparently asked “why does he want it ?” – I haven’t seen him for 20+ years, so he is unaware of my ongoing interest in the Amiga.

Anyway, today my father calls me to say there is a large box sitting in his doorway containing an A500, 1084S monitor and assorted accessories etc.

My mate said to his parents “Give it to him for nothing” – OMG.

I will certainly be making an effort to contact my old mate to thank him and let him know I’m still a major geek 😉

I cannot pick it up for another week, but be assured, photos etc will be put online soon as I can.

Amiga Games HDF

So, I still like to play Amiga games.

I’ve used a few different game orientated systems such as FS-UAE Arcade but its a bit overkill for my needs.

So I decided to put together a HDF file that contains a basic Workbench installation with Directory Opus and a few other applications, and a number of HDD installable Amiga games.

I mentioned this on an Amiga Facebook group, and had a bit of interest from people who want to game from HDD, but don’t/can’t use WHDLoad for whatever reason.

Now the thing is, a lot of the games I’ve added so far, don’t officially have HDD installers, but since they are just AmigaDOS disks, I can copy the contents into a folder and they run happily.

Games such as the early Sierra stuff (Kings Quest, Police Quest) are literally just a copy and run process.

Others come with installers making the process even easier.

Then you get the ones that are AmigaDOS disks, but when copied to HDD, they ask for the disk to be inserted upon running the game.

These can be more fun.

Either need to look on Aminet for an HDD installer for the game, or be brave and poke around in the main game executable for references to DF0: .

I did this with a few games back in the day, and one that sticks to my mind was Floor 13. This was a 2 disk game, and only used DF0: . I was happy to use it off dual floppy drives, but it would not use any other drive.

So I copied the contents from both discs to my HDD, fired up Disk Peek and Update, and used its hex/ASCII viewer to examine the main game executable.

I found references to DF0: – so I changed these to F13: instead, set up an assign to the Floor 13 files and fired up the executable.

Worked perfectly. Running from HDD and no more disc prompts.

This method does not work for all games, but its worth a play with.

Xbox Announcement : Online Multiplayer for FTP Unlocked

ONLINE MULTIPLAYER FOR FREE-TO-PLAY GAMES UNLOCKED
Effective 21 April, all Xbox players can access online multiplayer for free-to-play games as well as multiplayer-supported free demos and betas at no charge.

To make it easier for everyone to find and connect with other gamers, we are unlocking two other Xbox Live Gold features, “Looking for Groups” and “Party”, for all Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles.

There is a rich library of over 50 free-to-play games you can download and play with all your friends, regardless of their membership.

Additional details about this change can be found here.

GTA 5 : Mod menus

Mod menus have been around for many years in various forms, most people use them to enable “god” mode so they dont get killed.

However with GTA5, the menus allow so much more.

Want god mode ? Done

Unlimited ammo ? Indestructible vehicles ? All the skins ? Modify vehicles ? Change the weather for the server ?

No problem.

But some users use these options just to piss off other players – ever been playing and had a UFO land on you ?

Or locked out of your own vehicle ? Blown up along with everyone else on the server ?

These are the guys who ruin it for all………..

Lets start off by saying that anyone who uses a mod menu, is NOT a hacker. They have not hacked a thing. They are using someone’s software that is hacking/exploiting the game to a degree.

Mod menu users are the equivalent of “script kiddies”, who use random pre-built tools to attack websites etc.

How do I know ?

Because I am one.

Before you rant at me, let me explain.

I purchased GTA5 on the PS3 on release. I spent a few years playing with mates online, and built up a decent character and garage, all legitimately.

Then the game got released on PC and all my mates went over to GTA on PC…. I didn’t because I didn’t have a decent enough PC to run it at the time. I stuck with the PS3 version but found it was becoming infested with “modders”, and they were ruining the game.

So I left.

Skip forward a few years, and Epic Games give away GTA5 for free – I grab it and play it on my now capable PC.

Jump online and…. shit. Modders.

So I bailed again.

Then a few months ago I gave online another shot, and found that while there were some annoying modders, a majority had buggered off to Red Dead Redemption Online.

Now I could get back into the online game….. but then I remembered…. I didn’t transfer my character when the PC version was released, and the window for that to be done had closed a long time ago.

So I’d have to start again…… nooooooo.

Then I figured I’d take a look at a mod menu. Kiddions seemed to be reasonably popular, free, and did not appear to be picked up by Rockstar’s system, so was therefore “safe” to use.

I grabbed it, installed, and wow, it worked.

The main thing I used it for, was to obtain money – I did not use it for god mode and other “cheats” against other players, that would just kill the game for me. What’s the point of going around pissing everyone off.

So with “Kiddions”, I’ve now reached a reasonable level for my character, have a healthy bank balance, and multiple garages full of fun cars to drive.

The only time I’ve used the god mode aspect, is when I’m bored, I get 5 wanted stars, and take on the masses of cops that come after me. But – I’ve always ensured I am well away from other players. One reason is so that they don’t see what I’m doing and report me – the other is to avoid them being caught in the cross-fire. It gets messy.

But there are still many players out there who use the mod menus for stupid means as mentioned at the start.

Sometimes I run into other players blatantly using a mod menu, and if theres hardly anyone else on the server, I enable Kiddions and we have a blast doing stupid things against the AI. We respect the other players without mod menus and leave them alone.

If all mod menu users did this, it wouldn’t be such an annoyance to other players….. but there’s always one out there to ruin it for all.

New vs New-Old

Like movie script writers, there seems to be a lot of game developers who have stalled on ideas for new stories and characters, and decided re-making their old games with newer technology is a good idea.

And in some cases, its a fantastic idea and works reasonably well.

However in other cases, the developers use the name and IP from the original game, but make it into something else… completely horrible (ok, I exaggerate, just my opinion on some releases).

One of these, titles was Syndicate.

On the Amiga (and eventually PC), it was a fantastic game – just everything about it was very well done and made the game very enjoyable.

In 2009, it was announced that a new Syndicate game was on its way.

Boy, did I get excited.

Then I read this :

however, it used a first-person shooter format, which differed significantly from the isometric real-time tactics format of the series’ original game

Oh.

It used the name, and some of the ideas etc but was not Syndicate to me.

I did buy it a while after its release, and while was a fun romp, just not Syndicate.

I wanted the original format of the original game – isometric, guiding your little team around these massive cities gunning down other Syndicates. But with newer graphics and sound. But LEAVE THE GAMEPLAY ALONE.

One of the original developers of the original game, did release a Syndicate type game, Satellite Reign, a few years ago and while did fit what I was looking for to a degree, it still was not quite there.

One game that was remade, and did it right, was the all time great, The Secret Of Monkey Island – Special Edition.

Graphics, sound etc updated. Fantastic. But overall gameplay was left as the original. AND you could even switch to the original graphics mode whenever you wanted for that nostalgia.

So developers, ask around before “remaking” a game – see if people want the same gameplay, or something else. I think you’ll be surprised how many will just want updated graphics and sound…

Radio XPD is live!

Yup, I started a streaming “radio station”.

No, you won’t hear my amazing voice as a live DJ.

What you will hear is over 6 days (!!!!!) worth of Amiga related music streaming 24/7.

Modules, remixes, musicians, you name it, it’ll play.

Game themes, demo tracks, party entries and more.

AND NO ADS. (OK, theres 2 that play at random, just encouraging you to share this cool stream)

And we have the pleasure of including remix tracks DIRECT from the infamous d4xx (aka daxx) of Scoopex/The Ravebusters/TRSI.

Huge thanks to d4xx for this!

So get in there and enjoy!

Click here for the stream page

WATCH DOGS: LEGION ONLINE MODE NOW AVAILABLE

THE ONLINE MODE IS AVAILABLE TODAY ON CONSOLES AND STADIA AT NO ADDITIONAL COST. PC PLAYERS WILL GET ACCESS SOON

LONDON, UK – 9TH MARCH, 2021 – Today, Ubisoft announced that the online mode for Watch Dogs: Legion is now available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5 and Stadia at no additional cost for Watch Dogs: Legion players. The mode will also be coming shortly after on the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft Store on Windows PC, and Ubisoft+*, Ubisoft’s subscription service.
 
The online mode of Watch Dogs: Legion includes:

  • Free-roam open-world co-op where players can team up with their friends for up to four-players and explore London, encounter city events, complete challenges and participate in side activities.
  • New co-op missions for two-to-four players using new co-op gameplay mechanics and giving players the opportunity to recruit the perfect team and fight back against London’s threats across the most iconic landmarks of the city.
  • The first available Player-vs-Player (PvP) mode, Spiderbot Arena, where four players control armed spiderbots and compete in a high intensity free-for-all deathmatch.

Two exclusive single-player missions for Season Pass owners are also available today:

  • Guardian Protocol: DedSec will track down an algorithm that shows that AI can sometimes override human decision. If this algorithm was to be used in weaponized drones… they would have power over life and death.
  • Not In Our Name: DedSec discovers a secret group using their name in London, working under the orders of a ruthless tabloid owner, who uses information stolen by this group to blackmail his notorious victims and gain power in the city.

 
On 23rd March, “Leader of the Pack,” the first four-player co-op Tactical Op which will require teamwork and efficiency will be available. More content will continue being added after launch through free updates, including Invasion PvP mode, all-new co-op missions, free characters and more.
 
In Watch Dogs: Legion, London is facing its downfall. Amidst the growing unrest of a restless London, an unknown entity named Zero-Day has framed secret underground resistance DedSec for coordinated bombings across London. In the aftermath, criminal opportunists from every corner of London took hold and filled the void left by a defeated government. As a member of DedSec, players will be going up against those criminal opportunists in Watch Dogs: Legion; sadists, mercenaries, cybercriminals, and more; they’ll have to be prepared for a variety of situations. Players must recruit members into their DedSec Resistance to take on these criminal opportunists, liberate London and uncover the identity of Zero-Day.
 
Watch Dogs: Legion has a variety of accessibility options, ranging from fully customisable controls to directional audio captions. A full list of accessibility options can be found on news.ubisoft.com.
 
For the latest news on Watch Dogs: Legion and all of Ubisoft’s games, please visit news.ubisoft.com.
For more information about Watch Dogs: Legion, please visit watchdogs.com, and join the conversation by using #watchdogslegion.
*£12.99 per month. Cancel anytime. The Ultimate Edition (Excluding VIP status) will be available as part of a Ubisoft+ subscription. More information at ubisoft-plus.com.

GTA V : LSPDFR Installation for Epic Games

GTAV LSPDFR is a mod for GTAV that allows you to play as a San Andreas police official.

So you can chase down the crims instead of being one 🙂

Most the installation procedures online are for the Steam version of the game, and fail to run correctly for the Epic Games release.

So, I whipped up this guide which worked for me.

Obviously install GTA5 via Epic Games

Download LSPDFR

Download RageHook

Install LSPDFR – ensure it installs/extracts to your GTAV directory and NOT in a mods/LSPDFR/whateva directory.

ie: D:\Program Files\Epic Games\GTAV – Correct

D:\Program Files\Epic Games\GTAV\Mods\LSPDFR – Wrong

Install RageHook – this will look for your GTA directory, so ensure its located the correct directory.

Run GTAV from the Epic Games launcher, and once its started loading the game engine (usually once the Rockstar logo has appeared and sirens playing), Alt-TAB to Windows, and find the RAGEPluginHook.exe in your GTAV folder, and run it – it should now load and detect the game is already running.

Flick back to GTAV and you should see the Rage logo appear.

If you see this, you are pretty much done.

Running RageHook on its own, does try to load the game, but it gets confused as it tries to authenticate with the Rockstar Launcher rather than Epic Games, and will fail.

LSPDR is not compatible with GTAOnline, and if you try entering GTAOnline with RageHook running, you will get a warning message.

To get back into GTAOnline, you will need to exit/kill the Ragehook process.

Note : I don’t know if its a side effect or just my install, but I’ve noticed that the GTAV game exe does not seem to shutdown properly once you exit the game, so if you need the RAM/CPU back or have issues starting the game again, kill the process or reboot your PC.