Sunday, September 2, 2018

Entering the Retrochallenge! (09/2018)

I decided to partake in this September's Retrochallenge! I learned of it's existence a few weeks ago, and as I'm already doing an old-tech related project, I decided to sign up. The 22 other entrants and I will be put onto platforms in a closed arena. Once the signal sounds, we have to run/hide/fight and gather old computers in a battle to the death!! May the odds of hardware failure be forever in your favor!

Just kidding! That's the hunger games. Everyone should (hopefully) come out of this challenge alive on October 1st.

For those who aren't coming from the challenge page, the Retrochallenge is "a loosely disorganised gathering of RetroComputing enthusiasts who collectively do stuff with old computers for a month." Its been going on for a few years (with no recorded fatalities.) The other entrants have a slew of interesting projects, ranging from an emulation of a 1960's "portable" computer, to building a KCS tape decoder out of discrete components, to homebrewing games for classic microcomputers. Following their projects will be half the fun! Good luck guys.

And now for my project (this will be familiar to anyone who has been following me along.) Over the course of this year I turned a set of die photos into a transistor-level simulation of the AY-3-8500-1 PONG-clone chip (see my first post if you have no clue what that is.) Over the course of this challenge, I'm going to be reverse-engineering the circuits that make this chip tick. I'll also make a few improvements to the simulator along the way. I don't have any particular goals planned for this subset of the project.

The other part of the project has a clearly defined goal, to build a playable simulation of the chip that remains as faithful to the original as possible. I haven't even decided on a programming language/environment to use yet so there is plenty of work to be done. If all goes well, I should have a playable version and a few posts about the internal circuitry by the end of the challenge.

Well, better get started! Anything of significance to the project will be posted on this blog. You can also follow the overall challenge's progress at Wish me luck!

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