Sunday, December 13, 2015

Day 4. How to use a wacom tablet with an emulated C64 graphical program in VICE.

Now, on a less serious note, I managed to complete a couple of steps that could allow me to use a wacom tablet to edit drawings directly inside the VICE emulator, or better, the windows version (winvice).

There are a few challenges to this one: I found that you can't use most graphical programs because most of mouse-based peripherials (even the koala painter tablet) under VICE behave like a mouse, and as such it does not behave properly: if you take the pen up and put it down on the tablet again it will start drawing again in the same spot.

The only problem is that there are currently only two graphical programs that I know to support any kind of light pen and are available as any kind of download on the internet. One is "Picasso Revolution", an old, clunky, 1983 program which will crash in VICE as soon as you ask it to open a file for editing. If you guys are reading about it and tried to re-release it, don't worry, it was my fault and I did not have patience to try to make it work on WinVice, (maybe I should have tried with x64sc). The second one is GEOS.

To make GEOS work with a Light Pen run you need to have the following things:

  1. WinVice. I used a nightly build (I downloaded WinVICE-2.4.23-x86-r30277).
  2. You need to configure VICE with Disk Drive 9 (if you want to avoid getting mad switching between the OS and the drivers first, geoPaint later). For now just configure a 1551 mouse in the first joystick port.
  3. You need the following software: a bootable disk for GEOS, a drivers disk with the inkwell drivers and geoPaint
  4. Insert Geos in drive 8, The drivers disk in drive 9, boot up GEOS and copy the Inkwell driver from the driver disk to the geos boot disk.
  5. Now, in VICE, stop capturing the mouse and configure an inkwell pen in the first joystick port.
  6. In GEOS press Commodore+I (Left CTRL + I), with the arrow keys choose Inkwell.
  7. Calibrate the inkwell by pressing on the white bar (don't worry about the graphical glitches) and press OK.
  8. Swap the drivers disk in drive 9 with GeoPaint and run it.
  9. Now you are ready to bang your head with GeoPaint for the following 9000 hours.

 Some caveats:

  1. If you put winvice at full screen and you erroneously alt+tab away from it, you may not be able to exit from full screen.You'd better have a second monitor ready so that you can use the mouse to click on the winvice icon.
  2. Sometimes menu recognition is clunky, in that case you can use the arrow keys (and a second mouse) and warp to click on the correct option, or to exit from the menu if you chose the wrong one. I don't know why the inkwell driver stops working as soon.
  3. It's better to turn on the disk drive sound emulation. Or just cheat and warp away.
  4. The SC version of x64 seems to be better overall.
  5. You need to press on the tablet to start drawing and press again to stop drawing. If you don't press a second time you will lose control of the pointer and start making big marks.


  1. Nice one! I'm going to try this. Never heard of an inkwell before.

  2. Nice one! I'm going to try this. Never heard of an inkwell before.