RC2014SC Competition Summary

Written by admin on August 8, 2014 Categories: 

Here is your competition summary. Commiserations to those whose real life afforded them no time to even get started on a project. For those that did once again the bar has been raised in the quality of projects, the level of success, the diversity of areas covered and the sheer perseverance entailed. We salute you all!

As this time round there are no prizes and no money for buying prizes we decided to be a little more liberal in the awarding of accolades.

This is great for us for whom the burden of judging falls because we are afforded the luxury of not having to decide on a single winner.

Dale and myself have come up with a few categories to indicate the key achievement that we think sums up the quality of the entry that so impressed us.

Without further ado:

Winner of the Constructor award! @semachthemonkey

Spencer's Blog

Dale comments: ‘Sowen for the win! He knew Jack, but look at the house that Jack built. Very nice learning.’

Dale’s personal favourite and a very nice rounded project with a bit of everything from PCB design, hardware construction, Z80 programming and lots of lovely LED matrices. Kudos for what must have been a lot of slog getting all this lot running and for providing some great blogging in the process. Very well done!

Winner of the Perseverance Award! erazmus

Ian's Blog

Dale comments: ‘For providing an S100 machine. It was a shame the blog posts were not furnished with women in heavy corduroy skirts and brown boots, but you can only be so authentic I guess.’

A comprehensive project from Ian here with all the hallmarks of an entry that makes this competition so justified. Ian shows his breadth of skills ranging from soldering, electronics, hardware repair and detailed low level knowledge of software. Further the result of his project is a credit to the RetroChallenge community in the form of a restored and rare piece of computing history. The further benefit is that his blog now forms a knowledge base that can be used to aid the restoration of any remaining machines. A very well done to you sir!

Winner of the supreme blogging award! Tezza

Tezza's Blog

Dale comments: ‘Again like the NorthStar, Tezza serves up a retro treat from a machine we don’t usually get.’

Tezza served up a fascinating set of instalments in his Ohio Scientific Challenger 4P saga with great and consistent blogging which nicely mirrors Tezza’s commitment to the Retro Computing world in video form. I really looked forward to reading about the steady progress made in all aspects regarding the revival of this most obscure machine. You have truly added a valuable contribution to what the world knows about this computer. We salute you sir and hope you become a regular in our motley crew!

Winner of the cottage industry award! John Linville

John's Blog

Dale comments: ‘Awaiting details on ordering. Plastic and graphic design. Nice.’

Utterly excellent blogging once again from John as he extends the playability of his legendary game and branches out into hardware production. I love that John always takes the time to include all relevant website links to his blog entries, gives us great videos and is always on-topic. Fantastic stuff once again, you are a credit to this competition John. I even scanned his game-box q-code which works and is just a great design with the game logo in the centre. Let Dale know when he can order a cartridge from you!

Winner of the ‘It’s all about the journey’ award Adam Mayer

Adam's Blog

Dale comments: Best eco screen saver ever – just switch the screen off.

Adam’s project is one of my personal favourites due to my inherent bias towards DEC kit but, more importantly, because I had thought about a similar related project. Maybe not as pointless as Adam’s but certainly involving reverse engineering a terminal’s ROM. Anyone hacking hardware at the level of creating PCBs for EEPROM carriers and daring then to install them in the original kit gets top marks from me. A great project completed to perfection. Well done!

Winner! Best newcomer and most pictures award! purrfectpwd

purrfectpwd's Blog

Dale comments: ‘Points for the rockstar photos.’

Must admit that I’d not see the last bought of furious blogging till I was in my final wrap up mode but there has been some serious activity here and a worthy contender for RetroChallenge. We love that feeling of immersion in all things computing and electronic that it looks like has been the mainstay of this project. Some great photos, as mentioned by Dale, and also the obligatory ‘connecting the PSU the wrong way round’ that I’m always using to kill promising projects (did it just the other day as it happens – toasted an Arduino). Retr0briting is good and there is a breadth to this project which sneeks up on you. Hope to see you back again for more fun in the Sun!

Winner! Latest Entry Award! Jim Gerrie

Jim's Blog

Well, it’s a bit cheeky having a latest entry award, but well, why not! Jim clearly is a seasoned retro-computing blogger and he joins us for what must be a record in the lateness stakes for the RetroChallenge competition! Still he makes up for lost time with a couple of great posts about interactive fiction and 3D Monster Maze – two subjects sure to bring a bleary-eyed tear to many a vintage gamer. Had to look up what an MC-10 is (a lesser known member of the Tandy family) which just shows that even competition organisers can, and often are, ignorant! Anyway, we get a nice game ported to the MC-10 including screen shots and a video followed by a monster maze port and then some Interactive Fiction to finish with. Great stuff – please come back next time!


Wgoodf's Blog

I’m sure Dale himself would have something very poignant to say about his own entry but I guess it’s left to me to summarize this one alone. By far the best work we’ve seen from our Scottish contingent although as always there is that ramshackle charm to his projects, and indeed his ‘turtle’ this time around, that so endears us to him. The blogging tailed off unfortunately – however he did seem to start at least a couple of weeks early so I guess it’s no surprise he ran out of steam when he did.


Mark's Blog

Very typically for me I end up talking about keyboards in a completely unrelated fashion to my project. God help readers if I ever write a book. Apart from documenting Benchmark Modula-2 on the Amiga I progressed very little however in a slightly stalker-ish manner I did attempt to contact a number of the original demo authors to try and jog a few memories and did have replies from a couple which kind of tickled me.

Seth Morabito

Seth's Blog

You know I reckon that if we indeed do all live in the matrix the source code would either be 6502 or 68k. I’m firmly convinced of that. Personally I can stare at 6502 assembler code (fully documented of course) all day without getting bored. That probably says more about me than I should be revealing. Seth’s journey into this 8-bit wonderland is documented in a lovely flowing fashion that makes it incredibly easy to follow the assembler involved, and indeed I have been guilty of ‘lifting’ the source code formatter he uses for my own ends. Seth only completes one his two goals but credit to him for sticking to the most promising stream of work and persevering to completion for the benefit of the community. I really enjoyed reading your blog, look forward to what you have for us next time!

Conceited Jerk

Shaun's Blog

Shaun achieves some good progress in his competition blog this time around and treats us to a look into his angry red Tosh. There is a good smattering of nostalgia which I thoroughly approve of. I’ve never seen games played on a gas plasma display before but I have to say it added a real ethereal quality to the images. Good stuff!


Michael's Blog

Paleo, such a consistent performer in the past, once again proves that he can cut it with the best. A great introduction to his restoration project, with a great nostalgia trip, if a little bitter-sweet, about the day he goes shopping for apples. Having provided great provinance for his 128K MAC he then comprehensively restores it to working glory. Extra points for tackling the restoration of the macwriter and for the videos. His software related rants were also amusing, coining maybe a future moto for retrochallenge ‘I’m more likely to use an axe than a lock pick’.


Earl's Blog

Dale comments: ‘For his efforts which were akin to a fun school project, I think he would have been top of the class.’

A great build up to Earl’s project – he really does seem to get super-excited at the prospect of using his old kit! Then after a single post about random numbers it goes quiet… until Wham! the blog posts suddenly come thick and fast at the end. Seeing a real-life Forth program was very interesting as I haven’t ever really touched the language before. We then get some very useful insights into all three of the challenge languages: Forth, Basic and Fortran. Earl wraps up with some useful info when tackling retro-computing projects using a mixture of old and new tech for convenience. Extra points for using jEdit – I have tried and failed to move away from it over the past 10 years, it is now my emacs. Well done Earl!


Eric's Blog

I’m afraid Eric suffers from too many serious real-life intrusions to really get started, but he does solder bits on his car dashboard with successful results, so kudos there!


Stephen's Blog

Stephen starts well but ultimately suffers from lack of time. I loved seeing a summary at the start of the competition of what he was looking forward to, that is true participation! Better luck next time…

Michael Mulhern

Michael's Blog

Dale comments: ‘Nice final entry, I think many of us can relate to that one.’

Calling into question the naming of the competition is only right and fair – maybe it is time for a separate competition for a new name for our bi-annual event?

Paulo Garcia

Paulo's Blog

Dale comments: ‘More active on twitter – but the project now has kicking action.’

Paulo implements a source code control system using his cassette tape drive attached to the Atari 600XL (you’ll have to read the blog for the juicy details!) and gets to grips with the joy that is incompatible BASIC implementations. A final video shows that Paulo has what it takes for a great RC entry given enough time. Please come back next time!


Andrew's Blog

Andrew moves house! I don’t think he needs any other excuses, does he? Hope the timing is better for you next time my friend!

Anders Carlsson

Anders' Blog

Anders treats us to a meandering journey through some classic gaming and Commodore machines. Whilst there is no real focus to his entry I love his very open conversation style and think that a future more focussed entry could prove to be a compulsive read. Hope you can join us again!

Peter Jackson

Peter's Blog

Peter gives us an insight into his comprehensive knowledge of source code control systems when delving into the realms of his personal history relating to retro-computers. He makes me quite jealous with his tales of VAX 11/780s and other vintage machines. Fascinating stuff Peter. Thanks for taking the time to share!

Justin King

Justin's Blog

Justin’s project probably hasn’t had the exposure it needs using RetroChallenge as a forum – we wish him the best of luck with his great work!


Jeff's Blog

Jeff’s rainbow challenge is a frustrating mix of Z80 and 8088 assembly language at a very low level. Having two CPUs in one machine clearly is a blessing and a curse. Still, given the current lack of information available any progress has got to be a good thing and moves the knowledge base on if only incrementally. Best of luck completing the task Jeff!


Christopher's Blog

Dale comments: ‘I enjoyed his sexy math last time and I enjoyed his disk cracking this time too. Doesn’t the man blog well?’

Christopher successfully completes his character editor and ensures that the fruits of his work are available for all to share. The journey takes us through reverse engineering file formats to CBM-64 Basic. Who doesn’t like this sort of shenanigans? Congrats on the success!


Togart's Blog

Togart doesn’t really get anywhere! Better luck next time!


Togart's Blog

Dale comments: ‘The toaster was close, but no buttered bagel this time around, i must keep watching to see the finished effort.’

Some great blogging from Osgeld in his journey from toaster to gaming-toaster. Proper maker-fair-esk drilling, milling, reaming, screwing – this is like a trip to the dentists for a root-canal filling! We don’t yet see the final results but I’m sure it’ll be a mean looking gaming device when it’s done. Excellent job!


Tom's Blog

Unfortunately we only got one entry regarding the Atari 2600 coding challenge of Tom’s – but if it is because he realised that the challenge was very tricky then I’m with him – I looked into this and viewed a couple of tutorials and it’s decidedly tricky stuff – all scan lines and coding in the blanking period.

Paul Robson

Paul's Blog

Dale comments: ‘I wanted more!’

Really I’m just going to re-iterate Dale’s comment – this is potentially such a significant project from a historic perspective but didn’t get past the research stage – possibly for good reason if information was lacking. Here’s hoping Paul can progress his challenge and maybe join us next time round as we’d love to see more on the subject!

Andras Tantos

Andras' Blog

Andras submits what in reality is quite a polished project and maybe doesn’t quite fit in with the RetroChallenge rules as such regarding blogging etc. but regardless I am truly grateful for him bringing this Cray project to our attention and I for one will be looking to dig deeper over the coming months.

Dagen Brock

Dagen's Blog

Dagen hits a serious scoop with a techcrunch article about his previously-written Flappy Birds implementation on the Apple II. In the meantime he has fun with polar graphs and some funky graphics effects. He has the making of a wildcard in a future competition I would say!


Nathans Blog

Nathan is soon drawn into the Fahfall lair cunningly set for him being a fellow Coco user. Fair enough we say. Some good blogging here and a few cheeky eBay purchases which are documented nicely. Palm technology is great, game playing is great, buying on eBay is (mostly) great!


Hugo's Blog

In what was always going to be a tricky project Hugo does make significant progress in his plans to implement Dartmouth BASIC. As always the devils in the details but we hope to see Hugo back again in a future RetroChallenge possibly with some more progress to report.


Eric's Blog

A solid competition entry from Eric here on another of the more esoteric machines under consideration. Anything involving LaTex is OK in my book too in a positive effort to expand the knowledge-base. Eric seems happy so we are too!

The Hackery

The Hackery's Blog

A late entry from these boys and I’m not aware of the results of the time-lapse photography that was mentioned in the entry but to be honest if these guys are there fixing up Macs then we say yah! anyway. We all want a field trip at some point!

Vintage Software Fun

John's Blog

John is a very late entry to the competition but proves he has what it takes in very esteemed company with this solid performance coding in Fortran II. What is it with random numbers this time round? We need an interface to Dale when he’s had too many Rum’s – that’s surely got to be a gold mine of random numbers? A good blogging effort here on the nuances of Decsys-7 – personally I don’t think there can be enough tutorials on these venerable but somewhat archaic operating systems. Commented session log dumps always make us smile. John looks forward to being with us for the next hemisphere-agnostic RC – we look forward to seeing you too!

And that’s it from me for another year. I would like to once again thank everyone for participating – see you next time round.

I’ll finish with Dale’s summary of his winners:

So where does that leave me – Well my top three would have to be Broadbandpig, just nipping ahead of Tezza there; Linville, because i am a sucker for Dragon32 stuff, and i am hoping for a discounted cartridge price by name-checking him now; but the top banana award from Wgoodf this time around, goes to Sowen for his LED build and Z80 coding – good effort buddy.

But important to say a big Hurrah! to us all for taking time out of life where we could to play along. See you all in January. Keep the black flag flying.

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