Explaining the Project... What is a TOSEC dat file or TOSEC collection?
What exactly does "TOSEC" Stand for?
TOSEC is an acronym standing for "The Old School Emulation Centre", and is the name of an organisation dedicated to creating a database project, cataloguing the complete software libraries of old computer and console platforms.
You can find out much more detail and information about TOSEC by visiting the Docs section of the TOSEC website.
What does TOSEC actually do?
For each system they catalogue the software for, they create a series of .dat files. Each of these files contains a detailed database listing all known files released for that system and category. Most of these reference the file formats that emulators use, such as the Amiga ADF format or the CD ISO format, rather than the actual original disks and tapes as it makes the process much easier to achieve.
In addition TOSEC have created a detailed naming convention for the files they catalogue. Each file in each dat file must follow an exact naming convention to correctly identify the name of the file, the type of file, the publisher, developer, cracking group (if relevant), year of release etc... plus there are some extra letter codes added to the end of the filename to identify certain characteristics of the file.
You can find out much more about the TOSEC naming convention on their site.
How can these .dat files be used?
These database dat files can be used with a file checking application such as CLR MAME Pro to compare a collection of files you have on your harddrive against the database dat file.
When you compare your collection against the dat file it can run a number of checks. It can identify files based on the file size and other error checking methods, as well as the name itself. CLR MAME Pro has the ability to rename wrongly named files so they are named in line with the naming standard. It can also generate a list of files missing from the complete dat collection, which can be useful when trying to complete a collection.
In addition, as more files are found for a system new dat files get released. You can then use these to check through your existing collection to see what has been added and what you are currently missing and need to find.
A TOSEC collection is a complete set of files for a system that has been checked against the current dat files to verify that all files are included, correctly named and verified.
For the Amiga there are a series of TOSEC dat file collections for different types of files. These include ADF games, ADF magazine coverdisks, ADF Demo scene releases, CD Games, Applications, utilities, CD32 games... and many more.
What does TOSEC mean to me?
If you were looking to obtain a complete Amiga software collection then downloading an Amiga TOSEC collection will allow you to do this. In addition if you already have a big collection of Amiga ADF files you could check them and see what you are missing.
Where can I download the TOSEC Amiga collection?
You will mainly find file collections (ADF's, DMS, LHA, ISOs etc) on retro computing and gaming p2p networks. These are normally Bit Torrent tracker based. You can also often find them on the better known public torrent trackers like isohunt, demonoid and piratebay. And also on Usenet. Failing that ask in the forum.
Private retro computing torrent trackers that hold TOSEC and other collections:
note: These are private trackers that require you to register an account. They use a ratio based system meaning you need to share/upload/seed as much as you download. So don't expect to be allowed to download a 40GB TOSEC collection as a new member. You will first need to upload/seed some files to the tracker and build up some download credit. The best way to do this is to obtain a copy of the current MAME rom set as this is always seeded well and in great demand, meaning you can build upload credit very quickly.