Amiga OS, Workbench and Kickstart, Utilities, Optimizations, Hacks and all things file/usage related
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

PETSCII Friendly Terminal Programs for Amiga

by intric8 Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:59 am

These days part of my nightly routine involves reading messages on the various sub-forums on Particles BBS as well as a few others in the retro-computing scene that are still active. I currently connect to them with my C64 Breadbin using Jim Drew's fantastic WiFi modem and CCGMS Elite 2.0 terminal software.

In the near future I'd like to get one of my Amigas online, too (like the 2000 as I adore its keyboard), and hit the same BBS'es that I love to read on my C64. I actually really enjoy the 40 column mode that is native to the C64. It’s exceptionally easy to read and consume. But getting the 2000 into the mix would be a total blast, I know.

Whenever I do, I'd like to use an Amiga terminal program that supports PETSCII, since the Commodore sites I visit use PETSCII graphics in their menus. Some even have PETSCII art sections to browse, which are pretty great, considering these are created out of really simple shapes that any C= keyboard could produce.
petscii-charset.png
PETSCII character set used by Commodore 8-bit machines.
petscii_soldier_mermaid.png
Example art created using PETSCII characters.

Recently on Particles I ran across a post by one of the regulars there who just recently got his Amiga 1200 freshly re-capped and is hitting the BBS with it. He mentioned that he'd been using 64Door, an Amiga terminal program which a few Amigans use to access C= hosted BBS'es because it supports PETCII. But he discovered another terminal program called Color Term 2.2, which he'd been hunting down for years and finally got a copy. The advantage of Color Term is that it also supports downloads, while 64Door does not.

In any case, I've been able to obtain a copy of both programs, which I offer here for those that wish to try them out for themselves. If your Amiga is online, take a crack at a Commodore hosted BBS with one of these terminal programs next time, and let us know what you think!

Download 64Door ADF
Download Color Term 2.2 ADF
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alterus
Victoria, BC

Re: PETSCII Friendly Terminal Programs for Amiga

by alterus Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:09 pm

Thanks for this write up and files. I have a CF card to IDE drive on the way... When that gets here I'll be firing these up!

BTW, what is your favourite AMIGA BBS? I gather there aren't many of those around, at least compared to C64 boards.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: PETSCII Friendly Terminal Programs for Amiga

by intric8 Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:31 pm

alterus wrote:BTW, what is your favourite AMIGA BBS?
That's a great question. I don't have any currently - I'm only on C64 BBS'es these days. I'll be poking around later this year hopefully to find out, though.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: PETSCII Friendly Terminal Programs for Amiga

by intric8 Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:09 am

@Shot97 did you find any active BBS'es that were hosted by Amigas when you got your 500 online?

I've mainly been using Particles for my BBS Amiga fix, as it seems nearly everyone in there has had or still has Amigas coming out their ears! The history and knowledge runs deep there. But I do plan to branch out later this year and seek out some new boards.

Glad you got yours back up recently, Alterus.
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

Re: PETSCII Friendly Terminal Programs for Amiga

by Shot97 Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:37 pm

I found at least one that was recommended on a board I visited. I want to say the Atari Star Trek one, probably not the exact name for that. Browsing through files there I found a recommended BBS list by computer model. They indeed listed at least one for the Amiga. I'm just now finally getting around to reinstalling DOS/Win98 on my retro PC that ran the modem emulator I used to get the Amiga online. I still have not been on a BBS since the end of December.


But I'm almost ready to come back...

Image
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

Re: PETSCII Friendly Terminal Programs for Amiga

by Shot97 Sat Feb 04, 2017 1:39 am

I finally downloaded the programs and will try to give them a go on the Amiga this weekend... I can't say I'm very much looking forward to it however... As great as the Particle guys are... They've also pointed me to several programs they used "back in the day" or now for their "Amiga".

Can anyone guess why I put "Amiga" in quotes and why I'm not looking forward to testing these out? People can know so much about "their" computer but end up knowing so little about the line of computers simply because in their quest for all things their model they've utterly lost the concept to even understand not only are there other models, that the majority were other models; but that their "Amiga" while sharing many components from earlier machines is using quite a different operating system...

Not saying those programs won't work... But I will say I have tried more terminal programs since I did my write up... I tried 5 or 6 before the write up... Tried 3 after... And A-Talk III is still the ONLY terminal program that both worked in Workbench 1.3 (and therefore qualifies as a terminal program for "Amiga's"), but was intuitive enough to not require locating and reading a massive manual to understand what you needed to do. It was the only program I could actually figure out how to work through the actual interface of the program!

- Hope to be wrong... Cause a PETSCII terminal program would be nice for "some" boards... Although I really recommend you give A-Talk III a very nice try because it's so damn intuitive and offers so much customization... It can be both easy and complicated. It supports many terminal modes including what seems to be the most widely used; ANSI. That's ANSI, not ASCII... It's compatible with ASCII but ANSI is much more than ASCII. So while I'd like to go to Centronian and have it displayed.... AT ALL... - I guess it does support ANSI but it's only through a backdoor of key presses I can't be bothered to remember - Indeed a PETSCII terminal program would be nice to use in SUPPLEMENT...

I know you're used to using that C64... At some point I plan to dive into the BBS world on my C64... Even my VIC-20... But trust me when I do so I will be using programs for the C64 and VIC-20... Partly because I doubt they'd have emulations for anything else... But overwhelmingly because that's the machine I"m on at that moment. I'd truly urge you to not sit back and wait to get your Amiga online simply to have your Amiga be a Commodore 64... I don't care if Particles is designed on a C-128 and supports C-128 graphics mode as well a C-64 graphics mode... It also supports ANSI and it ain't too shabby to look at... and with A-Talk III I get to choose my own colors... What pleases MY eyes.... Because graphics modes or not you will primarily be looking at text; best you're happy with the colors of that text. It's the Amiga.... Utilize the Amiga... Make your primary terminal program be a program designed around the cutting edge stuff of that era; which was ANSI. A PETSCII compatible program would be nice for the few sites that offer only PETSCII or just ASCII.... But if they offer ANSI... Use ANSI... Truly; I still feel a tiny bit ticked you never tried out my free guide to getting your Amiga online (in a raar - stick out your tongue - bet you'll come crawling back way - not an angry pissed off way)... I know you've got the parts... You can get the disks and follow the guide... Is it that you just have not wanted to get out your null-model cable and your laptop to connect them? - Or... As I'm starting to feel... That before even trying a genuine Amiga program that I GUARANTEE will work on your 2000, and probably your 1200 - You'd rather stick to your C64 until both a Wi-Fi modem becomes available and more importantly... You can use your Amiga as a C64???

I can't say I quite understand wanting to turn your Amiga into a low resolution C64. I've come across only one site that I can't use with A-Talk III; Centronian... and indeed there is a way to use ANSI... and ANSI is not just text... So if you really want an Amiga experience, simply find out that keyboard combination to get it into ANSI on your Amiga. I mean in the end there was no special BBS graphics mode for the Amiga... It's all about emulating other modes... But I'll be damned if I'm going to use a primarily text based medium in 40 column text mode if I don't have to! You've got your C64 for that... Use the different experiences the two systems provide as a reason to continue to use them both. Just because you're happy with your C64 in 40 column mode does not mean you won't fall in love with the Amiga in ANSI mode.... Choose your own colors, use that built in phone book.... Take screenshots on the actual Amiga... At least start out and give it a good try... We figure things out by doing... Much like you now have love for the A2000; Something you had no idea you'd care about since you started with the 1200... But now I think you'd miss living without it... Really think you should give A-Talk III a proper try... and unlike many other recommendations.... okay... unlike ALL other recommendations I will guarantee you this will work on your 2000.

I will be trying these two programs out and will report back my results.... Let everyone know I'm betting they're a no go on 1.3 - Anyone else care to place their bets? :D
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: PETSCII Friendly Terminal Programs for Amiga

by intric8 Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:48 am

Just because you're happy with your C64 in 40 column mode does not mean you won't fall in love with the Amiga in ANSI mode....
Oh, I know you're right. I'm sure that 64Door will allow me to connect to Particles in 80 col mode and it'll be great. On Centroinian, which is run off a C64 (and alterus has had a major hardware failure, but is mostly back up) is pretty much built for 40 col mode. I get annoyed with its very limiting amount of text you can type, but I do see the value in it, too. As alterus would say, (like an extended form of Twitter) it forces folks to be concise. But I do like how Particles doesn't have that limitation.

I apologize for not hooking up my 2000. It's been a giant pile of parts the past few weekends. This is the first weekend in a long time where I'm not planning on doing any hardware hacking. And, every night I've been obsessed with EOTB2, as you know. I feel like I'm getting sooooo close, but each time I have success they throw me in a room with four deamons and I'm back to square one. Dick troll game devs. Ha!

And yeah, it's been a combination of using what's sitting right there and gives me access in 3 button taps. It's literally power on, press 1 button on my Ultimate cart, 3 taps to load the terminal program, and then accessing the built-in phone book in CCGMS using AT commands. Like ATDS0, where 0 is the 1st entry. 1 is the second, etc.

It's just so easy, it's allowed me to divert my gaze on the Amiga with these other issues I've been trying to solve.

But I will at least move over the terminal programs this weekend so I can go through your tutorial soon. I do want to see if I can get it to work.
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thE rZA

Re: PETSCII Friendly Terminal Programs for Amiga

by thE rZA Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:11 am

Hey.

This two petscii compatible terminals sounding very promising. But: my screen (connected via VGA) is not able to display any program in 15khz mode (games, 64Door etc.). So I cannot start 64Door and co. from disk.

Any idea how to copy this 64Door and the other terminal to HD? I just copied it to hd and it didn't work.

Any help appreciated.

Thank you very much in advance.

EDIT: Could get colorterm to run. Simply had to copy fonts and directories of fonts to hd0:fonts.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Re: PETSCII Friendly Terminal Programs for Amiga

by intric8 Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:25 am

Any idea how to copy this 64Door and the other terminal to HD?
I've tried moving 64Door to HD and never had any luck. To be completely honest, I've not experimented much with Color Term at this stage, but I've read folks say both terminal programs required being booted by the floppy drive to work at all.

EDIT: Could get colorterm to run. Simply had to copy fonts and directories of fonts to hd0:fonts.
This is really exciting news. I'll have to give that a try, too! Thanks for the info.
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TenLeftFingers

Re: PETSCII Friendly Terminal Programs for Amiga

by TenLeftFingers Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:41 am

This is a gem, thank you! I'll be sure to direct people to this thread in the next episode of the podcast too.

I've used DCTelnet but the PETCSII graphics didn't display properly.

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