Retrochallenge, Retrochallenge 2016/10

Retrochallenge 2016/10 – Final Post

This is my last entry for my Retrochallenge 2016/10 journal, where I worked towards loading ROM images to an Intellivision from an Atari 800. To jump to the very beginning, click here.

Wrap-Up Video

Success!

I completed everything I originally set out to do.

  • Learned how to use OSS’s Action! programming environment
  • Learned more about OSS’s DOS OS/A+ and DOS XL (originally I was going to use BeWeDOS but decided early on it would be more fitting to use an OSS DOS).
  • Learned how to configure the Atari 850 Interface Module at runtime
  • Wanted to put @InverseATASCII’s Window Gadget Libraries to use
  • Extended the usefulness of my Intellicart! (it no longer was viable with my everyday laptops).

During the month, I also imagined displaying text versions of Intellivision game manuals and controller overlays on the Atari 800. I also envisioned doing a craft project to construct a floppy disk label and sleeve as if floppy-based games had been produced by Mattel Electronics. But Retrochallenges rarely accommodate feature-creep.

Some Surprises

The version of my copy of DOS XL is meant for HAPPY 1050 floppy drives and was not previously available on the Internet as far as I can find. I’ve uploaded it to AtariAge and Archive.org.

It takes much longer to transfer a ROM image to the Intellicart! than I would’ve originally guessed. ROM images also take up much more room on a single density floppy disk than I planned. There’s only room for about 2 ROM files per side. Both the speed and size problems may be due to the fact that the Intellivision uses 10-bit words, so the ROM image format uses 2 bytes to store each word.

I didn’t document this in my journal but along the way,  I upgraded my Atari 1050 floppy drive to be a HAPPY 1050. This will nicely pair it with my version of OSS DOS XL.

It took more work than I would’ve guessed to implement the GUI. This is no fault of the library code I borrowed from Wade, just the nature things.

Thanks!

A big thanks goes to John Linville & Michael Mulhern who volunteered to keep Retrochallenge a thing. Both are already busy with podcasts and normal life. Thanks to Wade Ripkowski (@InverseATASCII) for sharing his work. I learned a lot about programming in Action! by using/viewing his code. And thanks to Mark and crew who originally started it all.

It was fun.

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