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2003 News Archive

All the news items archived from 2003. Please note prices may have changed since these news items.

Sam Revival issue 6 out 2nd October 2003

Issue six of Sam Revival is out now!

Inside this packed issue, a new series starts - "An Interview With..." - which is exactly what it sounds like, an interview! First into the hotseat is Colin Jordan, who you may remember from some early Sam games including 'Splat', 'Famous Five' and the 'Sam Adventure System'. Wolfgang Haller is back with his next B-DOS article, and David Ledbury continues his walkthrough of Manic Miner. "What Happened Next" also returns, and looks at another game that was announced but never released. And don't forget to mix in the usual other hints and tips, and Sam Snippets.

Sam Revival is released bi-monthly, and costs £2 per issue (or 3.75 euro for international readers). Subscriptions are available for £5 for three issues. (10 euros internationally).

Soundbyte issue 76 released 27th September 2003

Finally, the somewhat delayed Issue 76 of Soundbyte is now out, and it’s been given a bit of a facelift for the new issue! Soundbyte is the regular disk I produce for users of the Quazar Surround soundcard, which started way back in 1995 with the release of issue 1 and 2 when the soundcard was launched.

On this issue, is a tie in with the ‘What Happened To...’ article inside the forthcoming issue of Sam Revival. I’ve found my old code for the work that was started on Monkey Business, and more importantly the massive 420K soundtrack that was going to be in the game, so you can now see and hear what the game was going to be like.

Soundbyte is now going to be released bimonthly, slotting inbetween issues of Sam Revival. Soundbyte costs £2 per issue, or £5 for a three issue subscription. These prices also apply for back issues, as well as 12 back issues for £18.

Price Reductions 5th July 1993

To tie in with the 8th anniversary of Quazar, now would be a good time to announce some price reductions on Quazar hardware! Sales of my hardware have been very decent this year so I've taken the leap and had a fairly large batch of printed circuit boards made in one go. This means that I get the boards cheaper and can pass the savings on to you.

Now on with the price cuts...

Quazar Surround soundcard - £49.99 , saving £4 off the previous price of £53.99
Quazar Surround Sampler Module - £26.99 , saving £3 off the previous price of £29.99
SID Interface - £25.99 , saving £3 off the previous price of £28.99
Two Way Euroconnector Expansion Board - £19.99 , saving £4.51 off the previous price of £24.50
Serial Mouse Interface - £43.99 , saving £3.01 off the previous price of £47.00
PC Keyboard Interface - £49.99 , saving £4 off the previous price of £53.99
Disk Drive System - £44.99 , saving £3.01 off the previous price of £48.00
256K Memory Upgrade - £14.99 , saving £2.01 off the previous price of £17.00
Compact Flash Interface - £17.99 , saving £2 off the previous price of £19.99

I’m also taking this opportunity to knock a few quid off of some of my top software titles:

Stratosphere - £14.99 , saving £3 off the previous price of £17.99
Quazar Studio (Quazar Surround only) - £8.99 , saving £7 off the previous price of £15.99
Quazar Video Construction Kit (Quazar Surround only) - £8.99 , saving £7 off the previous price of £15.99

Sam Revival issue 5 released 27th June 2003

Issue five of Sam Revival is out now!

Another great mix of news, hints and tips and the usual 'Sam Snippets' of trivia and behind the scenes information. This issue also features some great articles that have been sent in by the usual contributors including the next part of Adrian Brown's machine code column, where he returns to his disk handling routines and gives them a big overhaul before patching them into the game level editor from the previous issue.

David Ledbury continues his trip down memory lane with the next installment of the Manic Miner walkthrough with tips and gossip from when the game was originally made, and Wolfgang Haller returns with an article about using B-DOS and a CD-ROM drive on the Sam.

Sam Revival is released bi-monthly, and costs £2 per issue (or 3.75 euro for international readers). Subscriptions are available for £5 for three issues. (10 euros internationally).

I am now aiming to get issue six out by the end of July, which is shaping up to be quite a bumper issue, as in the mad rush to get issue 5 out I had to leave out one article from this issue that I just didn't have time to finish. I am also hoping for several articles from some new contributors too who've been in touch with a few ideas they've had for articles.

Sam Revival issue 4 released 2nd March 2003

Issue four of Sam Revival is out now!

This issue weighs in at 52 pages, and is again packed full! As well as the usual news and reviews, my feature article takes a look at the SID soundchip from the C64, looking indepth at it's design and capabilities, how it differs from the SAA1099, using one the Sam in the SID Interface, and what's been achieved programming wise for it and what I plan to do in the future with it. The 'Sam In A Can' returns for a short update too, with details of the new hardware that's been fitted to it since the last article was written.

Adrian Brown carries on with his coding column - now on part 4 which is entitled 'Mapping The World' in which he looks at generating the graphics, and map editor for the final game the series of articles is heading towards. David Ledbury continues his walkthrough of Manic Miner - looking at nine more levels from the game, and Wolfgang Haller returns with another B-DOS article.

Subscriber's issues have already been sent out, and I look forward to hearing what you think of this latest issue.

Sam Revival is released bi-monthly, and costs £2 per issue (or 3.75 euro for international readers). Subscriptions are available for £5 for three issues. (10 euros internationally). Issue five will be released in April.

New Hardware: SID Interface released 15th January 2003

SID Interface complete with a SID chip fitted (Please note the interface is supplied without a SID chip)

My second piece of hardware that I am releasing today goes back to my roots with computer audio - this interface started out just as a small pet project for myself exploring old forms of computer sound.

The 'SID' is the 3 channel synth shound chip used in the Commodore 64. Because it was so different to the style of the SAA1099 inside the Sam, I decided to wire one up and see how is sounded as the synths it produces are quite different. The SID chip can produce several shapes of waveform - square, triangle and sawtooth, and combined with controllable volume effects such as attack, decay and sustain to shape the sound. Add in a couple of other effects such as noise and ring modulation and the overall sound the SID can produce is quite unique and as a result it is still very popular amoungst computer audiophiles. (There are even interfaces to use them on the PC!)

The SID interface plugs into the euroconnector on the back of the Sam, and requires a 12v input to power the SID chip (any 12v PSU that can supply 100mA can be used, I have fitted a standard 2.1mm power socket to the board - A suitable plug top PSU can be bought for around a fiver in places like Argos). A 3.5mm speaker socket is also on the board for connecting some speakers to it.

The interface is supplied without a SID chip - you'll have to get your hands on an old C64 and remove the chip (its usually in a socket so very easy to get out). As there are two types of SID (6581 - from the original C64, and the 8580 from the redesigned new-look C64) the interface has to be built up specifically for the chip that is going to be fitted. Please state which chip you have when ordering. I do have a couple of 6581 SID's from old C64's which I bought when designing this hardware, and I can supply you with one if required and I can easily track down some more C64's for more.

I have put together two disks to go with the SID Interface, featuring a couple famous tunes from the C64 to show off the SID chip in action:

Update - forgot to mention that the SID Interface comes with a manual outlining how to program the SID chip, as well as a heatsink and a sachet of thermal paste to attach it to your SID chip (the SID chip does get hot!) If you would wish to have the heatsink fitted for you then please send the chip when ordering.

It is a Sam Coupé... not a C64... It's just a fancy front end!

The SID Interface is available now, priced £28.99.

New Hardware: Compact Flash Interface released 15th January 2003

The first piece of hardware of 2003 - Compact Flash Interface.

This small adaptor board allows you to use a Compact Flash card with the Atom hard drive interface. I had this idea when the hard drive I use in my 'Sam In A Can' developed a lot of surface errors and corrupt sectors.

By using CF cards, which are getting fairly cheap, it provides a great new storage solution instead of hard drives. I have tested my interface so far using a 32 Meg Samsung CF card (which holds 40 Sam disks worth of data) and a Toshiba 64 Meg CF Card (79 disks worth!).

The small interface can easily sit inside the Sam, and can be positioned just behind the bay cover for drive 2 - I am supplying the interface with 4 sticky backed stands so it can be securely mounted inside the Sam. If you require a short IDE cable to keep the cabling neat I can make them up on request.

The Compact Flash Interface is available, priced £19.99.

Also available for this interface is an eject button module which clips over the Compact Flash socket to make it easier to eject the Compact Flash. (Priced £4.50)