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Re: [midatlanticretro] 50 years of Computer Games

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  • Dan Roganti
    ... I think the proper category is first Real-Time Computer Graphics game - which is more impressive than most Computer games they already had then in the
    Message 1 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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      On 12/05/2011 08:40 PM, B Degnan wrote:
      > At 07:31 PM 12/5/2011, you wrote:
      >> On Tue, 6 Dec 2011, Evan Koblentz wrote:
      >>
      >>> Spacewar!, the first computer game, was made in 1962.

      I think the proper category is first Real-Time Computer Graphics game -
      which is more impressive than most Computer games they already had then
      in the 50's. The one computer graphics game OXO (Tic-Tac-Toe) which was
      made before, is a turn based game - not real-time - as you might expect
      in this sort of game.


      >>> That's 50 years before VCF East 8.0 next year.
      >>>
      >>> I'm just sayin'...
      >> How many machines can we display playing Spacewar? Challenge!

      I'm getting my Cromemco D+7A calibrated for taking measurements on the
      JS-1 joystick to help Rich on his setup - mine will be ready for SpaceWar


      > Along those lines (spacewar's display was an oscilloscope), I think
      > our workshop this year should be the Oscilloscope, some sort of how
      > to troubleshoot various types of problems with an
      > Oscilloscope.....what do you think?

      I proposed to Evan about the next workshop the other day - something
      which is in line with the proposed them for the next VCF East. A kit in
      which you can build a vector graphics card that you can connect to any
      of your vintage computers.


      > I have an IBM PC-based Spacewar,

      raster - meh ;)

      Vector Victor !

      > plus Dave Geeswin's actual Spacewar
      > on the PDP 8 (from three years ago at VCF).

      Yes !!
      I hope he can bring it again.


      > Not sure what others
      > exist, I assume there are many others.

      But which ones are Vector based. I remember the version which is on
      Vectrex console. Not too many which are on the computer variety. I have
      a copy of SpaceWar which is made to run on a 8080 system and drive a Tek
      4013 vector display terminal. Dave McGuire has the 4012, so I was hoping
      we can get it running on that once we fix a couple of minor things.

      =Dan
    • Evan Koblentz
      ... Hmm ... I didn t know there was one before. ... Yup, I was talking with Bill on the phone just now, told him that. We don t have the bandwidth for an
      Message 2 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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        >>>> Spacewar!, the first computer game, was made in 1962.
        > I think the proper category is first Real-Time Computer Graphics game - which is more impressive than most Computer games they already had then in the 50's. The one computer graphics game OXO (Tic-Tac-Toe) which was made before, is a turn based game - not real-time - as you might expect in this sort of game.

        Hmm ... I didn't know there was one before.


        > I proposed to Evan about the next workshop the other day - something which is in line with the proposed them for the next VCF East. A kit in which you can build a vector graphics card that you can connect to any of your vintage computers.

        Yup, I was talking with Bill on the phone just now, told him that.

        We don't have the bandwidth for an o-scope session next year.


        >
        >> I have an IBM PC-based Spacewar,
        > raster - meh ;)
        >
        > Vector Victor !

        Clearance, Clarence!


        > But which ones are Vector based. I remember the version which is on
        > Vectrex console.

        We have a Vectrex but it doesn't work

        > I have a copy of SpaceWar which is made to run on a 8080

        That's another thing we have in the museum -- an original Cromemco
        Spacewar tape.
      • B Degnan
        In Steven Levy s book they talk about some sort of paddle flipping game (as in front panel paddles ) tennis or something that was played in real time before
        Message 3 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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          In Steven Levy's book they talk about some sort of paddle flipping
          game (as in front panel "paddles") tennis or something that was
          played in real time before Space War.

          At 10:28 PM 12/5/2011, you wrote:

          > >>>> Spacewar!, the first computer game, was made in 1962.
          > > I think the proper category is first Real-Time Computer Graphics
          > game - which is more impressive than most Computer games they
          > already had then in the 50's. The one computer graphics game OXO
          > (Tic-Tac-Toe) which was made before, is a turn based game - not
          > real-time - as you might expect in this sort of game.
          >
          >Hmm ... I didn't know there was one before.
          >
          >
          > > I proposed to Evan about the next workshop the other day -
          > something which is in line with the proposed them for the next VCF
          > East. A kit in which you can build a vector graphics card that you
          > can connect to any of your vintage computers.
          >
          >Yup, I was talking with Bill on the phone just now, told him that.
          >
          >We don't have the bandwidth for an o-scope session next year.
          >
          >
          > >
          > >> I have an IBM PC-based Spacewar,
          > > raster - meh ;)
          > >
          > > Vector Victor !
          >
          >Clearance, Clarence!
          >
          >
          > > But which ones are Vector based. I remember the version which is on
          > > Vectrex console.
          >
          >We have a Vectrex but it doesn't work
          >
          > > I have a copy of SpaceWar which is made to run on a 8080
          >
          >That's another thing we have in the museum -- an original Cromemco
          >Spacewar tape.
          >
          >
          >
          >------------------------------------
          >
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        • Jeffrey Brace
          From: Evan Koblentz Sent: Monday, December 05, 2011 10:28 PM To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] 50 years of Computer Games
          Message 4 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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            From: Evan Koblentz
            Sent: Monday, December 05, 2011 10:28 PM
            To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] 50 years of Computer Games

            >We have a Vectrex but it doesn't work

            Is anyone willing to take a look at it during the Festivus party ? My
            wishlist is to fix the Apple II & Commodore PET that are in the museum
            rooms, but will add the Vetrex !
          • Mike Loewen
            ... We had some real-time games on the SAGE computer, such as Baseball, but I don t know when they were written. Mike Loewen mloewen@cpumagic.scol.pa.us Old
            Message 5 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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              On Mon, 5 Dec 2011, B Degnan wrote:

              > In Steven Levy's book they talk about some sort of paddle flipping
              > game (as in front panel "paddles") tennis or something that was
              > played in real time before Space War.

              We had some real-time games on the SAGE computer, such as Baseball, but
              I don't know when they were written.


              Mike Loewen mloewen@...
              Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
            • Dan Roganti
              ... oh, I neglected to mention, I think I mentioned it to you already. The intent was to have this running on an o-scope for display. And I intend to bring an
              Message 6 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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                On 12/05/2011 10:28 PM, Evan Koblentz wrote:
                >
                >
                >> I proposed to Evan about the next workshop the other day - something which is in line with the proposed them for the next VCF East. A kit in which you can build a vector graphics card that you can connect to any of your vintage computers.
                > Yup, I was talking with Bill on the phone just now, told him that.
                >
                > We don't have the bandwidth for an o-scope session next year.

                oh, I neglected to mention, I think I mentioned it to you already. The
                intent was to have this running on an o-scope for display. And I intend
                to bring an Atari vector monitor for larger viewing, a 19" monitor :)
                It's still not really an o-scope 101 class but it'll help.


                >> But which ones are Vector based. I remember the version which is on
                >> Vectrex console.
                > We have a Vectrex but it doesn't work

                mine's broke too :/ one of many on the repair list.


                >> I have a copy of SpaceWar which is made to run on a 8080
                > That's another thing we have in the museum -- an original Cromemco
                > Spacewar tape.


                That game is the raster version, which runs using the Dazzler color
                video graphics card. There was a demo with this running on a SOL20 at
                VCF East 6.0 - I think it was Bill S. Because I brought in my Cromemco
                JS-1 to compare with his replica.

                =Dan
              • Dan Roganti
                ... You might be thinking of the video game by Higinbotham at the Brookhaven Lab - it was an analog video game. I have an ol classmate that still works there.
                Message 7 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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                  On 12/05/2011 10:34 PM, B Degnan wrote:
                  > In Steven Levy's book they talk about some sort of paddle flipping
                  > game (as in front panel "paddles") tennis or something that was
                  > played in real time before Space War.
                  >

                  You might be thinking of the video game by Higinbotham at the Brookhaven
                  Lab - it was an analog video game. I have an ol' classmate that still
                  works there. Remember that demo you had running on your Heathkit [?]
                  analog computer a couple of years ago in your basement, where it traced
                  a curve across the screen - it's the same principle.

                  =Dan
                • Evan Koblentz
                  ... Right. Tennis for Two .
                  Message 8 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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                    >> In Steven Levy's book they talk about some sort of paddle flipping game (as in front panel "paddles") tennis or something that was
                    >> played in real time before Space War.
                    >>
                    > You might be thinking of the video game by Higinbotham at the Brookhaven Lab - it was an analog video game.

                    Right. "Tennis for Two".
                  • B Degnan
                    ... This was a game that had to do with the lights on the front panel, but I don t remember for sure. I bet there was some sort of basic real time
                    Message 9 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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                      At 10:45 PM 12/5/2011, you wrote:
                      >On 12/05/2011 10:34 PM, B Degnan wrote:
                      > > In Steven Levy's book they talk about some sort of paddle flipping
                      > > game (as in front panel "paddles") tennis or something that was
                      > > played in real time before Space War.
                      > >
                      >
                      >You might be thinking of the video game by Higinbotham at the Brookhaven
                      >Lab - it was an analog video game. I have an ol' classmate that still
                      >works there. Remember that demo you had running on your Heathkit [?]
                      >analog computer a couple of years ago in your basement, where it traced
                      >a curve across the screen - it's the same principle.

                      This was a game that had to do with the lights on the front panel,
                      but I don't remember for sure. I bet there was some sort of basic
                      real time oscilloscope "move the square" kind of demo that involved a
                      analog joystick-ish device, maybe a large potentiometer. Who knows.

                      I wouldn't say the theme for VCF E is set in stone, or if it will be
                      "50 years of Computer Games" exactly. We still have to determine how
                      exactly to put all of this together, who will speak etc. I am sure
                      we'll get more focus over the next 6 weeks or so. Most VCF's are a
                      bit of an arcade anyway, we have to find a way to specifically cover
                      the important milestones of computers in gaming (vs. consoles,
                      etc)....but this causes me to wonder things like - what is more of a
                      computer an Atari 2600 or a totally TTL Pong Game? How exactly do
                      you differentiate between "computer games" and video games? Does the
                      computer have to have a keyboard as the only distinction? Does it
                      have to be played on a general purpose computer? What about arcade
                      games that incorporated computing milestones? How about the computer
                      systems that were used to write the video came cartridges? Anyone
                      have one of those? Text adventures?

                      On another tangent, exactly *how* does one hook an oscilloscope up to
                      a PDP 8 to play spacewar anyway?


                      Bill
                    • Evan Koblentz
                      ... Correct. This is very important! VCF never has an official theme . Some years it just works out on an informal basis. The 50 years idea came up when Dan
                      Message 10 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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                        > I wouldn't say the theme for VCF E is set in stone, or if it will be
                        > "50 years of Computer Games" exactly.

                        Correct. This is very important! VCF never has an official "theme". Some
                        years it just works out on an informal basis.

                        The 50 years idea came up when Dan and I were discussing what to do for
                        next year's show t-shirt. We started thinking about milestone
                        anniversaries and we realized that Spacewar is one such milestone. So
                        are many others -- 35 years of 8-bit computing, 30 years for the Apple
                        IIe and C-64, and lots more. We concentrated on Spacewar because it will
                        make for a cool shirt. That's all.
                      • Dan Roganti
                        ... while on the subject of the T-Shirt how about using fluorescent ink - so the Spacewar design glows in the dark ! using a black short of course
                        Message 11 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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                          On 12/05/2011 11:07 PM, Evan Koblentz wrote:
                          > We concentrated on Spacewar because it will
                          > make for a cool shirt. That's all.

                          while on the subject of the T-Shirt
                          how about using fluorescent ink - so the Spacewar design glows in the dark !
                          using a black short of course
                        • Dan Roganti
                          ... That one doesn t ring a bell yet. ... I haven t read about anything like this before - but you know there s always something done in the lab that never
                          Message 12 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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                            On 12/05/2011 11:01 PM, B Degnan wrote:
                            >
                            > This was a game that had to do with the lights on the front panel,
                            > but I don't remember for sure.

                            That one doesn't ring a bell yet.


                            > I bet there was some sort of basic
                            > real time oscilloscope "move the square" kind of demo that involved a
                            > analog joystick-ish device, maybe a large potentiometer. Who knows.

                            I haven't read about anything like this before - but you know there's
                            always something done in the lab that never gets documented cause it was
                            usually some random amusement or curiosity during the downtimes.


                            > I wouldn't say the theme for VCF E is set in stone, or if it will be
                            > "50 years of Computer Games" exactly. We still have to determine how
                            > exactly to put all of this together, who will speak etc. I am sure
                            > we'll get more focus over the next 6 weeks or so. Most VCF's are a
                            > bit of an arcade anyway, we have to find a way to specifically cover
                            > the important milestones of computers in gaming (vs. consoles,
                            > etc)....

                            yes, this is important - a lot of great engineering went into this.


                            > but this causes me to wonder things like - what is more of a
                            > computer an Atari 2600 or a totally TTL Pong Game? How exactly do
                            > you differentiate between "computer games" and video games? Does the
                            > computer have to have a keyboard as the only distinction? Does it
                            > have to be played on a general purpose computer? What about arcade
                            > games that incorporated computing milestones? How about the computer
                            > systems that were used to write the video came cartridges? Anyone
                            > have one of those? Text adventures?

                            woah dude, your getting too deep ;)

                            > On another tangent, exactly *how* does one hook an oscilloscope up to
                            > a PDP 8 to play spacewar anyway

                            Basically you need a card which has a few channels of Analog to Digital
                            converters. I'm sure Dave G. can show us what he has on his system. I'm
                            looking towards doing this with McGuire's PDP-8 over here. You can see
                            an example of the S-100 card from Cromemco, D+7A. I'm getting mine setup
                            for this. You need an o-scope with a X-Y mode setting on the Horizontal
                            Timebase control. This lets you have direct access to the beam drivers
                            and create the images.

                            =Dan
                          • Evan Koblentz
                            ... Make it 3-D.
                            Message 13 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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                              >> We concentrated on Spacewar because it will make for a cool shirt. That's all.
                              > while on the subject of the T-Shirt how about using fluorescent ink - so the Spacewar design glows in the dark ! using a black short of course

                              Make it 3-D.
                            • Dan Roganti
                              ... And everyone has to walk around wearing the red/blue 3D glasses
                              Message 14 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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                                On 12/05/2011 11:26 PM, Evan Koblentz wrote:
                                >>> We concentrated on Spacewar because it will make for a cool shirt. That's all.
                                >> while on the subject of the T-Shirt how about using fluorescent ink - so the Spacewar design glows in the dark ! using a black short of course
                                > Make it 3-D.

                                And everyone has to walk around wearing the red/blue 3D glasses
                              • Dan Roganti
                                ... jeesh,
                                Message 15 of 25 , Dec 5, 2011
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                                  On 12/05/2011 11:25 PM, Dan Roganti wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Basically you need a card which has a few channels of *Digital to
                                  > Analog* converters.

                                  jeesh,
                                • David Gesswein
                                  ... With a display peripheral. With the 8/I I used the AX08 laboratory peripheral. It can draw points on the XY screen and also has A/D and digital I/O. On the
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Dec 6, 2011
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                                    On Mon, Dec 05, 2011 at 11:01:33PM -0500, B Degnan wrote:
                                    >
                                    > On another tangent, exactly *how* does one hook an oscilloscope up to
                                    > a PDP 8 to play spacewar anyway?
                                    >
                                    With a display peripheral. With the 8/I I used the AX08 laboratory
                                    peripheral. It can draw points on the XY screen and also has A/D and
                                    digital I/O. On the 8/E I used the VC8E which is the point plot only.
                                    Every model of the point plotting used incompatable instuctions for operation.

                                    In theory the AX08 should work with my straight 8. With only 4k memory
                                    the spacewar I used last time won't run but I have a simpler one which
                                    should. End of this month is the next big push on working on the restoration.
                                  • Bill Sudbrink
                                    ... Yes, but not my Sol. I have an IMSAI chassis full of Cromemco cards. I have shown all of the Cromemco software I can locate, including Space War, Tank War
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Dec 6, 2011
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                                      Dan Roganti wrote:
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > >> I have a copy of SpaceWar which is made to run on a 8080
                                      > > That's another thing we have in the museum -- an original Cromemco
                                      > > Spacewar tape.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > That game is the raster version, which runs using the Dazzler color
                                      > video graphics card. There was a demo with this running on a SOL20 at
                                      > VCF East 6.0 - I think it was Bill S. Because I brought in my Cromemco
                                      > JS-1 to compare with his replica.

                                      Yes, but not my Sol. I have an IMSAI chassis full of Cromemco cards.
                                      I have shown all of the Cromemco software I can locate, including
                                      Space War, Tank War and Dazzle Doodle at (I think) two different VCFs.
                                      Most recently (when you brought your JS-1 in), I had two IMSAI boxes,
                                      my Cromemco and a second full of Processor Technology cards. I also
                                      had my Sol on display. The point was sort of "don't judge a computer
                                      by its box". The PT IMSAI is completely software compatible with the
                                      Sol, while the "twin" (judging by the box) IMSAI is completely
                                      incompatible. Anyway...

                                      I will definitely be at VCF East 2012.

                                      There, publically announced, now I can't back out.

                                      Now I think I know the challenge I will set for myself for VCF12...

                                      I have been having great fun with my most recent acquisition, the SWTPc
                                      6800 but it is very "plain Jane". Just CPU, memory, diskette and serial
                                      I/O right now. I'm going to try to add two cards:

                                      1) an equivalent to the Cromemco D+7a
                                      2) a display driver card (vector or raster?)

                                      Then I will port Space War to the system.

                                      The hardware shouldn't be too difficult, I don't know if there are vintage
                                      cards, but I can build them if they don't exist or I can't get them.

                                      Porting Space War may be a challenge. The Cromemco version is expecting
                                      to run on a 4MHz Z80. I wonder if the 1MHz 6800 is up to the job? How
                                      much "umph" does the PDP8 have in comparison? Which kind of display,
                                      vector or raster, will take more CPU to drive it? Anybody have any SS-30
                                      or SS-50 protoboards for sale/trade?

                                      Bill S.
                                    • Evan Koblentz
                                      ... It will be a fun challenge, albeit unofficial, to see how many different systems we can get to play Spacewar -- and to see which system can do it with the
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Dec 6, 2011
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                                        >>> I have been having great fun with my most recent acquisition, the SWTPc 6800 .... I will port Space War to the system.

                                        It will be a fun challenge, albeit unofficial, to see how many different systems we can get to play Spacewar -- and to see which system can do it with the least resources.
                                      • David Gesswein
                                        ... The PDP-8/I fastest instruction is 1.5 us. 3 us min for memory access instructions. Looks like the minumum 6800 instuction takes 2 cycles immediate, 3
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Dec 6, 2011
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                                          On Tue, Dec 06, 2011 at 07:31:07PM -0500, Bill Sudbrink wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Porting Space War may be a challenge. The Cromemco version is expecting
                                          > to run on a 4MHz Z80. I wonder if the 1MHz 6800 is up to the job? How
                                          > much "umph" does the PDP8 have in comparison? Which kind of display,
                                          > vector or raster, will take more CPU to drive it? Anybody have any SS-30
                                          > or SS-50 protoboards for sale/trade?
                                          >
                                          The PDP-8/I fastest instruction is 1.5 us. 3 us min for memory access
                                          instructions. Looks like the minumum 6800 instuction takes 2 cycles
                                          immediate, 3 cycles for direct address so similar. PDP-8 is 12 bits and
                                          6800 8 bits so some advantage to PDP-8. 6800 instruction set is
                                          larger so more efficient (PDP-8 can't subtract, you have to negate
                                          the value then add). In the end the speed is probably similar.

                                          The relative speed would depend on how much the graphics board offloads
                                          of the work. Raster board with sprites or vector board with display lists
                                          would make CPU load less. Raw raster memory or D/A converters would
                                          make more work. The PDP-8 control is close to raw D/A converters.

                                          For a simple display raster is probably less load since it handles the
                                          refresh for you so you only need to write things that are to be changed.
                                          Vector without display lists you need to rewrite everything at 30+ Hz to
                                          prevent flicker.
                                        • Bill Sudbrink
                                          ... I m thinking a vector display with a display list. The SWTPc SS-30 bus provides a 4 byte interface per slot. I m thinking a of programming interface
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Dec 6, 2011
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                                            David Gesswein wrote:
                                            > Vector without display lists you need to rewrite everything at 30+ Hz
                                            > to prevent flicker.

                                            I'm thinking a vector display with a display list. The SWTPc SS-30 bus
                                            provides a 4 byte interface per slot. I'm thinking a of programming
                                            interface something like:

                                            <low byte> vertex address
                                            <next byte> vertex X
                                            <next byte> vertex Y
                                            <high byte> vertex options

                                            vertex options would be something like:
                                            <low 4 bits> intensity to this vertex (0 is off)
                                            (do vector displays support intensity?)
                                            <next bit> 0 - no action
                                            1 - terminate (go back to vertex zero)
                                            <next 2 bits> unused
                                            <high bit> 0 - X,Y is absolute, X and Y are unsigned
                                            (vertex zero must be absolute?)
                                            1 - X,Y is relative to previous vertex, X
                                            and Y are 2's comp signed

                                            So, you poke a vertex address, then poke its three values.
                                            I'm not sure how "coarse" a 256x256 vector display would be.

                                            With relative vertexes (vertices?) moving the ships around the screen
                                            will require a fewer operations. Rotations will still be painful.
                                            I have no idea how realistic this will be to implement in hardware...
                                            I know it would be easy with a modern pic, but I think I want to try
                                            to go with a vintage design. Memory wise, it seems doable. It doesn't
                                            even require 1K. I could implement it with a pair of 2114 static RAMS.
                                            It might glitch during I/O. I could put 2K on the board and bank swap
                                            to commit the writes. Then I need something on the board, spinning
                                            through the RAM, driving three DtoA circuits? And a clock? I need to
                                            do some reading.

                                            Bill
                                          • Dan Roganti
                                            ... yes, the display list is necessary to avoid any lag, flicker, etc in the display - and offload the processing from the CPU. Much like in a raster video
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Dec 6, 2011
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                                              On 12/06/2011 09:30 PM, Bill Sudbrink wrote:
                                              > David Gesswein wrote:
                                              >> Vector without display lists you need to rewrite everything at 30+ Hz
                                              >> to prevent flicker.
                                              > I'm thinking a vector display with a display list. The SWTPc SS-30 bus
                                              > provides a 4 byte interface per slot. I'm thinking a of programming
                                              > interface something like:


                                              yes, the display list is necessary to avoid any lag, flicker, etc in the
                                              display - and offload the processing from the CPU. Much like in a raster
                                              video display.

                                              However for the next VCF workshop kit I'm planning, I intend to use an
                                              onboard 6502 for processing. Mainly for 2 reasons, this saves on parts
                                              and the firmware will be flexible for future hacks - and open source.
                                              I'm keeping it a vintage design - after all it's VCF and not Maker Faire
                                              ;) It's still fast enough when running 2mhz to maintain the screen
                                              refresh. The 6502 has the lowest instruction cycle count amongst all the
                                              other 8bitters - just as the 6800 but guess who's popular :)

                                              So then your host system would run the app software containing the game,
                                              graphics, etc. While the vector display board will contain all the
                                              graphics primitives in firmware, but then in vectors. It will save a
                                              host of hardware when you compare it to something like the Asteroids
                                              arcade game. And still have enough resolution, 1024x1024, this will
                                              also use 10bit DAC's as in that arcade - but not the same part# - after
                                              35yrs, they're still so friggin' expensive ($25). You can get modern
                                              DAC's that are much cheaper and quality as near as the AD561 used in
                                              that arcade.

                                              This kit will have options to connect via a parallel port or memory
                                              mapped I/O port - which most vintage computers can support. So then it
                                              can be compatible for most systems using one type of circuit board while
                                              not needing to make a card for each and every form factor, Apple II,
                                              S-100, SS-50, etc. It'll be a standalone box that sits beside your
                                              vector monitor.


                                              >
                                              > With relative vertexes (vertices?) moving the ships around the screen
                                              > will require a fewer operations. Rotations will still be painful.

                                              Rotations are doing using Matrix Math - it's less painful than in a
                                              raster graphics, as you only only to worry about the vertices. And you
                                              use Look Up tables for the Trig functions - to speed up the math. Just
                                              as they did on the PDP-1 SpaceWar.

                                              =Dan
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