Color 64 Version 7.37

Greg Pfountz originally wrote this documentation in the eighties. I have simply updated it as much as possible without removing any information. Please read my notes at the end of the documentation.

The following will give you some ideas about the capabilities and limitations of this BBS software. No one program can be everything to everyone, so it is your responsibility to make sure you choose a software package that will meet your needs and expectations. It is our hope that you will choose this BBS software, but only if it is exactly what you want.

Color 64 BBS Description

(1) Color 64 BBS fully supports Commodore color and graphics (both shifted graphics and Commodore key graphics) with nondestructive cursor movements and background color changes when used with a compatible terminal program (I will send one with your BBS software that you can pass out to your members). You will find that color and graphics will make the message base more enjoyable for your Commodore 64/128 callers. One point to consider is that some graphic messages will be unreadable for all users not using a Commodore computer with a color graphics terminal program. If you anticipate many non-Commodore users, you may wish to get hold of a 64 terminal emulation program for the other platforms. One of these that is available on most Color 64 bulletin board systems is C64TRM5D.EXEfor the IBM compatibles.

(2) This BBS when used with some compatible terminal program supports variable baud rates from 110 to 500 for callers connected at 300 baud. If a caller switches to a higher or lower baud rate, the BBS will store that value in the caller's stats. The next time they log on, the system will ask them if they want to switch to that baud rate again. For higher baud rates, Color 64 supports many types of 1200 baud modems and many types of 2400 baud modems.

(3) Color 64 BBS supports the new Punter protocol and the standard XMODEM (checksum and crc) protocol for file transfers. This "C1" Punter protocol also supports variable block sizes. The BBS will save the last used block size in the caller's stats record so that when they call again, the BBS will use that same block size. The download directory is really a separate sequential file on disk that keeps all downloads in a chronological order with the date uploaded attached to each file. This allows you and your callers to easily see which files are new and just how long they have been online. Color 64 BBS supports up to 26 download directories on any number of drives, each with a minimum level required for access.

(4) This BBS supports both public and private messages. A caller (with a high enough access level) can automatically reply (autoreply) to any message either publicly or privately and the system will automatically address each message. The public message base can be divided into 18 system operator (sysop) selectable categories with message threading in each category. Each category will have a level assigned to it. Any callers with a level lower than that category's level will not see any messages in that category. Please notice that these are not multiple message bases. The author chose to use multiple categories in one message base instead for many reasons. Mainly because he didn't like having to keep switching message bases while looking for new messages to read. He preferred that the BBS allow him to read all new messages at once. This BBS also supports private messages (E-mail). These private messages are stored on disk in individual mailboxes. All mail for one caller is stored in one file and is separated when that person calls. This allows us to make the most out of a 1541 drive's limited disk space. Callers are allowed to autoreply (if they have a high enough access level), hold, or delete each piece of mail. Mail is automatically read at time of log on.

(5) The BBS maintains a caller log in memory in random access memory (RAM) under the BASIC read only memory (ROM). This allows you and your remote sysops to read the caller log over the modem as opposed to only seeing it on a printer. The caller log is self maintaining in that it will automatically cycle, keeping the most recent callers at the top of the list. As new calls are received, the log automatically erases the oldest entry from the bottom. The self maintenance feature allows you to look at the log as often as you want and not need to be concerned with having to clear it, keep paper in the printer, or make sure there is sufficient disk space. The log consists of a trail of each caller's activity while on the BBS. It first starts by indicating if the caller connected at a particular baud rate and if they answered Y or N to graphics. Next you will see their membership number. If they do not enter the password correctly, the wrong guess will be stored in the log (allowing us to see if someone is trying to guess a password). Once online, the current time and date are stored in the log. An entry showing how much mail (if any) was received, how much was held, and to whom they sent replies to are also stored. Then throughout the rest of the time online, every major action is recorded in the log, leaving a trail for you and your sysops to review. This information is valuable in determining which downloads are most popular and which parts of the BBS are most often used. It also allows you to see who uploaded what programs. The log is optionally saved to disk when the system is shut down. This allows you to always have either the last day or two of callers in the log, or just since the last time you started the system. If you enable the save to disk option, the BBS will create an archive of the caller log every night at midnight. This will allow you to maintain a permanent record of all activity on your system.

(6) The system supports help files and text files that can be read while online. The maximum number of text files is limited only by the number of files allowed on one disk and/or the amount of free space. Callers can upload/download text files directly with the Punter or XMODEM protocol. Remote sysops can download, scratch, and replace text files as necessary assuming you store the text files on the same disk as the downloads.

(7) Color 64 BBS supports the C1700, C1764, and C1750 RAM Expansion units and most kinds of disk drives (device numbers 8-15, single and/or dual and the 1571 in native mode or double-sided 1541 mode). The author used only generic input, print, and get commands to prevent incompatibilities with third party drives. Because of the bugs in the early Commodore 1581 disk drive, you would need to limit the use of this drive to non-volatile files. These include uploads, downloads, text files and help files. Color 64 BBS is too large to fit into the limited memory of the Commodore 64 all at once. So it is divided into several smaller files that load into memory only when needed. To reduce overlay loading times, the system requires FASTLOAD, Mach 5, 1541 Flash with a 1541 or 1571 in 1541 mode; a burst mode ROM from Chip Level Designs for burst mode loads from the 1571 or 1581 disk drives in burst mode; IEEE Flash, Quicksilver or Busscard II with an SFD1001, 2341, 4040, 8050, 8250, 9060, etc. for high speed disk loads or a C1700, C1764, or C1750 ram expansion module for instant memory transfers. FASTLOAD, Mach 5, and Quicksilver will load an overlay in 15 seconds while the 17XX will do the same in about 1/10th of a second.

(8) Available from remote is the ability to do all password maintenance, public message maintenance, system message files maintenance, full DOS capabilities and download directory maintenance. Although the system can run very much unattended, having someone watch over things may be necessary when you will be away for a long length of time. These remote capabilities will allow the BBS to still run like normal, even if you are going to be gone for an extended period. Your remote sysops can edit (without changing the From: JOHN DOE (#99) line in the header of a message), scratch, or change the category of any message on the system. They can change a caller's access level, time remaining, name, password, etc. and create a new membership list. They can scratch uploads from the directory if the disk is beginning to fill. Your remote sysops will find these abilities quite sufficient when operating the system from remote.

(9) Another feature of this BBS software is a built-in terminal program for you to use when calling other boards without the need to take your BBS down. This terminal program supports multiple baud rates, 1650/1660/HAYES auto-dialing, regular ASCII and CBM graphics (with a nondestructive cursor and background color changes), Punter and XMODEM uploads and downloads to or from any drive on the system, a message maker with ASCII upload capabilities (for creating your offline messages), and full DOS functions on any drive (including a sequential file reader and printer).

(10) Color 64 BBS has a feature to allow you to read your mailbox (which contains your mail, all sysop feedback and the new user's applications) and the caller log without having to log onto the BBS. Just by pressing a couple of function keys, you can see who has been online and if any important mail is waiting for you. Also, these function key routines allow you to print the caller log and feedback on your printer.

(11) The system maintains a very accurate clock and date. All messages, public and private, will be date and time stamped. The date automatically increments at midnight and will not need any attention. Also at midnight, the BBS will search for old mail and delete all mail in mailboxes that is older than a defined number of days.

(12) Color 64 supports six access levels for your callers and three levels for your sysops. You assign each caller a specific access level that gives them more or less access to the system. Each access level has a selectable limit of days for automatic purges and each membership record has a selectable expiration date. The BBS will automatically reset each caller's time limit at midnight. If they have not called in the assigned number of days, it will automatically purge them from your membership list. If they have reached their expiration date (assigned individually for each member), the BBS will automatically reduce that callers access level to a predetermined level. This is useful for pay systems where you would give a higher access for a certain amount of time based on a financial contribution. Also at midnight, the BBS will validate the public and private messages disks, thus allowing you to go to sleep knowing the BBS is taking good care of itself.

(13) The BBS has an auto-rerun program wedged into the C64 operating system always watching for a system crash. The author has attempted to make sure the software is free of bugs. However, if a caller does find a way to crash the system, the damage will be small. The system will disconnect the caller, save all important variables, end then rerun itself reloading all variables back into memory and begin waiting for the next caller. This allows you to sleep much easier at night, knowing the system will still be running when you get up the next morning.

(14) The welcome messages, a logoff message, menus, new user messages, system information files, etc. are stored in sequential files on disk. Both a standalone color/graphic sequential file editor (which will allow you to create/edit files almost 500 lines long) and a built-in editor (for creating/editing shorter files online) are included with the Color 64 BBS. You will not need any other sequential file editor, although you can use a program like Easy Script when creating really long text files. Instructions for using Easy Script to create formatted sequential files like this one are in the BBS documentation.

(15) Each command is re-programmable. You can reassign the character to type for each function and the access level required to execute that function. Nine spare commands are available for you to use when adding your own modules.

(16) A download credit system prevents any single caller from always downloading and never uploading. This system tracks blocks uploaded and downloaded instead of files. You can set the access level at which callers are exempt from this system, the number of free blocks of credits to give each new member, and the number of download credits earned per block uploaded.

(17) A new user application is in place that you can easily modify (with a sequential file editor) to meet your needs. The BBS automatically stores all applications in YOUR mailbox.

(18) As new files are uploaded, there is an option to ask each caller to enter an upload description. The BBS will optionally display this description during a new download scan and before each download. The description is just like a regular message with a 100-line limit and full color/graphic capabilities.

(19) Color 64 BBS supports multiple file transfers. The multiple file transfer protocol used in Color 64 BBS is compatible with MultiTerm, TouchTerm, CommTerm, and most all others. Multiple uploads are not supported in the BASIC system as they would defeat the upload description feature described above. For those that would rather have multiple uploads than upload descriptions, I have an optional module (on the back side of the master disk) that supports multiple uploads.

(20) Two empty program overlays are supplied along with a third one that is mostly empty. If you are a BASIC programmer, you should not have any trouble designing and putting your own modules online. Or if you would rather try some ready-made modules, many can be found on Color 64 bulletin board systems and are available for download (from the private Color 64 sysop support areas).

Other Notes

The Color 64 BBS was written and copyrighted by Greg Pfountz (1983-1985), and was released as FREEWARE on September 16, 1995. Registration is no longer required or desired. The official distributions sites are listed at the end of this text. They can provide you with access to modifications and help you with minor problems concerning the software.

This BBS is written mostly in BASIC with just enough machine code in all the right places to allow us to efficiently use a 2400 baud modem. If you are interested in a BBS program that you can easily modify to suit your own tastes, then this one is for you! This program is not compiled and not copy protected. All input and output to and from the disk and modem is written in machine code to make the BBS as fast as possible.

As far as modems, for 300 baud the 1650 or 1660 (w/serial number greater than 100,000) is recommended. Any compatible will also work, but the 64 Modem from Total Telecommunications (or any modem that answers the phone with alternating answer/originate tones...sounds like beep, boop, beep, boop...) is not really recommended. Although this modem is functionally equivalent to a 1650 and the BBS will find no problems operating with it, callers using a 1660 modem (and many non-commodore modems) will find it a little difficult to connect with. It seems the alternating tones will confuse a 1660 into never knowing whether your modem has answered or not. There is a way around this, just have your 1660 callers switch their 1660 to answer mode when they hear your carrier. As you can see, this is not the best modem to run a BBS on.

For 1200 baud use, several types of modems are supported. The most highly recommended modem is a Hayes Smartmodem 1200 or a good compatible with a Vic1011A or Omnitronix RS232 interface. Another modem that works real well and costs a lot less is the Commodore 1670 modem. One last type of 1200 baud modem supported is a simple auto-answer auto-baud modem that supports DTR, carrier detect, and has a high speed indicator on RS232 pin 12 with an Omnitronix RS232 interface. This last type of modem is not really popular, but if you run across a good deal, you will enjoy knowing this BBS will support it.
For 2400 baud use, I support the Hayes Smartmodem 2400 or a good compatible using any standard RS232 interface. I am currently using a Hayes Smartmodem with no problems. If you choose a compatible, it must emulate very closely the Hayes standard.

If you have any more questions, feel free to leave E-Mail/Feedback to:

    Timothy J. Allen (a.k.a. Dynamite)
    Twilight Zone BBS
    1222 S. Ash Ave., Apt. B
    Tempe, AZ. 85281-5794
    (480)-827-2706 - The Twilight Zone BBS

    Richard T. Cunningham (a.k.a. Wanderer)
    Desert Oasis BBS
    8632 W. Windsor Ave.
    Phoenix, AZ. 85037
    (623)-849-2892 - Desert Oasis BBS
    No longer is his BBS up and running! 01/01/1999

Wanderer's Notes

When I first starting running Color 64 on my Commodore 128D, I had a CMD HD-20 to run the entire BBS and it worked GREAT! Later, I added a CMD RAMLink and was really moving at 2400. In 1993-1994, I moved onto Color 64 Version 128. Not because there was anything WRONG with Color 64. I wanted to attain the high speed of 14400 baud!

Color 64 is compatible with the ICT, Lt. Kernal, and CMD hard drives and all of the RAM expanders available (except GEORAM). It will run on everything from 1541 disk drives to CMD RAMLinks. Hundreds of modules have been written to take care of practically all modems worth mentioning and just about any hard drive or interface. These modules are available from most Color 64 bulletin board systems. A few bulletin boards are shown on the Color 64 BBS Listing page.

Dynamite's Notes

When I first starting running Color 64 on my Commodore 128D, I had a CMD HD-200 to run the entire BBS and it worked GREAT! Later, I added a CMD RAMLink and was really moving at 2400. In 1993-1994, I moved onto Color 64 Version 128. Not because there was anything WRONG with Color 64. I wanted to attain the high speed of 19200 baud and have more features that the 64 mode could not handle! This you can see when you visit my board!

Color 64 is compatible with the ICT, Lt. Kernal, and CMD hard drives and all of the RAM expanders available (except GEORAM). It will run on everything from 1541 disk drives to CMD RAMLinks, FD-2000's and the HD Drives. Hundreds of modules have been written to take care of practically all modems worth mentioning and just about any hard drive or interface. These modules are available from most Color 64 bulletin board systems. A few bulletin boards are shown on the Color 64 BBS Listing page.

Copyright © 1996,1997,1998,1999,2000 Timothy J. Allen, revised: July 6, 2000

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