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Hello all. I haven't posted here in a while but that doesn't mean I'm not making stuff. I decided to concentrate on game develop...

Saturday, 16 January 2021


Hello all. I haven't posted here in a while but that doesn't mean I'm not making stuff. I decided to concentrate on game development for a while and I am using Twitter and Itch.io to post about this and share things. You can find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/wiebow, and my Itch.io page is at https://wiebow.itch.io/

This blog will take a back seat but it will of course remain online. Thank you.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Flatpak VICE, Sublime Text and Kick Assembler

The Linux Mint VICE version listed in the software manager is an older version and had issues with opening modal windows (I could, for instance, not open the monitor) on my Linux installation.

VICE is not released as a compiled version for Linux anymore and I just do not want to compile the emulator each time a new version is released. It turns out that the VICE version distributed in Flatpak is version 3.3, the most recent. So lets use that one. After removing the old version via Software Manager and installing the Flatpak version I noticed that the build systems for Kick Assembler in Sublime Text did not work anymore: compiling works, but the emulator is not started afterwards: the command x64 is not found.

This is because Flatpak is an abstraction layer around your application allowing for applications to run without being installed 'inside' your OS. Flatpak is started first, and then your application. Inspecting the icons for VICE which were created by the Flatpak installation made it clear that VICE is now started like this:

/usr/bin/flatpak run --branch=stable --arch=x86_64 --command=x64 net.sf.VICE

So we need to modify the build scripts supplied by the Kick Assembler package for Sublime Text. Luckily, these use the new way of defining parameters. The package preferences (Preferences > Package Settings > SublimeKickAssemblerC64 > Preferences) showed me these two relevant settings:

"kickass_run_path": "x64"

"kickass_run_command_x64": "\"${kickass_run_path}\" -logfile \"${kickass_output_path}/${build_file_base_name}_ViceLog.txt\" -moncommands \"${kickass_output_path}/${build_file_base_name}.vs\" ${kickass_run_args} \"${kickass_output_path}/${start_filename}\""

So the solution comes in two steps.

1) modify the kickass_run_path variable to:

"kickass_run_path": "flatpak run --branch=stable --arch=x86_64 --command=x64 net.sf.VICE"

2) modify the run command itself slightly; it currently adds quotes around the executable command, which will not work with Flatpak, so let's remove those. They are preceded by an escape character and show up as \" . We only need to remove the quotes around the kickass_run_path part:

"kickass_run_command_x64": "${kickass_run_path} -logfile \"${kickass_output_path}/${build_file_base_name}_ViceLog.txt\" -moncommands \"${kickass_output_path}/${build_file_base_name}.vs\" ${kickass_run_args} \"${kickass_output_path}/${start_filename}\"",

After saving this in the User settings (this will override the package defaults) compiling and running the emulator works again. Afterwards, I did the same for the debug path.

I am currently extending the Kick Assembler package with more snippets and build systems for the C128. I will create a pull request for the official repo for the package in the near future.

Happy coding!

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Ultimate64 RGB video - RECOMMENDED

Ultimate 64 RGB video

The Ultimate64 can output RGB video from the 'normal' analog video port which normally produces component and s-video signal.

Some time ago I received an Ultimate64 to RGB scart video cable. It was made for me by an nice fellow from Belgium (much thanks!), as I suck at making small solder points. The pin connection diagram can be found on the U64 documentation page.

Connecting the U64 to an RGB capable monitor really shows gives new life to this old machine. I'm loving it.

The PVM monitor I own can now be used to connect my Ultimate64 (analog RGB), C128D (s-video and digital RGB) and Amiga (analog RGB)

Here are some closeups of games and demos showing the color and picture clarity.

First some Wizball to show the nice scan lines that are produced, the contrast and deep blacks.

Then, a new demo called "Unboxed." Check out the nice color selections on the top left and left side of the image and how the image displays these next to each other with no blending or interference.

The Ghosts 'n Goblins remake really looks amazing. I can watch the attract mode all day long.

Finally, a close up of the game "Rescuing Orc." I love how this game looks, the graphics have great personality.

If you have an RGB monitor and use the Ultimate 64, I really recommend you to go get that RGB video cable made and hook it up. You'll get a whole new C64 experience.