Microdisk Drive - After a meeting with John Honig, George
Nishura defined the pin/interface specification. It
is a DIN connector with 14 pins.
MUFFY - Dave Sovey designed the MUFFY simulator and Michael
Wooding is building it. In the event that Wooding is
assigned to another project, Songly Mu will be able to
bring it to completion. Peter Atesian has indentified
a vendor that will commit to a schedule of Sept. 20;
however, a purchase order will need to be issued. Randy Hoopai
is entering the MUFFY schematic into the MENTOR system.
KERI - Peter Atesian informed me that ASG is developing a test
program for KERI. However, the Note from the previous
status report is still a primary concern.
SCHEDULE - enclosed with this status report.
FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION - The 1450 specs is on the VAX; and
it can be modify for the XL product. Randy Hoopai will
be generating the XL specs.
MANUAL - Phil Suen will determine whether under the new guideline,
the project is responsible for the manual.
SCHEMATIC - Sonly Mu is continuing the drafting of the schematic.
It is still waiting on the MUFFY pinout specification that will
be finalized on Aug. 15. Randy Hoopai and Gary Rubio will
help to enter the schematic onto the MENTOR system.
PARTS LIST - this will be generated when the schematic is finished.
BOX & PACKING MATERIALS - same as the manual
DISK FIRMWARE - Mike Barall finished writing the 8049 firmware.
It cannot be tested until the 6502 disk handler is written.
OS - It was decided to put a FMS (DOS routines) in ROM. Mike
Barall is commited to having a working OS by Oct. 31 and
Tom Brightman will continue to keeping the Data General
as the development tool. "Working" OS is defined as one
that can be demostrated to the customers.
TEST SOFTWARE(S) - John Hinman is designing a complete test
program for MUFFY.
The initial pacing item is the availability of MUFFY. Once
MUFFY is available, then the pacing item will be the system
KERI and MUFFY will have to have test programs and equipment
to qualify them during production. Currently, Peter Atesian
said that we do not have the equipment of testing a 68 pins
I have freshly revisited the issue, this time primarily using analysis of dozens of newspaper ads.
This is hard work, keeping in mind that "release dates" could be gradual events spread out over multiple weeks. And advertisements may or may not list items before their actual availability.
Atari widely announced in January 1980 (see coverage and Atari ad in Merchandising magazine, and media kit at Atarimania) that they planned to release 6 new VCS titles, one title per month, over the first half of 1980: Space Invaders, 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Night Driver, Golf, Circus Atari, Adventure
It's clear to me now that they did not stick with that plan.
Space Invaders was certainly first, released winter 1980. It appeared in ads starting in February.
3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Night Driver, Golf, and Circus Atari were all still promised soon in late June. I now believe they all came out at about the same time in summer 1980.
Adventure was, interestingly, less prominent in newspaper ads than any of the above titles. It does turn up in ads starting in early May (alongside Space Invaders).
My conclusion now is that Adventure came out in spring 1980, shortly after Space Invaders but largely overlooked because Space Invaders commanded all the market attention in the first half of the year.
One may speculate that Atari may have delayed releasing 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Night Driver, Golf, and Circus Atari as a result of diverting resources to satisfy demand for Space Invaders. If true, perhaps early production of Adventure would have been limited for the same reason.
I was going to say it would make sense as the UK box, but reading the small print about the "Atari Advantage" and "great value ... great games", both slogans used in the US, that makes me think it could be a late version of the NTSC box, despite the PAL console pictured.
Your second picture tangentially shows that another side of the box has what looks like a UPC symbol, along with more fine print. There might be a copyright date in that fine print. If we had a good picture of that side, maybe that would settle it.
Like kheller2 I used AW80 as my word processor throughout my college career, and first grad degree too.
The OP's issues perfectly matched behavior on real hardware, including both the screen refresh weirdness and also the disk access issues.
The screen refresh behavior, accurately described above, was indeed strange, but entirely predictable, and thus easy to get used to and work around.
The disk access issues I relate to the challenge of getting AW80 to run under alternate DOS versions. It wasn't copy-protected, but just finicky about operating under the DOS I wanted to use. I was eventually able to run it successfully under my SpartaDOS X cartridge. The number of people who did that was probably extremely small.
Also, I used a dedicated hi-rez 80 column monochrome monitor, so overscan was not an issue. It looked great.
I had tried Micromiser Turboword before moving on to AW80. Turboword was very interesting, but just too slow and buggy for real work. AW80 had its quirks for sure, but was solid overall.
I believe the second set of pics are from the original release of the C016555 "Technical User's Notes" published November 1980 and rather rare, consisting of the original releases of the Hardware Manual and the Operating System Users Manual. The Hardware Manual was only slightly revised in common later versions of the documentation (which all carry the same Nov. 1980 date), while this early version of the OS Manual is not well known and quite different from later common versions.
I've never seen the Atari Institute documents you have there, an even greater find IMO. I'd love to see full scans of them and the un-pictured press releases you mention, if you're willing to share.
In comparing the older Service Manual to the later FSM, parts I see exclusively in the earlier one include the extensive setup and operations section at the beginning, including descriptions of all the peripherals planned at that time, the preventative maintenance section, and the troubleshooting section. In the FSM the setup and operations stuff was replaced with the "theory of operation," maintenance was dropped, and troubleshooting was completely re-written as far as I can tell. Maybe to better integrate with the SALT Stand-ALone Test cartridge? I see very little content exactly the same, though I noticed the disassembly is the same, including most of the illustrations.
Oh, how about Figure 5-2 "Stand Alone Test Special Tools" on page 5-8 in the older manual. The Peripheral Port Test Connector and the Hand Controller Jack Test Connector are mentioned in the later FSM, but the pictures of these were removed. So I, for one, don't think I ever knew what these devices looked like before seeing them now.
I find it fascinating to see how a document like this evolved over time. There are probably more gems of unique info contained the the old manual that will take a while to spot. No question the older manual was the predecessor to the later FSM, with many of the same objectives, but for the most part it was a total re-write from the earlier to the later document.