The Ultimate 64, a mainboard cherished by the Commodore 64 community and 8-bit computer enthusiasts, has just received a significant firmware update, version 3.11 / Core 1.43, released on December 28, 2023. Packed with several exciting additions and fixes, this update heralds a new era of functionality for users of the Ultimate 64 and Ultimate 64 Elite.
One of the standout features introduced in this update is the long-awaited WiFi support. Users can now equip their Ultimate 64 boards with WiFi capabilities, opening doors to a world of online possibilities. By integrating an ESP32 module and following the provided manual guidelines, users can seamlessly set up WiFi connectivity. This enhancement streamlines the accessibility of the Ultimate 64, transforming it into a more versatile and connected system.
Moreover, this update marks a groundbreaking milestone by integrating Assembly 64, an online database, directly into the Ultimate 64 system. Previously, users relied on external means to access this treasure trove of information. Now, with this update, users can effortlessly download and play titles directly from the internet using their Ultimate device, simplifying the gaming experience and enhancing convenience.
Additionally, the firmware update introduces a basic HTTP daemon or webserver functionality to the Ultimate 64. This empowers the board to serve simple files and implement a ReSTful API, enabling external devices to control the Ultimate using standard web URLs. This enhancement greatly expands the utility and potential applications of the Ultimate 64 within various setups and projects.
Furthermore, JiffyDOS support for the built-in SoftwareIEC drive is a significant step toward improving the usability of the internal drive. This enhancement aims to enhance compatibility and functionality, making the Ultimate 64 an even more capable and user-friendly system.
Another notable addition is the ability to isolate the serial bus from the computer on the Ultimate 64, allowing it to function as an external drive. This feature, accessible via the “Serial Bus Mode” in the “Ultimate 64 Specific Settings,” grants users increased flexibility in how they utilize their Ultimate 64 boards.
The update also addresses various minor fixes, including resolving issues with telnet session closing upon mount, configuring cartridges serving VIC data from external ROM, improvements in the emulated printer, and customizable page margins, among other enhancements.
Overall, the firmware update for the Ultimate 64 represents a significant leap forward in functionality and connectivity for retro computing enthusiasts. With enhanced capabilities like WiFi support, integration of online databases, expanded control options, and improved drive usability, users can expect an enriched and more seamless experience with their Ultimate 64 systems.
Release notes and links are below.
Firmware version 3.11 / Core 1.43 – Dated 2023-12-28
Click here to download
- This version adds WiFi support for the Ultimate 64 and Ultimate 64 Elite. Please read the manual on how to set up the ESP32 module. https://1541u-documentation.readthedocs.io/en/latest/howto/wifi.html
- Assembly 64 integration. Many users use the offline version of the great Assembly 64 online database, by running Fredrik’s tool to copy the content into folders onto a USB stick. Now, the Ultimate is the first ever embedded system that integrates access to this online database! You can now download and play titles directly from the internet on your Ultimate device. Please read the manual about this here: https://1541u-documentation.readthedocs.io/en/latest/howto/assembly.html
- The Ultimate now supports a basic HTTP daemon; also known as webserver. This allows some simple files to be served from the Ultimate. This server also implements a ReSTful API, which allows an external device to control the Ultimate with standard web URLs. Read up on the API here: https://1541u-documentation.readthedocs.io/en/latest/api/api_calls.html
- JiffyDOS support for the built-in SoftwareIEC drive. This is a first step to make the internal drive more usable. More effort needs to be made to make the command set more compatible with CMD.
- On the Ultimate 64 it is now possible to isolate the serial bus from the computer, which allows the Ultimate 64 to be used as external drives. Look for “Serial Bus Mode” in the “Ultimate 64 Specific Settings”.
Various small fixes, such as the telnet session closing upon mount, configuration of the cartridges that serve VIC data from external ROM, quite a few fixes in the emulated printer, configurable page margins, … and so on.