BBC MICRO SOFTWARE ARCHIVE
TAPE IMAGES (UEF)
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ABOUT THE ARCHIVE
Further information regarding the archive:
RUNNING TAPE IMAGES UNDER EMULATION
Presently, BeebEm and B-Em are the only BBC emulators that includes support for UEF Tape Images. At the time of writing, the emulator lacks an 'autoload' feature so you will have to type in a few simple commands to load software.
The vast majority of images within the archive contain a BASIC loader file, so the following should suffice:*TAPE PAGE=&E00 CHAIN ""
However, if the first file in an image is machine code (indicated by a _RUN in the long filename e.g. Islandia_RUN_B.uef) then you will need to enter this instead:*TAPE *RUN
There may be one or two exceptions to the above, for example, some very early software required you to issue a *LOAD followed by OLD:RUN or a CALL statement. However, I don't think this applies to any images in the archive at present. Should any crop up I'll (try and remember to) include the relevant loading details in the accompanying .txt file!
Actually, there is one particularly fussy specimen I can think of that is already in the archive: Snake by Computer Concepts. This absolutely insists on being called by CHAIN"SNAKE" with no space between the CHAIN and the "SNAKE". And I have no idea why!
There are three main issues which I think need addressing:
- tape images have a certain historic quality as they preserve software in its original format: all loader screens will be present and in tact, programs will be free of modification. With this in mind, every effort has been taken to ensure that all tape images have been transferred from their original cassettes
- unlike our disk image archive (which is strictly games-only!) our collection of tape images extends to include all manner of commercially released software, be it games, educational programs, applications, utilities, hardware drivers or magazine listings cassettes
- even though certain titles were re-released by other publishers, both versions will only be included if they differ in some way, shape or form. And it only has to be the slightest of differences - even if it boils down to a single file containing a different load/exec address. If a re-release is identical to the original, then only the original will be included in the archive (where possible).
KEEPING UP TO DATE
If you like to keep your collection in sync with the online archive then this log file will help you keep track of all removed and renamed files. It does not make reference to archives which have been merely been updated, as these can be identified by using the Index By Date Modified option above.
TRANSFERRING SOFTWARE TO CASSETTE
As UEF tape files are effectively mirror images of the original cassettes it is possible to write them back to audio cassette for use with an actual BBC by using the FREEUEF utility available from the ElectrEm homepage.
After you have unzipped the utility to the folder containing your .uef files (e.g. c:\beebem\tapes) link up the audio out socket on your soundcard to the mic socket on your tape recorder (or the line in phono sockets on your hi-fi). Enter MS-DOS prompt, change to the directory containing your .uef files (e.g. cd\beebem\tapes) then type FREEUEF <filename> e.g.FREEUEF Arcadians_B.uef
The program will prompt you to press a key once you have pressed record on your tape recorder. Do this! You should now be hearing a glorious stream of scratchy, 1200 baud computer data! Once the last file has been transferred and the program has exited, press stop on the recorder.
Results aren't guaranteed, but try experimenting with the Windows volume controls if you encounter any problems. The ElectrEm page features both DOS + Windows versions of FREEUEF - try both and see which gives the best results.
An alternative to FREEUEF has been provided by Wouter Hobers who has written a python script that will convert UEF tape images to WAVE sound files. This may be of particular interest to Mac users.
CONVERTING SOFTWARE FROM CASSETTE
BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO TRANSFER SOFTWARE, CHECK AGAINST THIS LIST OF TITLES THAT CANNOT BE CONVERTED WITH MAKEUEF V0.3B.
Download MAKEUEF from the ElectrEm homepage and unzip it to a folder on your PC (e.g. c:\beebem\tapes). Then hook up the line in socket on your soundcard to the ear socket on your tape player. If you don't possess a nice, tinny old tape recorder then a walkman may work, but try to steer clear of using ghetto blasters and midi systems as they have a notoriously poor track record.
Enter MS-DOS prompt, change to the directory where you unzipped MAKEUEF (e.g. cd\beebem\tapes) and enter the following:MAKEUEF -o filename.uef
Press play on your tape player. If all is well you should soon be hearing the familiar data tones and watching the counter step up as each file loads in. Be ready to stop and rewind the tape if it encounters a loading error (likely!).
If you downloaded the Windows version of MAKEUEF you should press ESC to exit the program, once all files have successfully transferred. If you are using the DOS version, you should press CTRL-C.
If you've encountered a poorly recorded or troublesome tape (believe me, there's a lot of them about) try setting MAKEUEF to use sign rather than peak measurements, e.g.MAKEUEF -o filename.uef -l s
As with FREEUEF, success levels will vary between systems. Again, there are DOS + Windows ports available, so see which works best for you. Be advised that excessive experimentation with volume settings (both on your PC and on the tape player itself) may be required! Certain tapes may transfer perfectly using one brand of cassette recorder but fail when tried on a different one, so the more tape players you have at your disposal, the better.
If your operating system allows it, you may enjoy better overall performance if you RESTART IN MS-DOS MODE and run MAKEUEF (DOS version) in 'pure' DOS mode. You may need to set your BLASTER environment variable and enable your DOS sound drivers (if present).
SUBMITTING SOFTWARE FOR INCLUSION IN THE ARCHIVE
You are encouraged to
submit via emailany (commercial) software you may have transferred, so it may be downloaded and enjoyed by other visitors.
Here are a few points that will assist me in archiving any files sent:
1. Please include the name of the publisher/software house.
2. Please say whether a program is:-
- a BBC Micro only version
- an Electron version that is BBC Micro compatible
- a dual BBC/Electron version (this will be indicated on the packaging).
3. If the cassette also contains an Electron version on the reverse side AND the Electron version is missing from the Electron UEF archive, it would be appreciated if you could send that along too!
4. If sending files over 200k in total, please contact me before you send anything as I keep a separate email address for receiving large attachments.
5. Finally, let me know whether you wish to be credited on the site (some people don't!) and also if you have a homepage that you would like me to link to.