What retro activity did you get up to today?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by adz, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Anyone here collect retro phones?

     
  2. GumbyNoTalent

    GumbyNoTalent Member

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  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Blazing Chrome is looking pretty sexy. I hope it gets released on a bunch of stuff:

     
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  4. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    That looks AWESOME!!! :)
     
  5. shane41

    shane41 Member

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    dice que no sabe
  6. nic55

    nic55 Member

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    I came across this interesting project today.
    http://www.foddy.net/2016/08/multibowl/

    It looks like it uses MAME and snapshots to drop you in to each game.

    A whole new twist for the arcade cab :leet:

     
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  7. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Made by the very awesome Bennett Foddy, philosopher, game designer, game design teacher/mentor.

    And Australian born! One of my favourite people. (Despite the fact that he, like so many talented Aussies, moved to the US because our country is only good at digging rocks out of the dirt).
     
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  8. xlot

    xlot Member

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    Noticed a beige PC by the roadside earlier, next to a CRT. Drove past an hour later with the kids and it was still there, so hopped out and picked it up. I noticed as I stuck it in the boot that it had a sound card, an AT keyboard connector, and 2 serial and one parallel port *only*.

    This evening after dinner, I took a quick look inside, and its all there, so I plugged it into a VGA cable, and dug out my AT-to-ps2 keyboard adapter, and it works!

    Its a Datatex branded mini-tower with:
    • IBM/Cyrix 486BL 75Mhz (75.2Mhz according to boot screen :D )
    • 4MB ram
    • ISA Soundblaster 16 (with CD-ROM controller)
    • ISA Trident 512k video card
    • 2x 32-bit VLB sockets
    • Creative CD2 CDROM drive
    • Floppy
    • 340MB IDE drive
    I think the floppy drive is dead - can't feel the motor spinning, and all 5 disks I own give same error, but seek light comes on and I can hear stepper motor for the head.

    Hard drive boots DOS 6.22 and includes drivers for the SB and CDROM. It appears to have been unused since the mid 90's judging by file dates on all the directories. Has WFW3.11 on it, as well as a bunch of other old DOS software like wordstar, battle chess, doom, wolfenstein, and more.

    Most of the games won't run due to not enough base memory - but I'm wary of fiddling with config/autoexec just yet until its clear how I'll boot the machine if I screw up given the lack of floppy drive (don't think machine this old can boot CD - certainly not off the controller on the soundblaster).

    Trying to decide if I have the time to fiddle with it.. I have fond memories of many many games I played in the 386/486 era; Magic Carpet, Alone In The Dark, Doom, Syndicate, Populous, Mech Warrior II, Wing Commander, X-Wing, Links 386, and more.

    The CRT is still by the roadside - and its a dry night. Wondering if I should go get that too? Looked like a 14" unit (was screen-down). I personally have a couple of old Dell FP2001 LCD's which do a good job of scaling/positioning DOS and early windows, so the screen would just be for completeness in case I offer it up.
     
  9. bYrd

    bYrd Member

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    Get the CRT if it doesn’t look too cheap and without burn in: small matching CRTs are hard to find these days, it gives a nice nostalgia kick using one over a big CRT or LCD
     
  10. greencamel65

    greencamel65 Member

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    I wouldn't worry too much, you can always press F5/F8 at the "Starting MS-DOS" to bypass/step through the config.sys and autoexec.bat

    I would recommend backing them up prior to any modifications.

    Also, 6.22 includes memmaker (provided its been installed with the installer and not sys c: ), I've had good results using it. Once again i'd recommend backup the config files prior to using memmaker

    EDIT : Added note about sys C:
     
  11. greencamel65

    greencamel65 Member

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    Further to add is if you are keen restore the device i'd highly recommend grabbing a gotek from ebay or the like. If you not aware they are a floppy drive emulator that lets you store 100 or so disk images on a usb stick and switch between them
     
  12. xlot

    xlot Member

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    TL/DR:

    Whole machine works!
    Played first level of Wolfenstein3D and some Epic Pinball
    Imaging drive and will get Doom and some other games up and running.. :D

    Detail...

    Floppy drive works - pulled it out, turned the motor by hand a couple of revs, and put it back together. Stuck in a disk and DIR worked.. then promptly failed to read again or any other disks. However, a quick tap later, and I was able to format a disk, and have since run the drive a bunch and its reliable.

    First thing I did was SYS A: and then xcopy the C:\DOS folder contents to the floppy, along with a copy of all the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG variants (.000,.BAK, .B~K, etc.) to the floppy, so I have a DOS bootable disk where I can change the boot config and driver loading without touching the HDD.

    A quick fiddle later and I'm up to 572K base mem free - not enough to run DOOM, but enough to get WOLF3d demo working as well as Epic Pinball, both of which were already on the hard drive. Even better - the Soundblaster works! :D

    Cheers - all stuff I used to know but had forgotten, so help is much appreciated :D I'll give memmaker a shot - from memory [sic] it did a good enough job that I stopped tuning my RAM manually back in the day, so it should get me into DOOM.

    I had a dig through my old (I mean really old) backups.. and found um.. *cough* my original download of Doom - 4 floppy images zipped up, with file dates starting 19/12/1993. Back then "download" was over 14.4k dial-in to bulletin boards.

    About to pull the HDD and put it in a USB2 enclosure to create an image, and then hopefully I'll get Doom working tonight - altho' the lack of a mouse needs fixing (I have a serial-ps/2 adapter.. yeah serious pack-rat) but the only ps2 mouse I have is an optical one, so it won't work.

    Oooh - Looks nice. I'm building a shopping list, so might chuck one of them on it - but copying directly to HDD through USB2 enclosure is an easy option right now.

    I wasn't aware as I haven't gone this far back in computer time since I lived through it. I sold my 486 in Dec 1996 just after I upgraded to a Pentium Pro 200 (which incidentally was the second, and last, prebuilt desktop I ever bought).

    Todo:

    Image hard drive
    Memmaker
    Get Doom running!
    See if the IDE controller will boot off an IDE cd-rom (I have some spares sitting here)
     
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  13. greencamel65

    greencamel65 Member

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    Base memory shouldn't be that much of an issue for doom as it uses dos4gw. I'd just try to fire it up!

    Good to hear that it's still working, however i would add 1 item to the TOP of the todo list - Make sure it doesn't have the devil spawn of a battery that will cause the mainboard to commit suicide.
     
  14. flain

    flain Member

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    If you want to post the config.sys and autoexec.bat here between myself and others we can probably tell you what to remove to get the base memory you need.

    Also if you press F8 when it says "Starting MSDOS..." it will let you confirm each line for that boot so a pretty safe way to play around. Just press N for everything that doesn't look like a sound driver, EMM or himem.sys, and possibly smartdrv :)
     
  15. xlot

    xlot Member

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    When I tried to run Doom, it complained about not enough memory. However - smartdrv is running, and there's >1MB of XMS committed, so I'll trim down the TSR's and see if thats it (as apparently min spec is 4MB of RAM).

    I pulled the machine apart properly and had a look at the contents.. looks like its got the realtime clock chip with a battery in it. A bq3287MT - and good news is its socketed and there are some available in the USA cheaply. Mobo also has a jumper for external battery -

    https://stason.org/TULARC/pc/motherboards/A/ALARIS-486-COUGAR-486BL.html

    Stuck the HDD into my Win98 box and copied the contents off it - as win10 wanted to initialise the drive before Acronis could see it. Now its all back together, and the HDD isn't spinning up.. grr. It shows up in BIOS correctly, but no spin. Two steps forward, one back.
     
  16. dirkmirk

    dirkmirk Member

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    Xlot, you lucky bastard that is one very, very rare CPU!

    http://www.redhill.net.au/c/c-5.html

    Its basically a souped up 386 platform, is the cpu soldered to the motherboard? Any chance of pictures?

    I would say that machine will run Doom just fine, as for running Doom try this... Boot your computer to dos assuming it initialises the soundblaster through the config files?

    ALT+CTRL+Delete, then press F5 or F8 to bypass the setup files, what this does is load the soundblaster settings into ram and a soft reset retains the config, so it should load Doom with soundblaster settings (assuming its non plug and play), IIRC......:Paranoid:, A possibly quick and dirty way to play doom with sound and 4meg of ram.

    Edit: A good summary of 386 upgrade cpus from Vogons member feiopa.

    https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=53096&p=572436
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  17. BuuBox

    BuuBox Member

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    Very cool. I've been looking for a IBM Blue Lightning for years. :o

    Great to see one in the wild. :thumbup:

    What motherboard is it?
     
  18. greencamel65

    greencamel65 Member

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  19. BuuBox

    BuuBox Member

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    Thanks, completely missed that post. :o
     
  20. dirkmirk

    dirkmirk Member

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    That's interesting, soldered cpu with a 387 math co-processor socket but essentially a 486 motherboard with VLB slots, the blue lightning chip has no fpu, I wonder if the vlb works with the onboard cpu? Sometimes they're incompatible with 386 class cpus.
     

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