[Jamie Fenton] recently donated a bunch of items to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Along with various documents, the collection contains an original development system that was used to create and debug software for these platforms.
The CP/M development system can be seen in a couple of videos on YouTube with Jay Fenton. Jamie has done so much for the arcade community. Jamie, if you're reading this... you're awesome!
The development system is called an "icebox" [...] An early version of the system ran CP/M, but later it was modified to boot a Terse-based OS.
TERSE is such an odd language. If a TERSE compiler can be found in this documentation, then that would be a windfall! I understand that Gorf actually has a TERSE interpreter built into it. I wonder if Jamie had any ZGRASS stuff in there? There is a system that needs to be emulated-- but that's hard to emulate when the system hardware and software are not easy to come across.
Information from this collection is available here:
I urge all readers here to take a look through the above link. You'll find that the source code for "AstroBASIC" is called "Bally BASIC 3.5. The final version of the source code (which seems to be from the same document source as the one on BallyAlley.com) is December 4, 1980. It's also really neat to see the way Jay set up the source code as code snippets that are linked together. I have to take a much closer look at all of this documentation.
I didn't notice any source code for the extended BASICs (Vipersoft BASIC, Blue Ram BASIC, and Hot Rod BASIC) for the Astrocade. If you any of that is available, then that would be so cool too!
I find it rather neat (and a great compliment!) that there are resources in that archive that Jamie donated that are from BallyAlley.com-- even some documents that I wrote. How very weird!
Please, if you get a chance, then look at the wonderful resources that are now online. Maybe (hopefully!) there will be more to come!
The MAME team is now working on emulating the development system. It can already boot the Terse-based OS in emulation.
MAME programmers/authors; you're all wunderkind! Good luck getting the OS running, and maybe finding the source code to some of the arcade games.
"128Kgames" games said, "I know we'd all like to see the original version of Robby Roto." That might be a weird statement. What Michael meant by that is that in comments made by Tom Meeks in 2001 (http://www.ballyalle...s/tom_meeks.txt), he said:
"Robby Roto, BTW, wasn't created until just before we filed for Chapter 11. While in development, it was THE most fun game I have ever played. Unfortunately, the Midway brass force DNA to change it so that it played shorter... and, it absolutely ruined the game. The game released to the field was, to me, only a poor shadow of what it had been in the latter stages of development. If anyone could find THAT code then they would really have something."
I doubt that this "missing" game will ever surface, but if it did, then it would be similar to the early version of Wizard of Wow that came out of nowhere a few years ago.
A number of disk images were also donated, and they are currently being looked at. [...] At this time, it's not clear exactly how much stuff there is, or how much we can get working in emulation. But this is a fairly exciting development and I wanted to share the news!
Thanks for letting us all know about this great donation and for continuing to save the heritage of the videogame community.