Sunday, March 29, 2009

VICE: a Commodore 64 emulator

Download VICE (VersatIle Commodore Emulator). Under Mac OS X until the native Cocoa UI version becomes stable prefer the Gtk+ port, which is complete.

Minimal install

Just drag and drop the VICE icon into your Application folder. This installs the VICE executable only.

Full installation

Use this installation method If you also want to keep a copy of the VICE manual and other technical documents: create a new VICE directory in your Applications folder (/Applications) and copy all files from the virtual disk image (vice-macosx-gtk-ub-*.dmg) there.


Upon launching it will ask which emulator to run. If you always want to run che C64 emulator without further asking, rename this icon to x64.


To emulate a virtual joystick using the keyboard numpad go to Settings -> Joystick settings -> Joystick device in port 2 -> Numpad. 0 is fire, 1,3,7,9 go diagonal. Real joysticks can only be used on linux, but nowadays, who has one? Most games use only one joystick, that one in port 2. If you don't have a keypad, use Define keysets, then assign one of the keyset to the joystick and make sure Allow keyset joystick is checked before using your virtual joystick.

I tried to set the sample rate to 44100Hz in Settings -> Sound settings but that causes VICE to crash.

The video settings are in Settings -> VIC-II settings. Beeing nearsighted I enabled Double size.

Remember to check Settings -> Save settings on exit or at least Settings -> Save settings if you want to save your configuration.

Software images

Also known as ROM's or images. Here are some common ROM types, all supported by VICE, differentiated by their filename extension:
EXT type of image
T64 tape
TAP raw cassette tape
CRT cartridge
D64 VC-1541 diskette (170 kB)
D71 VC-1571 diskette (340 kB)
D81 VC-1581 diskette (800 kB)
PRG executable program in BASIC
P00 program file as PRG with an additional header to identify the program and its original name

Loading games

Select File -> Smart attach disk/tape. This option also supports ZIP archives - no need to uncompress them first. In many formats you can find more than one game or program. Select the one you want from Contents or click the Autostart button. Funny things will happen if you click over BLOCKS FREE.

You may not want to wait long loading times... Use Options -> Enable warp mode to speed up things. But remember to disable it after the game has loaded otherwise it will be too fast to play. Alt+W toggles warp mode on/off.

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