Having shipped a 4.5cuft box of retro gear from my parents’ house in the UK back to Canada, breathe some life back into the systems and try and get them up and running here in Canada. Such fun as systems that haven’t been used in 15-20 years, PAL video output, and PSUs that were built for 240V@50Hz.
Just a few, very practical goals:
I will be endeavoring to create a business card printer from an old dot matrix receipt printer. This will run from a Commodore 64 and be easily accessible. So much so that it will allow random people to hit the space bar and print a copy of my business card. A “stretch goal” is to have graphics support. I will be using a serial interfaced printer that supports the ESC/POS protocol. My end-goal is to be able to take the printer and a C64 with me to set up at exhibits at VCF 2016, KansasFest, etc… and have a quick, easy, and really retro nerdy way to print off my contact information for sharing.
I am hoping to make a project for the retro challenge. I want to make a video game in QBASIC and use the Internet Archive’s emulation software to make it available to play online. Basically the idea is to make a totally accessible game in “obsolete” architecture.
There will be two main steps: getting the Internet Archive’s emulation software working on my website, and making a small simple game in QBASIC.
One regret I had about the Xmas Rush development was that I didn’t have time to document any of what I was doing. I suppose I could go back and do that as my entry, but that seems a bit lame. However, it occurred to me that the MC-10 should be able to run Xmas Rush reasonably well. Plus, I have wanted to do an MC-10 project for some time. So for RC2016/01 I will port Xmas Rush to the MC-10, documenting the process along the way. Hopefully everyone will enjoy that!
Sorting out my Acorn machine collection and archiving software discs using my Kryoflux.
My idea is to develop a Low Resolution library in C for the Apple II. The library should be compatible with cc65 and include the basic plot, hlin and vlin functions as well as a couple of sprite functions allow users to make animation and small games using the library.
I decided to do that because I find the chunky blocky pixels very charming and there is a lack of libraries in C for that kins of graphics, mainly including sprite support.
The library will be available on Github as soon as I have a minimum useful code done.
Going for another RetroChallenge reverse-engineering entry. I’m going to be trying to add additional city maps to the classic Atari 8-bit game Getaway! written by Mark Reid and that won the Atari Star award for 1983. It’s a very well known game in our community, where you drive around a huge scrolling city map trying to collect money and staying away from the police. I interviewed Mark for an upcoming episode of the podcast and he gave me some suggestions about how to modify the map, but that memory limitations for the original publication precluded multiple maps.
My goal is to pick up the pieces from previous projects and improve on their terrible publishing rate. What could possibly go wrong?
I’ve decided to do some more Amiga programming – mostly graphics, and possibly something game-related.
I just happened to have a fun idea rolling around in my head: A multiplayer networked game for the CoCo2. One month should be just about enough to get a proof-of-concept-game working (I hope)
- Use DriveWire 4, for it’s TCP/IP capabilities. This is an underused feature of DW4.
- Use (abuse?) an public IRC network to provide client-client-server intercommunications.
I think a artillery game in the lines of “Scorched Earth”, or “Gorillas” will a low enough bandwidth for an IRC channel (and the coco2).
I am planning to make a development board for the Intel 8048. A early microcontroller made by Intel in 1976.
My plan this time is to get my DEC VT-180, (Robin) CP/M-80 machine up and running.
While rummaging thru some of my really old junkboxes in my lab I found a 8052-BASIC V1.0 MCU dating back from 1984. I plan to hack a 90’s cellphone-addon keyboard and a alphanumeric VFD display as a console to the MCU and then try to write a 70/80’s style text based game for it.
I recently acquired an Olivetti M10 and a NEC 8201A. The project will be about networking them via RSC 232 and writing a cross-platform version of Maze War (in Basic) for them. This project seems interesting because the two computers are both siblings of the Kytronic 85 (KC-85), a family of early portable computers produced by Kyocera and introduced in 1983, including the Kytronic 85, the NEC 8201(A), the Olivetti M10, and, last but not least, the TRS-80 Model 100, probably the most popular of the “Kyocera siblings” with about 6 millions sold. While all these computers have much in common, there are subtle differences, as – especially of interest for this project – in networking and graphics commands. We’ll have to explore some tricks and work-arounds, in order to get this going…
My retro software challenge is to figure it out as I go.
I am an Old Time Apple ][ user, but also have Commodore 64/128 and Sinclair ZX-81/TS-1000s computers. In the past couple of years, I have started to collect Tandy Color Computers ( AKA The CoCo ).
I recently bought some Ethernet Cards for the Apple ][, called the Uthernet II, and want to make a Multi-Player Game using them.
P2P connections seems like it might be difficult to to implement with all the Network Address Translation ( NAT ) that is happening with devices connected to the Internet, so a Dedicated Server for each “station” to connected too for a Game seems like an important Starting Place.
I am thinking of a Two to Four Player Game using a Centralized Server to Coordinate the Game Space.
My goal is to play with my Commodore 64 and any other retro hardware that gets in my way during the month of January.
Floppy disks are a dying/dead storage. However, there is plenty of interesting, desirable software and data that is in danger of being lost forever- old source code and old games being two examples. Drive mechanics and the magnetic polarization of disks will not last forever.
Computers capable of reading disks are becoming difficult to find, and trying to archive disks via an intermediate computer which can read disks is not always convenient or even possible. Connecting two computers with incompatible ports can be a project in and of itself!
Worse yet, some controllers (and most archive programs) are not even able to read the entire contents of a disk; there are plenty of programs such as games with copy protection that rely on floppy disk geometry. This is my attempt to document floppy disk theory of operation, along with an implementation to preserve disks for current computers, for a generation who do not know what the save icon represents.
My January project this year is to write up blog postings about my most recent TRS-80 MC-10 programming projects as I tweak and debug them. Also, if time permits to port them to Coco and Dragon variations of Micro Color Basic:
- FRUIT PANIC
- and ASTEROID ESCAPE
I have an Atari 800XL and 1050 floppy drive that need some love and repair. My intention is to learn how to refurbish them and give them a proper testing and workout. Also, several months ago, a friend of mine sent me a box of random Atari floppies and I hope to be able to go through them and discover whatever may be on them. Assuming I can repair the hardware, I should have some retro fun exploring the software that I have waiting for me.
I want to get a start on designing some cartridge hardware for my TRS-80 Color Computer.
The project I’m going to attempt is taking my two hobbies – Retrocomputing and ham radio – and combining them. Icom makes a ham radio that allows you to construct a point-to-point ethernet bridge at 128 kbps at 1.2 GHz – the Icom ID-1. This is mainly used for providing (slow) Internet services to the middle of nowhere, but my reading of the specifications show that this is a true ethernet bridge. If so, it should be able to bridge more than IP traffic, such as, for example, DECnet.
This should be enough work to keep me out of trouble, but still be achievable. Here goes!
This time around, I am going to be attempting to write and compile a small C program to run on Whitesmiths’ Co-Idris operating-system – a 1978 clean-room reimplementation of 6th Edition UNIX, that runs on top of PCDOS/BIOS.
Hello again. For the Retro Challenge this time around, I’m going to finally start using all of the KIM-1 devices that I’ve got (hand-made hardware, Oskar’s kit, Desktop App that I’ve created, and iOS App that I’ve created and not yet released) to actually write some 6502 code. I’ve written test code a few opcodes long, but never a full application.
I’ve been wanting to use my Kim-Uno hardware as a useful little calculator, but I have specific needs and restrictions for it, which I’ve imposed myself, of course…
- Integer only
- basic math (RPN or simplified infix)
- integer only
- addition, subtraction, multiplication, restricted divide (integer shifts)
- bit shifts left and right
- (Decimal, Hex, Binary) to (Decimal, Hex, Binary) conversions
- use the KIM-1 Rom for IO, so it should work on “real hardware” or emulation without modification
Seems like a useful, fun, project… It’s something I often need by my side for hack/coding sessions
My Retrochallenge for the upcoming January 2016 period is to live my life as a teenager again! Or at least pretend I’m that near coming-of-age teen I used to be back in the heyday of 8-bit personal computing.
I’m not setting any fixed goals this time round as that appears to be the kiss of death. I’m hoping to use the Tandy 102 or 200 as one of my blogging devices. I hope to blog a little, frequently. I may attempt to acoustically couple. Maybe blog from random places. That kind of thing. Entertaining with no focus…
I have a collection of TV-game’s with need a real TV to play the game. I want to make an device so I can play my TV-Game’s on a beamer or (VGA)monitor.
On this device I want to make a selection for the different TV-out signal’s or TV-channels.
Following the success of the simple Z80 I made for Retro Challenge 2014 (which I creatively named RC2014), I have decided to build on this and make it the basis of a classic 80’s computer clone. It already shares some similarities with the likes of the ZX80, ZX81, Jupiter Ace, Spectrum and a bunch of other machines, so adding in some modules with the circuitry bespoke to these machines and the appropriate ROM should give me a working replica.
Of course, this could all go badly wrong and I spend a fortune designing PCBs that don’t work, but, hey, that’s the fun of Retro Challenge, right!
I plan to write (or more accurately, start to write) a dBase III Plus clone for the Apple IIgs. It’s obviously a larger project than can be done in a month, so I have laid out my specific goals in my blog. But the executive summary is that I will have a command-driven system that will let you create new tables or load existing tables, as well as add, update, and search data and print simple user-defined reports.
My Retrochallenge 2016/01 goal is to correct an error in the space-time continuum and bring several versions of the not-as-ubiquitous-as-I’ve-been-led-to-believe classic Star Trek text game to the Mattel Electronics/Radofin Aquarius (a machine that can confidently claim to have been born retro). The target platform is an Aquarius having 16K RAM running Martin v.d. Steenoven’s BootLoader BASIC v2.1.
- Port Mike Mayfield’s Star Trek (1973) from HP2000 Time Share BASIC
- Port David Ahl’s Super Star Trek (1978) from Microsoft BASIC
- Modify Super Star Trek to take advantage of unique features of the Aquarius
I’m embarrassed to say I never have played a proper game of Star Trek. My December will be spent surveying the different versions on different platforms.
I notice no one never done a Viewdata (Prestel) terminfo for Linux (unix), Raspberry, PCduino …and so one …
None since 90’s ! Even 70’s ;-D
The main problem is that this english videotext terminal don’t have a “cup” capabilitie : You can’t send cursor wherever you want on the screen… Which seems to be a huge problem for every one
My project for the Winter Warmup will be a follow-up to my last entry (HRE aka High Resolution Extension aka monochrome 648 x 256 pixel graphics board for Commodore PET/CBM 8000 series):
Goal #1: replace the breadboard by a printed circuit board
Goal #2: improve firmware (character support; more sophisticated data transfer protocol; circles)
Goal #3: implement CBM control software as a BASIC extension
Goal #4: add color capabilities in the remaining time (no, just kidding )
My January #Retrochallenge project is to create a windows (Visual Basic) IDE and Code Builder to leverage a Text User Interface (TUI) I have written in C and compiled with the CC65 compiler. The TUI has capabilities for windows, menu system, and screen objects (Labels, Text box, Number box, buttons etc.) and built in functions for Message box and Input box that can run on Commodore 64, 128, Atari 800 and hopefully Commodore Plus/4. See a YouTube demo here. The idea behind the IDE and Code Builder is to have the ability create a C program using the TUI library and create the bulk of the program through a point and click interface.
The IDE & Code Builder will have single click ability for each of the following:
(1) generate C code for the client application from the VB program
(2) to compile C source to platform specific executable at least Commodore 64 and Atari 800, with stretch goals for Commodore Plus/4 and Commodore 128
(3) Run compile program in Vice (Commodores) and Altirra (Atari) emulators
While I would love to be able to complete a full program point in click there is the ability to call user written functions from Buttons and Menus so the IDE will allow for writing of user defined functions in C code as well.
I have no real plan or direction: Whatever direction i do have, i will abandon by week two.
This is my 20th in a row – the rounding of ten years of doing this every six months.
Unsure if I should be impressed with my tenacity or despair at my… tenacity!
This time around I shall make another attempt to get at least one of my Epson PF10 portable floppy drives working reliably. Failing that I may try to resurrect my ZX81.
For RC2016/01, I’m going to hook up an old vector display (the retro part) to a modern microcontroller and either write a new game for it or port an old one. Gee, that sounds kinda familiar. Didn’t someone try to do that for RC2015/07, and have only partial success? I suppose I may as well beat my head against the wall for a while again in January.
When I was a teenager I had an interest in computers prompted by a series in ETI, but we couldn’t afford to buy one. I designed my own SC/MP machine on my grandparents wallpaper. I’d given it up for lost years ago, but it turned up in a clearout a few months ago.
So I’m going to figure out how (if) it works, write an emulator for it, build a replica (not a real machine, an hardware emulator), and write some software for it.
The final aim is to get “Star Trek” running in some sort of high level language.