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Atari's Plato Cartridge question

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I was going through storage, digging up more vintage Atari 8-bit media and I came across the August 1983 issue of Microcomputing magazine. (Higher resolution possible upon request.) Inside the front cover was a full-page advertisement for Plato software from Control Data Publishing for the Apple, Atari, And TI. Its looks like they were selling individual courseware disks.

 

Completely by chance, this is what grabbed my attention:

post-18231-0-05929400-1518219357_thumb.png

 

Admittedly, it is a bit of a tangent to this thread, but...

  • Did they also end up selling individual courses on disk for the Atari 8-bit?
  • Is there a list of native courses?
  • Is some of that Atari 8-bit media available for download right now?
  • I couldn't find the attached image on a reverse image search. Is it a familiar advertisement for those in the know?

Thanks all.

Even if you don't have the answers, I hope that a few of you will get a kick out of the image. icon_smile.gif

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perhaps the color change should be a preset that one can select rather than a default. while you can do it by hand... since it is a rom..

 

If nothing else, the zoomed and condensed colors could be synced up.

 

I prefer them to both just be Atari standard blue (with text one brightness level higher than standard).

 

post-6369-0-12298700-1518219668_thumb.png

 

post-6369-0-50047700-1518219677_thumb.png

 

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Leave a note in psonotes asking. If nobody replies within 24 hours, send a note to request. (I know psonotes is where this is supposed to go, but don't know if cyber1 checks that notefile)

 

Alright, I'll look into it... didn't know if someone had already done it or not.

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  • Did they also end up selling individual courses on disk for the Atari 8-bit?
  • Is there a list of native courses?
  • Is some of that Atari 8-bit media available for download right now?
  • I couldn't find the attached image on a reverse image search. Is it a familiar advertisement for those in the know?

 

Yes, yes, yes and yes: http://www.atarimania.com/list_games_atari-400-800-xl-xe-control-data-corporation_publisher_1162_8_G.html

 

--

Atari Frog

http://www.atarimania.com

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But we want the friendly orange glow

 

I don't really care what default color is used too much (I can change the default on my own version if I want), but at least syncing the two views (change color for one, it changes on both views) would simplify changing them; that was my main point.

Edited by MrFish

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Hi Guys - a couple of things, I've patched the scaled colors to be similar (the same?) as the zoomed colors but don't know if it's been mentioned here (I didn't see it.) From notesfile =atarian

 

"Just for fun I wanted to customize the color settings when the emulator boots up. I prefer white on blue:
change $a2f1 from $16 to $94 (medium blue background)
change $a302 from $e1 to $1f (bright white, ls 5 bits)"
Second - the 0 prefix on PLATO lessons indicates that it's a published lesson. Back in the day usage of these lessons was tracked and royalties were paid to the authors.
Lastly, I wanted to mention that I'm going to try and add flow control to the Atari emulator cartridge so we can take advantage of those higher baud rates and wanted ask if anyone can give me some pointers on coding for the 850 interface. I have the documentation and wrote a few Atari 8-bit commercial programs but I don't have any experience with the 850 other than hacking the baud rate in TLP. Is there a buffer in the 850 and if so, is there a way to tell how full it is? There's a protocol for telling the PLATO mainframe to stop until we can catch up that I'd like to implement.
Thanks in advance for any help.
Edited by Steve Cox
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I was going through storage, digging up more vintage Atari 8-bit media and I came across the August 1983 issue of Microcomputing magazine. (Higher resolution possible upon request.)

Can you send me a higher-res scan of the ad?

 

Thanks,

Allan

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@Steve Cox - Welcome to the thread! :)

 

http://www.atarimania.com/documents/atari-850-interface-module-technical-manual.pdf<-- 850 tech manual. Very much needed.

 

The Atari 850 has no receive or transmit buffer while the 850 is in concurrent mode (the only useful mode in the 850), in concurrent mode, the 850 literally takes over the SIO bus and just acts like a voltage converter, moving bits RS232 <-> Atari. The 850 has no hardware shift register to speak of (UART or otherwise), it's literally all bit-banged by the 6507 and the RIOT chip inside the unit. (Atari had a shit ton of 6507's and RIOTs because of VCS production, and engineers were told outright to use the surplus because it was cheap, but I digress...)

 

There is a 32-byte buffer that is reserved by the handler, that's it.

 

READ READ READ READ READ READ READ READ DEAR GOD THIS IS CRITICAL AND UTTERLY STUPID BUT CRITICAL READ READ READ READ READ

Once you're in concurrent mode, the only things you can do are GET, INPUT, PUT, PRINT, STATUS, and CLOSE SIO commands. ANYTHING else, this includes flipping RTS/CTS, REQUIRES...that you STOP concurrent mode, do the special I/O command, then START concurrent mode.

READ READ READ READ READ READ READ READ DEAR GOD THIS IS CRITICAL AND UTTERLY STUPID BUT CRITICAL READ READ READ READ READ

 

Page 48 in the tech manual shows the results of a status command.

 

Page 83 shows the flags to send to XIO command 36 to check for CTS

 

Page 84 shows the flags to send to XIO command 34 to send RTS.

 

etc.

 

I can provide more info as needed.

 

-Thom

Edited by tschak909
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CourseWare existed for the Atari. ti had a couple extra but Atari had far more than apple or the others.

 

I was going through storage, digging up more vintage Atari 8-bit media and I came across the August 1983 issue of Microcomputing magazine. (Higher resolution possible upon request.) Inside the front cover was a full-page advertisement for Plato software from Control Data Publishing for the Apple, Atari, And TI. Its looks like they were selling individual courseware disks.

 

Completely by chance, this is what grabbed my attention:

attachicon.gifmicrocomputing-august-1983-IC-platoCDPadvert-800.png

 

Admittedly, it is a bit of a tangent to this thread, but...

  • Did they also end up selling individual courses on disk for the Atari 8-bit?
  • Is there a list of native courses?
  • Is some of that Atari 8-bit media available for download right now?
  • I couldn't find the attached image on a reverse image search. Is it a familiar advertisement for those in the know?

Thanks all.

Even if you don't have the answers, I hope that a few of you will get a kick out of the image. icon_smile.gif

Edited by _The Doctor__

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  • Did they also end up selling individual courses on disk for the Atari 8-bit?
  • Is there a list of native courses?
  • Is some of that Atari 8-bit media available for download right now?
  • I couldn't find the attached image on a reverse image search. Is it a familiar advertisement for those in the know?

 

Yes, yes, yes and yes: http://www.atarimania.com/list_games_atari-400-800-xl-xe-control-data-corporation_publisher_1162_8_G.html

 

--

Atari Frog

http://www.atarimania.com

 

I've got to start reading the whole thread and then go back and answer. Atarimania had the answer for you already. The lack of these images is crime. The list was longer, but I don't know what's missing in the list of titles. The lack of dumps in this series? Criminal!

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Re: leading zero in some filenames. My initial hunch is that it's authors trying to get their programs listed first - using non-alphabetic characters that, when sorted, show up first. In other words, "0blackjack" will be listed before "blackjack", so people may be more likely to select it.

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Re: leading zero in some filenames. My initial hunch is that it's authors trying to get their programs listed first - using non-alphabetic characters that, when sorted, show up first. In other words, "0blackjack" will be listed before "blackjack", so people may be more likely to select it.

 

Steve Cox, one of the PLATO regulars and contributors, already explained this. It denotes lessons published in the CYBIS catalog, and therefore earmarked for royalty payments to the authors.

 

-Thom

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Had a chance to fool around with SIOP2PC and APE. No dice so far. I've found a copy of the 850 R: Handler, but the issue is that the patched file is still a ROM file. If someone could convert it to an .ATR, you could bundle the R: handler on the disk or just use the 850 emulation on APE... I think.

That said, I did mess around with the PC client. It's really damn cool to be able to play Moria, Oubliette, Empire etc. I will TOTALLY play these on an Atari... but I lack an 850 setup. If I were to invest in one, I assume I'd also need a non-atarimax SIO2PC and a Raspberry pi running RESPEQT?

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This may not look like much, but this display is being generated by one hairy chunk of code which randomly generates the maze (as it does in the berzerk arcade game)

 

The maze is a 5x3 matrix of boxes that each have four sides, represented by groups of four bits, which fits quite nicely into a single 60-bit variable (I initially wanted to do a 4x4 matrix, but this would have required 64 bits, 4 bits too many), but as a result, the entire level fits into one word of the machine.

 

* First the resulting word is generated randomly using system entropy (randu function)

* Then, 26 bits are randomly turned off, removing walls

 

After which, the level is subsequently "fixed up"

 

* The entryways are cut out of the walls based on door states, the resulting boxes around the entryways are also knocked down so that a door isn't inadvertently blocked.

* The center box is completely knocked out

* Any box remaining that has four sides has a random # of walls knocked out.

 

The result is something that looks like a berzerk level, still needs lots of tuning.

 

post-9462-0-26186500-1518336891_thumb.png

 

-Thom

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While I was waiting for an answer to a TUTOR question (my maze plotting seems to be shifting on successive initializations and redraws due to me misusing the relative coordinate system, somehow.)

 

I decided to start designing the character set for berzerk. The robots fit nicely into single character boundaries, am wondering if I should make them double size, (it would take four times longer to transmit a single moving entity).

 

post-9462-0-78841300-1518375722_thumb.png

 

post-9462-0-47728400-1518375732_thumb.png

 

As you can see on the Atari terminal, the character's head and leg are a little wonky due to scaling, this will cause the character to ripple a bit when being moved.

 

(and yes, PLATO has a built in character set editor...very cool...they really tried to make good tools for the time.)

 

-Thom

Edited by tschak909
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I think I posted about the editor... so I guess you found it, also the character may appear better in game than in the this is your character line, it's done as a quick idea of what you've done.

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/196354-ataris-plato-cartridge-question/?p=3957369

Edited by _The Doctor__

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Thanks for the pointers about programming for the 850 Thom - I appreciate the help.

 

Regarding your character set, you can quadruple their size (double width/height) without requiring more characters by using bold writing in addition to the alternate font. Check out "bold" in INFO (Q > bold from the Author Mode page.)

 

(I tried attaching an image to this but can only find the option to include a link - must images be hosted elsewhere?)

Edited by Steve Cox
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Thanks for the pointers about programming for the 850 Thom - I appreciate the help.

 

Regarding your character set, you can quadruple their size (double width/height) without requiring more characters by using bold writing in addition to the alternate font. Check out "bold" in INFO (Q > info from the Author Mode page.)

 

(I tried attaching an image to this but can only find the option to include a link - must images be hosted elsewhere?)

 

You can either use the "more reply options" to get the full editor that can attach images, or use the img tag with imgur.

 

-Thom

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