Laser Disc to C64 interface

LDG - Softwarecorner

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Thanks to contributor Nemo for bringing this to our attention, but something that possibly isn’t a GTW64, but there is possibly some interesting interface software and ideas that could be useful to preserve. Back in the early 90’s, a German company called LDG/Softwarecorner made available an interface to allow users to hook up a Laser Disc player to play the likes of Dragons Lair and Space Ace via a special hook up to their PC/Amiga/ST or Commodore 64.

As described on http://www.mos6502.com/friday-commodore/laser-disc-games-for-the-c64/, the idea was simple – where you would hook up a C64 as a control unit to a laser-disc player and special software would transfer the joystick inputs to the laser disc. Overall the system wasn’t cheap and it isn’t certain if many set ups were sold. But it isn’t 100% sure if any C64 implementations ever made it out.

There doesn’t seem to be anything preserved of the communication software at present. Interestingly, in recent years – the founder of LDG – SoftwareCorner, Dirk Neuen turned up on some forums trying to sell various bits and pieces from them days. Some C64 materials were likely to be within the lot.

As a result, we are now attempting to contact Dirk to find out more about the system and hopefully digitally preserve more details about this fascinating system!

In the meantime, another project by a guy called inuyaksa2 is under way and can be seen here using a similar idea… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR8edbm62VE

Even more impressive is a REU version mixed with the Nuvieplayer which is being done by the same guy.

At some point i’m sure we’ll learn more about it! 🙂

Contributions: Nemo

Supporting content

Original article published here. “The graphics capabilities of computers have increased exponentially over the years. Modern games feature almost realistic graphics, largely aided by expensive and powerful graphics cards. The Commodore 64 had some great graphic capabilities back in its days and by employing REUs and some neat tricks, developers today are recreating awesome graphics on the old time classic. But also back in the early 90s, there was a way to have cinematic sequences and high-resolution graphics with the C64! The Mannheim based German company “LDG/Softwarecorner” had the idea to use the power of datastorage, the CD quality sound and video-playback capabilities from a laser-disc and combine it with a C64. The idea was simple: hook up the C64 as a “control unit” to a laser-disc player, load special software onto the C64 to transfer the joystick and keyboard inputs to the laser-disc and basically use the two to create a fantastic gaming experience. All of a sudden, your C64 was controlling basically 400 GBytes of ROM memory (a 30 cm laser disc could hold the equivalent of 2.3 million 1541 discs!), played games with cinematic cut-scenes and had awesome soundtracks with CD-quality. One of the first games that was released on this combined platform was “Dragon’s Lair”, an interactive adventure game, in which you had to guide your hero through perilous dungeons and fight off evil around every corner. Behind the gorgeous graphics, the cinematic screens and perfect stereo sound, however, lay the downside of the laser-disc concept: the freedom of movement. Basically, you could choose every time between a couple of actions and then the laser-disc would show the next scene and so on. The concept just couldn’t cut it for action games – Hitting the fire button at the right time was not that easy and giving the appropriate command at the right interval required some, or rather a lot of, practice It wasn’t cheap either, as initially, you had to have a laser-disc player like the CLD 1500, CLD 1600 or CLD 2600 from Pioneer, which had a price tag back then (calculated to today’s money) of roughly 1000 Euro. The CLD 1500 was the cheapest, but had the drawback that it was about 15% slower than its bigger brothers, which led to a longer search time on the disc to get to the next sequence. On the upside, the LDG-package included all the necessary cables to hook up the laser-disc player to a TV or monitor, all the necessary software on a cartridge or disk and if you didn’t already own a C64, they would provide a special C64 console with cartridge slot (although I never really saw them produce these). A great concept nonetheless, and one that opened up the door to further interactive software!”

5 Responses to Laser Disc to C64 interface

  1. InuYaksa says:

    Game has released.
    You can try on your computer with Vice or C64 with 16MB cartridge (if you own)

    http://dragonslair64.areaaperta.com/dl64/dl64-fmv-download/

  2. Nemo says:

    http://dragonslair64.areaaperta.com/

    //////////////////////////////////
    DL emu for C64
    Full emulation of Dragon’s Lair PCB with version A roms on brand-stock C64.

    It uses RS232 interface to connect with laserdisc player.

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLskgzT_hWtjB9NBnPiVqNThJm-Ls9Dtan

    ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    DL64 FMV edition
    Dl64 it’s a project to have the acclamed full-motion video game Dragon’s Lair on Commodore 64.

    It uses nuvie technology and REU cartridge extention like 1541 Ultimate or Chamaleon.

  3. Nemo says:

    Just 2 more thinks to add

    The pictures in the on
    http://www.mos6502.com/friday-commodore/laser-disc-games-for-the-c64/ link that is in the article , are refering as a source a possible magazine without being more specific .

    Almost the same pictures from the magazine – like the ones at the article can be traced also to the Ferbruary 1992 C64′er (at pages 8 – 9 ).

    http://www.64er.rivido.de/down_sdf324rg43903goh32H/64er/1992_02_64er.pdf

    Also the articles contains more info (not mentioned elsewhere) i think refering to the c64 version of Laser Disc to C64 interface .
    Ofcourse they are in “perfect” German . I ll be happy to sort of briefly try to translate them although my german are very minimal (Zertifikat B1 ) which i got decades ago and thus and very very rusty .

    Secondly just to a more detailed Flyer
    http://www.dragonslairfans.com/flyers/LDG.pdf
    that clearly states among other things ,that C64 is certainly among the supporting platforms
    although it seems C64 its the less supported /not 100% ready platform since there is no C64 price .

    • fgasking says:

      Thanks for the extra and great info Nemo!… If you are able to do any translations, that would be great – please feel free, but only if you have time.

      Hopefully some day we’ll manage to recover all of the software. Sadly the emails for the guy bounced 🙁

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