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Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Fri May 26, 2017 4:31 pm

After providing the ADFs for 2 PETSCII capable terminal programs for the Amiga on in January, I never actually got around to using them until recently. I've always used A-Talk III because it is [awesome] so easy to use. But when it came to PETSCII boards, I had to either pick the ANSI option (functional but not amazing) or, frankly, not use C64-only BBSes at all. I would slide over to my C64 for those and that’s totally fine.

Well, I feel like a dolt for having waited so long.

I finally got around to using 64Door on my Amiga 2000 a day ago. From what I can tell, the program was written in 1993 and was offered on one of the Fred Fish disks (no idea which one). The version I offered was updated in 2013, although I'm not sure in what way.

In any case, it doesn’t appear that it can be installed to a hard drive. No biggie. But it is actually quite simple to use once you understand the basic commands. To that end, from a terminal standpoint, the program is is so basic it will probably throw a lot of people off kilter if they aren’t used to typing AT commands, because there’s not much this thing offers. Except, that is, for pure PETSCII conversions, which is awesome.

It works like this:
  1. Move the 64Door ADF to floppy (link to the ADF is below)
  2. Boot off the floppy. If you know your modem is set to 1200 baud, skip to step 4.
  3. When 64Door launches, you’ll essentially be looking at a blank screen. It’s important that the terminal be at the same baud rate as your modem. Let’s say your modem is set to 9600 baud. If you start typing, the characters on the screen will look like gibberish because 64Door, the software, defaults to 1200 baud on launch. You have to tap the “Help” key on your Amiga keyboard and set your baud rate using the Function keys to change it to the proper setting. When you type “Help” a second time, you get back to the terminal window.
  4. Lastly, you use your AT commands if you aren’t using phone book commands stored on your modem and connect to the Commodore BBS of your choice.
For example, to dial Particles BBS, you’d type:

Code: Select all

(it is not case sensitive)

You should know if you’re in 80 columns or not (interestingly 64door defaults to 80) but Particles will ask you to tell it what columns you’re running since it can’t detect it.

If you want to dial Centronian, which is a 40 columns board, you can switch to 40 cols at any time by tapping that handy Help key which, frankly, I’ve never used a single time prior to using this program.

Once you drop the terminal to to 40 cols and connect to Centronian, you’ll see big chunky fonts if your Amiga monitor is bigger than a 1702 (like mine is) and the BBS will fill your screen as it should. Note: the fonts look much slimmer and crisper on an actual 1702 being fed by a C64, but it’s a small price to pay - it really does look fantastic and is so much closer to the real thing than ANSI mode, because it IS the real thing. To that end, Centronian won’t even work unless you connect with a PETSCII capable setup. Trust me, I tried. ;) So this is the way to go for Commodore PETSCII-only boards.

Anyhoo, 64Door looks and feels great. Don’t be jealous, C64!

For your convenience, here again are the downloads for64Door and Color Term - PETSCII terminals for the Amiga.
The terminal window for 64Door is as basic as it gets. And that's OK.

Particles BBS looks exactly like it should now that PETSCII is rendered correctly.

Centronian BBS is run off a C64 and is PETSCII-only. No need to avoid it on the Amiga, however.


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Detroit, MI, USA

Posted Fri May 26, 2017 4:48 pm

I need to get back to Centronian; I guess I just don't like 64Door so much. Did you check the pics from there? I still haven't figured out how to get them to show up correctly. I was really hoping color term might be the answer but it simply won't let me type anything. I need organize and set up a system for the PETSCII boards vs ANSI. But I've only managed to try out the one board as far as PETSCII stuff. As far my tastes go; anything that supports ANSI I'd rather be using with A-Talk III. The guy that runs Centronian has said it supports ANSI but that you need to hit certain keys while it's loading. He also said something about making it do that automatically when it detected ANSI but I guess he never got around to it.

I'm really in search for some other boards, frankly. Centronian is really nice but it seems to delete everything after less than a couple of weeks. Your character limited; and a man of words just is not a fan of that.

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Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Fri May 26, 2017 5:02 pm

The guy that runs Centronian has said it supports ANSI but that you need to hit certain keys while it's loading.
Alterus changed the BBS software a while back and now it really doesn't support ANSI at all (at the moment). Everything gets drawn on a single line.

64Door's been a breeze in my experience one you've got your baud rates synced between the modem and the terminal via the Help screen.

I love Particles and I love Centronian (much smaller, much quieter, but good times). I actually hope to meet Alterus in person in late June here in Seattle. His little Commodore Users Group is hosting an event at the Living Computer Museum, of which I'm a member. All good people! Everyone is kind of doing their own thing, and all have their own experiences to bring to the table. What's interesting about Particles (IMO) is that it isn't only "C= people", although almost all own at least one C= computer. It is run off a C128, though, and PETSCII capable terms look the best. But I'd been using A-Talk's ANSI mode up until this week.

For any boards outside the C= world, i.e. ones that are hosted by Apples, etc. A-Talk is hands down my choice.

Some of the Particles' members are old (one just turned 70) and the rest range from 30s to 40s. Lots of expertise around a vast amount of systems, and just a passion to use them somehow. It feels like a place of guys hanging out in a bar when I connect. Sometimes I have something to say, sometimes I don't. But I check in virtually every night. Note: the systems does a reboot at 12pm CT, and I've gotten "no carrier'd" after writing a page or so so many times! I need to tattoo that time on the back of my right hand or something.

If you go to Centronian again (hosted out of B.C. Canada) definitely use 64Door when you connect or it'll be a mess.

I'll test out some of the art on Particles tonight if he has some. I know already that the intro/menu/outro screens I saw were legit. Will test it out on the art next if he still hosts some (think so!).

Centronian used to have art on his old board, but when he switched the software over the art didn't make the cut. Hopefully that gets re-added at some stage. I think he's busy working on trying to write a C64 game lately so I'm not sure when that might happen.

I should say that with posts like the ones here on Amigalove, among others, I've been seeing more and more "new guys" connect to Particles and other places.

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Detroit, MI, USA

Posted Fri May 26, 2017 5:43 pm

Try out Dura-Europos.

Looks very similar to Particles; although I believe it's running off an Apple II. When I was looking at it all it seemed like the perfect place for me. Not as busy as Particles (just too much going on there), but enough talk to come in and catch up on things once a week or so. After a week gone from Particles you're as good as lost. I was spending too much time on the BBS' during the end of the last year and the start of this year; made it really hard to focus on other software/games.

I wrote something on Dura but I've yet to check back and look.

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Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Fri May 26, 2017 8:49 pm

I love A-Talk III, and I know you do, too. Hell, we may be the only two people on the planet that use it! And I'm OK with that. A-Talk for ANSI boards and 64Door for Petscii? Dude, I'm in heaven (64Door renders the petscii sites way faster, without any screen flashing, too).

Update: Particles doesn't have any petscii art. Whoops! But Centronian used to, and Afterlife still does (I only check in there about once a week, tbh - it's more coder-heavy and not really the subject matter I'm into). And the Afterlife art DB is pretty huge. Here are a few I grabbed off my Amiga tonight, and it looks spot on.

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