Only the boldest, bravest most fearless retrocomputing enthusiasts dare enter the definitive retrochallenge competition and have their name cast in pixels on the entrants list. It’s either that or a ramshackle collection of folks with nothing better to do. Can’t decide which…
So using my awe inspiring skillz i will set about making a turtle.
It will not look like a turtle.
It is unlikely to work like a turtle.
This year will be Amiga… Amiga… Amiga. Definitely some Benchmark Modula-2. Maybe creating a PC emulator inside an A500 case. But definitely Amiga. Maybe.
This time around… I’m simply playing games. All those old games from my youth that I adore but never quite completed. I’m starting with Wolf3d moving to Spear of Destiny, Doom, Doom2 and more if I have time. And because for some reason this is now a thing, I’ll also be live streaming as I play.
After years of watching on the sidelines, the stars have aligned, and I have a project, and possibly even some time, so here’s my entry for the Retro Challenge Summer 2014. It’s my intention to take my recently-acquired Northstar Horizon machine from box of bits to beautifully restored. Many challenges await, including creating a boot ROM so that I can create a boot floppy with the unique hard-sectored floppy drives of this machine. At the end, I intend to have the machine do something ‘useful’ (the definition of ‘useful’ will change as the contest progresses).
It’s time again to “kid myself” for another month, thinking I’ll someday complete an actual Retrochallenge, but WHO CARES… it’s a fun activity no matter what!!! This time around, I’m going to continue a challenge that I apparently put off for 32 years, after discovering a cassette tape I had all this time with my original source code on it.
- 6502 ROM Monitor
The first thing I’d like to do this year is finally put together a simple 6502 ROM Monitor program for my Home Brew 6502 computer. It runs EhBASIC right now, but there’s no interactive ROM monitor or debugger. For a while I had Steve Wozniak’s ROM monitor running, but I’d like to roll my own.
- Clean and Rehabilitate My RL02 Drives Part two of my Retrochallenge will be to finally open up, clean out, and rehabilitate the RL02 drives on my PDP-11/23+ computer. It’s been sitting in my garage for years, and those drives need some attention. They both allegedly work, but they’re dirty, they (probably?) still have old crumbly air filters in them, and they probably need some regular maintenance before I turn them on. So I’m going to follow DEC’s care procedures, clean them, clean my packs, and get them up and running again. I think it’ll be fun to document this and make some videos out of it.
90% of my computer lab is boxed up and in storage across town. The remaining 10% is broken, damaged, or otherwise ignored. I also have no phone service or internet access at home. My project will be to put that remaining 10% to good use (and document it all from my smartphone).
Macintosh 128k Repairs and Restoration / Software & Data Recovery / General Mucking About.
This time, I’m going to try to write three games (21, craps and roulette) on three different platforms (Atari 800, Epson PX-8, PDP-11) using three different languages (TBD).
- TOTAL SUCCESS = all 9 games complete and running at the end of the RC.
- WELL I TRIED = some subset of the above working.
- EPIC FAIL = nothing working, and perhaps some capacitors in smoking ruins.
I won’t have all of July to work on the RC 2014 SC, so I will try to keep it manageable. Building off of my RetroChallenge 2014 Winter Warmup Project, I will compile a web server for the original Macintosh 128K. I may need a few hardware upgrades (like a fan) to keep this going. In the unlikely event I have some extra time, I will get soldering on my Standalone Apple IIe Disk Emulator.
Continue with my ViewData BBS. Add new functionality to the system and finish off several related projects.
Back in ’83 I found in an issue of Nibble, a program called “Nibble Programmer” that allowed you to write an ‘Applesoft’ program in a text editor, then parse that file to create an actual Applesoft program to run. What’s the big deal you ask? Well, the big deal is that you didn’t use line numbers (remember them?) by referencing Labels, as well as adding extra commands such as While/EndWhile, If/ElseIf/Else/EndIf that reinterpreted as unmodified Applesoft commands.
What I’m wanting to do is use the S-Basic 5.3 disk image that I recovered from one of my old and failing 5.25″ floppy disks and use this archival copy of S-Basic from back in ’83 (unmodified) to write a new and hopefully improved version of S-Basic.
I intend to write the parser so that it can be easily extended with new features and functionality, but still render the generated program in plain old Applesoft. No extensions, or add-ons, just plain, ordinary, standard Applesoft code.
My target extensions are long variable name support, and passing arguments to subroutines, rather than just simple GOSUB/RETURN structures of Applesoft.
Since I have a small collection of 8-bit computers, I want to “use” the Retrochallenge to do something with one of them, preferable with one I have no programming experience whatsoever – the Atari 600xl. I actually never did anything with the Atari 8-bit platform, and I never had one before couple months ago.
Here is my idea:
- Create a game in BASIC that uses graphics and the player/missile resources. The game will be simple but it has to use those techniques – theme is still TBD
- All the work will be done in the actual Atari 600xl with a cassette tape as storage device. I won’t be using any modern resource like emulators, SD2PC devices, etc.
- The final result will be make available for download at my new website as soon as I can send the program to my PC (I don’t have the means to do it right now)
After failing to participate the past couple of years I’ve found a sure way of achieving something. I am moving house mid-July and will therefore be forced to move my study. I shall document the decamping from the old house and the reestablishment of a retro computing nerve centre in the new. Hopefully this will involve some retro fiddling in the process!
Just like the last few times I’ve participated in the RetroChallenge, I have no main project to commit to, but will rather float around and try to do a little of this and that whenever I have the time. Mainly I will focus on trying to fix some broken items, but given my lack of skills I’ll likely only be able to take them apart, look at something I don’t understand and then at best put it back together again. There might a little programming too, as it is a field I have more experience in.
I developed Fahrfall as part of the 2012 Winter Warmup event. Since then, I have shown Fahrfall at three VCF events, three mini Maker Faire events, three CoCoFEST! events, and a number of other small events here and there. Many people like the game, and some people absolutely love it. Still, I’ve always felt that it remains unfinished.
Lately I’ve felt motivated to put some finishing touches on Fahrfall. Moreover, I actually had some insights that I think will enable me to call the game ‘done’. It won’t exactly be how I was envisioning it a couple of years ago, but I think it will be greatly improved and a joy to play.
I enjoyed the winter warmup so, despite already having too much to do, I thought: “What I need is another project!”. This entry will be loosely focussed on Retro SCM and resurrecting SDKs for various systems. I’ll also continue with my disk catalogue, which has been a bit dormant since January.
Hi, my name is Justin King, and I am making an emulator called the WITCH-E Emulator or just the WITCH emulator. The WITCH is the oldest working electronic computer. By “working” I mean it has been restored and is in use at the Bletchley Park National Museum of Computing in the U.K. for people to see what old computers were like. My emulator is meant for education, and I currently don’t have a blog, but the website, witch-e.org and the code at github tell the story in place of a blog. My manual is at the website. By the way, I am going into 8th grade, so I am very young to be doing this. I have started video tutorials at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGVLbkcPjSSPJ5SGOboOgvw.
The challenge that I have set myself is to make my name appear in LED lights.
Ok, so that might not sound too difficult, but I’m going to try and do it totally in Z80 assembly language. On a real Z80 computer. That I’m going to have to build. And design. And burn eproms and connect I/O chips and wires and LEDs and stuff. Oh, and I’m not a programmer, and have never done any Z80 assembly stuff.
This year I plan on attempting to execute arbitrary Z80 code on a DEC Rainbow 100 from within MS-DOS. The Rainbow’s dual bus design allows its CP/M port to execute either 16-bit 8088 code or 8-bit Z80/8080 code depending on the executable. However, executing arbitrary 8-bit code has never been demonstrated from MS-DOS. Why? Just because…
My goal this July is to bring enhanced capabilities to the VT100 firmware. At a minimum this means some sort of screensaver. Ideally, I want flying toasters on the display by the end of the month. It’s my first time hacking an 8080 platform, so we’ll see how it goes.
I’m going to try my hand at writing a character & save game editor for the C64 RPG Questron.
I have a project so I thought “why not”
I have this non working OSI RAM expansion board. I need to figure out how to jumper it so it works with my C4P. It looks complicated! Also, there are lots of RAM chips and a few are bound to be faulty.
If I fix the board easily and there is some time left, I’ll also try to wire up the cassette interface in the OSI C4P (presently not connected) so I can save and load programs (in WAV form) to and from a PC.
This time around I will pick up the pieces from RetroChallenge 2011SC and get my beer recipe program written for the IIe.
I’ll again try to write it all on the actual hardware, if the keyboard will behave for me.
Project Nintoaster: A Nintoaster Done Right
NES inside of a toaster, using the best qulity I know how to hand make.
My focus would be on the atari2600. I have a box full of old atari 2600’s and I would like to get them up and running and maybe even develop a game of some sorts for them, maybe even create some external hardware for them. Time will tell…
…decided the Whirlwind was a bit too easy, so gone for something more demented. Interesting historically as well.
Who would not want a supercomputer on their desk? I certainly would! And what is a more iconic supercomputer than a Cray? This was the start of the project to resurrect these old beasts. After about a year and a half and with the help of several individuals the project progressed to the point where I have a fully (barring bugs) functional emulator of a Cray X-MP running on my PC. It can boot the only operating system image that as far as I can tell survived the wreckage of time. Resurrected by Chris Fenton and me from a set of 30+ year old hard drive platters that spent the last 20 years in a garage in Australia, this mere 64MB of data is all we have. Take a look and marvel at the chunkiness and sophistication of this early-80-s technology. You can download the binaries and sources if you want to give it a spin. Finally, if anybody, *ANYBODY* has any resources for these machines (
I’m going to try to post daily progress on a number of Apple II related projects. I’ll post a lot of code on my site and on github. I’ll be trying to finish an iPad version of my 65xx CPU reference app. There will be lots of demos, and maybe a game or two. I might even go so far as to do my first PCB etching for a retro hardware project.
The plan, thus far, is to play some games on my recently acquired (Feb. this year, via ebay) coco2 (tandy radio shack color computer 2), specifically the cartridge based ones I got with it. I also hope to get a hold of an adapter from fork plugs to coax so it’s easier to connect thecoco2’s tv switch box to a tv (like without having alligator clip cables dangling around…).
If I can think of anything worthwhile (or at least pretty to look at), I might try writing something in BASIC, but I don’t have a means of saving it at the moment. In theory I could use cassette, since I have a tape recorder, but I’d need one of those cables that adapts from the large din connectors to a headphone jack.
All in all, kind of fun getting to play with a computer that was made and whose model line was discontinued before I was born.
I am working on an implementation of Dartmouth BASIC using ruby. I am using a copy of one of the 1960s manuals as the requirements document.
Let’s restore and explore the Sun 3/50 with a bwtwo framebuffer.
Hack together more code to run on a Quay 900 Z80 system
All of us here work with vintage computers as a hobby, so a large portion of our 2500 square foot shop is devoted to such pursuits. We felt it would be good to enter your contest this year with some of our gear.
What we’ve decided to do is revive all of our black and white compact macs. And that means a skid of 70 machines. Resoldering the problematic analog board points, replacing capacitors and rectifiers, cleaning floppy drives, focusing, etc. Everything to bring them into reliable working condition.
All of it’s being captured by several cameras and will become part of a timelapse video.
I don’t have any vintage hardware or hardware skills, so I’m going to focus on vintage software and simulators. My RC2014SC project will be to re-write Hurkle, a vintage 70′s BASIC computer game, to run on a PDP-7, using the simh simulator. Initially I’ll write it in FORTRAN II, but if I have time will try to re-write parts of it in assembly language.
I’ve been porting a bunch of programs to the TRS-80 MC-10 (as usual). My biggest project has been to take the Basic source code for the game “The Temple of Apshai” made for the TRS-80 Model 1/3 and bring it to the Micro Color Computer. I’ll be adding some color to the monsters in the process and try to speed things up a little. Also have been working on ports of some classic IF games and a Basic version of 3D Monster Maze called “Big Red” (i.e you and a giant killer tomato in a maze).