A website dedicated to a 30 years old computer but testing recent games? Games tested in sheets? A collection of covers to print? No tapes, disks only? Only 3" disks? Some clarifications are needed:






THE MAIN IDEA

HOMEBREW.AMSTRADTODAY.COM, it is primarily a website dedicated to indie games on CPC. The homebrew scene is particularly active on our dule computer and it is with pleasure that CPC fans discover each year numerous games created by developers with a fertile imagination..

But how to explain such a frenzy, such a flood of titles some 20 years after the death of the CPC on the videogame market? Of course, it is the passion of a diehard fan community that sometimes keep the CPC scene more active than the one of other computers that still managed to conquer the world with more success. Anyway, a beautiful revenge in a videogame landscape that often tends to consider the AMSTRAD machine as a mere commercial product!

HOMEBREW.AMSTRADTODAY.COM is a tribute to all the developers, all these retrogaming heroes that keep the dream alive each year by offering them a space integraly devoted to modern productions that use the best development techniques. But it is also about forgotten or never actually revealed homebrew games, created by some amateurs equally passionate in the 90s.

Why HOMEBREW.AMSTRADTODAY.COM? Because indie games on CPC deserve a website that is dedicated exclusively to them!





TONS OF COVERS FOR PLEASURE!

So why this collection of covers?

1. To propose a packaging for games that never had one.
2. To offer an instruction manual, at least in French and English for each title.
3. To offer a packaging for the disk version of games released only on cassette.
4. To bring in a homogeneous collection of quality homebrews.

That's already four good reasons for proposing these homebrews in a collection of covers with multilingual instructions to print and enjoy a real box for your favorite games, ready to be loaded from good old reliable and fast floppy disks!

Regarding the choice of floppy disk format, it is clear that the games should be stored on 3" disks, the good old Compact Floppy Discs, in order to enjoy the games on a standard CPC. And 3", it is the official format of the CPC, it is as simple as that. Turn the question as you want, hold a 3" floppy disk in the hands gives a feeling that no other medium on CPC can provide.

Then comes the question of the format of the box. The 3" crystal boxes which packed for several years the AMSOFT blank floppy disks and the first CPC games are fairly common on auction websites. The choice of this format allows anyone to quickly and easily build a small stock of boxes.

The most important thing is not to see any contempt or breach of the free distribution of these games, but rather a tribute offering a haven for all those titles in their floppy disk format.





HOMEBREWS FOR GAMERS

HOMEBREW.AMSTRADTODAY.COM proposes for each title, whether or not he had a packaging during its initial release:

- A sheet consisting of a complete test with screenshots and if exist the links to the websites of developers
- The game in DSK file format with a standard RUN"DISC" launcher (except the presence of a Cat'Art to respect this feature)
- A standardized cover to print with on the the back an instruction manual at least in French and English
- A sticker for the floppy disk.

About the RUN"DISC" launcher : to respect the artistic work of the original homebrew content, the original launcher is never deleted or renamed. the launcher is a BASIC program consisting of a line added as an alias (10 RUN "NAMEOFTHEGAME").

In all cases, be sure that HOMEBREW.AMSTRADTODAY.COM is only animated by a profound respect for the work of the authors of these productions and covers are of course available for free for the pleasure of the players.

But build a collection of alternative packaging for their favorite Indees should not overshadow the efforts of developers. Whether the game has been released on floppy disk or just on tape, buy the original release remains the best way to congratulate the talented actors of the homebrew scene and encourage them to continue to amaze us with games presented in beautiful boxes.

This is the original work of each and every that makes the variety of the productions on CPC and nothing can replace the pleasure of holding in his hands a first edition, the ultimate embodiment of the efforts of one person or a team who worked on designing a game. Do not forget:

A game worth playing is a game worth buying !






So as the existential questions have been resolved, we can enter the core of the subject: concoct 3" floppy disks containing our favorite games. Let's see all the steps to follow to correctly duplicate!





HOW TO COPY FILES ON 3" FLOPPY DISKS

Satisfy your curiosity about all these homebrews on CPC discovering these pages and deciding to run some games with an emulator is one thing. But copy some games on 3" disks with covers and labels needs a motivation of a whole new level. We will therefore assume that your CPC is already equipped with a 3" floppy disk drive and that you know how to use it to enjoy all the wonders of a real AMSTRAD computer.

We offer you a simple overview of applications for PC or CPC that will make it easier to quickly transfer the games tested on HOMEBREW.AMSTRADTODAY.COM to good old 3" floppy disks!

Note: If you really need informations to connect a 3" disk drive on your CPC and learn to use it, please refer to the website AMSTRAD TODAY that shows you how to do it step by step. Sorry but this website is only in french.


CPC Disk XP

CPC Disk XP is a small application for Windows (XP/Vista/7/8) which allows you to write on 3" floppy disks the content of DSK files that are normally intended for emulators. Install software without omitting FD-Raw-CMD supplied with (FDInstall.exe).

With CPCDiskXP, insert a 3" floppy disk in your PC disk drive (even unformatted) and write in a few seconds DSK files following the small "quick guide" against (you can click on it to enlarge). The disk is written and you can use it immediately in the 3" disk drive of your CPC.


Discology

Discology is an institution, a venerable ancestor who never ceases to serve. Here, it will allow you to quickly and effectively perform full copies of disks or files to the famous 3" floppy discs.

To perform a full copy of a side of a 3" disk to a side of a 3" disk, it is very simple. Begin by writing the game of your choice on a 3" floppy disk with CPCDiskXP. Now load Discology on your CPC and start the application named Copier. In the Options menu, switch the source drive to B. In the Disc menu, select Fast Copy. At the invitation "Insert SOURCE disc", insert your 3" disk formatted in the internal drive and your 3" disk containing the game to duplicate in the external drive to start copying. It can happen that fast copy does not work, then try a Ultra copy.

To copy files, use the same way, but instead of throwing a fast copy, choose the Copy option found in the File menu. At the invitation "Insert CURRENT disc" remove the Discology disk, insert the formatted 3" floppy disk in the internal drive and your 3" disk containing the game to duplicate in the external drive. Select the files to copy and go!

Be careful though, some games must be copied using the ultra copy (STAR SABRE, GROOPS!, R-TYPE ...), maybe to respect a Cat'Art.


Arkos-ROM

As its name suggests, Arkos-ROM is initially designed to be stored on a ROM chip to add to the BASIC some commands called RSX. As the author Targhan wanted to do things right, he decided to offer some of the content of the ROM in an file executable from a single floppy disk for those who can't use ROM chip. This file includes its WriteDSK application that, among other things, play a DSK file directly from a floppy disk in MS-DOS format inserted into an external 3" disk drive on CPC and write it on a 3" disk in the internal drive.

This alternative to Discology is particularly attractive since it avoids the use of a PC to write DSK. In fact, you copy a DSK file on a double density 3" floppy disk formatted on your PC and then it is the CPC that transfers the DSK from your MS-DOS 3" disk to a 3" one.

So here are the steps to follow once you have written the Arkos-ROM on a 3" disk and inserted it into the external drive of your CPC.

1. On PC, copy the DSK file of a game on you double density formatted disk. Don't forget to rename the DSK file so that its name does not exceed 8 characters (eg HOMEBREW.DSK)
2. Now launch the Arkos-ROM using the command run"-rsxs"
3. Remove your Arkos-ROM disk and insert the one containing the DSK of your game. Make sure the 3" floppy disk drive is configured as drive B and is switched to read/write the side A.
4. Insert a 3" blank disk in your CPC internal drive.
5. Type the command WDSK,"nameofthefile.dsk"
6. When asked, press any key and wait for the end of the copy.


Multi Mark

A full copy of a DSK file on a 3" floppy disk needs to be sure it is in perfect condition to receive all the data. To avoid unpleasant surprises, we recommend the use of Multi Mark, an application that allows you to format in a few seconds a side of a floppy disk and check its structure (once the application is launched, insert your 3" disk, press the F key to launch the formatting option and D to specify a Data formatting).

If Multi Mark discovers bad sectors, it isolates them and creates an "ERROR" file. It permits you to use the rest of the available space to copy files without any problem. So if your 3" disk is not completely clean, you can still use the sane sectors to copy files from a game using Discology.


Cheats'n tips

Formatting a 3" floppy disk in MS-DOS double-density file format
You need a double density formatted 3" disk in MS-DOS file format to transfer a DSK with the Arkos-ROM. If your disks are new, they have two holes in the upper left and right corners. You must seal up the one that does not correspond to the write protection with a piece of Scotch tape. To format a floppy disk in double-density on PC, insert it into your disk drive, launch a DOS command window (CMD) and use one of the following commands: format a: / t: 80 / n: 9 (Windows XP) or format a: / f: 720 (Windows Vista/7/8).

SD Floppy Emulator (HxC)
Rather than accumulate 3" floppy disks, we recommend you the comfort of the SD Floppy Emulator available on the Lotharek website. You connect this interface on your CPC just like a floppy disk drive except that instead of having to write old 3" floppy disks, you use a simple SD card. Discology will not see the difference.

Nowadays, floppy disks begins to rarefy, this is an ideal solution. The cost may seem high (between 70 and 100 Euros depending on the model) but the quality of the material justify the price. A wise purchase if you regularly use a 3" floppy drive on your CPC.