c64 question

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paranoid marvin
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c64 question

Post by paranoid marvin » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:33 pm

We were always told that the C64 disk drive was only popular in the US, and I understand this was down mainly to th cost. But why? What was so expensive, and for what reason? Could the C64 have been shipped soley with a disk rather than cassette based unit? And was the machine sold in he US with a tape drive automatically included?

Also, if the disk drive HAD been more popular in the Uk, what would the result have been? Possibly much different games to the Speccy due to a much bigger storage device?
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PanzerGeneral
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Re: c64 question

Post by PanzerGeneral » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:03 pm

Same reason that the Atari and Dragon drives were so expensive, they were "intelligent" drives that came with on board processors and additional circuitry and chips that you would not find on generic a drive.

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Re: c64 question

Post by Matt_B » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:14 pm

Disk controllers were very expensive in the early 80s - about £100 or so going by the one you needed for the BBC Micro and that was obsolescent at best - when the C64's disk drive was designed. It actually worked out cheaper for Commodore to put a CPU and a bunch of other chips into the drive rather than go with a single-chip solution off the shelf. They had to rush the design to get it out on time though, and when prices came down by the mid-80s the machine was left with an expensive and under-performing drive. To be fair to the original designers, I doubt they'd even have expected it to still be on the market by then given how fast hardware had come and gone at the time.

I don't think the impact of the games market was that great though. You can't fit any more data on a disk than you can on a tape, and the only advantages disk drives offered is that it sped things up and you didn't need to go fast-forwarding and re-winding to get to what you wanted if it wasn't just loaded in order. It's massively more convenient to do this with disks, but not impossible with tapes.

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paranoid marvin
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Re: c64 question

Post by paranoid marvin » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:38 am

Thanks for the replies guts. Yeah, I persevered with DOTC on several cassettes!

But it seemed to me that (mainly) US software houses used disks to make stuff like Zak McKracken, Labyrinth, the Games series, Manic Mansion etc. Ok SOME of them could be played (very awkwardly) from tape. But they were designed for disks. Most UK developers made games primarily fir tape, with usually the only benefit of disc being faster load/multiload times.

What if the likes of Ocean, Thalamus and Graftgold had made gamed primarily for disk based systems, how much better could they have been?
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Mayhem
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Re: c64 question

Post by Mayhem » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:42 am

Make no mistake, the disk drive was not cheap in the US either. But the publishers forced the hand in a way, as the tape medium was dead in the US by 1985, and only games on disk were pretty much being published. Even when the price came down in the UK, it's estimated only about 10% of users had a disk drive at the peak of popularity. The cartridge medium never really took off again because of cost heh.
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Re: c64 question

Post by merman » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:18 pm

paranoid marvin wrote:Thanks for the replies guts. Yeah, I persevered with DOTC on several cassettes!

But it seemed to me that (mainly) US software houses used disks to make stuff like Zak McKracken, Labyrinth, the Games series, Manic Mansion etc. Ok SOME of them could be played (very awkwardly) from tape. But they were designed for disks. Most UK developers made games primarily fir tape, with usually the only benefit of disc being faster load/multiload times.

What if the likes of Ocean, Thalamus and Graftgold had made gamed primarily for disk based systems, how much better could they have been?
Ocean did take disk into account. For example, The Untouchables has extra bitmap screens.
Thalamus added extra stuff to the disk too.
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Re: c64 question

Post by necronom » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:30 pm

Little Computer People was made for disk. I doubt I'd have bought it if it was only available on tape, as it would be starting again each time you loaded it, and I expect it would have a different LCP each time.
I never played the tape version, so I'm not sure how it compares.
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Re: c64 question

Post by merman » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:01 pm

necronom wrote:Little Computer People was made for disk. I doubt I'd have bought it if it was only available on tape, as it would be starting again each time you loaded it, and I expect it would have a different LCP each time.
I never played the tape version, so I'm not sure how it compares.
Tape version also lacks the card games and Hangman you can play with the LCP.
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Re: c64 question

Post by Katzkatz » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:53 am

LOAD"$",8
LIST

LOAD"*",8,1

That is all. :lol: :D

Brings back memories of the old 1541 floppy disk drive. At the time, it was mind blowing - both in terms of speed(over tape loading) and also the fact that you could access multiple games on the media in question a lot easier. But, as was said, only a select few in the UK got to appreciate it.

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