The glory days of the first release cracking scene.
In the eighties and nineties the underground H/P and BBS scenes collided and gave the scene some unique memories. Calling boards every day. Experiencing chat, ragging, leeching and uploading. Hands up, who remembers these US boards: The Forum, Second To None, Mystic Cavern, Terminal Obsession or South Of Heaven? Or in Europe, boards like Wares Aquarium, Sanitarium, The Studio, Dominic or Escapade?
The journey down memory lane is possible on your PC. Yes, you can connect to some C64 BBS in C*Base or UC*BBS (depending on the board). Telnet via a PC terminal program without the hassles of law agencies for illegal international phone calls.
To find out how to do this, along with the BBS commands for those who don't know or have forgotten, download this small tutorial with screenshots. Hope to see you online with the rest of the crowd!
CGTerm 1.7b2 x86 Windows 10 fixed
For those who called Escapade
The boards. Hot uploads. A secluded oasis for the deeper underground. The net before the net.
I would like to take you on a safari, showing the main attractions in our digital wilderness: the boards! I will also step out of the safari vehicle and guide you on how to use them and some other general information. Note: this will be continued in the next issue also, as there are so many boards to cover!
The glory days of the first release cracking scene.
In the eighties and nineties, the underground H/P and BBS scenes collided and gave the scene some unique memories. Calling boards every day. Experiencing chat, ragging, leeching and uploading. Hands up, who remembers these US boards?! The Forum, Second to None, Mystic Cavern, Terminal Obsession or South of Heaven? Or in Europe, boards like Wares Aquarium, Sanitarium, The Studio, Dominic or Escapade?
The journey down memory lane is possible on your PC. Oh yes, sofa scener, you can connect to a cool C64 BBS in C*Base or UC*BBS (depending on the board), telnetting via a PC terminal program without the hassles of law agencies for illegal international phone calls or poor quality bluebox lines giving you loads of "line noise"!
To find out how to do this, along with the BBS commands for those who don't know or have forgotten due to transient global amnesia, read on!
Board: Anarchy Underground
Board: Endless Chaos
System Operator: Chris537 & Lady Jazmin
Chris537 writes: "My Commodore journey starts right at the beginning when Commodore and the computing era blew up at 8 years old.
My father did a lot of research since he was in to repairing electronics in the late 70's and early 80's. Started out with Pong, then the Atari 2600. I remember them buying it. He was wanting a home computer not long after. Well back then the VIC20 was a big thing on the Commodore market and was about to purchase one. Then he saw in a computer mag that a C=64 was gonna come out soon. So, he waited. And eventually bought one with a tape drive. We programmed games out of books together on it. Eventually met some guys in an underground local Commodore group pirating games. So, dad's like, "well we need a disk drive". Eventually we bought us a 1541. We were rocking. He would get 10-20 blanks from the store and we would go to these parties and come back with cool games. I scored my first BBS DTJ (Does the job ASCII only) BBS from Mark Heil who had a legit copy for 20 bucks or something. Well you know what happened from there.
This is where the BBSing happened to me. Of course, from my father in a way. My dad set bought a 1650 modem, in 1984. It was funny to prank call people and blast the tone in their ear and was funny being a kid but, we never knew anything other than that about it. I started asking my dad about how to transfer data with the modem and get games, so he had me contact Joe Armstrong that lived up a couple miles away. And had the original 1650 terminal software. So, Joe gave me a few phone #'s to try.
The first one I called was the Music Board BBS in Cincinnati, Ohio. and I noticed it had color. But I was ascii. And it was one of those 'upload SID music to get credits'. So, I did, just to download a copy of CCGMS. Then it was BBS game-on time.
I eventually started getting into the telephone phreaking scene at that time. Right about when our local telephone company wouldn't allow bluebox anymore, so got into the other methods of calling long distance BBSes and distributing games that I won't mention in this article. Can't forget red boxing from payphones to keep in contact with people so we could call out to one-another.
Well DTJ BBS was online and did actually get people calling it when I was about 11 years old in 1989 and called all the BBS's all the time. I was hooked. Well eventually I ran into some of the MetalSoft guys and various groups from all over the world as a kid, from phreaking to teleconferencing in the early 90's and ended up with a cracked copy of C*Base 2.0 which I still own and still works 100%. Then Sir valiant from MetalSoft is where I got 3.0. The Endless Chaos BBS is running that exact version to this day in 2018.
So, I eventually illegally put my BBS up with a cracked copy of DMBBS 4.8e which still exists in my library and still works. But I ran that because I had all the online games to it at the time. Hehehe, and DMBBS got on my ass instantly, with threats and such. So, I switched over to C*Base 2.0 since I had a cracked copy of it. Well then Gunther Biezerniks got on my ass and wanted money, but as long as I paid, I can keep running my cracked version. So, my father hooked him up from our Commodore repair fund (got to meet him personally at VCF 2016).
Then C*Base 3.0 came out not long after. So, good ole father upgraded me for $10 and from there it was on. The level systems, I could set for phone phreaking areas and normal areas for regular callers, they would have no idea. And ended up with non-stop traffic, hehehehe. With my dad starting to teaching me how to repair Commodore's and Randy Chase as well from the beginning. So, I kinda got into repairing the C64's as a kid and made my money from that to buy my 1581's and eventually an Amiga. Well around the Amiga times I bought the Amiga 500 and ran C-Net 1.7 off of 2-3 1/2" drives, and that's when my BBS died. That was late 1991, but the phreaking scene was big, BBS scene was big but being a kid, my wallet wasn't big. I did more socializing and trading files overseas by mail and also transferring files at 2400BPS through phone lines as well as getting into UC's network to Telnet and Tymnet overseas boards to get Amiga warez. Still have the disks to this day.
So, after my BBS was shut down in 1995. I had a little time of drug use, partying, phone phreaking, ham radio, CB radio, cars, chicks, and a C= hiatus in the late 90's. But always had a SX64 around, so we would play games on from time to time.
The recent times.
In about 2008. I decided to repair my C64 breadbin since I had the skills. Just too lazy. And got it back up and running (still runs the Anarchy Underground to this day) and set up the original C*Base (which is on Endless Chaos BBS). Since I found my RS232 and null modem cable. So, to telnet years later was a task. Lief Bloomquists BBS server 1.4 brought it all back to life with the PC and serial cable, then got C*Base to work with it 24/7. We had that set up with 3-1581's and one 1541. So why not put it back online. We ran it till Jeff Jarrian came out with the LT. k. clone and later the Thunder drive which is what is currently the only drive the Anarchy Underground is running now with the Tao Modded C*Base. We set up the Tao mod BBS when Steve Bell hooked us up with a Swiftlink cart and then was opened up to the 9600BPS world. So, after I got that setup I got my old C64C up and running and started the Endless Chaos BBS on the floppies... until I got another hard drive and uIEC from Jim Brain around 2009-2010ish. They're both still online almost 10 years later. Running on 100% hardware, and just like we did it back in the day.
Recently I haven't been around the scene much due to repairing various Commodores from this barn find and working myself to death and printing t-shirts. But it's what we do. Still keeping these babies alive and running.
I own so much gear I can't list it all but I'll guarantee the BBS will be up as long as I'm alive...
And feel free to subscribe to us on YouTube. at Chris537a"
Public Subs: 20
Public Drives: 25
C*Base 3.0 Tao Modded
100% Commodore Breadbin C64 w/JD with the Thunder Drive 4.1GB
Real Swiftlink @ 9600bps
1.4GZz PC 512MB mem for TelnetBridge.
Public Subs: 10
C*Base METALsoft V5.1
1 - HyperDrive (LT.K Clone)
1-uIEC3.1 (Online Games)
System Operator: Taper, Jucke, Frantic
HQ: Triad and Onslaught
Taper writes: "The Highway was a well-known BBS run by Joyride/Noice and located in Bjuv in the south of Sweden. Groups such as Hoaxers, Brutal, C0derz, Accuracy, Noice, Oneway, Chromance and Onslaught had HQ's on the BBS during the years. Co-sysops were Jucke, Poison, Taper and Homeboy.
Taper and Jucke had in practice been managing The Highway during the last period of the board's life, as Joyride had lost interest and begun coding on the PC. Physically the BBS was still located in Joyride's teenage room (a minefield of computer gear, electronic gadgets and empty coke cans), but most of the sysop tasks were performed remote. However, at times it was necessary to perform some tasks live at the BBS site.
The Highway was running one of the modded C*Base versions, could have been Radar or Cyborg, on a XETEC hard drive system. At times I put my 1581 in my backpack and rode the moped from my parents' house to where Joyride lived to back up the BBS and hang out. Actually, I did backups of the uploaded wares more often than of the system and subs, which seem like a strange priority now...
One day in 1994 the hard drive crashed and it was game over for The Highway as Joyride was unwilling to invest more time and money into the BBS.
There was of course no way the 042 area could be without a BBS. Taper had already set up a C*Base BBS of his own, which was in a testing state, only open to a few selected callers. Work was intensified and Jucke came up with the name 'Antidote' (inspired by an acid-jazz record) and delivered C/G screens and prompt design for the new BBS. After a few weeks, Antidote was officially opened to fill the void that The Highway left behind. The sub-boards on the BBS were named in honour of classic C64 boards, like The Forum, Tunnel of Wares, The Dungeon, Paradize and Attraction.
In the beginning, the BBS was running as HQ for Ambient and Oneway (who Jucke brought aboard). When Taper joined Triad, the board followed and became Triad's second active BBS in Sweden (The Studio run by Jerry was the other one, and later also Tao opened his BBS Virtual Light). During this time Oneway was fading away as an active group, and it was more or less only Poison who supported the board from them, so Alpha Flight 1970 and Wrath Design were taken aboard to share Antidote with Triad.
Especially Triad and Alpha Flight supported the BBS with releases and callers. During some very busy periods the BBS was more or less occupied 24/7 and strict time limits had to be imposed on all ordinary users to cope with the storm of callers. The users came from all over Europe and the US, and all the major groups were represented among the callers.
Dates are a bit fuzzy after all this time, but Antidote suffered from HD corruption sometime late 1996 or early 1997. The BBS was quickly online again, but since it had to be restored from not-so good backups a lot of posts and some graphics were sadly lost in the process. This didn't affect the storm of callers though, and there was no doubt that Antidote had become the most popular BBS in Sweden, even beating the old number one, Warez Aquarium run by Sledge/Fairlight. In Propaganda #22, Antidote was runner-up to the best BBS of 1996 award together with the US board The Dungeon, only beaten by the German BBS Mystical Paradise.
However, the future would turn out to be less than bright for BBS systems in general. Around this time, internet began to attract and the boards started to feel the competition from the new kid on the block. As time went by, some of the cracking groups who used to be present on the boards worldwide started to get problems calling out. While some groups struggled on to support the boards, others decided to focus on the internet instead as an easy solution to their problems. Eventually, this led to loss of callers for all of the scene boards.
In 1998 Antidote was relocated to Ronneby as Taper moved to study there, and the board changed area code and number. A year later, the now worn out system hard drive crashed. Almost all data could be rescued this time though, and the plan was to install a new HD and re-open the BBS once again. But by 1999 the BBS scene was in bad shape. Internet had really taken over and callers had dried up, so Taper decided it was time to put Antidote to sleep. When he moved back to the 042-area again, the BBS gear was boxed away. The only remaining C64 BBS in Sweden was now The Studio.
As ironic as it might be, eventually the very thing that killed the boards became an opportunity to resurrect Antidote again. In late 2003, the BBS was re-opened on telnet with a full backup installed, as the first scene BBS running on real hardware available over internet. In total, Antidote has been online for more than 20 years, being the longest running BBS in the history of the C64 scene. In all this time, only three machines have been used to host the BBS and the CMD SCSI interface has been the same all those years. Still running under the flag of Triad, but now also HQ for Onslaught. Antidote could be run on higher speeds since it uses a Swiftlink, but the decision has been made to keep running on 2400bps - especially since that is the speed petscii screens are supposed to be watched in. If you are in a hurry, you are probably not using a C64 anyway. Also, the board has more than 25000 posts in the forums. Cleaning them out would mean another speed-increase, but history take the upper hand here as well."
C*Base 3.3.5 Tao-modded
Commodore 128 (in C64 mode)
CMD HD SCSI Interface
SCSI to IDE converter
Industrial grade 1GB CF-card
CMD SuperCPU 20MHz
CMD RAMLink 16GB with parallel cable to CMD HD
Public Subs: 6
Public Drives: 14
Board: FRoZEN FLoPPY
System Operator: pewp
HQ: Genesis Project
pewp writes: "My addition to the BBS scene started out as probably most of the other sysops at a very young age after calling local boards. I was drawn to the H/P/C scene and decided to setup a local board dedicated to the H/P scene. My first board was actually running on a 486 MS DOS machine running the BBS software Remote Access. Due to my young age I was never able to setup a BBS on for example the C64 because getting access to my own phone line was basically impossible.
Eventually the Internet took over and people moved from teleconferences to IRC channels and the BBSes died out but the love for retro computers just stayed with me, and about in about 2012 I decided to try to get all my retro computers online. I wanted to see how many of these old systems I could resurrect using their original hardware, so no emulated trash.
I did not have all the hardware I needed so I started learning how to solder my own RS232 adapters and being creative when it comes to storage units. Eventually I bought a ThunderDrive and SwiftLink. When I had this, I started to learn how to setup C*BASE and after almost a year of hacking and swearing the FRoZEN FLoPPY BBS was online.
My friend hedning who is the organiser of Genesis Project saw my dedicated to the BBS scene, and asked me to join G*P as a sysop maintaining and building scene-boards for them. The FRoZEN FLoPPY is a really appreciated board in the c64 scene with graphics from well-known artist such as Mermaid/Vision/GP, Shine/The Solution and Bordeaux/Excess."
C*Base 3.3.8 Tao mod
Commodore 128 (in C64 mode)
CMD Swiftlink 9600 baud
CMD HD 4GB
ThunderDrive 4GB as backup
TCPSER as gateway.
Public Subs: 12
Public Drives: 4
Board: Optical Illusion
System Operator: Optic Freeze, Larry, One-Eyed Pirate
HQ: Genesis Project, Atlantis, Fairlight, Hokuto Force, The Seventh Sector
Optic Freeze writes: "Optical Illusion was born in 1988 at (206) 889-2321... The system was comprised of a breadbin C=64 running on Ivory BBS, a 1541 for the system drive, an Epyx Fastload cartridge, three 1581s for WaReZ, and a Supra 2400 baud modem. Optical Illusion really started in 1986 and had a couple of name changes and phone numbers along the way, but truly became scene related as a warez BBS in 1988. In 1989 I joined the legendary US group [F]ucked [B]eyond [R]epair and Optical Illusion took off. With so many releases coming out on a daily basis back then, my BBS was very busy most of the US timezone evenings with Americans transferring files, and busy most of the nights with Europeans calling to do the same. I made contact with Goldfish of [LEGEND] and soon OI became their first ever WHQ. Graphics for the BBS in the old days were created by Morrissey of FBR/Lords/Venom fame... man do I wish I still had those files, but regretfully those disks went to the landfill many moons ago. Optical Illusion was also the first HQ for a group called [Intense] that rose from the ashes of the dismantling of FBR. I quit the scene in 1990 because you know, college, girls, beer, and life... In 2011, I began to look for contact information from my scene friends from the past... I found Goldfish, Kickback, Oahawhool, Fabulous Furlough, and many others on Facebook, and met E$G from Hokuto Force... I noticed that there were now "telnet" BBSs alive and kicking, and spoke to Enrico in depth about what it would take to get a BBS up and running... I also spoke to Taper/Triad... To be honest, it sounded pretty difficult to me back then to get it going, and I really didn’t have the time to devote as my kids were young and I was extremely busy with work... Fast forward to 2018... I found a large lot of Commodore hardware on my local Craigslist and decided to dive in... I started researching and found out that there was so much more hardware out there than when I had left the scene in 1990... hard drives, sd2iec, SuperCPUs, RamLinks, SwiftLinks, etc etc... I was absolutely fascinated and started adding to my collection piece by piece... As the pieces came together and I was confident that I could get not only a BBS up again, but a SUPER fast BBS up on telnet, with enough storage to last for years and years... This is when I sent a message to the Genesis*Project Facebook page, and met Hedning... Hedning, m00p, and I had months worth of chats on Facebook messenger as I kept trying to find the finishing touches for the equipment I needed... In late 2018 I finally got my hands on the last pieces of the puzzle, and started configuring the BBS... I met guys like Larry/ROLE, pcollins/EXCESS, LA Style/GP, John from Commodore4ever, Holy Moses/ROLE, and others that I am forgetting... with the help of all of these sceners, I was finally able to get everything connected, configured, and working on telnet! On December 27, 2018, I officially joined Genesis*Project, and Optical Illusion was re-launched at opticalbbs.c64bbs.nu:64128. The BBS runs on a C=128 in C=64 mode with JiffyDOS, CMD SuperCPU, CMD RamLink, GGLabs GLINK232T @ 57600 baud, CMD-100 hard drive with 4.1gb SCSI2SD mod, a SD2IEC for nightly backups, a PC for the Telnet bridge running BBS Server, on the Holy Moses modded C*Base 3.1. The BBS is WHQ for HF & FLT, USHQ for G*P & ATL, and now has 90+ users, has lots of GREAT petscii artwork done by Shine/GP/The Solution, OEP/Ex-Ikari/Talent, and Snake Petsken/The Solution! Give it a call, all sceners are welcome!".
C128 with JiffyDOS
CMD-100 HDD w/ 4.1gb SCSI2SD mod
Rear Admiral FireDrive 2k
PC Telnet Bridge
Holy Moses Modded C*BASE 3.1
Country: United States
System Operator: Ice Breaker
Ice Breaker writes: "Particles! started its life way back in ancient times, May 25th 1992 to be exact, running on a Commodore 64C with a 2400 baud modem and Image 1.2 software. The name comes from a twist on the way BBSes named back then. In the earlier times, BBSes tended to have the name "board" in them... such as "Surf Board", "Circuit Board", etc. My friend Scott suggested that we name it "Particle Board". Drop the board, add an "s" and an exclamation mark and you have what you see today.
The board has gone through a large amount of reiterations of the years, from a Warez BBS back in the early 90s, to an Amiga board throughout the mid-90s, and a PC board until 2005. Back in 2006 we went back to a C64 BBS until 2008 when my daughter was born. After a 5-year hiatus (read: when I actually have more time to myself again), we went back online in December 2013. There are very active message bases for lots of retro conversation, well over 10,000 files for you to download for all sorts of Commodore computers, and at least 60 online games for you to play. Also, the BBS has a Usenet interface on it that I wrote - it supports posting to and from Usenet which I think is the first 128 BBS to do so but I could be wrong. It also has a 'retro usenet' feed that allows you to read messages from a particular year (I think we're running 1990 right now)."
CMD HD 4GB with Aztec Monster SCSI -> CF adapter
Soon supports SuperRES/RIP
Public Subs: 16
Public Drives: 14
System Operator: pcollins, Secret Man
HQ: Excess, Laxity and Fairlight
pcollins writes: "Sysop is pcollins/Excess and Co-Sys Secret Man/Laxity and its online since May 11th 2017.
It is the home of Excess, Laxity and Fairlight.
Running a modified TAO C*Base 3.3.8 with 9600 baud, 20 Mhz SuperCPU, RAMlink with parallel connected 4GB Thunderdrive (SCSI 2 MicroSD) and another Thunderdrive that functions as backup. More than 10 very active sub areas and some special U/D directories.
RapidFire BBS has some special features like "Remote-Reboot-System" via Mobile phone, full Auto-back-up system to PC, Bot-System and so on... There is a plan to change the system to Cyborg C*Base (Holy Moses Edition), because this mod allows a faster baud rate (38,400) like Raveolution or The Hidden and it includes some new features."
C*Base with 9600 baud
2 x Thunderdrives
Public Subs: 6
Public Drives: 9
System Operator: Larry, Holy Moses
HQ: Raiders of the Lost Empire
Larry writes: "A little story about Raveolution: It all started in 1993 when I was a member of Rebels. Before that I called the first German mailboxes with a 300 baud dataphone. That was new and exciting, but the speed of data transmission began to suck after a short while. So, in 1993 a friend of mine lost interest in calling Amiga BBS and gave me his 2400 baud modem.
That was the time I started calling C64 scene boards and got the first experience with C*Base and UCBBS boards around the globe.
Meanwhile being a member of Trance, I decided to open up an own BBS for TRANCE. So, I collected all the BBS software I could get, and after trying them there was no alternative to Cyborg Mod for me. I don't remember the exact date when I opened up Raveolution the first time. It must have been around early to mid-1994.
Next thing needed was better hardware. I had a RS232 Userport Interface, built by a group mate from Rebels. But that one didn't suit the needs for running a BBS with it. You could only call out with it, but the ring signal and other signals were missing. So, I had to ATA by hand, when a user called and after logoff I could reset the BBS... A no-go! So, I bought a RS232 Interface from a local store and it worked perfectly. The first weeks I only had a second 1541-II as U/D Drive. Too less diskspace :-). While looking for a HD, L.A.Style came with an offer, selling me his CMD-HD (from The Hidden), which by the way was before that owned by Lexi / FLT and used for his BBS Cyberdome. Now it seemed I had all I needed to run the BBS.
Well, being a bit addicted to speed, I spend my first earned money as a trainee on a CMD RamLink with 1MB and a Parallel Cable. Wow, what a difference! But still with 2400 Baud.... At that time the first BBSs came up with higher baud rates, using the CMD Swiftlink. And faster Modems were available. 14.4K was the new standard. But Cyborg Mod didn't work with speeds beyond 2400 Baud. Too bad. At that time, I left Trance and joined forces with Motiv8 running my BBS for them for a while. In November or December 1994, I joined Talent and ran my BBS for them. Sadly, Talent dissolved short after and me and my BBS became groupless.
A few weeks later my old group mate from Rebels Neotec, F4CG Member at that time, got the okay from Scorpie, to runs my BBS for F4CG as their EHQ. They didn't really support me and my BBS and when I had to do my army service in 1996, I had to take Raveolution down the whole year.
I reopened Raveolution on 01.04.1997 now running it for Motiv8 again.
Also, in 1996 / 97 Holy Moses did some cool moddings to Cyborg's C*Base version for his BBS Sanitarium, the first Holy Moses Mod. That had some bugfixes and new Features like HD parking, SCPU fixes, support for 28.8K Baud with a Swiftlink. A must have for me :-) After a few mails, he sold me his mod for 50 German Marks, a good invest, so I now had together with my new CMD SuperCPU one of the fastest C64 boards worldwide.
At the end of the 90ies the whole BBS Scene went very slow, due to Internet taking more and more people away from our beloved boards. So, at the end of 1997, I guess it was in November, I completely lost interest in running a BBS and the C64 and scene in general. It was time to quit the scene and stop Raveolution. During the next 20 years I sometimes followed scene news on YouTube, watching new C64 demos now and then, which always impressed me, that first there is still C64 life out there and what awesome things people still created.
In 2017 I had the time and enough room (without disturbing my wife) to place my C64 hardware that I still had, and began cracking some old games on my own, just to see if I could still do it. And yes, it went slower but I did it :-) So I wanted to be part of the scene again. But I had no contacts anymore and none wants a guy switching his C64 on after 20 years of NOP.
With a little luck I found an offer on eBay from a guy selling his 1541-II with Jiffy Dos for 50 Euro living near my place. I went to him and guess what, Holy Moses was the guy. History repeats sometimes...
So, after talking a while and doing some stuff for a game he made, he offered me to join ROLE. I didn't deny his offer, and dying ROLE got active again. First with some cracks and first releases, later with a BBS again. Holy Moses took the old Cyborg Mod again, and did the mods all from scratch, releasing the Cyborg +xx Versions lately. Of course, I wanted to run his version for Raveolution again. So, after finding out how BBSing on telnet works nowadays, and after testing and debugging and testing... I reopened Raveolution again on 01.04.2018. With help from L.A.Style, I could get it running with 9600 Baud, increasing the speed up to 38.4K as of today, with the very recent Version of the Holy Moses Mod, making it the fastest BBS for some weeks (sorry L.A.Style ;-) ). Now we are working together with other sysops to make C*Base more stable and usable for other people. Many bugs have already been fixed. New features are under development and a new public full release Version is on the way."
C*Base 3.1 Holy Moses modded
C64 reloaded MK2
CMD RAMLink 1MB
CMD HD 4GB
Raspberry Pi 2B running Debian Linux
Public Subs: 3
Public Drives: 15
System Operator: Stablizer
HQ: Demonix, Excess, Laxity, Longshot and Onslaught
Stablizer writes: "Brought online on the 3rd of April 2016. The BBS name was thought up by me. It was inspired by looking back at the commodore scene (reflections of Commodore past). All the individuals and groups that made the scene what it was back then and what it continues to be today."
Commodore 128D with JiffyDOS
CMD SuperCPU 128
CMD RAMLink (16 MB) + 1764 REU (512k)
2 Rear Admiral Thunder Drives (8.2 GB in total)
Rear Admiral FireDrive 4K (FD4000 Clone)
Commodore SD2IEC Drive (32 GB)
Super232 Serial Null Modem Cartridge
Commodore 1702 Monitor
Public Subs: 9
Public Drives: 24
Board: Scorp's Portal
Country: Shanghai, China
System Operator: Scorpion
Scorpion writes: "I never had a modem in my early C64 days, and calling boards was costly for most Europeans back then anyway. Reading the scroll texts in intros where people mentioned their groups' HQ and reading stories about bulletin boards always seemed like a different world altogether. So, when I found out about the possibility of connecting to them through telnet and that I could host one using a modified version of WinVICE and another tool called TCPSER, I jumped at the chance, and Scorp's Portal was launched on November 19, 2013 (which means it will celebrate its 5th anniversary this year!). I was surprised to see I soon got frequent callers, some of whom decided to stick around and are regulars on the board today. At the time, there were about 15 boards online, and now the number has risen to around 60! I'm proud to say it's the only Commodore 64 BBS, and possibly the only 8-bit BBS, running in China!"
Color 64 BBS V8.0
Modified version of WinVICE with JiffyDOS and TCPSER
Virtual Machine running Windows 7
Asus laptop running Windows 10
Public Subs: 5
Public Drives: 1
Board: The Deadzone
System Operator: Trouble, Jazzcat
HQ: Onslaught and Vandalism News
Trouble writes: "The Dead Zone came to be in the mid-to-late 90's (exact years unknown) from inspiration from a local BBS that ran IMAGE BBS software called The IronFang Keep. After many BBS programs, including EBBS, UCBBS, and C*Base 3.0/Phury, I decided to settle with CyborgModded C*Base 3.1, as I thought this BBS program was the nicest (The Cursor Menu option is what really hooked me). Many groups over the years supported The Dead Zone, including X-Rated, 9th Hell, Excess and Onslaught.
After 2 Hard Drive crashes, and lack of calls in the early 2000's, I decided to take the BBS down and remain in the scene doing one file demos and what not. Fast forward to 2017-2018, and some sceners (Especially Jazzcat/Onslaught and Uzzy) asked me to put DZ back up as it would be good for the scene. After many months of saying "I'm too busy for that.", I decided to load up the old files and see what kind of TROUBLE I can get into again. Running, CyborgModded C*Base on my original Breadbin C64 with JiffyDos, a CMD 1gig Hard Drive and a WiModem by Jim Drew, THE DEAD ZONE is back as ONSLAUGHT's WHQ."
C*Base 3.1 Cyborg modded
CMD HD 1GB
Public Subs: 7
Public Drives: 9
Board: The Hidden
System Operator: L.A.Style, Taper
HQ: Genesis Project and Atlantis
L.A.Style writes: "The Hidden went online as an ordinary dialup in 1992. Running Cyborg-modded C*Base with 4MB Ramlink at 2400 Baud. Closed by the cops (busted) on 18.06.1996 and back online in December 1997 with upgrade to 850 MB HD.
BBS was only offline from 05/2008 until 11/2008 due to a HD crash and no spare HD available. As I learnt from that, I have a complete equal setup next to the BBS which also is used as backup system. If the BBS would crash nowadays I will have a complete system running in less than 1 hour.
To name some of the most important changes:
- Directory File limit removed to host unlimited amount of files
- searching for filenames inside the UDs
- Adjusting Date/Time each time a user connects to have always the correct timestamp which is urgent for the first release count
- A lot of additional GFX Screens for e.g. each UD Section a single GFX, Header GFX for BBS List, Wall, User Info.
The BBS is available to the public for more than 25 years, which makes it as one of the longest available BBS ever."
Cyborg modded C*Base V3.1 with mods by Holy Moses & L.A.Style
C128 in C64 mode
CMD Swiftlink (9600 baud)
CMD RAMLink 16GB
CMD HD-20 with 4GB modded SCSI to Ide to Compact Flash HD
CMD SuperCPU 128
Turbo 232 Interface at 57600 Baud > Windows Gateway > 200Mbit FTTH
Public Subs: 10
Public Drives: 6
How to connect to a C64 BBS that uses C*Base
This quick tutorial is focused on two pre-conditions:
1) BBS is running C*Base
2) User is running CGTerm
I know there are other frameworks that the BBS can be using (UCBBS and Color 64 for example) but C*Base is the main one. I am also aware that there are other terminal programs to connect to a BBS (AkeTerm, GuruTerm, SkyTerm for example) but the focus is on CGTerm.
Step 1: Grab CGTerm from CSDb.dk
CGTerm is the most popular Petscii telnet client. Besides displaying C/G, this client also supports Punter downloads and X-Modem uploads to a C*Base BBS. It does not yet support Punter uploads, though. It available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
Step 2: Connecting to the BBS
1. In the CGTerm folder is a file called cgterm.cfg, edit this to include the bookmarks of your preferred boards and then save.
2. Open CGTerm and connect by using the ESC key (shows the menu), and the B key (opens bookmarks) and then select your BBS. Alternatively, you can press the D key and manually type in the telnet address, for example: dzbbs.hopto.org 64128
3a. The experience begins! If you are first time user on the board, usually you will type in either NEW or Guest (usually G as the shortcut). This is the registration process, fill in the details and await the sysop to validate your account before the full functionality is opened up. Usually, a new user account is restricted with the only option to send a message to the sysop (user 1) or another user on the BBS. Usually a new user will leave feedback to the sysop requesting validation of their account.
3b. Let's assume you have a valid account. At the login screen enter your ID and your password (pressing Return/Enter at each prompt). A tip to speed this up is on the login prompt enter your user ID;password - e.g. 112;mypassword and then press enter.
4. Correct credentials and you are now logged on to the BBS (and to think, back in the day a lot of guys had to phreak to do this!). When you login you will see the last couple of users that have been online, some one-liners and pretty petscii graphics (make sure you are in graphics mode for the ultimate experience!). You may also receive a subtle reminder if you didn't post during your last call. The unwritten rule is: one post per call in a sub of your choice. This is law and you may get a picture of a penis if you don't comply! Don't act cocky! This is not CSDb!
Step 3: Navigation: subs
1. You will be at the main menu or action prompt (depending on the BBS config). Pressing ? or Return/Enter (without writing anything at the main prompt) brings up the main menu. Here you can view the main commands available. Start by entering the Sub Boards (aka forums). This is done by pressing s at the main prompt.
2. Hitting l and then Return/Enter lists the sub boards available.
3. Instead of reading older posts, you may want to catch up on things, and only read the newest posts, so that the next time you call only the posts saved after your last visit are marked as unread. This is done with the r (read) command. e.g. you might type r280 to read posts 280 to latest. To read the next message in line, all you have to do is press Return/Enter. Every time you have read a post and want to view the next one, you do that.
4. Posting a message of our own. As previously stated, you must post at least once per call! To post a message, press p and then Return/Enter at the prompt. Note: you can do this without reading all the unread messages.
5. Firstly, the subject line appears. Write the subject of your post then press Return/Enter. Then the message editor appears. Here you can start writing your message. The C*Base message editor is quite extensive. You can edit text, create animations and online graphics, use MCI commands etc. However, this is not an advanced C*Base message editor master class, but a quick tutorial, so let's leave all those fancy features for you to explore and concentrate on the basic function of writing a simple post.
6. Start out by writing your message. Use CTRL+numberkey or CBM+numberkey to change colour of the text you are writing. If you want to change something on the same line (like a spelling error), use delete (inst/del) on the C64 or backspace on the PC. If you want to change something on an upper line, you could either do the same and erase until the desired line is shown, and rewrite the rest of the message, or use the edit function. To use the edit function, you must press Return/Enter until you reach an empty line. There you press . (dot) and the message editor prompt will appear. Here you simply write e (as in edit) and Return/Enter. Then enter the line number you want to edit, and that line will appear. Now, the best thing is of course not to make any spelling mistakes in the first place so you don't have to correct them. So, let's assume we have written our little post, and not made any errors. Perhaps we want to put our signature at the bottom before we save it. Then just go down to an empty line and press CTRL+A and your handle/username will be displayed. Press Return/Enter and press CTRL+Y if you want your location to be shown underneath as well.
7. Now we want to save the post, and that is done by using the message editor prompt again. So, down to an empty line, press . (dot) and the prompt will appear. As the editor help suggests, there are several commands to be given here (and much more than the small selection showed there). If we want to save the post, we hit s at the prompt. If we want to abort the post and throw it away, we hit a for abort. If we want to read the message we just wrote, we use the r command. And, if we want to read the message just as it will appear on the screen when someone else reads it, complete with MCI commands (in case we used any), we use m for MCI Read. If we want to get rid of the message editor prompt and continue writing, simply press Return/Enter without writing anything at the prompt. Anyway, this time we want to save the message, and hit s at the prompt. Now, we might want to check out the other sub boards that we saw earlier when we listed the available areas. So, to change to sub#2, just press 2 and then Return/Enter. Instantly we find ourselves in sub#2. Again, the prompt shows info on available and unread posts.
8. You should now have a basic understanding of the C*Base sub system. If you want more commands to experiment with, just hit ? at the sub prompt and you'll see a more extensive list of commands. To leave the sub board section and return to the main prompt again, we use the command q (quit).
Step 4: Navigation: Upload/Downloads
1. Let's take a look at the U/D areas. Hit u from the main prompt, and you will find yourself in the first U/D directory. To view the current directory, use $ and the dir listing starts to scroll. So now we know what the first dir has to offer. Let's bring the help menu using ? And the result appears... Here you can see all the commands needed for file transfers.
2. A command you might recognise from the sub section is l (as in list). That command works here as well. Using l will list the available U/D areas. You then change U/D area by entering the number of the area, and then Return/Enter. To change protocol, use the command t at the U/D prompt. Remember, from a real C64 running NovaTerm you can use Punter (default) for both uploading and downloading. From CGTerm on a PC you can use Punter for downloading, but you must change to X-Modem on the BBS (with the t command) and X-Modem/CRC on the CGTerm side to be able to upload! You download files by entering d#, where # is the number of the file you want to download. For instance, d100 starts the download of file 100 in the directory of that U/D area. In a similar manner, you start an upload by writing u at the U/D prompt.
3. Want a quick breakdown of uploading?
Firstly, this sequence: t, t, u, t, t, u, y, filename
Then: description or just press enter
Lastly: 1, escape, t, s, c, choose file
Note: When you are in the file area, the default connection on some boards will be Punter, you need to switch the protocol to X-Modem, "t" switches to the next protocol. If the BBS only has two protocols (Punter and X-Modem usually), then you only need to press "t" once, however, some boards will also have X Modem 1K (but give it a go), which is not the best, so keep hitting "t" until you reach standard "X-Modem" protocol.
There are more functions in C*Base, but as this is supposed to be a quick tutorial, we won't dig into everything. One thing remains, though. To log off from the BBS. From the main prompt, you can either issue the q (quit) command for a fast carrier drop, or g (as in goodbye), which also displays a goodbye screen. This also keeps the sysops happy!